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DOD Capabilities for the 21st Century: Dominant - Relevant - Ready?

June 17, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Speaking to a packed room at the opening of the Joint Warfighting conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lt. Gen. John R. Wood, USA, deputy commander, JFCOM, pointed out that the question posed by this conference is apropos. While the U.S. military has made much progress in bringing the joint force together, it is now time to take a serious look at how well the services are doing in this area.

Lt. Gen. John R. WoodThis is the right time to conduct this evaluation because the military has new mission direction from both the president and Congress. In addition, resources are becoming dear. Gen. Wood said believes that the end of funding supplements may be here.

Although the majority of this conference focuses on technology, the general suggested that joint warfighting is a human endeavor; technology is a key enabler. Changing our perspective in this way requires us to address the question: Who serves whom? This can be a weakness if we're not careful, he said.

Gen. Wood also pointed out that today's generation of young warfighters in the services are very comfortable with the new technical tools and change is occurring from the bottom up.

"One aspect of our future we can't overlook or underemphasize is our own human capital situation and solution. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem with an all-volunteer force," he stated.

Also on the topic of the human element of strategic planning, the general said that current fighting does not depend on being network-centric but rather being leader-centric that is network-enabled. However, changes need to be made in this area to focus on what is needed in leadership. "Our doctrine, organization and institutional support do not match operational reality," he said. Military leadership must promote management methods and policies that provide visibility, flexibility and agility to the force, he added. It is critical to adopt the right lexicon, a capabilities-based language. In addition, integration and interoperability are management imperatives.

Listen to his welcome address here (MP3 audio):

Lt. Gen. John R. Wood at Joint Warfighting Conference 2008

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