Using SC in Missions
The term strategic communication designates much more than only press briefings and talking points. Its official DOD definition is "focused United States Government processes and efforts to understand and engage key audiences in order to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable to advance national interests and objectives through the use of coordinated information, themes, plans, programs and actions synchronized with other elements of national power." 1 Note the word actions. Indeed, senior Defense Department officials have said that SC is "80 percent action and 20 percent words." 2
Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, characterizes it as providing audiences with "truthful and timely information that will influence them to support the objectives of the communicator." He identifies strategic and tactical SC levels. Planners operate at the former; at the tactical level the mission is accomplished. "Public affairs and all of the associated efforts are linked together and the execution . . . occurs." 3
The strategic level sets the course, but the tactical is most significant to ships on deployment because ultimately, SC is not about words or PR. It's about real people on real ships conducting real-world operations with our partner nations. Only through action can we foster and sustain relationships with our partners.
How do fighting men and women on a warship use SC to accomplish their mission? On the Farragut we had a three-tiered approach that we called theater security cooperation. It can serve as a case study. Using the Cooperative Strategy as our guide, we sought to interact with partner nations via military-to-military interaction, distinguished-visitor receptions, and community-relations projects.
In South America, our ship participated in five major multinational exercises. Each was an opportunity to interact with partner navies as equals and focus on what we share in common: we are all professional mariners. In areas where South American navies had more expertise, we listened and learned. In addition to the inherent familiarity they have with their home waters, they provided excellent training for our crew. When we had more experience, we stepped up and took charge. What we all learned will increase stability in the entire theater. One example of how we acquired new skills is our participation in the Chilean antisubmarine warfare exercise EJAS Norte.
Conducted during the first week of June off the coast of Antofagasta, Chile, EJAS Norte showed us a new way to look at ASW. In the U.S. Navy, we sometimes jokingly refer to ASW as "awfully slow warfare" because of the long processing time required to find submerged submarines. The Chilean Navy has an entirely different paradigm: it attacks the sub in what closely resembles fighter aircraft in a dogfight. In addition to gaining new perspective, we were able to conduct operations against two Chilean type-209 diesel submarines. These are some of the most advanced diesel boats in world, and since the U.S. Navy does not have them (yet; many of our potential enemies do), this training cannot be replicated using only our own forces.
Instead of preaching about the mutual benefit of theater security cooperation, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. It was a humbling experience, and we learned a lot. Those six days sent a clear message: The U.S. Navy is serious about our relationship with Chile, and we are willing to dedicate the time and resources to strengthen it.
The Farragut conducted 25 port visits in 12 countries. At each stop we hosted flight-deck receptions for distinguished visitors. Our September visit to Castries, St. Lucia, coincided with a meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, so we invited representatives of several nations. Stephenson King, prime minister of St. Lucia; Denzil Douglas, prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis; and Lowell Lewis, chief minister of Montserrat, were joined on board by U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Mary Martin Ourisman.
As Farragut commanding officer Commander Scott Dugan explains the significance of these events:
Each member of the crew acted as a Sailor-ambassador. Holding receptions gives the crew and officials an opportunity to talk and get to know a little more about each other's culture, traditions, and way of life in a comfortable, relaxed setting. This gets to the heart of relationship building; true relationships can only be built at the person-to-person level.
We worked through the media to inform the local populace about why we were there. To assist with this, we deployed with Ms. Karen Hughes, an expert in SC from the Rendon Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consultancy. She also helped to develop the overall SC plan for the region. This is an example of the crossover from the strategic to the tactical levels of SC. The receptions were vital, but we also used the media as a conduit to further our goals.
These get us directly into the community. Ultimately, SC seeks to influence governments, but in democratic nations, governments are most directly influenced by their own citizens. Community-relations projects often allow us to interact with children, paying dividends for years to come. By starting early and creating favorable images with the young, our projects counter negative stereotypes about Americans before they have developed and create a reservoir of goodwill.
