Separate Services Make Distinct Contributions to Joint Force
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 8, 2005 The trend toward "jointness" doesn't mean the Defense Department expects all the services to become cookie-cutter copies of each other, a senior official explained.
Military operations increasingly call for close collaboration among all the services as they pursue a common mission, a trend that isn't likely to change, said Raymond F. DuBois Jr., the Pentagon's director of administration and management said in a recent interview with the Pentagon Channel.
Working together in a joint environment, particularly in combat, reinforces the benefits of the services being able to tap into each other's capabilities, he said.
There's increasingly recognition that "these four services don't all have to have separate and self-contained combat capability that cannot and will not take advantage of the combat capability of another service, a sister service," he said.
Because today's military fights jointly, that's also increasingly going to be the way it trains, DuBois said. Transition plans for the Defense Department call for changes at the military's major combat training centers to make them better able to support joint operations. These centers include the Army's National Training Center, at Fort Irwin, Calif.; the Air Warfare Center, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, at Twentynine Palms, Calif.; and the Navy's instrumented sea ranges.
In addition, DuBois said, the Pentagon's renovation plans call for the elimination of each service's command center. Replacing them will be one unified command center that operates as a national military command planning and decision cell.
"This is an important cultural change," DuBois said. "Putting people physically together inevitably changes their behavior and improves communication and appreciation of the other guy's problems."
But despite the emphasis on joint planning, training and operations, DuBois said, the military continues to benefit from having four distinct services that contribute their individual culture, traditions and esprit de corps to the nation's defense.
Jointness, he said, doesn't mean that "the uniforms ought to be the same color" or that the services need to lose their individuality.
"The uniforms ought to be different colors, with different ideas about how you fight a war, with different ideas about how you plan a war," DuBois said. "Creative tension yields better results, as long as there is a shared vision that we have to work together to really deliver the combat punch when and where necessary."