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Total Battlespace Dominance through Total Battlespace Awar

Total Battlespace Dominance through Total Battlespace Awareness

Remarks By Honorable Jacques S. Gansler, Under Secretary of Defense Acquisition and Technology Association of the U.S. Army, Winter Symposium and Exhibition, Orlando, Florida, February 17, 1998.

I am pleased to be here this evening as you end your first day of discussions on laying the foundations for the "Army After Next."

I want to spend a few minutes giving you my perspective, as Under Secretary of Defense, on where we are today in providing our fighting forces with the best equipment and support possible and where we want be -- both in the near future and within the next 10 or 20 years. I also want to share with you my thoughts on how we get there.

One month ago, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told the US Senate Intelligence Committee that "no state has the potential to match the worldwide strength and influence of the United States over the next two decades." While reassuring in one respect, this statement does not mean -- nor was it intended to imply -- that we can relax our vigil or fail to keep ahead of potential threats we will face early in the 21st century. On the contrary, we recognize that our potential adversaries -- present and future – will have no need to directly match our forces in order to inflict serious damage on us.

The Quadrennial Defense Review, published last year, recognized the prospect of continued global dangers when it established our strategic goals for the early 21st century: to promote regional peacekeeping efforts; to prevent or reduce conflicts and threats; to deter aggression and coercion; and to respond to the full spectrum of potential crises. In order to carry out this strategy, the U.S. military must be prepared to conduct multiple, concurrent contingency operations worldwide. It must be able to do so in any environment, including one in which an adversary uses asymmetric means, such as nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Thus, our combat forces must be multi-mission capable; and, to do so, they must be organized, trained, equipped, and managed with multiple missions in mind. A difficult challenge, indeed!

This strategy is based on the reality that, while we no longer face the threat posed by a global peer competitor like the former Soviet Union, we still live in a very dangerous, uncertain, and unpredictable world; a world where individual terrorists, transnational actors, and rogue nations can unleash firepower in many ways as terrifying as that of a major global power. We must not prepare to defend ourselves against a few disorganized political zealots armed with pistols and hand grenades. Rather, we face well organized forces armed with sophisticated deadly weapons and access to advanced information and technology. And they often have little or no regard for human life. They represent a different and difficult challenge to forces organized and equipped around traditional missions.

These hostile forces are unlikely to attempt to match overwhelming U.S. superiority on a plane-for-plane, ship-for-ship, or tank-for-tank basis, but are more likely to use asymmetrical strategies against us -- including weapons of mass destruction, "information warfare", large quantities of low-cost cruise and ballistic missiles, and the like. They can use commercial navigation, communications, and imagery satellites. They can project their forces anywhere and anytime using worldwide commercial transportation networks available to any and all. The Defense Science Board, in its 1997 Summer Study Task Force Report on our response to transnational threats, warned that, today, even a small nation with a modest defense budget can afford sufficient modern weapons to offer a formidable challenge to our entering and remaining in their region. The Board asserted that this smaller adversary can present a non-traditional military force as deadly and destructive as large conventional forces. And, finally, this adversary is highly likely to combine its regional actions with a synchronized – but perhaps terrorist appearing – physical and cyber attack on the U.S. homeland.

How do we counter this threat and keep ahead of accelerated modernization by the new adversaries facing us in the early 21st century? Clearly, we must perform better than they do and retain our vast superiority in mobility, global projection, and protective flexibility. Thus, the answer is not just in achieving greater speed and greater mobility for our forces. We must also provide our warfighters and our nation with the additional protection of superior weapons and total information assurance in the battlespace and in our domestic infrastructure.

From an acquisition perspective, to accomplish this, we must do three things. We must modernize our current weapons systems; we must develop and deploy the major new systems and subsystems required for 21st century operations; and we must support those systems efficiently, effectively, and securely -- and we must do all three of these at lower cost and within a drastically reduced cycle time.

We recognize that many of today’s weapons systems and platforms were designed and deployed many years ago and are fast approaching the end of their useful life. And the operations and support costs associated with them are rising significantly. Yet, we know that we must operate, in the near future, with many of these legacy systems as the basis of our force structure. So, we cannot simply discard them in favor of new equipment. It is too expensive and impractical, given our current budget constraints. For the present, we must still invest heavily in upgrading current systems -- such as the Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, and our aging fleet of helicopters -- and provide them with the means to take advantage of the modern "digital battlefield". All of this we plan to do. But upgrading current systems can only go so far; and the time is fast approaching when the Army must focus on building the new, rather than simply retrofitting the old. The Army must press ahead to achieve its Army After Next goals to avoid becoming the Army that is left behind.

