United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


General Kernan Briefs on Millennium Challenge 2002

Presenters: General William F. Kernan, commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command
July 18, 2002

(Briefing to discuss the joint integrating experiment, Millennium Challenge 2002. Slides shown at this briefing are located at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jul2002/g020718-D-6570C.html.)

Staff: Good morning and thank you for joining us today. It's my pleasure to introduce General Buck Kernan. He's the commander of the Joint Forces Command. He is here to provide a rundown on a major experimentation event that is going to take place in about a week from now. It's called Millennium Challenge '02. This is a joint war-fighting experiment exercise that will combine both fielded forces and computer simulation in many locations across the country. And with that I will let him tell you all about it.

Kernan: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We appreciate you being here. We appreciate your interest in transformation and your interesting in Millennium Challenge. Many of you in this room may have been here a few weeks ago when Brigadier General Jim Smith came here and gave you a little bit of an overview on experimentation and transformation from a Joint Forces Command's perspective. As was just stated, we are doing a major -- the largest, most complex military experiment that has ever been conducted, called Millennium Challenge '02. Jim was a perfect person to introduce this thing. He's got doctorate-level experience in both future war-fighting concepts and Millennium Challenge '02 execution itself.

I am here to give you a big picture perspective on what we are doing, to show you how it fits into our current military transformational efforts, and hopefully to tell you how critical that it is that we keep stretching ourselves on these types of events. As many of you know, Millennium Challenge '02 begins next week. It starts on the 24th of July, and it runs through 15 August, and it includes the efforts of about 13,500 people stretched across the United States in nine live-force training locations and 17 simulation locations. In order to accomplish this, the command confederated over 50 models and simulation systems. The significance of this experiment and what we are trying to determine through it, has never been more important than it is now, as we face adversaries who try to harm us and our way of life.

Joint Forces Command and our Service partners have spent over two years working towards this day. Millennium Challenge '02 had several overarching objectives, which have been provided to you separately, each aimed at transforming our military forces.

Our main intent here in this experiment is to determine the extent to which our forces are able to establish and maintain knowledge superiority, assure access into and throughout the battle space, leverage all national elements of power, and sustain ourselves as we conduct operations against adversaries that may come at us very differently than we have experienced in the past.

Our enemies need to know that we are going to meet them with force capabilities that will defeat them across the spectrum of conflict -- from terrorism through the theater of war, a force that is capable of attacking multiple targets from many different angles, and potentially at the same time, and that we will have the will and the ability to operate more rapidly and decisively than we ever had before.

For MC '02 you hear us toss around a lot of buzz terms, buzz phrases -- things like "a fixed base operation," "operational net assessment," and "rapid decisive operations." But the bottom line upfront is we want to know as much about our adversary as possible, more than he knows about himself, whoever that adversary may be, that we can shut them down very quickly and very effectively, with the least amount of damage and loss of life. We want to do this by bringing to bear every appropriate element of national power -- diplomatic information, military and economic.

The setting for Millennium Challenge '02 is five years from now, 2007. We have used technology to superimpose a computer-modified version of the threat region on the southwestern portion of the United States, where we will use an array of military training areas and ranges to test our live forces. In this experiment, the adversary has the potential to escalate a high-end, small-scale regional conflict into a major theater war.

A joint force commander and his staff will work an aggressive schedule of simulated activity within the scenario to prevent conflict, and if necessary to defeat the adversary. We are incorporating personnel and equipment from each of the Services, many DOD organizations and several other federal agencies. The Services will be conducting experiments embedded with MC '02 that will test future Service and force capabilities. An experiment of this size and complexity has never been attempted before. Approximately 80 percent of the experiment is being conducted through the largest computer simulation confederation ever built. MC '02 is the largest and most complex military experiment of its kind in history.

MC '02 will test four key concepts, some of which have already been mentioned: effects based operations, operation net assessment, standing joint force headquarters, and the joint interagency coordination group. Each of these contribute to rapid, decisive operations. We are determined to create a joint force that is interoperable, responsive, agile, precise and lethal, fully capitalizing on the information revolution and advanced technologies available today.

MC '02 is the key to military transformation. By testing concepts to allow military commanders to make better decisions and leveraging our information superiority, MC '02 helps support the DOD's six key transformation goals, and those are: protecting U.S. homeland and forces overseas, projecting and sustaining power in distant theaters, denying enemy sanctuary, protecting U.S. information networks from attack, using information technology to linkup U.S. forces so that they can fight more jointly, and finally maintaining unhindered access to space while at the same time protecting U.S. space capabilities from enemy attack.

