Joint Forces Redo Warfighting Doctrine
The change must be fundamental to deal with an unconventional enemy.
A U.S. soldier peers through a narrow doorway on a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is becoming even more important as U.S. forces adjust to fighting an asymmetric enemy.
Incorporating these new capabilities goes far beyond extending networks down to the tactical level. The tools for analysis and decision making will have to be adapted to empower individual warfighters to make what would amount to command decisions—the individual being both the command and the commander—in asymmetric combat situations.
A major challenge facing defense experts is to enable these new capabilities without sacrificing many of the traditional tenets of conventional force-on-force warfighting. The
Lt. Gen. John R. Wood,
These areas might involve irregular warfare, urban operations or just warfare fought with means that the
Gen. Wood believes that the
The 21st century warrior will need to be comfortable with complexity, Gen. Wood declares. This warrior must be “culturally aware and tactically proficient,” able to work jointly with other services, and able to work with
This 21st century warrior has both an education and a training requirement, he continues. The education must enable that warrior to understand the nature of the fights
New skills and competencies will be needed for this war, and the command is hard at work identifying them. These might include cyberwarfare, biometric tools and operations in a netted organization, for example.
“It’s been a long period of learning from the fights we faced initially in Iraq and Afghanistan to a new set of added competencies that are important against an enemy that is adaptive and is rapidly changing its tactics to fight us,” Gen. Wood states.
|A U.S. Army lieutenant monitors his radio during a search for hidden weapons in a field amid local civilians near Salman Pak, Iraq. JFCOM leaders are planning for soldiers to be more culturally aware as well as tactically proficient when they go into combat.|
Gen. Wood highlights the importance of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to forces in
He emphasizes that these ISR networks must function in ways that are far different from Cold War designs. For example, the analysis, network and planning that suited ISR in the Cold War must be adapted to enable lower-level commanders to fight a fleeting enemy in urban or border regions. “[We need] better analysis at a lower level, a better integration capability at a lower level, and the ability to bring national means and systems down to the forward edge of the fight,” the general declares.
“In the past, ISR served warfighting in a level well above tactical,” he says. Traditional ISR was good at corps level, not quite as good at division level and greatly reduced in effectiveness below. It generally served a specific analytic environment for maneuver warfare or air-ground integration. But the current fight is against individuals who tend to be a fleeting target hiding in the complexity of the battlefield. Servicing corps, divisions, wings or squadrons with ISR for mission planning is not sufficient for winning the current fight.
“We need to bring ISR down, in both fidelity and timeliness, to a product that is useful at the forward edge that is fighting the individual terrorist or the fleeting target at sea or near shore—in ways that are different than the earlier approach to the structure of ISR,” he states. “We need to bring useful products down to the level nearest and closest to the enemy we face. That is an architectural and training challenge.”
Gen. Wood elaborates that this desired tactical ISR is both a tailored product and a delivery scheme that allows rapid analysis at the lowest level. It may not require control of collection assets. Many battalions and even companies that are fighting insurgents in the streets are employing various methods to produce analysis rapidly against targets. These
JFCOM has established its own intelligence laboratory to focus on the operational level of war. Gen. Wood offers that it is working toward the concept of fusion of operations and intelligence to achieve decision speed against the rapidly adapting enemy. The laboratory provides a full-service, all-source intelligence setting, and this enables experts to bring new technologies, processes, methodologies and concepts of operations to bear on significant warfighting challenges, he points out.
It will require a partnership among multiple agencies and industry, the general continues. This partnership will be needed to generate new tools that can be employed inside the intelligence systems that are being built. By adding lessons learned from the field, the laboratory will be able to move “from hypothesis to product” in intelligence integration and operational intelligence fusion more quickly than previously attainable.
This approach particularly plays into the need for better battlefield ISR, Gen. Wood emphasizes. The laboratory will be able to focus on the tools and processes needed for faster and better local intelligence, as well as the ability to take proven practices from the battlefield and then provide the technology that can accelerate the process or improve integration. And, it achieves these feats in a structured environment that permits testing to field new capabilities.
The general relates that, while platforms and their coverage are important, it is equally important for an analyst at the appropriate level on the battlefield to have the tools necessary for focusing on the force’s specific targets.
The command is leading development of the newest version of the Capstone Concepts for Joint Operations. This third edition is being developed by experts providing individual service perspective along with senior leaders. What may differentiate it from its two predecessors is a better historical basis, Gen. Wood offers. It features a clearer understanding of contemporary experience along with a richer involvement from the combatant command level. It also is more exposed to competitive thinking—“better red-teamed,” he states.
The plan should be supportive of three areas: the major conventional fight that has defined military forces for years; irregular warfare such as against an asymmetric adversary; and a fight against an enemy that would employ weapons of mass destruction actively instead of deterrently. The goal is to develop a plan to execute integrated, comprehensive campaigns against adaptive-thinking adversaries.
Despite the strides made toward interoperability, true jointness remains elusive. Many gains have come about from better command and control (C2) of ongoing fights, and this has come about more because of improved leadership than because of advanced technology, the general states.
“Promoting improved jointness will not boil down to a silver bullet or a crack technology,” the general declares. “It ultimately will result from training and education, along with the continual effort by leaders to arrive at better integrated solutions.
“We are greater than the sum of the parts,” he explains. “But, that isn’t accomplished in a natural way. It’s accomplished in day-in, day-out work/train/educate together.”
The command is using Web 2.0 capabilities to build intelligence products and training communities, particularly for collaborative activities in experimentation, the general says. He adds that it does seem to offer productive approaches to collaboration, so the command is using it in both development and experimentation.
One aspect that the general believes JFCOM needs most from the commercial sector is for industry to share the command’s sense of urgency for moving capabilities to the warfighter. Industry could provide solutions that “break the mold” in capabilities or ways that information technology is used, for example. One key need is for ways of sharing information broadly with allies, coalition partners and nontraditional partners.
Returning to his theme that war is a human endeavor, Gen. Wood states that industry must enable the important human interface without it being too complex or difficult. Joint C2 first and foremost also is a human endeavor, he observes. While material solutions, processes and engineering can enable jointness, C2 is not synonymous with network operations or advanced technology—it is about leadership. The emphasis must be on “leader-centric” net-enabled solutions, the general emphasizes.
He notes that the