A typical project may be painting a school or conducting light repairs at a church. In six months of voluntary participation, Farragut Sailors logged more than 1,300 hours.
Project Handclasp, a similar program, collects and distributes anything from toys to medical and hygiene supplies. Companies and non-profit organizations donate the items, which military vessels transport around the world. Commander Lewis Preddy, project coordinator for Fourth Fleet, explains, "Officers and Sailors onboard deploying ships are [loaded] up with as much of the donated material as they can carry, knowing that during these visits, they can help people who are truly in need." 4
A Tool for the Future
SC will continue to play a large role in the 21st century Navy. As we continue to refine its applicability, we need to improve especially in the following areas:
- Baseline measurement: These must be established by working with agencies such as the Rendon Group and local polling organizations. Baseline statistics are essential to discover whether our efforts are having the desired effect over the long term.
- Quantifiable metrics: We have to develop ways to measure our impact and feed this information to ships so lessons learned can be applied in the short term (two to three days).
- Coordination: We must continue to ensure unity of effort between all stakeholders. The State Department, combined commander, ship, and local leaders must all speak, and act, with one voice.
The Cooperative Strategy notes that further experimentation, experience, and analysis will be necessary to bring the vision to life. Naval forces will have to learn new skills to operate under the new strategy, and chief among these will be the action of strategic communication.
2. Dennis M. Murphy, "The Trouble with Strategic Communication(s)," Parameters 38, no. 3 (winter 2008).
3. Admiral James G. Stavridis, "Strategic Communication and National Security," Joint Forces Quarterly, no. 46, 3rd quarter (2007), p. 4.
4. Holly Boynton, "USS Farragut Delivers Support for Partnership of Americas," navy.mil, 7 April 2008 (story no. NNS080407-12), http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=36255  .
See and Speak Beyond Our Borders
By Captain Michael D. Budney, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Soon after arriving at my ship in La Maddalena, Italy, I attended an Italian Navy school reception. An admiral, noting that I did not speak Italian fluently, asked in superb English, "Why not?" It was professionally embarrassing. His question implied that my failure to learn his language was the height of arrogance. Was I here to cooperate or merely use his country?
Nothing in my education for command had prepared me for this encounter. Clearly the admiral believed that partnerships, with their underlying framework of trust, are not built on uneven foundations.
Look with Host-Nation Eyes
Unsophisticated peacetime engagement such as this mystifies U.S. allies. Inadequate language skills are a major issue, but the difficulties begin with identifying the problems that forces will be tasked to address. Advocates of the Global Maritime Partnership accurately state that 90 percent of global exports are moved by sea, and more than 2 billion people live near their countries' coasts. Therefore, they deduce, issues like piracy, smuggling, drug trading, and illegal migration demand the attention of the world's navies. But these allegedly related maritime problems are not critical to all littoral states; some are relatively unimportant.
Steve Carmel, vice-president at Maersk Line, does not view high-seas piracy as the most important problem facing his business. His industry regards stowaways, a result of poor port security, as a far bigger dilemma. 1 In 2009, the world's 50,000 trading ships made hundreds of thousands of voyages. While each of the 406 piracy attacks committed or attempted during that year is of serious concern, 33 percent of them occurred in port or at anchor, and in total they represent only a small fraction of 1 percent of all commercial voyages. 2
For emerging partners, focusing on issues such as piracy and illegal migration may represent merely an entrée for American forces through a "solution" that fits U.S. capabilities. Quality of life is a far more pressing concern to them. For instance, in Luanda, Angola, 46,000 residents contracted and 1,600 died of cholera in 2006. 3 More than 2.5 billion of the world's citizens still use firewood, charcoal, or agricultural waste for fuel, and 1.6 billion are without electricity. 4 People who are suffering from deadly diseases in homes (if they have one) without heat, light, or sewage systems do not care about pirates.
