Enemies are ubiquitous, spending is not, in this new age.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, gives the kickoff address at West 2009.
Enemies are probing
These and many other issues emerged at West 2009, which was built around the theme “Defense—Reset, Redesign, Reinvent?” The three-day conference and exposition, held in
“You can be militarily dominant and irrelevant,” Adm. Harward stated as he reiterated what most military experts say—an enemy will not fight you in your area of strength. “Our adversaries know what we’re doing … they know better than we do,” he declared.
Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, describes the need for the United States to fight in irregular conflicts as it does in conventional warfare.
Even though the U.S. Navy has reconstituted its fleet response plan, much remains to be done to suit a new era in which it must do more in less time, said Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Operations tempo is up considerably. More ships are at sea at a given time than in past eras. And, new missions such as maritime security and ground operations are stressing the ops tempo and naval resources. These three challenges are changing the way the Navy operates.
Adm. Greenert described four realms in which the Navy must maintain control and situational awareness. In addition to surface, subsurface and air, cyberspace is an operational area that has requirements similar to the three physical realms. Concerns include training and interoperability.
Many forward-deployed ships in the U.S. Navy are becoming independent command and control (C2) nodes as they adapt for more complex missions, according to the commander of the Third Fleet. Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, said in a luncheon address that command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) is the key enabler for the fleet.
But many requirements dominate Navy wish lists: seamless communication with coalition partners; a common operational picture for sea control; adaptive security measures that are transparent to partners; more automated methods for operations; and continually available afloat networks that run at the same speed as land networks.
Adm. Locklear compared fleet operations requirements to ballistic missile defense. It requires jointness and partnership with other nations, and it also mandates that operations shift from strategic to tactical to theater. Interoperability must include coalition partners, or Navy C4I will not be as effective.
“We can’t let the C4I structure drive our command and control,” the admiral declared.
Adm. Greenert also stated that interoperability is becoming more of an issue as capabilities increase along with diversity of partnerships. The U.S. Navy is conducting counter-piracy efforts with a number of partner nations, but noncoalition members such as Chinese and Russian naval forces are exchanging information with these
New technology is at the heart of re-engineering efforts for Naval Air Forces (NAVAIR). Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, USN, NAVAIR commander, described how the tailless unmanned combat aerial vehicle that the Navy is testing offers both challenges and opportunities. “We will have that aircraft for our carriers,” he declared.
Being able to carry out the Navy’s new missions will require an “immersive training environment,” Adm. Greenert said. He called for industry to provide high-fidelity simulation systems for training. He analogized that sailors today are training on Pac-Man systems, when what they really need is X-Box technology. The goal is to mimic sea operations as if they were real.
Change may be good for progress, but it is not good for Navy shipbuilding. A panel of experts addressing how to “fix” Navy shipbuilding agreed that changing the design in the process is responsible for most of the ills in Navy shipbuilding. However, they disagreed on many proposed solutions—and whether oft-stated ideas would even work in reality.
Many of the experts did agree on the need for discipline in the design and requirements process. They also want programs to be flexible enough to incorporate new emerging technologies. Yet they could not specify how to produce the best of both worlds.
A totally new perspective was offered by Fred J. Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. Harris described how Korean shipbuilders do not release design drawings until the entire ship design process is completed. When his company built a ship in a Korean shipyard, its processes delivered a ship several months early and 20 percent under budget. Harris said that
Ronald O’Rourke, specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, said that he believes several approaches may improve shipbuilding. These range from re-assessing the role of analysis over emotion to moving to common hulls and parts for economies of scale. O’Rourke also suggested enabling competition for construction, but Harris did not endorse that concept.
Fixing Navy shipbuilding was the focus of a discussion among (l-r) Ronald O’Rourke; Rear Adm. Michael K. Mahon, USN; Fred J. Harris; Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN (Ret.); and panel moderator Dr. Scott C. Truver.
