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Wednesday, May 15, 2013


EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 

14 May 2013: On Scene Report Day Two


NATO’s ‘most daunting challenge’

The most daunting challenge facing NATO in the next five years is how to advance capabilities in a time of tightened budgets, the alliance’s senior officer in charge of transformation said Wednesday at a keynote presentation at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va.

Polish Gen. Mieczyslaw Bieniek said emerging threats from piracy to cyber that touch nations outside of the alliance call for a new definition of partnership. 

Nations outside of NATO should be regarded, “as pathfinders for the allies” in knowledge of the region, language and with capabilities of their own.

 NATO is adopting a so-called smart defense approach to addressing future threats as far out as 2030 by “doing more, by doing it together and smarter,” Bieniek said 

He cited the Connected Forces Initiative as an example of this and how it will train for the full range of missions.

Part of the initiative is to examine, “the human aspect of interoperability” through three years of joint exercises.  It also includes exercises for the NATO Response Force and launching an annual high-intensity conflict exercise in 2016.

Bieniek said these would help further identify shortfalls in NATO capabilities.

Looking further into the future, he said while “many talk about innovation, few actually innovate.”  This is particularly true in a military culture. 

Innovators “can call for a radical paradigm shift,” but “we don’t like to hear that in the military.”  Yet, the military and others applaud business and industry leaders who radically transformed stressed companies into new ventures.

 “Let’s open our eyes” when looking at a problem and “look at the problem differently” as Henry Ford did in building cars rather than breeding “newer, faster horses,” he said. “It can be painful, but absolutely necessary.” As Ford demonstrated, leadership from the top is essential, Bieniek said. 

“How do we develop the right mindset for the future?”



Afghan may model how coalitions operate in future, but highlights challenges.

Afghanistan is providing a model of how coalition and partnerships will operate in the future with 50 nations contributing to the effort there, but it also highlights some of the challenges facing the United States, NATO and their partners that need to be overcome to meet new missions.

“We were forced to be interoperable,” but it took from 2001 to 2009 to establish a network for nations to work together there, said Netherlands Air Force Maj. Gen. Mels DeZeeuw as part of a panel at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va. on Wednesday.

Even then there have been limitations.
U.K. Army Brig. T. J. Lai noted there are only 11 nations fully integrated into the information sharing Afghan network. 

“We really need to be better on Day 1,” Lai said.

DeZeeuw said NATO and the United States are drawing on the Afghan lesson to have similar networks ready for future conflicts. But it also means understanding that not all partners have the capabilities to provide services the alliance takes for granted, such as secure video teleconferencing or more high-end intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. 

“Technology challenges are solvable,” particularly with “strong four-star leadership,” he said.

Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, director of Combined Joint Operations at the Sea Centre of Excellence, said interoperability in coalition operations goes beyond technology. Using an example from tsunami relief operations, she said that to succeed in Malaysia and Indonesia that the United States relied on the Singaporeans who spoke the languages, knew the people and the military in those countries.
Singapore had the local knowledge that provided the access to deliver the humanitarian and disaster relief supplies.

“Joining a coalition is a political decision,” be it for Afghanistan, Libya or possibly Syria, Andrew Shapiro, former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said. 

In tightened economic times, there is, “increasing tension over who pays and who has the capability to perform.”  He cited the United States’ initial reaction of expecting France to pay for the airlift provided by American forces to Mali.

Earlier in the day’s keynote address in Virginia Beach, Gen. Mieczyslaw Bieniek, chief of NATO’s transformation efforts, said, there is “too much of a gap with what the United States has done” in contributing 70 percent of the alliance’s operating funds, rather than its historic 50 percent. The 28 nations agreed to put aside two percent of their Gross Domestic Products to national security with half of that being spent on modernization, not personnel costs.

Few are meeting that target.

Even in his country, Poland, reaching that figure is a struggle.  “I hope austerity does not last too long” because that investment “means economic stability,” Bieniek said.

In addition to who pays and how much, Shapiro said political considerations in the United States and NATO of sharing capabilities raises issues of technology transfer and proliferation.

“There is a limit to what people will pool,” Lai said. “We need to be realistic about what the art of the possible is.” Howard suggested looked at broadening the discussion from technology to a sharing of processes.

