IWS - The Information Warfare Site
News Watch Make a  donation to IWS - The Information Warfare Site Use it for navigation in case java scripts are disabled


Net connectivityJoint warfighters assess net-centric information sharing processes

U.S. Joint Forces Command worked with the Defense Information Systems Agency and U.S. Strategic Command to examine various emerging command and control capabilities during a demonstration of the Net-Centric Services program.

By Jennifer Colaizzi
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(SUFFOLK, Va. - Nov. 22, 2004) -- As part of an effort to assess new battlefield command and control capabilities, U.S. Joint Forces Command partnered with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and U.S. Strategic Command last week during a pilot event here.

The pilot event, known as Oktoberfest, ran Nov. 15 to 19 and examined DISA's Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) program, which is a Web-based approach to sharing real-time data in the battlefield, said Edwin A. Shuman, USJFCOM Oktoberfest coordinator.

USJFCOM focused on looking at user awareness and the common defined operational picture from a Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) perspective, according to Shuman.

NCES is a set of services for the warfighter similar to the set of services available to a customer purchasing a book via the Internet. Shuman explained that when a consumer enters the Web services environment via a browser, does a search, selects a book, places it in the shopping cart, and purchases with a credit card, "what looks like a unified process on the front end to the user is really a series of services coming from different service providers."

"The data may come from several book repositories and the purchase process is connected to the credit card company website," said Shuman who explained that the Department of Defense (DoD) is using this integrated process to provide situational awareness and capabilities that assist operations like joint close air support and global strike efforts.

This web service based approach is really about opening up data stovepipes and sharing critical information, said Shuman.

Within DoD, there is a big push to share information and ensure that user systems are interoperable and integrated. Oktoberfest is a "try before you buy" event, said Shuman. "Does the Web service architecture bring better situational awareness to the joint warfighters? Can warfighters access real-time information?"

According to Shuman, a chain of events must occur to share critical battlefield information and during Oktoberfest USJFCOM and DISA looked at services available through the GIG, or global information grid.

The GIG is the worldwide information network currently being developed by the US that will link all data and communications networks together in a seamless environment.

Joint warfighting data capabilities, which were explored, included: data posting, storage, and access to include information assurance and security.

The weeklong distributed event was part of a DoD-wide effort to foster partnership and speed transformation, said Shuman.

"The goal is to quickly make information accessible on demand to warfighters, enabling them to deal with opponents effectively," said Shuman.


Standing Joint Force Headquarters Core Element

The Standing Joint Force Headquarters Core Element (SJFHQ) is a team of operational planners and information command and control specialists. This team of experts forms the backbone of the joint task force command structure.

During day-to-day operations, or when a contingency requires the establishment of a joint task force, all or part of the SJFHQ element is assigned to a combatant commander and is embedded in his staff.

The SJFHQ is not designed as a standing joint task force, but rather as a standing element that focuses on a combatant commander’s operational trouble spots. The SJFHQ is the highest priority of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for joint concept development and experimentation.

Where is the SJFHQ in the development process?
For more than two years, joint concept developers at United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM)—along with partners throughout the Department of Defense, the interagency community, the information technology industry, and a limited number of multinational partners—have collaborated on the development of the SJFHQ conceptual model.

In February 2002, USJFCOM moved the SJFHQ from the conceptual stage to the experimental design stage. The SJFHQ design must support how we fight today, yet be flexible enough to be reshaped to support tomorrow’s fighting force. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff intends to have at least one operational SJFHQ in each geographic combatant command by fiscal year 2005.

How is the SJFHQ different?
The SJFHQ will provide each geographic combatant commander with an informed and in-place command and control capability, reducing the “ad hoc” nature of today’s joint task force headquarters. Notably, due to a deep situational understanding before effective force employment, the SJFHQ will give the combatant commanders an advantage of time, perhaps the most critical resource.

The SJFHQ is the organizational centerpiece of adaptive joint command and control for a rapid, decisive operation.

In practical terms, this in-place command and control capability allows pre-crisis planning for the focus areas directed by combatant commanders. This capability is based on an improved, more timely situational awareness and understanding of the adversary as well as of friendly forces.

Inherent in the SJFHQ are established habitual relationships through the combatant commanders to the interagency community.

Together with shared situational awareness, these relationships allow a combatant commander to apply appropriate preemptive or follow-on actions using applicable national tools.

How does it work?
By using collaborative planning tools, the SJFHQ develops a pre-crisis knowledge base of the adversary’s systems and capabilities. In turn, this leads to the creation of the “operational net assessment.” The SJFHQ supports the pre-crisis efforts of the combatant commander’s planning directorate, allowing seamless planning and execution during crisis response.

Combatant commanders may employ the SJFHQ:
• To serve as the core of a joint task force (JTF) headquarters
• To augment a component or other headquarters designated as a JTF
• To augment the combatant command headquarters or to serve as its forward element when the combatant commander functions as the joint force commander.

What are the expectations for the SJFHQ?
The SJFHQ is envisioned as a standing, coherent team of “joint generalists” that is led by a flag/general officer.

Mission-tailorable, it incorporates extensive training for and knowledge of joint operations, as well as an ongoing understanding of the combatant commander’s theater perspective and knowledge of the area of responsibility, key issues, and regional players.

In addition, the SJFHQ must have its own command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence equipment.