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CHIPS Articles: Interview with Rear Adm. David O. Anderson

Interview with Rear Adm. David O. Anderson
Deputy Commander U.S. 2nd Fleet
By CHIPS Magazine - July-September 2006
CHIPS asked Deputy Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, Rear Adm. David O. Anderson to explain the importance of the Navy's participation in the Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 (JEFX 06) and Second Fleet's recently created Maritime Operations Center during a tour of the MOC April 24, 2006.

Rear Adm. Anderson: First of all, Second Fleet has been working hard, at least the last two years, to get more integrated not only into the joint world with the other Services, but also with our coalition and NATO partners worldwide, and most importantly with the interagency piece. In the last six to nine months we have started getting some incredible traction.

We realize that 2nd Fleet has a key role in the security of the nation as we develop a joint, coalition and interagency solution to the maritime challenges of homeland defense. To that end, we have stood-up our Maritime Operations Center - Experimental (MOC-X) as a viable and relevant warfighting capability to rapidly field and test both equipment and tasks that can then be replicated in all the numbered fleet MOCs.

JEFX is an exercise that is providing us a venue to work through some of the operational level planning challenges as well as highlighting the tactical TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) and CONOPS (concept of operations) of working with other Services and agencies. The end result will be another major step toward the Chief of Naval Operations' goals for maritime domain awareness.

In the last couple of weeks, we have had several of the numbered fleet commanders visit 2nd Fleet. We want to make sure as we model new processes and capabilities within Navy, we share best practices so all of our Maritime Operations Centers develop in parallel. We are extremely focused in our efforts to not be working in a 'stove-pipe' but to constantly be communicating with other commands working similar issues.

Probably the most important aspect of exercises like JEFX 06 is what we do with lessons learned after the exercise. Or simply put, 'so what'? Take for example Maritime Dynamic Targeting. In the past, we have seen both gaps and overlaps between maritime, land and air components. This is extremely evident in the Time Sensitive Targeting cell of the JFACC (Joint Force Air Component Commander).

As all components are continually developing faster and more lethal capabilities, we need a way to update the processes we use to prosecute these targets. This exercise has allowed us to work real world, challenging scenarios to define for all components the best practices to effectively and efficiently prosecute these targets.

CHIPS: What is Maritime Dynamic Targeting?

Rear Adm. Anderson: Maritime Dynamic Targeting is the process of prosecuting a time-sensitive target in the maritime environment. Navy has done this for years, but now we are working to do it in the joint arena where the JFACC and JFLCC (Joint Force Land Component Commander) have visibility on what we're doing. This is extremely important due to the command and control of who owns the assets available to strike, and who is controlling those assets when you need them.

When we see a new target pop up, do we have the processes and relationships built to immediately identify and prosecute it with the best platform available and in concert with the JTF (Joint Task Force) commander's desired effects? Do we have the common TTPs of all components to work together in each other's area of responsibility to do so as efficiently as possible? These are some of the things exercises like this give us.

CHIPS: You mention coalition and other agencies a good bit. Why is it so important that the Navy works with them in the maritime domain?

Rear Adm. Anderson: You have heard the CNO talk about a 1,000 ship Navy. What does that mean? Does it mean he wants to have 1,000 ships in the U.S. Navy painted gray with U.S. Sailors on them? Not at all. What we want to be able to do is build an operating maritime picture that is worldwide using coalition and joint partners so that whoever has the sensor, whoever identifies the ship, can then put it all into one truly worldwide common operating picture that we can tap into.

For instance, the U.S. Coast Guard has a fantastic picture of the maritime domain out to about 12 miles. We have worked with them to develop our common operating picture to include all they offer. What we are endeavoring to do now is to make sure we are not playing what we call the 'catcher's mitt'' If something bad is coming into this country on a ship, whether it is off the coast here in Norfolk, in Hawaii or anywhere else — we want to know about it long before it gets that close. This requires that we fuse our intelligence and sensors with many other agencies and countries worldwide, so we know before it is actually loaded on the ship.

Federal agencies and all the Services have been working on this. The lane where 2nd Fleet has responsibility, working for U.S. Northern Command through U. S. Fleet Forces Command, is where we are concentrating our efforts. Those efforts have included building new relationships outside of DoD.

Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander, Second Fleet, now has written memorandums of understanding or direct liaison with the State Department, FBI and NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service). We do a lot bilaterally with the United Kingdom and Canada.

This has allowed us to develop many new ways of identifying and solving problems and then sharing them within Navy lifelines with the other numbered fleets as well as with many other organizations outside of the Navy.

CHIPS: How do you operate with first-responders like state and local agencies where these personnel don't report to the military?

Rear Adm. Anderson: Here in Tidewater we have several different city municipalities that each has a maritime police capability. At the Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) that the Coast Guard runs in Hampton Roads, they are constantly working to solve command and control issues like you describe. If a suspect ship is observed by the Norfolk Police Department, the Norfolk Police know who they report to and what to expect. The same is true for Virginia Beach and all the others.

