Jointness Advances, Stovepipes Reign

February 2006
By Robert K. Ackerman
E-mail About the Author

 
Adm. William J. Fallon, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, gives his perspective on the vast Asia-Pacific region at TechNet Asia Pacific in Honolulu.
Some requirements mandate mission-specific gear.

Despite the ongoing push toward information system interoperability, attaining the goal of Defense-Department-wide jointness may fall victim to the need for some stovepipe systems. While U.S. forces continue to strive for joint and coalition interoperability, many specialized roles cannot be served adequately by applying a one-size-fits-all approach to information technology and systems.

Warfighting requirements have the services speeding new technologies, especially from the commercial sector, into the field to support ongoing operations. Branches of service and elements of unified commands are engaging in more mission-specific tasks that are unique to their units. And, more diverse countries are joining U.S.-led coalitions for a wide range of activities from counterterrorism operations to disaster relief and reconstruction.

Many of the key issues affecting joint and coalition operations were discussed by distinguished panelists and speakers at TechNet Asia Pacific, held December 5-8 in Honolulu. Co-sponsored by AFCEA International and AFCEA’s Hawaii Chapter, the event featured discussions of challenges that affect areas far outside of the vast Asia-Pacific theater.

 
Thomas Roberts (r) of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Regional Service Center Pacific, kicks off his panel on intelligence with panelists (l-r) Barbara Sullivan, Joint Intelligence Center Pacific; Lt. Col. Willard Squire, USA, U.S. Army Pacific; Randy Marks, INTELINK Management Office; Robert Gourley, DIA; and Lt. Col. R. Eric Duke, USA, G-2, 25th Infantry Division Light.
“Stovepipes are back,” exclaimed Randy Marks, chief of operations, INTELINK Management Office. Marks was a participant in a first-day panel session focusing on the intelligence community, and he discussed some of the issues facing both INTELINK, the U.S. intelligence community’s worldwide intranet, and the intelligence community’s use of the Web. “As soon as we got the Web into the intelligence community, every agency started building stovepipes,” he related. Organizations eliminated some stovepipes but then created digital ones.

Marks also reported that people are not getting their questions answered. Instead, they are getting “lots of reports.” Instead of one-stop shops, intelligence personnel have to query huge shopping malls of information, and each mall claims that it has all the information that a user needs. Marks called for three developments: personalization, which would allow the user to decide what he or she needs or wants; subscription, particularly to provide easy methods of subscribing to items of interest; and delivery of information to users on schedule with a method that produces what they need.

Producers must go back to answering questions versus generating a product, and they must make their information available for real-time delivery, Marks charged.

Panel moderator Thomas Roberts, Defense Intelligence Agency Regional Service Center (RSC) Pacific, gave a brief outline of that RSC. Then he turned the discussion over to Robert Gourley, U.S. Defense Department intelligence information systems, chief technology officer, Defense Intelligence Agency, who described how the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) is providing services to the Joint Intelligence Operations Capability (JIOC) through RSCs. The JIOCs offer operational command and control (C2) of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets. However, they must interface into the services’ Global Command and Control System (GCCS) assets, and these GCCSs must interoperate fully, Gourley said.

The island of Guam may serve as the harbinger for homeland defense interoperability, reported Lt. Col.WillardSquire, USA, intelligence officer and chief of G-2 operations, U.S. Army Pacific. Describing U.S. Army Pacific as “the NORTHCOM of the Pacific,” Col. Squire explained how efforts in Guam will serve as the initial step in the command’s implementation of interoperability.

Information must be useful to be effective, and analysts are a key to that effectiveness. Having just returned from Baghdad, Lt. Col. R. Eric Duke, USA, G-2, 25th Infantry Division Light, Schofield Army Barracks, explained that the most pressing need is for analysts. He cited the need for analysts “who know what things mean and would ask the right questions.” They should be trained in languages and cultures, and this applies even to places such as New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He added that software is just a tool and that information technology solutions must not take up most of an analyst’s time. Roberts echoed Col. Duke’s observation, calling for human factors analysts.

 
Eugene Renzi (r), president, ManTech Defense Systems Group, and chairman of the AFCEA Board of Directors, moderates a panel on support to the warfighter. Panelists are (l-r) Col. John Cloninger, USMC, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps Command, Control, Communications and Computers; Col. Darryl Dean, USA, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)-Pacific; Col. Andy Meuller, USAF, U.S. Pacific Command; and Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, USA, U.S. Army G-6.
The terrorists that are fighting the forces of freedom around the world are using cyberspace to change the rules of warfare, according to the U.S. Army’s G-6. Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, USA, led off a panel moderated by the president of ManTech’s Defense Systems Group, Eugene C. Renzi, chairman of the AFCEA Board of Directors, that focused on support to the warfighter. Gen. Boutelle characterized these terrorists as the first guerilla movement to migrate from physical space to cyberspace. They use the Web as a communications network—“everything they need to know [to fight] is posted on the Internet,” he stated.

