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Jointness is Key to Victory in Global War on Terror, General Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2005 – Defense industry leaders got a strong message endorsing joint operations and "netcentric warfare" from a senior military officer at the TechNet International 2005 convention here May 17.

"We believe the cornerstone of winning the war on terror is enhancing joint warfighting and transforming our armed forces and how we go about doing that," Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "That's going to be based on the ability to see ourselves, see the enemy in the ways that provide us an overwhelming advantage.

"In my mind, that's what networkcentric warfare is all about," he added.

The way to overcome the enemy, who tries to minimize our technological advantage, is through networkcentric operations, Odierno said. That requires transforming to a joint force that is capable of conducting integrated, "tempo-controlling" actions, where the military controls where and when things happen.

"As we walk forward ... we've got to be guided by what we call our joint operational concepts," Odierno said. "It's a mark on the wall that's going to become a capstone concept for joint operations. It's still in the approval phase, but we think this will be the overarching concept that we move as we move forward."

This concept details how the joint force will operate over the next 10 to 20 years over all domains, he said.

Information gathering is one essential piece of the many characteristics of the joint-force concept. However, Odierno said, having the intelligence does no good if it cannot be disseminated in real time to those who need it across the battlefield.

The concept also stresses the need for a network to facilitate real-time collaboration among commanders in the field, Odierno said.

Odierno went on to say that interagency integration would aid in disseminating information, from both U.S. and foreign sources. For that to happen, all agencies with similar information needs need to be using the same or compatible information systems.

"We have to get this right, and we have to get this right in the systems we're building now for tomorrow," he said.

Odierno said there can be no freelancing in systems acquisition among the services. And waiting for technology to be developed is not an option either, he said.

"We have to 'spiral' technologies," he said. "We can't wait for the solution 10 years from now. We have to put what we know now into the force and spiral this technology (into the mix) and continue to improve it over time. We can't wait. We need it now."

To the industry leaders present, Odierno stressed that they are supporting a customer who is changing its culture. That customer is morphing into a joint force that uses the concept of networkcentric warfare to fight an ever-changing enemy.

"The global war on terror is here to stay. It will last at least a generation, if not more," he said. "The stakes are high. We must continue to partner together with industry for success.

"Our enemy is highly sophisticated and a learning one. We must raise the bar," the former 4th Infantry Division commander said. "We must become more capable, but we must be streamlined in what we do."

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