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Joint Vision 2010 Needs for Stronger CinC Voice, Gehman Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2000, March 17, 2000 – While Joint Vision 2010 is the right goal for the U.S. military, the commander of Joint Forces Command fears DoD will be nowhere near that goal on the target date.

Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr. said to the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies in Cambridge, Mass., that the United States must maintain its current military advantage, but that maintaining that edge is much more complex than it has ever been. Gehman spoke to the group March 14.

To be successful, the military needs strong leadership. "A small but vocal group in Congress is concerned that the U.S. military is too wedded to its careers, organizations and platforms to do anything more than make partial product improvements from one generation to the next," Gehman said. "These members of Congress and others are pressing the Department of Defense and the uniformed military to think bigger and longer range."

Gehman said he believes the unified commanders need a stronger voice in setting military requirements and in deciding acquisition strategies. "In my opinion, it is time for the unified commanders in chief to stake out maybe half a dozen military capability areas and establish that, in these narrow areas, joint requirements supersede service requirements," he said.

He suggested the commanders in chief would probably all agree on such areas as integrated air and missile defense; command and control; combat identification; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; battlefield strike and joint fires; and strategic mobility and deployment.

Joint Vision 2010, signed in 1996 by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, lays out four broad areas the U.S. military should concentrate on -- dominant maneuver, precision engagement, logistics, and force protection. Transforming the U.S. military to reach the goals of the joint vision "is a very complex proposition that involves far more than purchasing new weapon systems," Gehman said. "Transformation is not just about the application of information age technologies -- it is every bit as dependent on new organization structures, new operational concepts and improving joint teamwork."

Gehman, whose command is tasked with working out the path toward Joint Vision 2010, said potential adversaries would not confront the United States directly. "Instead, they'll pursue technologies and operational concepts that exploit what they perceive as our weaknesses," he said.

The United States, therefore, needs an active, flexible strategy that allows the military to confront these new threats, he said. "Additionally, the planes, tanks and ships of our military are wearing out," he added. "Sooner or later this equipment must be replaced."

Gehman said U.S. forces must be modernized whether or not they are transformed. "Our current force structure cannot be maintained on a one-for-one replacement basis within likely future budget levels," he said. "Transformation is needed to shift to a smaller but more capable force."

Without this transformation, the United States will lose its ability to shape the international environment. Gehman said the military value of transformation is often controversial and in doubt right up to the time it proves itself in conflict -- and "truly innovative changes in military operations take years, if not decades, to achieve."

Gehman said the DoD leadership must do the "hard intellectual work necessary to analyze the challenges of the future, the technology we know is coming our way, and the new tactics and procedures that will make us successful on the battlefields of the future."

He said DoD's report card on meeting these challenges is mixed.

DoD and the services have moved ahead by enunciating their goals in Joint Vision 2010 and the service visions. DoD has established the Joint Warfighting Center and the Joint Battle Center under Joint Forces Command, and the services have each established "battlelabs" -- centers to test and validate new doctrine and equipment.

Gehman said some new organizations have come into being. He cited specifically the Air Force's Air Expeditionary Force and the Army's Interim Force as steps in the right direction. "But most important is a funded, manned and independent joint experimentation program that started in mid-1999," he said.

Gehman said a military must have five critical items to transform itself.

First, there must be enabling technologies and ideas. "We clearly have this," he said. Information technology is driving the transformation of the military and U.S. society. Military officers and NCOs have the ideas to make these technologies work, he said.

Second, there must be clearly articulated unmet military challenges. He said U.S. military leaders must fight the tendency to "refight the last war and work instead to meet the difficult challenges ahead."

Third, there are leadership issues of organizational support and "top cover." Transforming a large and conservative organization like the military is difficult, he said, and "in my experience, it cannot be done from the bottom up." Gehman said senior leaders must devote the resources and be willing to take the risks -- provide top cover -- so their people can experiment and find the right combinations to speed military transformation.

Fourth, there must be a process and opportunity to learn, experiment, fail and discover, he said. "We are aware of the truth that everything the services buy works -- to some extent," Gehman said. "Joint experimentation will attempt to determine, from a joint perspective, the best. We must be committed to accelerating the best and terminating lesser systems. Some will consider the cost of terminating some systems as wasteful failures, but knowing what doesn't work is perhaps the most important outcome of experimentation."

Finally, there has to be some way to respond to what is learned. The results of any experiment must be incorporated into DoD doctrine, acquisition or force structure, Gehman said.

"Here there is cause for concern," he said. "The military capabilities called for in Joint Vision 2010 are maturing in concept development and technical requirements, but the acquiring and achieving piece is not in place. Most significant is our slow progress toward interoperability of our command and control systems; our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; and our smart weapons.

"I'm convinced that the solution lies in giving a stronger voice in requirements and acquisition to the unified commanders, the users of the military capabilities that the services produce."

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