Online magazines serve as both propagandists and carrier pigeons. More than 4,500 terrorist-related Web sites were noted in 2005, and every second al-Qaida member carried a laptop and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Terrorist caves in the Hindu Kush region had satellite dishes as well as laptops.

“We will be in this war for a long time,” Gen. Boutelle warned. “This isn’t going to go away … there is no negotiation [possible].”

Gen. Boutelle described many key steps that the Army is undertaking to modernize its infostructure. It is moving converged voice, video and data onto Internet protocol (IP). The Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program will be replacing hardware such as cables and switches as it moves toward IP. Videoconferencing will be moving down to battalion level, as will voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN), the nonsecure Internet protocol router network (NIPRNET) and the secret Internet protocol router network (SIPRNET). Army Knowledge Online (AKO) is being pushed forward around the world, so reach-back will not be an issue.

Another key advance is that military satellite communication standard theater entry platform (STEP) sites are being converted to teleport sites. These teleport sites will provide the Army with the ability to also connect through commercial satellites. Commercial technologies such as WiMAX will play major roles, although the general noted that technology is moving so fast that the Army has not been able to test it or train for it.

Col.DarrylDean, USA, commander, Defense Information Systems Agency-Pacific, added that teleports will expand DISN services to many areas. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Katrina and tsunami relief efforts, have shown the worth of satellite links in the absence of a viable ground communications infrastructure.

Col. John Cloninger, USMC, Joint Matters Spectrum Management, Science and Technology Branch U.S. Marine Corps Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), added that tactical satellite links are necessary for moving situational awareness information down to warfighters. Without satellite communications, the Marine Corps will need to leverage other technologies such as balloons and long-duration, high-altitude, solar-powered aircraft. The doctrine of operational maneuver from the sea is impelling the movement of the Marine air-ground task force C2 onto the Global Information Grid (GIG), he added.

The two great challenges facing the Pacific Command are knowledge creation and true open standards, according to its commander, Adm. William J. Fallon, USN. The admiral’s breakfast address began the second day of the conference. Discussing knowledge creation, he allowed that separating the wheat from the chaff is becoming tougher every day—and the need to manage this is critical.

Information plays a key role in the command’s top priority, which is the war on terrorism. Adm. Fallon shared that the command is conducting operations every day with U.S. allies. While attention is focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, the war also is being fought in the Pacific Rim nations of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. These and other countries in Southeast Asia are working to defeat the terrorists, but they lack the resources and capabilities necessary for this long-term fight.

Stability and security in the Strait of Malacca is crucial, as half of the world’s oil flows through that chokepoint. The command is working with countries in that region to develop a common operational picture and shared tasking, the admiral related. However, objectives may vary among countries. “We can’t expect everyone to do things our way,” he pointed out.

The admiral cited several technology areas of interest. These include behavior pattern recognition software, artificial intelligence, speech recognition and information technology systems that interoperate. Video, data and voice streams also must be interoperable without boxes. The tsunami relief effort brought up the need for interoperable methods of learning facts and acting on them, Adm. Fallon said.

“You can help us immensely in many areas,” he told the industry attendees. “[But] I’m looking for results, and they can’t be delayed by technical glitches.”

 
Rear Adm. Charles D. Wurster, USCG, describes his service’s actions in disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina. 
While Adm. Fallon touched on tsunami disaster aid, Rear Adm. Charles D. Wurster, USCG, went into considerable detail about Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The commander of the 14th Coast Guard District, Adm. Wurster outlined how lessons learned from that endeavor point the way to future Coast Guard requirements.

One of the key characteristics that enabled the Coast Guard to respond effectively is its decentralized C2 structure. This allowed local commanders to shift resources as needed.

And resources were substantially shifted even before the hurricane hit. The admiral noted that every Coast Guard air station contributed hardware and personnel to the Katrina effort. Because Coast Guard assets are multimission, the service was able to redeploy assets to ensure their survival and the ability to respond quickly after Katrina passed.

The Coast Guard had established “solid partnerships” with federal, state and local authorities, the admiral related. As a result, the Coast Guard rescued 24,000 people and evacuated more than 9,000 from hospitals and treatment centers after Katrina. And, it had to deal with 200 grounded vessels, seven major pollution cases on top of more than 1,100 regular pollution cases.

