The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler

Under Secretary of Defense

Acquisition and Technology

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association

Washington Chapter


AFCEA International

J W Marriott Hotel

Washington DC

September 29, 1999



Sunday and Monday of this week, I took part in a large, combined arms, force-on-force training exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert. It was a truly impressive demonstration of the value of such large, complex training exercises and of the skills of our men and women in uniform. But what most impressed me was that, as a result of the full sophisticated implementation, the trainers could monitor the position and movement of every unit of both red and blue forces. So, literally hours later, they could digitally display this, to all levels of the forces, and they could immediately see what "could have been", and how they could do better next time.

The truly sad thing is that the technology exists today to provide this "total battlefield visibility", in real time, to every unit in the battle. Then, with precision weapons delivery -- also a technology available today -- we can fully implement "Reconnaissance/Strike Warfare" (the essence of the Revolution in Military Affairs). Our challenge is to affordably implement this full capability as rapidly as possible.

I last addressed this AFCEA group shortly after I took office, in late 1997. A lot has changed in just these two short years, but I certainly have not changed my views on the critical importance of C3ISR to 21st Century warfare. As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has emphasized, "dominant battlespace awareness" -- providing the right information, to the right place, at the right time -- will allow us to "see, prioritize, assign, and assess" all relevant data on our own and the enemyís forces. This will dramatically improve performance, make the battlespace far more transparent, greatly reduce response time, enable significant effective exercises in combat power (with even smaller forces), and -- whatís most important Ė decisively dominate adversaries.

Simply put, we are trying to remove from the battlespace as much of the "fog and friction" -- the uncertainty and unpredictability -- that we can.

Today, I would like to spend a few minutes discussing with you how we are going to go about this task and how we view the challenge of enhancing information superiority in the overall geopolitical situation we face

As I said, the world has changed significantly in the past two year. The North Korean and Iranian missile launches, the terrorist attacks on our embassies in Africa, the nuclear explosions in India and Pakistan, the repeated, sophisticated cyber attacks on U.S. Defense Department information systems and, of course, the events in the Balkans -- have all made us painfully aware that threats we might have considered as "future concerns" are with us now. The end of the Cold War, the breakup of the Soviet Empire, the emerging power of rogue nations, the rise of transnational terrorist threats, and other equally dramatic geopolitical events -- accompanied by revolutionary advances in science and technology -- are transforming our vision of 21st century security needs and military strategy. At the same time, rapid globalization of industry and the increasing importance of coalition warfare are creating issues that the United States and its partners must face in the immediate future. Importantly, it is the combination of these changes -- in the threats, in technologies, in industrial structures, and in coalition warfare -- that represents such a challenge -- and an opportunity -- to all of us in the "military-industrial complex".

On the military side, one fundamental change seems clear: we will likely see more regional conflicts of the type we have recently seen in Kosovo; namely, seeking to project power without putting a large number of forces at risk. Clearly, many -- if not most -- of these future conflicts will require ground forces, and lives will be lost. But, in general, our approach will be to replace massed forces with massed firepower, precisely placed on targets. As I said, modern, "reconnaissance/ strike" warfare is based on two things: real-time, all-weather, accurate and secure information systems, combined with long-range, unmanned, "brilliant", retargetable in flight, highly-lethal weapons designed to achieve precision kills (including on moving targets).

Information Technology has also enabled us to reduce dramatically our response time to military crises. This is fortunate, since -- unlike in the Persian Gulf War -- the type of regional conflict that we will see more frequently in the 21st century is likely not to allow six months to build up forces and deploy them. And there likely will no longer be "free" ports or airfields. Aggression may be instantaneous, with little warning; brutal; and difficult to defend against. This is particularly true in the case of transnational and international terrorist organizations -- because they are willing to sacrifice themselves and their own civilian populations, as well as hostile civilian populations, to achieve their objectives.

Our reaction to this form of aggression must be swift and decisive. The first few days, if not the first few hours, can easily determine the outcome. Our response must come within 24 hours, with sustainability in place in seven days -- not in weeks or months. Such responsiveness requires a significant change in doctrine, tactics, organization, equipment, and, particularly, decision making -- a task made far more difficult in a coalition environment.