We want to take data and information and turn it into actionable intelligence. We want to -- we will provide our military planners and those who execute the plan with an improved view of our adversary, the battle space and possible solution the crisis -- solutions that include not only responding to that crisis, but shaping the events before they happen.

Let me give you two examples of the importance of this experiment. During the early planning stages of Millennium Challenge '02, about a year, a year and a half ago, we were looking at an idea to bring together members of several government agencies to share information and coordinate their activities. We now see that idea in practice, with the formation of the Joint Interagency Coordination Groups within several of the combatant commands today. And it is the critical element of the Millennium Challenge '02. Likewise, we look at new command and control concepts and organizations which have evolved into the standing joint force headquarters concept that many of you have already reported on. This concept is the centerpiece initiative in MC '02 and has already been partially validated. As you may know, 18th Airborne Corps is now in Afghanistan. But previously it was our centerpiece to form the JTF headquarters for Millennium Challenge '02. They had been involved extensively for over a year in the train-up toward Millennium Challenge '02. As the 18th Airborne Corps withdrew from the experiment, the Army III Corps was handed the mission cold. And with the help of the standing joint force headquarters, the capability we are using in Millennium Challenge '02, III Corps assumed the reins at the JTF with less than two weeks' training. This is dynamic, given all the new tools and concepts we threw at III Corps. The standing joint force headquarters has proven in many respects its value long before the experiment had even begun.

The Secretary of Defense has outlined three strategic imperatives to transformation. The first is improving our war-fighting capability. The second is maintenance of coalition and allies. And the third is dissuasions of an adversary. We need to be able to be proactive in any crisis, and not just react after the fact. The possible types of attacks to not only the United States but to our coalition partners no longer allow us to react solely with military power. We need to be smarter and quicker, use our guile and leverage information technology to get inside the enemy decision process and affect the operation.

MC '02 is aimed directly at that goal. Quite simply, it's designed to improve our joint war-fighting prowess. And with that opening statement, I'd be happy to take any of your questions.

Yes, sir.

Q: General, a key part of joint and combined operations is avoiding a fratricide, friendly fire, and I don't find the list in here of a specific exercise or event or objective that deals with that. Could you say what you are doing, you know, in this experiment or in your role operationally, you know, to cut down on the friendly fire thing? We've already had a couple of them in Afghanistan.

Kernan: Absolutely. We have already run the joint combat identification experiment earlier this year at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. We've learned significantly from that, and elements of that are embedded in Millennium Challenge '02, and also have been shared with our training centers. But specifically, all the Services have initiatives embedded in their Service experiments that address combat identification. One for instance, the Space-Based Blue Force Tracking that's in that pamphlet in there that Special Operations is using. The Joint Fires Initiative -- part of that is the ability to positively identify friendly forces to avoid fratricide. So although it may not be a specified named objective, it is embedded in Millennium Challenge '02.

Q: Do these rely (inaudible) on technology or -- (inaudible) -- sharing of information? I mean, are there -- you know, seems like an IFF on an aircraft, you know, that we can -- we know who the good guys and who the bad guys are -- is there any equivalent to that for ground forces?

Kernan: Yeah, I think you have to really look at this combat identification and avoidance of fratricide very holistically. Technology is a piece of it. Having positive situational awareness -- knowing where you are, where your adversary is, and what threatens your forces, and how you are going to engage your adversary. The process by which you do this is very important. Procedures prevent fratricide and minimize collateral damage. The training of those systems, of that process - is crucial. And then just continually doing the collaborative planning and ensuring that you have got good command and control of you assets -- all part and parcel of it. So it's -- this is done daily in our training areas, and it is a piece of this experiment.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Could you amplify the scenario a little bit more? And could you tell us if it was adjusted in any way after September 11th?

Kernan: Good question. First of all, the scenario itself is classified, but I will tell you that what we have done is we have taken a very realistic look at what we believe the threat will be in '07. This is -- we have a very, very determined OPFOR, both live and simulation. We have people who have -- this is free play. The OPFOR has the ability to win here. It doesn't --

Q: Is that unusual.

Kernan: Pardon me?

Q: Is that unusual.