There are, of course, issues that resonate with both wealthy and developing nations. For example, controlling territorial fisheries or curtailing illegal drug flows may aid emerging nations. But these problems are symptomatic of larger, more crucial ones. If long-term advances are to be achieved, Navy partnerships must focus on correcting the conditions that lead to instability and produce the symptoms.
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower states: "We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars." 5 The Naval Operations Concept 2006 (admittedly written prior to the strategy and in need of updating) attempts to operationalize this concept through three key elements:
- task-focused training for speed and agility in operations
- enhanced cultural understanding as an operations enabler
- precision developed through continuous assessment of effects and refinement of approach
Thus, the concept states that the Navy wants its agile forces to be unpredictable in enemy eyes, yet predictable by friends, through their "continued persistent commitment to . . . common interests." 6 But it does not firmly establish what the Navy will do to achieve these operational elements. In fact, the document's future scenario, titled "Proactive and Persistent," suggests that forthcoming naval forces responding to crises abroad will be briefed en route by State Department officials. Only once in-country will the interaction of Sailors and Marines with the populace generate trust and cooperation.
If the operations concept were correctly implemented, situational awareness and trust would already exist. Country-focused training; precise, continuous assessment; and predictable, persistent commitment would have ensured advanced warning of the "Future Sea Story" crisis and obviated the need for special briefings. The Navy Strategic Plan (POM-10) says that "trust and cooperation cannot be surged." 7 And yet the operations concept assumes that it will be.
Organizational theory suggests that success is achieved by fostering commitment and accountability to goals. But neither is present in the Navy regarding war prevention. Personal success is not tied to averting crises; ships' commanding officers do not perceive that promotion opportunity depends on advancing any capability of nations they visit. Training mainly focuses on U.S. warfighting skills, and to a large degree rightly so. All of which leaves the goals of emerging partners as afterthoughts.
To create strong partnerships built on a foundation of real trust with the capacity to prevent conflict, the Navy's operational concept must:
- focus on solving the priority problems of partner host nations
- commit resources to creating expertise in local social, health, military, economic, and other conditions through the development of language skills
- inextricably link the success of commanding officers at all echelons to the two previous objectives
Naturally the Navy is most comfortable working on traditional maritime problems. However, it must begin to operate outside its comfort zone to address other, more dire and extensive, economic and health situations. Even the 2006 operations concept lists transnational extremism, economic, and health challenges as destabilizing elements in littoral areas—not piracy or smuggling. 8 To address these concerns, the Navy must work with partners to identify true priorities and implement innovative, collaborative solutions. Ships may not always be at the center of these efforts.
Broaden Skills and Horizons
In conjunction with combatant commanders, the Navy should permanently realign deployments as the next step beyond the Global Fleet Stations experiments, focusing on developing deep regional expertise. U.S. commitment to allies should be demonstrated by repetitive, predictable regional deployments by the same units, advanced and continuous shipboard language and culture education, and maintenance of friendships through cyberspace.
This will create trust and awareness on a continual, rather than episodic, basis. Language education is vital to enable deeper interpersonal relationships and lay to rest the oft-heard criticism of U.S. ethnocentrism. A much broader plan than today's officer-centric language skills, regional expertise, and cultural awareness strategy is needed. 9 The Navy must make much better use of the skills of thousands of Sailors who have already proven they can learn to communicate in more than one language (usually English and Spanish).
War prevention is indeed critical. Therefore, specific, measurable goals with proper program support must link commanders' personal success—from the tactical to headquarters level—to this objective. Peacetime goals to be assessed should include fostering partner capabilities in areas most valued by host nations, developing long-term personal relationships with key emerging partner personnel, and creating language and culture skills at the unit level. All this will encounter stiff resistance. But if personal success does not depend on achieving stated strategic goals, then the goals are merely fantasies.
The U.S. Navy is essentially unchallenged at sea. Nevertheless, its presence on the oceans has not prevented contemporary land-based conflicts or addressed the world's most pressing problems. Keeping sea lanes open will always be an imperative, but naval forces must leverage their unmatched, sovereign mobility to preemptively influence events ashore.