Capt. Peter A. Gumataotao, USN, former captain of the USS Decatur, said the littoral combat ship (LCS) is a top priority for the Navy. He described the versatile vessel as “a new way” for the Navy. Rear Adm. Michael K. Mahon, USN, deputy director, surface warfare, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), agreed, saying, “When it comes to flexible design, the LCS has it all.”
Many experts weighed in with their predictions for the near term. Adm. Harward offered that future national conflicts may arise from nonstate players acting on behalf of a state. Hezbollah, for example, acts on behalf of
Adm. Locklear’s top fear is an attack on satellite assets. He allowed that the military knows that other nations are considering it as a military tactic, and how the
Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, describes fleet requirements in a luncheon address.
Oil platform security will increase in importance, Adm. Greenert predicted. He related that the U.S. Navy already is protecting Iraqi offshore oil platforms with the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and Iraqi coastal protection forces.
Panelists discussing force structure are (l-r) Lt. Gen. Joe F. Weber, USMC (Ret.); Adm. Robert Natter, USN (Ret.); Gen. Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Leaf, USAF (Ret.); and panel moderator Col. Jack Jacobs, USA (Ret.).
The increasingly violent Mexican drug war will flare up and spread across the
Budget Concerns Limit Defense Choices
Panelists offering “straight talk from the warfighter” include (r-l) panel moderator Col. Robert O. Work, USMC (Ret.); Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, USN; Lt. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, USMC; Rear Adm. Michael C. Bachmann, USN; and Capt. Peter A. Gumataotao, USN.
The current political picture of looming defense budget cuts poses considerable threats to national security, according to many panelists addressing force structure balance at West 2009. They warned against losing valuable advantages against adversaries in the name of economics.
“Clearly, we’re not going to be talking about how to grow … we’re going to talk about how to shrink,” said Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Leaf, USAF (Ret.), former deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command.
Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey,
“We have to create high-intensity modern forces and not be mesmerized by our own rhetoric,” the general said.
However, Col. Robert O. Work, USMC (Ret.), vice president, strategic studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, declared the 4-percent figure an unachievable goal. Not only will defense budgets face cuts because of the current economic environment, pegging defense spending at 4 percent of the GDP would add another trillion dollars to the national debt, he said.
“We are definitely in need of straight talk now,” he stated.
“I don’t think we can get it right” when it comes to planning force structure, said Gen. Joe Weber, USMC (Ret.), formerly of Marine Forces Command. Too many variables will render comprehensive plans obsolete before they come to fruition. Gen. Weber added, “We don’t need another study that tells us that we need to conduct operations from one end of the spectrum to the other.”
Rear Adm. Michael C. Bachmann, USN, commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, offered that information technology is a growth area amid declining budgets. He noted that several systems under development or being deployed are drawing interest from non-Defense Department customers. Maritime domain awareness in particular is at the forefront, he declared.
His view was echoed in a luncheon speech by Linda A. Mills, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Sector. Mills singled out command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems as being essential regardless of the direction in defense spending. There always will be demand for top C4ISR and cyber capabilities. “C4ISR systems do for the military what the five senses—the human nervous system—do for the human body,” she analogized.
Linda A. Mills, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Sector, discusses the importance of the defense industry in this troubled economy.
“Change is in the air in the defense business,” Mills said. “Defense is going to be significantly affected by our current economic crisis.”
However, Mills offered that providing economic stimulus to the defense sector could be a key part of revitalizing the
Gen. McCaffrey also decried suggestions that the
He also addressed generals and admirals, telling them that it is not their role to cut the budget. Instead, they should address the national security threat and leave it to Congress to fulfill its role under Article 1 of the Constitution to raise and support a military, “and they’re not doing their job,” he said of Congress.
Cyberspace Challenges Become Viral
No solution to the cyberspace threat seems imminent or even obvious, according to a panel asked “What keeps you up at night?” Cyberspace enemies can attack anywhere, and they do not need to expend any extraordinary resources to be effective in the infosphere.
Vice Adm. H. Denby Starling II, USN, commander, Naval Network Warfare Command, admitted that he does not have the visibility across the Navy’s networks that most people would agree he needs. And, all an enemy needs is a laptop and access to a Starbucks’ virtual private network, or VPN, to be a player in cyberwarfare.