Yet, the current and likely future geopolitical situation will generally foster -- in fact, usually require -- coalition operations. In this environment, each nationís security is highly interdependent on the performance of its coalition partners. Technology -- when proper coalition planning is achieved -- enables us to act effectively, in concert, to achieve the objectives we seek. This means that our alliesí systems must be fully interoperable -- and equally secure. If we learned anything from our collective actions this Spring in Kosovo, it was that our success as an alliance, and our strength on the battlefield, will always be a function of our ability to coordinate our individual efforts throughout all aspects of our operations - - from command and control, through communications, systems interoperability, and logistics.

Unfortunately, much of the new technology is also readily available to potential enemies; for example: commercial communications/navigation/earth surveillance satellites; low-cost biological/chemical weapons; cruise and ballistic missiles, etc. (which, if they canít develop them, they can purchase them -- and the skills to use them -- on the world arms market). Therefore, we must develop effective countermeasures to this technology; for example: information warfare defenses; vaccines and special medical agents to counter biological and chemical weapons; defenses against ballistic and cruise missiles; and the ability to destroy hard and deeply buried targets are all required.

In addition to developing and deploying countermeasures to our adversariesí use of advanced technology (weapons of mass destruction, information warfare, etc.), perhaps the most important implication of the revolution in technology and its global spread is the speed with which our adversaries can lock on to our technology. Since, as I noted before, the terrorist or rogue nation can easily acquire much of the required advanced technology on the world arms market or from readily available commercial sources, our advantage is quickly lost unless we keep at least two steps ahead of the enemy. This requires us to reduce cycle times in the development and procurement of new and modified weapons systems. Current cycle times run as long as 18 years for major systems. If we are to continue to outpace our adversaries, we must begin to think in terms of very short cycles -- 18 months is the norm for current commercial information systems. In order to meet the demands for such vastly reduced cycle times, we must be willing to abandon traditional methods of acquiring advanced technology.

Of equal importance, and obviously related to cycle time, is equipment cost. Fortunately, we do anticipate some increase in our budget topline this next fiscal year. Our overall procurement budget seems to be coming out of the downward spiral created by the end of the Cold War. But this does not mean that we can relax. Our equipment is aging and we are forced to invest heavily each year to maintain it. This affects both our readiness and our ability to invest in new weapons systems. We must also realize that, for the next decade, at least, new weapons will not be deployed in sufficient quantities to replace the vast majority of current systems. We know that we must operate, in the near future, with many of these legacy systems as the basis of our force structure. So, these acquisition reforms must be equally applied to these systems, as we update them for modern warfare.

To insure long term readiness, we must cut costs and improve performance regardless of any short-term increase in budget top lines. We have no choice. We cannot and should not assume that we can expect significant budgetary allocations to provide both the funds we need to maintain our current readiness and those required to modernize our aging equipment in order to sustain long-term readiness. There is no doubt that we must continue to embrace proven cost reduction practices as we seek to generate additional funds for modernization and combat.

Therefore, looking at information technology within the overall context of our acquisitions strategy, I see four priority goals:

  1. We must equip our early 21st century warfighter with the right equipment to assure our security and withstand any potential threat. This means funding and timely implementing of the Revolution in Military Affairs (not just giving speeches about it); it means developing and deploying the Reconnaissance and Strike systems; the rapid mobility capability; the counters to the asymmetric weapons (from those of mass destruction to cyber warfare); and achieving interoperability among our forces and those of our allies. (In this latter area, I might note that, in recognition of its importance for future security, we have recently added a new office to the Acquisition and Technology roster -- the Office of Interoperability. Its mission will be to promote initiatives leading to much greater interoperability among our own forces and equipment, as well as those of our coalition partners.)
  2. Central to achieving the desired Revolution in Military Affairs is the achievement of an integrated, secure, and "smart" command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) infrastructure -- on a multi-service basis -- that encompasses both strategic and tactical needs. Additionally, to take advantage of this dominant battlefield awareness, we must develop and deploy long-range, all-weather, low-cost, precise, and "brilliant" weapons. This will allow us to achieve maximum fire power on fixed or mobile targets -- from land, see, or air -- with minimum loss of life.

