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Achieving Dominant Battlespace Awareness Through Advanced Information Technology

Achieving Dominant Battlespace Awareness Through Advanced Information Technology

Remarks by The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler, Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition and Technology, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Washington Chapter and AFCEA International, J W Marriott Hotel, Washington DC, December 17, 1997.

Thank you very much for inviting me here today to share with you my views on achieving dominant battlespace awareness through advanced information technology. As you know, I have served only a short time in my current position as Undersecretary of Defense. On November 10, my first day on the job, Secretary Cohen announced a major re-organization of the Department. As part of that re-organization, my office will take on an important new assignment. All acquisition functions previously assigned to the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command Control, Communications, and Intelligence will come over to the Acquisition and Technology organization; while intelligence outputs will become part of the new office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. The integration of C3ISR acquisition functions with weapons acquisition is being done to ensure enhanced integration of "sensor to shooter" -- our military strategy of information dominance.

As part of the re-organization, I am also scheduled to become Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense. This transfer enhances the significance of the CIO position in the Department and aligns the closely related Defense Acquisition Executive and CIO responsibilities under one jurisdiction. This responsibility includes accountability for information technology investments by DoD as well as efforts to promote the use of information technology as a way to improve the overall performance of our combat forces.

In taking this step, Secretary Cohen pointed out that the information technology environment has changed dramatically in the 12 years since the original C3I organization was created. It is hard to believe, but, back then, information technology consisted largely of new, dedicated, stand-alone systems. Today, information systems are part of every weapons system and business application. It makes sense, therefore, from both an efficiency and a budgetary standpoint, to incorporate information technology into the overall DoD Acquisition and Technology framework..

This revolution in the way we use information technology is part of the overall "Revolution In Military Affairs" described by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in its recent statement on projected global defense requirements -- Vision 2010. In its report, the JCS also outlined goals required to maintain our global military leadership in the face of new threats we expect to face in the early years of the 21st century. We cannot be successful unless we maintain our unquestioned superiority in information technology. The JCS seeks a goal of "dominant battlespace awareness" -- providing the right information, to the right place, at the right time. If we are able to "see, prioritize, assign, and assess" relevant data, our forces will be able to "improve situational awareness, decrease response time, and make the battlespace considerably more transparent." This will enable Joint forces to increase combat power and decisively dominate adversaries.

Simply put, we are trying to remove from the battlespace as much of the "fog and friction" -- the uncertainty and unpredictability -- that we can.

Looking at information technology within the overall context of our acquisitions strategy, I see three main challenges during the next three years:

1. to modernize our current weapons systems -- we must live with much of what we already have for the coming years, but we must enhance it with modern C4 systems.

2. to develop and deploy the major new systems and subsystems required for 21st century operations, and to create an integrated information technology infrastructure (C4ISR) to complement those systems

3. to support these systems efficiently and effectively at a lower cost and within a drastically reduced cycle time

To pay for and fully exploit the "Revolution in Military Affairs" and to modernize our forces for 21st century warfare, we must simultaneously engage in a "Revolution in Business Affairs" -- taking full advantage of the technologies and management lessons that have turned around American commerce and industry during the last decade. It is this latter revolution -- the Revolution in Business Affairs -- which Secretary Cohen endorsed so strongly in the recently announced Defense Reform Initiative.

What drives this business revolution? It is the need to acquire -- at reduced costs and drastically reduced cycle times -- the new systems, subsystems, and support systems required for the 21st century. We have essentially deferred this required modernization during the past decade.

During that time, our procurement account has fallen by more than 70 per cent. We can no longer continue on this path. Not only is the equipment wearing out and becoming obsolete, but technology has changed dramatically. And there are new -- and different -- threats before us.

These threats range from terrorist actions, transnational actors and rogue nations, information warfare, major urban and theater warfare, on up to nuclear war. These future enemies are unlikely to attempt to match the United States’ overwhelming military superiority on a tank for tank, ship for ship, or plane for plane basis. Rather, they are likely to deploy weapons of mass destruction (biological, chemical, or even nuclear) and advanced, low-cost weapons; equipment which today can often be purchased on the global arms market and sometimes even from the commercial market, making it possible for them, in theory, to win -- or at least cause us significant problems -- with far fewer dollars.

Additionally, the threat against us is not limited to traditional weapons. A sophisticated attack using information operations threatens our C4ISR superiority. Thus, achieving "information assurance" is critical, and an area for significant increased emphasis.

All this -- with far fewer dollars -- requires fundamental changes in our acquisition process and in our support programs. When I appeared before the Senate Committee on Armed Services for my confirmation hearing, I said I wanted to focus on two areas during my tenure: what we buy and how we buy it. In each area I identified five critical priorities. Let me briefly list them.

First -- what we buy:

We must achieve an integrated, secure, and "smart" command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) infrastructure -- on a multi-service basis -- that encompasses both strategic and tactical needs. This is the critical element of an effective 21st century warfighting capability and the backbone of the Revolution in Military Affairs.

We must develop and deploy long-range, all-weather, low-cost, precise, and "smart" weapons. This will allow us to achieve maximum fire power on fixed or mobile targets -- from land, see, or air -- with minimum loss of life. It will allow us to take full advantage of the advanced C3ISR systems -- for example, by providing in-flight re-targeting updates to weapons launched from remote platforms.

