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Adm. Giambastiani's photoAlignment and non-proprietary: key issues in military's future situational awareness 

During a recent speech, U.S. Joint Forces Command's commander asked industry leaders to reduce redundancy and realign research and development efforts.

By Jennifer Colaizzi
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.-- June 10, 2004) - In order to gain knowledge superiority, industry professionals must align their information technology research and development with joint and coalition warfighters needs, the four-star admiral charged with leading DoD's joint military transformation told industry leaders today.

"We have found that gaining superior situational awareness is as much or more about people, organizations, and coalitions being empowered to work together in new, more dynamic highly adaptive ways than just about technology," said Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT).

The remarks came during the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's (AFCEA) Transformation TechNet 2004, at the Virginia Beach Pavilion.

"We are not looking for a technological silver bullet but rather how technology can be applied to the new circumstances of modern warfare," said Giambastiani.

According to Giambastiani, both U.S. and coalition forces are working to achieve decision superiority based on the human aspect of decision-making. This is the command and control (C2) part of command, control, communications, computer, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR).

Knowledge superiority will only be attained when combatant commanders are empowered to plan and act swiftly Giambastiani told the audience of communications, electronics, intelligence and information systems professionals.

He called on industry professionals, military R&D communities and academia to come up with the integrated networks that will enable a collaborative information environment (CIE), an environment where every level of command, including coalition partners, can share and collaborate "real time."

To illustrate how important CIE is to the joint warfighter, the admiral related an anecdote in which a U.S. pilot in Afghanistan used an Internet-style chat network in his plane to collaborate with forces on the ground, planners at U.S. Central Command, and a sister squadron to confirm coordinates, verify that blue forces were clear of the area. In under 30 minutes, the enemy was destroyed.

Giambastiani said that the separate services are spending money on technologies which are redundant but not always interoperable and that the government was looking for technology solutions that are non-proprietary and have an open architecture because information technologies change quickly.

Giambastiani said that he's never been described as "a cop on the beat" when it concerns ensuring that interoperability happens, but assured the audience that it isn't about who gets to the chalk board first.

He told the industry leaders that USJFCOM staff was interested in hearing what solutions industry can offer and encourages a new partnership of innovation and change.

"This is a two-way street," said Giambastiani, in reference to military transformation and the goal of achieving decision superiority.

Other guest speakers during the three-day conference included: Navy Adm. William Fallon, commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, vice commander, Air Combat Command, Vice Adm. James McArthur, Jr., commander Naval Network Warfare Command, Army Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones, deputy commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and Marine Lt Gen. Edward Hanlon, Jr., commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Remarks
AFCEA TechNet Conference
VA Beach Pavilion Center
June 10, 2004

Good morning-and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. Thanks, also, to the AFCEA Tidewater and Hampton Roads chapters for co-hosting this conference. Your focus on delivering capabilities that will help achieve decision superiority is central to our overall transformation efforts both in the U.S. and in my NATO Command.

I have a prepared text that I'll use as an outline and will be happy to take some questions at the end. Oh, and I should mention that John felt that this was such an important topic that he asked me to speak for about three hours and use up to 100 slides-but have no fear, I brought just one slide to share and do Q&A.

Your conference theme: "Achieving Decision Superiority," is an important topic to address because the information technologies that you produce are key enablers-and I emphasize enablers-for the new way of operating both for the U.S. and NATO, one based on knowledge superiority.

What I wanted to do today, though, is talk to you from the perspective of the customer-the joint warfighter. And like all good customers - and in my mind a good customer is a demanding customer - the mindset that I'll convey is "what have you done for me lately." Or to put it more precisely, have you-the smart folks from industry, battle labs and think tanks-kept the customer at the forefront of your technological development?

Slide imageLet me show you that slide I mentioned earlier to help explain the "customer's viewpoint."

Many of you have seen this slide before. I've used it often over my 19 months in command and it hasn't changed that much-and there's a reason for that.

If you look at the Block IV chart at the far right-the description at the bottom lists the "effects" or "end state" that the customer wants: a coherently joint, capabilities-based joint force.

And when I use the term joint operations, I mean the "Big 'J'" in foint-which refers to a seamless integration of the individual services, other government agencies, allies, coalition partners, multinational organizations and even non-governmental agencies.

Now, if you look at the attributes above on the Block IV chart, what you see there are the "means" or "enablers" to achieve this coherently joint force: "Interdependence"; "Effects-Based"; "Collaborative"; and "Network-Centric".

You see-what this slides helps to do is provide another way of looking at the challenge of transformation from the customer's perspective, or from the operator's viewpoint. The point here is that the focus must be on the commander and the command and control functions-or overall human aspects of decision-making-rather than on the technological aspects.

If the goal is to "achieve decision superiority" in whatever military operation our U.S. and coalition forces might have to conduct, then this Commander-centric viewpoint must be kept at the forefront of your technological development process.

With that viewpoint in mind, let me take a moment to share with you three perspectives on the work we have been doing to deliver the capabilities for the new way of operating.

And when I say "we," I am not using the "Royal We" but am merely wearing both my hats as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, or "SAC-T" as we like to call it.

We view information technology as the means to gaining knowledge superiority rather than an end-in-itself. In other words, we are not looking for a technological "silver bullet," but rather how technology can be applied to the new circumstances of modern warfare along the full range of military operations.

We have found that gaining superior situational awareness is as much or more about people, organizations and coalitions being empowered to work together in new, more dynamic, highly adaptive ways than about technology. What is important here is how information technologies can enable the scope, speed and richness of operational knowledge that is necessary to the transformation we are after.

On the NATO side-that is why Allied Command Transformation just stood-up a new integrated project team to help develop and deliver a NATO Network Enabled Capability, or "NNEC".

This new team has begun the process of defining the requirements to produce an integrated, highly adaptive command and control capability for the NATO Response Force, a high readiness expeditionary force capable of conducting operations along the full spectrum of military operations. The ACT team will then draw together from Alliance organizations and industry the IT capabilities that will help turn these requirements into reality.

On the U.S. side, we are delivering the Standing Joint Force HQ core element capability to the Combatant Commands. I know that you have already received a detailed briefing on this by my SJFHQ Director, Rear Adm. Rich O'Hanlon-and also on our prototyping process from Mr. Steve Moore, my director of the Office of Prototype Over Sight-so I won't cover these details here-but will be happy to talk on this capability more deeply during the Q&A.

As these new capabilities will have a significant impact on other aspects of our U.S. and NATO forces-like doctrine, organization, training and leadership-both JFCOM and ACT will simultaneously develop new training packages and capabilities to ensure the new standards are well understood and embedded at the operational level of command.

In short, our fundamental view of transformation is that information technologies are key enablers for gaining knowledge superiority-and that the "end goal" is to create a highly adaptive, knowledge-enabled NATO force.

These new capabilities-combined with the innovative training and organizational prototypes we are delivering-will allow our forces to conduct operations that are "effects" or "outcome" oriented instead of "means" oriented. This is the whole point of "effects-based operations".

This is also why I consider "network centric warfare" to be a misnomer. From my perspective, I see network centric capabilities as a means to enable effects-based operations rather than ends in themselves. The difference is key because military transformation is more than just technology. It's also about these other aspects that I've mentioned, like training and organization, experimentation and concept development-developing innovative approaches to employ the technology we currently have-and are developing-in different ways.

With regards to the term "C4ISR," my view is that it must be separated out into the two distinct functions, rather than artificially kluged together to appease the acronym gods.
I view "Command and Control" as how commanders and staffs use knowledge and the understanding that it creates-or the human and organizational aspects of knowledge superiority. The rest of the acronym: "Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance" deals with the systems aspects of how knowledge is gathered, analyzed, displayed and disseminated.

Understanding these distinctions is critical to understanding how we are transforming the joint and NATO force-and your role in the process. My commands are keenly focused on the human aspects of C2 + C2ISR, or the "Command and Control" portion of the acronym.

