Translating Concepts into Capabilities

By General Henry H. Shelton, USA

To achieve full-spectrum dominance in the face of these challenges, we must develop the concepts laid out in JV2010 . This path has its own uncertainties—the future might be different from what we imagine, a capability we pursue might not be as potent or relevant as we foresee, or a breakthrough we seek might prove unachievable—however, we risk even more by not pursuing the concepts of JV2010 . An aggressive joint experimentation program will allow us to explore and refine how a joint task force will operate and employ future capabilities before we commit the time, energy, and money to develop specific systems fully, to restructure joint organizations, or to put the stamp of approval on new doctrine.

Key components of these experiments will be the services' efforts to test their own ideas and systems. We do not intend to duplicate service experimentation, but we will take advantage of what is learned through their efforts by combining their data and conclusions with ours. Throughout the JV2010 implementation process, I am committed to building on the unique mission capabilities of the services, as they will retain responsibility for developing their future forces to be part of a joint team. As always, we must focus on maximizing the different but complementary capabilities of the services to achieve battlefield effects much greater than the sum of the parts, while eliminating any gaps that may exist.

Until now, articulating and advancing JV2010 has been largely a Pentagon project, and the Joint Staff's work has helped us take some major steps toward our goal. Late last fall, an implementation schedule was established that lays out milestones from now until 2010. In May, we refined the future challenges we will face, and in July, we brought together representatives of the unified Commanders-in-Chief, the services, and Defense agencies to develop a list of desired operational capabilities.

As we moved ahead in the work of operationalizing our vision, it became clear that we needed to start testing concepts and systems in the field with the war fighters. Toward that end, Secretary of Defense William Cohen recently appointed the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, to be the executive agent for joint warfighting experimentation, effective 1 October 1998. USACom will combine the operational resources of our largest unified command with the experimentation expertise of the Joint Warfighting Center, the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, and the Joint Command and Control Battle Center. Each of these organizations soon will be consolidated under USACom. Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Commander-in-Chief, USACom, and his staff are pressing ahead with development of the Joint Experimentation Implementation Plan, a detailed map to help us get to our goal—an advanced joint force capable of rapid and decisive victory against any future opponent.

The first of our joint experiments is taking place in September, with an exercise aimed at evaluating and improving the sensor-to-shooter links in suppressing enemy air defenses. Next year, we will conduct a war game to evaluate the focused logistics concept. Subsequent experiments will use a variety of mechanisms, including studies, modeling and simulation tests, computer-assisted war games, and ultimately, joint field exercises of varying sizes. Testing efforts will culminate in 2004 with Global Challenge, a major joint exercise that will test JV2010 concepts at every level. This capstone exercise will occur halfway between now and 2010, an appropriate waypoint to put all of our assumptions and developments to a rigorous test. In addition, the timing will allow our conclusions to be incorporated in the Quadrennial Defense Review in 2005 and will provide a blueprint for the defense programs that will come to fruition by 2010.

The changes needed to operationalize JV2010 require more than simply investing in new systems. We also must develop the joint doctrine, build the new organizational structure, and revise training and educational methods to maximize the impact of new systems. After all, cutting-edge weapon systems will enable us to achieve victory in 2010 only if they are employed by well-trained, well-led people who are armed with sound doctrine.

In the next few weeks, we will release the Joint Vision Implementation Master Plan, detailing the process for transforming the joint concepts of JV2010 into fielded operational capabilities. During the final review of this instruction, I was struck by how much we plan to accomplish in the next 12 years. Beyond that, by making JV2010 into a reality, we are disproving the notion that revolutionary change for a military can occur only in the crucible of war or after suffering a humiliating defeat. If we grasp this opportunity, history will record that we used the post-Cold War era not to prepare for the next war, but to prepare for a new century of peace based on strength.

General Shelton is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.



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