We must achieve rapid force projection and global reach of our military capability. With uncertainty over where our forces will be required, and the need for extremely rapid response to a crisis anywhere in the world, this capability -- when combined with the two elements already mentioned -- will provide us with overwhelming military superiority.

We must develop and deploy credible deterrents and, if necessary, military defense against projected, less traditional early 21st century threats -- biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons; urban combat; information warfare; and large numbers of low-cost ballistic and cruise missiles. These threats represent priority issues, even if it means taking resources from programs aimed at more traditional threats.

We must achieve interoperability with our Allies -- an essential element for coalition warfare. We must insure that their technologies compliment those of our forces. To accomplish our goal of information dominance, we must insure that the C3ISR and advanced weapons we use are fully interoperable with theirs.

The other major focus is how we pay, within a constrained budget, for this required modernization -- i.e., how we buy it.

We must implement aggressively and fully the acquisition reform initiatives of the past few years; and add to these where appropriate -- including an increase in the use of commercial practices and distribution systems to satisfy materiel requirements; more competitive sourcing of current in-house work; and greatly expanded purchase of common-use, commercially available items.

We must work to bring about far greater civilian/military integration -- a dynamic partnership that creates technically advanced products and systems with common applications and that, through use of flexible manufacturing, allows production of defense-unique items on the same lines with high-volume commercial items. In order to achieve our security strategy of "information dominance", we must take full advantage of the revolution in commercial information technology.

The Department must shift the major share of its resources from support to modernization and combat. Currently, about 65 per cent of the DoD budget goes into the support and infrastructure area. Reducing our support costs will make more of our limited funds available for modernization and combat.

We must meet the objectives outlined in Vision 2010 by totally re-engineering our DoD logistics system. "Focused logistics" will help us to achieve much faster response at much lower cost. Re-engineering the process to take full advantage of advanced information systems is the key to this transformation.

Finally, we must focus on training and educating our acquisition workforce to meet the demands of this massive transformation effort. Unless we all know how best to do what we are doing; understand why we are doing it; and comprehend the benefits to be derived from doing it better, acquisition reform will not succeed.

How we go about achieving our goals, therefore, involves organizational changes; restructuring of our acquisitions process to take advantage of commercial innovations in communications and other information technology; re-engineering our logistics support; and transforming our military culture to embrace multi-service operations and interoperability on a multi-national basis.

As I mentioned, one of the major organizational changes underway is the creation (within Acquisition and Technology) of a C4ISR Systems organization responsible for policies, procedures, and practices necessary to insure that our information technology systems and infrastructure provide low-cost, reliable, timely, and accurate information that is protected and resilient against the information warfare threats we face today and will increasingly face in the early 21st century..

This organization will work toward achieving interoperability across the full spectrum of the Department’s information systems and oversee numerous programs critical to an efficient and effective infrastructure -- such as federal and international spectrum management, command and control, communications, electronic commerce, and information systems. A major concern will be to insure that we leverage, manage, and use information from a common and integrated framework, regardless of either its end use or origin.

I might point out that we are now in the final stages of revising the basic DoD Interoperability Directive and DoD Instruction to insure that JCS goals are met. Through use of our C4ISR Architecture Framework, the various services are developing operational architectures that will detail the information exchange requirements they consider essential to their operations. As system architectures evolve alongside these operational architectures, we will require the development of a C4ISR Support Plan to insure that interoperability is implemented. At the technical level, the continued vitality of a Joint Technical Architecture -- that employs largely commercial standards -- will provide the basis upon which interoperability can be achieved in actual procurements.

All this, of course, requires a significant investment of scarce funds. DoD spends about $10 billion annually to develop and modernize its C4 systems alone and to provide information assurance. At the same time, DoD spends more than $15 billion to sustain existing C4 systems. Both of these funding areas -- modernization and sustainment -- are essential for getting the warfighter the right information in the right place, at the right time. But we must work to decrease the tail side of the equation in order to free up money to modernize.

As I mentioned, another way to make scarce funds work overtime is to move toward full civilian/military integration - projects that utilize dual processes, dual development, and/or commercial insertion. We count on those of you in industry here today to help us to meet our mutual objectives of getting better equipment, cheaper, and faster. We hope you will engage with us in an expanded partnership to help us develop innovative, effective and efficient solutions to meet these mutual goals. Many of DoD’s critical C4ISR and information technology issues are shared by commercial industry. A commercial banking system in New York City, for example, requires the same hardness, security, reliability, and accuracy as military C3 equipment in the field. Hackers, "spoofers", and other computer criminals compromise the private sector as much as they could the Department. We must work together to find solutions to these common issues.

Throughout history, gathering, exploiting, and protecting information have been critical in warfighting. This will not change. What will change is the volume of information we gather, the speed with which we gather it, and the uses to which it is put. Most important, perhaps, is the technology we use to accomplish all this. Our unquestioned technological superiority today must be enhanced and extended to enable us to retain that superiority in the future. Only if we do that can we achieve our required security objectives. I hope you will join me in striving to achieve this objective.

Thank you very much.

 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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