Service 'jointness'--key to the spectrum of conflict.
Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here today and to return to England. You know, after I finished those two tours in Southeast Asia my first real assignment was at RAF Bentwaters over in East Anglia near Ipswich. As I sat down next to Richard (Richard Cobbold, Director of the RUSI) at dinner last night I noticed his name and tried to make the connection. I learned it was unique to that part of East Anglia as a family name. I remember seeing the big advertisements for Cobbold Beer, so I was very pleased to reacquaint myself with that and to meet Richard last night.
It's a pleasure to be here also with Sir Jock (Air Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Royal Air Force). As I'm fond of saying, when Jock calls me to do something I respond immediately, and it's always a pleasure for me to come back over here. And of course with Richard, I see him. I see Peter Vogelera, my deputy from my days at Ramstein (AB, Germany), and a man of my dear colleagues--General Collett--I see in the audience from around the world. It's a pleasure to be here and I thank you very much for this invitation.
I think Jock put it very well indeed. In context of where we stand today in air and space power it's good to recall that as an example later on this week we'll celebrate the 87th Anniversary of the downing of the Red Baron in his tri-winged aircraft, barely made of canvas and wood, hardly advanced from the concept of needing flapping wings to fly at the very outset of our recognition of that third dimension from our confinement to the ground for many centuries.
Yesterday was the 63rd Anniversary of Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Tokyo, taking bombers off of aircraft carriers. And putting things together in new ways, as Jock mentioned, is a key to transforming the way we think about the way we do business. This world we live in requires the agility that Sir Jock talked about.
If you think back to the late '80s, before the fall of the Wall around Berlin, before the collapse of communism, think back to those days, and you read the newspapers. You call up the old editions of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and what we as Americans then were being told was that by the turn of the century the American economy would be a second-rate economy. We'd be second to Japan.
You can scour the pages of the newspapers and not find one incidence of the name Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden, Slobodan Milosevic. They were not in the news. Yet by the summer of 1990 and on through the decade of the '90s, these are the forces that guided our activities for a full decade and into this century.
Our ability to predict is not that good, and our lack of ability to predict demands that we at least be agile and able to respond to a variety of situations.
And it brings on a new vocabulary. Jock used many of the words. On our side of the ocean we talk a lot about jointness. Back in the '80s we had legislation, the Goldwater/Nichols Act that reconstructed the way that the services interact with one another, but it's possessed of one great flaw. The assumption of that Goldwater/Nichols Act assumed that jointness must be imposed from without because the services of their own accord have no ability to be joint from within which is basically incorrect, in my estimation. As a matter of fact my argument is that only true jointness can come from within the services, and we have ample example of how that jointness has worked very well.
We talk about the squabbling among the services. Certainly there's always the healthy camaraderie that goes along with a little bit of competition, but in fact when the chips are down, I would argue that the services come together extremely well.
I remember in the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, everything that went into Afghanistan had to be by air. There were no roads; we had no other access. Everything that went in went in by air. Pretty soon the aircraft carrier showed up and we were flying the fighter sorties off the aircraft carriers and the bomber sorties from the Indian Ocean over the middle of Afghanistan. My Air Force Alumni Association was very unhappy about that and I got calls from predecessors, generations of Airmen before me saying my God, the Navy is making us look bad, we must get some fighters into the area. Of course the papers drummed on that the Air Force has no access. We have to do this using aircraft carriers--all of it was nonsense.
We did have access. We could have put fighters on the ground. As a matter of fact, we did. We started with A-10s and went to F-15Es, but the fact of the matter is it wasn't necessary. It would have been a waste of the taxpayers' dollars.
The Navy guys were doing a great job off the carriers. It was useful for them to be introduced to a new way of warfare. They were flying nine- and 10-hour missions for the first time in their lives. They had to create a new way to advance their own agility off the carrier decks and get away from traditional ways to think about cycle times off the deck. It was the right thing to do, and that's what we did.
So agility takes on many meanings. For the U. S. Air Force, we began working on this problem shortly after Operation Desert Storm. You all remember Desert Shield and Desert Storm and as we tried to get ourselves mobilized and we worked up to get deployed, it was not a pretty sight. We'd been brought up in the area of Cold War thinking and we didn't have the agility we needed to respond quickly during Operation Desert Shield.
More disturbing was four years later--a little remembered operation called Vigilant Warrior. You may recall that Saddam Hussein comes south again with about 12 divisions. He threatens the Kuwaiti border again. We quickly respond, we send about 150 airplanes back over across the ocean, we turn the George Washington carrier battle group around in the Eastern Mediterrean and it's on its way out, we bring a bunch of soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg (N.C.), and we did it not one bit better, not one bit better than we had done it back in August of 1990. Slow on the uptake, ponderous in getting prepared, and that's when the Air Force said in October of 1994, this isn't working and we began this notion of the Air Expeditionary Force. We split ourselves up into 10 equally capable force packages; we set ourselves up on a rotational base. By the time 1999 rolls around and Operation Allied Force, the U.S. Air Force is ready to give this a try. It's not wonderful. We give ourselves about a C+ or a B-, but it was better than it was before. Then by the time we go to Afghanistan we are fairly proficient at this.
For Afghanistan and for Iraqi Freedom we had 10 equally capable force packages and we called eight of those 10 forward to fight those two conflicts.
We took the residuals of that after the major combat operation, made two AEFs while we reset the rest of the force, and then started back into our rhythm again.
This is the organizational agility that we need to deal with the contingency world that we live in when you don't really know what's going to happen next and it worked well for us.
As an example, in 1993 we had about 440,000 active-duty members in the U.S. Air Force. Of that 440,000 only 80,000 were designated on deployment orders. Today we have 360,000 active-duty members of the U.S. Air Force, and 290,000 of them are designated ready to deploy.
Even off the Air Staff in the Pentagon, I have 100 people off the staff that are deployed today because of the skills that they have. A new way to think about it, a new way to do it, it has been a major cultural transformation in our U.S. Air Force but it works for today's situation.
As Jock says, we need to be able to reward that kind of thinking. As he points out, what the system tends to do is reward the thinking that says I'm going to take my Block 10 system and upgrade it to a Block 20. And then I'm going to upgrade it to a Block 30 and a 40 and a 50. Whoever rewards the person who thinks of a complete new way of doing that business? That's the fundamental question. At what time do block upgrades to old think stop working?
Agility is the answer to that question.
We have several other examples of agility that have to do with intellectual agility. Again, new ways to think about things. We've invented this concept called the smart tanker. Now we think about it, wherever we have a conflict that involves any air power at all, the United States puts a lot of tankers right up very close to contested battle space. They sit and they orbit 24 hours a day, often four, five, six, eight, 10 orbits of tankers, hundreds of airplanes in the sky all the time. How do we leverage their position in the sky and their proximity to the battlefield?
Well, the fact was that for years we didn't. So very recently we put a very ugly piece of equipment on these things that translates Link 11 to Link 16 to Navy CEC (Co-operative Engagement Capability) to Army EPLARS (Enhanced Position Location Reporting System), translate from one datalink to another kind of datalink, and you set up essentially what is an IP address in the sky as a passive capability of these orbiting airplanes in close proximity to the battle space.
The question is: why didn't we do that a long time ago? Well, because we think in stovepipes. Nobody rewarded the tanker guys to think of new ways of doing this. Nobody rewarded the communication guys. If you gave this problem to the system the system would come up with a constellation of orbiting satellites to do this job rather than taking advantage of what you already have present over the battle space.
Another good example of lack of agile thinking is this notion of near space. You may have heard this term. It's sort of rapidly emerging back on the other side of the ocean. It proceeds from this line of thinking. Guys like many in this room with wings on their chest are very interested in air space between zero and 65,000 feet. At about 65,000 feet air molecules start getting thin. People who like to fly airplanes are sort of out of business because there are not enough air molecules to support combustion.