Kernan: No, no. We try -- you know, but we are controlling certain things so that we can satisfy the objectives. But you have got to have a very robust OPFOR out there to really stress yourself if you are going to get good analytical data and validate the concepts. So we have taken and looked at what is a realistic threat scenario in a region of the world. This in many respects replicates what we have already experienced today, what we envision tomorrow. We have incorporated lessons learned from Enduring Freedom. We have partnered very closely with all the combatant commanders. We continually ask them what their assessment regionally is. They routinely do their joint missionary analysis to determine what is required in the way of capabilities. So if we have identified a deficiency somewhere, we collate that and we will include that in the experiment.

Q: Did you change your scenario at all in the wake of September 11th?

Kernan: No. You know, we know that we may have to tweak it a little bit more in one area over another. One of the things you obviously want to do is be able to check -- test your ability to project combat power, to protect those power projection platforms. You also know -- we also know that we are going to be dealing in situations where access may be denied to us. And we are trying to use an awful lot of guile in trying to determine what our adversary will throw against us next. They're very devious. They're very determined.

Q: Who is the OPFOR?

Kernan: Well, the OPFOR -- that is a fictitious OPFOR, but it's a combination of all that we have experienced probably in the 10 year and what we --

Q: Are people actually serving the OPFOR?

Kernan: Oh, yes. Now, we will use the world-class OPFOR that are in all the Western training areas for the live forces. We also have an OPFOR that is part of Joint Forces Command working out of Suffolk at the Joint War-Fighting Center there. Those are the ones who inject and stimulate the simulation for the virtual piece of it.

Q: General, can you expand a little bit on how the lessons learned from this exercise will be compiled -- how they will be pushed throughout the system for everybody else to learn from? And I guess, specifically, will there be lessons learned from this that people could use to argue for the purchase of specific weapon systems or to argue in-strength questions?

Kernan: Well, I guess you could -- the latter first. I guess they could, yes, obviously form a foundation to justify the requirement. You know, one of the things we are going to do militarily, is we are always going to do the strategy to task analysis, whether it's the national security strategy and the national military strategy they ask us to do. And we will assess that against our force structure and our capabilities. And we'll look at what's required.

Now, one of the things that we've done is we have tried very hard to baseline ourselves currently. You know, what is the current capability that the U.S. military has? This is very difficult to do, because in many respects there are no metrics out here, and we have had to create these as we go. We've been very diligent in looking at how we are going to analyze the effects of these operations. We want to make sure that what we are pursuing is worthy of us incorporating it into the inventory. If things are not working, or if it's not significantly value-added, you know, we want to put a wooden stick in its heart and move on to something where you have a little bit more time to spend on things that are going to produce a significant operational capability force. So, we have got those analytical pieces in place. There will be a report that goes to Congress. This is a congressionally-mandated experiment. We will capture all the lessons learned. We will report out to the Secretary of Defense, and he will subsequently report to Congress the findings of Millennium Challenge.

Yes, sir?

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the information warfare component of all of this? How important will that be to the whole exercise, and how different will it be maybe from previous exercises -- computer attacks?

Kernan: Crucial, crucial. Information operations is a big piece of this -- a major piece of it. In these pamphlets --

Q: More so --

Kernan: Pardon me?

Q: More so than in previous --

Kernan: Oh, yeah. I think we are learning more and more about that every day. We know how important national will is. We know how important it is to get our message across. We know how important it is to not only protect but deny other people the ability to leverage information technology. Psychological operations, civil affairs, information -- all of it. If you look at this thing very comprehensively, it's an extremely powerful combat multiplier. We need to use that to our advantage. There's an awful lot that technology enables us to do. We are going to have to do some modification of our process. We will have to organize to properly leverage information operations.

Q: Do you have a red team?

Kernan: We do have a red team. We have a -- we have a red team coming from the Department of Defense and our own red team and the Services' red teams. So we have --

Q: To hack into your -- to try to hack into your computers?

Kernan: We do, we do.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: This will be a major test of the Army's Striker Brigade Combat Team?

Kernan: It will.

Q: What are some -- what is the role that's going to play, and what are some lessons you are hoping to learn from that?

