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DoD News Briefing: Brig. Gen. Robert F. Dees, acting director, Operational Plans

Presenters: Brig. Gen. Robert F. Dees, acting director, Operational Plans
June 24, 1997 2:25 PM EDT

Interoperability (J-7), the Joint Staff

Lt. Col. Dave Thurston: Good afternoon. Thank you for coming.

A year ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff introduces his vision for the America's armed forces in the next century, a document called "Joint Vision 2010". This year, we are introducing the follow on document to that, "The Concept for Future Joint Operations". And we'll have copies of that available for you after the briefing.

It's my pleasure to introduce Brigadier General Bob Dees, the acting director of operational plans and interoperability on the Joint Staff.

General Dees.

General Dees: Good afternoon. I'll provide a few introductory comments and then we'll entertain your questions.

As Colonel Thurston mentioned, last July, the Chairman published Joint Vision 2010. Joint Vision 2010 -- about a 38-page document that talks to some operational concepts proposed for the future force, specifically for the year 2010 -- the concept is that without a vision that people perish and that it is necessary for the Department of Defense to have a vision that unifies our efforts toward future force capabilities. This document was put on the street and over the last year, a significant amount of effort has gone into fleshing out the concepts in Joint Vision 2010. As you may recall, some of you I know are familiar with those. One of the concepts -- there's really four concepts that are dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focus logistics and full dimensional protection. And those are enabled by two powerful ideas: the technological innovation that we've seen is a powerful force in our military development and then secondly, information superiority. Clearly as we enter the information age, it is important that we capitalize upon the benefits, the necessity really for information superiority. So that in essence is Joint Vision 2010. And we have developed those concepts over this past year through a series of seminars, a series of CINC, service, agency participation at senior levels to determine what those concepts truly mean to flesh out the concepts.

We think an important precept as we head toward this vision is that we must work the intellectual challenges, get the concepts pretty well defined before we move to the next step of physical change, actual experimentation in turning the concepts into capabilities.

The resulting product of the last year of effort I describe is the "Concept For Future Joint Operations". The "Concept for Future Joint Operations" will be referred to as the "CFJO". The CFJO is a more detailed document. In this case, you have 89 pages now. And it puts meat on the bones of the Joint Vision 2010. The Concept For Future Joint Operations tries to describe in far greater detail the concepts I mentioned and then it also talks to the implications. Looking at doctrine, looking at the implications of future organizations, looking at how we train the future force, looking at the leadership required for the future force. The leaders of the task force of 2010 are currently majors in our intermediate staff colleges. What are we teaching and training, educating those majors to do in this future force?

And then we have the materiel aspect. The point is that we have long lead times generally associated with materiel development and consequently, we need to be looking at the materiel implications of those concepts.

And finally people. We recognize that the future -- or the current quality of our force is based on the quality of our people. That is our very bedrock. That must persist into the future. Our people are our key and it is not people versus technology, but it is people enabled by technology in our future force that is truly the key to our success.

Now we have this thing called the QDR that intervened in the process. The QDR was concurrent with the development of the Concept for Future Joint Operations. When the QDR reported out, the QDR placed significant emphasis to the proper implementation of Joint Vision 2010. The National Defense Panel, on 15 May issuing its report concurrent with the QDR publication, talked also to the necessity to strengthen the Joint Vision 2010 considerations in future force development in the Department of Defense.

Now, where do we go from here? We've had the QDR that talks to three pillars of the strategy, the third pillar being shaping the future. Joint Vision 2010 and the implementation of Joint Vision 2010 enabled thus far by the two documents I described is the key to shaping that future and enhance it -- this publication of the concept is a significant next step in shaping the future of the armed forces of the United States. I will talk to the concept for just a moment and then I will also talk to what we're going to do with it.

When you look at the concept and you look at the four concepts I describe: the dominating maneuver, precision engagement, it is not sufficient as in the past to simply look at these in isolation. But the true power in the future and the true power in this concept is the synergistic application of all four of these concepts at the same time using information superiority as a backdrop. Now how do we prove out these concepts? Well it's important as we move from this document to the next phase to prove out the concepts. Are the concepts in here correct or incorrect? It's probably the real question is how do we mature these concepts in this living document?

