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By Lieutenant General John H. Cushman, U.S. Army (Retired)
“Joint war is here to stay.
In order to ensure that Navy and Marine Corps capabilities are used most effectively, the naval component command center must be close to the joint task force commander.”
Rear Admiral Robert H. Spane Commander, Naval Forces Ocean Venture 92
COURTESY OF R. SPANE
Admiral Spane made this revolutionary statement from his Fleet Mobile Operations Command Center, a van-mounted command-and-communications facility at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Also participating in Ocean Venture were Rear Admiral Frederick L. Lewis, deputy Commander Joint Task Force 140 (JTF-140), and Rear Admiral James A. Lair, Deputy Joint Force Air Component Com- niander. In real life, these three "'ere commanders of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Carrier Groups Eight,
Four, and Two, respectively.
Ashore in Ocean Venture, they showed that the U.S. Navy has jumped into joint force operations "nth both feet.
A first-rate effort, Ocean Venture 92 was the U.S. Atlantic Command’s first major joint excise since the Gulf War. Admiral Leon A. Edney, Commander- 'n-Chief, Atlantic, wanted it to reflect lessons of that war. One lesson then, and of Operation Provide Comfort, which followed it,
)Vas the crucial importance of joint teamwork.1
A year earlier, Admiral Spane’s Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) carrier battle group, tasked by the Sixth Fleet to support Provide Comfort, had not Feen part of that operation’s joint task force. In Ocean Venture, however, that battle group was Part of the Navy component of JTF-140, under the operational control of the Joint Task Force Commander, Army Lieutenant General Gary E. Fuck, Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps. In Desert Storm, Commander Seventh Fleet—the Navy component of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s U.S. Central Command—was afloat. In Ocean Venture, Admiral Spane, no less able to command his mini-fleet, was Posted ashore—50 meters from General Luck’s command
center and definitely on the team.
Highlighting another fundamental lesson of the Gulf War—that from now on force projection will be the name of the game—Ocean Venture showed the versatility of larger Marine and Army formations as the basis for joint force-projection commands. But enlightened as Ocean Venture was, its command-and-control structure applied joint doctrine in a way that would stifle the fastpaced performance demanded of today’s expeditionary forces.
“Viarta,” an island nation within the Atlantic Command, has been invaded by the forces of a neighboring island nation, “Jaguar.” Receiving Viarta’s plea for help, the U.S. President has ordered the Secretary of Defense to begin crisis-action planning. Near Viarta is the small island nation of “Colon,” available to U.S. forces as a forward staging base.
JTF-140—consisting of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of XVIII Airborne Corps; the 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and other units of II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF); a force from the U.S. Special Operations Command; and Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force contingents—will execute a forcible entry assault into Viarta, establish a lodgement, and accomplish military and political objectives. A few days later the National Command Authority will order XVIII Airborne Corps and its airborne divisions to withdraw and reconstitute for employment elsewhere in the world, whereupon the Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force, will become the Joint Commander U.S. Forces Viarta for follow-on operations.
This scenario permitted some 30,000 troops to exercise a full bag of military tricks, some of them with only “constructive” play, but most of them real. Constrained by Atlantic Command forces’ other commitments, environmental and safety concerns, and restrictive budgets, Ocean Venture’s planners could not make the exercise as “real as they would have liked. Although smaller Navy combatants were present, there was no aircraft carrier. Armor was roadbound, and enemy air—which would have been wiped out in the first hours of a real war—stayed alive through the final days to give the troops a workout. The enemy was imaginatively put together and played, but was not really shooting.
It was a highly productive exercise, nonetheless. In the pre-Gulf War era, the troops often viewed Atlantic Command’s periodic Solid Shield evolution as just another drill, a kind of military minuet under field conditions; some nicknamed the operation Solid Waste. This was not the case with Ocean Venture. Commanders and staffs had to innovate; the troops grappled with real problems.
One such problem was Navy communications. In April 1991, personnel from the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SpaWar) who had been with the fleet in Desert Shield/Storm began thinking about a “mobile ashore terminal.” Gaining acceptance, the idea evolved into a mobile suite of shelters containing communications and display gear. In June 1991, the Chief of Naval Operations told SpaWar to develop and test it. When funds became available in November the CNO told them to build it. SpaWar did just that, and Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Paul D. Miller decided that the Navy component commander in Ocean Venture would use it.
