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East Joint Warfighting 2013

Sequestration Should Not Preclude Investments

May 14, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, admitted that the U.S. Defense Department did not expect sequestration to happen, and he is becoming even less optimistic about the budget now. Department leaders are now “doing the best we can;” the lack of stability and lack of certainty are the primary challenges today.

Kendall shared his thoughts as the Tuesday luncheon keynote speaker at East: Joint Warfighting 2013, taking place at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, May 14-16. While the directive from the secretary of defense is to find efficiencies wherever possible, Kendall is not willing to sacrifice the future. In fact, he’s taking his cue from former Defense Secretary William Perry, who was a proponent of keeping the future in mind even when the current funding is grim.

Calling it “hedging investments,” Kendall is a believer in investing now in at least some systems that today’s budget quandary would not support in the future. “Even if you don’t think you’ll be able to afford the systems in the future, you should still develop them, because they move technology forward. The work also will reduce the lead time to full development in the future when the money is available, and it keeps the design teams alive because otherwise they will have to go off and do other things,” he said.

Kendall also pointed out that the long-term effects of sequestration are not being considered. Because the funding to maintain technology and infrastructure is not available today, they will continue to erode and end up costing more in the future to repair.

Past Holds Key to the Future

May 14, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

Panelists discussing effective command and control in a contested environment at East: Joint Warfighting 2013 agreed that technology provides superb benefits but could be a severe vulnerability in the next battlespace. While the United States and its allies have experienced relatively little resistance from adversaries, this is sure to change in the future, and the military must be ready for it despite fiscal constraints.

Leading the discussion was Lt. Gen. William J. Rew, USAF, vice commander, Air Combat Command, who asked panelists to share their expertise about how the U.S. military can prevail in tactics, operations, and command and control when an enemy takes away some of the tools it has come to rely on, such as networks and situational awareness.

Brig. Gen. James E. Rainey, USA, director, Mission Command Center of Excellence, pointed out that while the U.S. military can operate and maintain communications on land and sea, it is time to think about maintaining communications via the space and cyber realms, because the network has become a weapon system. As such, said the general, while pointing out that he knew this wasn’t a panel about logistics, bandwidth must be considered a commodity and the logistics must be in place to deliver it.

The panelists concurred in their confidence in the digital native military service members. In particular, the generations that grew up with cell phones and the Internet are great at multitasking and transitioning to new capabilities as they come along. However, the tactics, techniques and procedures for operating when networks are down and communications is interrupted is just as important as learning the latest techno-navigation skills, and junior officers also must be trained in these, the panelists agreed.

The conference is taking place at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, May 14-16.

A Time of Change and Choices

May 14, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, opened East: Joint Warfighting 2013 on Tuesday saying that the military and industry are facing a decade of change and choices. As the services are ramping down from combat mode, they are refocusing on the Pacific theater, which is more of an intellectual shift in Washington, D.C., than a military change, Adm. Gortney said. The second major change is economics, as the U.S. Defense Department faces a future where resources have been cut by 10 to 12 percent.

These changes lead to some crucial choices, the admiral said. In the political and cultural realms, the role of government must be determined. Military leaders must reach out to politicians and the public to better explain what the services do, why it is important and what is needed. While the general public has been extremely supportive over the past 12 years, the military cannot take this support for granted, the admiral emphasized.

While resources are on the decline now, Adm. Gortney believes economics is and always has been a sine wave, up at times and down at others. The Defense Department’s budget will increase again, and it must be ready. “The only way we’re going to get through this is to lead our way to the other side,” the admiral said. The department will have to make tough choices, and it will need the governance to make the right choices, he added.

Cybersecurity is one of Adm. Gortney’s greatest concerns. Because 100 percent of the nation’s work force is networked, connectivity is critical and therefore can be the United States’ Achilles' heel, he stated. He is more confident in the security of military networks than commercial ones, and he stressed that it is crucial to national security and the economy to determine who is responsible for keeping networks such as banking and utilities secure.

With Government Training Hamstrung by Sequestration, Alternatives Appear

May 3, 2013
By Beverly Cooper

Budget sequestration has made obtaining government-mandated training more difficult—this despite government requirements that individuals earn continuing education units (CEUs) and certification maintenance units (CMUs)”to keep current in their professions. Many of the opportunities in the past were centered around large-scale, efficient training that could certify more people by bringing groups together. However, travel restrictions have complicated this centralized collaboration.

Many organizations and defense-related associations now are providing the training and education needed in unique ways at low or no cost as part of their missions in support of military and government. By using local conference formats, they can deliver the content needed for CEUs, and industry and government are able to maintain the essential dialogue that eliminates waste and leads to relevant and needed services and programs.

For example, through the Engagement Theater concept at the upcoming AFCEA-USNI East: Joint Warfighting in Virginia Beach, May 14 to 16, individuals can hear from preferred providers and other subject matter experts on topics that qualify for CEUs. The Cyber Theater offers CompTIA CEUs through Cypherpath LLC. Several panels at the conference offer CEUs as well, including one at 10 a.m. on May 14 called, “A Contested Environment: How Do We Provide Effective Command and Control to Operators?” An individual can attend the panel and Engagement Theater without cost.

Does the Joint Information Environment 
Help or Hinder Coalition Interoperability?

May 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

Coalition interoperability has received a good deal of focus during the past few years. The Afghan Mission Network (AMN) has given many hope that a repeatable solution for coalition operations could be developed that would allow rapid deployment of a coalition-compatible network for future conflicts. The Future Mission Network (FMN) is envisioned to allow coalition partners to plug into a standards-compliant network with the functionality and security needed to support complex operations.

Recently, in discussions on the U.S. Defense Department initiative to develop a common operating environment referred to as the Joint Information Environment, or JIE, I began to consider whether the creation of such a common environment for the department would help move toward agile and effective coalition information sharing, or would put more distance between the U.S. military and its partners.

The conclusion I have reached is that the JIE could help or hinder coalition efforts, depending on how the JIE architecture is coordinated and whether it is kept on a path parallel to the FMN. It is important to remember that coalition information sharing today is more than just how the United States works with its foreign allies. Anywhere on the mission spectrum, the Defense Department must work with a wide range of U.S. federal agencies, industry partners and, sometimes, state, local and tribal agencies, as well as with international partners.

This means the legacy architectures, direction and needs of this extremely diverse set of players must be considered at every step of the development of the JIE. And, it is imperative to keep the development of the JIE and the development of the FMN coordinated every step of the way. Failure to do this will make it more difficult, not easier, to work with interagency partners and coalition partners.

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