Well we intend to mature it in the next step in an iterative experimental process that will be an approach to looking at war games, looking at the academic developments, looking at actual command post exercises, actual field exercises to experiment with the concepts, determine how those concepts pair up to certain hypotheses that we've developed and then to iteratively experiment again with what we have learned and to over time, mature these concepts until we prove them out and we truly want to put them into the force of the future.

Well that's probably enough in terms of introduction. It's a significant step. It is the primary means by which the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CINCs, services and agencies will shape the future. And so I commend it to our collective attention and I'm glad to take your questions.


Q: What I'm wondering is the steps that you recommend, both operational and personnel and technology wise, are you assuming that all this will be done in the existing funding parameters that we are assuming for the Pentagon or will this require either an increase in budget or will it allow a decrease in budget levels?

A: I can't answer your question directly yet. We do not know the resource impacts at this point in time. What I will say though is that some have asked can we afford Joint Vision 2010. The real question is can we afford not to do Joint Vision 2010, because we think Joint Vision 2010 is the most efficient way, the most cost effective way to get to the future capabilities that our future environment requires.

I didn't speak to the future environment very much, but suffice it to say that we are developing these capabilities because the future environment that we postulate as depicted in the QDR, as depicted in the joint strategy review requires that we have a broad spectrum of capabilities of everything from peace keeping all the way up to the highest end of warfare and we must be able to operate very agily, very rapidly to deal decisively with threats around the world. And when I say threats, it's not necessarily the threats of times past, of pre Cold War or Cold War threats that you would think of, but it's perhaps also asymmetric threats that combine criminality armed with weapons of mass destruction empowered by terrorist operational concepts of times past and then also empowered with information age technologies, which comprise a very potent cocktail of asymmetric threat in the future that we must deal with. It is that type of threat that we need to posture our forces to deal with across a very broad spectrum.


Q: Let's talk about a threat that may exist already and certainly is coming soon and there's several of those around the world. Let's talk about North Korea., missile threat to Japan, to our forces in Japan and I understand at present, we have three batteries of Patriot 3s, which may or may not be effective against these missiles. Don't we need these theater missiles developed now or certainly, how does that fit in to your 2010 concept? And I have a follow-up.

A: Okay. Good. Thanks. One of the precepts or one of the concepts in Joint Vision 2010 is full dimensional protection. Now that goes from protection of the individual soldier with high tech body armor with new laminates and things. It also goes to the highest dimension to include ballistic missile defense. We think it is a very serious threat as you highlight and we also are working very hard on it. The Joint Staff has just stood up under the Chairman's direction, an organization called JTMDO [Joint Theatre Missile Defense Office] which is going to look at the theater missile defense. It pulls together some of the previous efforts doing that. We also recognize in the world of aviation for instance, that some of our aviation has in the past been vulnerable to surface to air missiles. So that lower -- from ballistic missile defense you go to maybe tactical missile defense. And we are developing new equipment that will protect us from that type of missiles. So we take the threat as seriously as you do and the Department of Defense is working not only on the concepts of full dimensional protection that Joint Vision 2010 will drive, but also working on the technologies to enable those concepts.

As I mentioned, you've got four -- or six critical considerations: doctrine, organization, materiel, training, leadership and people. We have to co-evolve all of those and bring them together to solve any particular issue to include ballistic missile defense.

Yes, please.

Q: This concentrates a lot and will rely a lot on information.

A: Correct.

Q: Recently, the I triple E released a study --

A: The who?

Q: The I triple E -- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers okay. Basically the first time anybody looked at what many of us have talked about, information overload and found that the overflow of information is literally making people sick. Is there going to be a point beyond which we can't go of is there something we can do because of this emphasis on information to avoid getting -- falling into that trap where we're just putting too much on the individual soldier to do their job?

A: Well it's a good question. We have a lot of concern also about information overload. A lot of experiments going on in various sectors to determine the impact of information overload. We think that as we properly implement information technology into our force that good information technology allows for discrimination among information so that the decision maker in particular receives that information which he needs and is not deterred from important pieces of information by less relevant information that quote, overloads him.

