The battlespace dominance enjoyed by U.S. forces for two decades may be disappearing as many potential adversaries begin to employ the very technologies that have served U.S. forces. Dick Diamond Jr., national security trends and strategic issues analyst with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, warned that the near monopoly enjoyed by the United States in precision guided munitions (PGMs) and surveillance is going away. "We may not be able to conduct our favorite American way of war in the future," Diamond declared. Moderating a West 2011 panel focusing on unmanned systems, Diamond went on to say that the United States may not be able to position forces forward for fighting at a time of its choosing. These forces would be vulnerable to other countries that are procuring PGMs at affordable prices. As a result, maritime forces will need to be positioned farther away from shore. And, information dominance may be the key battlefield of the future. "Just ask the Iranian nuclear engineers," Diamond offered.
Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training & Support, Orlando, Florida, is being awarded a $7 million contract modification for the National Cyber Range (NCR) program. Under the revised phase II, the contractor will build on the preliminary design created during the first phase and tasks that have been accomplished in phase II to date. The contractor will demonstrate the capabilities of the flexible automated Cyber Test Range NCR. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Defense Systems Division of Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a more than $49 million contract to research, develop and deliver an integrated software solution that improves upon the targeting functionality currently performed by U.S. Air Force and joint targeting automation software. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Marine Corps will need to innovate while maintaining its traditional amphibious capabilities as nations act more in their own interests, suggests a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) deputy commander. Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, USMC, deputy commanding general, 1 MEF, told a West 2011 luncheon audience that the Corps is exploring innovative solutions to meet new international contingencies. "The U.S. Marine Corps has never met the nation's needs by being conventional in its approach," the general declared. Gen. Spiese emphasized that Marine Corps capabilities hinge on its being able to interoperate with the U.S. Navy. Among those capabilities is amphibious assault, which-as opposed to many new doctrines-remains relevant and important. The general stated that most nations, including friends, act in their own interests. As a result, it is harder to arrange for allies to go along with U.S. policies. Nations change their policies over time as their national interests change. The United States cannot assume these nations will support it as a matter of fact, Gen. Spiese stated. So, the United States should not place itself in a position where pursuing its interests rely on the policies of another nation.
The U.S. Navy faces an uncertain future if coming defense cuts strike at its shipbuilding budget. The sea service already is underfunded for its shipbuilding program, so cuts in that area could have severe ramifications in its mission-oriented capabilities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, told a panel audience at West 2011 that the Navy did not have procurements that it can cut. The Navy did not use supplemental defense funding to procure new platforms, so it does not have programs that it can cut. "Some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of efficiencies already have been picked," O'Rourke said. Nor will efficiencies alone be able to make up budget requirements. While the Navy likely will be able to find future efficiencies, if the decline is more than a certain amount then efficiencies etc will not be enough to make ends meet, O'Rourke said. Without its needed capabilities, the Navy could cut back on ocean deployments by limiting them to specific areas. It also could rely more on unmanned aerial systems and extend the operational lives of older ships and submarines.
The U.S. Navy may have gone too far in emphasizing defensive measures over offensive capabilities, which it may need to rectify quickly. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that the recent emphasis on missile defense and cyberspace security may have overlooked the need to maintain leading-edge offensive capabilities in related areas. "We've stepped away and become too defensive," the admiral declared. The Navy needs to develop offensive capabilities to take the fight to the adversary instead of merely being reactive, he continued. Protecting the fleet is necessary, but the sea service must not neglect its strike mission. In particular, while citing the importance of cybersecurity, the admiral called for an offensive cyberspace capability-"look at it from a warfighter perspective," he said.
Maintaining maritime security will require humanitarian activities as well as traditional gunboat diplomacy, according to a U.S. Navy fleet commander. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that being able to provide disaster response and humanitarian assistance will be vital for ensuring maritime security. Many nations "could go either way" in either supporting or opposing U.S. national interests, the admiral explained. If the United States can respond rapidly and effectively when one of those nations suffers a natural disaster, that action could be the tipping agent that swings the nation into the U.S. column, he said. "It's not just kinetic power ... we must be a global force for good," Adm. Hunt declared.
The National Security Agency (NSA) now has an app for aspiring agents.