Nobody starts getting interested again until you get up about 300 kilometers where the space guys start raising their hand and say interested because now at 300 kilometers I'm at an altitude that can support orbiting platforms.
Between 65,000 feet and 300 kilometers is the domain of these very ugly lighter-than-air things that are very difficult to handle on the ground. Nobody ever went to an air show to see a balloon. Nobody likes them; they're ugly. You can't get excited about them. But is there a way to, for instance, put four or five of these things up over a country the size of Iraq that stares down with a month's worth of persistence at a time, forms your communication links, even does surveillance work, and substitutes for a low orbiting satellite constellation that would require 40 or 50 satellites? Is there a way to do this at far less expense? I don't know but we're going to find out, and there are some challenges out there. These things are difficult to handle, for sure. They right now don't carry much of a payload but we're going to see if we can press this capability.
Another key word in today's vocabulary is access. Of course it's always novel for me to stand in front of mixed audiences, and I often get the question, you all obviously have access problems, you can't get into places any more. I remind them that during Operation Iraqi Freedom we opened 36 bases--36 bases. There was not one tent left in the U.S. Air Force. We still have 14 bases open today. Access has not been a problem when a region is in difficulty.
We have to also think about, it's not only access to the region but it's the ability to deal with emergencies around the world. When the tsunami hit we were already very much engaged, very busy, but we were able to go equal the lift of the Berlin Airlift during the tsunami with C-17s and C-5s bringing relief to that tragic part of the world.
We need to be able to get into an area to set up shop, and for that the United States Air Force has created contingency response groups which allow us to go in quickly, be able to take an airfield and turn it into something useable in a short period of time and to quickly be able to stage from that airfield. It's also access through reachback. Sir Jock touched on it. There are many aspects of this notion of reachback. You can have some platforms and some forces forward, but you leverage them by being able to do the planning and the database manipulation and the targeting et cetera in rear locations. We're getting better and better at this but we have to be very careful because oftentimes we depend on fragile satellite communications using satellite networks that are not as protected as we would like them to be. And we're often reminded of the virtues of line of sight communications, because line of sight communications are more difficult to disrupt. So for the very reason that an Army unit does not put a force on the ground while keeping its command element back in the home country and command it through reachback, in air operations we have to make sure that we retain enough line of sight communications in the local area to be able to deal with those sorts of contingencies.
Access is also a matter of getting access when you need it. In this regard we think that the F/A-22 will do an excellent job of this. I recently went and checked out in the F/A-22 to make sure that all the bragging that I was doing about this airplane was indeed true. I had ten days to do this, and the first several days were tied up with simulators and academics and taking tests. We have no two-seaters, so they were very worried about putting the old guy in the cockpit. I told them, I have three sorties now to take, and I don't want to go any more advanced than I think I'm capable of doing. So the first sortie was the necessary traffic patterns and can we get the airplane off the ground and get it back on the ground, et cetera. It turns out the airplane is very easy to fly. That part wasn't difficult.
But on the third sortie I pronounced myself ready. So a wingman and I went up and we took on eight F-15s and the mission was to bomb an SA-10 site on the far side of the F-15s. We took off, we immediately went into this supercruise profile which you climb in afterburner, you level off at 50,000 feet, you pull it back out of afterburner, you're cruising at better than 1.5 Mach. You look down at your scope and even the old guy who's doing this all at the conscious level is seeing a picture that you've never seen before. It's a 360-degree picture of everything that's around you. You push your wingman out about 10 miles because visual cross-references really don't mean anything any more. You watch him lock on to his four guys on his side while I lock onto my four guys on my side. You look down at the scope and it tells you they're trying to see you but they can't. They're getting closer and closer and you know they're not going to see you, you just let them go, overfly them, go open the bomb bay doors, let the simulated small diameter bomb out at 65 miles from the target, let it go do its thing. As you turn away the systems says ah, they can see you now, they can see you--they can't see you any more. But they saw you long enough to tell the F-15s okay, they're south of you now. They all turn south. You lock them up, shoot them, smoke a Lucky and go home.
