Facing the Future: Transformation Reflects A Changed World, Says Official
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 30, 2005 DoD is transforming its business practices to better meet the challenges of a changed world, a senior defense official said recently.
If change is simply doing "something different" than before, Ken Krieg told the Pentagon Channel for its documentary "Facing the Future," then transformation is looking into the future to "give the nation the most military capability" possible for the 21st century. Krieg is special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and director for program analysis and evaluation.
He noted that the global national security environment has been changing since the Cold War ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Asymmetrical threats, as personified by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, now command U.S. defense planners' attention.
Consequently, Krieg said, a key tenet of DoD's transformation efforts, involves reshaping the department to address 21st-century challenges, like terrorism, and to prepare for how war will likely be fought decades from now.
He said PA&E's role in transformation "is to push at the system, push at the services, push at the combatant commanders" in order to effect necessary department-wide change.
Military transformation, Krieg observed, involves asking questions and embracing revolutionary methods of warfighting and new concepts of operations. "What are the kinds of capabilities that we need to be able to operate in a different way?" he asked, giving an example.
After 21st-century military capabilities are identified, Krieg explained, then defense planners must discern the types of new equipment, acquisition and training systems, and the servicemember skills needed to achieve them.
Finally, he, said, funding is approved and allocated to create these new capabilities. One difficult aspect of transformation, he observed, is connecting resources to desired capabilities.
Transformation involves adapting to new realities and moving away from old ways of thinking, Krieg noted. The Army's defunct Crusader self-propelled artillery system, he observed, is an example of a weapon that time and circumstances had passed by.
The Crusader system was a "perfectly fine" weapon system to have during the Cold War, Krieg noted, but it was also a heavy piece of equipment that didn't possess the rapid-deployment capability required for 21st-century warfare.
Unless the Crusader "was pre-positioned in place," Krieg explained, it was "probably not going to be of all that much use" in future warfare. The $11 billion Crusader program was cancelled in 2002. This, Krieg said, allowed the Army to earmark resources for more transformational needs.
Krieg said joint operations have been employed across DoD for some time to enhance warfighting capabilities. The future of joint operations, he pointed out, involves "trying to develop the capabilities for networking, bringing information together, sharing information widely and rapidly" among all the services.
This information networking, he said, enables joint forces to "see and understand" information "in a common way." Operation Iraqi Freedom, he pointed out, was "historic in bringing speed, precision and information together in a joint context."
Continued growth of U.S. military capabilities, Krieg predicted, will enable "ever more sophisticated" operations in the future.