Kernan: Well, I think the Army can best speak to -- what we are looking at is validating operation -- doing operational concepts. And of course, the Services have some very specific objectives that they are looking at. But we will be doing forcible entry. For the Army, for instance, we will be doing an airborne operation followed immediately by the assault landing of the Striker vehicles. And they will subsequently be looking at repositioning those using intra-theater lift to rapidly take advantage of an opportunity that we create. And then we will look at extraction of the Striker from the objective area via the high-speech vessel, the new experimental vessel that the Navy is looking at that only draws about 13-feet that allows for rapid on-load and off-load. And we'll look at bringing it out by sea platform. So there will be forcible entry. Striker is a centerpiece of this. They are moving out very quickly. They've only had it a couple of weeks. I was there in fact the day those vehicles arrived -- tremendous asset. We hope that we will be able to show that it is a significant part of the joint forcible entry package.

Sir?

Q: Does the design of an exercise like this have any -- does the preemption doctrine, the adoption of a preemption doctrine have any implications for the design of an exercise like this?

Kernan: Yeah, I think it does. One of the things you want to be able to do is assess your overall capability. One of the best forms of defense is always offense, and being able to preemptively take out a threat is extremely important. How selective we are with that and what we use to preempt is also very important. We are trying to look much broader than just the military power here. We recognize that we are part of the interagency. We bring to bear State, the intelligence agencies, Treasury, a lot of interagency involvement occurs in a military operation. There are other things that we can do preemptively than just use the military power. But, yes, we will look at that -- absolutely.

Q: Sir, none of these operations that we are in now are done alone. We have allies.

Kernan: Correct.

Q: Is there a premise that the allies can cooperate in Millennium Challenge '02, or some way that they could do that? And, second, the interagency group -- what are some of the organizations represented in that? And is there reach-back capability to Washington?

Kernan: On the multinational piece, we do have some permanent liaison officers from other nations already assigned to Joint Forces Command. They have already been involved in Millennium Challenge. This is a U.S.-only experiment this time. But in May -- I mean February of next year we will do the first major limited objective experiment with our multinational partners. We are reaching out. We recognize that allied and coalition warfare is the way we want to do business. It's very important that we go down the same track on modernization. Now, we may be moving a lot faster than others. But, nonetheless, if we can proscribe the standards and protocols ahead of time, we can ensure interoperability on tomorrow's battle space. It is very important that we are engaged with our allies.

We don't want to compartmentalize the battlefield any more. We want to blur some of those lines. That's going to allow us to move truly toward jointness -- jointness within the coalition and allied arena also.

On the interagency, we have Department of State, we have Department of Energy, the CIA, USAID. There's a -- and many of them are active participants coming right out of the agency themselves. In other places, we have used retired people that we have contracted to replicate them. They do have reach-back. We are looking at the collaborative tools that we are using right now militarily to provide to some of these agencies to see the utility of them being able to better coordinate, disseminate and execute from back here. State for instance has the same collaborative tools that we are using in Joint Forces Command, because we know that we are always going to be a partner with State.

Sir?

Q: General, do you have any involvement in this exercise with domestic first responders, law enforcement, like we would anticipate in a domestic attack?

Kernan: This is really crisis intervention O'CONUS (Out of the Continental United States). However, it is an excellent question. We have already seen some of the collateral benefits of experimentation in homeland security. Right after 9/11, we stood up a provisional joint force headquarters, called Homeland Security (inaudible) at Joint Forces Command. That was a by-product of what we had learning on the standing joint force headquarters concept that has been directed by the chairman for each one of the combatant commanders to have by '05, and we will validate and modify that concept with Millennium Challenge. Yes, we have done some of that. We have a rapid prototype for fusion of information and intelligence that we are putting together for homeland security called ECHO -- enhanced C4ISR for homeland security operations. So although Millennium Challenge is focused on projecting combat power abroad, there is an awful lot of collateral benefits to this, and we will continue to do experimentation to promote homeland security.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: To what extent, if any, has the war in Afghanistan and Operation Noble Eagle impacted what you had planned to do with part of this exercise -- for example drones or other not -- what is the term? -- low-density, high-demand assets?

Kernan: There has been some impact. I will tell you that we have been able to satisfy all the joint objectives and the Services also -- 32 -- some 32 major initiatives being done. But it has been scaled down somewhat, in particular in the live play -- not in the simulation. We originally envisioned about 30,000 people for Millennium Challenge '02. We are down to 13,005. The platforms -- maybe we don't have the same density we would like, but we will be able to have the platforms that we envisioned experimenting with as part of the live force available to us, and then that plus what we are able to do through simulation, we'll be able to satisfy those objectives. So there has been some scaling back.

Q: And I have a follow-up to Jim's question. What -- can you tell us who would be observer in the multinational force? And where would the exercise take place in February?