The Eagle guys say this is not fair, and they're right. But what you have now is a capability to go in wherever you might need to go for whatever reason, unannounced, and do whatever job needs to be done. And it is indeed quite unfair.
Another new word is of course not such a new word but one that takes on new meaning is one Jock used and that's integration. In many cases integration means the marriage of the old and the new. The fact of the matter is we can sit up here all day and we can talk about transformation and new systems from a new world, but in fact the truth is that 80 percent of what we have in our inventories today in any of our services in any of our countries, 80 percent will still be with us 20 years from now.
So the one thing that is imperative is that we learn how to use the old stuff in new ways. You remember the pictures in Afghanistan of the guy riding around on the horse. That guy was an Air Force Airman. He's riding around on a horse. He's got a laptop computer sort of bouncing off the saddle horn and a pair of laser goggles bouncing off the butt of the horse. They stop and set the whole thing up. He takes a laser ranging to the Taliban which are entrenched on the ridge line on the far side of the valley, datalinks the data up to the B-52 that's at 32,000 feet that drops GPS bombs down the ridge line and kills all the bad guys.
Now Curtis E. LeMay invented the B-52 to fly into the heart of the old Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. The B-52 is now doing close air support. Curt would roll over in his grave at the very thought of such a thing. But in fact today it's commonplace.
The horse is down there; we stopped riding a horse in the U.S. Army in 1932. We never taught this Airman to ride a horse. As a matter of fact he reminded us of that. He said they have these wooden saddles on these horses, these are mean horses and they've got wooden saddles. They're uncomfortable. Drop me a leather saddle and some Vaseline. I'm dying down here.
From the modern era we have the laser goggles and the satellite communications to the B-52. It comes all together and works in ways that we never dreamed of because the sergeant and his colleagues know how to put old capabilities together in new ways.
We have systems over in Iraq right now where we take the laser designator pods off of F-15 Es and F-16s, off of Marine Harriers, and we link that video directly to the ground. Off of a Global Hawk you can link to a PDA device, to people on the ground. We're modifying this in what we call the John Madden rood. You may not know our colorful TV football commentator, John Madden, who was the coach of the Oakland Raiders and who invented the light pen where they circle the player and diagram the play and it shows up on your TV set on ABC Monday Night Football. There's a simple question, why can't we do that with our systems? Well, in fact you can. So we are indeed fielding now the ability with a light pen to circle the bad guys, circle the good guys, and have that circle show up on everyone who's in the net--putting technology to work.
It's also fascinating to contemplate traditional notions of command and control. Again, Sir Jock touched on this. There's a fascinating new book written by Tom Friedman who's an editorialist for the New York Times. This book is called The Earth is Flat--A Brief History of the 21st Century. And in this he talks about the collaborative nature of the world today and how nations of the world can mobilize their intellectual property without actually immigrating to other countries where the opportunities are, et cetera. But it's gotten me to thinking about this notion of command and control and our traditional ways we think about in the military. Because command and control in many ways has evolved, at least in the United States to talk more about ownership of assets than completion of missions, and there's a new C-2 that's evolving in my estimation that's more about collaboration and connectivity.
I had this discussion with Tom Friedman before the book was published and it got me to thinking. I went back and studied the dust storm in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was very interesting. We knew the dust storm was coming, we knew that the Iraqis would try and reinforce the Republican Guards in the Medina division south of Baghdad. We rearranged the whole Air Tasking Order when that happened and we got the Joint Stars up there that could see the movement; the Rivet Joint could listen in with signals intelligence. We had the Predator UAV up there, and the Global Hawk that could derive very specific and precise coordinates of the targets. We hooked them up with the B-1 bombers that had loads of bombs on board and we had all of these entities represented and sitting around the table. And while we were trying to negotiate with all of these tribal members around the table, and trying to figure out how to light the peace pipe, the captains were off on the chatnets that exist already between and among these systems figuring out how they were going to talk to each other to make this happen.
The collaboration among the captains was instant. While the negotiations were going on about who was going to own what and what prerogatives each were going to exercise and how this information would flow, it was already decided de facto by the people who really understood the technology and the networks that already existed.