Technology aided in this effort, he continued. Circuits were routed through multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) via a virtual private network in West Virginia. The admiral noted that this MPLS approach had been slated for a test, but it was pressed into service during Katrina relief.

Adm. Wurster offered that the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program (SIGNAL Magazine, December 2002, page 39) is in better shape than ever. Congress is providing the funding necessary to ensure the program’s viability. For the future, the free space optics project could help improve data sharing among authorities. This system would employ high-speed laser links short distances across the ocean.

 
Martin Gross of DISA briefs the audience on the Joint Command and Control effort.
A single information architecture does not mean a single technology approach, said Martin Gross, supervisory operations research analyst, Defense Information Systems Agency. Providing a briefing on the Joint Command and Control (JC2) effort, he explained that the key is to provide data standards that allow the user to access information rapidly.

The Defense Department program cannot afford to replace server farms and desktop computers, Gross asserted. So, JC2 is focusing on integration and evolution of current capabilities. Any development will be that of integration approaches. The system will use the existing infrastructure.

JC2 comprises several major elements. A new service-oriented software architecture and philosophy will involve stripping out data from applications. This way, data and applications are not mutually dependent—and not necessarily Web-based. Highly collaborative design and development will leverage existing elements and emerging concepts.

A new testing process at multiple networked facilities will take a totally different approach to testing. Instead of testing systems, this approach will test from a service perspective. The goal is to achieve distributed functional and security testing, Gross explained. A new security accreditation process will focus on network-centric and small, frequent capabilities.

 
Lt. Gen. John M. Brown III, USA, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, describes the transformation his command is undergoing.
The 64th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was grist for the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, Lt. Gen. John M. Brown III, USA. Gen. Brown reflected on how two U.S. Army privates saw the attacking Japanese aircraft on a radar screen, but their warning was ignored by a chain of command that did not believe that the data was worrisome. Gen. Brown warned that today’s commanders must be comfortable with technology and must be able to make decisions based on the technologies’ input.

Accordingly, the U.S. Army Pacific is changing in ways that go beyond the ongoing military transformation. “What is happening in the Pacific proves that, not only can you transform while fighting, you should transform while fighting because it helps you now and in the future,” he told attendees at the Wednesday breakfast.

To be able to project power effectively throughout the vast region, the Army is working on fielding a warfighting headquarters that would contain all of the personnel and equipment to run a joint force land component headquarters. A version of this early entry headquarters will be established in Alaska for training, and all three of the command’s headquarters will move to the warfighting model.

The general explained that all corps-, division- and brigade-level assets will be world deployable, but theater Army assets will be Pacific oriented. The U.S. Army Pacific will field a theater sustainment command, a civil affairs and civil administration command, a theater Army aviation command and a theater signal command. It also will operationalize a theater network capability.

Japan is increasing its involvement with U.S. operations in Asia Pacific, and the staunch ally is building a new Central Readiness Command headquarters facility alongside the 1st U.S. Corps headquarters. This will be a boon for high-level combined operations.

China is growing in both military and economic power, and that will require adjustments for the United States. Gen. Brown related how, in the past 18 months, China has become the major trading partner of South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, and China’s trading power soon may be influencing political decisions by U.S. allies. Yet the general does not consider China as the greatest threat to the United States; he views it as the United States’ greatest opportunity.

But threats loom throughout the region. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines all are facing al-Qaida linked insurgencies that could cause serious difficulties for those governments. If the insurgencies were to gain a foothold that causes any of those governments to collapse, the United States will face a big problem with ramifications in other countries such as Thailand. If Maoist guerillas gain power in Nepal, that could cause a cascading effect that imperils India.

 
Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, USAF, vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, describes challenges facing his command.
Pacific Air Forces are engaged in more diverse operations than ever, according to their vice commander. Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, USAF, focused much of his Wednesday luncheon address on the Pacific Air Forces’ new Kenney Warfighting Headquarters at Hickham Air Force Base, Hawaii. This headquarters eschews administrative processes and focuses on C2 and execution around the clock.

The heart of the new headquarters is its air and space operations center, and it helps conquer “the tyranny of distance” that defines operations over the vast Asia-Pacific region. The headquarters features 250 miles of optical fiber and includes CENTRIXS connectivity. All warfighting headquarters can share information, and its exchange can be instantaneous.

With a coalition force likely to define future operations, the command is considering stationing up to six Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Guam. These UAVs, which would be controlled by the Kenney headquarters, may form the core of a maritime surveillance capability for long-range observation, the general stated.

