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Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2000 – "Full-spectrum dominance" is the key term in "Joint Vision 2020," the blueprint DoD will follow in the future.

Joint Vision 2020, released May 30 and signed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry Shelton, extends the concept laid out in Joint Vision 2010. Some things will not change. The mission of the U.S. military today and tomorrow is to fight and win the nation's wars. How DoD goes about doing this is 2020's focus.

Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.

While full-spectrum dominance is the goal, the way to get there is to "invest in and develop new military capabilities." The four capabilities at the heart of full-spectrum dominance are dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics and full-dimensional protection.

These four capabilities need the full capabilities of the total force. "To build the most effective force for 2020, we must be fully joint: intellectually, operationally, organizationally, doctrinally and technically," the report states.

The report says that new equipment and technological innovation are important, but more important is having trained people who understand and can exploit these new technologies.

The joint force must win over the full range of conflict, be prepared to work with allies and cooperate with other U.S. and international agencies. Adversaries will not stand still. They, too, have access to many cutting-edge developments in information technology.

"We should not expect opponents in 2020 to fight with strictly 'industrial age' tools," the report states. "Our advantage must ... come from leaders, people, doctrine, organizations and training that enable us to take advantage of technology to achieve superior warfighting effectiveness."

Adversaries will probably not challenge U.S. strengths, but seek to attack the United States and its interests through "asymmetric means." They could identify vulnerable areas and devise means to attack them.

"The potential of such asymmetric approaches is perhaps the most serious danger the United States faces in the immediate future - - and this danger includes long-range ballistic missiles and other direct threats to U.S. citizens and territory," the report says.

Joint Vision 2020 addresses full-spectrum dominance across the range of conflicts from nuclear war to major theater wars to smaller-scale contingencies. It also addresses amorphous situations like peacekeeping and noncombat humanitarian relief. Key to U.S. dominance in any conflict will be what the chairman calls "decision superiority" -- translating information superiority into better decisions arrived at and implemented faster than an enemy can react.

The development of a global information grid will provide the environment for decision superiority.

Innovation has always been a hallmark of the American military. In 2020, this native American talent will be even more important.

"The services and combatant commands must allow our highly trained and skilled professionals the opportunity to create new concepts and ideas that may lead to future breakthroughs," according to the report. Inherent in this statement is the commitment to not penalize service members if their innovations do not work.

"An experimentation process with low tolerance for error makes it unlikely that the force will identify and nurture the most relevant and productive aspects of new concepts, capabilities and technologies," the report states.

Normally applied to communications and materiel, "interoperability" in the military became a catchword in the 1970s, when it became apparent that many of the NATO allies could not operate with each other. Joint Vision 2020 expands the term to include the development of joint doctrine and information sharing.

Joint Vision 2020 is a blueprint. While many of its facets could come true, not all will. Changes in the world or changes in America may render some points moot. Joint Vision 2020 carries on some of the recommendations to transform the U.S. military from Joint Vision 2010. Other portions of 2010 are gone or changed.

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Joint Vision 2020


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