Cebrowski stresses net-centric war

SAN DIEGO -- Defense transformation, with its emphasis on netcentric warfare, is here to stay, the Defense Department's former transformation chief told the opening session of the West 2005 conference sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute.

Ret. Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, who retired Jan. 31 as the director of the Defense Department's Office of Force Transformation, said today that no one "wants to be less networked" and no one "wants to be slow and lethargic." But, in what amounted to a valedictory address, Cebrowski warned in his Feb. 1 speech against the enemies of change and transformation, which he identified as Pentagon and service program offices, "where the first casualty is truth."

In an interview following the speech, Cebrowski said military units operating in Iraq should continue, and if necessary, buy their own two-way radios and Global Positioning System receivers even if this goes against the policy dictates of Pentagon-based programming offices.

Cebrowski delivered bad news to his primarily Navy and Marine Corps audience: because of budget constraints, it would take "five miracles" for the Navy to build more than 200 ships needed to replace older ones and equip a 375-ship fleet by 2022. Cebrowski urged the Navy to "adopt costs as a strategy" and build a fleet, which takes advantage of transformational technologies such as networking and unmanned vehicles.

This week, Cebrowski sent Congress what he described as an affordable, Navy fleet transformation plan, which calls for 522 ships and 1,800 unmanned vehicles. However, he noted that today's Navy still includes 12 massive aircraft carriers and does not have any unmanned vehicles.

"This is the age of the small, the fast and the many ...and we should get with it," he said.

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