Our vision for the 21st century is a warfighter who is fast, lean, mobile, and prepared for battle with total battlespace information awareness and assurance. Our military strategy, as stated in the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Joint Vision 2010" posture statement, is to be based on Information Superiority -- real-time intelligence from "sensor to shooter". This is the backbone of the "Revolution In Military Affairs" that will allow us to achieve total battlefield dominance. Additionally, our forces must be supported by a logistics team that is fully adaptive to the needs of dispersed and highly mobile combat teams -- combining advanced, secure information technology and modern transportation systems to deliver rapid crisis response, track shipments enroute, re-deploy them if necessary, and provide sustainment directly at all levels of operations; again, all at far lower costs.

Thus, our challenge is to transform our forces in order to enhance our military superiority in the face of likely changes in our security environment and in the art of warfare. To do so, I have established a set of acquisition goals for our Department which will help to bring about this change in the equipment we deploy in the early 21st century..

We must achieve an integrated, secure, and "smart" command, control, communications, intelligence, (C3I) infrastructure -- not just for the Army, but on a multi-service basis -- that encompasses both strategic and tactical needs. As I said, enhanced situation awareness and information assurance -- what the Army calls "digitizing" the battlespace -- is a critical element of an effective 21st century warfighting capability and the backbone of the Revolution in Military Affairs. (I will come back to this later.)

We must develop and deploy -- in sufficient quantities -- long-range, all-weather, low-cost, precise, and "brilliant" weapons. This will allow us to achieve maximum fire power on fixed or mobile targets -- from land, sea, or air -- with minimum loss of life. It will allow us to take full advantage of the advanced C3I 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 first two elements -- 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 assurance, we must make certain that the C3I and advanced weapons we use are fully interoperable with theirs.

How are we going to pay for all this? Unfortunately, absent a dramatic deterioration in the world situation, we must accomplish all this with essentially no overall increase in defense spending. Yet, we are projecting a significant increase in our procurement budget over the coming years.

With a level total budget and a projected steady increase in procurement spending, the only way to generate the necessary dollars -- without impacting our warfighting readiness -- is to shift resources from the support and infrastructure area (which now takes more than 65 per cent of our total dollars and occupies over 60 per cent of the people employed by the Department) into the combat and modernization area; and to do this while achieving equal or -- preferably -- better performance and responsiveness.

This will require a fundamental transformation in our acquisition and support programs. Essentially, as Secretary Cohen has stated, we will pay for our Revolution in Military Affairs with 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.

Achieving our goal of modernization involves many changes: re-organizing; streamlining; restructuring our acquisition 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.

The Army, I am pleased to report, is responding positively to acquisition reform and is achieving results. I might point to the service’s Modernization Through Spares Program, as just one example. The program emphasizes the purchase of greatly improved replacement parts and subsystems -- often commercial; thus achieving lower per-unit procurement costs, replacing obsolete technology with advanced -- more capable and more reliable -- parts and subsystems. The program seeks to move inventory supply to the private sector, directly from factory to foxhole, and significantly decrease repair turnaround time. When combined with the increased mean time between parts failure, the result is lower support costs, higher readiness, and greater support responsiveness.

Successful programs like Modernization Through Spares enable us to cut support and infrastructure costs and provide these resources for top priority modernization programs like "digitization". This acquisition program will exploit state-of-the-art communications, sensors, space-based reconnaissance, and computing systems to integrate battle command from the squad to the corps level; provide a relevant common picture of the battlespace at each level of command - not just at the headquarters level or higher; improve joint and multi-national operability in combined operations; provide more timely and tailored logistics packages to the field; and enable smaller units to become more lethal and survivable.

We expect to digitize our first Army division within two years; our first corps by the end of 2004; and the whole Army by 2010. One of my major concerns, of course, is to insure that we have adequate funding for our military digitization programs. If anything, I’d like to see us moving even faster in our digitization effort. I believe that information dominance -- and the information security that goes with it -- are top priority items for defense funding.

Digitization demonstrates how close we are to a whole new way of warfighting. If we are able to "see, prioritize, assign, and assess" on the battlespace, our joint combat forces will be able to improve their awareness, cut down on response time, and make critical decisions that will increase combat power and effectively dominate any adversary. Simply put, we are trying to remove from the battlespace as much of the "fog and the friction" -- the uncertainty and unpredictability -- that we can.

Throughout history, gathering, exploiting, and protecting information have been critical elements in achieving military superiority. These essential elements of information awareness will not change. What has changed and will change are the amount and quality of the information we gather, the speed with which we gather and disseminate it, and the uses to which it is put. Most important, perhaps, is the technology we use and our ability to adjust our doctrine, tactics, and training to take advantage of it.

Our unquestioned technological superiority on the battlespace today must be enhanced, extended, and applied in order to enable us to retain overall superiority in the future. Our equipment must be the best possible. Our troops must be trained to use it; and our forces must be able to project our power on a global arena. Only if we do that can we achieve our required future security objectives. In this way, in the early 21st century, the Army After Next will continue to be the fastest, the strongest, and the best in the world.

Damon Runyon once said that the race is not always to the strongest or the fastest. But -- he added -- that’s definitely the horse to bet on.

My bet is on the U.S. military. 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).