Kernan: Well, February will be simulation and it'll be in Suffolk, Virginia, at the Joint War-Fighting Center there. We are still out bidding. We know we have about five bidders right now. I think it's -- I know the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Germany, I believe. And we'll get an awful lot more.

Q: Is France one also?

Kernan: I'm sure, yes.

Q: Thank you. (Laughter.)

Kernan: It's an important ally.

Q: And so what is the -- what's the cost of this current exercise?

  • Kernan: Total cost is $250 million over a two-year period. That includes the Service experiments. I look at that as an investment in the future. We have spent at Joint Forces Command about $45 million, I think, this year for Millennium Challenge.
  • Q: You said over the two-year period?

Kernan: Over a two-year period, yes.

Q: Beginning when?

Kernan: We really -- you know, we took this on with a vengeance in October of 2000.

Yes, ma'am.

Q: Do you have a Millennium Challenge-specific standard for inter-service interoperability for the U.S. Services?

Kernan: Oh, yeah. It's a big part of our business. One of the things we're tasked with in Joint Forces Command is the interoperability piece.

Q: But how do you measure it?

Kernan: How do we measure it? Well, first of all, you got to -- one of the things you have to do up front is, when we write the operational requirements document, is make sure that the key performance parameters of interoperability and those information exchange requirements are designated ahead of time. In order to do that, one of the things we've done is we've trained over 2,000 people who write those operational requirements documents. We've sent out about 40-some mobile training teams. And we reviewed now over 800 documents to assure that, up front, those parameters, those standards are identified and incorporated into new systems.

One of the things we're continually looking at -- we're still a little bit of a Mr. Fix-It. We will look at what does not work. Case in point: We've got a good example right now with the maneuver control system and the TCO in the Marines, the tactical --

Staff: -- control operations.

Kernan: Pardon me.

Staff: Tactical control operations.

Kernan: -- tactical control operations, which are the two systems that our ground forces use to get situational awareness on themselves. Well, they were built almost in parallel, but they weren't interoperable. We built some software to get them to be able to share information. And we will assess that during Millennium Challenge.

Q: Sir, is this designed to counter some random attacks by a rogue state or terrorists or to counter some major regional conflict? And also, what is the role for the Pacific Command?

Kernan: For the Pacific Command?

Q: Yeah.

Kernan: Well, we're doing this for the entire Joint Command. Pacific Command has partnered with us. It is one of the commands that is partnered with us for Millennium Challenge, so they will be heavily involved in it. But it's not specifically in their region.

One of the things they have identified is certain capabilities that they would like to have. We have looked at what kind of concepts and capabilities potentially are out there, and we will experiment on them to satisfy that requirement.

Basically, what we're trying to do, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, is we can right now dominate the spectrum of conflict some of the time. We want to be able to do all the spectrum of conflict all of the time. And in order to do that, we're going to have to change. We're going to have to look as to what emerging doctrine is required; what we're going to need in the way of reorganization of our force structures; what kind of training is going to be necessary.

So when you look at it, you look at it comprehensively, it's not just materiel. There are no silver bullets out there. It is -- materiel are enablers. But oftentimes we find that organization, training and doctrine allow us to do things today differently than we did yesterday with the same capability. We saw some of that in Afghanistan.

The question was asked earlier about what have we learned from Enduring Freedom? Well, in May of '01, long before we had 9/11, we did a major experiment with Central Command and Special Operations Command and Joint Forces Command, and we basically put together a scenario that was very eerily similar to what we're experiencing in Afghanistan, because we looked at real threats out there, potentially what could happen. We had an adversary who was going to use terrorism, potential use of weapons of mass effects, a land-locked country, denied access.

An awful lot of what we were able to look at to prepare us to do Millennium Challenge were incorporated into General Tommy Franks' kit bag for Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. So we are continually doing this.

Q: So this is the beginning of a whole set of new ways of conducting warfare?

Kernan: It could be. It could be. You know, there's a -- I'm not going to suggest that there's a revolution in military affairs coming out of this. Probably the last really revolution in military affairs occurred when we introduced nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

The computer may well be the next revolution in military affairs, and how we employ it, whether we are able to really take information intelligence and turn it into knowledge and use it to our advantage. It will enable us to command and control forces differently. It will enable us to leverage power differently. It will enable us to do things preemptively to prevent, deter or dissuade. The computer may give us that. So we'll see. We'll see.

