Gen. Kernan And Maj. Gen. Cash Discuss Millennium Challenge's Lessons Learned
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2002 - 9 a.m. EDT
(A discussion on lessons learned from the joint integrating experiment Millennium Challenge 2002. Also participating was Maj. Gen. Dean Cash, director, Joint Concept Development, Joint Forces Command.)
Staff: Good morning, and thank you for joining us so early this morning. It's my pleasure to introduce a man who really needs no introduction. General Kernan was here recently to discuss Millennium Challenge '02 before this joint experiment started, and he's back today to give you some feedback on how the experiment went. This exercise ran from July 24th to August 15th, and it was the largest, I think, experiment of its kind for the U.S. military, and it brought together both computer simulations as well as live field exercises.
He has a presentation and then he's going to take some questions for you.
So, sir, let's get started.
Kernan: Thanks. Well, good morning, everybody. Thanks very much for being here. As I said, I'm fulfilling my promise to you of about two months ago, I think it was the 18th of July, just prior to Millennium Challenge, came in here and gave you a little overview of Millennium Challenge.
Some of you had the opportunity to go down to Suffolk and other places, and we appreciate that.
I'm now back to give you some initial assessment, sort of a quick look as to what the outcomes of Millennium Challenge was all about and where we expect to go from here.
I've got about 30 minutes before my next appointment, so I'll go through some quick remarks and then take questions. And I've got Major General Dean Cash from the command here, who has been involved for the last two years along with me in Millennium Challenge, so he can stay on for any additional questions.
I must tell you that this is still a work in progress. There are literally thousands of data points out there that we are -- we have to assess. We're still in the process of doing that. I'll be very careful as to what I give you as far as a preliminary quick-look assessment, because I have yet to brief my boss, the secretary of Defense, as to what we have in the way of recommendations and what we think the way ahead ought to be for the joint operational piece of all this. This is a transformation journey. There's an awful lot that needs to be assessed, and we're in the process of doing that.
Let me tell you first of all, though -- and I want to take this opportunity to praise the services for their involvement in Millennium Challenge. This was the first major joint experiment ever conducted. They also were -- subordinated themselves to this joint context and used that opportunity to do some service experimentation. And at the same time we had many of the Defense agencies and the government agencies involved in looking at joint operations in the future.
It was a complex and very challenging environment. It was a complex and very challenging experiment. And first and foremost, it was an experiment.
The scope, the scale and complexity of this, was enormous. There was an awful lot of hard work and planning that went into it, and I will tell you it was, in many respects, an experiment in experimenting, because we had never taken on anything of this magnitude. And we learned, as we went on, throughout the process, what we could do differently and what we needed to do in the future.
But I want you to consider the magnitude of Millennium Challenge. It involved all the combatant commanders. We went out and looked at what their operational requirements were, what their current capabilities were and what their perceived deficiencies were for the future, and what we could do to try to offset those. We looked at Defense and governmental agencies as to what their requirements would be and how the United States military envisions possibly leveraging those agencies in a crisis.
There were 11 major concepts, 27 joint initiatives, 46 service initiatives and 22 different war-fighting challenges that the combatant commanders and services identified that they wanted to look at during Millennium Challenge. The width, breadth and depth of this thing was enormous. The joint operational area stretched the entire width and depth of the United States. There were nine live locations and 17 simulation locations.
We federated 42 different service modeling and simulation programs into a complex federated system. This gave us the synthetic environment that we needed to do some of the analysis and assessment for Millennium Challenge.
Maintaining the integrity of the experiment was paramount, and we had to do that, and the level of effort was pretty significant when you stopped to consider there was 13,500 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines involved in this. We were directed by Congress to do both a live and simulation exercise or experiment, and we were also to incorporate service experiments into this. This was pretty complex. This is -- I have to emphasize this was an experiment, primarily an experiment.
It was weaved around the context of an exercise, because we had to do some of that. And in fact any time you have troops involved in one of these things, you want to try to do everything you can to salvage the training opportunities, because you don't want to waste their time, and training time is so precious. So it was built around an exercise scenario.
But the distinction between an experiment and an exercise is very significant. In an exercise, one of the things you do is you primarily use live forces. You're operating with defined doctrine, OPFOR [Opposition Forces] and United States doctrine. Usually it's an opportunity to assess your training and readiness. What is your posture? What are your strengths and weaknesses? We have very prescriptive tasks, conditions and standards against our doctrine, and we do that and we assess that in exercises. We use our current capabilities and we use our current skill sets because that's what we are planning on taking to war. And we do an awful lot of exercises.
An experiment's different. And an experiment like Millennium Challenge is significantly different because there we were trying to test a hypothesis and we were looking at the supporting ideas, what is the concept, sort of the "out of the box" type thinking. We were not focused primarily on just what we have today, but what we might -- what we envision for the future.
It does not focus on things. It does not focus so much on platforms and systems and technology as it does concepts. At this level, what we were concerned about is what is the over-reaching joint concepts. If we can validate those concepts, we can then define very specifically what capabilities are necessary to satisfy those requirements -- I mean the concepts and go after them.
The opposing force is freethinking. It does have the opportunity to act, but it's not unconstrained. Let me tell you, even in an exercise, you cannot have an unconstrained exercise. You are limited by time, you are limited by available assets, you are limited by troops, and there are certain things that you must satisfy.
As you know, operationally when we get involved in something, we are very detailed in how we go about satisfying the crisis, and we will expend every effort to set conditions and ensure that we have the right things in place. And however long it takes, we will take it to satisfy the overall mission, minimize collateral damage and ensure success while saving lives. In an exercise or an experiment, you don't have that luxury. You can't leave this open-ended. There are certain things that you must accomplish, and you're constrained by the time which it takes to do it. So sometimes you interfere a little bit with these things. You do it in experiments -- in exercises; you definitely do it in experiments.
This was further exacerbated by the fact that there were live forces involved. It's a lot easier if you're just dealing with simulation because you can re-cock icons very quickly. Not the same when you have live forces, in particular when, because of the Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom going on, there was a limited period of time in which the services could make certain platforms available to us for the experiment, because they were needed operationally.
So we focused on concepts, and the primary -- four primary concepts that we focused on was the Standing Joint Force Headquarters; an Operational Net Assessment, which was basically looking at our adversary as a system of systems, looking at him much more comprehensively than we did before, militarily. Before, we used to do the joint intelligence preparation of the battlefield, and it was our forces against his forces and his capability, and we looked at terrain and those kinds of things. Now we're looking at all the other things in the way of national elements of power that the adversary has, and looked at him much more comprehensively.
Effects-Based Operations. Effects-Based Operations is more than just the kinetic application of military power. It's using our full array of -- in the national arsenal. What is it that we as a nation or as an alliance or a coalition can bring to bear against our adversary, kinetically and non-kinetically, to influence things and ideally to prevent it from going kinetic? In order to do that, you had to be able to anticipate, you had to be able to set conditions, you had to be able to in some cases predict what his reactions were going to be to our actions, what counteractions would we create and what could we do it with, from an intergovernmental perspective.
And then the last one was the Joint Interagency Coordination Group, which, once again, enabled us to truly get the interagency involved proactively in military operations.
There were some other concepts that emerged -- the collaborative information environment -- and I'll talk a little bit more about that. Information operations and force projection also were some collateral things that we assessed in looking at effects-based operation in the future time frame.
We had a high degree of confidence in the potential of these concepts. That's not to say that we had already preordained what was going to be or not to be. But we had -- over the last two years there were 39 separate operations that went on -- 39 -- limited objective experiments and other things that we did leading up to Millennium Challenge.
We still had to push the envelope, though. There were certain -- an awful lot of things that we had to in order to in the way of developmental trials. And we needed to bring everybody into the battlefield, the battle space, at the same time -- the interagency arena, all the services and the combatant commanders -- and look at it from a much more complex level.
We still focused on the operational level of war. We're all about improving the way in which we fight, the way in which we think. We did not try -- we were very careful about not getting down into the tactical arena. That is what the services do, and they do that very, very well. What we were looking for is how we can be more lethal, more responsive, more agile, and how we can dominate the battle space not only today, but tomorrow.
There were some amazing things that came out of it, and some things that we are already looking at, probably at a quick-look perspective of immediately making recommendations that we bring into the inventory. The Joint En Route Planning Mission Rehearsal System, which is basically a manner in which you can command and control, coordinate, and plan on the move with your forces. The Joint Force Commander was able, on a C-17, to maintain communications with over 400 planners and commanders, and did the final planning and execution of the forcible entry operations -- the amphibious operation, the airborne operation, and the assault landings of the C-17s and the 130 -- while he was on the air in the C-17 going from Norfolk to Coronado. He was only out of communications for about 15 minutes as he transferred over to the Coronado and then actually executed the forcible entry from afloat on the Coronado, and then got back in the C-17 and maintained communications for the transition operations immediately after forcible entry.
This is a powerful tool, ladies and gentlemen. I mean, when you have video, when you can pass real-time intelligence, you can do chat rooms and live -- and pass streaming video, it's all web-based, and you can get on and communicate immediately with all your subordinates and everybody hears the same thing at the same time, it really compresses your planning. And there are limited filters out there for the operator. So it really frees him up from the static command post. And that's one of the things we've tried to do, to make the commander more mobile, because we recognize that this -- we're going to do distributed operations and we're going to do them across the width and breadth of a joint operational area, and in order to do that, you must have mobility in a command post.
So we think that's one of the things that warrants immediate investment. In fact, General Tommy Franks is already integrating this into his aircraft, and there are others who are already interested in it. This was one of these commercial, off-the-shelf, government off- the-shelf things that we manufactured right within Joint Forces Command. It only cost about $500,000, but it gave us tremendous capability.
The collaborative information environment I mentioned earlier -- tremendous tool. Basically gave you the opportunity to collectively share information. Now, we were blessed because we had -- we didn't have to integrate any of this. We basically gave them a system; we gave them the hardware and the software so that everybody that participated in the experiment had the same capability. And that was a tremendous enabler. We think that that's something we definitely need to bring into the inventory immediately.
We'll have to look at how we integrate some of our existing systems, but one of the things you want to be able to do is ensure that you can leverage information technology to its full potential. And we were able to do some of that in Millennium Challenge. Standing Joint Force Headquarters. Early validation, in many respects, what we try to do is reduce the "ad hoc'ery" that exists today. We took a group of standing -- of 55 people, special skills sets. They are resident in Joint Forces Command. We gave them to the Joint Force commander to immediately stand up and form the nucleus of the Joint Force headquarters.
We had an opportunity unexpectedly to validate this early because for the last 18 months, we've been working with 18th Airborne Corps, which was the headquarters that was going to form the Joint Force Headquarters for Millennium Challenge. In June, they were sent downrange to Afghanistan. Thank you very much. And we got one of those calls that says, "Okay, adjust fire." What are you going to do now? We went to III Corps immediately, with less than two weeks, sent the Standing Joint Force Headquarters with these collaborative tools over there, did a quick train-up there at Fort Hood, and we were literally able to do in days what it's taken weeks and months to do before. And General B.B. Bell was just absolutely astounded by the capability that it brought on board. And he's probably one of our greatest advocates as to what the, I think, the potential for the Standing Joint Force Headquarters is all about.
The Joint Interagency Coordination Group. We think this is the critical link to the agency. There's some more work that needs to be done, but we believe that every combatant commander needs one of these. How successful they will be will be determined based on the level of skill and experience that the interagency sends to the interagency coordination group. We believe these ought to be a permanent group that reside in the CINC's headquarters to provide him that connectivity back to the interagency. This basically bridges the policy, strategic and operational and tactical actions, if you'd like, of the various governmental agencies with the joint force commander.
Now, I will tell you there are some things that need to be done. We have a very prescriptive military decision-making process within the military. We have a process that's been well defined and refined over the years that allows us to rapidly assess, plan, make recommendations on courses of actions and execute. We need a complementary system within the interagency arena so that we can do this much more effectively.
Really, there were only two of the four primary themes that we took forward as sort of certified, if you'd like, for the Joint Requirements Oversight Council to take a look at. Effects-based operations needs some more refinement, needs some more work. We've got to put some fidelity in the how -- how are we going to do this, how are we going to be able to leverage the full array of national power that's available to us, how are we going to be able to build the systems that allows us to predict with certainty what it is that we're going to do and when we're going to do it, and how we're going to do it. So effects-based operations is, I believe, a sound concept but needs some more refinement. We're not ready to go forward with it yet.
Operational net assessment -- I think it's a great idea, but quite honestly, we'd created this operational net assessment. We did this through human means. It was very limited as to what we could do. What we basically need is a system whereby we can infuse intelligence and information and then the necessary tools to do the assessment, analysis and dissemination of that information to the users, with a high degree of confidence in the tools that enable us to do some predictive analysis and turn this into actionable intelligence.
We need a databank, so that we're not -- we're looking at not just national assets but also international, domestic, as well as foreign intelligence and information, how do we bring this in, how do we archive it, how do we assess it, and how do we distribute it. Concepts there -- tools that support that concept are not there yet.
Force projection. Force projection was one of those things that we know that we need an awful lot of work on. We have responsibility in Joint Forces Command to be the joint -- we're the joint process deployment owners. We need to look at how are we going to create some organizational agility and what are the tools necessary to allow us to much more dynamically plan for the deployment, employment and sustainment of our forces, in particular when you stop to consider that we are doing things on a much different scale than we did during the Cold War. And the manner in which we are organized today offers some significant challenges to the commander and his staff, and we can get -- we need to bring some more tools on board for that.
Information operations is another one. Significant combat multiplier. But the bridge between policy, doctrine and tactical application is yet to be fully refined. We know the power of it. There's an awful lot more work that needs to be done in information operations.
Some great breakthroughs: Joint Fires Initiative, a naval program there, that basically allowed us from the tactical level all the way up to the operational level to fuse the systems, the tools and the process by which we can leverage everything from mortars all the way up to joint fires at the operational level and make them immediately available to the tactical commander at the time and place of his choosing.
And one of the collateral benefits was, quite honestly -- was a national -- a joint national training capability. What we were able to do and had to do, to a degree -- not to the magnitude that we would like -- was take the existing service training centers and fuse the information that's available within them. They have good instrumentation down there, but it's focused at the service level. What we try to do is create the bridge between the service instrumentations and what we needed at the tactical level. If we can fuse all this -- all these centers, we're going to be able to do -- we're going to be able to basically have five joint training centers, instead of service centers, right now. We'll be able to expand exponentially the amount of joint training we do.
This is, as I said, really step one on our transformation journey. The real purpose of Millennium Challenge was to improve our operational capabilities. It is work in progress. There are mountains of data. There are literally thousands of data points out there. And I think we're swimming a little bit in just how much is out there. We put about a 200-person team together to do the analysis and assessment. And in the process there, they have just -- we are overwhelmed right now. So we've got more than thought we needed, but we need it all. And we're in the process of going through that right now.
I will guarantee you that no capability will be validated until it is absolutely ready. It would be unprofessional on our part to recommend anything go forward except that is what -- that -- what our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines need to fight this fight. All the people that work with me are good warfighters. And they're not dinosaurs like me; they're going back out, and they're going to ply their trade as leaders out in the field. They're very interested in improving the operational capabilities of our military.
And we believe we're well on the way to doing this. We've learned an awful lot, and I will tell you, the endorsement we got from the services, as well as the combatant commanders that the joint context in which we created for Millennium Challenge is the way to go. Are there some things that need to be done? Sure. Absolutely. And as I said, it was an experiment in experimenting, and we learned an awful lot, but we accomplished a heck of an awful lot.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I take your questions.
Q: General it appears -- in your quick-look analysis, anything new you can share with us on two sets of missions that you ran -- one against weapons of mass destruction/weapons of mass effect, and the other, urban combat?
Kernan: As you know -- let me take the latter one first. The Marines had -- one of their objectives out here was to do the urban warfare. And they did it out at George. And they did it as part of the Millennium Challenge. There's an awful lot of work that needs to be done in that arena. I will tell you, at the tactical level, the services do a good job in urban warfare. We've got a real challenge in how we meld the joint piece. That is probably the most restrictive, most complex environment in which we're going to fight. It is also where we are going to fight in the future, we recognize that. Our adversaries will force us into the urban area. Unfortunately, we're not going to have the luxury that we enjoyed, say, in World War II of rubbling and using that rubbling as defensive barriers to allow us to go and take down our adversary. We're going to have to be very, very selective as to how we employ our assets.
I will tell you that the Marines did a great job in looking at some tactical systems. We are right now putting together some major experiments in the future. Joint Forces Command has been tasked, beginning next year, to look at the joint context for urban warfare, so there's more work that needs to be done on that.
