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January 08, 2004

Here is a peek inside the skulls of some more of the big guys.

This is the summary from a conference conducted last month. It's usefulness here is to give wider dissemination to what the big guys are looking at for the future of the armed forces.


Meeting: 34th Annual IFPA / Fletcher School Conference: Security Planning & Military Transformation After Iraqi Freedom, 2-3 DEC 03 at US Chamber of Commerce Building, Washington, DC

Objective: To discuss challenges and opportunities facing the United States and Coalition Partners as they develop and implement politico-military strategies for the 21st century

Co-Sponsors: Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Chief of Naval Operations

Attendees: CJCS, CNO, CMC, CSA, VC USCG, USAF & USN Ops Deps, COM SOUTHCOM, COM STRATCOM, DCOM NORTHCOM, DASD Strategy, Rep Curt Weldon (R-PA), Director OSD Force Transformation, USS Arms Control & International Security, DCOM JFCOM, various senior military, gov’t and academic SMEs, assorted Allied and Coalition Flag & General Officers.

For those of you reading this who aren’t acronym-savvy (don’t feel bad, I have trouble keeping up) CJCS – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CNO- Chief of Naval Operations, CMC – Commandant of the Marine Corps, CSA, - Chief of Staff, Army, VC USCG – Vice-Chief, US Coast Guard. Ops Deps (Operations Deputy), Commanders of Southern Command, Strategic Command. (SOUTHCOM, STRACOM), Deputy Commander Northern Command (NORTHCOM), DASD (Deputy Secretary of Defense), OSD – Office of the Secretary of Defense), JFCOM- Joint Forces Command, SME – Subject Matter Expert. In other words, at least 6 four-star generals, 4 of the five who make up the Joint Chiefs, and two of the combatant commanders, lots of three and two stars, and civilian luminaries. Large brain trust and concentration of experience and talent.

Executive Summary: This conference did not waste much time defining or debating the merits of Military Transformation. It focused instead on defining the various paths ahead for implementing US Military Transformation in light of Lessons Learned from Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and the Global War on Terrorism.

This is good – rather than blindly stumble forward under inertia – stop and assess for a minute. War has a way of focusing people.

Key Themes: · US Security Environment has changed to the extent that Cold War force structure, nuclear posture, basing footprint, forward presence and manpower requirements are no longer suited or relevant to the altered landscape. Result: too much high priced dead wood

· All military speakers from all services espoused the need for a new Joint & Expeditionary Mindset---and every service endorsed the Sea-Basing concept and claimed a future sea-basing role for itself [ed. Note: click link for a description of the sea-basing concept]

· In contrast to earlier presentations, service chiefs and combatant commanders stressed organizational, mindset and procedural changes over procurement, manpower growth, modernization or technology injections as key to increasing capabilities and combat power.

Good stuff here. Trying to get both outside the old way of doing business at the same time transform our processes and practices on the fly – without spending lots of time and energy developing new stuff in the old peacetime fashion. While looking ahead and building for the future – don’t ignore what you can change, right now, with resources on hand – and using your best brains for the task – the guys who are inventing stuff while they do it. And not send it back to the ‘institutional Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps” to be studied and approved. It goes back to be integrated into doctrine and training. In wartime, the warfighters should be driving the doctrine train. Not always true. The warfighters ignore stupid doctrine emanating from the schools – but the problem is the newbies coming over to warfight have the doctrine disconnected from the operational reality. We were really bad at that in Vietnam.

· Doing More with Less was a consensus Transformation theme. USAF claims 2 B-1s with right sensor/intel support plus small diameter bombs can be more lethal than traditional 64 aircraft strike package. CNO repeated his intent to shrink Navy manning to free up resources and properly train and support those who remain. CSA Schoomaker lamented he had more than a million people in AC/RC Army but could access only a small portion because of archaic organization and force structure.

