Together the Military Really Can Do More

August 5, 2010
By Rita Boland

Joint is the name of the game on the battlefield and at LandWarNet, as Lt. Gen. William T. Lord, USAF, chief of warfighting integration and chief information officer for the U.S Air Force gave the final address of the conference this afternoon. The general said that he believes all future operations will be joint because the services are too small now to operate on their own. Everyone needs the synergy of the combined force to carry out their operations. To enable these partners, the military must continue to improve cyberspace operations. An Air Force study titled "A Day Without Space" examined what would happen if capabilities from space such as GPS and ISR were disabled. Gen. Lord said that type of catastrophe would take the military back to the days of World War II. Without cyberspace, experts estimate the military would be back to World War I capabilities, Gen. Lord stated. Faced with those situations, the military would have to return to a larger standing force, which current budgets would prohibit. After sharing some success such as the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, which can provide real-time data exchange between different tactical systems, Gen. Lord turned his attention to the cybersecurity problem. He described the "yin and yang" of securing networks versus making them usable. To find solutions, he said people must look for nontraditional answers to problems, because this is a nontraditional age. Improving operations also entails bringing in partners such as civil engineers who understand certain issues. To drive home the importance of protecting networks he asked the audience how to clear the room. Would a bomb be necessary? No. All an enemy would have to do is take down the systems required for the lights, audiovisual equipment, air conditioning and escalators. For allies to band together to protect networks, a new type of training must take place, Gen. Lord explained. Young men and women must be trained to think differently about processes and how to counteract problems. The Air Force recently sent its first officers to a 29-week course at Keesler Air Force Base to become cyberspace-trained warriors, the general said. He also cited joint training programs taking place in the military. The general ended his speech on a note that emphasized both the jointness of those in uniform and reminded them of their unique position. "Those of you in uniform," Gen. Lord said, "you are part of the most powerful force on the face of the planet since the beginning of time. You ought to be proud of that."

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