Weapons of mass effect, weapons of mass destruction, very much of a concern to us. Obviously, a lot of this is linked to precise intelligence, knowing precisely what's there, what it is that we can target, how can we isolate the area, how can we attack it, how can we minimize collateral damage, what type of weapon systems will we use.
Deeply buried underground targets are a major challenge to us. We're continuing to work on this. But it is really the ability to ascertain precisely what's there, to cordon off that area, and then to be able to use the right weapon systems to ensure that there is minimal collateral damage. And that's a challenge to us, and that's a challenge. And one of the things we're concerned about often times is not knowing what the full array of the arsenal may be down there. It's one thing if it's chemical, it's another thing if it's biological. The manner in which you weaponize your platforms to go after that have to focus on what kind of effect that you want and ensure that in fact it can serve as both a chemical and a biological weapon, if they existed there. If you get it wrong, there's an awful lot of people that are going to get hurt.
Q: Your effects-based operations, non-kinetic, can you describe what you were experimenting with there, sort of some of the specific examples?
Kernan: Yeah. We looked at what all the agencies had available to them out there. Some of it had to do, obviously, with framing international will. Some of it had to do with influencing the will of your adversary. We looked at the full array of what we could do to affect our adversary's environment -- political, military, economic, societal, cultural, institutional -- all those things we looked at very comprehensively.
There are things that the agencies have right now that can interrupt people's capabilities. There are things that you can do to disrupt their ability to communicate, to provide power to their people, to influence their national will, to isolate the command and control of your adversary, to take out power grids and those kinds of things -- and not kinetically; we can do it very situationally, which allows us to ensure that the environment that we want during stability operations is to our liking.
Q: Did you employ offensive information operations as part of the experiment?
Kernan: We did. And one of the biggest challenges we had, quite honestly, was doing the analysis of that. And one of the things we found, it was a very limited period of time in which we were doing this experiment, and our ability to -- some of this takes time to develop. So there's some artificiality in there. You had to reach out and say, okay, it looks like we're setting conditions here, now let's take it out to the next level, and do we think we're going to get the desired effects that we would want? I think there's more work that needs to be done here, and we've got to look at how we can assess the long-range impact of information operations because some of these things do take time.
Q: How do you respond to General Van Riper's criticism that basically he wasn't given a free hand to act effectively as an opposition force in some of these scenarios?
Kernan: Yeah, I mean, it is a very fair question, and I'll be straight up with you. I was the reason why Paul Van Riper was at Joint Forces Command. He's a very controversial individual. He is a good warfighter. I admire and respect him very much. I brought him in because he is controversial.
I will tell you that what he did was he -- I think it goes back to this explanation of an experiment versus an exercise. I think he looked at it more from an exercise perspective. And it's one of the things we learned about this whole process.
For instance, he really focused on the OPFOR and he didn't want any additional information, he didn't want -- there were certain people that we had that were trusted agents because you have to do this exercise control group -- you know, there's certain things you have to look at: When are the platforms available? Are we going to meet the time lines that we've been given? We only had 36 hours, for instance, to have the C-17s available to us. There were certain times that we could only use the -- some of the shipping. Now, because he focused on just the OPFOR piece of it, he was not privy to some of this.
We were looking at it from an experimental concept perspective. He was looking at it from an exercise perspective. So I think if you -- you know, if you neck it down and look at it just from his perspective, an awful lot of what he had to say was valid. But if you look at it from what we were trying to accomplish in the way of setting conditions to ensure that the right objectives were satisfied, the experimental objectives, it's a much bigger picture, broader picture.
Q: Well, for instance, if you declared it was a chemicals weapons area, and the troops coming in by C-130 or C-17 might have been exposed to chemical weapons, would that have put a wrench in your works there?
Kernan: Yeah, and it did. Now it's one of those things that we identified and basically we had to adjudicate. I mean, he's a pretty slick fellow. He knew exactly when we were going to have to do certain things.
But like I said, we had 36 hours in which we had those platforms available to us. If you'd have put, say, persistent chemicals on the area in which you were going to employ those forces, we would have waited. We didn't have the luxury of waiting. We didn't have the luxury of waiting for the weather to clear the effects of the chemicals, and we would never subject our troops unwittingly to that environment. We would do everything we could. We'd look for alternate places to go. Well, there's a restriction here in the United States, based on training areas, as to where you can go. There was a restriction as to the amount of time that was available to the platforms. So we basically said he can't do it right now.
If he'd have done it -- once again, we had about 17 days in which we could do this, and that was it, and we didn't have the luxury of being able to stretch it out. So yeah, fair question.
Q: General, his point, was, you were testing concepts and that, you know, by preconditioning the way the outcome would be -- he says you were preconditioning the way the outcome -- to validate those concepts, and that was his critique.
Kernan: I disagree with that. I disagree with that. And I think that -- I have not had a chance to talk with Paul. I asked him to comment at the after-action review, which he did. That's at the point in time in which he told me that he had prepared a report. That is one of the things that we are assessing with all this other data.
I think what we need to do is sit down and look at point/counterpoint as to his assessment versus our interpretation of what we did and why we did it. But I disagree with that context at all. We did not scope anything. We did not preconceive anything. I can tell you that emphatically.
Q: Will there ever be an opportunity to really exercise these concepts and have more free play?
Kernan: Yeah, I think to a degree. I mean, you got to be careful about the word "free play." And I used it, and I wished I hadn't, because we do free play. We do free thinking. But once again, as with all the things I've done throughout my training, there's always been certain constraints. There's environmental constraints. There's areas in which you can fire and you can't fire. There is times in which you can use certain platforms and not use certain platforms. So there's always constraints that you have to weave around. And then there's the time constraint and the availability of troops.
Yes, I think what we can do is we can first of all recognize that some of these things are going to take a little bit more time. One of the advantages you have with simulation, quite honestly, is you're not bound by that and you can stretch out the time line. And if you -- and if something doesn't work, you stop, you re-cock, you turn the rheostat back, you make your assessment, you go back and you redo it. That's the way we would prefer to do an awful lot of these concept experimentations, is look at it from a simulation perspective because you're not wasting a lot of the troop's time and you can redo it time and again until you get all the data that you need. But recognizing how long some of these things take will also give us an opportunity to experiment better in the future.
Q: General, one thing that Van Riper made much of was the fact that at some point the blue fleet was sunk.
Kernan: True, it was.
Q: I want to set-aside for a moment the allegation that the game was rigged because the fleet was "re-floated." I mean, I understand -- I've been told that happens in war games.
Q: And I'm curious. In the course of this experiment or exercise, your fleet was sunk. I'm wondering if that did teach you anything about the concepts you were testing or if that showed anything relevant.
Kernan: I'll tell you one of the things it taught us with a blinding flash of the obvious after the fact. But we had the battle fleet. And of course, it goes back to live versus simulation and what we were doing. There are very prescriptive lanes in which we are able to conduct sea training and amphibious operations, and those are very -- obviously, because of commercial shipping and a lot of other things, just like our air lanes. The ships that we used for the amphibious operations, we brought them in because they had to comply with those lanes. Didn't even think about it.
What it did was it immediately juxtaposed all the simulation icons over to where the live ships were. Now you've got basically, instead of being over the horizon like the Navy would normally fight, and at stand-off ranges that would enable their protective systems to be employed, now they're right sitting off the shore where you're looking at them. I mean, the models and simulation that we put together, it couldn't make a distinction. And we didn't either until all of a sudden, whoops, there they are. And that's about the time he attacked. You know?
Of course, the Navy was just bludgeoning me dearly because, of course, they would say, "We never fight this way." Fair enough. Okay. We didn't mean to do it. We didn't put you in harms way purposely. I mean, it just -- it happened. And it's unfortunate. So those are one of the things that we learned in modeling and simulation.
The simulation systems were designed for the services. Another one, for instance, is the defensive mechanisms, the self-defense systems that are on board all the ships. The JSAF [Joint Semi-Automated Forces] model, which was designed for conventional warfare out on the seas for the Navy, didn't allow for an environment much like we subjected it to, where you had commercial air, commercial shipping, friendly and everything else. And guess what was happening as soon as we turned it on? All the defensive systems were, you know, were attacking the commercial systems and everything else. Well, that wouldn't happen. So we had to shut that piece of it off.
