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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:

While the U.S. will continue to focus on the Conduct of Joint Operations through focusing upon:

  • People
  • Interoperability
  • 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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Valve’s Handbook (of Half Life and Left 4 Dead notoriety) for New Employees was let loose recently on the Internet.  So as any good Cyber geek I had to take a look at this fine software makers internal thought process.  I must say their thinking is quite impressive and shows how they’ve come so far in the relatively short time they’ve been a company.  There are several connections and similarities, between Valve and the U.S. Navy & U.S. Military, I see that I’d like to expound on.

“Flatland” Empowerment – This picture says everything about the organization.  Challenges the legacy regime of full hierarchy of an organization and empowers every individual to ensure they represent the company.  The Navy, like it’s sister services, attempts to place the responsibility upon each of it’s members while maintaining the organizational hierarchy.  More than any time in history we are seeing young people fully engaged on a global scale and making a massive difference in the world, yet numerous leaders discount this impressive untapped resource and capability.

“We’ve heard that other companies have people allocate a percentage of their time to self-directed projects. At Valve, that percentage is 100.” – Valve Handbook for New Employees

Risk – Failure as a “massive learning” experience mentality.  With Valve they are taught to make predictions and anticipate nasty outcomes as we are with the Military (at some level -not every individual unfortunately).  “What would I expect if I’m right?”  and “What would I expect if I’m wrong?” are two main mantras each individual is trained to understand and embrace.  Then ensure they bounce these ideas and possibilities off of each other to ensure they match reality.  Too often within our Navy there is a fear of embarrassing situations instead of fearlessness.

Peer Reviews & Stack ranking (and compensation) – The Navy has operated off a supervisory review model for it’s entire history.  Yes it leaves a bit up to navigating the peer environment, a possible ranking board for recommendation by mid-level supervisors to Senior raters, or solely up to the Senior rater to ensure success.  In my short time with the Navy I’ve yet to see any peer ranking taken into account in the overall review process.  I think this would ensure a bit more interaction between peers.  I know I’ve seen issues both within my peer group and higher levels.  I think this has the ability to remove the “ego effect” or “negative personality”  component out of the peer interaction level and make us, the Navy, significantly more effective.  I would also change the bonus structure within the Navy.  It would shift from solely role based (Nuclear power, Aviation, Surface Warfare) to key role and performance hybrid.  I know too many individuals that “try” merely to achieve a locked in bonus then significantly “relax” once it’s obtained.  This isn’t how a bonus structure should operate nor should it be how our tax dollars are expended.  I do like how their ranking structure is broken out:

  1. Skill Level/Technical Ability
  2. Productivity/Output
  3. Group Contribution
  4. Product Contribution

We believe that high-performance people are generally self-improving. – Valve Handbook for New Employees

Employee Development consists of these mantras:

  • Engineers: code is only the beginning
  • Non-Engineers: program or be programmed

It is as simple as that.  I believe this is just like what I’ve experienced at Carnegie Mellon University.  Everyone needs to understand how programming works if not program themselves.  This self improving mantra is very much like that I’ve seen in the U.S. Military and Navy.  Those that can effectively educate themselves to ensure they have the correct balance at the time and through their career are often the most successful.

Hiring – If you haven’t noticed the U.S. Military isn’t having any issues with hiring, firing or retention.  We’re full up actually.  But are we being selective enough in this period?  I don’t believe we are and believe that we could be adjusting better to meet our current and future needs in a much better fashion.  We’re in a period where we’ve not adjusted fast enough and have already had to separate individuals because of it through Enlisted Review Boards (ERB) and a similar Officer separation program.

Lastly I’ll leave you with a final image.  It represents the main similarity between the Military, Navy and Valve.  But too often we’re allowing our people within the Navy to forget their expertise and default to the wide general areas.  This cannot continue into this more stringent and efficiency based era.

[via Flamehaus]

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We’ve reviewed Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.  Admiral Greenert has posted his Navigation Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2013-2017.  Key items in the Information Dominance Corps realm within his Sailing Directions are:


  • Fully exploit cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum as warfighting domains with upgrades to Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment and the SLQ-32 surface electronic warfare system, and continued development of the Next-Generation Jammer for airborne electronic warfare.
  • Defend our computer networks, sustain information assurance, develop network operations technology, as well as educate the next generation of cyber operators at the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval War College.

OPERATE FORWARD – While no individual bullet point sites a specific task for the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) the major move to push more ships & forces forward, increase their Operational Tempo, and rotate crews at the edge are major changes.  Thus the IDC importance is built within every bullet point listed.  These changes make the Network and Communication mission sets of the IDC more significant.  It also challenges network availability & integrity while stressing satellite and terrestrial communication pathways with higher traffic loads and most likely a more congested spectrum loading.


  • Improve the “wholeness” of the Aegis Weapons System through data link and software upgrades while adding the Shipboard Self Defense System to more non-Aegis ships, such as amphibious assault ships.
  • Sustain Fleet Synthetic Training to provide a wider range of complex and demanding simulations than possible in the field, while conserving operating expenses where appropriate.


Make sure to review the CNO’s 2012 update in his CNO’s Postion Report for 2012!

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