Networking feeds joint transformation

'Jointness will be a huge growth industry.'

'Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani

Net-centricity in warfighting seen as an enabler, not an outcome

The 'jointness' of the military services, allies and some federal agencies represents the biggest change in defense since 1973, Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani told a recent R&D audience in Washington.

Giambastiani, who wears double brass as head of the Joint Forces Command and NATO supreme allied transformation commander, said the all-volunteer force policy of 1973 and the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act 'were externally imposed' on the Defense Department.

In contrast, the shift to organizing, training and equipping warfighters as an integrated force represents a change from within, he said.

'Joint transformation is historic in scope,' he said. 'It's interagency and intergovernmental,' accelerated by fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq who struggle to communicate better with each other.

Giambastiani said there are three principles behind jointness:
  • No individual military service will be sent to conduct operations by itself

  • A coherent, joint force has more power than the sum of its parts

  • Speed kills'not only enemies but also bureaucracies that hamper warfighters.

DOD is superb at equipping and training its forces, he said, but doing so for a joint organization 'is a new line of business. New authorities and new skill sets will be required'including new skill sets from suppliers and contractors. Jointness will be a huge growth industry.'

Within the last two years, he said, the Joint Forces Command's budget has grown by 84 percent. DOD has assigned it the lead role in joint operations and command and control. More than half its workers are contractors.

Its first products are called transformational change packages, which Giambastiani said have been prototyped and forwarded for action by interagency collaboration groups.

'These changes are at the combatant commands,' he said. 'The changes will be painful and slow. There's no problem at the most senior and junior levels''top military commanders and 20-year-old troops''but there's an iron middle.' Midlevel commanders at the major and lieutenant colonel levels 'have been trained to protect their authority and resources. It will be a significant challenge to move them ahead.'

Vendors, too, are showing resistance to joint interoperability, Giambastiani said. DOD is 'paying them twice to make their systems interoperable. If they don't deliver us coherent, integrated capabilities, they're delivering a joint problem.'

The future battlespace'not a battlefield, he emphasized''will eliminate individual services' areas of responsibility' by superior knowledge, not superior numbers, he said. 'Net-centric warfare is a misnomer. Net-centric is an enabler, not an outcome.'

In addition to joint organization and training, he said, DOD will evolve a 'kill box' usable by all the services and will conduct 'joint war games, joint command and control, joint lessons learned and a joint acquisition strategy.'

Seven cabinet departments including Homeland Security took part in the most recent war games. 'We're going to have initial operating capability by October,' Giambastiani said.

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