At the military command level, bringing order to chaos during national emergencies is about more than technology. For the command in charge of homeland defense and support to civil authorities, it’s about the information: how to gather it, how to share it and how to integrate it. As a result, the command has redefined the term “joint operations” by using innovative ways to coordinate personnel and information input from all of the military services—including the Coast Guard and National Guard Bureau—and as many as 150 mission partners.
A U.S. Joint Forces Command integration and interoperability team is working to ensure that ground troops who need joint fires support in combat know how to obtain it and use it. The organization recently has expanded its work to offer its expertise to more units at more locations. Warfighters benefit from specialized and customized training that allows them to operate with other services in theater. The effort incorporates experience from the battlefield using lessons learned to save lives by reducing friendly fire casualties and similar catastrophes.
The U.S. and Japanese militaries are reaffirming their commitment to collaboration with the construction of a Japanese air defense command on a U.S. Air Force base in the Asian country. The move further enhances the bilateral relationship the two nations share and will increase command and control through persistent personal interaction.
While most military planning focuses on how to win wars, a concept developed by forward-thinkers in the joint world is honing methods to prevent them. Dubbed cooperative security, the plan aims at helping countries with struggling governments and economies so they do not fall victim to internal conflict or become tempted to open their doors to terrorists. Its creators willingly acknowledge that not only would it be impossible for the armed forces to bring about the desired stability on its own, it would be foolish for them to even try to go it alone.
U.S. defense planners are redesigning military doctrine and capabilities to adapt to the new realities of insurgent and asymmetrical warfare. To build an effective force in this era, the military may have to empower the 21st century warrior with new capabilities previously limited to higher-level commanders.
The U.S. military is developing a suite of software applications that will allow secure communications between different national computer networks. This capability is essential to both coalition operations and disaster relief missions.
The U.S. military is expanding its options for creating secure wireless networks in urban and remote areas. The capability will increase the speed at which networks can be created in an emergency while reducing the amount of materiel troops need to haul into an area.
The orderly structure of established nations' mighty militaries differs intensely from the structure of terrorist force organizations. In terrorist cells, distinctions between warfighters who trigger improvised explosive devices and those who detonate car bombs are miniscule. Battle cells may comprise as few as two or three people or as many as several dozen. Information sharing takes place incessantly, using everything from the Web to cell phones. As a force, terrorist groups are inherently flexible.