DOD, military take hands-on approach to QDR

The writers of the Quadrennial Defense Review are now shifting gears to become executors of the guidance.

Senior Defense and service officials will soon be running experiments, examining how systems are governed, managed and implemented under four categories which make up the Joint Capabilities Portfolio. Those categories are joint command and control, joint network-centric operations, joint logistics and battlespace awareness.

Joint networked operations are crucial in the war on terror and any requirements 'not based in a joint context will probably run into heavy weather,' warned Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The advantages of a networked force are even visible in the recent killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, added Giambastiani, who gave the keynote address this morning at the TechNet International 2006 conference, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

'If you don't think that a network took down Zarqawi, you're vastly mistaken,' Giambastiani said. 'A highly robust, collaborative network is absolutely essential' to conduct modern warfare.

Under the Joint Capabilities Portfolio, military leaders will review each of the service systems and the capabilities they bring. The leaders will 'compete them against one another, meld them and kill off some that aren't as useful as others,' Giambastiani said.

'This is more than just moving deck chairs around,' he added. 'There [are] going to be some growing pains with this.'

Within each of the categories of the Joint Capabilities Portfolio, military leaders will be looking for systems to be developed so information can be shared across military organizations. Ultimately, the process will help the department determine which joint systems to back for the president's budget in 2008 based on which 'work with these joint capabilities,' Giambastiani said.

'We will bring portfolios up against the DOD and have programs compete for funding,' he added. 'If we have to cancel or modify programs, we will do all of this.'

Giambiastiani said his office is also working to improve the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. JROC reviews programs at the request of senior Defense leaders for interoperability and to validate key performance parameters.

Giambiastiani said the JROC process, in the past, was too bureaucratic and rigid, and embodied a one-size-fits-all approach. The improvements will leave JROC 'more responsive, with more agility, more transparency so we can deal with issues on a more even keel.'

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