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Asymmetric Threats Dominate Defense Planning

July 2001
By Dr. Lisa Costa

Leaders prepare for diverse challenges.

U.S. military forces face diverse challenges as they defend national security in the post-Cold-War ear. Dealing with these threats will require both technological solutions and new tactics and techniques. These were some of the views expressed at Tampa TechNet 2001, co-sponsored by the Tampa-St. Petersburg Chapter and AFCEA International. 

The event opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the former governor of Florida Bob Martinez. Gov. Martinez addressed technology growth in Tampa and the mutual value added by AFCEA-sponsored TechNet conferences in Tampa.

Led by Chapter President Lou Ramos, more than 1,200 military and government professionals, contractors and vendors attended the event. The conference theme, “Preparing for and Responding to Asymmetric Threats,” covered a number of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command concerns such as force protection, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and attacks to critical infrastructure.

Distinguished speakers included Gen. Tommy Franks, USA, commander in chief, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM); Lt. Gen. William Tangney, USA, deputy commander in chief, U.S. Special Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege, Jr., USAF, director, Defense Information Systems Agency. Other distinguished guests included Gen. Sebhat Ephrem, Minister of Defense of Eritrea, and William D. Clark, U.S. ambassador to Eritrea.

Gen. Franks was the guest dinner speaker, addressing a crowd of more than 250 people. Attendees left with a greater appreciation for the difficulties of American servicemen and women serving the United States 8,000 miles away in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility on a day-to-day basis. The general thanked AFCEA for facilitating the military partnership with industry as “we serve together.”

Gen. Tangney discussed special operations forces challenges with a worldwide area of responsibility and shared ways that industry could better support them. Additionally, Gen. Raduege discussed his role at DISA and shared his vision for the agency as well as his 500-day plan.

Panels were also a part of the Tampa TechNet agenda. Special Operations Command Chief of Staff Rear Adm. Thomas Steffens, USN, led a session titled “Terrorism or Warfare: How Technology Has Changed the Rules.” Adm. Steffens hosted experts from the intelligence community who discussed the impact of ubiquitous access to technology as both a challenge and a force multiplier to indications and warning. Panel members included Robert Zitz, director, initiatives group, National Imagery and Mapping Agency; Dr. Mark Maybury, director, MITRE Information Technology Center; and John Grimes, vice president, command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) division, Raytheon.

Brig. Gen. Dennis Moran, USA, J-6, USCENTCOM, led a second panel discussion titled “Protecting the Infrastructure.” Panel members focused on the difficulties of balancing the demands of the information explosion with the need for information assurance (IA). They talked about IA implementation in tactically challenging environments. The panel consisted of experts from the communications community, including Maj. Gen. Steven Boutelle, USA, C3 systems, Program Executive Office; Brig. Gen. Anthony Bell, Jr., USAF, J-6, Joint Forces Command; Lt. Gen. William Donahue, USA (Ret.), Computer Sciences Corporation; and Col. Robert Osterloh, USA, (Ret.), senior vice president and general manager, BTG Defense and Intelligence Systems.

In conjunction with Tampa TechNet 2001, Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg, Jr., USA, director, command, control, communications and computers (C4), J-6, Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the 10th annual Joint Tactical Communications Summit (JTCS). The JTCS brought together C4 and intelligence (C4I) senior personnel from all of the combat commands to discuss issues and solve problems of common interest in joint communications. The Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) conducted a technology exercise further supporting the theme of the conference.

The event also featured two professional development seminars. Tom Carroll, international trade technologies lead analyst, The MITRE Corporation, conducted a seminar titled “The New Indications and Warning: Challenges to the Analysis Process.” Dr. Lisa Costa, chief scientist of MITRE’s Commands, Technology, and Intelligence Division, presented a seminar on “Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery in Support of Intelligence Analysis.”

Tampa TechNet attendees were able to peruse an exhibit floor filled with surveillance cameras, tactical radios, biological agent detectors, and the latest C4I hardware and software tools. Additionally, conference planners designed a career transition seminar for military and government personnel seeking job opportunities. Sponsored by Keane Incorporated, more than 40 military personnel participated in this half-day event.