“Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.” – General Douglas MacArthur [farewell speech to West Point Cadets in May of 1962]
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, starts out a recent America’s Military – A Profession of Arms White Paper that encourages us to “renew our commitment to the Profession of Arms” to continue to shape Joint Force 2020.
The Key components of the paper are:
- The Military Profession
- Leadership as the Foundation – Strengthening our Profession of Arms
- Mission Command
- Jointness – Strength from Diversity
- The Way Ahead – Advancing the Profession of Arms
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Joint Vision 2020: America’s Military— Preparing for Tomorrow was published during the summer of 2000. To set the stage for Joint Vision 2020, the Cold War had ended, the United States had suffered several setbacks which included the downing of Blackhawk helicopters in Mogadishu, Somalia and it was pre-9/11 and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not on the horizon.
The CJCS Joint Vision 2020, then General Hugh Shelton, was to have “Dedicated individuals and innovative organizations transforming the joint force for the 21st century to achieve full spectrum dominance:
- Persuasive in peace
- Decisive in war
- Preeminent in any form of conflict
One of the main points I found quite well written, predictive, and timeless in Joint Vision 2020 was:
“potential adversaries will have access to the global commercial industrial base and much of the same technology as the U.S. military. We will not necessarily sustain a wide technological advantage over our adversaries in all areas. Increased availability of commercial satellites, digital communications, and the public Internet all give adversaries new capabilities at a relatively low cost. We should not expect opponents in 2020 to fight with strictly industrial age tools. Our advantage must therefore come from leaders, people, doctrine, organizations, and training that enable us to take advantage of technology to achieve superior warfighting effectiveness.”
Joint Vision 2020 also brings Full Spectrum Dominance into the doctrine vocabulary of the U.S. Military:
Full Spectrum Dominance is the ability to “conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronized operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains— land, sea, air, space, and information.”
You can infer that the recognized information domain has now been relabeled as Cyberspace, or the Cyber domain. However the name change does not negate or change the importance of the domain. Yet it appears that with a shorter name, all of five letters, the marketing is easier and the flock of the “general populace” to solve the issues within somewhat clouds the major issues we are struggling with in the domain. Rather the focus has become who should lead the effort.
Full Spectrum Dominance is then supported by:
- Information Superiority
- Innovation (explicitly continued from Joint Vision 2010)
While the U.S. will continue to focus on the Conduct of Joint Operations through focusing upon:
- Multinational Operations
- Interagency Operations
- Operational Concepts backed by dominant maneuver
- Precision Engagement
- Focused Logistics
- Full Dimensional Protection
- Information Operations
- Command and Control (C2)
It is interesting to see what remains valid today, in Joint Vision 2020, even after the U.S. shifted its focus from this document to respond to 9/11 and fight through wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also interesting to see entities resuming its focus on Information Superiority and Innovation.
Don’t forget to watch the current CJCS’s 2012 Commencement address at Norwich on living an Uncommon Life.
[Joint Vision 2020 – Joint Forces Quarterly (JFQ) via DTIC]
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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, starts out a recent Mission Command White Paper that focuses on development of the 2020 Joint Force with:
“Mission command is the conduct of military operations through decentralized execution based upon mission-type orders. Successful mission command demands that subordinate leaders at all echelons exercise disciplined initiative and act aggressively and independently to accomplish the mission.” – Joint Publication 3-0 “Joint Operations” 11 AUG 2011
Immediately delving into the root of what Mission Command, commander’s intent, command by negation (used by the U.S. Navy and may come with some cockiness), centralized planning, decentralized execution the Chairman looks to move the “empowerment bar” back a bit more toward the tactical level. Sounds much like I described in Developing Naval Leaders: A Gamer’s Method. This will be critical as our Military forces must remain empowered to execute operations against an adversary in their tactical specific realm. He goes further to note that these models of command must be complimented by adept and adaptable leaders at every level.
“The relevance of space and cyberspace to national security will grow exponentially in magnitude of importance. Our reliance on technological superiority is a potential vulnerability that our adversaries will seek to exploit, often in covert or indirect ways.”
I wrote about Technology-Centric Warfare supported by Information-Centricity and one of its main points was the technological superiority aspect that the U.S. Military has always relied upon. The Chairman also notes that the “pace of change” and the “speed of operations” will only increase. This brief statement has a very large and monolithic challenge hidden within. The human element, for the most part, has been relatively constant with its ability to learn & understand. This then translates to a fairly constant speed at which we’re able to change and adapt both individually and organizationally.
“Smaller, lighter forces operating in an environment of increased uncertainty, complexity and competitiveness will require freedom of action to develop the situation and rapidly exploit opportunities. Decentralization will occur beyond current comfort levels and habits of practice.”
This conceptual statement dies rapidly at the staffing level, within the Navy, if not assured by the Commander’s authority and responsibility. But is in the “spirit” of John Boyd’s Observe-orient-decide-act or “OODA Loop” cycle.
Much of this cyclical process is based on the empowered Commander’s ability to understand and ensure trust both up and down the echelon scale. These abilities will then foster the capability to provide “superior speed in competitive cycles of decision making;” a significant necessity I’ve seen numerous leaders state requirements for yet goes without being addressed. To instill this ability should we be supplementing the education our leaders receive with something like Carnegie Mellon’s Decision Sciences or Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Technological Change?
What I do know is that while we routinely enjoy being in communication with subordinate units, the next higher echelon, and the planet the Military and Navy are not ready to execute without that tether. A far cry from our history.
“Any commander who fails to exceed his authority is not of much use to his subordinates.” – Admiral Arleigh Burke