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Ensuring Joint Force Superiority in the Information Age
Prepared Remarks of Emmett Paige Jr., assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligen, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va, Tuesday, July 30, 1996

Defense Issues: Volume 11, Number 82-- Ensuring Joint Force Superiority in the Information Age The military services must resist charging ahead of the pack, especially in information management programs. They must work together to achieve a more solid and lasting foundation for all programs.


Volume 11, Number 82

Ensuring Joint Force Superiority in the Information Age

Prepared remarks by Emmett Paige Jr., assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., July 30, 1996.

It is indeed a pleasure share a few minutes with you this morning. I am told that you are about one-quarter to one-half through your course and anxiously looking toward graduation and possible assignment to a joint billet. For some of you senior 05s and 06s, perhaps a return to your current joint billet.

Your experiences here at AFSC have hopefully exposed you to the new, multidisciplinary, multiservice way of life that you will be operating in as you move on to assignments in the joint arena. You will no doubt be awed, amazed, frustrated and sometimes elated with working in this environment. However, you will find that when you reach senior level, it is there that you will derive the benefits of what you are about to do and what others have done so well before you.

Today, I would like to share with you my vision of where we are, where we are going and some of the success stories as we look ahead to capitalize on new technologies and bright ideas that may one day be developed by some of you here today.

In these times, our warfighters are being called upon to be peacekeepers; however, peace is only enforceable when backed by the clout of strong warfighting capabilities. We must remember to plan against our enemies capability and not his intent. This means that we must maintain our leading edge in weaponry, in training and in technology.

Our efforts in the former Yugoslavia in Operation Joint Endeavor give us a glimpse of innovation in information technology. We can follow the activities through the Internet on DoD's Bosnia LINK. In Bosnia, we are delivering a revolutionary capability to the peacekeepers. Together with DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency], the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency and the Central Imagery Office we are bringing real-time fused intelligence imagery to the deployed warfighters, including wide-band direct broadcast support to United States operations in Bosnia.

The first phase of this exciting new capability is the dissemination of live Predator unmanned aerial vehicle imagery to key nodes involved in the Bosnia operation. We are implementing a joint broadcast system and high capacity tactical internet using small satellite communications terminals with asynchronous transfer mode technology of our leading edge Defense Information System network.

In 1969, the ARPANET was begun by DoD for research in data networking. It began with four nodes, all of which were within the research realm. Now, the number of users totals in the millions, and yet the Internet is still seen as being in its infancy. But who would have guessed that one year ago that we would be able to access the vast amounts of information available today from just within the home pages of the DoD.

Past success has now placed us at the beginning of another frontier called the tactical Internet. With the developments being planned under the Army's Digitization Office, we will witness a revolutionary change in battlefield communications, and command and control with the Force XXI advance warfighting experiment scheduled for the second quarter 1997.

As we do our planning for the future of our nation's security, we in the DoD as well as industry must be both practical and dreamers at the same time. While we in DoD must do rigorous analyses of our requirements and mission needs, we must also envision defensive and offensive capabilities that do not exist but that we believe are attainable and cost effective. We are migrating the successful innovations on the Internet to the tactical sphere and the battlefield, providing a quantum leap in capabilities at a click of the mouse. This will clearly bring to fruition the vision of the former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan that "information is knowledge, and knowledge is power".

I would like to cover with you today some of the future capabilities in the tactical communications systems focus area. These are areas that we believe should be exploited to meet our warfighters' need to be able to achieve situational awareness of an adversary and to disseminate that knowledge in near-real time.

Note that I did not say "deliver" the information. I said "disseminate."

This means we must not only have the mechanisms to obtain, assimilate and distribute information, we must have the ability to process it according to the recipients' needs. The warrior needs a fused, real-time, true picture of the battlespace and the ability to order, respond and coordinate vertically and horizontally to prosecute the mission in that battlespace.

We must have all our forces and coalition partners share information and communicate with ease in a secure, timely and accurate framework. Recent history shows us that coalitions and multinational forces will be the way in which peace is sought and maintained.