We're excited about it. I think there are some great opportunities here. The world is a very unfriendly place in many respects. We've got an awful lot of people out there who are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to deny us our way of life. But we've got more asymmetrical capabilities than they've got threats, I've got to tell you. We've just got to use it differently.

Yes, sir.

Q: You said that the new streamlined joint -- (inaudible) -- task force headquarters is a key part of this experiment.

Kernan: Yes.

Q: Is it going to be fully functional? On June 21st, General Keith Kellogg at the J-6 said that not all the computer hardware and software was in for the task force. In fact, it was delayed about a month by that time. Can you fill us in on -- can you give us a status report on how functional it's going to be?

Kernan: We have the equipment necessary to do the standing joint force headquarters right now. Now, you've got to remember, we're experimenting with a suite of collaborative tools. These aren't out in the inventory. This is basically trying to validate and certify that which we believe we need in the future. So, yeah, we've got enough to do that right now.

Getting used to them, getting comfortable with them, is a whole new training challenge. You know, when I listen to General B.B. Bell, who is the JTF commander, give his mission analysis -- and I've done this many times myself, in an entirely different environment -- but this time there were 535 people that listened to him simultaneously give his guidance. They saw the -- (inaudible) -- at the same time. They heard what he thought were the major issues of the operation, where he wanted to focus his effort. Everybody heard the guy.

Now, you want to talk about being able to do collaborative planning and parallel planning immediately, that's pretty powerful. That's pretty powerful.

Q: And what is -- is there a difference between an experiment and an exercise, just for the record?

Kernan: Sure. An exercise is when you're going out there and basically validating your current readiness of systems, doctrine, procedures that are common practice.

An experiment, you're continually fooling with the rheostat. You're changing things. It's an iterative process. You don't necessarily know what your findings are going to be. There are going to be some failures. If you're truly experimenting, you're looking at what's within the realm of the possible, and you don't know until you get into it. If you already know what the after-action report's going to look like on an experiment, you've probably not got an experiment. You've just validated a known concept.

So there's going to be some failures out there. We don't know. But I believe we're going to have a heck of a lot more successes than we are failures.

Yes, sir.

Q: I want to get a little more into information warfare, if we could. And this may get into tactics; you may not want to talk about this. But I'm just wondering, how far do you plan on going with information warfare? For example, in the foe you're fighting, would you take it to that nation's capital, for example, and shut down the power grid, shut down that nation's capital, banking system? Or would you sort of focus with the forces in the field?

Kernan: Well, I think we would leverage the full arsenal of power available to this nation. I wouldn't want to get into operational considerations, because, one, I don't think you -- you want to continually surprise your enemy. He's always looking to surprise us. We saw that on 11 September. So we don't want to tip our hand.

You know, information operations, space -- you know, in my business, we've always been told to dominate the high ground. Well, the ultimate high ground is space. Information is power; we know that. We know -- we've seen that in our daily lives, how our values are changed based on advertising and how we're excited about certain things. You know, movie premiers come out and those kinds of things. Well, it's the same concept taken to a different level. So I think that information operations are probably one of the major imperatives to joint operations.

Yes, sir.

Q: Sir, you had talked about reporting what you learn in Millennium Challenge '02 to the Secretary, and then he, in turn, would send that to Congress. What are some of the other ways in which the things that you learn from this period of experimentation, collecting the Service efforts as well as your own efforts, how can you get some of those things out quickly to benefit Operation Enduring Freedom or other operations that we can undertake in the real world?

Kernan: Both. We'll do that immediately. Anything that we -- I mean, as it's happening, if we see something that's a breakthrough that significantly may benefit the war-fighter out there, we're going to get it out. We're going to see it right away and we're going to get it out, because we're continually assessing the situation. And all the combatant commanders, in particular what's going on right now in the central region, General Tommy Franks, I talk to him routinely. He has opened his doors. He shares information with us. We have sent teams forward, mobile training teams and teams to assess what it is that we can do to help them fight better.

We will immediately do an after-action report on the day after -- an after-action review the day after the experiment is completed and immediately transmit that information to the Service chiefs and others. So we'll fast-track this as quickly as we can. We're not going to sit on our hands. It's too important.

Q: I have two questions. I think General Smith said earlier that the enemy knows often more about us than we do about them. Can you be more specific? And the second question: What's the general scenario? Is that to respond to random attack, or is it to project force afterwards?