In November, the command conducted exercise Resultant Fury to demonstrate an attack on moving sea surface targets in bad weather. This effort featured technologies from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Gen. Deptula related, and assets were employed across the broad span of the Pacific theater. It provided a glimpse of the networked future, he concluded.

 
Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman, USMC, commander, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, describes the complexities of coalition operations in the information age.
In the event that North Korean troops attack the Republic of Korea (ROK), the U.S. Marine Corps must form a joint fighting force with ROK counterparts within 20 days of the opening of hostilities, explained Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman, USMC, commander, Marine Forces Pacific. This joint force then must cross the Han estuary and fight the North Korean 2nd Army. To achieve success, the allies must combine two cultures, and data on the C2 system must help both groups in their decision making, he emphasized at the Thursday breakfast.

This need extends beyond the Korean theater. The war on terrorism has changed the metric of warfare. Gen. Goodman related that since World War II, the United States has sought to make war distant and impersonal. Now, the enemy is idea-based. The power behind an industrial base has given way to information-based strength; that industrial base has been supplanted by people, systems and processes; and the attrition model of military operations has yielded to an effects-based model.

“We must win the ideological fight, and C2 can help us,” he said.

C2 lies at the heart of winning the war on terrorism and addressing other problems ranging from regional security to stopping a potential avian flu pandemic, the general continued. For example, harnessing information can help mitigate the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). U.S. forces can understand the enemy and predict where it will place the devices. Surveillance can determine when and where a road has changed, signaling the possible addition of an IED.

But a primary need exists to create the global partnership necessary for allied partners to govern effectively and win hearts and minds, Gen. Goodman said. This will entail trying to gain security and a stable environment that will help the disenfranchised. “We must deter war, not just fight,” he stated.

For the Pacific Fleet, the challenge is to continue to maintain a forward presence to deter or stop the enemy, said Rear Adm. John J. Donnelly, USN, the fleet’s deputy commander and chief of staff. The global war on terror is at the forefront of the fleet’s activities, but other priority disciplines include antisubmarine warfare—the region is home to more than 250 submarines—ballistic missile defense and joint force operations.

 
Rear Adm. John J. Donnelly, USN, Pacific Fleet deputy commander and chief of staff, describes the importance of technology for the fleet’s mission.
The admiral sees a gradual shift in the global center of gravity toward the Asia-Pacific region. He described the fleet’s priorities as warfighting operations in the war on terror, maintaining an optimal fleet posture, strengthening existing regional relationships and establishing new ones, and preparing for future challenges and opportunities. The Pacific Fleet’s primary focus remains being able to fight and win, he emphasized.

Adm. Donnelly stated that technologies are instrumental to success in this region. Among the fleet’s technology needs are artificial intelligence, relational databases, nonproprietary processes, signal processing for decision making, hazardous cargo tracking technologies and maritime situational awareness.

The information technology changes that are sweeping the Pacific Command center on force transformation, according to Col. Vince Valdespino, USAF, chief technology officer, U.S. Pacific Air Forces. Moderating a Wednesday panel that focused on information technology transformation in the Pacific, the colonel allowed that the military buildup now underway on Guam will feature a permanent presence of bombers, strike aircraft, refueling tankers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The goal is to decrease the footprint of theater deployability while increasing its capability.

Speed to capability, operational availability and secure command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) are the three pillars of the Pacific Fleet C4I strategy, reported Linda Newton, the fleet’s N-6 and chief information officer. She declared that maritime domain awareness is the cornerstone of actionable intelligence, and automated information systems must get information into the network.

 
Col. Vince Valdespino, USAF (r), chief technology officer, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, launches a panel on the information technology transformation sweeping the Pacific region. Panelists are (l-r) Col. Thomas G. Cole, USA, 311th Signal Command; Col. Greg Edwards, USAF, Combined Forces Command, Korea; Col. Darryl Dean, USA, DISA-Pacific; and Linda Newton, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Newton cited several lessons learned from the tsunami relief effort. The Internet aided coordination with nongovernmental organizations; compressed video helped greatly, especially for situational awareness; and participants used lots of e-mail. For the war on terror, she cited the goal of disrupting terrorist communications such as cell phone use.

“We’re only as good as our last phone call,” said Col. Edric A. Kirkman, USA, commander, 516th Signal Brigade. Speaking in a panel session on the expanding Pacific theater, Col. Kirkman cited several information technology needs: interoperability, information sharing, assurance, collaboration and dissemination; increased capacity; knowledge management; plug-and-play gear; wireless advances; and enterprisewide solutions.