Lai said that it was important to remember that not every nation “can do everything on their own,” including the United States.”  He suggested that NATO countries use “a more thoughtful approach” as “to how each NATO partner can do better,” while realizing there “are some things only the U.S. can do.


Land Forces invest in ‘human dimension, human domain’ to prepare new role.

The hard learned lesson of how important the human dimension and human domain is in warfare could be lost when budgets gets tight, the Army’s top training officer told attendees at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va. on Wednesday.

“We need to prepare the land force [Army, Special Operating Force and Marine Corps] for a sophisticated understanding of the human dimension and human domain,” and invest in it, Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, said

When the coalition entered Iraq in 2003 it did not understand the Iraqi will that turned a battlefield defeat into a persistent insurgency that continued for years.

Cone said few in the coalition spoke the language, understood the culture or knew about tribal loyalties. Instead, the focus was on “target lists and order of battle” to defeat the Iraqis.

“We have to think about [all those areas] as a defeat mechanism,” Cone said.

To better understand the dynamics of different parts of the globe, the Army is realigning its units with different regions.  For example, I Corps is now aligned with Pacific Command and a brigade from the 1st Infantry Division is sending a brigade to Africa to conduct missions that combatant commander considers essential.

“We’re putting our sergeants and junior officers on the ground,” Cone said.

At the same time, his Asymmetric Warfare Group is looking across the globe to identify potential areas of conflict and looking at ways to head them off through working with other governments in a number of areas.

“The future environment will be highly complex as the velocity of human interaction is accelerating” as it did with social media during the Arab Spring.” The future will be filled with “ambiguity and illusion” that require better-trained and educated service members.

For the Army that also means closing the education gap in its field grade and noncommissioned officer ranks created by 12 years of war. 

Cone said that 5,000 majors and 35,000 NCOs were promoted without attending the usual courses required for higher rank.

Cone challenged industry to look to smaller, handheld devices” rather than large, cumbersome simulators. 

“How do you make training real?”


Building critical thinkers to lead important in constrained economic environment

The emphasis was on how to build critical thinkers over looking to materiel or technological breakthroughs to operate in an age of austerity during a panel discussion at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va. on Wednesday.

“They have to have the capacity to change, and the toughest thing is [to change] the way people think about things,” said Lt. Gen. Dave Perkins, commanding general of the Army’s Combined Armed Center.

He added, leaders “have to come to grips that they are not going to know the future,” but be able to adapt and see “what are the indicators that something is going to change and how do I get in front of that.”

In the last 12 years Perkins said the Army has advanced leaders who are extremely tactically proficient but lack the broad range of experience necessary to succeed at a higher level of command. 

He said the service is consciously moving these officers from tactical positions to new assignments from graduate school to other services to industry and other governmental agencies to give them those skills.

Risk tolerance also has to be developed as a mindset, Vice Adm. Ken Tidds, director of operations on the Joint Staff, said. It also means emphasizing courage in decision-making from sending in a carrier strike force, to taking a objective in a city to an analyst’s probing questions.

Going for “zero risk equals infinite time” in developing technology and solutions to immediate problem, Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller, USAF, Ret., added. 

“The environment is rapidly changing; we have to respond rapidly,” Miller said.

Tidds said that it means working more closely with allies and partners to build a “teammate focused mindset” that “does not depend upon resources or advanced technology” to succeed.

“We must sustain our partnerships” and eek out way to expand those to other nations, agencies and non-governmental organizations “that will fit our strategy,” Maj. Gen. Bryan Watson, USA, vice director of the Joint Staff, Joint Forces Development, said.

Watson noted that the United States’ approach to conflict is geographical, but how does the nation react to events in one region setting off an incident in another region and what are the second and third order of effects in reacting to these events.

Watson agreed with other panelists that it was important to involve other agencies and departments in military exercises and training, “but they don’t have the capacity to everywhere” because they lack the personnel and budget.  

John Nagl, a retired Army lieutenant colonel now teaching at the Naval Academy, said during times such as these, “We’re going to have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

The symposium is co-sponsored by the United States Naval Institute and AFCEA 

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