New Concept Emphasizes Joint Force’s Speed, Synergy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 — With mil­i­tary bud­gets shrink­ing as threats grow in num­ber and com­plex­i­ty, the Defense Depart­ment still must ensure the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps can defend nation­al secu­ri­ty in the com­ing decades.

“The Joint Oper­a­tional Access Con­cept is an impor­tant first step,” a senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cer told reporters here Jan. 20. 

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George Fly­nn, the Joint Staff’s direc­tor of joint force devel­op­ment, said the con­cept — which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair­man Army Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey released last week — pro­vides a frame­work for devel­op­ing forces for future wars. 

“This con­cept describes, in broad and gen­er­al terms, how the joint force will oper­ate in response to what we see as a grow­ing chal­lenge to our abil­i­ty to achieve and main­tain oper­a­tional access … in the var­i­ous domains [of sea, land, air, space and cyber­space],” Fly­nn said. 

The 64-page con­cept focus­es on defeat­ing ene­my “anti-access and area-denial” capa­bil­i­ties — get­ting U.S. forces into places and then mov­ing them around with­in those places against ene­my opposition. 

That oppo­si­tion can include “mines, mis­siles, cyber threats — but com­pli­cat­ed by the threat that a lot of those capa­bil­i­ties could be avail­able to non­tra­di­tion­al [actors], just because of the pro­lif­er­a­tion of tech­nol­o­gy,” Fly­nn said. 

The gen­er­al offered as an exam­ple non­state actors — groups that aren’t aligned with nation­al gov­ern­ments — who can pose a dis­pro­por­tion­ate threat in the cyber domain. 

“That’s why it’s impor­tant, as we do force devel­op­ment, that we don’t get myopic on a spe­cif­ic threat,” he added. 

The concept’s authors say there are three rea­sons why gain­ing access against armed oppo­si­tion is the “essen­tial prob­lem” for future joint forces: poten­tial ene­mies are acquir­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly improved anti-access and area-denial capa­bil­i­ties; the num­ber of U.S. troops per­ma­nent­ly based over­seas is declin­ing, which will mean deploy­ing troops for com­bat from the Unit­ed States; and space and cyber­space are becom­ing increas­ing­ly impor­tant and con­test­ed domains. 

The con­cept lists 30 crit­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties, divid­ed among com­mand and con­trol, intel­li­gence, fires [which the document’s glos­sary defines as “the use of weapon sys­tems to cre­ate a spe­cif­ic lethal or non­lethal effect on a tar­get”], move­ment and maneu­ver, pro­tec­tion, sus­tain­ment, infor­ma­tion and engagement. 

It’s too soon to tie those capa­bil­i­ties to plat­forms or tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures, Fly­nn said, but the 30 objec­tives will serve as a guide to the mil­i­tary ser­vices in their spend­ing plans. 

“Those capa­bil­i­ties … can be pro­vid­ed by one ser­vice, or it could be the col­lec­tive capa­bil­i­ty of the joint force,” he said. “The exist­ing force devel­op­ment process­es [will] bring those capa­bil­i­ties to reality.” 

The con­cept empha­sizes joint oper­a­tions, syn­er­gy and coop­er­a­tion start­ing at a much low­er lev­el than they do now, the gen­er­al not­ed. DOD’s exist­ing air-sea bat­tle strat­e­gy and upcom­ing con­cepts detail­ing entry, lit­toral (seas, lakes and rivers close to shore), and sus­tained land-based oper­a­tions will align under the joint access con­cept, Fly­nn said. 

When Dempsey released the new con­cept doc­u­ment, ini­tial response with­in the Pen­ta­gon to its empha­sis on “cross-domain syn­er­gy” was that it’s noth­ing new, Fly­nn said. 

“It is some­thing we have to explore in greater detail,” he added. “Tra­di­tion­al­ly, we used to talk about com­bined arms … [in] the same domain. … What we’re say­ing in the Joint Oper­a­tional Access Con­cept is we’re going to have mul­ti­ple-domain oper­a­tions going on that have to be sequenced in a way that they’ve nev­er been sequenced before.” 

The mil­i­tary under­stands the tra­di­tion­al domains of land, sea, air and space very well, Fly­nn said. “You have this new domain, cyber — man-made, that changes all the time — that now has to be thrown into the mix,” he added. 

That’s one chal­lenge, he said, and anoth­er chal­lenge is the lev­el at which future con­flicts will need to “go joint.” 

“We think that this is going to have to be oper­at­ed … [and] coor­di­nat­ed at low­er lev­els than we’ve ever had to do this before,” he explained. Low­er-lev­el oper­a­tional syn­er­gy among ser­vices is core to the con­cept, and so is inte­grat­ing cyber into the bat­tle space, Fly­nn said. Both ideas need more explo­ration before they can be real­ized, he added. 

The con­cept is in line with the guid­ance he got from Dempsey to “take joint­ness and push it deep­er, soon­er in our force devel­op­ment,” Fly­nn said. 

Ear­li­er empha­sis on joint oper­a­tions will allow the nation’s mil­i­tary to achieve its objec­tives more effec­tive­ly, more effi­cient­ly and more afford­ably, he added. 

War­fare will become more com­plex as threats in the cyber domain mature, Fly­nn said, and equip­ment, doc­trine, tac­tics, train­ing and orga­ni­za­tion will have to adapt to that reality. 

The Cap­stone Con­cept for Joint Oper­a­tions, last updat­ed in 2009, details the main secu­ri­ty chal­lenges fac­ing the joint force: win­ning the nation’s wars, deter­ring adver­saries, devel­op­ing coop­er­a­tive secu­ri­ty, defend­ing the home­land and respond­ing to civ­il crises. 

“This month, we just com­plet­ed the review of the Cap­stone Con­cept for Joint Oper­a­tions,” Fly­nn not­ed. “[We’re now] under­tak­ing a revi­sion of that doc­u­ment, and we’re on a pret­ty aggres­sive timeline.” 

In the hier­ar­chy of doc­u­ments, Fly­nn said, the revised cap­stone con­cept will bridge the Joint Oper­a­tional Access Con­cept and fur­ther devel­op­ment of joint doctrine. 

The cur­rent ver­sion of the cap­stone con­cept does­n’t address the speed at which future oper­a­tions will have to hap­pen, Fly­nn said, adding that the new con­cept serves as a guide to the ser­vices and the joint force in man­ag­ing devel­op­ment changes already under way and still to come. 

“It’s real­ly easy to say, ‘I have a con­cept. I have to be able to oper­ate fast. I have to be able to do this at lev­els low­er than I ever have before,’ ” Fly­nn noted. 

“Will we be able to field that tomor­row?” he asked. “No. What we’re doing is iden­ti­fy­ing the chal­lenges, iden­ti­fy­ing in gen­er­al terms the capa­bil­i­ties, so that we can get to where … [we can] oper­ate at speed [and] inte­grate at low­er lev­els, and … do that in a joint context.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →