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Chapter 12


The Quadrennial Defense Review concluded that a key element of the defense strategy must be to prepare now for future conflict. The Department is in the midst of a large–scale transformation effort to determine the capabilities required to defend U.S. national interests in the future, and to implement the necessary changes in forces, concepts, and organizations to achieve these capabilities.

The central premise of Joint Vision 2010 and of the broader Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is that military success in the future will depend on the ability of U.S. forces to achieve and exploit information superiority over any adversary, as well as to effectively employ other new technologies to accomplish assigned tasks across the spectrum of potential military operations. This chapter provides highlights of joint and Service efforts to experiment with new operational concepts and new organizational approaches for the future. It also reviews the Department’s activities relating to information superiority and technological innovation. The objective of these efforts is to assure that the U.S. military gains and maintains full spectrum dominance of the battlespace well into the 21st century.

Among DoD’s extensive RMA–related efforts during 1998, one in particular stands out as a landmark event: the Secretary’s designation of United States Atlantic Command (USACOM) as the executive agent for joint concept development and experimentation. USACOM took on its new responsibility on October 1, 1998, and has now begun its work to build upon and extend the extensive RMA–related efforts under way in the Services, unified commands, and elsewhere in the Department. It will continue a comprehensive effort for developing and experimenting with new operational concepts to enhance the capabilities of the joint commander.


The United States Atlantic Command

USACOM’s designation as the Department’s executive agent for joint concept development and experimentation represents a major step toward realizing the integrated military capabilities described in Joint Vision 2010.

USACOM’s blueprint for implementing its new responsibilities is laid out in its Joint Experimentation Implementation Plan. This plan, published in July 1998, provides a number of guiding principles for USACOM’s joint concept development and experimentation efforts:

· Leverage and integrate Service, commander in chief, and other experimentation efforts related to the RMA.

· Investigate new concepts of operations that offer the possibility of significant breakthroughs in joint capabilities.

· Develop and assess concepts applicable to both the near–/mid–term time horizons (the next force) and the longer term (the force after next).

· Employ aggressive red–teaming or vulnerability analysis in all phases of concept development and experimentation.

· Establish an open learning environment that facilitates innovation and constructive debate—and allows learning from both success and failure.

In November 1998, USACOM completed the next phase of its planning efforts, its Joint Experimentation Campaign Plan. Updated annually, the plan describes in detail the specific activities in the concept development and experimentation program for the next several years. It addresses the selection of concepts for development and experimental exploration, the methodologies to be employed, Service events to be leveraged, and the resources required to meet the program’s objectives. It describes the process of identifying changes to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, and personnel programs necessary to realize the validated concepts.

Building upon the Department’s numerous ongoing concept development and experimentation efforts is a basic foundation for USACOM’s plans. The Services and United States Special Operations Command retain the responsibility to develop concepts and conduct experimentation within their core competencies, while USACOM will integrate Service–unique experiments where coordination is required for successful prosecution of the joint battle. As the DoD Executive Agent, USACOM will coordinate applicable experimentation events with joint operations implications, from studies, wargames, and modeling and simulation, to small battle lab experiments, to major joint field experiments. USACOM is also responsible for coordinating the Department’s joint experimentation efforts with non–DoD elements that are critically important to success in this area such as industry, academia, and the federally funded research and development centers.

USACOM’s efforts are aimed at establishing a sustained process to identify and investigate significant operational innovations in the conduct of joint operations. This joint concept development and experimentation effort are central to assuring that the U.S. military can meet the full spectrum of joint operational requirements in 2010 and beyond.

Service Experimentation

All of the Services sponsor a wide range of activities to develop, assess, and implement new concepts for achieving their core competencies as they transition into the next century. Near– and mid–term solutions to emerging challenges are explored via Service battle labs. These labs enable warfighters, developers, and industry to work together to exploit technological advancements and synchronize advanced warfighting concepts. Various programs of Service field experimentation help to shed light on the best ways to combine emerging Service concepts with new technology and innovative organizations to improve the contribution of component forces to the joint battle. The Services also evaluate the long–term impact of emerging trends, technologies, and concepts through studies, advanced computer simulation, and wargames. While depicting events many years in the future, these long–term investigations often produce ideas and concepts that can be implemented in the near– to mid–term to significantly improve the capabilities of joint forces.

Service Battle Labs

Currently, there are eight Army battle labs: the Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab, the Maneuver Support Battle Lab, the Mounted Maneuver Battlespace Battle Lab, the Dismounted Battlespace Battle Lab, the Air Maneuver Battle Lab, the Battle Command Battle Lab, the Depth and Simultaneous Attack Battle Lab, and the Combat Service Support Battle Lab. The eight labs operate under the direction of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Reflecting the inherent mobility of naval forces, the Navy’s battle lab has not been a single physical entity, but rather the fleet itself. Creating a virtual laboratory, the Navy has initiated a series of Fleet Battle Experiments that have used operational naval forces engaged in training exercises to test new concepts. In addition, the Navy currently is funding a cooperative effort with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to encourage the rapid introduction of advanced technologies to the fleet. Called the At–Sea Battle Laboratory, this effort uses the Third Fleet command ship, USS Coronado, as a platform of opportunity for the installation and testing of many promising programs.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, located at Quantico, Virginia, provides an institutional mechanism for investigation, innovation, and experimentation in six functional areas: maneuver, intelligence, fires, logistics, command and control, and force protection. Beginning in 1996, the lab developed the Sea Dragon experimentation plan. It is a five–year plan with three phases: Hunter Warrior (completed in March 1997), Urban Warrior (to be completed in the spring of 1999), and Capable Warrior (slated for 2000). Each phase starts with limited objective experiments and ends with an integrating Advanced Warfighting Experiment. These phases build on information gathered in the limited objective experiments and previous phases, as well as ongoing research and refinement.

The Air Force has established six battle labs with the mission of rapidly identifying and proving the worth of innovative and revolutionary operations and logistics concepts with near– to mid–term applications. The resulting battle lab efforts will provide the Air Force opportunities to reach investment decisions more quickly and organize, train, equip, and program more effectively. The six battle labs are the Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab, the Command and Control Battlelab, the Force Protection Battlelab, the Information Warfare Battlelab, the Space Battlelab, and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Battlelab.

Major Service Experiments

Through Army Vision 2010, the Force XXI experimentation process, and the Army–After–Next process, the Army is identifying new concepts of land warfare that have radical implications for its organization, structure, operations, and support. Building on successes in these efforts, the Army plans to execute a follow–on, comprehensive experimentation campaign through 2005 in conjunction with joint and other Services’ experimentation events. The Army Experimentation Campaign Plan will enhance the lethality, survivability, and mobility of light contingency forces, field information age enhancements to the mechanized contingency corps, and expand experiments with middle–weight strike forces.

Utilizing the Fleet Battle Experimentation Plan process and the Naval Global summer wargaming process, the Navy is developing and exploiting the concept of network–centric warfare, in which widely dispersed but networked sensors, command centers, and forces are combined to produce enhanced mass effects. Fleet Battle Experiments Charlie and Delta conducted in 1998 explored integrated air defense and joint fire coordination, while the experiments planned for 1999 will deal with sea–based command and control, naval fire support in urban terrain, and several advanced weapons/platform concepts.

The Marine Corps has derived its vision of sea–based power projection in conjunction with the Navy’s vision, and focuses on Operational Maneuver From the Sea. Its Sea Dragon Experiment program to date has included Hunter Warrior, which focused on new concepts for employing a Marine Air–Ground Task Force with an emphasis on small reconnaissance teams that could call in precision fires to halt an enemy advance, and the ongoing Urban Warrior effort, which is examining new ways of conducting military operations in urban areas. An Urban Warrior experiment in September 1998 explored the advantages of a common tactical picture and directly supports the March 1999 follow–on experiment that will conclude the Urban Warrior portion of the Sea Dragon program.

The Air Force’s vision of Global Engagement, married with its Expeditionary Force Experiments (EFX), aims to ensure the Air Force will maintain and improve its core competencies, including: air and space superiority, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority, and agile combat support. The first EFX, conducted in September 1998, explored new ways to rapidly deploy command and control elements as well as forces of an Air Expeditionary Force to a threatened theater and then carry out a series of highly effective operations. Future experiments will continue to investigate the utility of reducing deployed elements by sending information rather than people to forward headquarters.

Major Service Wargames

While battle lab investigations, force exercises, and warfighting experiments typically test capabilities that could be employed within five to ten years, RMA–related wargames generally focus on improving understanding of the security environment and the relative merits of alternative means of meeting critical military challenges over the longer term. These wargames are carefully constructed simulations in which experienced civilian and military players, organized into teams representing various states, must make decisions regarding the use of force in the context of a future conflict scenario. These wargames are a critical tool to ensure that senior decision makers and joint force commanders and staffs can maximize warfighting capabilities in the 21st century.