Now the shame of that is they were doing it by the speed of typing instead of the speed of light. We should have the machines hooked up in a network that fully takes advantage of machine-to-machine interfaces, but the results were magnificent. And now chatrooms, the collaborative nature of chatrooms, have become a main instrument for command and control. And we find ourselves now trying to put some discipline into chatroom language so that it doesn't look like casual conversation on the chatrooms.
Another interesting phenomena of these chatrooms: In the middle of this whole thing when it was obvious that this chatroom network was overwhelmingly successful, the traditional stovepipers tried to get themselves into the chatnet and interject their power to veto what was going on. We have to think about this. These are powerful new notions in the way that we exercise air power today.
Of course there are other words--dominance, precision, persistence. Sir Jock touched on some of these.
One of the things that we have to think very carefully about when we talk about persistence is how we think about the unmanned air vehicle. Indeed, the UAV is proliferating itself in many ways. We have 750 UAVs over in Iraq right now. Everybody wants their own. The difficulty we are having is to organize them so that we put them in the right place at the right time to make maximum effectiveness and efficiency of their use.
And of course the airspace right now is uncontested. These UAVs are not stealthy. They are vulnerable, and we have to step very carefully into the future of UAVs.
A stealthy UAV of the future flying in the daytime will be vulnerable to visual detection. And unless we go to the expense of putting sensors on it that will allow it to defend itself, then we will be inventing a vulnerable asset that we have to take care and fly at other times than only at night which is the way the current set of stealth aircraft fly.
But persistence is a virtue that we do attribute to UAVs, and I think what we will find is that very stealthy UAVs that can be protected by things like the F/A-22, will be able to loiter for long periods of time over forces on the ground, be in direct contact with the forces on the ground and be able to dispense weapons whenever they need them. Again, this is a novel idea, that I think has great leverage, and I get pushback on this from time to time, why don't we just stand off with cruise missiles, I'm asked, from ships or from aircraft, instead of having aircraft that penetrate and loiter overhead? Of course any Airman is familiar with that very simple principle of "time of flight." If the soldier is in trouble on the ground and you have an airplane orbiting at 20,000 feet overhead, that soldier on the ground is never more than 20 seconds away from having some help. If that platform that carries the weapon is 200 feet standing off out to sea or in the air out of reach of surface-to-air missiles then it's planning time plus perhaps an hour time of flight before you have any help. The principle of line of sight, the principle of time of flight, the simple principle of cursor over the target which gets to the ability of machines to talk to one another so that the sum of the wisdom of that machine to machine interface comes up with a cursor over the target. With the cursor over the target then the command and control decides whether they're going to kill that target, save that target, or learn more about that target. The three things you generally do with that sort of information.
Of course none of this happens without the magnificent people, as Jock said, that we all have in our services that do this work. I am constantly amazed as I'm able to travel around as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to see Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine forces deployed around the world, and to see the profound effect that something like elections in Afghanistan and elections in Iraq have had on the morale of these young men and women. It is unbelievable.
I visited Afghanistan in November and spoke with normal Afghan citizens. They come up to you with their voting card in their hand, which is their most proud possession. It's got their thumbprint on it, babbling away in a language I can't understand but you know what they're saying. They're saying, "I'm just like you. I have the power to vote now." The same thing happened in Iraq.
The news didn't show the lines of people snaked around corners waiting to vote, talking to families who had decided that the whole family was going to vote but they'd go in shifts in case anything happened. Profound acts of bravery by determined people who wished to have a say in their own future.
These things do pay off. We do have a role to play in air and space power throughout the spectrum of conflict. We have to dedicate ourselves to how it fits more closely with land and sea power. And with that attitude I think that there is even more relevance for what we Airmen do in the future.
God bless you all, and thank you very much.
Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper
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|Title Annotation:||Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies|
|Author:||Jumper, John P.|
|Publication:||Air Force Speeches|
|Date:||Apr 19, 2005|
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