  3. To generate the resources to pay for the Revolution in Military Affairs, we must accelerate, broaden, and institutionalize our acquisition reform. This deals with the Business Revolution in its broadest sense -- from base closures (which we clearly need), to competitive sourcing of all work that is not inherently governmental; to privatization of housing; and, of course, to continuation and full implementation of the weapons acquisition reforms begun and expanded over the last few years. If we are to produce affordable systems quickly, (which is required to keep up with the new technology cycles) we clearly must pursue non-traditional approaches; such as maximum use of commercial equipment, as well as significant design process changes, and, (in the production area), use of integrated -- commercial and military -- assembly lines for defense-unique items, taking maximum advantage of the potential offered by flexible manufacturing and "lean" design and production techniques.
  4. We must modernize our logistics systems -- so as to cut costs, infrastructure, and cycle time in support of our 21st century forces. Since we spend more than $80 billion annually on logistics and yet donít match world-class performance (in either responsiveness or in costs), there is enormous potential here. But it is not through incremental improvements. It requires a total transformation, taking full advantage of modern information technology as well as rapid transportation. This area (of logistics transformation) is the critical link between modern warfighting and modern business practices. This is the topic for a whole talk unto itself. Suffice it to say, that this is now a major DoD initiative, and one I am personally focused on achieving.
  5. Finally, to achieve the first three of these changes, we must also transform our defense industrial base. Today, we see a commercial industry that is becoming global in its reach and is forming partnerships with other world-class companies to cut costs, increase efficiency, and provide better performance. We must follow its lead in defense. We must adopt the same commercial practices that have so successfully transformed American industry. We must make greater use of commercial sources and equipment. And, the natural trend toward globalization must be encouraged by the DoD. While I believe that there is further room for consolidation in our defense industry, the key, of course, is to maintain competition. Competition fosters efficiency, lower cost, and innovation. Where appropriate, we should pursue transatlantic partnerships. This represents a tremendous opportunity for creating greater efficiency, increased interoperability, and much less duplication Ė along with reducing the incentives for proliferation. However, a key to such transatlantic cooperation is assured security of critical technology from third-party leakages.

We have made progress in achieving these four priorities -- the Revolution in Military Affairs, the Revolution in Business Affairs, a modern logistics system, and a transformed industrial base -- but we still have a long way to go.

In the C3I area, one of the major organizational changes we have made (in Art Moneyís organization, and reporting through me to the Secretary) is the creation of a C3ISR Systems organization responsible for policies, procedures, and practices necessary to insure that our information technology systems and infrastructure provide low-cost, reliable, timely, and accurate information -- information that is protected and resilient against the information warfare threats we face today and will increasingly face in the early 21st century..

This organization works toward achieving interoperability across the full spectrum of the Departmentís information systems and oversees numerous programs critical to an efficient and effective infrastructure -- such as federal and international spectrum management, command and control, communications, electronic commerce, and weapons and space information systems. A major concern will be to insure that we leverage, manage, and use information from a common and integrated framework, regardless of either its end use or origin.

A key element here is our three-level C3ISR Architecture Framework. The Services are developing operational architectures that will detail the information exchange requirements they consider essential to their operations. As system architectures evolve alongside these operational architectures, we will require the development of a C3ISR Support Plan to insure that interoperability is in place. At the technical level, the continued vitality of a Joint Technical Architecture -- that employs largely commercial standards -- will provide the basis upon which interoperability can be achieved in actual procurements.

All this, of course, requires a significant investment of scarce funds. DoD spends about $10 billion annually to develop and modernize its information systems and to provide information assurance. At the same time, DoD spends more than $15 billion to sustain existing systems. Both of these funding areas -- modernization and sustainment -- are essential for getting the warfighter the right information in the right place, at the right time. But we must work to decrease the tail side of the equation in order to free up money to modernize.

As I previously mentioned, another way to make scarce funds work overtime is to move toward full civilian/military integration -- projects that utilize dual processes, dual development, dual equipment (such as common satellites) and/or commercial insertion. We count on those of you in industry here today to help us to meet our mutual objectives of getting better equipment, cheaper, and faster. We hope you will engage with us in an expanded partnership to help us develop innovative, effective and efficient solutions to meet these mutual goals. Many of DoDís critical C3ISR and information technology issues are shared by commercial industry. A commercial banking system in New York City, for example, requires the same hardness, security, reliability, and accuracy as military C3 equipment in the field. Hackers and other computer criminals compromise the private sector as much as they could the Department. We are now -- and must continue -- working together to find solutions to these common issues.

Throughout history, gathering, exploiting, and protecting information have been critical in warfighting. This will not change. What will change is the volume of information we gather, the speed with which we gather it, and the uses to which it is put. Our unquestioned technological superiority today must be enhanced and extended to enable us to retain that superiority in the future. Only if we do that can we achieve our required security objectives. I hope you will join me in striving to achieve this objective.