He emphasized that an important element will be standard conditions for network access, or SCNA. A new technology will have to pass muster under its guidelines if it is to become part of the infostructure. “It won’t get on the network unless it meets SCNA,” the colonel declared.

 
Col. Kevin Jordan, USMC (r), chief of operations, J-6, U.S. Pacific Command, begins a panel on the expanding Pacific theater. Panelists are (l-r) Bob Stephenson, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command; Col. Donald Person, USA, Pacific Island Healthcare Project; Cindy Moran, DISA; and Col. Edric A. Kirkman, USA, 516th Signal Brigade.
The growing international flavor of CENTRIXS was the focal point of remarks by Bob Stephenson, chief technology officer for C4I operations at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). The system currently includes six multinational enclaves that feature e-mail, same-time chat, VoIP, collaboration at sea and common operational picture services. Not only is CENTRIXS being enhanced, its reach also is being expanded to new nations.

Among the advances in current and future projects are conversion of the Global Command and Control System (GCCS)-K completely to CENTRIXS-K; adding common operational picture and collaboration tools to all networks; expanding the involvement with Southeast Asia nations active in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises; and deployment on U.S. Coast Guard cutters. Stephenson noted that India’s increasingly modern navy demonstrated CENTRIXS operations with U.S. ships during September’s Malabar joint exercise.

Stephenson noted that one of the issues to be solved is that of too many networks. The Navy needs a single multinational network, he emphasized.

But many network issues remain unresolved. Cindy Morgan, vice director for strategic planning and information, Defense Information Systems Agency, cited information assurance and security; standardized tools, processes and procedures; and sensitive but unclassified information as a few of these issues.

She called for a redesign of both the NIPRNET and the SIPRNET—changes in technology mean it is time to take a new look at those two, she declared. Army Knowledge Online is a good portal that should be adapted for use by all—there is no need to design a new one. Theater network operations centers will have virtual network management. And, the insider threat should come back to the forefront of security concerns. Saying that 70-percent solutions are acceptable, she told the audience to “adapt, buy, then create.”

 
Col. Bill Febuary, USMC (r), G-6, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, discusses communications and security issues that emerged with tsunami relief with panelists (l-r) Capt. Sandra Buckles, USN, U.S. Forces Japan; Col. Vince Valdespino, USAF, U.S. Pacific Air Forces; Brian Fila, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration; Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III, USN, direct reporting program manager for NMCI; and moderator Col. Jennifer Napper, USA, J-6, U.S. Pacific Command.
The tsunami brought to light many Asia-Pacific interoperability issues that were discussed in the conference’s final panel. Security levels among coalition partners is an issue that will not go away, as U.S. Marine Forces Pacific G-6 Col. Bill Febuary, USMC, related. He called for adopting and training to a standard collaborative set of tools that is nation-state neutral as well as for the creation of an enhanced interactive database that will match communications equipment and capabilities by country. The colonel also cited the need for a language translator with idioms that can interpret local dialects. The need for this was evident even in Hurricane Katrina response, he noted.

Col. Valdespino of the Pacific Air Forces returned to describe how the Air Force interoperated during tsunami relief. Collaboration with the Marine Corps went well, but some unforeseen challenges did emerge. The two services had some different technologies, but the biggest problem was nomenclature. The lexicon meant different things to each service, the colonel related.

“You can spend all the money you get, but a 20-year-old American youth can do something with it that you never expected,” declared Brian Fila, director, contingency support and migration planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration. Fila described how sailors had hacked into a ship’s local area network so they could network and play their X-Boxes. While the military is well equipped and trained for information technology, the rest of government had not been funded for what is expected of it in the aftermath of the tsunami and Katrina. And, leaders must plan for post-disaster stabilization and reconstruction—including an exit policy.

U.S. forces had to learn how to flex the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) from a continental U.S. shore-based system to support disaster relief for the tsunami, related Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III, USN, direct reporting program manager for NMCI. The Pacific Command stood up its Sharepoint portal on NMCI to facilitate communications in less than one month, and this was with NMCI not having a disaster relief plan. The NMCI was not intended to be what it is today or what it will be tomorrow, he observed.

Panel moderator Col. Jennifer Napper, USA, U.S. Pacific Command J-6, concluded the panel by challenging industry to think wider and deeper about how the United States can share information with all countries, governments and nongovernmental organizations.

 Photography by William R. Goodwin and Robert K. Ackerman

 

 
A U.S. Navy bugler blows taps alongside the USS Missouri at a special AFCEA commemoration of the 64th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.