Panelists discussing cyber challenges include (l-r) Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN; James P. Craft; Robert J. Carey; Vice Adm. H. Denby Starling II, USN; and panel moderator Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.).
“Our adversaries can attack us anywhere, so we have to defend everywhere,” he pointed out.
The Navy today has a network operations model that is highly people-dependent, the admiral added. Building new networks that are human labor intensive is a nonstarter. Security must move away from people dependency as much as possible.
Linda A. Mills of Northrop Grumman Information Systems Sector also warned about the country’s dependence on networks in a separate luncheon address. The nation’s military and commercial networks must be reliably and predictably available and secure, and the threat to these networks cannot be overstated. Mills called for government leadership to unite all aspects of information technology industry in synergistic cooperation on security measures and practices.
Acquisition is a headache, implied Robert J. Carey, Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer. Regulations and laws hinder development, and cycle times cannot keep pace with information technology.
Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, deputy chief of naval operations for communications networks (N-6), echoed Carey’s remarks. “We’re fighting an information-age war with industrial-age acquisition,” the admiral stated.
Carey surprised no one when he said that the Navy is moving too slowly into Web 2.0 technologies and capabilities. Most of the Navy’s processes are digitized paper processes, and he emphasized that this must change. When the Navy fully enters the world of Web 2.0, it will free up resources that can be used to acquire other vital systems such as ships.
But none of these efforts will matter if attention is not paid to the supply chain, said James P. Craft, deputy director, C4/deputy chief information officer of the Marine Corps. Craft warned that if no one can trust foreign sources in the supply chain for weapons systems, then “everything we do is a wash.”
Craft challenged industry to come up with the solutions for Navy information technology challenges. Industry should develop open-source solutions and standards “to scratch its own itch,” he said.
David Hartman (l), former host of Good Morning America, moderates a panel on China featuring Dr. Jacqueline Newmyer, president and chief executive officer, Long Term Strategy Group LLC, and Rear Adm. Michael A. McDevitt, USN (Ret.), director, Center for Naval Analyses Strategic Studies.
The People’s Republic of
Rear Adm. Michael A. McDevitt, USN (Ret.), director, Center for Naval Analyses Strategic Studies, noted that
Dr. Jacqueline Newmyer, president and chief executive officer, Long Term Strategy Group LLC, agreed with Adm. McDevitt on the Bush administration
Adm. McDevitt looked at some issues from
However, the potential of
Newmyer cast a cautious eye on
She also sees “real prospects” for political instability in
IED Threat Spans Tactical, Strategic Realms
The only way to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is to treat them as strategic weapons, said Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, USA, director, Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). And, with that approach, networking may be the key enabler.
“We are in a long war against extremists,” the general stated. “Their views of destroying our way of life in favor of establishing the second caliphate are as clear as Adolph Hitler’s was expressed in Mein Kampf.” He also described in blunt terms the atrocities these extremists commit against innocent people, particularly women. This will be a long fight against an enemy whose weapon of choice is the IED.
Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, USA, director, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), describes the ongoing battle to defeat IEDs.
Gen. Metz described many traditional networking capabilities that are necessary for broad countermeasures against IEDs. These capabilities include being able to access broad types of information on adversaries likely to use IEDs; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance optimization; and network-centric data sharing. “We’re moving farther away from material solutions to nonmaterial solutions,” he said.
He also revealed that his organization discovered an IED “research and development” organization in
Predictive analysis will help, but achieving it will be extremely difficult, and Gen. Metz does not expect an ideal solution anytime soon. The Defense Department’s data-sharing environment is not robust enough for analysts, he said. “We’re moving farther away from material solutions to nonmaterial solutions.”
Gen. Metz used an audio-visual demonstration of Google Earth capabilities to show what an analyst could learn from real-time, open-source information. Adding classified data to this capability would give the analyst great power to prevent IED incidents and allow forces to attack IED networks, he stated.
The general emphasized that the
Photography by Michael Carpenter