Printer Friendly

Global and theater operations integration.


The Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike and Integration (JFCC GSI) plays a critical role in integrating U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) global capabilities into theater operations. JFCC GSI provides our leadership with a unique ability to command and control global strike capabilities, as well as to build a plan rapidly to integrate all military capabilities and quickly bring them to bear on the battlefield. During previous conflicts, commanders worked hard to deconflict, or synchronize timing of, effects on the battlefield to ensure safe passage of assets and efficient use of combat power. Now commanders need more. They need true integration of effects planning and execution, from situation identification, to early engagement shaping the environment, to rapid response and effects generation, to the long-term endurance that continues through conflict resolution and redeployment.

In today's global, information-dominated environment, effects tend to span all levels of conflict, from strategic to tactical. Simply synchronizing these effects is an incomplete approach; the words or actions of one individual on the battlefield or at a press conference can change the operational environment as never before. The U.S. military must focus on integrating its capabilities to ensure that all effects support objectives, from the lowest tactical level to the highest national level of policy.

That reality has USSTRATCOM focused on advocating new capabilities, such as rapid, global conventional weapons delivery, as well as deploying options that generate precise, predictable effects. Additional efforts to secure cyberspace and to upgrade existing capabilities through programs such as the Reliable Replacement Warhead will provide benefit to the GSI mission set. The JFCC GSI staff retooled USSTRATCOM operational processes and planning mechanisms to integrate the command's knowledge better. GSI has worked tirelessly to improve situational awareness through universal sharing of information, standardizing command and control capabilities, and focusing all command components on delivering the entire range of global effects.

JFCC GSI leads Global Strike planning for USSTRATCOM. Global Strike delivers timely effects against fleeting or high-value targets at global ranges. When theater forces are not in position to respond rapidly to a crisis situation, Global Strike is a readily available tool that fills a wide variety of needs, from flexible deterrence options designed to alter an adversary's decision calculus to a rapid strike capability designed to deliver devastating effects against adversaries of the United States and its allies. JFCC GSI, with direct support from the USSTRATCOM Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, is ready to plan and execute Global Strike missions today. GSI is the supported command for planning Global Strike and is capable of executing these missions in a lead role when directed. However, the command anticipates that most Global Strike missions will be executed by other combatant commanders with GSI in a supporting role. For that reason, GSI's ability to collaborate with combatant command staffs and their component commanders is of critical importance to the USSTRATCOM mission. GSI is using new collaborative, Web-based tools to lay the foundation for rapid, integrated theater input to the Global Strike planning process. In this way, GSI ensures that theater commanders are fully integrated with and able to take advantage of all USSTRATCOM Global Strike capabilities.

JFCC GSI also leads the way with a pilot program to make a broad array of previously stovepiped data accessible, searchable, tailorable, and useable to warfighters at all levels. During Exercise Global Lightning 2007, USSTRATCOM utilized a Web-based tool to bring together people from multiple combatant commands, functional and Service components, mission areas, and scenarios in a fully collaborative environment. The command's situational awareness application, SKIweb, recorded 250,000 hits per minute on its server during the exercise. Warfighters were posting and pulling information constantly, enabling them to perform time-sensitive missions while keeping everyone within the environment on the same page and contributing. Certainly, more information is not always better. To quote General "Hoss" Cartwright, commander of USSTRATCOM, "If [the warfighter] needs a little [data] from here and a little from there, then [he] becomes the integrator [of that information] and that is fundamentally wrong. [The warfighter should not have to] integrate on the fly." JFCC GSI has taken on the challenge of integrating JFCC efforts. The goal is seamless, constant integration of processes and products, preventing the user from ever having to integrate "on the fly."


GSI has developed integration tools to help the warfighter discover and use actionable knowledge. The Global Operations Center Collaborative Environment (GOC-CE), based on commercial, off-the-shelf technology, is such a tool. GOC-CE maintains situational awareness, gathers information, and assembles it in one place for planners and decisionmakers alike. GOC-CE provides leadership with a dynamic, always current view about specific issues and provides other users with decisions already made. Planners can create editable spaces in a Web environment where specific information can be posted and acted upon. Others, from inside or outside the command, can add to this space, creating a useful, collaborative Web space for anyone with appropriate access. Within the command, GSI's Director of Intelligence utilizes collaborative tools and GOC-CE to bring together a wide array of knowledge and expertise from the USSTRATCOM functional components and the national Intelligence Community. This allows the command to maintain a minimal intelligence staff and to leverage the expertise where it exists rather than duplicating it in multiple locations.

GOC-CE was used effectively in Global Lightning 2007 and is creating positive momentum toward Defense Department and USSTRATCOM network-centric objectives. Ongoing efforts to increase machine-to-machine data feeds will further reduce the time needed to gather and integrate information, create knowledge, and speed the decision cycle. Of course, all this information is useless without the proper means to display it to the warfighter. USSTRATCOM is working on a Blue Force Tracker application that will use a "Google Earth"-like capability to display forces in near real-time on everything from a desktop computer down to a hand-held device. Warfighters in theater can display what is needed and access a host of related data if they choose.

USSTRATCOM command and control capabilities previously were focused primarily on the nuclear mission. Today, General Cartwright's vision is to have a command and control structure that is modern, secure, and flexible, yet robust and broad enough to handle all of the command's missions--including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, integrated missile defense, space, network operations, combating weapons of mass destruction, and Global Strike. The goal is to enable the command to work seamlessly to deliver tailored effects, anywhere and anytime, across the globe. The mechanism includes networking with all other combatant commands and their components, as well as with the Defense Department and other government agencies.

JFCC GSI is providing flexible, responsive command and control via increased airborne bandwidth, distributed ground infrastructure, and enhanced data transfer capabilities. Additionally, GSI is leveraging USSTRATCOM CAOC capabilities during time-sensitive planning efforts. Soon, we will create a Global CAOC by deploying the capability to link all theater air operations centers (AOCs) with the CAOC, allowing shared data, applications, and solutions around the globe in a virtual environment. This will provide all theaters with access to better global situational awareness, Global Strike planning, and operations from 8th Air Force. It will also provide forward-located AOCs with resources not readily available in theater. These data initiatives, situational awareness tools, and effective command and control coupled with traditional and nontraditional Global Strike systems enable GSI to produce integrated global effects for the President or geographic commanders at an ever faster pace. This command and control initiative is a requisite for efficient and effective weapons system employment once a precise, prompt, conventional global-range strike capability is fielded.


As we reduce the time required to decide and act, we also shape the future battlespace. In today's environment, we need to give warfighters in every theater a range of responses executable in minutes or milliseconds. The fast pace requires us to integrate our actions and get inside our adversaries' decision cycles. Providing joint force commanders with the tools and processes necessary for decisive action is critical, and GSI is delivering both of these today. Linking our AOCs virtually, standardizing operations data, and facilitating efficient collaborative arenas are all key to sharing information and reaching quick decisions, all of which help bridge the global and theater spectrum of operations at a moment's notice.

Lieutenant General Robert J. Elder, Jr., USAF, is Commander, 8th Air Force, and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike and Integration, U.S. Strategic Command.
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Defense University
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:SPECIAL FEATURE
Author:Elder, Robert J., Jr.
Publication:Joint Force Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Previous Article:An interview with James E. "Hoss" Cartwright.
Next Article:Joint functional command for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |