Intercepts

'Who are Those Guys?'

Pulling a famous line from the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," retired Navy Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, now the head of the Defense Department's Force Transformation office, provided a new spin on the "shock and awe" campaign that started the war in Iraq.

"If you look at the war in Iraq, you should be surprised at the way it unfolded," Cebrowski said at the Association for Enterprise Integration conference on Network Centric Operations earlier this month. "This was not the American way of war where massive, overwhelming numbers were used."

Cebrowski said the future of U.S. combat should always involve an element of the unknown to keep adversaries continually off-balance.

"We always want them to be surprised," he said. "We want the enemy saying 'Wow! Who are those guys?'"

Cebrowski noted that the coalition forces in Iraq are perhaps the most adaptive and flexible in history, making necessary changes on the fly as they stormed across the Iraqi desert.

"People have asked me how much of the U.S. Army should be expeditionary," he said. "And I tell them all of it. We should be lighter, more lethal and more mobile, and what is happening today demonstrates that.

"If you want to see a force transforming, take a look at a force being shot at."

The Push and Pull of Warfare

DOD chief information officer John Stenbit is getting pushy of late.

In the past several weeks, Stenbit has appeared at conferences and before Congress, extolling the virtues of battlefield connectivity and enabling the warfighter to determine what data can best help in a combat situation.

Stenbit has likened the current method of getting information to warfighters to a magazine subscription.

"Today, getting information is like subscribing to a magazine," Stenbit said. "You get what information they send you, but you can't call up the author to ask a question."

Stenbit said the days of "pushing" information to the troops are ending and the era of troops "pulling" information to themselves is at hand. He lauded the past decade's progress, saying the armed services have overcome daunting challenges.

"If I was the guy in Afghanistan that had to go over a hill the next morning, you can bet I'd want to know what was on the other side of that hill tonight," he said. "Just give me the photo and let me analyze it."

However, Stenbit said he doesn't expect to see true "smart pull" available to the front line units for another decade.

Ruffling Intell's Feathers

Even when "smart pull" becomes a reality, Stenbit said, the concept of allowing soldiers and Marines to pull raw information before it has gone through the typical task, process, exploit and disseminate process does sits poorly with the intelligence world.

"We have run experiments with smart pull, and it's caused a reasonable amount of discord with the intelligence communities," he said.

Stenbit said the intelligence analysts don't like the idea of being taken out of the loop, or that their position in the information food chain could lose some of its luster.

Stenbit told the Interceptor that DOD has "interesting examples" of what happens in real-life situations in a smart pull world.

New 'J' Chief

Gen. John Jumper, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, announced last week that Air Force Maj. Gen. James Soligan has been named incoming chief of staff at U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). Soligan will replace retiring Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Holbein Jr. As chief of staff, Soligan will manage the command's warfighting initiatives and provide guidance to the command's executive staff on daily matters. Additionally, he will supervise all of the command's administrative issues. Soligan previously was deputy chief of staff at United Nations Command and U.S. Forces, Korea.

DOD is serious about maintaining the "J" in "USJFCOM." The commander of USJFCOM is Navy Adm. E.P. Giambastiani, the deputy commander is Army Lt. Gen. Robert Wagner and the chief of staff is, and will continue to be, an Air Force major general.

Buy...No, Sell!

Naval Network Warfare Command chief Vice Adm. Richard Mayo says DOD can learn something from Wall Street, and it has nothing to do with stocks and bonds. Mayo was applauding the work of two bond firms that have their systems automated to the point of barely needing human interaction.

"Thirty percent of their transactions, accounting for 70 percent of their cash, takes place machine to machine," he said. "In that market, you have no time to turn to your buddy to ask if something sounds like a good trade. That is the type of system that we need."

While Mayo admitted that the business of waging war is vastly different than that of finance, having a system in which DOD can have absolute confidence is what the goal should be. And then he challenged industry to build it.

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