There were a lot of little things that we learned that we've got to clean up afterwards. This was -- that's why I said this was an experiment in experimenting. But 42 models and simulations -- and I got to tell you, they did a remarkable job. It sometimes got as high as 60 different simulation systems. And they were -- they were out there monitoring all this. And if failed, that was one of big concerns. If it crashed, our ability to command, control and assess this experiment was extremely limited. So I mean, that's what happened within the fleet, quite honestly.
Q: I'm just wondering if -- and I understand what you're saying. I'm wondering if, after all those complexities are factored out, if you did learn something about the concepts you were testing.
Kernan: Yeah, oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And in particular, the ones I've already mentioned -- the Joint Interagency Control Group, the standing joint force headquarters and the power of that, the collaborative information environment, those effects-base operations we learned -- I think I -- we -- effects-based operations and operational net assessment are definitely something that we're going to employ. I believe that effects-based operations will be the doctrinal concept, the future joint warfighting concept that our nation will employ. But it ain't ready yet.
Now I think within the -- with a few more experiments and some refinement as to what the supporting entities of that are, I think we'll be able to move that forward.
Q: As a follow-up to what he said, Van Riper also said that most of the blue Naval losses were due to cruise missiles. Can you talk about that and say how concerned you are about that?
Kernan: Well, I don't know. To be honest with you, I haven't had an opportunity to assess the aegis of what happened. But that's a possibility, once again, because we had to shut off some of these self-defense systems on the models that would have normally been employed. That's a possibility. I think the important thing to note is -- is that normally, the Navy would have been significantly over the horizon. They would've been arrayed an awful lot differently than we forced them to because of what they had to do for live-exercise piece of it. And it forced us into a -- to the same environment from a simulation perspective. Yeah, I think we learned some things.
The specifics of the cruise-missile piece -- I don't -- you know, I really can't answer that question. We'd have to get back to you.
Q: Are you planning on applying red-teaming different or red forces differently in the Olympic Challenge 2004?
Kernan: Well, we had the dark team. We had the -- what is it -- Defense --
Kernan: -- Adaptive -- red team there, plus our own. I think this is something that is going to be a growth industry, if you'd like. We're going to have to have very professional, very detailed opposition force red teaming on everything we do. So yeah, I think that this will continue to be refined.
Q: General Van Riper has suggested that his after-action report could be released fairly easily; that it would be easily redacted. There's not much in it that's classified. Would you do that?
Kernan: Well, I've read it. I mean, he classified it secret. How much of it needs to be redacted? I -- you know, I didn't look at it -- when I read it, I didn't look at that. The -- I think all of this -- eventually what can be declassified will be declassified. I think it would be right now unprofessional to release anything until I had an opportunity to brief my boss. I mean, he's expecting an out-brief.
Q: We'll pass it along. (Laughter.)
Kernan: I'm sure you all will.
But I think an awful lot of this is going to be releasable. Now there are some things, obviously, you know, in the compartmentalized arena that will not. But those things that are open, yes, they will be.
Q: Earlier there was a question about weapons of mass destruction. Can you describe for us some of the things that you may have discovered in the experiment about the effects of either delaying your ability to do things or surprises in your decision-making process? I don't know what those might be as you simulated.
Kernan: It goes back to what I alluded to a few minutes ago when I talked about making sure that you have very precise intelligence as to the arsenal. In one particular case, for instance, we anticipated a certain thing was there; there was something beyond that. So the weapon that we used in fact would have destroyed what we thought, but not what else was there.
So in that particular case, it was one of those things after the fact. When the weaponeer -- he made a bad decision. It was down at the -- it was at the weaponeer level, and it never even got to the Joint Force commanders' level. But he made a determination to do -- to use a certain type of munition on something without all the information that was available to him. Consequently, when it destroyed the arsenal, it did, but it had some horrific effects that we hadn't anticipated.
Q: It created -- (off mike) -- effects.
Q: It was -- wait. You thought it was biological and it was chemical?
Kernan: I don't remember what was what. But yeah, it was -- I'd have to go back and look at --
Q: And can you just back up a little bit from that? Can you tell us, regarding WMD, what was the scenario that you were playing here and what were the results?
Kernan: Well, the scenario was not unlike what we're experiencing right now worldwide: that we had an adversary out there that had access to weapons of mass effect. In particular, with the more likely ones, chemical and biological, which are readily available worldwide, he had certain delivery means. I remember we were taking this into the 2007 arena. He was a rogue commander in a country that basically had lost control of him -- not necessarily hostile to the United States, to government, but the commander definitely was a threat to the region, and this could have escalated very quickly from regional -- from a small-scale contingency into a regional war. His -- he had access to some things that were -- that threaten us today, without getting into classified areas. So it was a very realistic scenario. That was not his primary use of force, however. His primary use of force was his use of conventional forces.
Q: But the secondary effect was horrific for a civilian population or for the blue forces?
Kernan: No, it's for civilians. It was unintended -- it was unintended civilian casualties that would've resulted from the manner in which we serviced that target.
Q: But you did not create in the scenario a situation whereby military forces were encountering either unanticipated or even anticipated CW or biological?
Kernan: Yes, we did. In fact, that's one of the things we've had to ultimately force, to be quite candid. And it's one of the things that'll probably come out -- it was based on limitation on time. We wanted to do certain things and, primarily, once again, not from a tactical perspective but from an operational perspective. We wanted to look at the ability for new intelligence to emerge and force the joint force commander and his component commanders into making a decision that he had to -- they had to basically do a raid against something that threatened them. The way that things were unfolding, unfortunately, it would've taken too much time for this. So we had to force the issue.
Quite honestly, we didn't have conditions set for us to allow us to go in and conduct the type of raid the joint force command would have liked to conduct, so there was a certain -- we forced him into a very risky environment. And we compressed the timing cycle significantly because we wanted a -- it wasn't so much whether or not he was going to win or lose; it was the ability of how he could plan for that operation. Could he get the intelligence? Could he ascertain what was there, make a good, informed decision based on the information that was available to him? Could he immediately communicate his intent to all his commanders, and could he compress the planning time all the way down to the tactical level to allow for a very short-fused operation to occur? That's what we were looking at, and we had to force that issue.
(Brief cross talk as General Kernan calls on reporter.)
Q: Can you talk about the transformed force that the Army is trying to field and how that influenced or changed some of the assessment of operational capability in the --
Kernan: Well, I think that's a work in progress. You're talking about the Stryker. You're talking about the IBCT [Interim Brigade Combat Teams]. We did incorporate that in -- I mean, the Army did. And we went out to the National Training Center. I watched it being delivered by C-130. It was positioned by C-17 and then 130s. It was introduced into Bicycle Lake on assault landings and then subsequently was employed. And we repositioned it from the National Training Center over to George and put a Stryker element up underneath the operational control of the Marines -- not for the reasons that you may think. It had nothing to do with so much the mobility of the Stryker -- that was a collateral benefit of it -- but looking at how we could ensure that we have the tactical interoperability from the command and control systems that both the Marines and the Army have. You know, they built two separate systems. Unfortunately, like a lot of things, they can't talk to one another, so we collectively -- the Marines, the United States Army and the Joint Forces Command -- built this bridge, and we wanted to look at that piece of it.
So we got a good workout. I think I'd really leave it to the Army to -- I think there's some more work that needs to be assessed on that. One of the things you want to have, I believe, is a very rapidly deployable, lethal capability. You want it as agile as you possibly can. You want to have it multi-functional. You want to be able to leverage all the platforms that are available to you, not only the strategic, but also the intra-theater lift that's available. That's the advantage of the 130. So I think there's some more work that needs to be done on that.
Q: I represent a Danish newspaper. And I was just wondering, with your progress here, how would you ensure that you could work with the NATO allies in the future? I mean, you're talking about --
Kernan: Excellent question. Excellent question. We had the opportunity to bring Lord Robertson and all the military representatives and the ambassadors from the NATO nations through Millennium -- just before we did Millennium Challenge and give them an overview as to what was going to occur. We had an awful lot of representation -- multinational representation at Millennium Challenge. We have some of the nations who have permanent liaisons with Joint Forces Command. But most importantly what we have is a major limited -- a multinational limited objective experiment that is kicking in February of next year.
At the end of October, in Warsaw, we're having the second conference. We had a previous one in Oslo about a year and a half ago. We had 80-some nations attend it. This is one being co-hosted by Joint Forces Command and Atlantic Command with, of course, Poland, in Warsaw, to look at concept development experimentation from a coalition perspective. That's critical to us. If we're going to have interoperability, if we're going to fight as an integrated coalition force, we need to move these things forward on a multinational basis.
