Allies Make Room at the Communications Table
Defeating terrorists requires better policy, better collaboration among more organizations.
Col. Tom Hopkins, USA (c), commander, Joint Communications Support Element, makes a point during the “Transnational Influences—Winning a War Without Borders” panel at TechNet Tampa 2007 while fellow panel members Carl Whitehead (l), special agent in charge, Tampa office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Edward Gistaro, national intelligence officer for counterterrorism, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, listen.
Interagency is the new joint. The
Troops from many countries, including the
The conference began Tuesday with an address by John G. Grimes, assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and U.S. Defense Department chief information officer (CIO). He set the tone for the event by emphasizing the critical elements of working with coalition partners and finding ways to share relevant information effectively and securely. “It’s all about information, but it’s got to be something users need and can operate from,” he said.
|John G. Grimes, assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and U.S. Defense Department chief information officer, addresses an audience at TechNet Tampa.|
Grimes also addressed another important issue—the cyber threat. He said that $2.5 billion of his information technology budget for the year is earmarked for information security and information assurance. Grimes informed industry attendees that the Defense Department would continue to look to industry for new approaches to problems and decried the havoc wreaked when technologies interfere with one another. He said the military is working frantically on in-theater spectrum management.
Brig. Gen. Nolen V. Bivens,
Gen. Bivens explained the great diversity in the command’s area of operation and the threats and problems faced by the region. He also expressed how the
The general elaborated about the military’s partner agencies in SOUTHCOM’s area of responsibility and why partnerships are essential to addressing concerns such as poverty, crime and drugs. “The joint process has really come along,” he shared, adding that now interagency partners must be brought in.
Unlike more actively embattled commands, SOUTHCOM is not fighting a war against a specific enemy. “Our area of operation is not a kinetic battlefield,” the general explained. “It’s a battlefield where we’re fighting for ideals.” The solution cannot be achieved solely by military means; other organizations must play a role, Gen. Bivens stated, adding that SOUTHCOM needs to work in partnership with 20 core interagency organizations every day. “We’ve got to understand that interagency is a key solution,” he said.
Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN, director, command, control, communications and computer systems (J-6), the Joint Staff, moderated the panel “Shaping Future Victories Through Information Sharing.” She began the discussion with a theme common throughout the conference, namely, that the adversary is using the Internet better than the
Panelist Cdre. Simon T. Cullen, RA N, deputy director for strategy, plans and policy at CENTCOM, said that with the end of the Cold War and the dawning of the new age of warfare, many countries want to share information with and receive information from the United States, but policies are prohibitive. “We are all shackled in some ways in how we can do that,” he stated. For countries to partner, they need certain capabilities, and bureaucracy, not technology, is holding them back.
Alfred Grasso, president and chief executive officer, The MITRE Corporation, expanded on the ideas of his panel members by explaining that the challenge is not only to foster information sharing but also to do so with the proper stewardship and policies.
During the panel session, Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle,
|Vice Adm. David C. Nichols Jr., USN, deputy commander, U.S. Central Command, delivers a speech during a gala dinner at TechNet Tampa.|
Adm. Nichols discussed fourth-generation warfare and its non-national and transnational nature. The asymmetric attacks target weaknesses and generate disproportionate effects. He also emphasized that the terrorists leverage information technology well and that the fourth-generation battlefield uses media as a terrain and information as a main line of operations.
Rather than just fighting kinetically, the coalition and the extremists are fighting for the hearts and minds of people and working to influence populations, especially moderate populations. The terrorists are running effective information operations campaigns, the admiral said. To diminish their effects, the coalition must help moderate leaders counteract the terrorists. Integrated, interagency international pressure is needed over time to win the war on terrorism.