Each of the services is active in wargaming. The Army sponsors a series of operational concept and technology wargames as part of the Army After Next effort at the Army War College. These wargames deal with the characterization of emerging Army After Next warfighting concepts and the underlining systems and technologies necessary to support warfare in the 2020 time frame.

The Navy has long sponsored an annual summer Global wargame at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. This game examines U.S. policy, strategy, and operational concepts in the context of global and regional trends, issues, and crises. The 1998 Global wargame explicitly applied the network–centric warfare approach to future joint warfare in the context of potential conflicts in two regions of the world set in 2010.

The Air Force has begun a series of future oriented annual wargames entitled Global Engagement at the Air War College. These wargames are intended to illuminate the potential capabilities of joint air and space power in the 2008 timeframe. Aerospace Future Capabilities Wargames test alternative force structures in warfighting environments 20–25 years into the future.

The Marine Corps has created a series of RMA wargames on urban warfare at the Marine Corps War College. These wargames, set in 2020, focus on urban warfare concepts in preparation for future Marine Corps advanced warfighting experiment.

Many of the Department’s efforts to explore new operational concepts and forces for beyond 2010 are facilitated by the Office of Net Assessment, which sponsors a variety of wargames and related workshops, conferences, bilateral discussions, and independent assessments beyond the major efforts noted above.


The rapid expansion of information technologies raises the opportunity for U.S. forces to achieve more than just incremental improvement to existing capabilities. If properly harnessed, new information technologies have the potential to yield an unprecedented new capability that Joint Vision 2010 calls information superiority, which in turn is the key enabler of the emerging operational concepts discussed in Chapter 10 and others yet to emerge.

Investing in Information Superiority

The Department is investing heavily to improve the information processing capabilities of current and planned weapon systems, platforms, and communications systems. Increasingly, this investment is being guided by the results of Service and joint experimentation efforts exploring how forces can achieve and exploit information superiority over any adversary.

Following through with conclusions from its Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiments, the Army will equip the first digitized division by the end of FY 2000. This division will be capable of rapidly moving critical battlespace information among its units, enabling them to overwhelm opposing forces. A digitized corps will be equipped by the end of 2004.

The Navy is rapidly implementing the results of its Cooperative Engagement Capability experiments that integrate radar tracking data from sensors carried on both airborne and surface platforms into a network that permits airborne and surface–based shooters to jointly mount effective air, cruise missile, and eventually ballistic missile defense.

The Marine Corps, through its ongoing Urban Warrior experiments, is investigating a common tactical picture for ground forces operating in urban areas. The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab has recently demonstrated the primary components of the system, including integrated decision support facilities, during field experiments conducted in September 1998 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The Air Force continues to invest heavily in both air– and space–based sensors and communications capabilities. With its Expeditionary Force Experiment 98 held in September 1998, the Air Force has begun to explore a number of new concepts for achieving and exploiting information superiority in circumstances where the United States is seeking to rapidly deploy forces and undertake a theater–level air campaign.

The United States Atlantic Command conducted the first Information Superiority Experiment in September 1998 in conjunction with the Air Force’s EFX 98. The experiment explored how enhanced information sharing can improve the ability of joint forces to suppress enemy air defenses.

The Department has conducted a series of studies to assess the increased combat power provided by alternative investments in the building blocks of information superiority. For example, the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Mission Assessment, and several sensor–to–shooter studies, improved the Department’s understanding of the return on investment in various types of systems to create a C4ISR common backbone for U.S. military forces. The C4ISR Decision Support Center provides a continuing capability for conducting cost and performance trade–off analyses on complex C4ISR issues.

Information Operations

Information and information technologies are so central to modern global military, civil, and economic activities that information itself is bound to become an object of future competition and conflict. The U.S. economy and national life are increasingly dependent on information in digital, electronic, or optical form and on the national infrastructure that handles such information. The Department’s adaptation of information technologies to military uses is greatly increasing the capability of U.S. forces, but also making DoD more and more dependent on these same technologies. The DoD Information Operations (IO) Master Plan establishes the Department’s vision for both offensive and defensive information operations and lays out timelines for achieving specific goals.

Defensive IO protects U.S. and allied forces’ globally distributed communications and information processing computer–based networks from interference or exploitation by an adversary. The computer network intrusion detected by the Department in the spring of 1998 served as a wake–up call for the importance of defensive IO, to include information assurance and computer network defense. The Department has established a Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense with the mission to defend against a coordinated computer network attack on key elements of the defense information infrastructure. The task force will detect and recognize a computer network attack, promptly warn the defense information infrastructure that an attack is under way, and quickly coordinate joint responses. The Department has conducted education and training to increase awareness of defensive information operations, and conducted wargames and exercises to increase warfighters’ experience in applying IO to military operations. The Department has also been deeply involved in the development and implementation of Presidential Decision Directive 63, which deals with protecting critical national infrastructure components from information attacks.

