EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013

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Innovation in an Era of Austerity: What Capabilities Do We Need to Operate in a Non-Permissive Environment?

Day 1: Experts Focus on the Effects of Sequestration
Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, set the tone for East: Joint Warfighting 2013 when he opened the conference by talking about changes and choices in todays morning keynote address. Although the obvious change is the reduction in financial resources, the other is one that has been mentioned at previous AFCEA International conferences: the shift in focus from Southwest Asia to the entire Pacific region.

Day 2: Transformation, Coalitions and Interoperability
Gen. Mieczyslaw Bieniek, Polish army, deputy supreme allied commander transformation, NATO, set the tone of the second day of the East: Joint Warfighting 2013 conference in his morning address to attendees by pointing out that the challenge now is to find the best possible way to meet warfighters needs in a complex environments will less money. The Allied Command Transformations (ACTs) view is that partnerships among allies must increase and its ability to collaborate anywhere around the world must grow to meet this challenge.

Day 3: Austerity Breeds Innovation
East: Joint Warfighting 2013 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, wrapped up today with discussions about the challenges in counterinsurgency wars, rapid acquisition and fiscal crisis. Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, USA (Ret.), author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam," said that U.S. leaders turned away from the lessons that were learned in Vietnam when they began fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not until Gen. David Petraeus, USA (Ret.), former commander, U.S. Central Command, took over the mission that progress started to be seen in the region. We cant afford to get it so far wrong again, Col. Nagl stated.

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New Funding Rules Call for New Thinking

Robert O. Work, former undersecretary of the Navy, and current chief executive officer, Center for a New American Security, spoke frankly about the state of the military’s financial circumstances and shared his opinion about the next steps. The final keynote speaker at East: Joint Warfighting 2013 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, pointed out that this is not the first time the U.S. military has felt a budget crunch and the time for sounding the alarm has not yet arrived.

Procurement Processes Must Progress

Acquisition reform has never been a hotter topic than it is now in light of recent budget cuts. A panel led by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA (Ret.), former U.S. Army chief information officer (G-6), and partner, A.T. Kearney Public Sector and Defense Services LLC, tackled this topic, offering ideas about how to get solutions to operators faster even in this resource constrained environment.

U.S. Defense Department Did Not Apply Lessons from Vietnam to Operations...

Despite the Vietnam War experience, the United States military was ill prepared for the fighting it faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the opinion Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, USA (Ret.), nonresident senior fellow, Center for a New American Security, and Minerva Research fellow, U.S. Naval Academy, shared with attendees at the final morning keynote address at East: Joint Warfighting 2013.

Even Radical Change Occurs Incrementally for the Military

Discussing the topic of incremental change versus radical change, the Wednesday panel at East: Joint Warfighting spoke about the need for flexibility and agility. While making radical changes in operational strategies or tactics could be somewhat beneficial, it is more important to change at a reasonable pace but be ready and able to adjust quickly to deal with unexpected challenges, panelists said.

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