Q: Do you have any hopes that you will successfully bring your NATO allies along here?
Kernan: Oh, yeah. I think that, you know, the other thing we hope for is that they'll pony up at the minister of finance. We need some more defense spending out there to help us with that capability.
Q: How can you expand this program to the allies when such a big technology gap exists between the allies' armed forces and the United States forces? Isn't that difficult?
Kernan: It is. Right now we do have a -- we have both a technology as well as an operational gap. We have a professional responsibility to continue to evolve, to transform, to ensure that the United States military is relevant based on the threats in which we find ourselves. What we need to do is work in partnership with the alliance. We do that through concept development experimentation; we do that through the Defense Capabilities Initiative. We're hoping that one of the things in addition to enlargement in Prague comes a recommitment on the part of the heads of the various nations to recognize that, you know, we are getting -- this gap is getting wider; what we've got to do is to reduce that. Some of it's going to require some pooling on the part of our allies' part. Some of this stuff is very expensive, in particular, things like strategic lift. Some of it is not so expensive. One of the things we need to do is prioritize. C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance] is critical. It's one of the foundation pieces to all our operations. Being prescriptive as to what the standards are and what the protocols are, and all of us committing to those, will enable us to be more interoperable. It doesn't necessarily mean that you buy American, it means that we all prescribe to the same standards, much like the Internet. We can do this, we just have to commit to it.
Staff: General, we have time for one more quick one.
Q: Just a follow to the question on Stryker. You mentioned some more work needs to be done. Can you be a little bit more specific on what areas the Army needs to focus on? You mentioned deployability and some other things.
Kernan: Well, you got to remember, you know -- I'm a little out of my lane here because I don't know all the specifics of it. But I was there at Fort Lewis the day the Strykers arrived, which was literally about four weeks before we did Millennium Challenge. I mean, they had an opportunity to go around and sniff these things and feel them and look at them and just sort of get warm and fuzzy with them, and then, you know, we threw them into the breach and we employed them in a variety of conditions. I mean they did a combination of road march; the C-17s moved them down in close proximity to the National Training Center. We uploaded them on the C- 130s and did assault landings into Bicycle Lake. Took them from there; assault-landed them into George, and then took them out of there on a high-speed vessel after they road-marched to the coast, so we could exercise the Navy piece of it and find out whether this high- speed vessel that the Navy is looking at is germane.
So I mean, there's an awful lot of things we did to this -- these poor guys. And they only have 18 of them. I think it would be premature for me to say other than the fact that I think that they were -- they were very determined and they were very committed to supporting us in Millennium Challenge. I think they learned an awful lot of things.
I have not seen any of the after-action reports from the Stryker, but I just know that intuitively, after spending 35 years in this business as a soldier, you know, that the first thing you see is not the objective system; there's always refinement that needs to be done. And I know that this is an interim system and they are looking at moving toward the objective system and making sure that they satisfy what -- the operational requirements of the combatant commanders for that.
I'm going to turn this over at this point, ladies and gentlemen. The minders are out there yanking me back; I got another meeting. But General Cash is here, and he's free to answer any of your questions. He's a lot smarter and more articulate than I am. So I thank you for your time.
By the way, in the back, did -- did my hair look black back there? (Laughter.) Okay, thanks ladies and gentlemen.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Thanks, General.
Cash: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Dean Cash, and it's nice to see some old friends here. I'll be willing to continue addressing questions. My job is -- at Joint Forces Command was director of Joint Concept Development, Joint Experimentation. So the concepts that we worked with were developed in my directorate. And the experimentation pieces and parts were developed and blueprinted out of my office. I'd like to follow up, though, a couple of questions that were asked here, and possibly provide a bit more clarification.
The question was, did you learn anything about a concept when something went wrong or you were surprised? For example, the Navy lost significant combat power on a pre-strike by the opposing force. Yes. The operational net assessment was an intelligence tool that was supposed to allow us to see all, know all. Now, that -- that is in the loose construct. Well, obviously, it failed. And we knew it was failing before the OPFOR ever struck, because we could -- we knew what was going on. I mean, I knew both sides all along during the experiment. And we were wondering, why isn't the staff getting this read? What was interesting is the commander had a read. And his sources of information are a bit different from the staff because of this collaborative information environment, something we didn't anticipate. And the power of discourse of commanders all sitting there linked together, talking almost 24 hours a day if you allowed them, and commanders getting a sense, because their wisdom and judgment of past experiences, they're saying -- the recommendation from staff is not matching my gut feel. Well, gut feel doesn't work real well for an experimenter. I mean, I need something more quantifiable than that. But we realized the power of the collaborative information environment, and we realized the shortfall, the technological shortfall of fusing all this intelligence stovepipes together -- right now. But we could see the value five years from now. Extraordinary value. So that's what we learned, to answer your question.
The other thing we learned, as a result of 9/11, some of the themes in our scenario changed. We immediately went to CENTCOM, who had participated in an experiment about a year and a half ago, called United -- Unified Vision, which was the precursor of Millennium Challenge. And I apologize for all these names that we have for all these experiments, but it helps us keep them straight.
And the Millennium Challenge -- the Unified Vision allowed us to -- does the idea make sense? From there, we then said: Millennium Challenge -- let's go to refine, refute, not to -- or define the concept, so we're still into defining what it is -- but refining and refuting.
So after Unified Vision, 100 days later, we have September 11th. So immediately this global war on terrorism puts a real demand across the military armed forces -- well, across the nation. And we wanted to say: Well, what are we doing now that makes sense, that can be applied immediately? And because CENTCOM AND SOCOM, Southern -- the Special Operations Command and Central Command were participating in Unified Vision, they took some of the lessons from Unified Vision right into Enduring Freedom. So immediately, then, we got into -- got on the web of CENTCOM and Special Operations Command for their lessons learned and, more importantly, the challenges that -- how, then, can we address those challenges in the makeup of our scenario. So we started changing the scenario, quite literally changed the scenario, to reflect some of the environment.
And the environment now -- the question was a good question -- was, "Tell us about kind of the scenario." The scenario was -- as General Kernan mentioned, it was a very de-stabled Middle Eastern nation. It was a puppet government with a very strong, strong rogue commander, very strong, that commanded over half of the country's land mass and had strong loyalties -- religious, ethnic loyalties -- across that nation and region, but did not have the support of the weak government. The weak government had the support of our nation, but we were very concerned about this rogue commander. And the rogue commander husbanded about four or five terrorist groups, international groups.
So then we created this cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, if you push on A, B and C will happen, because we wanted to challenge the commander.
Also, the operational net assessment was this process of thinking, and the cause-and-effect relationship, if you could create this cause-and- effect relationship and process and -- I hate to use the word "tool," but it was a matrix we put together. We fused together a number of intelligence stovepipes. And if you look in the Department of Defense alone, and -- (chuckles) -- to say "Don't quote on this" is really dumb in this audience, isn't it? -- but I believe there are seven stovepiped intel systems within DOD. Some of you know, probably, more about it than I do. I mean, the four services and the CIA, DIA and NSA -- I mean, that's seven.
So we said, well, what if we (inaudible) those together and fuse them, and what does it give you? And then we put the information and present the information in cause-and-effect relationship, so if I do this, then these things will happen. And so you can anticipate and start shaping decisions, potentially start shaping decisions. That's the operational net assessment concept.
Now the OPFOR, we saw the OPFOR was going to do this preemptive strike, and we could see the staff had absolutely no idea but the commander did. Why did the commander have it and the staff did not? As I explained, we now wrote that all -- captured all that data, extraordinary amounts of data on that to find out what went wrong, why didn't they have it. And we're finding out a couple of things. It's not necessarily -- it's not only the concept, it's the way we do business in our deliberate planning process. The current doctrine does not allow us to advantage the tremendous information technology explosion that's out there, but at the same time, the information technology explosion can lead you down into a rabbit warren too, so you've got to be careful. So that's the magic of experimentation.
Some of you were with me in previous assignments when I was the trainer, the commanding general at the National Training Center, when we would go out and train against a standard, but a known standard. By the way, in that event at the National Training Center, it's a free-thinking OPFOR, free-acting if you're a young soldier in the opposing force, but if you're the commander of the opposing force, you're a condition set. We're creating a condition set to train units. So you're not free-acting out there either. As the individual soldier you are, but you're free-thinking always.
