Quickly producing investment options that can adapt to an uncertain future should be the Department of Defense's main objective. Wolf PAC's goal will be to perform operational experimentation that examines the increasing command-and-control challenges of distributed networked forces in joint sea-based and special operations contexts.
In the 21 st century, warfare will require agility and the application of tailored forces against more diffuse threats. These threats will retreat to the most complex terrain and will take advantage of both local and global seams in modern society. As part of an overall joint force, special operations forces (SOF) and SOF-like forces must be prepared to support multiple simultaneous, distributed, decentralized battles and campaigns against both conventional and unconventional adaptive enemies. Our potential adversaries have been watching intently and designing denial and deception strategies, which may blunt or negate our technological superiority or may inhibit a force that is overreliant. on strike and single lines of advance. Therefore, it is incumbent on tomorrow's joint forces to be interdependently networked and, coherent to "conduct simultaneous, distributed, and parallel operations synergistically across the levels of warfare, in depth."1
The Office of Force Transformation (OFT) is undertaking the Wolf PAC initiative to explore command and control (C2) of geographically dispersed, networked, autonomous and semiautonomous assets. Forces are becoming increasingly burdened by the lack of a coherent strategy to "control" large numbers of dispersed assets. In fact, the existing cultural and organizational approaches to C2 may impede the adaptive qualities needed for autonomous and semiautonomous elements to be successful. The more appropriate terms may be to coordinate with coherence (C2).2 But whether we choose terms such as coordinate, collaborate, or cooperate, the appropriate terminology is not as relevant as understanding the dynamic tension between command and self-synchronization; between control and self-organization; and between the cultural and organizational mismatches that might arise in networked military actions.
Using distributed operations to conduct multidimensional and simultaneous attacks from different directions has long been desired by great commanders. But new threats and new emerging command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) technological opportunities require a better understanding of the inherent C2 challenges of distributed, networked forces and the necessity for these forces to adapt rapidly to changing conditions. Distributed and adaptive operations, embedded in the Wolf PAC expertment, place great emphasis on decentralized decision making, dynamic maneuver, and degradation of an enemy's options.
A distributed adaptive operation accepts the enduring nature of fog, friction, uncertainty, chance, and chaos. It is designed specifically to deal with the ambiguity of threats and latency in command to help commanders map emerging patterns that technology alone cannot resolve. As a result, diversity, persistence, granularity, and discrimination need to be applied proportionally faster than an opponent's means allow.
Distributed adaptive operations assume each element or unit of action can perform particular tasks, using multiple measurable methods. It also assumes each element may carry out an entire task itself or may coordinate with other elements that perform parts of the task. Guided coherently by the commander's intent, distributed elements can seize the initiative, exploit success, and reconfigure themselves in response to threats and opportunities. Organizations composed of these elements will learn and adapt to successes and failures as the situation changes. Consequently, future joint forces will come to realize that to succeed and survive they must act in a distributed adaptive manner.
By enabling elements of a joint force to make decisions and set initial conditions faster than the opponent, distributed operations facilitate our ability to adapt in scale and method as the operational or tactical situation dictates. Most important, distributed operations allow the commander to control tempo for sustaining continuous pressure against an opponent for as little or as long as it takes to meet operational aims. The operational art of blending intelligence, logistics, and operations for maneuver advantage serves to disorient, dislocate, destroy, and defeat an opponent. The ability to take effective action for this purpose requires a thorough understanding of how to command and control distributed networked forces. The key objective of Wolf PAC is so a "future Joint Force will be capable of conducting and supporting distributed non-linear operations in a singular battle space."3
The Wolf PAC initiative will bridge the functions of actionable intelligence, sense and respond logistics, and distributed adaptive operations.4 A geographically dispersed, distributed networked force creates a coherent multiaxis capability of overmatching complexity by generating confusion, ambiguity, and chaos in our adversary's mind. This concerted effort directs effective joint actions to influence and shape future engagements and to produce a decisive psychological, positional, and temporal competitive advantage over any emerging adversary in the information age.
The pace of coherent maneuverability coupled to organized distributed units, acting interdependently, enables rapid adaptation for dominating the competition. The result is that the adversary is presented with a greater degree of uncertainty regarding our locations, intentions, and objectives. Subsequently, networked-enabled forces operating as geo-dispersed units conducting distributed operations can:
* Influence actions broadly
* Catalyze networked effects
* Create high transaction rates
* Mass effects without massing forces
* Adapt rapidly to dynamic conditions
* Execute distributed or concentrated ops
* Self-organize decision making
* Generate "organic intelligence" and exploit global intelligence
Wolf PAC's Objective
Wolf PAC is focused on operationally relevant and battlefield quality learning without the losses or risks associated with combat. The experience will reinforce the competitive advantages of increased speed of command, the networked effects of high numbers of assets, and principles of modularity at technical and operational levels-each contributing to more rapid force projection and effective engagement strategies.
War's fog and friction always confound commanders because competition continuously increases complexity at a revolutionary pace in order to survive and win. The rapidly increasing complexity that emerges from dynamic competition favors a quick partial solution sooner over a ponderous perfect solution later. As a result, different suites of firstorder analytical tools and rudimentary thumb rules supporting a high number of operational experiments will more quickly provide an approximate design for a force that can rapidly change in dynamic competition.
The approach presented by Wolf PAC solves some of tomorrow's complex problems by experiencing high numbers of co-evolutionary cycles, in a short period, using imperfect surrogates. The iterative outcome will provide continuous feedback, thereby generating operationally relevant experience so that our forces have the capacity to adapt as threats emerge.
