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'Overmatch' is Watchword for Future Joint Force, Admiral Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2005 – The military is not interested in fairness when it comes to warfighting, a senior Navy officer said here today.

'Overmatch' is what we want in the future joint force," Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, vice chief of naval operations, told attendees at the Defense News Media Group's annual Joint Warfare Conference. "We're not interested in a fair fight, but rather one in which we, and our coalition partners, dominate every domain across every phase of war."

"Overmatch" is a word coined by the Joint Forces Command's lessons-learned team after major Operation Iraqi Freedom combat operations to describe the advantage the United States and its coalition partners had over the conventional Iraqi armed forces.

The military's capacity for overmatch is a combination of several factors, Willard said. The first is how capabilities are spread across the services and how they are brought to bear against the enemy through "supported/supporting" relationships among the services.

"Capabilities are generally spread across our four components in a way that denies the enemy evidence of a center of gravity to attack," Willard said. "So imagine the four-dimensional problem that's being presented to the enemy who's trying to defeat our air-defense capability."

He used the example of an air component commander as the supported commander for air and missile defense in combat. He receives air power and shipboard air and missile defense support from the Navy, joint fire support from the ground commander and direct action and targeting support from the special operations commander.

An exceptionally trained and educated all-volunteer force, combined with the technology available to the military, contributes to overmatch like that seen in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the admiral explained. He acknowledged occasional frustration with the time and cost involved in acquiring new technologies, but he said the United States generally stays ahead of its adversaries in how it outfits its joint forces.

To ensure future overmatch capabilities, Willard said, the military is expanding on the elements that already have contributed to U.S. military superiority. It's also expanding its views of the all-volunteer force to include reserve component forces and civilians. The "total force," he said, could be optimized for very specific operations.

New investments in next-generation technology are key as well, Willard told the group. They will take military a long way toward overmatching the next adversary to challenge U.S. superiority, he said.

"As we're faced with Iraq and Afghanistan today, the shape of warfare has changed and our concept of joint and our investments need to change too," Willard said. "There is nothing more important than advancing joint warfare. It is the force multiplier that allows us overmatch."

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Adm. Robert F. Willard

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U.S. Joint Forces Command

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