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'Transformation Means Profound Change,' Wolfowitz Tells NWC Grads

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2003 – Today's U.S. military leaders need to think outside the box to contend with massive changes occurring in the national security realm, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz declared June 20 to Naval War College graduates.

Military "transformation means profound change," Wolfowitz noted in his prepared remarks to 782 officers comprising the NWC Class of 2003, adding that that change means more than just leveraging technological advances.

"That is more than a mechanical change," he pointed out at the 119-year-old Newport, R.I., military institution. "It requires a change in the way we think and the way we organize; it is properly described as a cultural change."

Jointness is part of that cultural change, Wolfowitz asserted. And when services train side by side, he explained, they develop "the kind of confidence needed to sustain us in the extreme stress of combat."

That's why, he continued, DoD is developing a joint national training capability.

The idea, Wolfowitz remarked, is to create a U.S. global military capability where "individuals and units will receive training and experience in joint operations at the strategic, operational and tactical levels." The overall goal, he said, is for the armed services "to train as we fight - as a coherently integrated team."

Both joint operations and outside-the-box thinking have been put to good use during the war against global terrorism, Wolfowitz maintained. In the war against al Qaeda and their Taliban enablers in Afghanistan, he noted, special operations troops using old-fashioned horse cavalry acted in concert with modern satellite communications networks, which "produced a truly 21st century capability."

And such military innovation continued during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he pointed out. For example:

  • New communications network and satellite technologies in tandem with joint warfighting provided U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq nearly constant access to precision air support.

     

  • New technologies enabled U.S. special operations forces to roam across Iraq performing critical missions before official hostilities commenced. This, in turn, greatly aided the fast advance of conventional ground forces from Kuwait to Baghdad.

     

  • In Iraq, conventional armored forces were under the command of Special Forces and the first-ever combined forces land component commander, integrating U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and coalition forces in a single land combat command.

     

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle and hit-to-kill antimissile systems were used to good effect against pro-Saddam forces and other target during Operation Iraqi Freedom combat operations.

"In short," Wolfowitz declared, "our operational emphasis now is on flexibility, speed and jointness."

Wolfowitz acknowledged the difficulty for a large, tradition-minded organization like DoD "to encourage such innovation while, at the same time," attending to daily mission challenges.

Yet, the deputy defense secretary said he was confident that the Naval War College graduates would adapt to new military innovations.

"I have no doubt that you will. You are professionals," Wolfowitz concluded.

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