To survive and win in future littoral operations will require a diverse variety of assets amalgamated as a networked, distributed joint force. It demands a force that shares information widely and takes advantage of pattern ambiguity, readily consumes increasing volumes of information, and can adapt to ever-increasing complex conditions. Scale-matched assets are critical to the architectural structure of Wolf PAC.
The Stiletto—a composite-fiber, high-speed vessel designed to explore the scalability of nonmechanical dynamic lift, composite construction technology, high-speed performance, and its application to military operations—represents one of the many assets to be used for distributed operations. This craft is designed to investigate the underlying rules for success and survival in complex environments such as the littoral. The Stiletto and craft like her are not meant to replace or compete with capital ships of the line; instead, they are intended to possess capital potential in every hull.
The Stiletto incorporates modularity at multiple levels and uses an electronic keel (data bus) for rapid mission reconfiguration that provides the necessary flexibility for SOF-like forces to deploy, modify, and tailor capabilities to emerging challenges. The Stiletto also explores high payload fractions capable of shallow-water operations for speed of deployment and access to unprepared and contested zones. The Stiletto's main purpose will be to accommodate, launch, and retrieve an 11-meter rigid inflatable boat (RIB), as well as launch and operate unmanned vehicles, to include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), from the upper deck. The Stiletto represents one of the many nodes needed in a circulatory system regulated by the demand-centered neural network of sense and respond logistics.5
The Office of Force Transformation investigates and incubates emerging capabilities not articulated as requirements by the services. Its fiscal and intellectual support catalyze the changes needed to explore, develop, and experiment with concept-technology pairings embedded in chassis-module combinations. OFT's aim is to take fast, bold, and specific steps to provide a positive path toward changing the force through operational experimentation. The results will increase transaction rates, help us reach beyond what can be comfortably achieved, and provide a road map to the future so DoD does not revert to past practices.
The broader transformational objective of Wolf PAC will be to perform operational experiments that examine command-and-control challenges of distributed, networked forces in joint sea-based and special operations missions. OFT's intent is to increase experimental transaction rates to generate higher learning rates so DoD can more quickly produce investment options that adapt to an uncertain future. An option-based hedging strategy is achieved by increasing numbers and diversity, by creating a force relevant at many scales, and by overmatching competitors with complexity through investment and engagement in every threatening niche. This options-based strategy is designed to create a more tactically stable force-one that values speed in maneuverability and requires modularity for rapid reconfiguration. Such a force can rapidly adapt to dynamic conditions and consistently win. It also is a force in which tactical learning is highly prized.
Tactical learning serves as a hedge against an adversary's cost imposing strategy, such as terror, by generating a better understanding of a chaotic world at the relevant scale for proximate resolution. But controlling local chaos cannot be achieved from strategic distance; it is accomplished by recognizing what is occurring at the relevant scale by local emersion and from a well-rehearsed experiential perspective. Tactical learning from operational experimentation also provides a means for gaining experience in critical operational mission areas without having to falsely predict future mission or engagement areas. By experiencing as many operational options within the tightest cycle times, DoD will generate the best opportunity for organizational learning. Organizational and tactical learning driven by increased experimental rates serves to give our nation a more strategically relevant approach to cost for assessing future acquisitions.
High numbers of co-evolutionary cycles and high rates of learning alone cannot solve the complex challenges of command and control, but a dedicated focus on operational experimentation will go a long way to developing the new first principles of information age warfare. By exploring the underlying engineering of distributed operations, Wolf PAC may provide assured access solutions to littoral or urban contested zones.6
For successful competitive advantage in these contested zones, the ability to moderate the potential chaos of self-organizing networks is a prerequisite. The advancement of the complex art of war and the development of associated analytical tools are needed to explore new concepts of operations for delivering fires, consumables, and information to these chaotic, competitive battle spaces. The Office of Force Transformation believes this is best accomplished through the experience that operational experimentation provides.
1 Joint Warfare and Conflict Resolution Perspectives.
2 Coordinate wilh coherence is influenced by Thomas Malone's The Future of Work. Malone holds the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Information Systems chair at the MIT Sloan School of Management and foresees a workplace revolution that is dramatically changing organizational structures and the roles that employees play in them. He argues that current notions about decentralization merely scratch the surface of what will be possible as technological and economic forces make "command and control" leadership increasingly less useful. The Wolf PAC concept of coordination with coherence will play a far more prominent role in distributed operations, distributed networked forces, and Wolf PAC-like activities.
3 Donald H. Rumsfeld, Joint Operating Concept, November 2003.
4 Sense and respond logistics (S&RL) is a network-centric, knowledge-driven, knowledge-guided concept that sustains modular, reconfigurable force capabilities to execute joint and coalition effects-based operations and to provide precise, adaptive, agile support for achievement of commander's intent. S&RL relies on highly adaptive, self-synchronizing, and dynamic physical and functional processes, employing and enhancing operational cognitive knowledge development, sense-making and decision support.
5 Sense and respond logistics (S&RL) is an OFT initiative that seeks to transform how the Defense Department sustains geographically dispersed and distributed adaptive forces. More information on S&RL can be found at www.oft.osd.mil/initiatives/Sri/Sri.cfm.
6 The "littoral" is considered to be the prototypical "complex adaptive environment" because of the number of intersecting elements such as its complex topography (underwater and near land interface), volume of commercial shipping traffic (high signal to noise ratio, clutter management, and pattern discrimination), and numerous threats (antiship cruise missiles, mines, aircraft, coastal artillery, swarming small boats, and diesel submarines) in the aggregate seek to prevent access and confound solutions. See Yaneer Bar-Yam, "Multi-scale Analysis of Littoral Warfare," CNO Strategic Studies Technical Paper, 2002.
Commander Glaros is a strike fighter pilot and qualified surface warfare officer assigned to the secretary of Defense's Office of Force Transformation.