Global Air Force depends on IT

In
that role, Donahue is helping to further the Air Force’s goal of creating 10
permanent air expeditionary forces—at least two of which will be on call at any time.


Information technology will play a crucial part in ensuring that these forces can
hit targets anywhere in the world within 24 hours and run an air campaign within 36 hours.
Donahue recently talked with GCN about Air Force plans for the forces.



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Donahue: Our vision for the
Air Force is very clear—it’s global reach, global power and global engagement.
We’ve recently taken some force structure initiatives to shape the forces that we
present to a commander in chief into what we call our expeditionary Air Force because of
the way we operate these days.


Information technology is front and center in the Air Force achieving its vision of
global reach, power, engagement and expeditionary air forces. IT is a key enabler.


To be the expeditionary Air Force we seek to be, you’ve got to be


light, lean and lethal. You can only do that if you’re smartly using IT across the
wide range of activities.


We look carefully at how we command and control forces in these kinds of operations.
Our vision is a distributive, collaborative process where we can plan our air campaigns.


We really want to send the smallest number of forces forward that we have to
send—a very lean forward presence that reaches back to the continental United States
for the support and information they need.


We see a very tight sensor-to-shooter network. And we seek incredible awareness of the
battlespace using all the sensors we’ve got to let us see what’s happening. All
these things depend on IT.


We plan to do experiments on a regular basis to test concepts and technologies so we
can have a real learning experience. In Expeditionary Force Experiment ’98, we expect
to get some first-hand knowledge about command and control in a situation where we’ve
got geographically dispersed operations with forward and rear air operations centers.


We will test concepts of how to do distributive, collaborative planning, where people
are connected digitally but not physically.


It doesn’t matter where you are; what matters is that you’re on the network.


The concepts of global grid and global connectivity requirements will be a key part of
our test. We’re going to learn how to plan en route to an operations area and adjust
as necessary the targets and mission orders as things change. Hopefully, we’ll learn
how to pull all that together to save time and resources but still execute the mission
successfully.


The goal is not to just experiment and see the new technologies and concepts but to put
them into practice.


The Air and Space Command and Control Agency at Langley Air Force Base, Va., is the
planner of EFX ’98. It’s being substantially executed by the forces of Air
Combat Command.


But anybody in the Air Force’s IT business is involved in it. There’s also
some participation from the joint community as well.


These things take a lot of energy to plan and execute. We plan a full-up EFX in 1999.
But we’re also considering alternating between a heavy EFX one year and then a light
EFX the next year.


The year 2000 may be a year to more fully exploit what we learned from 1999.


We’ll see how it goes this year. In 1999, there will be a very close association
between EFX and the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration. The same team putting on
EFX ’99 will be working with JWID ’99 to broaden the scope, so there will be
more space content. 


Desktop V—Hughes Data Systems of
Irvine, Calif., Dynamic Decisions Inc. of Edison, N.J., and International Data Products
Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., are the contractors for this three-year, $924 million
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. The companies provide the Air Force
with PCs, Unix workstations, peripherals, portable computers, services and support.


Global Combat Support System–Air
Force—Lockheed Martin Corp. is providing integration, systems engineering and
software development services to the Air Force in the service’s efforts to modernize
its standard information systems. The five-year, $900 million IDIQ contract runs through
2001.


Management Information Systems Technical Support II—Under
this five-year, $674 million IDIQ contract, GTE Corp. and Litton PRC Inc. are providing
communications, computer system development, implementation and operations at the
Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and the Air Force Materiel
Command.


Workstations Upgrade—Under this
seven-year, $956 million IDIQ contract, Hughes Data Systems and Sun Microsystems Inc.
provide high-performance workstations, peripherals, software, services and support as part
of an Air Force systems upgrade. The contract runs through March 2003.


Unified LAN Architecture II—The $574
million contract was awarded to Electronic Data Systems Corp. to provide all Defense
Department and civilian agencies with local data communications, networking solutions,
engineering services and user support. The IDIQ contract runs through December 1999.


Lt. Gen. Gregory Martin
Chief Information Officer,
Assistant Secretary for Acquisition


Lt. Gen. William Donahue
Deputy CIO; Director, Communications and Information


Col. Anthony Bell Jr.
Deputy Commander,
Air Force Communications and Information Center


Col. Bernard Skoch
Systems Director,
Air Force Communications and Information Center


Col. Stephen Quick
Plans and Programs Director,
Air Force Communications and Information Center


Bernard Hoenle
CIO Support Director,
Air Force Communications and Information Center


Brig. Gen. David Nagy
Mission Area Director for Information Dominance,
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition


John Gilligan
Program Executive Officer for Battle Management


Robert Frye
Standard Systems Group Executive Director,
Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.


Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish
Electronic Systems Center Commander,
Air Force Materiel Command


Total  $3,123.63


The Air Force will spend $40 million next month on a 12-day test of its
air expeditionary force concept, using state-of-the-art command and control technologies
that offer a glimpse of how the service will look and fight in the early 21st century.


The 1998 Expeditionary Force Experiment (EFX), sponsored by the Air and Space Command
and Control Agency at Langley Air Force Base, Va., is the first in a series of experiments
to evaluate new operational concepts and technologies for improving the service’s
command and control capabilities.


EFX ’98 will be held Sept. 14-26 at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, Fla.
The experiment will combine live-fire weapons dropped by aircraft, as well as
computer-generated modeling and simulation. C2 links will connect with air operations
centers and the joint air component commander.


Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air Force Chief of Staff, said recently that the 10 expedition
forces will include about 175 fighters and tankers that can deploy rapidly. The forces
will be in place by 2000, he said.


The war game scenario simulates an attack by a rogue nation on a U.S. ally. The ally
requests help and the United States responds.


EFX ’98 participants hope to prove that command and control centers connected to a
robust, global area network can move data quickly and efficiently while repelling an
attack.


Among the command and control technologies being evaluated at EFX ’98 is a Joint
Targeting Workstation to improve the rapid dissemination of precision targeting data.


The system runs on a Sun Microsystems Sparcstation 10 with a ruggedized hard drive, but
the system will be relocated to a standalone PC running Microsoft Windows NT and Java.


Another C2 initiative, the Common Object Framework/Special Operations Forces Planning
and Rehearsal System, will be tested at EFX ’98. The system uses Common Object
Request Broker Architecture technology, which lets Special Operations Command squadron
mission planners host different operating systems, such as Unix, MS-DOS and Windows, on a
common ruggedized tactical data processor.


Mission planners also will use the Theater Battle Management Core System as the
baseline C2 system for EFX. TBMCS is a single database drawn from several databases,
including the Contingency Theater Automated Planning System. Planners use it to fill air
tasking orders.


Lockheed Martin Corp. won the five-year, $150 million TBMCS integration and development
contract from the Air Force in 1995.  

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