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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 

14 May 2013: On Scene Report Day One

Fleet Forces commander looks at changes, choices facing Navy to 2020.

Adm. William Gortney, commander of Fleet Forces Command reminded attendees at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va. the backbone of the future Fleet lies in assets already in the service.

“Eighty percent of the Navy in 2020 we already own.” Gortney said.
“We are a capital intensive force” of ships and aircraft and that fact influences decisions from acquisition to recruiting and retention.

That means “making sure we are buying and sustaining the weapon system as a whole,” from surface forces, to submarines to aviation and operational and tactical headquarters.

Gortney said it includes determining “what is the form of change we need” across the board and how affordable it will be.

“We’re on the back side of the sine wave” of defense spending, he said.

Traditionally, the nation has cut defense by 27 to 32 percent when conflicts end.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult” for all levels of defense industry as cuts continue beyond the planned for $487 billion over 10 years and one year of sequestration.

He said discipline needed to be added to the acquisition process. 

“As operators, we never met a requirement we didn’t like.” And in acquisitions, “too many [people] can say no or maybe.”

Using aviation as an example, Gortney said, a 100 percent is being modernized keeping that part of the industrial base working. 

“We’re lucky this is happening now,” but “I don’t see many new starts” in the future.

“The defense budge will go back up” sometime in the future in response to a crisis.  It is critically important “to have the right industrial base, right critical capital base, recruiting and retention and the right capacity.”

Looking at the operational environment now, Gortney said the Navy and Marine Corps never left the Pacific but are re-focusing more forces – from submarines to Littoral Combat Ships to aircraft carriers to the region.

“The rest of the world is a pretty volatile place,” Gortney added.  “There’s an ‘Arab Spring’ going on between the haves and the have nots around the world. I don’t see world peace breaking out.”

 Gortney said that it is especially important now to have the armed forces explain to members of Congress and the administration the role of the military what it needs to defend the nation. 

With today’s economic environment curtailed all fleet weeks and Blue Angels flight demonstrations, he said, the armed forces have enjoyed strong civilian support in the 12 years of war but that could slip. “Community outreach is absolutely critical.”  Adding support “is something you can never take for granted.”


Contested environment poses new challenges in access, communications.

The environment that United States forces have been used to operating in during the last 12 years is changing as operations wind down in Afghanistan. The era of certain access with fairly good communication likely will end with it.

Speaking at a panel, Air Force Lt. Gen. William Rew, vice commander of U.S. Air Combat Command, said, “All the things we’ve come to rely on -- datalinks, cyber, etc. -- in a future conflict, our adversaries will attempt to disrupt it, degrade it.”

Brig. Gen. Jim Rainey, director of the mission command center of excellence at the Army’s Combined Armed Center, said that only in rare instances in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was there intense high end combat – notably in the invasion and the fighting in Fallujah, but in the future, U.S. and allied forces can expect to “fight amongst people, in an urban sprawl, subterranean” like the tunnels in Korea.

Contesting the operating environment in space has consequences for all the services, Rear Adm. David Thomas Jr., commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic, said.
“We rely totally on satellites to tell us where we are [and] what time it is.”

Brig. Gen. Robert Givens, USAF, inspector general Air Combat Command, said that loss of precision increases collateral damage and throws off timing in missions.  “Being off by 30 seconds matter,” he said using the example of a tanker flying a refueling mission for long-range strike aircraft has an impact.

If that kind of communication is disrupted, Rear Adm. Mark Handley then commanders need to be able to fall back on very high frequency or high frequency or even less technological means to keep in touch with Forward Operating Bases. “Commanders need to understand that they have a very thin line of communications that can be disrupted,” Handley said.

That fact puts more emphasis on clearly communicating the mission and commander’s intent on carrying it out.

The loss of GPS also means new emphasis on being able to read a map among young so-called digital native service members.  Handley said young people are dynamic and move easily between one form of communication to another.

“In land navigation without GPS… they learn faster than we even thought possible,” Rainey added.

Rew said that in a contested environment pilots need to understand “what’s on my radar screen may not be true” and they have to be trained to that new reality.  “We never set that requirement five years ago” when new simulators were being developed for new aircraft and threat.. 

Where to start?  Thomas said hardware and realizing “good enough, hardened and redundant” is better than the best but fragile hardware.

“Cyber is used by 100 percent of our workforce [opening emails, for example] and may be our Achilles heel,” Adm. William Gortney, commander Fleet Forces Command, said in his keynote address preceding the panel.


Pentagon acquisition chief sees tough year ahead.

The Pentagon’s top acquisition official apologized that “I didn’t have better news for you today” in discussing the Department of Defense’s fiscal outlook during his keynote address.

Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said “This too will pass” in describing the impact of sequestration in Fiscal Year 2013 and the possibility of it continuing into FY 2014 and the department again having to operate under a Continuing Resolution rather than a budget. “It’s starting to make me nervous.”

There are three proposals before Congress covering the budget.  The House bill essentially calls for no cuts beyond those already agreed to, the administration’s calling for $150 billion in additional cuts over 10 years and the Senate’s calling for $250 billion over the same time.

Describing sequestration as a “death of a thousand cuts,” he said it was “set up not to happen,” but it did on March 1 and right now the Pentagon is operating in, “a damage limitation mode.”

In the future, Kendall expected “we’re going to have pressure to keep force structure” and the size of the armed forces drives everything else. But, “it’s not fair to our people to get the C-17 and be handed a pink slip.”

The cuts are coming from operations and maintenance accounts and research and development. What is so perplexing to defense planners, Kendall said, is the cuts are immediate under sequestration. This creates a situation of “which least bad choice to make” since some accounts, such as personnel, are off-limits. The Pentagon announced that there will be 11 days of furlough for most of its civilian workforce this year.

Kendall said that he is looking for “some hedging investments” to keep the industrial base viable and allows technology to move forward and reduces production lead-time when and if the program moves forward. He also saw advantages in prototyping in certain areas such as air dominance. 

“What do we do after F-35?” he asked.
“This world does not stand still. We do have near peer competitors who are investing wisely.”

On the workforce, he said, “Keeping morale up is going to be tough.”  Steps that the Pentagon are taking in that regard are acknowledging publicly the civilian workforces contributions, recognizing superior performers and “trying to protect our people… as best we can.”


Panel: Sequestration Likely to Extend into FY 2014.

“The outlook for a solution to the sequestration is pretty bleak,” former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim said in a panel on military budgets following the fiscal cliff.
“Sequestration is not a one-year thing. It’s a ten-year thing.”

Zakheim described a persecption in Congress and the general public sequestration and that its effects are not so bad.

“It’s kind of like the first day of Noah’s 40-day flood,” Zakheim said.

Eric Labs, a senior analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, said he sees “budget pain as far as the eye can see in this fiscal climate.”

Yet the real debate is not over defense spending but over whether to raise taxes or cut entitlements, Zakheim said.

Vice Adm. William Burke, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems, said the impact in the Navy this year is a probable 40 percent decline in shipyard productivity due to loss of overtime and possible furloughs and a decline in readiness from 50 percent of the non-deployed force to about one-third as maintenance is deferred and money for training dries up.   

Similarly in the Army, Maj. Gen. Karen Dyson said, “The biggest problem is here and now” because sequestration also cut into the emergency supplemental funding the Army used for continuing military operations in Afghanistan. 

Burke said the Navy also faces reduced supplemental money used for ship maintenance and operations in support of the warfighter.

James McAleese, principal in McAleese & Associates, said he hopes “in the Fall, cooler heads will prevail. 

Turning back to sequestration, Burke said, “We are wasting so much precious time in dealing with this.”


What to Defend in the Cyber Domain

When it comes to cyber warfare, “you can’t defend everything,” said former assistant secretary of defense Franklin Kramer.

Kramer and other panel members raised questions on how the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, other government agencies and businesses should organize, train and equip in the cyber age.

A major question: “Should a company have the right of self-defense ‘” and how far do you go in allowing them to defend themselves,” Kramer said.

Retired Vice Adm. Herb Browne, former deputy commander of Space Command, said it is doubtful that the private sector would welcome additional government oversight and would probably reduce the information sharing that already exists.

“It’s a very big mistake to attempt to militarize the internet.”

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Atlantic Area and Commander Defense Task Force East, said what often happens is that cyber security is turned over the chief information officer for handling, a practice he described like, “putting your home security in hands of your plumber.”

Parker also saw a possible unintended consequence of strengthening defenses in the dot mil and dot gov domains as putting others at greater risk.

At the same time if the United States went on the offensive in cyber, “you just don’t know what happens downstream” in terms of retaliation,” he said.

Terry Halvorsen, the Navy’s chief information officer, said cyber is already militarized in the Defense Department. 

“We use it like any other warfare domain,” Halvorsen said.

But when it comes to protecting other domains, “do we have a role in escorting data” in a 21st century way that Navy and Coast Guard convoys protected Allied shipping.

Kramer said that there is also the question of “how do we incentive the private sector” to take the necessary steps to protect their data and infrastructure.

The United States Naval Institute and AFCEA co-sponsored the East Joint Warfighting 2013 conference.

#JWC13 @NavalInstitute

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