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Change U.S. Military Now, DoD Transformation Czar Urges

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2002 – Now is the time, DoD's senior transformation official emphasized, for the U.S. military to make dramatic changes to keep its edge over anticipated future opponents.

The United States and other nations in the developed world are quickly moving into the Information Age and away from the old-tech Industrial Age, said Arthur K. Cebrowski, director of DoD's Transformation Office and a retired Navy vice admiral.

"We are, indeed, in a period of strategic opportunity for transformation," Cebrowski said July 9 as he addressed the effects of technology and globalization on the future military at the National Defense University, Fort Lesley McNair, Washington D.C.

He contended that globalization is really Westernization, as more and more of the world adopts Western-style democratic governments, market economies and culture. High technology is globalization's calling card and that Information Age technology will effect how war is waged in the future, the admiral noted.

This means, Cebrowski continued, that new rules and strategies for warfare will be developed, driven by changing technology and shifts in the balance of global power since the end of the Cold War.

America no longer has a military peer to worry about, such as the former Soviet Union, he said. That doesn't mean the U.S. military should relax, however; it should be writing those new rules of warfare, he added.

Since nobody does high-tech better than the United States, Cebrowski remarked, it's only natural -- and prudent -- to begin transforming and revamping today's U.S. military now.

"We are the leaders into the Information Age," he continued. "When we decide to leverage and take advantage of that leadership position, we beat up on all comers. And, of course, we want to continue to do that."

He said future wars will take into account nonstate actors such as Al Qaeda and other world terrorist organizations, which often use asymmetrical, old-tech means to strike at targets.

"On Sept. 11, America's contract with the Department of Defense was torn up and a new contract is being written," Cebrowski noted. The proposed Department of Homeland Security, he said, is evidence of how that contract is being revised.

How should America's armed forces be configured for new world realities? Cebrowski asked. Emerging and envisioned technologies, he noted, are creating military interests "in speed, in access (to enemy-held territory, such as ports), in the power of the collective (joint forces and communications) in sensors' reach over weapons' reach," and more.

Using aircraft rather than ships to transport troops and equipment, for example, can be employed to conduct military deployments more rapidly. The U.S. Army's new, lighter weight Stryker multiwheeled armored vehicle can be airlifted quickly to world hotspots while "old-tech" M-1 Abrams tank must be shipped.

Cebrowski noted high technology should be incorporated now across the U.S. military to produce advances in military art, to include tightly networked joint and combined communications systems; sophisticated sensor equipment to detect, pinpoint and attack enemy forces before they can react; and others.

"So what happens when somebody doesn't play by those (new) rules?" Cebrowski asked his NDU audience.

"We love it," he answered, describing what would happen when lighter U.S. armored forces meet opponents equipped with heavy, Abrams-type tanks on a future battlefield.

"We're going to kill all of the tanks," Cebrowski continued, "and, we'll kill them more efficiently than we ever have before."

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