DoD Must Change to Confront Changing Face of War
DoD Must Change to Confront
Changing Face of War, Dunford Says
By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
London, U.K. — (DoD
— April 24, 2016 — Today’s presence of cyber, space and
ballistic-intercontinental missile capabilities have changed the character of
war, and the U.S. military must adapt to confront these challenges, the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, walks through the Ministry of Defence with Sedki Sobhi,
Minister of Defence of Egypt, in Cairo, Egypt’s capital city, April 23, 2016.
Dunford is traveling overseas to meet with military leaders and foreign
dignitaries to discuss issues confronting the United States and its allies,
including efforts to accelerate the lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro.
During a flight from Cairo to here yesterday, Marine Corps
Gen. Joe Dunford discussed the need to make changes in the department in order
to improve the military’s command and control system.
In the current system, the defense secretary is the person
responsible for joint integration, said Dunford, noting the secretary holds the
authorities to integrate the combatant commands.
The chairman said there are certain areas where a delegation
of responsibility -- even if not authority -- should come to the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff. The chairman can then do on the secretary’s behalf “some
things that integrate our forces today in a way that we didn’t need to 10 or 15
years ago,” Dunford said.
The chairman highlighted the Korean Peninsula as an example.
More than a decade ago, he said, there was the likelihood that if conflict broke
out on the peninsula it would be limited to a ground war in that area only.
Today, that’s no longer the case, Dunford said.
“My whole argument about transregional, multidomain,
multifunctional fight is recognition that the character of war has changed, not
the nature, but the character,” he said. “It’s changed because of cyber
capabilities, space capabilities, ballistic missile capabilities,
intercontinental missile capabilities.”
These new capabilities make it unlikely that any new conflict
in the world will be isolated to one geographic area, Dunford said.
If a fight breaks out on the Korean Peninsula today, he said,
it will likely quickly involve not just U.S. Forces Korea, but U.S. Pacific
Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Cyber Command and U.S. Strategic Command.
And it probably wouldn’t be the only conflict going on in the
world, said Dunford, who added that the list of the world’s current security
concerns is illuminating. There’s the fight against violent extremism, he said,
as well as security challenges in Europe with Russia. And, there are security
challenges on a day-to-day basis with Iran, the chairman added.
“You have multiple combatant commanders that are all dealing
with those challenges,” Dunford said. “There has to be a common operational
picture, a common intelligence picture and a framework within which the
secretary can make decisions about prioritization and allocation of resources in
real time in a crisis.”
Joint Staff Changes
The military does that now in what the chairman calls a
sub-optimal way. “The character of war has changed so we should adapt to the
character of war, and by changing the organizational construct of the Joint
Staff,” he said.
Doing so, the chairman said, will position the department to
better manage today’s and tomorrow’s security situations.
“We’re talking minutes of decision-making space,” Dunford
said. “Can we do it today? Sure. But I would argue if we can cut the decision
space down from six minutes to four, that’s actually geometric, and the
implications are profound. It increases the probability that the American people
would be safe.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)