By necessity, knowledge superiority represents more than the traditional understanding of command and control. It must embody the full empowerment of commanders to plan and act swiftly and positively on near real-time information-across the entire breath and depth of the future battlespace.

We call this new technical condition the Collaborative Information Environment, where every level of command-throughout the entire force and including coalition partners-is linked to the senior commander's decision-making processes. In other words, we seek to establish an environment where all our leaders can share and collaborate on near real-time information to the point of synergy.

Commanders used to do this coordination on the hood of their jeeps, on the bridges of their ships, or in their flight rooms. This kind of face-to-face interaction remains vitally important. With a collaborative information environment, a commander is able to multiply his "presence" many fold, virtually-a very powerful tool that will enhance unity of effort and coherency of action, even on a very distributive battlefield.

To give you an idea on the power of this capability, from the U.S. perspective, let me share with you an observation we received from a U.S. pilot in Afghanistan. His comments seemed to crystallize the effectiveness of the collaborative environment-and its similar to the example that Lt. Gen. Wright gave earlier in this conference.

After an enemy column was identified on the move, the pilot recounted how the real time, internet-style chat network in his plane enabled him to collaborate with:
· Forces on the ground
· Planners at U.S. Central Command HQ
· And a sister squadron.

While gunships moved in stride toward the target guided by satellite communications, planners at U.S. Central Command simultaneously confirmed the coordinates and approved the strike while ground commanders verified that "Blue" forces were clear of the area. In the space of 30 minutes from the time the enemy was detected, the column was destroyed.

The key point to this story is how information systems have enabled-and are empowering-operators to act adaptively, make rapid decisions and take positive actions.

That is the collaborative condition we seek on the human aspect of C2 + C2ISR.

On the systems side, we are relying on you-the talented members from industry, military R&D communities and academia-to come up with the integrated networks that will enable the Collaborative Information Environment, or CIE.

Our integrated project teams will work out the conceptual blueprint and general requirements for the CIE. We are looking to leverage your technologies and information capabilities to assist us in fleshing out the technical aspects of the NATO Network Enabled Capability and standing joint force HQ core element.

What is critical to understand here is that JFCOM and ACT are serving as the bridge between the human aspects of commanding warfighters in complex missions and the network systems that you all can provide to link all of this together.

I should also add that because information technologies change so quickly, we are looking for solutions that are non-proprietary and have an open architecture. This is the only way we can continually upgrade existing systems to apply across the entire joint task force or NATO Response Force as well as with coalition partners in a coalition joint task force.

That is your challenge-delivering the systems and networks that are non-proprietary and contain integrated open architectures that are both adaptive and integrated.

One of the top priorities of my two commands is to bring alignment to the overall change process and with our many partners. In the area of information technologies, for example, that is precisely the work that our NATO Network Enabled Capability team and Standing Joint Force HQ prototype team will do. We are doing similar alignment across other key areas like doctrine, training, education and organizations.

By aligning our various agendas and efforts, we can effectively harness the great intellectual energies and innovative ideas springing from a wide field of disciplines and from all our partners, the services and on the NATO side, from the nations.

I can tell you that both of my commands are tied at the hip-particularly with experimentation, training and developing integrated capabilities. To be exact, we are "aligned at the hip."

Our folks are also here to learn what you have to say, answer any questions that you might have-and to assist in bringing together our many capabilities in a new partnership of innovation and change-so that we can be aligned with you. In short-this transformation endeavor is a two-way street.

That is how we see "Achieving Decision Superiority."

In summary, Joint Forces Command and Allied Command Transformation are committed to working closely with the industry, academia and our many partners in the military-on both sides of the Atlantic-to find IT solutions that will enable the new "way of operations" based on knowledge superiority and situational awareness.

We understand the true value of technology is how it will enable-and empower-our forces to make better, more effective decisions, rapidly and decisively.

And in the end, we must always keep the customer in mind from the outset-the joint warfighter. We also understand that we can't do this transformation alone. We will need your help-your innovative ideas and technologies-to get across that last, important step: the information stage.

Thank you for the great work that you do.