This gives the visibility needed to ensure every agency knows what it is expected to do, who is in control, and then allows the Coast Guard to coordinate efforts. This is something that is happening right now.

CHIPS: How has Second Fleet's mission changed in the last few years to help fight the war on terror?

Rear Adm. Anderson: Second Fleet has four major objectives. The first one is certification for all the carrier strike groups, surface strike groups and expeditionary strike groups before they are deployed. We don't train them anymore. We have subordinate commands that do their training. However, Vice Adm. Fitzgerald is the final authority to certify a CSG, SSG or ESG as combat ready. That's still our bread and butter.

The second mission objective we have is to be able to have our staff function as a Joint Task Force commander. The third one is to be the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC) much like you saw with Hurricane Katrina. Katrina gave us a chance to validate the new staff structure we had to develop to be able to serve these new mission objectives of JTF or JFMCC. This new command structure is what we call a distributed staff. We have a small portion of our staff that is trained, manned and equipped to forward deploy at any time. Then through reach-back, we can increase our work capacity by having portions of the required work completed by the bulk of our staff that remains in the headquarters. We are constantly developing the skill sets our people need to effectively operate this way and improving the hardware needed to support them.

The fourth major objective for Second Fleet is in our NATO command, the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence that we stood up last year.

CHIPS: What about the federal agencies that can't work on our networks, like SIPRNET, because of the security classification requirement. What will be the communication method?

Rear Adm. Anderson: I will give you two answers to that. First of all, the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) in Key West, Fla., has been up and running for a number of years, primarily focusing on the drug trade. You will have a watchfloor, like in our MOC, with an FBI agent seated next to a CIA agent, seated next to a Navy officer, who is seated next to a Coast Guardsman, seated next to an Airman seated next to a Dutch officer — and they are all internally set up on their own equivalent of SIPRNET.

Let's say that I want to see data in the FBI agent's database, which may entail opening an active criminal investigation in our country. There are serious reasons the FBI would not want me to have access to that system, just like we have reasons that we don't want people to be able to get into SIPRNET.

What JIATF-S has done is establish the protocols they need to be able to share only the needed information. We may not have complete visibility to their entire database, but we can glean out what we need at any time. That's one way we are going about it.

We have also started working creative ways to cordon off portions of SIPRNET and to make more systems interoperable. NETWARCOM (Naval Network Warfare Command) has been working very hard to help provide us the tools we need to meet our operational requirement and yet still ensure we have the proper level of security in our systems.

Let me give you an example. Last year, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Strike Group had a Spanish ship in their battle group. During their Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFE), we invited a rear admiral from the UK to come over with his entire staff and serve as our JFMCC.

So, we had a U.S. JTF Commander, Vice Adm. Fitzgerald embarked on USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), with a UK two-star serving as the JFMCC in our headquarters in Norfolk, tasking the CSG commander onboard Theodore Roosevelt, who had, as one of the key ships in his command, a Spanish ship. We had four different systems on live chat, and all were able to communicate throughout the exercise.

I went down to the British commodore's stateroom on USS Iwo Jima one evening because he came to my stateroom and said, 'You have to come see this!' He had four screens up with live chat going from us aboard Iwo Jima to the UK commander in Norfolk on this releasable SIPRNET, down to the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group, over to the Spanish ship Alvaro de Bazán (F101). We were doing live chat for four different systems all at one time.

Those are some of the things that NETWARCOM has helped us work through. A lot of the time, the problem is not hardware but specific protocols and getting the authority to interoperate.

Are we there yet? No. Have we identified where we need to get to? Yes, we have. And we are getting there a lot faster than anybody anticipated at this point. All players, whether it is FBI, whether it is the State Department, the UK as a NATO partner, whether it is the Spanish government as a coalition partner — everybody understands — and everybody is trying to move toward that.

We just have to continue to adapt and do the hard detail work. But it is work that is making our country a safer place everyday.

CHIPS: Is there any final comment you would like to leave us with today?

Rear Adm. Anderson: I firmly believe that one of the most important things we have to get better at across not only DoD, but all of the other agencies, is explaining to the American people what we are doing to make their military more effective in the 'Long War' that is GWOT (global war on terror). How we are making America a safer place.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act was designed to make DoD become joint and interoperable. The operations in Grenada proved to us years ago that the Services didn't even have radios that could talk to each other. We have matured dramatically since those days and are indeed interoperable today.

Interoperable is nothing more than ensuring my people and equipment works with your people and equipment. This is important, but it is not good enough any more. We need to get to the point where we are truly interdependent, which means I cannot do my job without you, and you cannot do your job without me.

This level of coordination demands trust and an in-depth understanding of every players' strengths and weaknesses. We need to get to this point not only within DoD, but within the other government agencies as well. What you are going to see here today is how Second Fleet is making this concept a reality today.

For more information about U.S. Second Fleet, go to

Deputy Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, Rear Adm. David O. Anderson in the MOC April 24, 2006.
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