As we look at information superiority and how we achieve information superiority, we are taking -- we are going to school on industry that has done a lot of good work. You look at Wal-Mart; and if you look at Wal-Mart, they are truly an information based organization that taps into the power of Cray computers. In fact they have more Cray computers in Wal-Mart than any other organization outside of the Department of Defense to manage a real-time information capability so that they know what the customer wants and they supply what the customer needs and wants in almost real-time. The president of GE, for instance, has said that when Wal-Mart sells a light bulb, we make a light bulb, indicating the critical linkages between the consumer and the demand and what the production base provides. Now that's unprecedented in the industry. Another one is that in the world of bond trading, you have several firms that are providing real-time information capability that allows them competitive edge in their particular industries.

As we have looked at some of these industry initiatives, we find that they have some things in common. They have an information grid, a sensor grid and an engagement grid. And I'm putting military terms on those, but with these three grids, you can allow information to be available, but not necessarily information to be forced upon any particular decision maker. And so he can choose what information he receives and therefore, he can selectively avoid information overload that you refer to.

It's a pretty deep and wide subject. Information overload is one of the considerations out of many that we're working in that area.

Please, Steve.

Q: General, when I read these reports, there's a lot of exciting stuff down in the future but what doesn't seem to get covered is what should be given up. Is there something that we do now, that the U.S. military does now analogous to the horse cavalry that at a certain point in time was just obsolete and eliminated? Is there something analogous to that now?

A: I can say yes, but I can't tell you what that is (laughter) because that's the purpose of this endeavor is to prove out the concepts; is to look at organizational structure, which is example you used. And as we go through an iterative experimental process to determine if in fact that organization is now a dinosaur and should be far more compact, far more agile, perhaps cut out layers of command, add different types of organization or command structures. So that's part of the process that we're going through between now and the year 2010. We are doing a lot of things exactly right now in the Department of Defense.

The important thing with Joint Vision 2010 implementation is that we create unity of efforts so we head toward the future in an efficient way and we also head toward the future and establish the capabilities that we need to address the future requirement without eliminating some of the very good things that are going on right now that should continue to go on into the future.


Q: Let me go into the strategic issue, that being the challenges to peace in places such as Middle East, growing challenges in Middle East, Iran, Iraq, the growing challenge to civility in the far Pacific and the western Pacific, specifically Korea and China and India, Pakistan, a few other places around the world like Bosnia. What about projecting the gathering storms of the next decade?

A: Okay. That's a good question. I don't want to get too far upfield, but let me address it briefly. The Quadrennial Defense Review had three pillars to the strategy and it was shape, respond, prepare. What you allude to first of all is the shaping function. We simply must engage day in and day out around the world to allow us to increase stability, thereby preventing the probability of needing to respond to instability. Now as we do that shaping function, we must consider what the requirements of that function are as we develop the future force. The future force not only has to be able to fight and win, the future force has to be able to engage, has to be able to shape and enhance stability in those areas of the world that you describe.


Q: I'd like to draw you to the technology side for a second.

A: Good.

Q: I'm kind of curious because you want a lot of these things implemented by 2010 or have -- be operational, ready to go by 2010. Given the long lead time you need for everything in this building, some of these things have to get moving pretty quickly and I'm struck there by the reference to the low observable and masking technologies and I'm kind of curious if you can give us a time frame of when you see those being fielding or in EMD kind of phase or, you know, basically coming along.

A: Well I won't address specifics but I will address in general terms a couple things. There are low observable technologies that are being developed now and there are some already available. That will continue, obviously, and that's an important aspect of the materiel aspect of Joint Vision 2010. Additionally, the Defense Science Board, for instance, is looking at that specific subject in one of their summer studies so there are people that are investigating this and investigating the next steps, recognizing the importance of that whole area of low observables and the aspect of if you can see something in the future war environment that we're talking about, you can probably kill it. And masking your signature in various ways is critical to the future force survivability and hence, to the full dimensional protection aspect of the mission as well as precision engagement and dominant maneuver.

