Current Ops Helping Bolster Joint Training Emphasis
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
SUFFOLK, Va., March 13, 2006 Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are reaffirming every day the military must improve the way it conducts and trains to work in joint and coalition operations, U.S. Joint Forces Command's training chief told the American Forces Press Service.
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Jon A. Gallinetti, director of the command's Joint Training Directorate and commander of the Joint Warfighting Center here, said the concept of "jointness" is no longer a hard sell.
Once a foreign concept, it's become almost second nature to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, particularly those who have served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. "When they come back, even the most junior members, they've already fought in a joint context," Gallinetti said.
And whether they realize it, they've already operated in an environment that includes interagency, international and intergovernmental cooperation, as well as that of nongovernmental organizations, the general said.
Together, these entities - militaries, other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations -- are applying the full range of national power that includes more than just military force, Gallinetti explained. He calls this the "DIME" concept, for its diplomatic, information, military and economic aspects.
These components are collaborating to provide what the military calls "effects-based approaches." This means that just as in a chess game, they look beyond the immediate effect of an action to the chain of events it will trigger and how they can bring about the desired effect.
Old systems of training can't properly prepare servicemembers to operate in such a complex environment, so JFCOM is heading up a broad-brush training transformation. The effort is part of the Defense Department's training transformation plan, an effort designed to add depth and breadth to joint force training.
In his dual-hatted role at JFCOM, Gallinetti manages programs that train combat troops and organizations from all services for joint operations. He also looks at existing doctrine that underpins joint operations, incorporating lessons learned from the current conflict and evolving operational approaches.
Getting these new ways of doing business into doctrine and training programs is a huge undertaking.
"A lot of things have changed since 9/11 and the global war on terror," the general said. "Almost 60 percent of doctrine is being rewritten."
The emphasis on joint training started back in the mid-1990s, and Gallinetti said there's already been a change in how the services operate. "I've seen great strides," he said. "Between 1999 and today, it's like day and night. Things have really changed dramatically."
All the services have made big changes in their training programs since the Vietnam War and have broadened their focus to include joint operations, he said. But until recently, something was still missing.
"All the services had good training and they did things together and coordinated together, but they were not really integrated," Gallinetti said.
The global war on terror changed that, bringing an unprecedented emphasis to joint operations. "Joint training has really transformed and increased," the general said. "The war has made it clear that we have to make it better and get it into our tactics and procedures."
JFCOM's training and education programs are building this momentum.
Three joint professional military education programs sponsored by both the National Defense University and JFCOM emphasize joint concepts at the most senior levels. The four-day Capstone Joint Operations Module trains newly selected flag and general officers. The Pinnacle course, introduced last year, gives two- and three-star generals and their equivalents joint training focused at the national strategic level. The Keystone module, also introduced last year, provides joint training for command senior enlisted leaders who will serve in their commanders' inner circle.
And joint education and training are extending to include not just combatant commanders, but also the joint task forces and battle staffs that support them.
Two key components of DoD's training transformation focus on collective and individual training. The Joint National Training Capability, which JFCOM is charged with implementing, provides unit-level training and exercises. The Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution Capability, which came under the Joint Warfighting Center's operational umbrella last month, focuses on individual training and education by developing and distributing joint knowledge through a dynamic global network.
The network currently has 33 activated sites and is expanding. "Soon, we will be able to plug into many, many sites," Gallinetti said, providing another mechanism for joint training to be embedded across all services.
Another part of the DoD training transformation plan, the Joint Assessment and Enabling Capability, officials explained, is designed to measure the degree to which training improves joint force readiness, both individually and collectively. This capability comes under the leadership of the defense secretary's personnel and readiness office. .
Gallinetti said these efforts are helping provide better joint training and to make it more accessible to more joint warfighters. "We want to be a one-stop shop here," to support warfighters and units so they in turn can support combatant commanders, he said.
Big improvements are in the wings for joint training, Gallinetti said. "We have come a long way, but we have to make it even better," he said. "We are going to see some big advances."