The next operational concept must provide the bridge from strategy to tactics that enables Sailors and Marines to mitigate real problems on foreign shores, thereby helping to prevent destabilizing crises and relieve pressure on land forces by forestalling tomorrow's fight. War prevention will always be cheaper than war fighting. It should be the imperative that drives the future.
2. ICC International Maritime Bureau, "Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships," January 2010, http://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php-option=com_content&view=article&id=30&I...  .
3. S. LaFraniere, "In Oil-Rich Angola, Cholera Preys upon Poorest," New York Times, 16 June 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/16/world/africa/16cholera.html  .
4. International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2006: Summary and Conclusions (Paris, France: IEA), pp. 46-47, http://www.iea.org/weo/2006.asp  .
5. T. W. Allen, J. T. Conway, and G. Roughead, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, 2007, U.S. Navy, http://www.navy.mil/maritime/MaritimeStrategy.pdf  , p. 2.
6. M. G. Mullen, and M. W. Hagee, Naval Operations Concept 2006, http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/seabasing/docs/Naval_Operations_Concept_200...  .
7. J. Harvey, "U.S. Navy Language Skills, Regional Expertise, and Cultural Awareness Strategy," U.S. Navy, www.navy.mil/MARITIME/Signed_Navy_LREC%20Strategy.pdf  .
8. Mullen and Hagee, Naval Operations Concept 2006.
9. Harvey, "U.S. Navy Language Skills."
The Latest Russian Amphibious SP Anti-Tank Gun
By Marcin Schiele
The Russian defense industry recently began manufacturing an unusual light-tracked vehicle armed with a 4.92-inch tank gun, with both amphibious and airborne capabilities. The vehicle, called Sprut-SD, is officially classified as a "self-propelled anti-tank gun." The 2S25 Sprut-SD's amphibious and airborne capabilities, as well as very strong gun weaponry, meet all current requirements for both marines and air-assault units. It can perform numerous roles on the battlefield: general-purpose light tank, fast tank destroyer, reconnaissance craft, self-propelled, gun-fired high-explosive shells, or even aggressive armored infantry fighting vehicle carrying small infantry squads of two to four riflemen. The main inconvenience of the construction is very poor ballistic protection on the sides, roof, and bottom.
Since early 2000, the Volgogradskiy Traktornyi Zavod (VTZ) plant has offered, via the Rosoboronexport state trade firm, the SP anti-tank guns on the international defense market, first to Western users of Russian-made modern land combat platforms, including South Korea, India, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, and Greece. Recently, officials representing armies expressed great interest in purchasing small numbers of Spruts. Because these states' air forces do not have not strong-enough airlift planes, the vehicles will be dedicated to marine units only.
The VTZ tractor plant, the vehicle's main designer, developed initial prototypes in mid 1980 using the then-experimental Type 934 chassis, soon changed to the BMD-3 amphibious AIFV lengthened hull. The development process of the 2S25 took almost 20 years, due to the Soviet Union's collapse and the 1990 Russian Federation economic crisis.
The prototypes were tested in sea and internal-waters environments in various weather conditions. Their ability to swim on littoral sea surfaces at State 3 was confirmed, as was their capability to fire from the main gun at the turret traverse at 35 degrees without stabilization problems.
The first serial guns were first presented to the open community during a military parade in Moscow on 9 May 2008. The vehicles have a somewhat reconfigured bow part and a few new electronic sensors. The SP guns are being delivered first to Russian airborne divisions; the Russian Navy will also commission them for all amphibious infantry brigades in its four fleets. The Navy will need about 120 of the vehicles, as the obsolete PT-76 light tanks are being phased out.
