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Joint Chiefs to Link New Strategy, Operational Capabilities

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 15, 2012 – The Joint Chiefs of Staff is developing the framework to tie operational capabilities to the military strategy guidance the Defense Department released in January, a senior Pentagon official said here today.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn, the chiefs’ director of joint force development, discussed the Joint Operation Access Concept before a panel at the 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

“Joint forces will operate within and across domains,” Flynn said. “Our decision cycle or process must keep pace with accelerated times. We must rapidly gain a common understanding of the problem, take action and anticipate rapidly second- and third-order effects.

“All the while, we must be prepared for the black swan, or the unanticipated event,” he said. “What we're doing about it is we're taking a look, and hopefully, we'll have it published this summer as the new capstone concept for joint operations.”

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, intends for the capstone document to bridge the new strategic guidance to the development of operational capability, Flynn said.

Operational challenges, Flynn noted, determine how well joint forces, with constrained resources, protect national interests against increasingly capable enemies in a rapidly changing world while security challenges take on both local and global dimensions.

“The capstone concept will frame [this] problem for proposed solutions,” he explained. “We're looking at the global, functional and regional command structure. We're going to look at the seams and we're going to see what we should be doing differently.”

“We're going to make sure that commanders have the authorities necessary to match the speed of operational climates and the employment of the capabilities that they have,” he said.

The Defense Department will try to achieve “cross-the-lane synergy,” Flynn said.

“We're also going to take a look at traditional support and supporting relationships to see what we need to do to change,” he said. “And we're going to have to look at increased interdependence and interoperability across the joint force. We're going to also have to deal with the fact that the force is going to be distributed more across the battlefield.”

It will also be necessary to streamline command and control of the force and develop the leadership needed to guide the force, he added.

“The intent that we're working through is to be able to achieve globally integrated operations,” the Marine general said. “The human element is at the heart of our ability to be able to do this.”

The chiefs also will “take a look at some other war-fighting functions” such as mobility, contracting, deploying forces, use of energy, force protection, and game-changing capabilities.

“On the mobility piece, we have a smaller force, so a key ability is going to be the force [having] the mobility to make sure we're rapidly able to shift our forces around the world,” he said. “It's easy to move people; it's hard to move equipment.”

Flynn added with any capability there is always is risk. “The first risk would be if we don't have the ability to communicate amongst ourselves if the network fails,” he said. “The second risk is if our partners are not able to join the network. Another risk is that our pursuit of advanced technology proves to be unaffordable.”

An additional risk would be a smaller force unable to meet security demands, he said. “Our growth or our movement toward greater interdependence within the joint force results in less flexibility,” he said.

Contact Author

Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn

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Joint Operational Access Concept

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