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CHIPS Articles: Born Joint

Born Joint
By Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. - April-June 2004
As Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. oversees the mission of military transformation for the NATO alliance and U.S. armed forces. Joint Forces Command is also responsible for providing combat ready U.S.-based Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps forces to support the military requirements of U.S. combatant commanders around the world.

Adm. Giambastiani's assignments have included several in which he was responsible for development of new technologies and experimental processes, as well as four previous tours in command. He commanded Submarine NR-1, the Navy's only nuclear powered deep diving ocean engineering and research submarine. He also led Submarine Development Squadron Twelve, an attack submarine squadron that serves as the Navy's Warfare Center of Excellence for submarine doctrine and tactics.

The admiral also served as the first director of strategy and concepts at the Naval Doctrine Command. In addition, Adm. Giambastiani commanded the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Richard B. Russell (SSN 687). He also served as the commander of Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force, commander of Submarines Allied Command Atlantic and commander Anti-Submarine and Reconnaissance Forces Atlantic in Norfolk, Va. Giambastiani's other shore and staff assignments include duties as an enlisted program manager on the staff of the Navy Recruiting Command Headquarters, Washington, D.C., in the early days of the all volunteer force; special assistant to the deputy director for intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency; and, a one-year fellowship with the Chief of Naval Operations' Strategic Studies Group. As a flag officer, he served as the deputy chief of staff for resources, warfare requirements and assessments for the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet; director of the Submarine Warfare Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations; and finally as the deputy chief of naval operations for resources, requirements and assessments (OPNAV N8).

Prior to his current assignment, he served as senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Adm. Giambastiani graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with leadership distinction in 1970. His decorations include the Defense and the Navy Distinguished Service Medals.

Text edited from remarks given at AFCEA West 2004, Feb. 5.

"Jointness" is a term that is still not well understood — not only within the military but also within industry and by the public. And here I mean the BIG "J" in joint, which refers to a seamless integration of joint forces, interagencies and multinational/coalition partners.

I will give you a sense of what jointness is from the perspective of our recent combat operations. Let me first state right up front three of the key operational insights we have learned:

• The United States DOES NOT send any individual service to conduct major operations but instead deploys its military as a joint force.
• The power of a coherently joint force is now greater than the sum of our separate service, interagency and coalition capabilities.
• "Speed kills" — not just physical speed, but mental speed and situational awareness. It reduces decision and execution cycles, creates opportunities, denies enemy options and speeds his collapse.

Arriving at these insights, which are now taken almost as articles of faith with our forces overseas, was actually not all that easy. They had to be proven in the caldron of actual combat. And it took a significant change in service culture to accept the message that the power of a joint force is far greater than that of any individual service.

This brings me to a discussion of Lessons Learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The insights and observations shown in Figure 1 are listed under three categories:

• Capabilities that worked well
• Capabilities that need more improvement
• Capabilities that did not work well

These insights require some explanation. The joint lesson is not simple to understand because we had never before stood up a Joint Lessons Learned team expressly for the purpose of capturing insights and observations at the operational level of war. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all have long experience in forming teams to capture service-specific lessons from operations.

I have been involved in several such Navy initiatives. Usually, these efforts are more of a post-mortem rather than a dynamic diagnosis, and we have had mixed results turning “lessons observed” into practical proposals for change. Sometimes when you create 1,000 lessons that are not acted on, you don’t have lessons learned — you merely have a list. There is little value in “lessons noted.”

But during Operation Iraqi Freedom, for the first time, we instituted a Joint Lessons Learned team for the express purpose of gathering joint operational insights on a comprehensive scale,in real time, with a mandate to assist in operations and effect change.

Why did we do this? The simple reason is that our commanders realized that the key to harnessing the full power of jointness begins at the operational level of command and control. It is at that level — the level of the combatant commander and joint task force commander — where the real work for seamlessly integrating service capabilities into a coherently joint and combined force takes place.

We examined how well service and special operations force warfighting systems and methods actually worked together as a coherent joint and combined team, including operations with other U.S. federal agencies and with our coalition partners.

This is why our Joint Lesson Learned team was present in Iraq BEFORE, DURING and AFTER major combat operations. They remain still. Our team had complete access to every facet of Gen. Tommy Franks’ operations and, in turn, they provided Gen. Franks and his staff with real-time insights that were actually used to help in their adaptive planning. In other words, because we had a dedicated Joint Lessons Learned team embedded at the operational level they were able to reduce the overall reaction time for our forces and assist in the precision of our actions. This ties directly back to the point I made earlier that speed kills — it’s not just about weapon systems; but also about a persistent situational awareness.

This type of unfettered access and interplay is simply unprecedented and speaks to my earlier comment about how service cultures have changed to accept a new way of conducting business. From my experience in the Navy, the two biggest lies are when the inspection team comes aboard ship and the team chief says, “We’re here to help” and the ship’s captain says, “Welcome aboard.” This time around, Gen. Franks really made our joint lessons learned team part of the team.

Getting back to Figure 1, let me touch on the significance of some of these lessons learned. I won’t cover all of them just those that will help give you a better sense of why we are focused on coherently joint operations.

You can see under the first category of “capabilities that performed well” that joint integration and adaptive planning tops the list. Joint force commanders today will tell you “It’s not the plan; it’s the planning.” They understand that the ability to plan and adapt to changing circumstances and fleeting opportunities make the difference between success and failure in the modern battlespace. Many past leaders understood this — and it remains true today. Tom Franks and his staff practiced this and became masters of adaptive planning. The same is true of Gen. John Abizaid’s staff.

Essential to the power of adaptive planning and execution is an ability to conduct large scale, vertical and horizontal collaboration. Frankly, required collaboration is on a scale that dwarfs any extant commercial application. In today’s collaborative information environment, every level of command throughout the entire force, including coalition partners, is electronically linked to the combatant commander’s decision-making process.

Subordinate commanders and staffs understand the context behind key changes across the battlespace and are fully aware of changes in the commander’s intent to guide their actions during specific missions. This does not mean that everyone knows what is happening in the battlespace every time, but they do all have a clear understanding of the commander’s intent and a persistent situational awareness of the operational environment.

In short, the entire joint and combined force is acutely sensitive to any nuances that occur in the battlespace and are highly adaptive to change, seizing opportunities as they arise or preventing mishaps before they occur.

We are also creating synergies with the closer integration of our special operating and conventional forces. In Desert Storm, for example, we had about 30 operational detachment teams of Special Forces working separate missions from the conventional force. In OIF, we deployed over 100 operational detachment teams. They were closely wedded to our conventional forces, and in many cases merged the combined capabilities of both ground and air forces. The net result is that we not only had precision munitions launched from air and ground but also “precision decision and execution” to guide the integrated Special Forces and conventional campaign.

In total, what these lessons learned indicate is that our traditional military planning and perhaps our entire approach to warfare have shifted. The main change, from our perspective, is the shift from deconflicting service-centric forces designed to achieve victories of attrition to integrating a joint and combined force that can enter the battlespace quickly and conduct decisive operations with both operational and strategic effects.

This brings me to Figure 2; it depicts some of the key attributes described on the right side of the chart. But we must first develop an adaptive, dynamic change process that is comprehensive and coordinated; one that links concepts to the acquisition process and that integrates the lessons we learn in near-real time.

Third, the desired attributes on the right have application beyond just warfighting. Any organization that hopes to succeed in the new information age, whether military, commercial or even nonprofit, must move to the right side of this chart. They must also have a clear understanding of supported and supporting relationships.

At various times you may have to operate across the chart. But at all times, from peace through major combat operations to stability and peace support operations, you must be able to operate in a real-time collaborative environment and with network-centric capabilities to achieve the asymmetric power we began to witness in OIF.

The “Big Question,” of course, is how can we develop a process that produces the required capabilities in a comprehensive and coordinated way?

This brings me to Figure 3. This figure gives you a sense of where we are in the transformation of our joint forces. As you can see, the conditions that we want to establish are at the far right, a condition where our joint and combined forces can conduct coherently joint and combined effects-based operations across the full range of military operations, where the scope, speed and richness of operational knowledge can quickly lead to precision decisions. And where our commanders share and collaborate on near real-time information adaptively to the point of synergy.

In short, we want to create the capabilities that will enable us to achieve asymmetric advantages in knowledge, speed, precision and lethality — advantages we began to glimpse in OIF.

Let me now turn to some of the initiatives we are instituting to move the joint force over to the right. I’ve listed just five of our initiatives in Figure 3, to give you a sense of how we are connecting the “process and product” of joint transformation. The first initiative, perhaps the most important, is to establish a common joint context where we can move our understanding of the future warfighter from a service-centric view to a commonly shared understanding of the future joint environment that allthe services must operate in as a coherently joint team.