In experimentation, we were there to learn and discover. And the things that we've learned and discovered -- for example, the CINC mentioned -- before I get ahead of myself -- red-teaming. The question was asked, "What are you going on red-teaming at Olympic Challenge '04?" Olympic Challenge '04 is the next Gucci name we have for the next experiment two years from now. And Olympic Challenge will be prototyping a lot that we are taking out of Millennium Challenge. We're actually going to build it. And now this, we're going to do even -- put more demand on it, because we're not only going to build it, we're going to take it out of the lab -- because Millennium Challenge was a huge laboratory -- and we're going to put it in the field and give it to real people and make them work it.
Now try to put something out and have it be soldier-proof is almost -- well, it's a monumental task. That's the next step. And we've been directed to field some of those initiatives that seem to have great, great promise. The standing joint force headquarters has great, great promise. That's what we're going to work on two years from now. But the red-teaming -- there is OPFOR -- opposing force, kind of the traditional training -- "I'm against you; you're against me" one-on-one, mano-a-mano combat. Then there's red-teaming. Red teaming, from my perspective, as a (sic) experimenter and concept developer -- red-teaming is the person and group of folks that help you attack the concepts. As an experimenter and as a joint concept developer, I want the concept to fail. I work real hard to make it fail. Then we document why it failed and then see if we can now address those failures. If we can't, it goes into the pile of good ideas that just didn't make it. And there's some of those. There are clearly some of those.
So red-teaming is really the challenge -- is attacking the challenging of the idea as you mature, define, refine the idea. So red-teaming starts the day the concept developer puts pen to paper. So it's important -- some of you -- I know you know you this; I apologize for that -- but some of you -- we get confused between the difference between "red team" and "opposing force." And that's a really important distinction. That's why when you read the -- General Van Riper's report, you'll see that there's -- in his thoughts, one and the same. And they're very, very different -- very different.
Another comment that was made was the importance of Millennium Challenge -- not from the standpoint only of concepts. It allowed us to really find out some -- as I mentioned -- and as I alluded to, some weak points in our current doctrine and things that are going to change. Now what's the goodness of this? If we do nothing -- if Joint Forces Command went away today, it's going to change. But it won't be very deliberate, very direct and very efficient. We're going to change because to hold back progress in the technological advancement and information-sharing, information technologies is like taking a bucket and trying to hold back the tide. It's just not going to happen. But if you go and shape it -- and some of you who visited Millennium Challenge -- when you went in some of our labs, and we had -- we were working within that building that we were conducting the experiment in Suffolk, about five different labs -- truly a lab -- you walked in the lab -- we were partnered with industry. And we didn't go out and take the best things that industry had and bring them into the lab, those things were created with us and industry for the first time. It didn't exist outside that lab.
Then we bring in a warfighter, CENTCOM or Special Operations Command or the Korean Command -- U.S. Forces Korea -- and they'd come in and see some of the things we're experimenting with, and it was working, but it was working only in that environment that we created. And I can remember several of the commanders said, "I want one of those now." Well, if we would rip the ceiling off our lab and the sun would hit it, it would all melt, it would disappear. It didn't exist anywhere but there. But it's extraordinary the impact.
We have two three-star commanders today, 18th Airborne commander, who is currently in Afghanistan, and III Corps commander at Fort Hood, who is a heavy-force commander, not expeditionary -- I've got to be careful how -- Army -- all Army is expeditionary, but this one is a little slower expeditionary than that at Fort Bragg. That commander at Fort Hood, the heavy commander, said he would never, ever fight the same way because of the lessons from Millennium Challenge. That's how extraordinary it is; that's how extraordinary it is.
So I -- the body of work -- by the way, the body of work that went into Millennium Challenge is 18 months. So when people say, "Well, what failed? What did you not anticipate?" Well, we didn't anticipate the staff not knowing on a surprise attack. And by the way, the surprise attack wasn't a surprise to me, by the way. But we did not anticipate. I already knew about the modeling quirks. Got that. And we did document those. By the way, we document everything because you've got to have every variable understood and measured to understand the cause and effect.
Q: (Inaudible) --
Cash: But the real surprises came in Unified Vision, you know, 11, 12 months ago, 18 months ago. This collaborative information environment -- and I'll take the question then -- let me just mention that to you, how important that is. And if you'll excuse me for talking with my hands a second -- because I don't know how else to express myself there -- what we did is slip our hands in between the command and control seams of each service, the stovepipes, the cubicles that separate the Army from the Air Force from the Navy from the Marine. We're all in our little cubicles, in our command and control cubicles, so I don't have to look at you and you don't have to look at me, I don't have to hear you because I'm protected, I've got my Army command and control, I've got my Navy command and control, and it may not be different systems, but it's different protocols, it's different terminology. And I'm kind of protected, but I can't talk. And the person who is forced to bring all this together to make us talk is the joint warfighter. Oh, boy, that's a tough duty; that is a tough job.
This collaborative information environment, we've slipped our arms in between these seams and pushed them to the side. And now there we all are for the first time seeing each other, hearing each other, and I'm communicating with you; I can tell if you're paying attention or not. That was extraordinary. That was extraordinary. And the commander's intent is passed out and shared. And an exchange. We would go -- and it's no more than kind of what you do in your e-mail today. We would go and sit and watch staff listen to, in this particularly case, General Bell give his commander's intent. And these would be staff members three and four below in the echelon, the chain of command, listening to the commander's intent being given, real time, and they had a small chat room ongoing of their contemporaries horizontally going and discussing what is being said real time.
Now, what we discovered, not only now is there a chain of command vertical up and down, you come up and -- and again, excuse this term, because I don't know what else to call it, but a "web" of command. And we've started discovering decisions are being made today when, before our experiment, were made up the chain of command. So if I were the two-star in this echelon, I would make this decision; but an MCO2, as the two-star, I didn't even know it was an issue. Is that good or bad? We don't know. We really need to discuss that. We need to continue experimenting. But say it's good -- and my gut tells me this is great -- it is going to change how we're organized. I may not need all this -- now, this is Cash speaking only -- I may not need all this organization, this staff organization.
Second, I'll tell you right now, we are not training -- I learned from Unified Vision, a host of limited-objective experiments leading up to Millennium Challenge -- I do not currently have the right professional military education for the decision maker of tomorrow, because if I'm now the three-star or the four-star sitting up here, I have the ability to look down three and four echelons below me and reach in and possibly disrupt -- because I have the ability -- who is training the future decision maker to have the disciplines to use these technologies.
And these technologies that I'm talking about, if I would do Millennium Challenge six months from now, I'd use a different suite of technologies. Even more robust, even more extraordinary. And by the way, the ones that are extremely comfortable: about the O-3 to O-4, O- 5, mid-grade, extremely comfortable with this stuff. Not only comfortable, that's what they expected. That's what they expected. This is tremendous that we have an organization and it's been chartered to go out and advantage this and shape it and put a blueprint for the future.
I wanted to emphasize those points.
And one question here, sir.
Q: Sir, General Kernan said that the Navy explained its combat losses by saying, "This isn't what we do, we don't fight this way; we prefer to be over the horizon." But wasn't this also supposed to be a test of fighting in the crowded Littoral, something the Navy says it wants to do? How would you -- is that a fair characterization of that?
Cash: I don't think so. But again, you're talking to the experimenter and the concept developer, in this particular case, because there was some modeling anomalies that we knew of. But we also have to look -- you know, to take your side of the argument right now -- why didn't the staff anticipate any of those? Again, we were very much focused on staff decision-making and the decisions that went to the commander, because that's the bottom line of our business; it's not pushing information. It's not pushing data. It's understanding and then understanding that leads to decision-making, action. Why wasn't action taken to preclude, preempt, do some other things?
And there were some anomalies -- no question about it -- modeling anomalies. But it may be our operational net assessment, because, I mean, I -- we really constrained the staff. So -- you will use these tools, and we didn't change the way they did their deliberate planning and their doctrine. And that -- we can see now that -- you know, that there's obviously some doctrinal changes that need to take place. So I don't know if it was a Navy issue as much as it was part of our concepts in this -- in the environment that we created.
Q: Are you running up against an artificial intelligence wall where, ultimately, what a commander does is very human and artful decision-making, and he maybe can see something that a codified staff can't?
