Winnefeld: Military Must Prepare for Range of Conflicts

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011 — The U.S. mil­i­tary must be ready to address a broad range of poten­tial future con­flicts, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s nom­i­nee to be the next vice chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

Navy Adm. James A. Win­nefeld Jr., who now com­mands U.S. North­ern Com­mand and North Amer­i­can Aero­space Defense Com­mand, tes­ti­fied before the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee dur­ing a con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing for his nom­i­na­tion to suc­ceed Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, who is retiring. 

“As we look out ahead in the strate­gic envi­ron­ment, we’re going to have to be ready for a very broad spec­trum of poten­tial con­flicts,” the admi­ral said. 

“If you look at what a con­flict might be like in a place like [the Kore­an penin­su­la], as opposed to oth­er places,” he added, “we’re going to need to be pre­pared for that full spec­trum of operations.” 

Reor­ga­niz­ing troops and equip­ment for such an effort will be a big chal­lenge, he said, as will “mak­ing sure that we don’t myopi­cal­ly focus on one type of con­flict over anoth­er, but that we’re pre­pared as well as we can be for what­ev­er comes across the plate.” 

In his cur­rent posi­tion, Win­nefeld is respon­si­ble for defense of the home­land, mil­i­tary sup­port to civ­il author­i­ties for domes­tic emer­gen­cies and aero­space warn­ing and con­trol for North America. 

As North­com com­man­der, he is respon­si­ble for the ground-based mid­course mis­sile defense sys­tem, an ele­ment of the bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense sys­tem that allows com­bat­ant com­man­ders to engage and destroy lim­it­ed inter­me­di­ate- and long-range bal­lis­tic missiles. 

If con­firmed, Win­nefeld will act as chair­man of the Joint Chiefs in the chairman’s absence, and also will have key respon­si­bil­i­ties relat­ed to require­ments for future acqui­si­tion pro­grams and efforts relat­ed to cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, the next-gen­er­a­tion nuclear deter­rent and more. 

Win­nefeld said the ser­vices must con­tin­ue to address and pre­pare for future chal­lenges, “even as we resolve the con­flicts we have going on today.” 

“This is a big ship in terms of the acqui­si­tion pro­grams and process­es and the embed­ded require­ments process that we need to turn into a much more favor­able direc­tion for the tax­pay­ers,” the admi­ral said. 

A con­flu­ence of tools will work for the depart­ment, he added. 

One is the Weapons Sys­tem Acqui­si­tion Reform Act, signed into law in May 2009 to reform the way the Pen­ta­gon con­tracts for and buys major weapons systems. 

The leg­is­la­tion is good, Win­nefeld said, but will take time to have its effect. 

The admi­ral attrib­uted anoth­er tool to Ash­ton B. Carter, under­sec­re­tary of defense for acqui­si­tion, tech­nol­o­gy and logistics. 

“Under­sec­re­tary Carter has a very good approach in bet­ter buy­ing pow­er,” he said, “that he’s impos­ing on the depart­ment to get more cost effi­cien­cies, to pro­vide incen­tives for indus­try, to pro­vide more for com­pe­ti­tion and the like.” 

If he is con­firmed, Win­nefeld said, Cartwright has set him up for suc­cess to fur­ther improve the require­ments process. The cur­rent vice chair­man has been an active pro­po­nent of Pen­ta­gon effi­cien­cy efforts ini­ti­at­ed last year by then-Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates. 

Those three things work­ing togeth­er, the admi­ral said, “are going to get this ship turned in the right direc­tion,” even in a chal­leng­ing bud­get environment. 

Win­nefeld said upcom­ing cuts in the defense bud­get should be applied “in a strat­e­gy-based manner.” 

As pro­posed defense cuts increase, he said, “the strate­gies we cur­rent­ly have are going to reach inflec­tion points where we’re just going to have to stop doing some of the things we are cur­rent­ly able to do.” The nation, he added, can’t afford to have defense cuts result in a hol­low mil­i­tary force or irre­versible dam­age to the indus­tri­al base. 

“We’ve got to make sure that the all-vol­un­teer force remains viable and that we take care of these young men and women,” the admi­ral said. 

In response to a ques­tion about whether the Unit­ed States still is engaged in a “war on ter­ror,” Win­nefeld said the term may be out of fash­ion, but the real­i­ty has­n’t changed. 

“We are still so much in a fight with al-Qai­da and … relat­ed extrem­ist groups that it sure feels like a war,” he said. 

Describ­ing the sta­tus of that war, Win­nefeld echoed Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta’s recent state­ment that the Unit­ed States is close to being able to strate­gi­cal­ly defeat al-Qaida. 

The group’s lack of finan­cial sup­port and lead­er­ship cri­sis will “ulti­mate­ly [cause] them to unrav­el from their inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions, much the same way the Sovi­et Union did,” the admi­ral said. 

Still, he added, al-Qai­da is mor­ph­ing from a cen­tral­ly con­trolled orga­ni­za­tion to a col­lec­tion of home­grown terrorists. 

“So this is not yet over,” the admi­ral said. “It’s not even close.” 

Address­ing the Pentagon’s role in cyberde­fense, Win­nefeld said one com­po­nent involves defense of its own net­works with­in the “dot-mil” domain. 

“We also have a role in sup­port­ing the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty in their role of help­ing defend the rest of gov­ern­ment and the rest of the coun­try,” he added. 

That’s a com­plex rela­tion­ship, he said, not­ing that Gates and Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano struck a good agree­ment in Octo­ber to work togeth­er to bet­ter pro­tect against threats to mil­i­tary and civil­ian com­put­er net­works and systems. 

Army Gen. Kei­th B. Alexan­der, com­man­der of U.S. Cyber Com­mand, is doing a good job of work­ing with Home­land Secu­ri­ty to con­struct how that sup­port would work, Win­nefeld said. 

One of sev­er­al ele­ments of cyber deter­rence, he said, is the abil­i­ty to respond to an attack and to make that attack so cost­ly for an attack­er that they’re unwill­ing to con­duct it. The Unit­ed States must con­sid­er the full range of poten­tial respons­es to an attack, includ­ing mil­i­tary and diplo­mat­ic respons­es, the admi­ral added. 

“But I would nev­er want to rule any­thing out in respond­ing to a seri­ous cyber attack on this coun­try offen­sive­ly,” he said, “and it could be a cyber response or a kinet­ic response, depend­ing on the nature of the attack and the cir­cum­stances that sur­round it.” 

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 →