Kernan: I'm sorry. The second question was --

Q: Whether the general scenario is to react or to respond to an attack or to project force afterwards?

Kernan: We will try to do things as proactively as possible. We will do an operational net assessment, which is an ongoing process of looking at the enemy as a system of systems. We want to be able to look at him from a political, military, economic, societal, institutional, informational perspective.

We will collate all this information. We will continue to use the information technology system that allows us to assess it, disseminate it, and make decisions off of it. It will give us the opportunity to create opportunity so that we can do things, ideally to prevent something erupting into a crisis, but to be on the front end, if we see a crisis about to happen, where we are better postured to respond.

So, it'll cover the whole spectrum, everything from terrorism to potentially a major theater of war and the threats that loom in between there. When you look at intelligence, there's all kinds of intelligence. There's domestic intelligence. There's international intelligence. There's information out there. There's a tremendous wealth of information out there. All you have to do is turn on the Internet and look at it.

How do you pull it in? You know, in many respects it's like a sieve. It's running everywhere. But we want to be able to funnel it. We want to be able to bring it in. We want to be able to ascertain what it is that we need to know about a region, about an adversary, so we can make informed decisions. We want to take information and intelligence and turn it into actionable intelligence, where we can do things to prevent crisis wherever possible.

So it's going to be -- the fusion of intelligence is going to be a challenge. Now, there's going to be national issues when you start getting into the international arena because they're going to want to protect certain things. But there's an awful lot that we can do to open up those pipes. And we're working on that. And that is one of the major experiments we're going to look at with the multinational arena is how do we fuse information, and then how do we do the multinational collaboration?

Yes, sir.

Q: Can I just sort build on that point? I'm sorry.

Q: Go ahead.

Q: You've said a number of times now you're going to take information and data and fuse it into actionable intelligence. Are you looking at a technological solution to that? Are you looking at a doctrinal solution to that? I mean, all of the commanders that we've talked to here, and I guess in the field, have talked about there's a glut of information. It's finding out what's important that's so hard.

Kernan: Yeah. And it's a little bit of everything, as you just described. One, you've got to have the capability to fuse this intelligence. And you also have to look at the statutes and policies that may be impediments to that. Then you have to have a process by which to do it. And there are going to be some doctrinal changes, unquestionably, that will go with this.

We built this operational net assessment, and basically what we did was we figured into a computer everything we could possibly think about needing to know about a region, and we built this thing. It doesn't exist today. We would love to have a data bank that allowed us to bring all this in, to archive it, to collate it, to be able to then have -- to be able to call it up, the information that you need, have some tools there that enabled us to rapidly assess what it is that we needed to know, and then disseminate it.

That's what we're building toward. That's what we're building toward. That does not exist today. We have made one and we have created our own data bank, if you'd like. It is going to be a real challenge for us when we do Millennium Challenge, because as we change the situation, as the environment changes, as we do things kinetically or non-kinetically, we're going to have to rapidly put that into that data bank so that these commanders can make informed decisions based on real-time intelligence.

Q: You're talking an awful lot about information. What I'm wondering about is how do you look into the mind of your enemy to anticipate how he might respond to any of a number of different measures that you might take, not what he's done up till now but what he might do at some point in the future?

Kernan: Well, I'd love to be able to answer that, but what it really suggests is that we have got to be more culturally sensitive. We have got to look at what influences our adversary. What is his or her personality like? What are they going to do with information that's provided to them? What are their centers of gravity, personally as well as nationally?

So, yes, this is one of the things we're going to have to look at. We're going to have to look at things culturally. We're going to have to look at things from an institutional perspective. We're going to have to look at does religion affect the way people think, their responses to our actions or actions against us? So I think that's a holistic view of the enemy.

Yes.

Q: If I could just follow up quickly. All these factors also affect the way we behave, the way we act also.

Kernan: Oh, yeah, absolutely. You've got to know an awful lot about yourself also. You've got to do that self-assessment. You've got to do that self-criticism. You've got to continue to look at what your vulnerabilities are. We continually red-team ourselves. We've learned the importance of that.

I will tell you, I don't care how diligent we are, there will be seams and gaps that will create vulnerabilities. We are an open society. We want to stay an open society. The very things that make the United States special and our way of life special create certain vulnerabilities. So we've got to continually be assessing those vulnerabilities, and we've got to look at what we can do to offset them, because I guarantee our adversary will.

Yes, sir.