Five months later, from his Fleet Mobile Operations Command Center at Fort Bragg, and later from Camp Leje- une, Admiral Spane could visit with the Joint Task Force Commander, talk to other commands of the task force, and direct each of the task groups in his sizable navy. His communications suite was twice the size of a typical aircraft carrier’s.
Air Operations Under the JFACC Concept
All non-helicopter air, including Tomahawk missiles and Marine air in support of the amphibious objective area (AOA), but not including air for fleet defense, was covered in the air tasking order (ATO). Marines at the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing tactical air command center planned the AOA missions and then put them into the ATO using the Air Force’s new Modular Air Control Center remote computer terminal. This new terminal made possible improved performance by the Air Force’s Computer Assisted Force Management System, which had been faulted by the Navy and Marine Corps in Desert Storm. This time, a Marine colonel was responsible for building the ATO for the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC).
The actual air flown in Ocean Venture 92 was far less than would have been flown in a real operation of this scale. No aircraft carrier participated (although Navy ships were at sea with Tomahawk missiles notionally launched); Navy air flew some 20 actual sorties daily from Oceana Naval Air Sta
tion. The 2d Marine Aircraft Wing’s command and control facilities were at Cherry Point; actual Marine fixed-wing air flew from Cherry Point and Bogue Field, about 60 F/A-18, AV-8, and A-6 sorties daily. Some 60 Air Force aircraft operated from several bases on the East Coast. Special Operations Command Atlantic s actual air consisted of one MC- 130, two HC-130S, 2 AC-130s, and 3 MH-53s.
In actual combat, the JFACC would have been responsible for tasking perhaps 50 Navy aircraft,
80 Marine fixed-wing aircraft probably organized in two groups, plus two or more wings of Air Force fighters and attack aircraft— with the Air Force (and Marine fixed-wing initially) operating from the offshore base. This comes to 200-300 fighter/attack aircraft and 600-plus sorties per day. Add the reconnaissance/early warning, the transports, the refuelers, and so on, and a daily ATO might address 1,000 missions.
The JFACC published such a full-force notional ATO only once (along with the real ATO), for the
first day of operations; it ran 170 pages. After that, only real ATOs were published (including the tasking of notional Tomahawks), handling approximately 150 sorties. With their addresses, general remarks, and instructions relevant to exercise conditions, these ran to 90-plus pages.
After the first day of operations, the Joint Target Coordination Board dealt only with real-world (plus notional Tomahawk) targeting. Although the numbers of targets and their identities were suited to the limited maneuver area, the target volume did not begin to approach what would exist if the fictional air assets had been targeted.
Nonetheless, commanders and their staffs exercised the concepts of the Joint Target Coordination Board, the Joint Target List, and JFACC’s single ATO. They learned lessons and gained valuable experience in the procedures of managing a coherent multiservice air effort.
J. H. Cushman
Joint Force Air Component Operations
Another Gulf War lesson was the need to improve the operation of the Joint Force Air Component Commander i (JFACC). Joint doctrine says that, “based on the joint force commander’s guidance, the JFACC will be assigned the responsibility to plan and conduct overall air operations.” But the Navy had problems with the concept as it was applied by the U.S. Air Force-oriented JFACC in Desert Storm. As a result, when Admiral Edney designated Major General Walter T. Worthington, commander of the Air Force component of Ocean Venture, as the exercise JFACC, he said that a Navy flag officer would be the the JTF-J3 (Operations) tasked the components to execute it. The JFACC then prepared the ATO as the execution and airspace deconfliction document for the air portion of the target list. Both the JTCB and the JFACC retained authority to modify the ATO during execution, to address changes in the situation and in the JTF commander’s priorities.
General Worthington remained Joint Force Air Component Commander for Ocean Venture, even when command of the force shifted to Commander, U.S. Forces Viarta—II MEF’s Lieutenant General William M. Keys, who had available the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing. (Commanding General 2d MAW, by joint doctrine, could have
deputy JFACC; this turned out to be Admiral Lair. Admiral Edney also decided that General Luck would have a Navy deputy; this was Admiral Lewis.
The JFACC process began when, 48 hours ahead of time, the service and special-operations components of JTF-140 submitted their input for potential targets and other features of the air tasking order (ATO).
