United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DoD News

Bookmark and Share

 News Article

Joint Operations Is Key to Transformation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2001 – Perfecting an architecture for joint forces command and control is key to transforming the U.S. military, said the chief of the transformation review panel set up by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. James McCarthy briefed Pentagon reporters here June 12. He said the panel he headed focused on the question, "How do you enhance military capability overall?"

DoD officials stressed that McCarthy's group was not supposed to make decisions regarding transformation of the U.S. military. The purpose of the study "was to provide the secretary with new ideas and concepts," he noted.

McCarthy said the panel believes the most significant transformational concept is the creation of a truly joint force. In the past, U.S. forces have fought jointly mostly by "deconflicting" the battlefield. In other words, the Marines were assigned one portion, the Army another. The Navy provided close air support in some areas, the Air Force in others.

McCarthy advocates a force organized, trained and equipped as a joint force that has a standing joint command and control capability, exercises frequently, and participates in tests of new ways of working together.

"Joint command and control is the most enabling transformation effort," he said, recommending that DoD invest heavily in the concept.

The panel also spoke about transforming "early entry forces" as the first transformation phase. McCarthy said the force size of such forces need not be large.

"From a historical standpoint, when you look back at truly transformational concepts, about 8 to 14 percent of the force was transformed that had a significant impact on the fighting capability of the entire force," he said. He cited German innovations in 1940 as an example.

"Most people think of Stukas and panzers and characterize that as the German army in the beginnings of World War II," he said. "In fact, only about 10 percent of the force was transformed with that concept; 90 percent of the forces that eventually conquered much of Europe was foot soldiers and horse-drawn cannon. But the effect was that this small transformation in terms of percentage of the force was overwhelming in its power.

"So we were seeking, as we tried to define what to transform, a similar type of approach -- that is, something that would make a big difference."

The panel recommends a joint response force concept. The elements of such a force are a deployable joint command-and-control system, tailored force modules, robust connectivity and pervasive networks of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting assets. The panel supported technologies, procedures, weapon systems and doctrine that beefed up this transformational concept.

The panel considers joint command and control necessary for transformation and advised giving U.S. Joint Forces Command the authority and resources to form a group to develop that element. Panelists proposed the command work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and with the regional commanders in chief.

After joint command and control is developed, he continued, DoD would be expected to "treat command and control as we do combat systems. There should be a deployable capability for each of the regional commanders in chief. ... (DoD also should) implement a family of interoperable pictures as part of this investment strategy."

Precision engagement is another top-priority capability. To make the concept work, DoD would convert four Trident submarines to cruise missile carriers and enhance the B-2 bomber force with large carriage capability and flexible targeting.

"For example, you can put 324 of the small-diameter bombs on each B-2," McCarthy said. "If you launch 18 of the 21 B-2s, that's 5,824 individually targeted weapons on that small force."

Precision engagement would also depend on increasing surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence assets; hurrying the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle development; building a stealthy, joint, long-range cruise missile for both submarines and aircraft; developing a long-range precision strike capability; and accelerating development of the Navy version of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Contact Author

Related Sites:
DoD Briefing: Special DoD News Briefing on Defense Transformation, June 12, 2001
DoD Briefing Slides: DoD News Briefing, June 12, 2001

Additional Links

Stay Connected