Defense Operations

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Years of exercises between the Philippine and U.S. militaries helped both countries work together in the massive rescue effort after the Asian nation was devastated recently by a typhoon. The U.S. effort, designated Operation Damayan, featured effective coordination amid a sterling execution by the Philippine military, according to U.S. military officers.

At TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, a panel featuring the U.S. Pacific Command’s -6s discussed how those rescue efforts came together. Col. James Dillon, USMC, the assistant chief of staff for G-6, Marine Forces Pacific, noted that when the disaster struck, personal relationships already existed, and both sides could leverage that.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

An increasing number of missions combined with more diverse settings offer a major challenge to establishing needed communications throughout the Asia-Pacific region. U.S. forces cannot count on having necessary communications links in place with they respond to a new mission, noted a panel of military officers.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. Pacific Command military leaders agree that any future operation will be conducted amid a coalition, and partner countries must be networked. However, that networking opens the possibility for greatly increased network vulnerabilities as less-secure nations provide weak links for network security.

This vital issue was discussed by a panel featuring the U.S. Pacific Command’s -6s at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Col. Michael Finn II, USAF, director of communications and chief information officer, headquarters, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, noted, “all of our partners are hungry for this [cyber] domain.” Japan and South Korea in particular are primary information sharing partners.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The United States must examine new means of deterrence that address the multitude of ways an adversary would seek a military advantage, said the vice commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces. Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, told the opening luncheon audience in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the old idea of deterrence—threatening an enemy with total destruction—does not apply to current challenges, especially with cyber issues.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. forces may be over relying on cyber to meet challenges in the Asia-Pacific region at a time when potential adversaries view it as a key to disrupting U.S. operations, according to the top leaders of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, deputy commander of PACOM, offered that U.S. forces must expect to operate without at least some of their cyber assets in a time of conflict.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Any future U.S. military network architecture must accommodate allies, or it will not work for the vast Asia-Pacific region. Operations from humanitarian aid to military conflict will involve partners, and their effective participation will depend on access to U.S. networks.

That point was driven home by the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, told the audience at the opening breakfast at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, “We cannot do anything with our networks without the coalition built into our processes.”

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Command needs effective intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets to address its increasing mission activities, according to the command’s deputy commander. Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, was blunt in his assessment to the audience at the opening breakfast at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“We need ISR,” the general declared. “We have a paucity of ISR in this theater.”

He noted that when the command lacks the needed ISR, it must use general purpose forces to collect data. “We have DDGs [guided missile destroyers] steaming around serving that role,” he related.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The United States must weigh its command and control (C2) capabilities before it embarks on a military plan instead of the other way around, according to the vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces. Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, told the opening luncheon audience in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that vulnerabilities have increased the importance of C2 in planning and execution.

“Oldthink in the U.S. military—which is how we do things today—is, you figure out your military plan, and then you sprinkle your command and control on it,” the general offered. “Instead, you have to understand your limitations in C2 in step one—not what we do today.”

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear capabilities “keep us awake at night,” according to the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, warned that the communist government’s recent developments pose a much greater threat to peace and security than traditionally offered.

November 25, 2013
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Navy is expanding its autonomous subsurface fleet with the introduction of a platform designed for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as offensive capabilities. Dubbed the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV), the program of record should result in a system that offloads missions from other assets.

December 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

Two pictures have taken up residence in my mind over the past few weeks. They highlight the growing disconnect between the U.S. Defense Department and the broader strategic environment—not just in terms of geopolitics but also in the way the rest of the world lives, works and interacts.

The first image captures how the Defense Department views the world. It is a simple map with neat lines delineating the different joint combatant commands. While the boundaries make sense in a conventional way, they are drawn merely for geographic convenience. Implicitly, those lines preclude interaction between constituent elements.

December 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

Naval forces represent the ultimate projection capability for the United States. This important capability creates some unique requirements and constraints in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the Navy and Marine Corps. The expeditionary nature of these forces drives two distinctive aspects of naval ISR.

