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Thursday, February 5, 2004

Quote of the Day:

“As soon as we can implement jointness, we will pull away from huge standing joint staffs that have very little to do with jointness.”

—Vice Adm. Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN, deputy and chief of staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

 
Vice Adm. Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN, deputy and chief of staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, gives Thursday’s luncheon address on Day 3 of West 2004.

The third and final day of West 2004, the annual conference and exposition sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute, had a distinctly nautical flavor as panels and speakers discussed some key issues facing the U.S. Navy.

Many of these issues addressed the event theme, “Born Joint,” as attendees continued to flock to the exhibit floor. The key to jointness may be top-down action, according to Vice Adm. Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN, deputy and chief of staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

The admiral charged that the military does not have the protocols that would provide joint systems from day one. Yet, it must have those protocols. The admiral stated that jointness efforts today largely have focused on the creation of large joint staffs. Having those people take a couple of courses is not enough to bring about jointness, he added. These large staffs actually stand in the way of jointness, and their elimination is one goal of achieving true jointness.

“As soon as we can implement jointness, we will pull away from huge standing joint staffs that have very little to do with jointness,” he declared. This will require a cultural change, he allows. However, that will not be as difficult as it sounds. The admiral offered that it only takes about three years for a cultural change to take hold in the military. After that period of time passes, personnel are used to the new culture and are fully acclimated to it. Adm. Konetzni warned that the Navy faces a more difficult time as its fleet continues to shrink.

The number of ships is down to 290, but the nation’s global commitments have not been cut back and the threat has not diminished. True jointness will be necessary for the Navy to be able to continue to meet its commitments. If jointness is not achieved, then the Navy will go on with non-interoperable systems for which the Navy will have to pay much more, he warned.

The day’s other speaker, Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, USA (Ret.), offered that major changes already are underway in the military. Speaking at the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Advisory Council breakfast, Gen. Scales compared the two Iraq wars and outlined how their successes--and failures--are defining the changes at hand.

He stated that the first Gulf War was an operational failure in that the United States had to return 12 years later to finish the job. Jointness was not nearly as strong then as it was in last year’s war. In the most recent war, for the first time two U.S. ground forces from different services conducted a dual-thrust maneuver. In that action, heavy Army forces became lighter and Marine Corps forces became more robust. This represented a growing and defining trend in the U.S. military--convergence.

The military now has two basic elements: the delivery of precise killing power from the air; and rapid maneuver warfare on the ground.

 
Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, USA (Ret.) addresses the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Advisory Council breakfast.
However, adversaries also are applying lessons learned. Gen. Scales warned. In Iraq, the generals proved to be far less intelligent than the lower ranking soldiers, who shed their uniforms and adopted guerrilla tactics to negate the strengths of U.S. ground forces.

These ad hoc organizations adapted better than the generals did, Gen. Scales observed. He offered that the current Iraq insurgency is a corollary to chaos theory, as independent insurgents fight seemingly at random, but with a core purpose of driving U.S. forces out of Iraq.

The general predicted that two elements will define future warfare: the center of gravity will be tactical, not strategic or operational; and enemies know that success is achieved by killing Americans and letting the world see it, as happened in Somalia. “This is the future,” he said, adding that the United States must improve its knowledge of the arena to stay ahead of an asymmetric enemy.

The first of two short panels on day 3 discussed the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan. Moderator Capt. Peter Swartz, USN (Ret.), Center for Strategic Studies, CNA Corporation, related that the forward presence that served the United States well in the Cold War continued into the 1990s and surged for the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War.

Now, however, the Navy needs a new philosophy for the unpredictable environment it faces for the future, said Capt. Jeff Niner, deputy commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three. A surge deployment is different for a carrier battle group than for an expeditionary strike group, he observed. Implementing the Fleet Response Plan will require more training earlier in a sea tour, and ships must continue training during a deployment and after returning home. [Insert photo Thursday3 here] [caption]

 
Panelists discussing the Navy’s Fleet Response plan are (l-r) Flt. MC Manuel C. Rodriguez, USN; Capt. Jeff Niner, USN; Capt. Douglas J. McAneny, USN; and Capt. John C. Christenson, USN.

Capt. Douglas J. McAneny, USN, commander, Submarine Squadron Eleven, discussed “establishing a culture of readiness.” Problems may arise when submarines try to achieve their training goals--which may not be possible without extensive participation by partners in Pearl Harbor and among ballistic missile submarines, he warned. He offered that he would like to spend more time on antisubmarine warfare training without having to assemble 10 ships for the effort. “Remain flexible” should be the byword, said Flt. MC Manuel C. Rodriguez, USN, Fleet Master Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Expressing concerns about deploying, Flt. MC Rodriguez noted that, during the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the United States remained watchful toward each other, but they both knew that they were not about to go to war. Now, however, all bets are off, and it is the Navy’s duty to deploy. “Operational availability is a joint term. That is what the Fleet Response Plan is all about,” concluded Capt. John C. Christenson, USN, commander of Cruiser Destroyer Squadron 21.

The day’s--and the show’s--final panel explored the limits of expeditionary strike groups (ESGs) and how they can substitute for carrier strike groups. Moderating his second panel of the conference was Adm. Leighton W. “Snuffy” Smith Jr., USN (Ret.), former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Vice Adm. Kevin P. Green, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for plans, policy and operations, stated that ESGs are inherently joint in terms of providing naval capabilities to the joint force commander.

An ESG can be scaled and combined with other forces to help them carry out the mission according to the type of conflict.

 
Discussing expeditionary strike groups are panelists (l-r) Robert Work; Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Medina, USMC; and Vice Adm. Kevin P. Green, USN.

Robert Work, senior analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, stated that guaranteed delivery of goods and services in littoral waters is the name of the game. He offered that up to 37 different ESG packages can be mixed and matched for whatever access challenge must be faced.

Picking up on that point, Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Medina, USMC, noted that littoral combat ships can add antisubmarine or mine warfare packages to address specific threats. These are the two threats that scare him, he added. The commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Three, Gen. Medina warned that ESGs need joint command and control capabilities to operate in a joint world. “Our common datalinks are not always common,” he allowed.

—Now is the time to begin planning for West 2005, which will take place in the San Diego Convention Center February 1-3, 2005.