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Transformation: Why You Should Care

By Paul Stone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2003 – If you ask retired Navy Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski why service members and Defense Department civilian employees should care about efforts to transform the military, he is neither hesitant nor uncertain in his response.

"There are two ways of looking at it. First, with so much transformation going on today, and so many efforts so broadly dispersed throughout the operating forces, all of our people soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor," Cebrowski said. "They have the opportunity to not only see change take place in front of their eyes, but to actually make it happen.

"The second point of view is closely related to that," he continued. "You have a choice: you can either create your own future, or you can become the victim of a future that someone else creates for you. By seizing the transformation opportunities, you are seizing the opportunity to create your own future."

Cebrowkski is the chief of DoD's Office of Force Transformation.

He said that it's important for all to embrace transformation, not only because transformation of the military is inevitable, but also because it's people who make transformation work.

"Keep in mind that at the heart of transformation is behavioral change that is, the forces are able to behave in a different way," Cebrowski said. "Frequently, new equipment can catalyze new behavior and make new tactics possible, and that's laudable. But it's the behavior that counts new tactics, new processes, new doctrine, new organizational structures, new information flows. That's where the transformation is, and it all involves people advancing new ideas."

And he said there's no reason for service members not to embrace transformation.

"This is a very exciting time to be in the operating forces," he said. "In addition to all the transformation programs already under way, there are many more interesting transformation efforts that we're looking at for the future."

He cited several areas that could result in significant transformational change in the future, to include:

  • Advancing alternatives to increase the capabilities of the military's space program.

  • Improving information-age approaches to logistics.

  • Integrating new capabilities into fighting vehicles for the Army and Marines.

  • Marrying up lethal and nonlethal weapons into the same platform so troops can accommodate a broad range of circumstances.

  • Developing new ship designs to aid naval special operations forces and water-borne logistics.

  • Experimenting with direct-energy weapons.

Cebrowski said the direct-energy weapons area looks particularly promising, as well as revolutionary.

"If you like the speed of heat, you'll love the speed of light," he said. "And speed-of-light weapons are potentially very exciting. It's a whole new area that will change the character of warfare. And all the services now have programs in direct-energy in various levels of development."

The opportunities are there for every member of the Defense Department to embrace transformation efforts, he said. All they have to do is reach out and grasp on to them.

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