We are placing higher priority on our information warfare and security initiatives, and this increased emphasis is shown in DoD's increases in funding levels for these programs for the immediate and foreseeable future.

Protection of information is a high priority, and so is harmonization. We have set into motion the mechanism to establish a single, unifying DoD joint technical architecture that hopefully will become binding on all future DoD C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] acquisitions and development efforts. And it will be you that will in all likelihood build, refine and eventually use that architecture. So build it well.

Moving away from our legacy of dissimilar systems and architectures, we will be insistent in having systems that are "born joint" and interoperable! Our architecture working groups have set up the genetic blueprints for those new systems.

The need for interoperability and integration of C4I capabilities, along with those for surveillance and reconnaissance, are recognized at the highest levels of the department. In October 1995, the deputy secretary of defense directed the establishment of a DoD-wide C4I integrated product team. C3I [command, control, communications and intelligence] is the sponsor, organizer and manager of the effort.

The effort has evolved to become the command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance integration task force and has already produced results in identifying proposals that are "targets of opportunity." Most notable of these are the C4ISR decision support center and the complementary joint C4ISR battle center.

In DoD, we are committed to building and operating in this new world as witnessed by efforts within the context of overall defense planning. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in December 1995 forwarded to the secretary of defense a joint planning document that identified warfighting capabilities needed for the future and for related R&D [research and development] initiatives.

It identified 12 emerging trends for achieving future joint warfighting objectives. Of the 12, half of these are information system capabilities. These are:


  • Dominant battlespace knowledge. This requires the capability to work together in a seamless fashion to acquire and assimilate information needed to dominate and neutralize adversary forces.
  • The next is precision force. This provides the capability to destroy targets selectively while limiting collateral damage to the fullest extent possible. This requires advances in sensor guidance and control and "sensor-to-shooter" C4I enhancements which are fully integrated to enable responsive, timely application of forces.
  • Thirdly, a key capability that must be enhanced is combat identification. With additional lethality and speed of information dissemination, we increase the risk of fratricide; reliable identification of friend or foe is critical to making operational decisions. This thorny issue has been around as long as there have been combatants. Today, the real issue is affordability of the available technology solutions.

This brings us to the fourth point, electronic warfare. This includes capabilities for deceiving or disrupting, as well as destroying, the surveillance and command control systems that go along with an opponent's weapons.

Fifth, information warfare is another leading, emerging trend. This is both offensive and defensive. We must have the ability to affect an adversary's information and their information systems, while leveraging and protecting our own information and information systems. I truly believe this is the Achilles heel of the battlefield of the 21st century and we must do everything necessary to ensure dominance.

Lastly, another important emerging trend is for real-time logistics control. This is an information window into the innermost workings of the entire logistics support structure. It includes both total asset visibility across service and agency lines, and in-transit visibility worldwide.

We must bring all these capabilities together, as our core C3 capability for the 21st century.

To enhance these requirements we will continue to make our information infrastructure more robust by building the Defense Information Systems Network, the Defense Messaging System, and Milstar programs. All of these together will allow us to achieve the military pull and the technology push to meet the military challenges in today's fast-changing environment.

We are also leveraging the economies and innovations in the commercial sector for many vital information capabilities such as:


  • Selected satellite capabilities;
  • Mobile, personal communications services; and
  • The commercial global fiber grid.

The need for expansion of DoD's use of commercial assets and capabilities was well articulated by the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces.

Some of you will retire from the military as I did once, a long time ago, and enter the commercial world. From there you may say, what can be done from the industry side?

Overall, I believe that with the confluence of technologies, economics, doctrine and geopolitical issues, that there are opportunities for industry to seize in providing tactical military information systems. Driven by modernization needs, enabled by technology advances, directed by budgetary constraints and empowered by a greater desire for joint and coalition operations, the processes are under way to assess how we do business and provide information systems.

Industry can be a critical resource by taking advantage of the new procurement atmosphere emerging in DoD. Capitalizing on the rapid advances emerging from the commercial sector, service acquisition entities are seeking to introduce off-the-shelf innovations into their communications and command and control arenas. The DoD has given its blessing by encouraging the use of commercial technologies instead of systems built to strictly military specifications. This thrust to go commercial owes as much to technological advances as it does to the reality of budgetary limitations.