Q: Let me follow up then. A lot of the things you talked about in technology are fairly broad categories, smarter technologies, long range precision capability, of all those, low observable masking technology you want, you get pretty specific what you're looking at -- passive IR, active RS. I'm wondering why you singled those out and didn't -- then on the other hand on smarter weapons or long range precision, talk about hypersonics and what was it about that that made it worth singling out like this?

A: I don't think that there's a reason for that. I think low observables are less well understood then the precision engagement where people saw munitions going down chimneys in Operation Desert Storm. And so I think the concept includes some examples to let people understand the broad categories we're talking to.

As you discuss the future force, just one final comment on low observables, you know, you -- I've talked about flexibility in the force. One of the challenges may be to create something that can be seen at some point in time and not seen at other points in time. And so that represents a higher level of technology that perhaps one would want to pursue because you need the flexibility in the force. Sometimes for engagement purposes to make an impression, you need to be seen. Other times, if you're actually fighting or someone's shooting at you, you would like not to be seen. And so technology would seek to serve those dual purposes in a single platform.


Q: A lot of these concepts are relatively perfold across the board. Is there going to be any way of divvying out to the various services parts of this to make one service more responsible for some part than the other or how will that work in the future?

A: We're working through the specifics of exactly how we will divide the labor on the Vision. First of all, let me emphasize that the services are already embarked upon their own experimentation programs, their own conceptual development towards their visions and towards Joint Vision 2010. The services in this past year have come on strongly in support of Joint Vision 2010 and in the need for developing jointness in the future force. Now as we proceed further, we will -- as I have said, conduct experiments. It will be necessary down the pike to define who's in charge of those experiments. It could be a service in some cases, it could be a CINC in other cases, it could be an agency in other cases. So we will determine that as we go through the design of the particular experiment determining who is best qualified to conduct that and then we will move out.


Q: Do you see anything like maybe competition between concepts of different services to see which one works better, anything of that nature?

A: I'm not for sure I'd use the word "competition", I'd use the word "synergism". We seek to leverage what is already going on in the services. We seek to coordinate that so that we don't have redundancies or repetition and then we seek to fill the gaps if necessary with unique joint experimentation that is not being conducted in respective services.


Q: Another threat that you're going to be dealing with certainly more at the time is the cruise missile threat. You've been working on that I think separately. Besides this, I'm wondering how the cruise missile operational architecture, I think, it is what you're working and this fit together or where they are separate or they just address different issues.

A: I'm not properly versed in latest status of the cruise missile development. I'd prefer not to speak to that.

Q: Is any of this in the future going to be left to allies to accomplish?

A: It's important that in the future we team with our allies. I wouldn't term it the way you have in terms of left to allies to accomplish. I -- certainly we have partnerships with many allies around the world. We have collective missions. We would expect that we will divide labor on those missions as we do now. We would expect that to continue. As you look at Joint Vision 2010, I would highlight that our allies do have some concerns about widening gaps in terms of technology in particular with U.S. forces. That's a valid concern on their part. We intend to address that concern very seriously. We intend to compensate for that technology gap which may be inevitable because of the current status of technology in our respective nations and the funding afforded in the various nations. But we intend to compensate for that gap with other means of interoperability.

The first step of interoperability is by understanding how one another operate. And so doctrine, joint and combined is extremely important that we get on the same sheet of music. As we get on the same sheet of doctrinal music, then that empowers us to cooperate on the battlefield even though we may have different technologies.

A second means of narrowing the gap figuratively is to ensure that the technology that we do posses when at all possible is downward capable, allowing us to operate with less sophisticated or mature systems, thereby ensuring interoperability even though it may be with different systems.

Anyone else?

Okay, let me just highlight that this Concept for Future Joint Operations is a significant step as we apply what has been laid out in the QDR of shaping the future. So we shape the future, the primary took is Joint Vision 2010, the Concept for Future Joint Operations is the latest step in Joint Vision 2010. It signals the movement to now a phase of iterative experimental implementation that will help us prove out the concepts as we develop the future force for 2010.

Thanks a lot.

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