Staff: The general's got another appointment, so if we could take just two more, I'll get you out of here, sir.

Q: I think you mentioned General Bell's joint technical standards. I believe part of the scenario is that they will relocate the joint standing headquarters during the operation. Can you say where they're going to locate in theater? And who are the other major players, like Who's running your op out of Suffolk?

Kernan: Yeah. I need to hire you. You can help me out. You're a good lead-in for me.

Q: I'm not cheap. (Laughter.)

Kernan: Well, that's an excellent point. General Bell will be at Suffolk with his joint staff, and the standing joint force headquarters centerpiece that we are providing from Joint Forces Command that brings in the special skills and the knowledge and collaborative tools, and also the regional awareness that's going to be so essential to a JTF commander coming in to do a crisis intervention in particular.

He will relocate from Suffolk to the Coronado, which will be afloat in the Pacific. Enroute, he will have the joint en route planning mission rehearsal system to be built that allows him to have complete visibility on the current intelligence. He'll have blue and red situational awareness. He'll be able to do streaming video. He'll be able to get CNN. He'll be able to do white-boarding, chat-rooming, video, point-to-point.

This is a fly-in, broad-area network system that we've got, so that he will never lose the ability to command and control his forces. He will never lose situational awareness from the time that he relocates from Suffolk to land at San Diego to get on the aircraft to go to the Coronado. He'll command and control those forces.

Our blue team -- or our red force -- we have a number of contractors out there, and most all of them are retired military. We have brought in some retired personnel. We have an ambassador, Ambassador Oakley, who is part of our red team and part of our OPFOR. Ambassador Oakley has been exposed to some pretty significant events in our recent history. He knows just how dangerous the world is. He's got a very devious mind. (Laughter.) I'm looking forward to see what he comes up with. But he's part of that OPFOR.

Q: What's the air vehicle that's taking the joint staff -- (inaudible.)

Kernan: The en route planning mission and rehearsal? It'll go on a C-17. It'll go on a C-17. But it can be downloaded. It can immediately go onto a ground platform. It can go onto a sea platform. It is transportable.

Pardon me?

Q: Is it one of those silver bullet type --

Kernan: No, they're real small. I mean, it's smaller than this podium here. We challenged our young people out there and a bunch of contractors to come up with something that was going to give us this capability. We knew it was within the realm of the possible. And they put it together in about eight months. It's all commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf. It is phenomenal. You all need to come see it. I think you'd be impressed if you -- you know --

Q: What's Oakley's --

Kernan: Pardon me?

Q: What's Oakley's role? Is he going to be president of the --

Kernan: Ambassador Oakley is part of our OPFOR for simulation.

Q: Right. But will he be leading the OPFOR as the civilian head of whatever that force is?

Kernan: No, I think because of his geopolitical experience, he's going to put that dimension in there. Now, we obviously have military OPFOR in there. We have people in there for information operations for the OPFOR to use against us, because we know they'll do it.

Q: So he doesn't have a particular title in OPFOR

Kernan: No, I don't think he's got a title. Help me out. Does he have a title?

Staff: He's serving as the civilian head of government for country -- (inaudible).

Kernan: Okay, he's got a title. (Laughter.)

Q: Sir, can I have the last one? You said you have assessments from other sources, like diplomatic, and maybe from the State Department, to assess this other enemy country. Does that mean, if you gather enough information to think this country is going to take dangerous actions, but not yet, you are going to take military action against that?

Kernan: We would not do anything without direction of the President and the Secretary of Defense, meaning -- you know, this is not to suggest that just because we have visibility on this, that we would immediately respond. I mean, that's a national decision. That's a little out of my lane. But we would hope that everybody would have the same visibility on the problem and the crisis area that we would. And then our national leadership would make a determination as to what's in the best interest of the nation, our allies and coalition partners.

Q: Who's playing the role of the president then?

Kernan: It was General Zinni for a while, but we'll see what happens. He got sort of yanked off the -- (laughter.)

Staff: Sir, I promised we'd get out of here in 40 minutes. I've already failed. So I hate to bring this to a close, but thanks for being here today.

Kernan: We appreciate it. Now, listen, you all are more than welcome to come visit us down in Suffolk if you want to get out of the building for a while. We'll entertain you, we'll educate you, and I think you'll be impressed with what these young men and women are doing.

Thanks very much; appreciate it.

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., WASHINGTON DC. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400.

Additional Links

Stay Connected