Plan blends C3 office with intelligence, recon

The Pentagon's central command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) office will have its mission dramatically widened under a draft plan awaiting final approval from top Pentagon management.

Defense Reform Initiative (DRI) plans released last week for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense/C3I show that the reconstituted ASD/C3I not only has regained many of its former policy functions in traditional C3 areas but also oversight of other key information-generating organizations through a new command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) directorate.

In November 1997 the Pentagon announced plans to eliminate ASD/C3I, splitting its functions between a proposed new intelligence office and a proposed acquisition technology office. Shortly after that, the Pentagon asked Duane Andrews, ASD/C3I in the Bush administration, to study the proposed changes and come up with a plan. Pentagon insiders and observers credit the change in the fortunes of the ASD/C3I office to the strong advocacy of the team led by Andrews, now a senior executive with Science Applications International Corp.

The new structure will allow the Defense Department to develop policies and programs to fuse data from assets such as reconnaissance satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with traditional C3 systems— a key element to battlefield dominance in the Information Age, according to current and former high-ranking Pentagon officials.

ASD/C3I also will gain responsibility for two of the hottest defense issues of the 1990s— critical infrastructure protection as well as defensive and offensive information operations [FCW, March 2]— through a new directorate included in draft DRI plans. The draft also calls for establishing a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense/Chief Information Office, Policy and Implementation, which will include a new Year 2000 oversight office (see related story, Page 3).

The plans were made public last week by Anthony Valletta, outgoing acting ASD/C3I. Valletta emphasized that the plans were still in the draft stages and awaiting approval by Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Jacques Gansler.

Speaking to an annual industry forecast conference sponsored by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Valletta said the reorganization of ASD/C3I will "become the focal point'' for intelligence within DOD.

Organizations such as the National Security Agency, the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency will all have "strong ties'' to the beefed-up office, working through an as-yet-unnamed DASD for C4ISR.

Valletta called the new C4ISR office the "big kahuna" of the whole reorganization. Besides working to coordinate C4 and ISR systems, the office also will have responsibility for space, weather and navigation systems, such as the DOD-operated Global Positioning System.

The CIO policy office, also to be headed by a DASD, will ensure that DOD meets the mandates of the Clinger-Cohen Act, with the head of the office serving as the "point person'' for information technology policy within DOD, although Art Money will officially wear the CIO hat, according to sources familiar with the planning documents.

Emmett Paige, who retired as ASD/C3I last year, endorsed the changes in the office he once headed. He said ASD/C3I "is back, stronger than ever...and comes closer to what I believe Congress originally intended."

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who spearheaded the DOD National Performance Review team for Vice President Al Gore, also strongly endorsed plans to not only bring back but also beef up the ASD/C3I.

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