Bringing back the minutemen
- By George I. Seffers
- Sep 18, 2000
The Air Force is experimenting with several information technologies designed,
among other things, to reduce from hours to "single-digit minutes" the time
needed to locate, target and attack enemy positions.
The Air Force's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) 2000 took
place Aug. 28 to Sept. 15 from three main sites: Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Nellis
Air Force Base, Nev.; and Langley Air Force Base, Va. Those sites were linked
to various sites nationwide as well as to airborne and ground-based intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance systems considered critical to employing
expeditionary aerospace power.
"Through JEFX, we're putting new technologies and new operational processes
into the hands of warfighters much sooner," said Maj. Gen. Gerald Perry-man
of the aerospace command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
center at Lang-ley. According to Gen. John Jumper, commander of Air Combat
Command, one focus is on the information technology software and hardware
that will allow the information from various command, control, communications,
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems to be rapidly fused
and disseminated, allowing a dramatic reduction in the time needed to target
and attack enemy forces and equipment.
"I think we can get this down to single-digit minutes," Jumper said,
adding that "rapid targeting will characterize warfare in this century."
Air Force officials said that during the conflict in Kosovo, so-called time-critical
targeting was often dramatically reduced — in one case down to about 10
minutes — but the service now is using the experiment to explore ways to
make that the norm.
So far, the service has been successful with the "single-digit minute"
targeting objective only part of the time, Jumper said, adding, "That's
the nature of experiments." He hinted, though, that reduced times could
become a way of life during expeditionary force operations "within a few