SUFFOLK, Va., Jan. 13, 2006 – U.S. Joint Forces Command just completed a limited objective experiment for a concept that may eliminate many of the current challenges combatant commanders and military services face while managing the joint force projection process.
In today's joint force projection process, operational planners often experience obstacles as they submit requests for capabilities.
Current processes to fulfill their requirements for support are plagued by an inability to track when and where the requested capabilities arrive, said Air Force Maj. Nate Allerheiligen, joint force projection Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration operational manager.
With the goal of examining ways to simplify and improve the joint force projection requests for capabilities process, U.S. Joint Forces Command hosted the joint force projection request for capabilities limited objective experiment Dec. 12-16 here at the Joint Futures Laboratory.
The limited objective experiment also served as a military utility assessment of the Joint Capabilities Requirements Tool and tested the concepts inherent in the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration.
Joint Capabilities Requirements Tool is one of the enablers of the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration, a capability which dramatically improves joint force projection by speeding up the decision making process and giving better visibility to requests for capabilities, according to Allerheiligen.
Joint Capabilities Requirements Tool allows operational planners to search, identify and find unit types and capabilities within an inventory list that can fulfill specific mission requirements.
A Web-based tool, it can be easily accessed online from a computer workstation on a classified network. It allows operational planners to quickly find units with the right capabilities to support a requirement according to Allerheiligen.
"Now from the desktop they can go look up unit types," said Allerheiligen. "They have a wealth of information at their fingertips, so they don't have to go down the hall or three blocks away to find a government service civilian or non-commissioned officer who can look this up for them. Now it's right there in front of them."
Representatives from each of the military services and four of the regional combatant commands, among others, took part in the experiment.
"For this particular instance with the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration, what we're doing is testing the concept of operations," said Allerheiligen. "This is the basic process changes we envision will be required to transform from a forces-based power projection to a capabilities-based power projection."
In the past, when a military service provider would request forces, all they may have really needed was actually a small part of a force that could provide a specific capability said Allerheiligen.
If, for instance, a combatant commander needed airfield security, he might have requested an infantry company, but what he really needed was the part of the infantry company that could provide airfield security.
With the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration, combatant commanders are now provided with capability requirements as opposed to unit requirements.
"It gives the military service provider more options to offer to supported forces -- options that they may not have even known were available," said Doug Kelsey, joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration deputy operational manager.
"There's been no tool or publication that operational planners could use to reach into and see what other capabilities might be out there in the joint community or even across their own service that can fulfill their requirements," said Allerheiligen. "So, we're trying to create an online reference for operational planners to look across the entire spectrum of the joint force and say 'what are the capabilities that all the services provide for handling these types of problems?'"
One of the major goals for the concept for capabilities based planning in joint force projection, Allerheiligen said, is to "provide a language and vocabulary so operational planners can describe the capabilities they want based on a common lexicon across all of the military services."
"The military service provider, whether they're Navy, Army, Marine Corps or Air Force, sometimes Coast Guard, needs to be able to understand the requirement when it comes to them, so they can fulfill it," said Allerheiligen. "We'll build that language first - so we can all speak the same language."
Another goal is to shorten the lenth of time it takes to submit a request to the time it takes to get a capability in theater.