Cash: Boy, I agree with that. Now prove it. But some things just -- you possibly just won't have to prove. The wisdom and judgment that our commanders and senior leaders bring cannot be underestimated. This operational net assessment 18 months ago -- because -- just trying to get people's attention to it, because it was a new idea, and it was very striking, and it was going to challenge -- was going to challenge information stovepipes - I'll tell you -- right now. It's going to challenge certain bureaucracies that currently exist. It's going to challenge that. So we push very hard to try to get traction, and we made it out to be a tool -- a know-all, see-all tool, and that was unfortunate, because it is a process that's nothing without the wisdom and judgment of the commander.
So I absolutely agree with you; there -- this is a large portion of it. Now the question is, who is helping us develop that for the decision-makers for tomorrow? And the good news here is, we've had most if not all the -- I think it's safe to say all the service war colleges and mid-level schooling come to and say, "We have heard these things happening." And they have had -- my organization now is part of their elective programs, trying to get involved to make sure that we start shaping those future decision-makers. I think your point is well-made.
Q: Sir, we hear commanders talk from time to time about the importance of getting inside the enemy's decision cycle. And it sounds like that's what's happened to the Navy in this exercise: the enemy got inside the decision cycle and sank the fleet. Can you tell us, was there any occasion in this exercise where you got inside the enemy's decision cycle and that the new systems you were testing helped you do that?
Cash: Yes. But it -- but it's about as strong as I just gave it. Yes.
Now, where did this all start from, the notion -- the concept of Rapid Decisive Operations, also known as RDO. It started two and a half years ago in a tabletop war game, and we were asked then by the chairman, General Shelton said "We've got to be able to do quicker, better than we currently do today on all operations by quicker, better bringing to resolution of future conflict. So that that takes us months I want to be able to do it in weeks, and that that takes us a year I want to be able to do in months." So we did a tabletop -- created the scenario, this rogue environment, Middle East, terrorists, all -- now, this is in 2000 when we did this. And we found out two things. One, there was not a military-only solution to get inside the decision loop of the opposing force. And two, you couldn't get there from a cold start. So this notion of calling up a JTF, a joint task force, -- (word inaudible) -- them together and going off and do great things, it took this long lead time. Then the commander, once he got on site, had to build his staff. And there's sort of this notion of "ad hoc-ery". Well, how do you reduce that "ad hoc-ery"? Well, from a cold start we couldn't get there. So we came up, say, well, how do you then mitigate the risk of a cold start, which is really -- it mitigates the risk of being uninformed. How do you do that? Standing Joint Force Headquarters. Now, that's a misnomer; that really is a standing joint command and control element. But it is not a headquarters at all. It could never deploy by itself. It's a -- it's a group of experts focused on a region that could be a potential problem for a regional commander. So we created one of those, made real experts, then we said, well, they needed a tool because there were all these intelligence stovepipe tools with all these different protocols and rules, well, let's fuse it. Then we needed to have some of the cause and effect relationship with these tools and think differently about conflict resolution, affects base, because if you're going to use other elements of national power besides the military, it's a different set of protocols. That's what started off two years ago, and now has morphed to Effects-Based Operations, the Standing Joint Force Headquarters, the Operational New Assessment, the Joint Interagency Control Group -- that's the interagency thing, and we learned something from that. The deliberateness of the military and how we approach decision making is clean, crisp, and known by all.
As a soldier -- now I take my soldier hat off and let me put my American citizen uniform on, civilian clothes on -- but the messiness of democracy is very powerful, and it's very, very good. But the operative word is the messiness of it. How do you take that messiness with this deliberateness and bring them to what makes sense? They don't have to -- no compromise and all, because the messiness leads. But how do you make it make sense for the commander? Because if it's not a military-only solution, the rest of it is the messiness of democracy. How do you do that?
In this particular case, we had very -- a real difficult time getting inside the decision loop of the opposing force militarily. Mr. McWethy's question on were there other non-kinetics -- when we used other instruments of national power, we just drained him up. We started influencing his financial base. We started influencing the information that was being propagated out there to those followers. And then we started targeting what we've -- in the scenario, we'd built them up just to see if the BLUEFOR would pick up. Through the operational assessment, there were centers of gravity -- for lack of a better term -- centers of gravities on individuals that were targeted, and the BLUEFOR did take them out. And once that happened, this rogue started really losing a lot of his backing.
Q: But how receptive were your commanders to using effects- based war-fighting when they are used to using kinetic-based war- fighting? I mean, did they grasp it?
Cash: Oh, absolutely -- (off mike) --
Q: Did they embrace it? Were they able to employ it?
Cash: Not yet -- there are three questions there. "Embrace it" -- absolutely not, as I wouldn't -- I mean, I've been raised and trained very well. Our system really works well -- how we train people. And that's -- I've come up with something that's fairly different, and you're not going to embrace it right away, but you've been trained all your life . So there was some pushback.
It was sort of fortuitous that we got the III Corps at Fort Hood -- some of you know Fort Hood is the center of transformation activity for the Army, as is Fort Lewis. But III Corps is for the division and corps headquarters. So that's the headquarters. That holds -- leads 17,000 men in headquarters that lead up to 50,000 men.
And so they had this notion of experimentation. So when we went to III Corps on a last-minute notice, said, "This is what we're going to do," the corps commander said, "All of you" -- lined them all up. "We will take, then, the experimental direction and do business differently." Now having said that doesn't mean it's going to execute it.
I'd also have to tell you my understanding of effects-based operations 24 months ago is different from what it is today, and I'm immersed in it every day. So it's going to take --
Q: Help us understand the difference in 24 months. I mean, do you have a broader scope?
Cash: A much, much, more -- a greater appreciation for effects-based. Twenty-four months ago, I would say effects-based operations would allow me to quantify the cause-and-effect relationship of every decision. And I could take things military, which are measured, typically, in very quantifiable terms -- order of battle, combat ratios -- and I could take that same very mathematical model process and thinking and apply it to diplomacy and social and economic. I mean, I had this notion 24 months ago, until we tried it. Very, very difficult.
Back then to the wisdom and judgment mixed in. If I take things diplomatic, take things information, take things economic and try to qualify as well as quantify these instruments of national power into some kind of -- and again, a matrix is a bad way to say it, but I don't know how else to explain it here -- in sort of a matrix format to allow you to give sort of a cause-and-effect relation in your thinking now -- 24 months ago, I didn't have this notion of thinking. I had this notion of going to a smart box, submitting my challenge, and walking to the other side of the smart box and here are some courses of action to achieve that.
Today I see that it is much more cerebral. It has much more to do with professional military education, has much more to do with the integration and -- "discourse" is probably the word that I wouldn't use 24 months ago -- a lot more discourse between all instruments of national power at the operational level and national level.
Q: A few in general command have used phrases that indicate that there's still this big gap between the services and the Joint Command. You're doing patchwork, you're doing bridges, you know, working with different protocols. If we're going to have a truly joint fight, you know, and a joint tactical picture, somehow you've got to start bringing the services into the same information ballpark. So what is Joint Forces Command doing to force that change so that we stop buying different radios and command and control systems that have to have the patches to make them work in the joint arena?
Cash: If there was just one victory out of Millennium Challenge, it would have to be that that you're alluding to. Millennium Challenge became a forcing action, and that got the attention of the services, because you heard terms from our political leadership saying the outcome of experimentation like Millennium Challenge will have an impact on QDR, budget and budget language. Soon as you hit "budget and budget language," it is amazing how we all listen very, very carefully. It was a forcing agent.
I was -- I stand here today, tell you, though, all four services and J-9 -- the director of J-9 that I was leading -- we weren't prepared for the success that we had. All four services came to us and said, "All right, we want Joint Forces Command to provide the joint context to our next major force-structure-developing war game." They're often termed "Title 10 war games." I think it's the nomenclature given to them. Those are annual semi-annual or biannually, given by different services. They came to us and said, "We want you to do this." And we felt we were going to go have to push to get them to allow us to provide the joint context. We just were not -- joint force command's just not resourced to do that right now. This is -- Millennium Challenge has done this. It has helped us with precision-guided terminology.
There are two things that have really hindered me in my job. The first thing is the lack of precision-guided terminology. I can be talking to an Army person, but the Army person who's on the Joint Staff, or the Army person at Ft. Lewis, and I'm at Joint Forces Command, and we can use the word "transformation" and -- or I can use the word "concept," and that person's thinking it's a weapon system -- concept of the weapon system; I'm thinking a concept as an operational concept. And the third person is thinking of a concept of a daily activity. The lack of precision-guided terminology has really hindered me.
