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Conventional Forces Group Makes Report to Rumsfeld

Conventional Forces Group Makes Report to Rumsfeld

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) June 26, 2001 – DoD officials are looking into the capabilities that will be important to the department in the future and what systems DoD should invest in.

A group of high-level advisors recently completed a study of conventional forces at the request of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. David C. Gompert, president of RAND Corp. Europe, chaired the group. Rumsfeld used the group's conclusions to help frame the debate within the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Gompert briefed his study to reporters during a press conference June 22.

He said the group examined emerging threats and the potential the United States has to counter those risks. "Our contention is that there is a lot of wasted potential," he said. "There are a number of areas where DoD failed to exploit the technology available."

He said DoD didn't move quickly enough to exploit information technology. The department has been slow in applying these technologies to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and slow in using them to "network" forces.

Another area of potential improvement is truly embracing "jointness," he said. "We can take jointness to the next level," Gompert said. "That is the ability to conduct integrated operations and not simply coordinate operations among the services."

A third future advantage is in developing new domains for operations – particularly in cyberspace and space.

Finally, another potential the United States has not taken full advantage of is with allies. "The United States has key allies with the capacity and willingness to do more," he said. "We ought to take them up on that."

Gompert said the critical military capabilities the United States will need in the future are: to sense, to influence, to strike, to protect, to surge, to control, to penetrate, to destroy, and to stabilize. For each capability there is an "investment portfolio." Each of these is divided into "highly compatible," "moderately compatible" and "less compatible" systems. These ratings describe how compatible each system is with the proposed strategy.

The "to sense" capability includes intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. To improve this capability, Gompert said, DoD should invest in systems like the unmanned aerial vehicle programs, the Navy's E-2 Hawkeye upgrade, and digitizing and networking the force. In research and development, the department ought to invest in space-based radar, polar military satellite communications networks, and micro-satellite research.

Moderately compatible systems include Joint Surveillance and Radar Tracking systems upgrades and maritime reconnaissance.

The "to influence" capability is having a force ready to go anywhere. The existence of such a force makes adversaries think twice before doing anything aggressive. Gompert said the highly compatible investment for this capability is the unmanned combat aerial vehicle. Moderately compatible is the CVN-77 aircraft carrier program.

The "to protect" capability includes tiered, deployable ballistic missile defense, defensive information operations and control of space assets. DoD should invest in the Navy's DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers with cruise missile launching capabilities. DoD should put more money into underwater-unmanned vehicles, ballistic missile defense and mine warfare capabilities. All these are listed as "highly compatible" with transformation.

The "to strike" capability has the largest investment list. Under highly compatible are: B-2 and B-52 bomber upgrades, more procurement of the Joint Air-to-surface Stand-off Missile, miniaturized munitions, precision-strike upgrades, and tactical Tomahawk missiles. Highly compatible R&D projects include information operations/warfare, conversion of some ballistic missile submarines to carry cruise missiles, the advanced land-attack missile and the standoff land-attack missile.

Gompert's group said the B-1 bomber is a "less compatible" investment.

The bottom line for the "to surge" capability is a lighter, more lethal, rapidly deployable force. Airlift, sealift and mobile pre-positioned assets are key to this capability. The highly compatible procurements include more C-17 airlifters and upgrades of C-5B airlifters. The group recommended more money for research into fast sealift concepts and advanced airlift concepts. Under moderately compatible, the group recommended upgrading or converting existing aerial tankers. Listed as less compatible were upgrades to C-5A airlifters.

The "to control" capability means quick response attack. "The most critical targets we will face in the future are missile launchers or weapons of mass destruction being readied for use or command and control nodes," Gompert said. "We can't do the job with long-range forces or long- range strike capabilities because of the time factor. You need quick response and persistent strike."

The highly compatible "to control" procurements are the Joint Strike Fighter, the Army's Comanche helicopter, the Virginia-class attack submarine, the Army tactical cruise missile system and the high-mobility artillery rocket system. Research and development are needed in Sea Lance missiles and the Navy's Street Fighter concept – smaller, faster, cheaper ships to do what the larger surface combatants do now in littoral warfare.

The Air Force F-22 program, the Army's Apache Longbow and F-16 upgrades are listed as moderately compatible, while the Navy's DD-21 Zumwalt-class destroyer program is labeled less compatible.

Two investments are at the top of the "to penetrate" and "to destroy" capabilities – the V-22 tilt-wing Osprey and the Army's future combat systems.

Moderately compatible systems include the 155mm howitzer, amphibious landing ships and landing craft, air-cushioned. Bradley fighting vehicle and Abrams tank upgrades are also listed as moderately compatible. The Army's Crusader artillery system is listed as less compatible.

Overall, the conventional forces group recommends investing in future ground forces, long-range and precision strike systems, all forms of networking, joint command and control efforts, and airlift and sealift capabilities.

Gompert said the price tag for following these recommendations would be $45 billion more over the next six years. Canceling the systems deemed less compatible would save $10 billion over the next six years for a final cost of $35 billion over the span.


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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).