Taking into account the Joint Task Force Commander’s overall guidance, a Joint Target Coordination Board (JTCB)—chaired by Admiral Lewis and including representation from all components, selected primary joint staff sections, and the JFACC—prepared detailed targeting guidance and priorities. After its approval hy General Luck, this went to the JFACC, which prepared a proposed Joint Integrated Prioritized Target List for approval by the JTCB. When the JTCB approved this list, been designated the JFACC.) The JFACC facility, which was actually the 12th Air Force air operations center, stayed at Pope Air Force Base.
No one in the exercise believed that the Atlantic Command had found the final JFACC solution. Computerization and better communications have improved its performance, and new procedures provide concerned parties a better shot at reflecting their capabilities and needs, but JFACC operations still require substantial streamlining. Further, its process of target coordination through negotiation, not bad in principle, suffers from the bureaucracy of the component approach.
Unfortunately, joint organizational norms call for the
JFACC’s component approach. Every joint organization is built with three or four service components (plus a special-operations component, if such forces are assigned), and the joint force is expected to fight “by component” (or by creating joint task forces).2 In principle, the joint commander can organize for combat as he chooses. In practice, the component approach says that, in a joint task force, the service component is, of itself, normally the next command level down.3
In the JFACC process and elsewhere, the component approach tends to encumber the channels of information flow. Modern expeditionary forces must be flexible, quick, and light on their feet. But the component approach as typically applied keeps that from happening; it slows things down.
In Ocean Venture, the component approach created an unnecessary level of command (ARFOR, for the Army forces component) between the Joint Task Force Commander and the two airborne divisions. (See Figure 1.) The JTF headquarters is simply the XVIII Airborne Corps staff augmented with people from other services. In Desert Storm, that headquarters commanded five divisions, one of them French. ARFOR headquarters is unnecessary, therefore tactically cumbersome. Let the two airborne divisions send their target requests directly to the joint task force commander.
Marine Corps forces suffer from a component approach within themselves. Their typical organization chart shows a ground-combat element (such as a division with its regiments) and an air-combat element (an aviation wing with its groups), plus a combat-service-support element. The force could be streamlined by placing the aviation wing under the division commander, who would be double-hatted as force commander.4 That would make one less headquarters for target requests to go through.
The component approach also unnecessarily complicates command-and-control during a multidimensional forcible entry in which a coordinated air effort synchronizes air power with the ground action. To be successful, this operation must deliver the surprise and shock of the virtually simultaneous execution, at night, of an airborne assault, a helibome assault, special-operations actions, and an amphibious assault.
While each feature of the assault has its own complexities, the amphibious operation is in a class by itself. Its doctrine, worked out over the years by the Navy and Marine Corps, is carved in stone; its prescribed command channels can slow down operations.3
Joint commanders have to find a way to streamline command-and-control during execution of amphibious operations, when other assault operations are taking place simultaneously. When, for Ocean Venture, Admiral Spane set up his ComNavFor shop 50 meters from General Luck, he took a long stride toward streamlining and showed how all component commanders can operate so that the JTF Commander has their wholehearted support and the teamwork essential to fast-moving operations.
In multidimensional forcible entry operations, command-and-control should be set up with the Joint Task Force Commander and his principal subordinates co-located, so they can have ready access to him and each other. (In Ocean Venture, Admiral Spane met this criterion, as did Colonel John E. Mirus, U.S. Army, Commander of the Special Operations Command Atlantic. Generals Worthington and Keys did not; the former was at Pope Air Force Base—only seven minutes away by car, but within walking distance is better—and the latter was at Camp Lejeune.6)
The Joint Task Force Commander and his principal subordinates usually will be too far from the scene to have an appreciation of its details or to be in close touch with the forces on the ground. So the JTF Commander places a deputy commander in, afloat close to, or in the air over the lodgement area and orders him to direct the tactical action. While the JTF Commander and his principal subordinates are controlling the force buildup in the lodgement and making the bigger operational decisions, the deputy commander—fully aware of the reinforcing schemes—runs the fight and keeps his boss informed.
Ocean Venture also did not address the issue of logistics for the lodgement force. (In exercises, logistics management is usually not a concern). The Joint Task Force Commander can set the policies and review the plans, but he must have a single authority to whom he can turn for managing logistics—including movement control, port and airfield operations, fuel and ammunition stockage and distribution—in the objective area. General Schwarzkopf found this to be so in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; General John Shalikashvili found it true in Provide Comfort. Each general turned to his principal Army logistician to do the job, but this need not be the standard solution.