And the second thing is finding out what's already been done. I'm amazed at how much has already been done that we've been working on, but it's not documented. There is not a repository of information that you can go to and say, "Well, what has already been done here?" And so there's an awful lot of redundancy. So this Joint Forces Command is helping to clean up -- because we're putting demands in the system, and when you look at how many battle labs -- I think there's 17 battle labs -- 27 battle labs in 17 states, and you go to the different service battle labs, and you find out that some of them are doing the same stuff. And that's not a problem, it's not bad having redundancy, but the problem is they don't know that they're doing the same stuff.
Well, Joint Forces Command has come up a federation of battle labs now so we can share. And the things we're sharing, we're going to the warfighter and say, "What are the enduring challenges?" Now, this you've got understand too, to help you with my own precision- guided terminology -- "enduring challenge" -- a challenge that we address that General Franks is faced with today. Some might say, "Well, that's not very transformational, that's not over-the-horizon thinking." My response would be: That challenge is going to be there tomorrow and tomorrow's tomorrow, I guarantee you. Look at those, and there's -- and when you look at -- there's probably less than a dozen; let's focus on those then, but from a joint perspective.
And what I would really like, when you have these press conferences and you have some person of substance up in front of you and they use the word "joint warfighter," challenge them; say, "Why are you being redundant?" If you're going to be a warfighter, obviously you're joint. Right now I'm just a soldier "wannabe," but if you're in a joint conflict, as you're suggesting, obviously, all our war fight is going to be joint; everything has got to be joint, starting with our -- how we educate -- and this is the other takeaway: How you educate today will have the greatest impact, not any of this technology or any of this other Gucci stuff I've been talking about. It's the education of the future leaders will have the greatest impact and how we do it. And right now it's service-oriented, which is not necessarily bad, but you got to have now joint. And it's not only tactical. You know, General Franks, in his press conference about four months ago, said if we're not tying those operational-level decisions to the tactical action, you're not helping me to respond.
So, one last question, and I need to --
Q: (Off mike) -- just a couple of things I'd like to get down in concrete terms so that I'm sure that I understand them. The first having to do with effects-based operations. You mentioned that in this game that you attacked the finances of this rogue warlord. General Kernan gave the example of destroying -- taking out power grids but not in a kinetic way, not by blowing them up. Can you just tell us, for the first thing here, how you did those two things, what part of the government did it in this particular game? How did that work?
Cash: I can't respond specifically on what part of the government. I do know that we had State, Justice, Transportation playing in a part of the experiment with us. You know, I really can't. And I do know that we were really reliant on our State and former ambassadors on how to do a lot of this. But specific, I can't right now.
Q: You don't recall how, like, for example, the finances were disrupted, or something like that?
Cash: I do know on finances. I mean, we knew that there were certain well-off, well-heeled supporters. And they were targeted.
Q: Power grid?
Cash: We were specifically -- in fact, it was not a power grid, but was oil-producing, because oil revenues was a significant contributor. So we went out to -- we didn't want to take down the whole infrastructure. So, with a very surgical strike either taking out a power generator source -- actually, you know, it was very kinetic on that -- or overloading it, transferring the circuits to one transformer, and it just burned out.
Q: And on IO --
Cash: And it took out -- and that was to take out the oil. Oil production.
Q: On offensive IO, if this is a primitive adversary who may have modern weapons, often times your more advanced concepts of how to use offensive IO don't necessarily apply.
Cash: That's right.
Q: Did this -- was this a primitive adversary, or was this a sophisticated electronic adversary that had interesting and disruptable systems?
Cash: Both. It was both. And that was the real challenge. We spent an awful lot of energy on the sophisticated. But because they didn't apply to the very unsophisticated, we gained very little. It was very difficult. The other thing we learned, though, is there's a lot of work that needs to be done nationally on IO. And just who's accountable.
That's another thing, I learned. Fixing accountability really needs to be looked at. Who is in charge? And IO is one.
Q: The other kind of really simple one I had was the WMD. Can you just clarify that? What did you think the enemy had, what did they really have, how did you go after it, and what happened?
Cash: In our scenario they had both bio and chemical. I mean, I -- we put it in the scenario; we knew that. But the BLUEFOR didn't know where and wasn't sure exactly what types of any of that; they had to work all that out.
Q: So what happened?
Cash: Well, it really didn't -- because they were -- they were able to have some success on taking out infrastructure. And we really came to a conclusion of -- for this part of the experiment before we really -- before any of the weapons of mass effects were ever implemented, because if we'd have -- and as General Kernan suggested, the rogue commander had a persona that we created. And that was probably one of the challenges with General Van Riper. He didn't have that same persona. And to use some of the things that he wanted to use made no sense for the persona that we created. We spent some time on this guy to create this persona, because the persona was the difficult part. At the national level, it made a real challenge for our State Department people -- this persona who had befriended the leader of country red, but country red was a puppet state. And we worked at some length to create this persona. So to answer your question specifically, the weapons of mass effects were never implemented, other than when we struck at -- the blue forces struck a target. And then once we started developing a lot -- the consequences of collateral damage -- "Geez, we don't want that." Again, that goes back to ONA, though. Why didn't we know in the operational net assessment?
Q: Then you thought it was chemical, and it was bio? You thought it was bio, and it was chemical? Or something else?
Cash: To tell you the truth, whatever it was, bio or chemical -- I'm almost positive it was chemical -- we thought the strike would eliminate it, and that would be it. But once we really started -- (inaudible) -- no, it wouldn't. It would spread this stuff. And it would just disperse it. And it became much more of a challenge. And we should've never allowed the strike.
But most importantly, from my perspective -- now that was from the operator part of the exercise. From the experimenter/concept side, it went back to the concept. Why didn't the operational net assessment have the cues and clues that would inform us before? And it's just a limitation of where we are on developing the operational net assessment.
The other issue, too, on artificial intelligence and stuff -- that is going to be an interesting issue. You know -- one of the airlines today -- every airplane lands robotically. I mean, the pilot just sort of sets there, and the plane lands. In another airline -- I believe Delta said, "Absolutely not. The pilot's got to have control." Well, I just can't envision the current leadership aligned on -- not at all. Nor would I want them to. But with the size of the databases -- and you got to have big ideas. And the big idea is, I want to be able to, as a concept developer, strike any target on the globe within 45 minutes from the time the president says, "Strike." Forty-five minutes. That's the big idea. Then I want to follow up that strike in 20 hours with a ground force. That's the big idea. I want a database that has everything that's ever been known in that database, and I want to make it user friendly. I want to be able to use it.
But if you don't have those things that drive you, you're going to have what you've got today: a step at a time. And we are losing that race. So you've got to have the big ideas. So that's why you do get pushed back, as we should. (Laughs.) You're going to hear people like me making these kind of comments.
Q: I have just one quick one. Did you use covert operations in this scenario? The scenario you described, it sounds like the most efficient way to have taken care of this was to have a SEAL team or a Green Beret team go in and take out the road.
Cash: And boy, they were really were -- in one instance, the commander really struggled. He had some conventional -- some significant conventional capability to go out and take down a good bit of infrastructure and a good bit of the rogue commander's force. Through the operational net assessment -- and in this particular case his operations commander came to him with a matrix and said, "Listen. If you take this person and this person, this is the investment of people at risk, this is the potential return," which was more than the entire conventional. He really struggled with that, and made a point during the after-action review.
I brought him out, we did an after-action -- that's another thing about this experiment. We did an after-action review every day on the concept and what we just learned, what happened and why it happened. And in some cases we'd say, "Do we have to recreate those same conditions just to make sure why it happened?" But we watched this commander struggle with that decision. Because most of us are raised, if you use a great big hammer, it's better than a small hammer. In this case, he was convinced through the argument of operational net assessment and effects-based thinking. He did that.
And I would also -- I think your question is also alluding to the fact of the value of special operations in this environment. Extraordinary. And they really played out. That's another take-away from Unified Vision. Special operations that are operating Enduring Freedom today are operating differently than they did before Unified Vision experiment, which they participated with us 18 months ago. And it was just the way they were organized by command and control. And they saw they were much more effective after experiment with us two years ago, and then when Enduring Freedom came on, they changed the way they operate. So that's good.
Thank you. It's really nice seeing some of you, too. A long time.
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