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Military, Industry Must Work Together to Win Long War, General Says

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

HAMPTON, Va., April 4, 2006 – The U.S. military and private sector defense industry must work together to win the Long War against terrorism, the general who serves as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO's supreme allied commander for transformation said here today.

"The things we're doing with you in cooperative research and development agreements is indicative of the importance we place on this relationship, so that we can build the kinds of equipment our troops need to fight and win the war we're fighting," Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith told a defense industry audience at the 2006 JFCOM Industry Symposium.

The symposium is co-hosted by U.S. Joint Forces Command, which leads the Defense Department's effort to transform the military to meet challenges associated with the Information Age, and the National Defense Industrial Association. This is the sixth year JFCOM and NDIA have worked together on this type of event.

This year's theme is "Building Knowledge For The Warfighter" and will focus on enabling technologies to support joint, coalition and interagency operations; global perspective; knowledge fusion across multiple and critical domains; coalition battle-space awareness; modeling and simulation; and training. The purpose of the symposium is to provide a legal and ethical forum for the interchange of ideas between the military and industry to resolve industrial problems of joint concern, military officials said.

Smith said JFCOM is looking at ways to better deal with conflicts across a wide spectrum, "from humanitarian relief all the way through major combat operations," he said.

He said fielding better joint and integrated communications systems is one of his priorities and that merging operational and intelligence capabilities is critical to defeating terrorism. "One of the clear lessons that has come out of Iraq and Afghanistan is the separation of operations and intelligence has not worked in the kind of war we're fighting," he said. "Merging operations and intel is one of the critical elements of being able to fight this Long War."

Smith said the term "Long War" does not mean the U.S. intends to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely. "That's not what we're trying to say. What we're trying to say is that this fight is against extremists who are not going to go away just because Iraq and Afghanistan go away," he said. "They will simply move. Our goal is to posture to fight this war as long as it takes."

The defense industry can help win the Long War by helping the military build information and communications systems that talk to each other, Smith said. "We need a command-and-control system that is interoperable," he said. "And we need a command-and-control system that allows us to operate inside the enemy's decision loop."

At one time there were more than 300 data systems in Iraq dealing with counter-improvised explosive device information, Smith said. "You cannot set up a search engine that can go and look into all those 300 databases in order to get a coherent picture to counter IEDs," he said.

He stressed that data systems must be born and developed with joint capability and that military configuration controls must be less constrictive. "We've had this discussion, and we will try to make sure that when the data standards come out that they will be broad enough and not be so restrictive that we can operate within them," he said.

In addition, three-dimensional modeling and simulation of cities and rural areas will help special operations forces prepare for missions, he said, urging industry to tackle this area. "If we can do all those things then we will certainly help our folks survive in this environment, and we will gradually over time take this fight away from the enemy, and we will win this battle," Smith concluded.

Contact Author

Gen. Lance L. Smith, USAF

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U.S. Joint Forces Command

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