The panel “Transnational Influences—Winning a War Without Borders” brought together members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Information Systems Agency, SOCOM, the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) and the Central Intelligence Agency to discuss the nature of the terrorist threat and what their organizations are doing to combat the enemy. The panel again expressed the ability of the enemy to use technology successfully as well as to protect itself against attack and to rebuild after failures. The panelists also addressed the issue of terrorists homegrown in the
Vice Adm. Eric Olson, USN, deputy commander, SOCOM, gave a speech about SOCOM’s role as the leader of
Adm. Olson explained interagency plans to aid the fight against terrorism. The Global Combating Terrorism Network aims to improve command and unity and to support clear and rapid information transmission. It also will enhance the ability of coalition members to track and target terrorist activities. The Collaborative Planning Environment will create an environment for rapid collaboration.
In terms of which technologies currently work well, Adm. Olson told the audience that commanders in the field want more Special Operations Forces Deployable Nodes–Medium. He also explained that when new technologies are developed, lives and missions depend on these technologies being MWR—miniaturized, waterproof and ruggedized.
|The members of the “Enabling Synchronized Multinational Operations” panel at TechNet Tampa 2007, foreign military officers working with the U.S Central Command, represented different coalition nations and explained the problems of interagency cooperation from an allied viewpoint. From left to right are Capt. Kenneth Stewart, CN, senior national representative, Canada; Col. Ian Lynch, Australian army, senior national representative, Australia; Cdre. Eric Fraser, RN, J-6, Permanent Joint Forces Headquarters–United Kingdom; Brig. Gen. Mark Wheeler, NZA, senior national representative, New Zealand; and Brig. Gen. Sorin Falk-Portved, RDAF, senior national representative, Denmark.|
“We need to share information if we want to get the bad guys off the street,” explained Brig. Gen. Sorin Falk-Portved, RDAF, senior national representative,
Brig. Gen. Mark Wheeler, NZA, senior national representative, New Zealand, explained the dedication of New Zealand and similar small countries to taking a role in the war on terrorism but added that they face problems with budget constraints and ensuring they stay relevant. “We’re waiting for a lot of [technologies] to mature so we can invest in them,” Gen. Wheeler shared. To provide perspective, Gen. Wheeler mentioned that Americans spent more money on roses on Valentine’s Day than
The panelists suggested that all countries and organizations need partnerships and that a comprehensive approach is the way to victory. They noted the importance of network centricity and how it is changing warfare, and they expressed their frustration with bureaucratic problems. While technological interoperability still poses some challenge in the interagency world, bureaucracy and policy pose the biggest barriers to full collaboration and cooperation.
In addition to the panels and speakers, TechNet Tampa offered an array of seminars and discussions. Gen. Boutelle conducted a U.S. Army communicators seminar in which he spoke about the importance of communications in the Army as well as what is working and what is changing. “Your network is now a commodity,” he stated. “It’s commercial off the shelf.” He also imparted to listeners that they must find sustainable programs if the Army is faced with massive budget cuts. “I’m very concerned about the total cost of ownership,” he explained. He reiterated that the enemy is very good at information operations and that anyone not looking at the information on jihad Web sites is missing out on a greater understanding of the adversary.
U.S. Air Force communicators also participated in a seminar hosted by Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, USAF, director, information, services and integration, Secretary of the Air Force Office of Warfighting Integration and CIO. He used the meeting to address the upcoming force shaping and how it will affect communications in the service. Gen. Lord also brought up an emerging mission area—cyberspace. The Air Force is retooling the cyberspace force to be focused on the mission of the future. The service also is looking at a cyberspace-focused major command.
In the spirit of interagency cooperation, TechNet Tampa included local government as well. The mayor of
The military featured some of its most current and exciting communications technology in live demonstrations by the JCSE. The demonstrations included the Small Command and Control Internet Protocol Package and an in-air, en route mission planning element. The JCSE showcased the everything-over-Internet-protocol communications architecture.
The conference also incorporated four professional development seminars and a two-day meeting of the Theater Joint Tactical Networks Configuration Control Board. The control board agenda focused on transformation of the force toward the Global Information Grid and network-centric operations. TechNet Tampa included the Joint Tactical Communications Summit for all combatant command J-6 and service and agency CIO/6 principals and representatives to discuss issues relevant to the global tactical communications community. In addition, the conference featured an exhibit hall and job fair.