While I understand what they’re after in saying this – “Do More With Less” is more often than not an excuse from seniors to subordinates about failures at the higher level that aren’t going to get fixed any time soon.

· Chief lessons from Afghanistan: Letting SOF NCOs and JOs [Junior Officers] run ad hoc fight in flat org chart without oversight, doctrine or senior command structure resulted in agility, flexibility and adaptive warfare that let 80 SOFs (with 24/7 air support) take down Taliban and defeat Al Qaeda on their home turf. Afghanistan stagnation started when the Colonels and support staffs arrived in country. Sec Def challenge is to empower the former and reconstruct the latter. (Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic Monthly)

This is all part and parcel of developing the ‘Expeditionary Mindset’ they are talking about. Then, on the flip side, we are attempting to build C2 systems that allow senior commanders to truly micromanage. A little cognitive dissonance for me here. But then, I’ve been making a living these last four years trying to figure out exactly that – how to build truly net-worked C2 systems that enable, not disable, flexible command.

· Despite all the hoopla about US prowess in SOF, fact is that all services remain woefully short of FAOs [Foreign Area Officer – regional specialists) and linguists in languages relevant to likely future conflicts or insurgencies. Winning at insurgencies depends more on day-to-day small tactical and PR successes over the long haul rather than ordnance on sexy targets or battlefield victory. (Kaplan)

· We tend to think of US harbors as the main targets of maritime of terrorist attack but the five maritime choke points: Panama and Suez Canals, Straits of Hormuz, Malacca and Gibraltar are most vulnerable. Presented evidence that Al Qaeda has experimented with hijacking LNG tankers, tugs and divers to practice taking down softer maritime targets like the choke points and off-shore oil and gas wells. (Mansoor Ijaz)

· Future portends three kinds of terrorist attacks: Nuisance (soft targets), Symbolic (to demonstrate that they can) and Structural (actually take down an important institution or capability). Al Qaeda has ceded most Nuisance and Symbolic attacks to local terrorists while leadership concentrates talent, resources and long term planning on Structural attacks (Ijaz)

· Many speakers think deterrence is still the key to preventing future conflicts, BUT…Nobody knows how to deter attacks from nonstate actors willing to die in the attacks!

Service Chief’s Perspectives:

Marines (CMC Mike Hagee)
· Strategic context has changed. Assured Access problems will increase. Sea Basing is the answer.
· He gave the CNO’s speech on Sea Strike, Sea Shield, Sea Basing, FORCEnet
· USMC doesn’t need more people to do its job----made no unkind jabs about the Marines having to go back to Iraq next Spring to relieve/assist the Army in doing its (peace keeping/nation building) job
· Also absent from the pitch was any carping about combining Marine TacAir with Navy airwings and CMC seemed satisfied with USAF handling of JFACC in OIF

Army (CSA Pete Schoomaker):
· Admits Army lost its way on path to relevance and readiness after the Cold War
· Now has sixteen focus areas to get Army back on track. Top Four are:
o Taking care of the soldier
o Developing a Joint and Expeditionary mindset
o Restructuring the AC/RC to attain relevant balance
o Developing Modularity (smaller, more agile building block units)
· No more Legacy, Interim, Objective Force. Current Force improves day-by-day to become the Future Force
· Army has enough troops to do the mission in Iraq, but AC/RC force structure flaws means he doesn’t have the right troops to sustain the mission.
· If he asked for two more divisions, they couldn’t be trained and deployed in less than two years---too late to help current problem.
· In Q&A, insisted Army is not planning to acquire V-22 but left the door open to considering the option as Marines gain ops experience and Army completes a revamp of Army Aviation----clearly a wait and see…
· Said Army is on board with Sea Basing and he would move to figure out and implement their proper role