In establishing this common joint context, we have actively partnered with each of the services to assist them in embedding a joint context into their wargames. We visited all the combatant commanders and service chiefs and their staffs to help us focus on producing a list of challenges affecting future joint operations that Joint Forces Command could work on. We took their insights, perspectives and recommendations as a mandate to produce the joint operational concepts and capabilities that would enable coherently joint, effects-based operations.

These inputs led to the development of the common joint context that we have embedded into service wargames. The joint context allows services to examine for themselves how well their future capabilities can operate in a joint environment.

They can then begin to acquire service capabilities that are Born Joint. This process is a fundamental shift in the force development paradigm. Last year, for instance, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki and I co-hosted the first ever joint/Army wargame, Unified Quest 03, which had an embedded common joint context. We followed that event up with our joint wargame called Pinnacle Impact 03 and then Adm. Clark and I co-hosted the first-ever joint/Navy wargame called Unified Course 04 in October 2003.

This year we will do the same thing with the Air Force and Marine Corps, and Gen. Schoomaker and I will co-host the second joint/Army wargame called Unified Quest 04.

This is just one example of the “process” end of transformation.

On the “product” side, you can see that we have focused our efforts on standing up and training operational joint task forces. In fact, we have stood up and trained more Joint Task Forces in the last two years than we have in the previous 10.

Concurrently, we’ve expanded our joint experimentation efforts to develop prototypes like the standing joint force headquarters, which we are instituting within our combatant commands. The SJFHQ capability will allow for the rapid stand up of an operational JTF because it can bring to a service headquarters an established, robust and persistent collaborative information environment.

The CIE is designed to quickly provide situational awareness of the adversary, the battlespace and their own joint force. The CIE allows for a persistent, robust 360-degree situational awareness of the operational environment and top-down clarity of the commander’s intent. What results is a joint force that is empowered to create strategic opportunities because it has unity of effort at the top and trust and confidence throughout the force.

On the training end, we just delivered a Joint National Training Capability that we used in the first-ever joint training event in January. It’s important to note that the services have done a marvelous job in launching the first wave of training transformation. This is when they established training complexes and ranges like the Navy’s Top Gun, the Air Force’s Blue Flag and the Army’s National Training Center.

The joint community has been able to begin the second wave of training transformation where we can now link the service ranges with forces around the country, and in time around the world, to a common joint environment at the operational level.

In a sense, this new training transformation is producing “Born Joint Training” that seamlessly brings together a combination of live, virtual and constructive capabilities to create a common joint training environment. An important aspect of the JNTC is that it also avoids any additive requirement to service training.

On my recent visit to the Army’s Joint National Training Center, an Army major participating in the JNTC exercise summed up the value of this new capability best. He had fought with the 3rd Infantry Division in OIF and had participated in many training rotations. When I asked him what he thought was different about the JNTC exercise, he said: “… the only time we ever get to play with all the [joint] ‘toys’ is in war. Now we get to play with everything in training.”

It’s worthwhile to return back to the first of my top three points: No service will go to war alone. We will fight as a joint force. So we must train as a joint force. That is why we like to say that training is important, but joint training is more important.

We are delivering other new capabilities to help move the joint force to the right like the joint fires initiative. The key point to hit home here is how we are trying to move away from an exclusive reliance on service organic fires. Again, an important operational insight from Operation Iraqi Freedom is: Warfighters don’t care where capabilities come from — they just care that they are responsive, integrated and effective.

In my other hat as the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation for the NATO Alliance, these products and processes are also very similar to those that we are working to establish in NATO.

Allied Command Transformation is doing for the NATO forces what U.S. Joint Forces Command is doing for the U.S. military: Leading the change process to deliver new capabilities to an ever-transforming joint and combined force.

Now, let me conclude by talking for just a bit about the role of industry. I’ve talked about the importance of partnerships and alignment on the military processes and products of joint transformation.

Well, it is vital to also have a similar type of dynamic, comprehensive and coordinated process on the commercial side as well. This process should lead to capabilities that are coherently integrated, loosely federated, nonproprietary and with transparent databases that are standards-based.

So my challenge to industry is to develop a similar type of process and to make it part of the new joint process. INDUSTRY MUST BE PART OF THE SOLUTION — if we are to move to the right side of the chart.

Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr.
Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr.

Figure 1.  OIF Joint Lessons Learned.
Figure 1. OIF Joint Lessons Learned.

Figure 2. Attributes of a Transforming Joint Force--The Operator's Approach.
Figure 2. Attributes of a Transforming Joint Force--The Operator's Approach.

Figure 3.  Direction of Transformation.
Figure 3. Direction of Transformation.
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