Offensive information operations help U.S. forces to penetrate, manipulate, or deny an adversary’s use of information in order to hinder the battlespace awareness and operations of enemy forces. Offensive IO requires the complete integration of technology, intelligence, and operational concepts, as well as forces trained in the conduct of information warfare. To ensure that information operations become an integral part of all contingency plans, the Department has changed the guidance given to the unified commands. An IO annex is now required for all contingency plans relating to the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan. This annex ensures that information operations, both offensive and defensive, are an integral part of the overall campaign and synergistically support the rapid dominance of U.S. armed forces. USACOM’s annual Exercise Evident Surprise focuses on the planning activities for successful conduct of an IO campaign, highlighting the interagency coordination process required to deconflict and execute offensive information operations in a future joint environment.

Intelligence plays a central role in both defensive and offensive information operations, providing assessments of adversary intentions and offensive capabilities, as well as necessary technical data on adversary information systems. The Intelligence Community has published a National Intelligence Estimate on the information operations threat to the United States. The Estimate will be updated periodically to keep up with rapid changes in technological developments and geopolitical trends. The Department established the Information Operations Technology Center at Fort Meade, Maryland, to enhance cooperation between DoD and the Intelligence Community in developing capabilities to take advantage of advances in computers, telecommunications, networks, and other information technologies. In addition, the Department has established a Bilateral Information Operations Steering Group with the Intelligence Community to work through the interagency issues related to information operations.


The future ability of U.S. armed forces to prevent, deter, or defeat armed threats and the achievement of Joint Vision 2010 capabilities are premised on the technological superiority of U.S. forces. To ensure continued U.S. military preeminence, the Department must always invest in the next generation of defense technologies as well as in education and training to assure that tomorrow’s service members have the skills needed to employ new systems effectively. Tomorrow’s capabilities depend in part on today’s investment in enabling technologies that can be integrated into new systems and employed using emerging operational concepts.

The Department places high priority on the science and technology program. The program’s goal is to produce technologically superior weapons systems at affordable prices. Rapid advances in several key technology areas are creating options for significant increases in warfighting and support capabilities. The entire Department is working together to identify the opportunities and new operational concepts enabled by technological advancement and innovation. Four publications—the Defense Science and Technology Strategy, its supporting Basic Research Plan, the Defense Technology Area Plan, and the Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan—lay out the Department’s science and technology vision, strategic plan, and objectives for defense planners, programmers, and those who develop defense science and technology. The Basic Research Plan presents the Department’s objectives and investment strategy for DoD–sponsored basic research performed by universities, industry, and Service laboratories. The plan highlights ten basic research areas: atmospheric and space sciences, biological sciences, chemistry, cognitive and neural sciences, electronics, materials science, mathematics and computer science, mechanics, terrestrial and ocean sciences, and physics. The Defense Technology Area Plan looks across Service and defense agency investments and describes the Department’s applied research and advanced technology development programs.

The Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan takes a joint perspective, looking horizontally across the Services and defense agencies to ensure that DoD science and technology programs address priority future joint warfighting capabilities. Published annually, this plan identifies 11 Joint Warfighting Capabilities Objectives (JWCOs) associated with critical capabilities needed for U.S. forces to maintain a dominant warfighting advantage. These objectives, developed by the Joint Staff in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the science and technology executives of each Service, are focused on supporting the operational concepts of Joint Vision 2010. The 1999 Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan contains the following JWCOs: Information Superiority, Precision Force, Combat Identification, Joint Theater Missile Defense, Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain, Joint Readiness and Logistics and Sustainment of Strategic Systems, Electronic Warfare, Chemical–Biological Warfare Defense and Protection and Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction, Combating Terrorism, Force Projection/Dominant Maneuver, and Protection of Space Assets.

Marrying new operational concepts with new technologies, advanced concept technology demonstrations (ACTDs) are aimed at rapidly fielding new systems to evaluate their military utility—generally within two to four years. The ACTD represents DoD’s approach to capturing and harnessing technology and innovation rapidly for military use at reduced cost. ACTDs are focused on three principal objectives: to gain an operator’s understanding and evaluation of the military utility of new technology applications before committing to acquisition, to develop corresponding battlefield operational concepts and doctrine that make the best use of the new capability in the joint warfighting arena, and to provide new operational capabilities developed during the ACTDs directly to the combatant forces. ACTDs are designed to foster directly an alliance between the technologists and the joint warfighters, eliminating barriers, and improving the management of these critical efforts.