USCG (VCCG Tom Barrett)
· Can’t separate all the various elements of the Global War on Terrorism (military, commercial, domestic, international, environmental protection)
· Coast Guard has to do them all but is only resourced to do some of them at any one time.
· Maritime Domain Awareness is key to USCG mission success
· Keys to Coast Guard Transformation:
o Increased Authority (recent ISPS Code adoption helps)
o Improved Capabilities (Deepwater recap + C4ISR upgrades)
o Expanded Capacity (can’t now do all missions on same day
o Partnerships (DOD, IA, international, State & Local)

USAF (LtGen Duncan McNabb, DCS P&P)
· OEF/OIF Lessons Learned were significant
o Airpower was so closely integrated with the ground campaign as to be indistinguishable from it
o Air Force needs a much more Expeditionary Mindset to match moving to AEF (Air Expeditionary Force) organizational foundation
o Had to build 38 new bases for OEF/OIF. Must do better job of building them on a shoe string (expeditionary redux)
o Kill Chain Compression: Big progress, but a long way still to go. If the loitering B-1 that put ordnance on the restaurant where Saddam was reportedly dining an hour after first reports had been able to do so in 30 min…or 10 min, things may have been resolved differently
· Everybody wants more of the support (CAS, PE, Space, ISR, lift) which USAF provides, but AF desperately needs to recapitalize to make up for deferred spending on basic force recapitalization and modernization
· With the Baby Boomers retiring in droves and fewer new wage earners entering the workforce, pressure on DOD budget will increase. Doing Transformation right, and doing it now is the only to assure adequate resources for the future force
· Pillars of USAF Transformation:
o Reorganization (AEFs, providing adequate resources for what remains)
o New CONOPs (Truly Joint, maximize complementary capabilities, minimize redundancy, more trust of other services/nations to fill preselected gaps)
o Rapidly develop and field Transformational technology
· Less may be more. E.g. smaller fleet of more capable C-17s with sufficient crews and improved CONOPs are outperforming far larger fleet of C-141s

Navy (CNO Vern Clark)
· He is zealously following Rumsfeld’s admonition to “Challenge every assumption!” Ditto for the other service chiefs
· What Transformation means to him:
o People (new Human Resources Paradigm)
o Force Structure ( CVN-21, DD(X), LCS)
o Organizations (New Building Blocks e.g. ESGs)
o Change how we do things / Think about things
o Truly Joint CONOPs

· OEF/OIF Navy Lessons Learned: (Same themes as USNI Expo and EWC Speeches)
o Value of True Readiness
o Need for less predictability
o Synergy and value of joint operations
o Importance of Persistence in conduct of forward Naval Power Projection
· The Genius of our people is our true Asymmetric Advantage over our opponents
o Regrettably, we are saddled with a Cold War Mentality HR System and thinking that still considers labor to be “free.”
o Not only is manpower not “free” but it takes entirely too much of the Navy budget to pay for it
o He is on record as the only Service Chief who is on record as wanting to significantly shrink manpower on his watch
· DD(X) and Smart Ship reduced manning will help
· Sea Swap concept of leaving the ships deployed while rotating the crews is saving operational and personnel costs
· With 30-50 year service life of ships, gotta plan Transformation into all new construction ships

Director, Office of OSD Force Transformation (Art Cebrowski)

· Template for Effecting DOD Transformation:
o Continuous Change (Not his job because this is not Transformational)
o Multitude of Exploratory Jumps (Small leaps ahead)
o Big Bets (DOD can never bet the farm, but these are high risk/high payoff never before attempted paths towards significant new capabilities or efficiencies)

· Issues of Regret (Offer potential but can’t afford to do everything so they have not yet been fully developed yet)
o Fires (Non-lethal, Directed Energy, Redirected Energy)
o Maneuver (Sea-basing, Vertical Battlefield, Lift for Operational Maneuver)
o Protection (Urban Ops, Battlefield Medical Care)
o Command & Control (Joint Interdependency vs. Joint Interoperability)
o ISR (Demand-Centered Intel, Tactically Responsive Space)
o Logistics (Joint Demand-Centered Logistics)

