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Joint Warfighting 2011

Joint Integration and Flexibility Must Be Retained for Complex Road Ahead

May 12, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Leaders today are being called upon to shape the future in a very different budget environment than ever before, and this will have an impact on the Navy and all services. The challenge, according to Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, is that none of us has ever had to lead in this environment. "We are in uncharted territory," he explained at the AFCEA/USNI Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And we must lead without any examples to look back upon, he added. The path ahead is to determine how we see the future unfolding and what we want the forces to do, the admiral recommended. From that, the leaders then can make the hard decisions. As leaders look at need and size, however, they have to keep in mind the nature of the industrial base. It is fragile, and it cannot be re-created if lost, he warned. "When the development of the joint strike fighter is done, it will mark the first time since World War I that there is not a new tactical aircraft under development," he related, adding that "You have to take a look at keeping that base going and how do you do that. It is complex and hard, but those are the cards that we are dealt," he acknowledged. For all that has changed in the budget environment, there are some constants in the world we live in that cannot be overlooked, and there is a continuing need for an offshore option that the U.S. Navy and the navies of the world will provide. The stakes of growing complexity and disorder are high, and joint integration has increasing value. "Our Navy today can fit into the context of joint force and coalition forces," the admiral stated. Global trade and economic interest will direct the interaction of all states, and the speed of this in the information age and the speed with which events develop will change the ability to lead these developments. "The Navy's small footprint and flexible range and platforms give the nation attractive options," the admiral noted.

Strategic Relevance Essential in Deciding on Cuts

May 12, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The most brutal facts of current reality must be confronted, and that starts at a national debt where we are borrowing 40 cents on a dollar right now.

The Allied Effect in Tight Budget Times

May 12, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Defense is being underfunded by between 20 and 40 precent across Europe. This is an incredible reduction in defense spending, and frankly quite dangerous, said VAdm. Robert G. Cooling, Chief of Staff Allied Command Transportation at the AFCEA/USNI Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In this environment, we all need allies, even the United States. Fighting along with NATO is better than fighting ad hoc. Future operations need to be politically supportable, which means having the populace behind you, he explained. He notes that trust among nations is a two-way street, and the all of government approach is a force multiplier. In all situations, interoperability is critical, he maintains. He gave credit to the United States as the force behind improving interoperability. It was critical to have it in Afghanistan, and it is showing to be successful in operations in Libya, he related. Addressing the topic of the Joint Forces Command disestablishment as part of the United States' cost-cutting measures, the admiral stressed that this disestablishment does not signal an end to transformation in Europe or in the United States. The foundation is solid, and the forces are the same. But where links become severed, ACT will create new links, he said. The admiral suggested that in the tight fiscal environment the industry is facing that the Framework For Collaborative Interaction might be an organization that could play an important role. The purpose of this group is to enable collaborative work to be carried out in a nonprocurement manner between ACT, industry and academia and to leverage the expertise that each party brings to Alliance capability development efforts. Despite budget considerations, NATO still has a lot of efforts underway.

Ensuring Communications for the Cyber Warrior

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The word cyber is frequently discussed, but depending on perspective, the definition varies. On a panel led by LtGen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA (Ret.), former Chief Information Officer/G-6, Department of the Army, experts from different perspectives came together to discuss cyber in support of the warfighter.

Biggest National Security Threat Is U.S. Fiscal Crisis

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The fiscal crisis in the United States is its primary security threat today, explained Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, USA, commander, Joint Forces Command at the AFCEA and USNI Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach. The previous decade was one of military expansion, but the next one will be a decade of contraction, he warned. But the most important thing is that "we do not get caught in the trap of doing more with less. There are still redundancies, and we have to figure out how much we need to eliminate them," he explained, but he says this needs to be done carefully within a process. To reach the sizable cuts, there has to be a strategy about what we are willing to stop doing, and that has to be followed by a national security discussion, he said. "From a policy perspective, we have to decide what cuts are going to result in savings and reductions and then see if we can accept the risks." The way forward is through a more integrated joint force that eliminates redundancy. The military and civil government must mitigate reduced capacity by working together, and military leaders must have a view that encompasses all the services. The general also stressed that it is important to leverage the success of recent joint and coalition warfare and more importantly to learn from shortcomings as well as from successes to go forward in changing times. The United States' international partners are also facing fiscal challenges, and so it must remain engaged with the global world. The general called for the United States to continue to reach out and enable and train its coailition partners, both now and in the future. The world today, he related, is increasingly changing and complex with people connected immediately in many places, but many still live in isolation. "The globalization by communications and technology has allowed the disenfranchised to see what they are missing and challenge the status quo at the speed of Twitter," he emphasized.

Tough Choices Ahead for Missile Defense

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

New technologies that are under development may not appear without hard decisions that must be made in a time of fiscal uncertainty.

Irregular Warfare Mandates Unconventional Means

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Being successful in the era of irregular warfare will require a focus on new ways of building and preparing the force.

Changes Coming in Military Technology Picture

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The most advanced military in the world must prepare for a future in which enemy technologies and capabilities negate existing advances.

Complacency Threatens U.S. Military Supremacy

May 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Potential enemies are moving ahead with efforts to negate the U.S. high technology military through direct countermeasures or the deployment of equivalent, or peer, equipment.

U.S. Must Maintain Power, Influence in Asia-Pacific Region

May 10, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The United States is not a fading power relative to China. Reports of waning U.S. influence have been greatly exaggerated.

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