Some 43 ACTDs are now under way, with 14 having been completed, all addressing key JWCO challenges. Eight ACTDs are planned for completion in FY 1999; planned results for FY 2000 are outlined in the FY 2000 President’s Budget. ACTDs focus on critical military needs as determined by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) and respond to those needs with near–term solutions based on mature or nearly mature technologies. The involvement of the JROC in the ACTD initiation process ensures a sharp focus on development of critical operational capabilities highlighted in Joint Vision 2010. By limiting consideration to mature or nearly mature technologies, ACTDs avoid the time and risks associated with technology development, concentrating instead on the integration of technologies and demonstration activities. There is also strong emphasis on the use of commercial technologies to leverage industry investments and to gain the benefit of commercially available spare parts and product improvements. This approach permits an early user evaluation of solutions to critical military needs on a greatly reduced schedule and at a significantly lower cost.

The evaluation of military utility is the heart of the ACTD process. After the proposed solution to the military need has been designed, field–usable prototypes are fabricated in sufficient quantity to permit operational utility to be determined. This is typically accomplished by evaluating a minimum operational capability in field exercises against realistic opposing forces. The evaluation of utility includes effectiveness of individual units, suitability for use by troops, and overall impact on the outcome of the conflict. As a result of these exercises, the user is able to refine both the concept of operations and the operational requirements for the system, as well as to assess the overall value of the proposed concept to warfighting capability. This process significantly improves the quality of subsequent acquisition decisions. It also allows the test systems that were evaluated in the ACTD to remain with the operating forces in the field after the evaluation is completed, providing an early interim capability.


The Quadrennial Defense Review noted that although the United States must retain the capabilities to protect its interests unilaterally, it will generally be advantageous to act in concert with like–minded nations when responding to crises. Acting in a coalition or alliance generally strengthens the political legitimacy of a course of action and brings additional resources to bear, ensuring that the United States need not shoulder the political, military, and financial burdens alone. However, building and maintaining effective coalitions also present significant challenges, from policy coordination at the strategic level to interoperability among diverse military forces at the military tactical level. Because coalitions will continue to present both important political benefits and significant military challenges, U.S. forces must plan, train, and prepare to respond to the full spectrum of crises in coalition with the forces of other nations. As the U.S. military incorporates new technologies and operational concepts under the Revolution in Military Affairs, careful design and collaboration will be needed to ensure that the United States and its allies and partners are able to meet interoperability challenges.

To help pave the way for the Department in this area, DoD established a Defense Science Board task force in 1998 that examined the challenges of coalition operations in the future. A study on future interoperability with allies and potential coalition partners is under way and is evaluating the preferred roles and missions of allies and coalition partners in major theater war and smaller–scale contingency operations, command and control arrangements, and related implications for future doctrine, training, and technology transfer.

The Services have robust programs to improve force compatibility and interoperability with other nations’ militaries as they transform. The Army continues to expand its multinational interoperability initiatives; these efforts are focused on achieving interoperability with allied countries as well as likely coalition partners through a variety of bilateral and multilateral fora. The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) for Coalition Warfare ACTD provides the means for tactical Army command and control systems to interoperate with the equivalent systems in other NATO countries. The Navy has been very active in assessing strategic sealift concepts with the United Kingdom and C4I interoperability with other high–tech navies. The Marine Corps has involved the Dutch, United Kingdom, and Australian militaries extensively in its Sea Dragon series of experiments. For its part, the Air Force has been working with the United Kingdom and Australia in the Navigation Warfare ACTD, and has invited the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada to participate in its Expeditionary Force Experiments and Global Engagement wargames.

Finally, USACOM’s joint experimentation plan calls for involving allies and coalition partners in concept development and experimentation activities. Indeed, USACOM’s already extensive involvement with U.S. allies, in both training for today’s operations and innovating to improve capabilities in the future, was an important factor in the Secretary’s choice of that command as executive agent for joint experimentation.


The Department of Defense is undertaking a robust and diverse program to implement Joint Vision 2010 and the broader Revolution in Military Affairs. United States Atlantic Command’s joint experimentation program is the critical element that has been added in recent months and will play a pivotal role by integrating and extending the extensive efforts under way in the Services, unified commands, and elsewhere throughout the Department.

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