Work Calls for Third Offset Strategy to Bolster Future of Warfighting
Work Calls for Third Offset
Strategy to Bolster Future of Warfighting
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — September 10, 2015 — In a changing global security environment, the
United States is pursuing a third offset strategy to bolster a weakened
conventional deterrence, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said today in
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute -- the U.K.’s professional
forum for national and international defense and security -- the deputy said in
prepared remarks that the first and second offset strategies supported DoD well
for 25 years, but the “margin of technological superiority,” particularly for
guided munitions, is eroding.
Trevor Taylor, research fellow in defense management at
the RUSI and Bob Work
“This erosion results primarily from two factors,” the deputy said. “First,
potential competitors are pursuing levels of advanced weapons development that
we haven’t seen since the mid-1980s. Second, our attention has been rightly
focused on the Middle East for the past 14 years, and post-war budget cuts have
limited our own technical investments.”
Citing worldwide threats, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
and Russia’s recent coercion and aggression, Work noted the United States and
its allies face historically different challenges than before.
Deputy Praises U.S.-U.K. partnership
The deputy said the nation counts on its longstanding relationship with the
United Kingdom, and he praised that nation’s leaders.
“We are greatly heartened by the U.K.’s recent decision to continue meeting
the NATO defense investment pledge to dedicate 2 percent of [gross domestic
product] to defense spending -- making them one of only four NATO countries that
now do so,” he said. That commitment sends a clear signal that the U.K. is
determined to continue its contribution to collective defense and maintain a
global leadership role, he added.
Work said even with the actions of both nations against global threats, more
work is needed, particularly given Russia’s declaration that it regards the U.S.
and NATO as a direct threat. That is why, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter said,
DoD is working with its allies to develop a “new playbook” for NATO to
strengthen U.S. conventional deterrence, he noted.
Preparing to Fight on Modern Battlefield
“We … haven’t focused on a highly-capable adversary for a long time and I
worry that our proficiency in highly integrated joint fire and maneuver has
eroded,” he said. “We must prepare to fight on an incredibly lethal modern
Once the U.S. military shifts to maneuver, it will fight on highly lethal
battlefields swept by short-range guided munitions, cyberattacks and electronic
warfare weapons, the deputy said.
“What we need is another doctrinal revival like that of the early 1980s. My
message to U.S. Army and Air Force audiences is that we need an AirLand Battle
2.0. My message to every NATO country is we need modern concepts as
game-changing as Follow-on Forces Attack,” he said.
AirLand Battle was the overall conceptual framework that formed the basis of
the US Army's European warfighting doctrine from 1982 into the late 1990s. The
Follow on Forces Attack sub-concept aimed to compensate for the short distance
between Frankfurt, Germany, and Soviet territory by relying on conventional
weapons to attack troops behind the main line of contact -- by attacking follow-on
troops, in other words.
Private Sector Integral to Third Strategy
Unlike the first two offset strategies, which depended on military
development, the third would rely on commercially driven technology such as
robotics, autonomously operating vehicles, guidance and control systems,
visualization, biotechnology, miniaturization, advanced computing, big data
analytics and additive manufacturing.
A lesson learned from the second offset strategy was the importance of NATO
participation, Work said.
He added that innovation must be pursued with interoperability in mind. “We
must coordinate and collaborate, avoid duplication, leverage unique capabilities,
and push our establishments to innovate in technology, concepts, experimentation
and war games,” he said.
“War games are a powerful tool to test new ideas, capabilities and new ways
of fighting. [The U.S. and U.K.] militaries are operating together, researching
together, and gaming together to ensure our alliance retains unparalleled
military capabilities,” Work said.
The U.K.’s Strategic Defense and Security Review is developing at a time that
gives both nations an opportunity to think together about where they are both
going and how to best cooperate, the deputy secretary noted.
Vowing to continue working closely with the U.K. in such
efforts, Work noted that both nation’s militaries have long histories of
adapting to changing threats and identifying new approaches that “pit our
enduring strengths against the vulnerabilities of our adversaries,” by their
ability to operate as partners.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
Related Biographies :
Robert O. Work