Rumsfeld issues transformation guide

Transformation Planning Guidance

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently issued his Transformation Planning Guidance, a road map designed to help the Defense Department transform its personnel, business processes and military forces.

The 34-page document, which was released earlier this month, is based on four pillars of implementation:

* Strengthening joint operations and linking integrated architectures, including material solutions, doctrine, organization and training needs.

* Exploiting U.S. intelligence advantages, including the integration of assets via the Global Information Grid, shard awareness systems, and transformed command, control and communications systems.

* Rapid, joint concept development and experimentation, including war gaming, modeling and simulation, the Joint National Training Capability, and operational lessons learned.

* Developing transformational capabilities in research, development, test and evaluation; a joint rapid acquisition program; training and more.

Rumsfeld said the guidance not only provides the approach for transforming DOD, but assigns roles and responsibilities for promoting that effort. It "depicts the outcome we must achieve: fundamentally joint, network-centric, distributed forces capable of rapid decision superiority and massed effects across the battlespace," he said.

The document also lays out numerous transformation tasks and their due dates, some of which must be completed within the next two months.

By May 1, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will lead the combatant commanders, military service leaders and the Office of Force Transformation's director in developing "one overarching joint operations concepts" document that describes future joint warfighting. By June 1, the services and combatant commands must have developed four cornerstone joint operating concepts, and by July 1, the Joint Forces Command, along with other Pentagon leaders, must develop an "integrated interoperability plan" for achieving all stated priorities within the decade.

Jack Spencer, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank, said he endorsed the ambitious timetables included in the transformation guidance because without them, things often don't get done.

"If there are not aggressive time lines, people tend to ignore them," Spencer said. "Especially with transformation issues, given the immensity of the proposition to transform the Defense Department into a different kind of Defense Department, I'm all for putting as much pressure on that process as protect the nation from the myriad of unpredictable threats we face over the next 100 years."

Spencer also said DOD leaders should not have too much trouble meeting the required due dates since they have been "thinking along these lines since Secretary Rumsfeld became a vociferous proponent of transformation" a few years ago.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va., think tank, said the third deadline will be the toughest for DOD to meet because it "requires [changing] a series of technology and architecture decisions that go back a generation or more."

"Joint interoperability is the hallmark of the transformation process," Thompson said. "It requires them to substantially change the operational culture of the services, warfighting technical architectures, and the concept of operations. That is a very complicated thing. But they have been giving this a lot of thought since Rumsfeld took over."

Rumsfeld acknowledged that there is no end state for transformation, but the guidance will help prepare DOD now and in the future.

"There will be no moment at which the department is 'transformed,'" he said. "Rather, we are building a culture of continual transformation, so that our armed forces are always several steps ahead of any potential adversaries."


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