USA — Generals Stress Need to Share Information

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — As U.S. forces increas­ing­ly work as part of multi­na­tion­al coali­tions, they are part of a cul­tur­al shift toward more infor­ma­tion shar­ing and work­ing more close­ly with allied troops, mil­i­tary lead­ers gath­ered here for a con­fer­ence on joint warfight­ing said.

Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis, com­man­der of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand, which co-host­ed the 2010 Joint Warfight­ing Con­fer­ence, said the respon­si­bil­i­ty will fall on young offi­cers to build trust across the ranks to improve infor­ma­tion shar­ing.

“In this age, I don’t care how tech­no­log­i­cal­ly or oper­a­tional­ly bril­liant you are; if you can­not build trust [across var­i­ous mul­ti­ple par­tic­i­pants], you might as well go home,” he said.

Air Force Maj. Gen. David M. Edg­ing­ton, Joint Forces Command’s chief of staff, said a cul­tur­al change is in the works to change the infor­ma­tion-shar­ing par­a­digm from “need-to-know” to “will-to-share.”

The Unit­ed States does not have the only mil­i­tary reluc­tant to share, Edg­ing­ton acknowl­edged, but it bears more of the bur­den as a leader in coali­tion oper­a­tions. “We have the tech­nol­o­gy and the capa­bil­i­ty to gath­er more infor­ma­tion and dis­trib­ute it than oth­er coun­tries,” he said.

Some­times there are legit­i­mate rea­sons to not share infor­ma­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it involves intel­li­gence that could put troops at risk, Edg­ing­ton said. But often, he added, infor­ma­tion isn’t shared due only to unnec­es­sary bureau­crat­ic rea­sons.

Shar­ing infor­ma­tion with coali­tion forces helps U.S. troops by reliev­ing some of their bur­den from the fight, Edg­ing­ton said. To those reluc­tant to share, he had a sim­ple mes­sage: “Get over it, guys. They’re going to be fight­ing with us.”

Edg­ing­ton con­ced­ed that shar­ing infor­ma­tion increas­es the risk of poten­tial­ly harm­ful infor­ma­tion get­ting into the wrong hands. “Yes, it’s a risk,” he said. “But it’s all about risk and it’s a risk to the oth­er forces, too.”

The mil­i­tary lead­ers also spoke of the need for “inter­op­er­abil­i­ty,” the abil­i­ty of coali­tion forces to work inter­change­ably with the same equip­ment and doc­trine. The shift will be a big change for senior offi­cers, Edg­ing­ton said. “Any­body at the rank of colonel or above — we’ve all grown up in this where the U.S. is leap years ahead, and we can’t afford to do that any more.”

Edg­ing­ton not­ed, how­ev­er, that many coun­tries fol­lowed the Unit­ed States in buy­ing F‑15 air­craft, and many also joined in the ear­ly stages of pur­chas­ing the joint strike fight­er air­craft, which is still being devel­oped.

French Air Force Gen. Stephane Abr­i­al, NATO supreme allied com­man­der for trans­for­ma­tion, spoke of the impor­tance of strength­en­ing the alliance for the future. Build­ing trust that leads to infor­ma­tion shar­ing and improved inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of equip­ment is crit­i­cal, he said.

The abil­i­ty for all coali­tion nations to oper­ate inter­change­ably “should be hard­wired into our DNA,” Abr­i­al said. An increas­ing gap between U.S. mil­i­tary equip­ment and tech­nol­o­gy and that of its allies is not being closed quick­ly enough, he said, and NATO is coop­er­at­ing with the defense indus­try to close that gap.

Build­ing trust also should decrease the num­ber of “caveats” or restric­tions, some nations insist upon when agree­ing to be part of coali­tion oper­a­tions, Abr­i­al not­ed. Such restric­tions can restrict troops’ involve­ment in cer­tain oper­a­tions or pre­vent infor­ma­tion shar­ing, espe­cial­ly intel­li­gence, he said.

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

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →