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Command Examines Advanced Technology Demonstration

U.S. Joint Forces Command, along with the military services and others, looked towards ways
to simplify and improve the Joint Force Projection Request for Capabilities process during a
limited objective experiment that also assessed the Joint Capabilities Requirements Tool.

By Army Sgt. Jon Cupp / U.S. Joint Forces Command Public Affairs

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.

"There's no reason - given today's technology and future concepts and future technologies - that we can't collapse the six-week decision cycle to within a day," said Allerheiligen. "The biggest delay is in the staffing process where everyone has a particular cut on a particular requirement and decisions are delayed until the last possible moment."

"We could help augment the decision-making process by reducing the amount of time action officers will take to research available forces so they can give answers to decision-makers within minutes not within hours or days."
According to Kelsey, the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration provides a single integrated force projection picture that links operators at service, joint and agency levels using real-time Web-based, network centric information systems.

Some other goals and enablers for the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration include:

• Identifying required joint force projection enterprise information services for net-centric operations, which involves aspects that will ensure the interoperability and functionality of the advanced concept technology demonstration
• Demonstrating an initial modeling and simulation capability for joint deployment planning and execution
• Demonstrating initial joint reception, staging and onward movement and integration (JRSOI) planning
• Ensuring enterprise integration of a joint deployment family of systems.

Once delivered to the warfighter, the capability will equip the combatant commander with end-to-end planning and execution for joint deployment planning and modeling and simulations of joint deployment planning, a JRSOI tool and enterprise (database) integration.

The hardware and software systems included with the advanced concept technology demonstration will involve a Web portal that provides combatant commanders a one-stop force projection tool, where they will have all the capabilities they need to work with force projection at their fingertips.

It will also incorporate smart search tools; a JRSOI planning and execution tool; a modeling and simulation suite; and an associated server architecture.

Along with working with U.S. service members, project managers said they have also been working with some multinational partners within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as they develop a complementary capability to the joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration - the Coalition Reception, Staging and Onward Movement advanced concept technology demonstration.

As with U.S. services working together with requests for capabilities, the goal of working with NATO and multinational partners is to reach a set of common terms to put them on the same page when requesting capabilities.

Before coalition partners will ever be able to share information, Allerheiligen said, their first goal should be working with each other to form a common framework for describing capabilities in the coalition environment.

"It's not just about tools and data connectivity, the first thing we need to do is come to a common understanding of what the term 'capability' really means how do you express that capability you have against what other nations have?" he said.

"We're always going to have language barriers, but if we're working with different frameworks to describe capabilities, then we're always going to have difficulties," he added. "Although, we may not speak the same language, it's our goal to be able to understand each other when describing or requesting capabilities."

The first technical review of the advanced concept technology demonstration should take place in February 2006 followed by the first operational demonstration in conjunction with an experiment, called Rapid Sourcing, in April.

"The goal will be to show or exercise the tools of a global requirements repository and a capabilities definition joint capabilities requirements tool with the joint deployment planning," said Allerheiligen. "We'll be doing a correlation of the data as it goes through multiple systems and how that capabilities-based planning perspective might change the joint force projection and military service provider process."

The joint force projection advanced concept technology demonstration is being developed by U.S. Joint Forces Command, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts.

The capability has support from each of the military services according to Allerheiligen. Project managers said they hope to see the capability's tools transitioned sometime in early fiscal year 2008, while carrying the overall development through the second quarter in preparation for fielding.

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