The premise from the acquisition methodology that evolved over the past several decades is the mind-set of waiting for the military to define a system and request proposals from industry. This caused the commercial sector to be reactive rather than proactive. Industry must break out of this mold and shift to a supply-side acquisition track, where it takes the initiative in approaching the military with new technologies and innovations.

The foundations for attaining this goal already are emerging. All the services have facilities called battle labs to test and evaluate new technologies or to prototype systems before they are fielded. Many of these efforts focus on joint operations which are driving the changes in the acquisition picture.

Ongoing changes in the defense community add up to a window of opportunity for industry to help revolutionize tactical communications and command and control systems. New systems are being tested at the Joint Interoperability Test Center, where emerging systems are tested for interoperability with existing hardware or fitted into existing architectures. Industry's continued participation in the JWID [Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration] programs and specifically JWID '96 will enhance ongoing efforts to speed the insertion of advanced technology which is introducing a new generation every 12 to 18 months, which precludes defense planners from keeping pace with commercial advances.

The DoD must be proactive and pursue all the avenues to bridge the gap that still exists between the moment a new technology emerges and the time it is noticed and evaluated as part of a military C3I system. As new assignees to joint billets, your creativity and innovativeness should help bridge that gap by recognizing how to apply new technologies while they still are under development and then convince the DoD that new ideas and innovations are at hand. Now more than ever, government and industry must realize their long-sought partnership in development and acquisition.

Some of you, I know, are considered computer geeks, so let me now turn your attention to software. I seem to be getting a lot of press on this subject lately! I am a strong advocate for the use of commercial, off-the-shelf software. Why? Because it makes good business sense and common sense to use COTS software.

Simply put, we will use COTS software whenever it exists to satisfy DoD requirements. However, it must indeed be a commercial product already in use with a proven track record and a market demand.

In those cases where no COTS solution exists, and DoD must develop new codes for which we are responsible for life-cycle maintenance and support, we will write it in ADA. This includes the code for interfacing among COTS packages and for interfacing among systems supporting various defense functions. This policy applies to all -- let me repeat, all -- software-driven systems regardless of functions supported.

As you can see from all the information-related capabilities that are deemed to be crucial to our nation's defense, we cannot afford to squander resources on software that is not reliable or interoperable.

We must proceed with all due haste, but we must proceed methodically. President Truman told us "patience must be our watchword if we are to have world peace." Patience must also be our watchword if we are to have interoperable, seamless, robust C4I capabilities for all of our peacekeepers and warfighters.

The services must work together jointly for results. This is especially true for information management programs, where there is all too often the urge to charge individually ahead of the pack rather than work cooperatively toward a more solid and lasting foundation for all programs concerned.

Much has been accomplished already. We have re-engineered many processes away from service-unique stovepipes to being truly joint. But we are just scratching the surface on what can be done. We are just at the beginning of exploiting information systems for our warfighters.

In closing, I would just like to address my belief that we can never do enough in providing adequate training and education. Let me give you a vivid example of our world of changing technology -- today 82 percent of what he maintains is computer controlled, he averages 100 hours of training a year, his average age is 36, 27 percent of his peers attended college, he deciphers 500,000 pages of technical manuals, the best and brightest, skilled in computer diagnostics can command $75,000 per year. Does this technician maintain the new Comanche helicopter with its four onboard super computers? Does this technician maintain the new M1A2 Abrams battle tank? No. The technician which I have described maintains your new automobile.

If this is what today's mechanic needs to do their job, think what tomorrow's warfighter will need. We must be prepared to provide them the requisite tools.

This is a prime example of why we must do everything possible to increase the knowledge, training and capability of our military work force.

To this end, I applaud you as you move on toward graduation. You are embarking down a road toward something totally new, but something vitally important. Ladies and gentleman, congratulations from an old warrior, I salute you. Good luck and God speed. Thank you.


Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at