Chart 1 shows how Ocean Venture’s JTF-140 created the staff and staff-support agencies of its headquarters. Por example, the JTF-J2 (Intelligence)—using a Joint Intelligence Center made up of XVIII Airborne Corps personnel and other services’ augmentees—managed the intelligence effort; Corps personnel and augmentees also manned a supporting Joint Interrogation Facility and Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Center. With this lashup, JTF-140 succeeded in breaking new ground in joint intelligence management.
The cumbersome top-level command-and-control structure worked adequately for Ocean Venture, but there is surely a better way to go to war than to flood a headquarters with some 250 augmentees, move the composite to the area of operations, and baptize it by fire while it is still in an on-the-job training mode. This is a recipe for disaster.
Ocean Venture 92 was superlative—well conceived, Well staged, and well executed. It considerably advanced the joint operations state of the art. As always happens, it left a good deal of work to be done, but that should neither surprise nor dismay.
One lesson of the Gulf War has perhaps received insufficient attention: Desert Storm’s brilliant success stemmed directly from intensive training and the correction of deficiencies in the months before fighting began. Eoth time to get ready and the most serious of motivators—the clear prospect of imminent combat—were there; this will not be the case in a typical expeditionary force Projection action. The American people, having seen what can be done with remarkably few casualties when U.S. multiservice forces are superbly prepared, now have a level of expectation that will be hard to meet when forces must be committed to action on short notice.
The joint establishment, therefore, must find ways for multiservice forces continually to practice the skills and develop the necessary teamwork ahead of time. Forces like those in Ocean Venture must be able to hit the ground running. The solution is stable—or perhaps standing— multiservice task forces that routinely practice together.
These joint task forces can use distributed computer- supported warfare simulations. These are already in use, and better ones are coming that will permit the frequent realistic exercise—from home stations or at sea—of commanders and staffs of multidimensional forces. If these commanders and staffs can exercise, even when the troops do not, without restraints such as limited maneuver space and fear of environmental damage, participating forces can try out command-and-c'ontrol measures such as those suggested in this critique.
Technology is beginning to permit the simulation—in detail and in large number—of the entities of battle (tanks, ships, attack helicopters, even communications and intelligence collectors). The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff have embarked on a major program in response to a Defense Science Board Task Force to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, which said, “Computer- based, simulated scenarios offer the only practical and affordable means to improve the training of joint operational commanders, their staffs, and the commanders and staffs who report to them . . . [and] to train [them] as a [team].”7
At about the time this article appears in Proceedings,
Deploy immediately. Go to war while closing the command post into the area of operations.
JOC Joint Operations Center
JIC Joint Intelligence Center
JPG Joint Planning Group
JFSC Joint Fire Support Coordination Cell
JRCC Joint Rescue Coordination Center
JIF Joint Interrogation Facility
JEPW Joint Enemy Prisoner of War Facility
JCEMC Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation
JEWC Joint Electronic Warfare Center
JPOTF Joint Psychological Operations Task
JCATF Joint Civil Affairs Task Force
JMCC Joint Movement Control Center
Take out part of the corps headquarters . . .
Add service augmentees . . .
Chart 1: Recipe for a JTF Headquarters
Take one airborne corps headquarters . . .
U.S. Atlantic Command will be engaged in another joint exercise, this time with simulation. Perhaps that will take the problems of command and control in expeditionary forces a few more steps closer to solution.
'“Joint, Jointer, Jointest,” May 1992 Proceedings, pp. 78-85, describes Operation Provide Comfort.
The notion of force components goes back a long way. It first appeared in North Africa in early 1943, when the combined Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Forces’ tactical air in theater was described as a single air component directly under the theater commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Over the years, the service component idea has become U.S. doctrine written in stone. Thus, today, notwithstanding that the law does not mention the word component, speaking only of service forces, a U.S. unified command is built from service components and a component (actually a subunified command) from the U.S. Special Operations Command. Unfortunately for flexibility in operations, the component idea has permeated joint organizations below the unified command level. For a full treatment of the subject see John H. Cushman, Command and Control of Theater Forces: The Korea Command and Other Cases, Program on Information Resources Policy, Harvard University, 1986, pp. 5-14 to 5-28. My Command and Control of Theater Forces; Issues in Mideast Coalition Command, Program on Information Resources Policy, Harvard University, February 1991 (pp. 57-66, and Appendix D), describes how General Schwarzkopf had component and systems approach options for organizing the air/land forces of his command and tells of his adopting, in essence, the component approach.
