Exelis Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., is being awarded a $37,060,527 contract modification for Systems Engineering and Sustainment Integration (SENSOR) Sustainment. The contracting activity is the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Newton, Pa., is being awarded a $68,856,746 fixed-price, incentive-firm contract for Global Positioning Systems On-Orbit support. The contracting activity is the Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Whatever budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. military services, the strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region must be carried out. Global geopolitical events virtually require that the United States increase its presence to protect national interests in the increasingly dynamic region.
These points were emphasized in a special Wednesday luncheon town hall that featured service chiefs from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps, left no ambiguities in his assessment of the strategic shift.
“We need to stay the course with the [rebalancing] strategy,” he declared. “We may like to think that we’re done with the thorny ‘other things’ going on around the world, but they’re not done with us.”
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, chief of naval operations, pointed out that the Navy will have 60 percent of its ships in home ports west of the Mississippi River. Yet, he emphasized, “there’s much more to it than ships.”
Gen. Amos cited the need to expand activities with partner nations and allies, as they can help U.S. missions in the region. Australia in particular knows South Pacific countries “very well,” he related.
“We need to be there to do presence missions and to influence good behavior,” the general stated. U.S. forces need to establish good relationships with trust so that nations know the United States will be there to help if needed.
The U.S. defense industrial base may lose unique elements that could not be reconstituted later. This could deprive the U.S. military of vital capabilities permanently if new companies do not emerge to take their places.
That gloomy assessment was offered in a special Wednesday luncheon town hall that featured service chiefs from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, chief of naval operations, described his worries about the sequestration and continuing resolution effects on the industrial base.
“Half of the nuclear vendors are single source,” he pointed out. “If they go under, I don’t know how we’ll get them back. How we will recover from that, I don’t know.”
Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps, extended that outlook to a significant loss of capability that some people think will not be needed. “People ask why we need a capability for forced entry [invasion],” he related. “It would be pretty naïve to think that, in the future, there won’t be a time and place when our nation says, ‘it’s time to impose our will’ and we need a force to enter a hostile place.” That capability might be lost when it is needed the most, he pointed out.
All of the services are faced with diverting funds to address key needs. However, even that may not be a viable short-term solution. Adm. Greenert said that, if the Navy does not obtain the funding along with the ability to reprogram it, ships will not be deployed in time and the fleet will not have the readiness it needs.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is serving as the primary vehicle to extend China’s influence deeper away from its borders. New and improved capabilities have transformed the navy into a force that can take on increasingly complex and distant military roles.
“The PLAN is at the tip of the Chinese spear,” said Dr. David M. Finkelstein, vice president and director, China studies, Center for Naval Analyses. Finkelstein was moderating a panel on the Chinese navy at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Other panelists offered their own assessments of the PLAN and its role in Chinese foreign affairs.
Capt. Jim Fanell, USN, deputy chief of staff for intelligence and information operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that the PLAN has become a very capable fighting force. PLAN maneuvers increasingly are about countering the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
“Make no mistake: the PLAN is focused on war at sea and sinking an opposing fleet,” Capt. Fanell said.
Dr. Toshi Yoshihara, professor and John A. van Beuren chair of Asia-Pacific Studies, Strategy and Policy, Naval War College, said that the key operational challenge is China’s family of land- and sea-based antiship missiles. China has been theorizing about the combined use of different missiles in antiship warfare for more than a decade, he related.
The PLAN has an anticarrier fleet, and it is considering broadening its strategy, Yoshihara added. He noted that China’s constant harassment of Japanese ships is introducing operational fatigue in Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and its coast guard.
As the People’s Republic of China grows in economic and military stature, it is generating ill will among neighbors who increasingly fear an expansionist budding superpower. Ironically, the greatest effect this is having on the Asia-Pacific region is that it is driving many nations into the arms of the United States.
