Myers Talks Transformation, Terror War at Forum
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 4, 2004 Furthering transformation, along with the global war on terror, is the mission over the next year, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at an Institute of Land Warfare Forum here today.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers told the group, part of the Association of the U.S. Army, that the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will continue to discuss the Quadrennial Defense Review.
"One of the things that we will discuss is how do we keep transforming?" he said. DoD will deliver the review to Congress this time next year, and transformation will be a big part of it.
The chairman said that people must stop thinking about pieces of equipment being "transformational." He said as the department prepares the fiscal 2006 budget request, people are "running around the Pentagon and you in industry are running around [Capitol] Hill" saying the piece of equipment or program they have is transformational. They believe saying this will increase the chances for funding, Myers noted.
"It's too bad, because in most cases, transformation isn't about things," he said. New equipment may aid transformation, but it's new thinking that is really the engine for transformation. He said that a new vehicle like Stryker is not transformational in and of itself. It's when the unit the vehicle is used with is redesigned and reconfigured with new doctrine, procedures and manning that the piece of equipment is part of transformation.
Military planners also must look at the range of programs and capabilities in the military before making funding decisions, he said. He said one illustration took place in the early 1990s. He was present when an Army two-star briefed the Joint Requirements Oversight Council chaired by then-Vice Chairman Adm. David Jeremiah on an Army tank-killer system.
After hearing about the benefits of the system, Jeremiah asked how many tank- killer systems did the Army have? He also asked how many were there also in the Air Force and Navy? "The answer was about 15 to 20 systems," Myers said. "Jeremiah asked, 'Do we need 15 or 20, or do we need five or six?"
Myers said there was no mechanism at the time to make those types of decisions. "We think we have those today," he said. Projects come up through the service stovepipes and can reach a pretty high level "before someone asks the all- important question of how does this fit in the overall scheme of how we fight?"
He said that in the future, those sorts of questions must be asked earlier. There needs to be more "analytical rigor, intellectual rigor on how we fight (and) how the systems fit together," he said. "We've come an awful long way by necessity." He said people saw some of that in Army Gen. Tommy Franks' plans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The chairman called the U.S. Central Command plans "a well-integrated effort," with "in some cases interdependence" among the services.
Myers said Americans should be very proud of what the U.S. Army is doing today. "In my view it is the busiest service," he told the group.
There are 17 brigades in Iraq, five in Afghanistan and units around the world dealing with various parts of the war on terror. In addition, the service is moving to transform its basic nature to produce a more flexible and agile force ready to confront the threats of the 21st century.
He said Americans should also be "happy about the impact that we had in Afghanistan." The Afghans enthusiastically supported the elections in October. "There were people who showed a lot of personal courage to vote," he said.
The Army with civil affairs personnel, the provincial reconstruction teams, combat forces and others have been at the forefront in Afghanistan. "The issue in Afghanistan from my viewpoint is the drug issue," the chairman said. The U.S. military will help, but it is primarily a British and Afghan initiative. Afghanistan needs a substitute for the opium poppy crop, better interdiction and a fair and impartial judiciary to deal with the drug issue.
In Iraq, the country is marching toward elections in January. Myers said the coalition is working with the Iraqi interim government to provide security for the elections and for the U.N. team that will supervise the polls. He said much routine work is being done.
"We still, of course, have the security issue," he said. The coalition will deal with security in partnership with the Iraqi interim government. "Any use of military force has to have a political outcome too," he said. "The Iraqi interim government is the only (body that) can do that."
"It's a region of the world where force is respected, but at the same time you can create more enemies by the use of force," the chairman said. "It's a fine balance that has to be made."