· Achieving Balance (Transformational Policy must strike a middle road between:)
o Military Victory vs. Political Victory
o Cooperative Engagement vs. US Primacy (going it alone)
o Punishing the Foes vs. Winning the Battle
o Defending the Commons Areas (sea, space, cyberspace) vs. Winning the Close Fight ( Littorals, Low Altitude, Land Battles)

· Future Force Impact of OIF/OEF
o Must fix the Intel Collection to Analysis Gap (amount of data collected grows exponentially while analysis capacity lags far behind)
o Race to Baghdad outran logistics, comms and transportation
o Must shift Logistics from “Pull” to “Push” system (using models, sitreps, sensing) to keep up
o Shift to Tactical Units Cross-Supply to fill the gaps at the front
o “Days of Supply” shown to have no validity in today’s combat
o “Just in Time” is better
o “Sense and Respond” is the future goal
o In future, computer attacks will be as much a part of military ops as any other activity
o In future, computer attacks will be as important as ordnance on target

· How we position the future forces will be one of the key Transformation elements
o Surging from CONUS is the least desirable option
o Forward garrisons ala Cold War are not likely
o Sea-Basing solves many problems
o Surging from Strategic Distance is next best option

o No longer relevant or appropriate for future conflicts:
o Long cycle times
o Deliberate planning
o Non Joint Conops, doctrine or operations

· DOD Transformation Elements:
o Continuing Process
o Creating / Anticipating the Future
o Co-evolution of Concepts
o New Competitive Areas / Processes / Competencies
o Fundamental Shifts in the Underlying Principles
o Mostly About Changing Behaviors

Issues for Defense Companies:

· Real Jointness, especially in CONOPS and acquisition policy, seems to have taken hold at last. We can no longer think in terms of single customer bases, must match our offerings and organization to the emergent new reality
· Most of the Transformational concepts endorsed at this conference were related to changes to processes, organization and doctrine rather than modernization, procurement and technology upgrades. We need to think about how our business model can evolve to satisfy those markets
· Many Transformation elements deal with doing more with less or getting more capability out of what is already in the inventory. How do we accommodate that and still make a buck?
· Art Cebrowski’s list of Issues of Regret catalogs the DOD important Transformation interests that no one is working on. Are these not key opportunities for the first company to offer a workable / affordable solution before the competition gets organized?
· Sea-Basing appears to be one of the pillars of the future US military strategy. Do we have a dog in that fight? Why not?

Quotable Quotes:

“Desert Storm was not a joint operation---it was joint deconfliction. Iraqi Freedom was joint integration. What we need is joint interdependency in which services give up capability and rely on the other services.”
CSA GEN Pete Schoomaker

“The biggest problem in American industry today is failure to harvest talent, insight and experience resident in their own middle management. They prefer to hire outside gurus to solve their problems.”
Strategic Management Prof Paul Bracken, Yale

“If you apply computer power to a flawed process, you merely get the wrong answer faster.”
ADM Jim Ellis, COM US STRATCOM

One thing I see missing from here – but they weren’t at this conference, either – is building a new intel structure that better shares data and greatly expands the role of HUMINT (human intelligence) over technical means of intel gathering. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you gather if you don’t understand the cultural context in which it was generated. Things as simple as the Japanese cultural norm that makes it difficult for a Japanese to come out and say “No” directly. That is considered impolite. You are supposed to pick up on the non-verbal cues, (as well as the fact that they haven’t said “Yes” directly, either) to understand that you are being turned down. Many, many Gis have gotten in trouble in Japan with women because they don’t understand that little subtle nuance of Japanese culture. In the US, we have enough trouble getting randy young men to understand that No means No. It’s even harder to get them to understand that in Japan, a lack of Yes means No. Things like that abound when trying to understand data gathered by technical means being analyzed by someone who has no cultural clue.