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Pace Discusses Transformation During Kirtland Meeting

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M., Oct. 5, 2006 – Although military transformation has no single definition, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here yesterday, he can describe it.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to approximately 400 airmen at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Oct. 4, 2006. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke to about 1,000 airmen and civilians at the parade ground here today and then took questions.

A young sergeant wanted to know about transformation. “If we never got any new toys and just had a different mindset about how to use them, that would be transformational,” the chairman explained.

He pointed to Air Force special operations personnel who were present and said their actions in Afghanistan and other places in the war on terror demonstrated the meaning of the term. “They understand how you can take things that you have right now and employ them in different ways that you never really thought about until you were faced with the need.”

That mindset change is needed for transformation to succeed, he added.

Pace gave a numerical grade for where he thought the armed forces were in transformation. He said that on a 10-point scale, the military scores an “8” for intent and understanding and about a “4” in execution. “I really believe we have applied a lot of energy to transformation, but it is a lot like computers,” he said. “The faster a computer becomes, the faster the next one will be, because you use that computer to make the next one.

“So, too, with transformation,” he continued. “That’s why we’re a ‘4.’ Not because we haven’t been applying energy, but because we don’t know yet what we’re capable of doing.”

Pace said new doors will open as the military thinks its way through the process.

Another concern, the chairman said, is figuring out how “not shoot behind your target,” that is, how to buy a capability without it being obsolete by the time it is delivered.

Spiral development has helped in that case, he said. Instead of buying 1,000 computers all at once, the department buys 100 at first, and then adds the balance incrementally over months and years, with each increment having the latest capabilities. “It at least give you the chance to have your average capacity higher today than if you bought all 1,000 computers at once,” he said.

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

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