First, naval forces must take much of their ISR capability, particularly real-time, with them. Distances and the lack of afloat infrastructure cause virtually all but space-based assets to travel with each expeditionary force. This includes airborne platforms, other sensors and processing resources. Ground-based resources can be accessed only when in port or during some littoral operations.

December 1, 2013
By James C. Bussert
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Luhu-class destroyer Qingdao (l) and the Jiangkai-class frigate Linyi are moored at a dock while visiting Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham in Hawaii in September. The newest PLAN destroyer, an 052D model, incorporates lessons learned from these ships alongside innovative technologies.

A new destroyer being deployed by China offers improvements in technology that rival those of the newest destroyers being built for the U.S. Navy. Its advances include phased array radars and improved missiles and launch systems. With room to grow, this ship seems destined to play a significant role in naval operations.

Known as the 052D, the destroyer represents the culmination of technology development among People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyers. It likely will be prominent in future PLAN carrier group operations.

December 1, 2013
By Rear Adm. James Greene, USN (Ret.)

When stripped to the bare essentials, the process followed in most defense acquisitions is quite simple. A requirement is generated, an acquisition strategy developed and a contract let, before the item is produced, deployed, sustained and, eventually, disposed of. Typically, efforts at acquisition reform have dealt with the predeployment phases and consist mostly of renaming the phases by changing milestones from ABC to 123 and back to ABC, by sliding milestone events left or right and by adding oversight reviews.

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
A digital micromirror device functions as a light-based desktop nanofabrication. A mirror array directs light to the back of each pyramidal probe in a massive array, allowing the light to be funneled down each probe to a nanoscale aperture at each tip. The system allows the performance of near- or far-field optical lithography on a massive scale.

A new printing technology could move the production of nano-sized electronic components from multibillion-dollar facilities into the hands of users, including military users in the field. The device, which is about the size of a desktop printer, will allow rapid prototyping of nanomaterials, contribute to stem cell and other medical research, offer a range of commercial uses and save potentially billions of dollars. Furthermore, because the product builds upon already widely available technology, it could be fielded within two years, researchers say.

December 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
This Nanosensor Device for Cellphone Intergration and Chemical Sensing Network demonstrates why experts believe nano may be the next information technology, applying to almost all facets of future development.

Nanotechnology is the new cyber, according to several major leaders in the field. Just as cyber is entrenched across global society now, nano is poised to be the major capabilities enabler of the next decades. Expert members from the National Nanotechnology Initiative representing government and science disciplines say nano has great significance for the military and the general public.

December 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network, freed from the challenge to its contract award, now enters a phase of uncertainty as the government and the winning bidder confront the aftermath of a 108-day delay. This delay has affected both the Navy’s and the contractor’s plans for the transition from the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet.

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ariel Tolentino, a sensor surveillance operator, conceals two cameras on the ground during an operational check at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is developing isotope-powered batteries that could allow unattended ground sensors to continue operating for far greater periods that today’s chemical batteries will allow.

U.S. Army researchers are developing batteries powered by radioisotopes that could last for decades, or longer. The long-lived power sources could lighten the logistics load on the battlefield and energize sensors and communications nodes for extended periods, offering enhanced situational awareness and opening up operational options for warfighters that do not exist today.

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
An Afghan Uniform Police officer provides security with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher while U.S. Army medics attend to patients at the Azrah district clinic in Logar province, Afghanistan. Artificial intelligence may one day identify rocket propelled grenades and other weapon systems.

To ease the load on weary warfighters inundated with too much information, U.S. Navy scientists are turning to artificial intelligence and cognitive reasoning technologies. Solutions that incorporate these capabilities could fill a broad array of roles, such as sounding the alarm when warfighters are about to make mistakes.

December 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom conducts sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Depending on the mission package, the littoral combat ship will host an array of unmanned vehicles.

The U.S. Navy intends to deploy an arsenal of airborne, surface and underwater unmanned systems for its new shallow-water combat ship. The array of unmanned systems will extend the ship’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, enhancing awareness of enemy activities, and will reduce the number of sailors deployed to minefields, saving lives.

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