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Former DoD Transformation Head Dies at Age 63

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2005 – The former admiral who'd been in charge of the defense department's mission to transform itself for the 21st century died Nov. 12 at age 63.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski had already experienced a highly successful military career when he was appointed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Nov. 26, 2001, to lead DoD's transformation efforts.

"Art Cebrowski is the perfect guy to promote and analyze our transformation efforts," Rumsfeld said in a DoD news release announcing Cebrowski's appointment.

Cebrowski was chosen for the position, Rumsfeld said, due to the admiral's vast military experience, strong credentials in joint operations and information technology, and grasp of cultural and technical issues involved in transformation.

"All of society is moving from the Industrial Age to the Information Age," Cebrowski said during an interview conducted shortly before he retired Feb. 1 as director of DoD's Office of Force Transformation. "Now the military is as well."

Transformation has taken hold across DoD and is here to stay, Cebrowski said in luncheon remarks to American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics members just before he stepped down as transformation chief.

For example, Cebrowski pointed out, the U.S. Army isn't going to jettison its new combat-brigade structure centered on the Stryker armored vehicle and go back to an old-style, division-based tactical force structure. Smaller, lighter military units like Stryker brigades pack a powerful punch and can be more quickly transported to global hot spots than heavy "legacy" armored divisions.

The armed services also have thousands of noncommissioned officers and junior- and mid-level commissioned officers who have combat experience under the new transformational doctrine, the admiral said.

"That changes the force," Cebrowski said. The department also has harnessed new technologies, he said, to greatly improve and expand its communications capabilities.

Terry Pudas, who is acting director of the Office of Force transformation, called Cebrowski "a uniquely talented individual that had an ability to look at major changes in society and national security and synthesize these into a larger strategic context."

"He was much more than an arm-chair intellectual," Pudas said in a statement.

Navy Secretary and Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said Cebrowski "was a leader in war and peace."

"Art was an innovative man of vision who challenged the status quo to keep America strong, England said, citing Cebrowski's service as commanding officer of USS Midway during the Gulf War and as president of the Naval War College.

"Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to his loving family and many friends. We will miss Art's wit and insights, and we will never forget his service to America and freedom," England said.

Cebrowski was born in Passiac, N.J., on Aug. 13, 1942. He graduated from Villanova University, located just outside Philadelphia, in 1964. He also secured a master's degree in computer systems management from the Naval Postgraduate School.

The admiral was a naval aviator who'd had combat experience in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm and had commanded Fighter Squadron 41 and Carrier Air Wing 8. Cebrowski also commanded the assault ship USS Guam, the aircraft carrier USS Midway, and the USS America battle group. His joint assignments included service as the director for command, control and communications on the Joint Staff.

Cebrowski had also served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as director of space, information warfare, and command and control. He retired from the U.S. Navy in October 2001 after serving as president of the Naval War College, in Newport, R.I.

The Office of Force Transformation works with other DoD office elements involved with policy, acquisition, technology and logistics to develop strategies and processes for force structure transformation.

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