Light, Flexible, and Well-Armed
The Sprut-3D was designed as a fully amphibious and airborne tracked craft, with a low total weight of only 18 t. It has a welded hull in the form of a cuboid, with the bow part shaped like a floating sapper pontoon and long side sponsons over the track belts. The hull and turret all-armored plates are made from an Alu-reinforced alloy, which ensures ballistic protection only against HMG and GPMG balls. Hydro-pneumatic suspension gives the vehicles variable ground clearance capability that is very helpful during their airlift and drop procedure. The self-propelled AT gun is powered by the 2V-06-2S boxer 6-cylinder diesel that, via a hydrodynamic gear box, drives two rear sprockets and waterjets.
The multi-fuel engine is fitted with a turbocharged system and an intercooler. The coupled GOP gear box has five shifts to ride forward and five speeds to drive backward; high manageability enables a hydrostatical turn mechanism. The craft moves safely on sea, lake, or river surfaces by means of two waterjets mounted in the aft watertight room. Both track belts can be rewinded while afloat. A board motor pump works up to ten hours nonstop. Three people usually man each Sprut: a commander, gunner, and driver. Two additional seats for riflemen are available in the bow compartment, flanking the driver's position.
The main armament consists of two-axis stabilized 125-mm smooth-bore 2A75 tank gun co-operated with an auto-loading hydraulic device taken directly from the T-72-MBT. The gun's recoil length was increased from 30 to 70 cm, which minimizes its recoil force. The fed-roundabout system contains 22 projectiles and 22 propellant charges; an additional 18 separate loading rounds are stored in the under-turret room. The gun's ammunition family covers at least three types of projectiles:
- APFSDS type steel-tungsten 3BM42 of 4.85 kg in-flight weight and 1,800 m/sec muzzle velocity; it can penetrate an RHA vertical plate of 500-mm thickness at a range of 2 km
- HEAT type 3BK29M of 19-kg weight and armor-piercing capability of 560 mm RHA
- 30F26 HE shell of 23 kg. Furthermore, the AT laser-beam guided missile of 9M119M Svir type can be fired through the barrel. It has an effective range spread between 100 and 5,000 m and can penetrate RHA armor of 720-mm thickness.
For coaxial weaponry, the typical PKTM tank GPMG of 7.62- mm caliber is used. It is fully stabilized in two surfaces and has a stronger and lengthened barrel compared with the PKM infantry variant, enabling more intensive and farther effective fire. The self-defense system is built around the Tucha 902V complex, containing two triple banks of 82-mm short mortars of smoke grenades mounted at the turret back part. Fall-down grenades generate a camouflaged "hot" curtain up to 300 m before the craft's position.
The Sprut-SD has a modern digital gunfire control system based on the Riedut g.f.c.s. used on many Russian modernized and exported MBTs. Three E/O heads of both turret occupants are linked to the system. A PPN-D Sozh-M day-night panoramic sight-observational device sits in front of the commander hatch, with octuple enlargement and an error of range about 10 m. Its passive night channel detects an MBT from a distance of 1 km. The error of stabilization of the Sozh's optics while moving at 30 km per hour has been defined on 0.15 mrad.
The left-side gunner manages two E/O heads: lA40-1M day-night sight coupled with a laser rangefinder with a range of 300-5,000 m, and a TO-I-KO-l half-panoramic fitted with TNP-4 night sight that detects a tank in a radius of 1.2 km. Two additional vectronic sensors are mounted at the barrel's right side: a PL 1 laser used during the ATGW half-automatic guide procedure, and an OU 6 infrared projector. Atmospheric air and wind parameters pour in to board microprocessors from the DV-E meteo detecting station. The Riedut-like g.f.c.s. is parallel-manned by the turret occupants, meaning they, as well as the commander and gunner, can detect, recognize, and destroy potential targets. Using three independent E/O heads gives the vehicle good survivability on the battlefield.
Over the turret roof are distinctly visible two bar radio-antennae of an R-173 UHF transceiver and R-173P UHF receiver. Both external communication devices ensure simultaneous operation in two radio nets and tactical data exchange in real time. The craft has also been fitted with three other important auxiliary systems for land navigation, NBCR protection, and firefighting.