This was just one of many observations offered by a panel on China at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. A mix of academics and military officers offered different perspectives on where China might be headed in the coming years.
Capt. Jim Fanell, USN, deputy chief of staff for intelligence and information operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that China has taken control of areas outside its borders that never have been administered to, or controlled by, any government of China in recent history. China’s coastal cutters seem to have no other mission than to harass others to submit to its territorial claims. The result is that the countries of East Asia “now remember why they like the United States,” he said.
Dr. Jacqueline Deal, president and chief executive officer, Long-Term Strategy Group, related how China’s foreign minister told then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that, “there are great powers, and there are small powers—and that’s a fact.” This statement amounted to tacit approval for the Middle Kingdom to push its neighbors around, Deal said.
Maj. Christopher I. Johnson, USMC, Olmsted scholar, Hong Kong University, and logistics officer, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., observed that China’s leaders believe in hard power—“you cannot export soft power.” Yet, Johnson believes that China currently is a competitor, not an enemy.
The U.S. Marine Corps may tap the expertise of Asia-Pacific treaty allies and partners if the Corps faces draconian cuts in its budget. Items such as operations and maintenance conceivably could be assumed by other countries if funding is lost from sequestration and/or the continuing resolution.
Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps, discussed this possibility in a media interview at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. The general allowed that the Corps has been examining other countries’ capabilities as it prepares to increase its Asia-Pacific presence as part of the U.S. strategic rebalancing to that region.
No action has been taken yet because none of the services knows the extent of the budget cuts they will face, let alone where the ax will fall. The Marines are examining potential options for when they learn their fiscal fate.
One potential drawback, the general observed, is that some of these allies and partners have budget issues of their own. Some of our closest allies are looking at declining defense budgets, which would hinder their ability to assume some U.S. activities. Again, these determinations would be made after the Marine Corps is certain where cuts will occur.
The task of protecting U.S. military cyber assets is increasing in complexity as new capabilities come to dominate communications and networking. Planners must implement security measures that do not hinder the new technologies introduced to the force.
That challenge was in a cyber fireside chat that opened the final day of AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Robert J. Carey, deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Defense Department, noted that one key tasking is to protect the mobile devices that now are proliferating in the force.
One approach is to tie identity credentials to these devices, especially for them to access the cloud. “If we can’t do that, then we’ve created more of a problem than an answer,” he stated.
The Joint Information Environment (JIE) will help in overall network security, he continued. The department is aiming for “an exact fit” between how warfighters use the JIE and how the U.S. Cyber Command provides security for it.
One activity that will help is the consolidation of data centers. Reducing the number of these data centers by 90 percent will allow security personnel to single out anomalous behavior and to identify attacks more effectively with identification tied to data, Carey pointed out.
The U.S. Cyber Command force is likely to increase to 14,000 people over the next few years as the command trains experts and disperses them where they will be needed, according to its deputy commander. Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, USMC, told the audience at a morning fireside chat beginning the last day of AFCEA/USNI West 2013 that the command already has an assigned force of 6,000 as it ramps up to carry out its dynamic mission.
Most of these Cyber Command personnel are being trained to serve in the field—in this case, various military settings. The command is building teams for combatant commanders who will have operational control over these cyber experts.
The Cyber Command’s cyber protection platoons are a standardized cyber protection element, the general continued. And, national mission teams help defend the nation against cyber attack.
While these forces are undergoing detailed training, Gen. Davis lamented the lack of cyber schools that teach at the classified level. He emphasized that the command needs teaching at the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level to build good cyber professionals.
The U.S. Navy now plans to award the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract(s) for transport and enterprise services in May rather than on February 12, as originally planned, service officials announced The delay is due to the complexities of the NGEN requirements and the need to complete a thorough review of the bids, Navy officials say. The continuing resolution and possibility of sequestration have not impacted the NGEN contract(s) award schedule; however, it is unclear how they might impact the NGEN award schedule in the future, officials add.