■Service components are needed for service-peculiar administration and logistic support. A component commander can be double-hatted as the force logistic authority, as in Provide Comfort.
4I had no difficulty commanding the 101st Airborne Division organized just this way; its aviation brigade possessed more than 400 helicopters. In Desert Storm that division, with 72 Apaches providing “close air support,” was a marvel of speed, flexibility, and mobility. And, in smaller joint operations, whatever deep attack, antiair, and reconnaissance/early warning the Marine contingent has on the scene will work at a higher echelon and be managed by the JFACC.
Tor example: The Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CATF): “. . . a Navy officer, is charged with overall responsibility for an amphibious operation...upon embarkation of the landing forces . . . [CATF] assumes responsibility for the entire force and its operation, and is vested with commensurate command authority to ensure success of the operation. . . .” Commander, Landing Force (CLF), is “. . • j in overall charge of the landing forces [which may include aviation units] from the issuance of the initiating directive until the conditions established in that directive have been met and the amphibious operation is terminated. The CLF is a subordinate of the CATF within the amphibious task force [ATF]. During the planning phase of the operation, the CATF and the CLF enjoy coequal status for planning their respective portions of the operation. Planning matters on which the CATF and CLF and commanders of other forces are unable to agree are referred to their common superior for decision . . .” Termination of the amphibious operation can take place “when in the opinion of the landing force commander . . • the force beachhead has been secured . . . sufficient tactical and supporting forces have been established ashore to ensure the continuous landing of troops and materiel requisite for subsequent operations . . . command, communications, and supporting arms coordination facilities have been established shore . . . [and] the CLF has stated that he is ready to assume responsibility for subsequent operations.” It says that “When the CATF and the CLF are satisfied that the aforementioned conditions have been met, the CATF will report these facts to the [higher authority] designated in the initiating directive. This authority will then terminate the amphibious operation, dissolve the amphibious task force, and provide additional instructions as required, including command arrangements and dispositions of forces.” In Ocean Venture 92, Admiral Spane was that “higher authority” and was the next link up in the CATF chain of command.
^Colonel Minis, Special Operations Command Atlantic (SOCLant), wanted to run his operations from Fort Story, Virginia, but General Luck would have none of that; he told him to set up shop at Fort Bragg. General Luck, being Army and a former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, had the necessary clout to do this with Colonel Mirus. Not so with Generals Keys and Worthington. (Task Force Red was a reinforced Ranger battalion from SOCLant’s contingent; its mission was to seize Pinto. Eschewing the component approach, General Luck bypassed SOCLant to place that operation directly under his JTF.)
1 Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Computer Applications to Training and Wargaming (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Washington, 1988), p. 1.
General Cushman has commanded the 101st Airborne Division and the combined field army that defends along the DMZ in Korea, and was commandant of the Army Command and General Staff College. He is a frequent contributor to Proceedings.
The U.S. NavalInstitute andKodak Present the 31st Annual Naval &
The U.S. Naval Institute and Eastman Kodak Company are proud to cosponsor the 31st Annual Naval it Maritime Photo Contest.
The contest is open to both amateur and professional photographers. The winning photographs will be published in a 1993 issue of Proceedings, the monthly magazine of the Naval Institute. Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:
1st Prize $500
2nd Prize $350
3rd Prize $250
Honorable Mention (15) $ 100
printed or ty ped on a separate sheet of paper and attached to the back of each print or printed on the transparency mount. (I)o not write directly on the back of a print. No staples, please.)
- Entries may not have been previously published, and winners may not be published prior to publication in Proceedings. Prior publication could result in the relinquishment of the prize awarded.
- Entries must be postmarked by 31 December 1992.
- Each photograph must pertain to a naval or maritime subject. (The photo is not limited to the calendar year of the contest.)
- Limit. 5 entries per person.
- Entries must be either black-and-white prints, color prints, or color transparencies.
- Minimum print size is 5” x 7".
- Minimum transparency size is 35 mm.(No glass- mounted transparencies, please.)
- Full captions and the photographer’s name, address, and social security number must be
Only photographs accompanied by self- addressed, stamped envelopes will be returned. Photographs not awarded prizes may possibly be purchased by the Naval Institute.
DEADLINE: 31 DECEMBER 1992
Write for details or mail entries to:
NAVAL & MARITIME PHOTO CONTEST U.S. Naval Institute, 118 Maryland Ave. Annapolis, AID 21402-5035 (301) 268-6110