West 2011

January 27, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

If people want changes in the way the Defense Department procures and manages information technology (IT), then it may be time for them to put their money where their mouths are. The department is proposing sweeping reforms that will revolutionize every aspect of IT procurement and management. If successful, these reforms conceivably could address all of the IT acquisition complaints that have been echoing across the department. All this effort needs is a buy-in from all of the players. Elizabeth A.

January 27, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Most analysts recognize the need for the defense community to be able to adapt to changes, but established techniques and procedures often block progress. The two chairmen of a Defense Science Board study on enhancing adaptability offered suggestions on how traditional roadblocks can be overcome. Alfred Grasso, president and chief executive officer, the MITRE Corporation, and Dr. William A. LaPlante, head, Global Engagement Department, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, told a roundtable audience at West 2011 about four themes that dominated the study.

January 27, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Coast Guard is facing the dilemma of its traditional threats combining to pose a synergistic danger to U.S. homeland security. Longtime menaces such as drug smuggling, alien immigration and terrorism may be merging their organizations and their tactics to pose an even greater threat to the nation. Stopping these threats will require data sharing and consolidation. Unfortunately, even organizations willing to share information often find legal and technological roadblocks in their way. Rear Adm.

January 26, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy has killed some programs and accelerated others as it restructures its budget priorities. Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy, gave the West 2011 Wednesday luncheon audience a bluntly candid assessment of which systems worked, which didn't and were canceled, and which are on probation. One of the key systems killed was the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

January 26, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy is re-tailoring its force as it realizes efficiencies driven by budgetary needs, according to the undersecretary of the Navy. Robert O. Work enthusiastically told the audience at Wednesday's West 2011 luncheon that the new budget direction is giving the Navy opportunities to build the type of force that it needs for the coming decades. "Our shipbuilding program is more stable than it has been in a decade," Work declared. Work described how many budget savings have been re-allocated to other programs, which is providing long-term savings through accelerated development.

January 26, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The dynamic modernization of China's economy and society may owe more to momentum than careful planning. Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, offered that he believes that China does not have a vision guiding the massive changes that define China today. Zhang offered that China's current policies have emerged from Deng Xiaoping's approaches, which he implied were a bit too pragmatic. Speaking at a policy panel that included former U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Timothy J.

January 26, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

China and the United States are plagued by a "strategic mistrust" that hinders relations between the two. That statement was made by Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, in a panel discussion with Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, that was moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman. To the audience, that strategic mistrust was evident in the exchange of comments between Zhang and Adm. Keating throughout the panel.

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.