Joint warfare requires more collaboration

'Now, we get to play with all the toys in training, not just when we go in-theater.'

'Joint Forces Command's Adm. Edmund Giambastiani

New center's goal is to speed IT advances

The Joint Forces Command has built a new command and control facility for civilian and military agencies and NATO countries that its chief promises will be 'a vibrant intellectual engine.'

The new Joint Systems Integration Command in Suffolk, Va., will incorporate a Joint National Training Capability and begin initial operations this month, said Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., head of the Joint Forces Command. He spoke in late September at the Commonwealth of Virginia IT Symposium in Norfolk.

Construction began on the 86,000-square-foot facility in March. Its mission is rapid insertion of new joint technologies for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

'We're going to demonstrate next-generation, multiagency and multinational collaboration and interoperable command and control across the full spectrum,' Giambastiani said. 'We don't care where the innovation comes from. There is great value in having a wide net of partners.'

The end result, he said, will be to 'mass the [military] effects when and where we choose, not just to mass the equipment and forces.'

The joint training program held trials three times this year on the same training range, he said. It will eventually replace separate training exercises held by the Navy's Top Gun pilot school, the Air Force's Air Warrior program and the Army's National Training Center.

Joint military teams of the future will be trained to use the same terminals, or 'kill boxes,' Giambastiani said.

'They don't care where capabilities come from, only that they work. We are aggressively including industry in military force transformation but in a nonproprietary way. Some companies don't like that. If you're not delivering coherently integrated, interoperable capabilities today, then you are creating the joint problems of tomorrow.'

He said an Army major who attended one of the trials told him, 'Now we get to play with all the toys in training, not just when we go in-theater.'

Giambastiani's command has 3,500 workers, 60 percent of them civilian and contractors, and a $575 million annual budget, about $200 million of which goes for research and experimentation. It seeks innovations in classified as well as unclassified collaboration technology.

He said a prototype of the integrated system the command wants to develop would have an air traffic picture such as the Federal Aviation Administration has, plus a vessel-tracking system such as the Coast Guard uses, plus the ability to plot locations down to the individual building on a 3-D display.

The Northern Command tested a prototype called Echo for a simulated joint disaster response in Richmond, Va., he said.

In his other role as supreme allied commander for NATO transformation, Giambastiani is working with a staff of 650 in Norfolk to set up joint training exercises with the 26 NATO member nations. NATO itself has a Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway.

'This requires a new mindset,' he said. 'We have a unique opportunity today to develop powerful capabilities for asymmetric warfare, and they have applications far beyond military operations,' such as in peace-keeping.

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