Innovation Key to Matching Clever Foes

December 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

MILCOM 2005 brought together leaders from industry and government to share new ideas to support warfighters and first responders. Held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the conference drew a record number of attendees.
Leaders examine new ways to leverage technology to aid warfighters.

The United States and its allies face adaptable enemies in the ongoing war against terrorism and religious extremism. Finding solutions to counter these threats was the focus of a symposium that brought together experts from the military, government agencies and the commercial sector.

Held October 17-20 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, MILCOM 2005 was conducted under the theme “Innovation … Fueling the Transformation.” The annual conference and exhibition was sponsored by AFCEA International and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and hosted by Science Applications International Corporation. Event participants examined how communication and information systems can meet national defense and homeland security needs.

Conference events began on Tuesday, October 18, with a speech by Mark Johnson, chief executive officer of Innosight LLC, on the subject of innovation and how it affects the defense sector. He identified two types of innovation: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining innovation improves an organization’s existing business model and is usually driven by its high-level customers. Although it is good for firms to continue improving their products for high-end customers, this activity tends to overshoot low- and mid-range customers, often compelling them to look elsewhere for products or services.

Johnson explained that the U.S. Defense Department’s approach to program management is not suited to managing potentially disruptive new technologies. Government agencies manage technology in a rigid, hierarchical fashion, he said, that is not appropriate for applications that must be managed more organically. To succeed, the department must begin small programs and test its assumptions against the intended business or operational model. Organizing assumptions about a technology also helps mitigate risk when dealing with the unknown, he explained.

The day’s first unclassified panel focused on the need for innovation for the military to obtain victory on all fronts. Moderator Lt. Gen. John M. Curran, USA, director, Futures Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, described the strategic context for military transformation. He predicted that the United States will remain involved in a long struggle with complex regular and irregular challenges and that the distinction between war and peace will blur as warfighters carry out a range of combat and humanitarian operations.

Gen. Curran noted that the U.S. government must consider realistically where operations will occur because U.S. forces will often work in regions with complex and volatile social and political situations, poor infrastructure and dense or difficult terrain. He explained that the overwhelming military superiority of the United States drives its adversaries to use asymmetric forms of warfare. Potential enemies will be patient, adaptable masters of their own environment. To counter these threats, the U.S. military must develop a full spectrum of operational capabilities. The general added that the Army already is changing to meet these challenges by reorganizing itself into smaller units designed to fight where larger formations cannot operate.

The coalition perspective was presented by Maj. Gen. Ruud S. van Dam, RNAF, assistant chief of staff for airborne common sensor command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, Supreme Allied Command Transformation. He explained that NATO operations in Kosovo in 1999 and in Afghanistan highlighted shortfalls in its military equipment and concepts. Facing these changes, the alliance restructured itself in 2002 to integrate new technologies and operations such as expeditionary warfare. Key areas for improvement include sea and airlift capabilities, command and control, and precision-guided weapons. The new equipment and concepts will help NATO operate in new missions and situations, Gen. van Dam said. Besides developing a broad range of political, military and civil capabilities, the alliance also must invest in intelligence capabilities to shorten decision loops against information-age adversaries.

Capt. John Macaluso, USCG, chief of the Research and Development and Technology Management Headquarters, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, discussed programs being developed to enhance maritime domain awareness. Noting that the capabilities necessary for homeland security also are required for national defense, he outlined vessel-tracking programs underway that will increase the Coast Guard’s situational awareness in crowded waterways and harbors. He also highlighted joint efforts taking place with the Office of Naval Research to develop enhanced harbor and ship protections and the modernization of the Loran-C radio navigation system as a potential backup for global positioning satellite systems.

Tuesday’s luncheon speaker, Lt. Gen. Stephen Boutelle, USA, chief information officer, G-6, U.S Army, described the changing nature of technology and how the United States’ adversaries are using it. Citing uncovered al-Qaida documents that stress the value and importance of information warfare, the general explained that this is the first guerrilla movement in history to migrate to cyberspace.

To counter these and future adversaries, the U.S. military is becoming more adaptable. For example, the Army is moving to what the general referred to as everything over Internet protocol (EOIP). He explained that this system is scalable, flexible and efficient as well as costs less per unit, provides a smaller footprint and requires fewer personnel to operate. In addition, EOIP tactical server and router systems require fewer transport assets to move into theater. The general noted that a three-year program is underway to convert the Army’s divisions to EOIP.

The afternoon panel focused on the challenges enemy warfighters, terrorists and hackers present. Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC, director for command, control, communications and computers (C4), J-6, the Joint Staff, outlined the challenges facing coalition forces. A decade ago, the primary concern was electronic warfare, but it has been replaced by threats to critical infrastructure, software assurance issues and insider attacks. Gen. Shea discussed several key steps necessary to provide U.S. forces with enhanced security. These include software assurance, which is necessary to operate many systems adequately.

Gen. Shea explained that information assurance should be incorporated into personnel training and promoted for better protection of command and control systems. The military must establish a joint information assurance manpower standard and policies to improve training. He observed that capabilities to address insider threats and to improve cyberthreat reporting also should be developed.

Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA, director, C4 systems, J-6, U.S. Central Command, outlined the challenges of fighting a networked enemy. She noted that while it is easy to deal with the enemy’s physical facilities, countering the insurgents’ virtual network is very difficult. To combat this and other asymmetric threats, U.S. commanders’ C4 capabilities must provide warfighters with the right information at the right time. Other challenges include the need for tools and capabilities to manage spectrum, the rapid growth of unmanned aerial vehicles and their sensors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the requirement for cross-domain solutions to bridge U.S. and coalition networks securely. Gen. Lawrence added that the military’s immature information infrastructure requires a joint solution and that the services need a network operations capability for more efficient monitoring and control of their networks.

Dr. Richard Wittstruck, chief systems engineer, U.S. Army Program Executive Office–Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, explained that the threats in the ongoing war continue to evolve. He noted that in the past 32 months, coalition forces in Iraq have encountered at least 90 ways to detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs); however, the systems U.S. forces used to counter and jam IEDs have brought down Army networks. Wittstruck noted the need to integrate new systems and applications without bringing down a network.

Wednesday morning’s panelists examined industry leaders’ assessments of innovation for defense. Clayton Jones, Rockwell Collins’ chief executive officer, discussed how commercial industry has focused on the war on terrorism. He categorized the past 50 years into three distinct periods: the Cold War that followed World War II, the post-Cold-War period of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the post-September 11 era. He noted that the current volatile and unpredictable situation has led to an emphasis on accelerated technology programs to meet medium-term threats.

Gregory Akers, Cisco Systems’ senior vice president and chief technology officer, explained that for warfighters to have a tactical advantage, the data they receive must be high-capacity and high-speed. He outlined several emerging technologies that will help future intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) networks: integrated telephony and video, ubiquitous security, wireless connectivity and mobility, and adequate data storage capacities to meet warfighter needs. He added that Cisco is developing systems that will reside on networks, allowing applications to be integrated easily. This will allow the Defense Department to provide a merged defense and space architecture that will benefit   warfighters, he said.

Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, USA (Ret.), Lockheed Martin vice president, spoke about collaboration, explaining that it is not only about technologies but also about people and processes. Noting that stovepiped systems are obsolete, the general said that it is still difficult to create integrated capabilities-based networks. However, neither government nor private industry is able to write a capabilities-based contract, he said, explaining that they do not know how to factor in the financial risks and rewards capabilities-based systems present.

Gen. Cuviello added that although the Defense Department uses common commercial software applications to enable jointness, these systems are often modified to the point that they cannot communicate with other identical systems in the same service. Collaborative innovation between government and commercial communities is the key to countering these difficulties. He added that Lockheed Martin recently launched the Center for Innovation in Suffolk, Virginia, to help facilitate this process.

The awards luncheon speaker was Mario Mancuso, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. Mancuso outlined where the United States is in the war on terrorism, how the nation reached this point and where it is headed. He explained that soon after the terrorist attacks in 2001, the president and his advisers developed a defensive and offensive strategy to fight terrorism. The defensive component consists of capturing or killing terrorist leaders and cells, while the offensive strategy involves a long-term program designed to prevent further terrorism in the Middle East. Special operations forces are critical to this, both in attacking terrorists directly and in providing outreach and assistance missions throughout the region, Mancuso said.

He predicted that, in the future, the United States will continue to develop new technologies that will enhance individual warfighter survivability and lethality. Research also is underway to develop a family of autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic systems for special operations forces.

Wednesday afternoon’s panelists explored innovative command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) strategy and technology effects on counterterrorism and homeland security. Brig. Gen. Carroll Pollett, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, explained that network operations are a key aspect of homeland security. Noting that the number of cyberattacks has increased in frequency and sophistication over the past four years, he added that the attacks are state-sponsored in origin. Gen. Pollett predicted that more attacks will occur in the future because of the U.S. government’s dependence on networking.

Gary Martin, acting director of the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research and Development Center, outlined the C4ISR challenges homeland security efforts face. He explained that situational information must be timely and updated frequently for accuracy and information security. Networks must be responsive to the needs of individual warfighters and first responders. Noting that many federal, state and local governments and organizations currently are working on or already have developed information-sharing networks to enhance interoperability, Martin observed that a system of systems architect is needed to unite homeland security efforts.

Speaking about the homeland security aspects of intelligence and command and control systems, Michael Payne, the U.S. Coast Guard’s chief of ISR systems and technology, explained how technology serves as an enabler for his organization. The Coast Guard is building a storage grid architecture to facilitate information sharing; it also is developing a flexible data storage capability with central management across its entire IP enterprise. He added that the Coast Guard is enhancing existing systems such as the Maritime Awareness Global Network (MAGNET), which collects data from sensors and operational platforms such as aircraft and ships. The new version of MAGNET will merge the agency’s operational databases. Three versions of the architecture will be available at classified, unclassified and sensitive levels, he said.



 Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC, is director for command, control, communications and computers, J-6, the Joint Staff.
 Lt. Gen. Stephen Boutelle, USA, is the chief information officer, G-6, Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Army.
 Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, USA (Ret.), is vice president, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
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