Senator says ‘major breakdown of stovepipes’ is coming at DOD

Network-centric warfare programs will get about $25 billion of a $440 billion Defense Department authorization bill, Sen. John Warner predicted this month.

But the Virginia Republican faulted DOD and industry for failing to find ways to stop the escalating terror in war zones.

“We’re doing our best, but we’ve got to figure out how” to stop suicide bombers and crude roadside explosives, said Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I can’t tell you how serious it is. In 26 years in the Senate, I’ve never seen a challenge as tough.”

Warner said he is willing to cede his committee’s intelligence budget turf to a new national intelligence director.

“We’re going to do a major breakdown of stovepipes,” he said. The secretary of De-fense will retain control of tactical issues and allied relations.

Speaking at a luncheon sponsored by Nortel Networks Ltd. CEO Bill Owens, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Warner said he is agreeable to hosting an industrywide seminar of high-tech rivals and systems integrators to brainstorm on stopping war zone terror.

“We’re falling behind,” he said, partly because U.S. universities are not training enough engineers and scientists. “Our survivability depends on it,” he said.

Arthur K. Cebrowski, who heads the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation, said DOD “can’t predict the future, but we do know a great deal about it. We know we can’t long sustain a contradiction without a policy change.” He cited slavery and denying votes to women as contradictions that changed the policies of a democratic society.

Similarly, Cebrowski said, the exponential growth of telephone use in the early 20th century brought about a policy change: a switched infrastructure that turned every caller into his or her own operator.

The war on terror, he said, is causing exponential growth of networked sensors and turning every warfighter into an intelligence analyst. Pilots themselves can now plan missions, Cebrowski said, instead of carrying out plans made by intelligence officers.

Also, he said, exponential growth of net-centric connections among diverse entities is bringing the nature of competition among military services and industry to “a higher level of jointness.”

Timelines are speeding up, he said, noting recent Army decisions to bring some elements of the planned Future Combat Systems to the battlefield much sooner than planned and to force vendor collaboration instead of competition on the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.

Soaring transaction rates on the global network infrastructure, Cebrowski said, are causing other policy changes: contractor “civilianization” of defense and rapid relocation of smaller military forces.

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