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[] DOD Puts Tech to the Test,

DOD Puts Tech to the Test

Federal Computer Week, June 21, 2002

This summer, the Defense Department will put its warfighting technology to 
the test when it runs its largest-ever joint military experiment designed 
to see how well the individual services' critical systems link with one 
another. The goal is to have those systems operate jointly so they can 
support ground, sea and air forces, said Air Force Brig. Gen. James Smith 
during a recent Pentagon press briefing on the third annual Millennium 
Challenge experiment. "The overall experiment really focuses on this notion 
of, `How do I leverage the information revolution to improve the way I do 
military planning and execution?"' Smith said. Air Force Gen. Richard 
Myers, chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers earlier this 
year that the Millennium Challenge 2002 will test the U.S. joint Forces 
Command model of the standing joint force headquarters. "Joint 
experimentation is a key element of the transformation process," Myers 
testified before the House Armed Services Committee. It "also allows us to 
integrate the experimental concepts and new weapon systems being developed 
by the services into a joint framework early in the development process:" 
The Millennium experiment will occur July 24 through August 15- Most of it 
will involve tabletop activities, in which DOD officials work through a 
scenario virtually. A portion of the experiment, however, will involve 
troops and equipment. Those actions will take place at Fort Irwin, Calif.; 
air operations will be conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Navy 
and Marine activities will be held off the coast of California. DOD will 
test ways to gain an edge in its military operations. Many operations at 
present force the Pentagon to play catch-up, responding to an action an 
adversary has launched. DOD officials would like to take advantage of data 
available departmentwide to develop operational net assessments that give 
the armed forces information about an adversary's political, military, 
economic and infrastructure statuses. The goal is to "know more about him 
than he knows about himself," Smith said. This capability should enable 
military planners to stay ahead of the enemy. But for this to happen, the 
services must become more interoperable and share data. "Why.. have stray 
electrons going around the battlefield that nobody knows where they came 
from, or who's seeing them?" asked Smith, also the deputy commander of the 
Joint Warfighting Center at Suffolk, Va., part of the U.S. joint Forces 
Command in nearby Norfolk, Va. "We ought to be able to see them all."
Jim Lewis, director of technology and public policy at the Center for 
Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank, said 
such exercises are important for working on issues in the hopes of 
preventing a wartime crisis. This exercise will enable the forces to get 
together and "absorb what came out of joint operations in Afghanistan," 
Lewis said. Operation Enduring Freedom showed that joint operations were 
able to work well against a relatively small opponent. The goal of 
Millennium Challenge 2002 is to see if they would also work against a more 
significant adversary. As part of the effort to improve joint operations, 
DOD created a Standing Joint Force Headquarters, staffed by about 55 people 
who will make up a group of joint planning, information and communications 
experts, Smith said. "It was pretty obvious... that you can't do that in a 
reactive way, and you can't do it ad hoc," Smith said. "You need a standing 
headquarters." That group is organized by functions, he said, "around 
operations, plans, information superiority and then the technology piece of 
how to technically keep that information together." That group is building 
the operational assessment - a database of all information about a country, 
region and pending crisis, and then performing effects-based operations 
before the crisis starts, he said.
Part of the experiment will test the operations of that joint force and how 
having all that critical information collected upfront assists commanders. 
The experiment focuses on capabilities the military would like to have by 
2007, he said. The event will involve a potential future adversary, which 
DOD has termed "Country X.' Smith acknowledged that joint interoperability 
is a significant challenge, but said that "you've got to build 
relationships, [and] be willing to share information"  "We will get there, 


Goals of the Millennium Challenge 2002 exercise, scheduled for July 24 
through August 15, include:

* Set the operational conditions for Rapid Decisive Operations, a concept 
that integrates knowledge, command and control functions and operations.

* Establish a knowledge network through concepts such as Common Relevant 
Operational Picture, which fuses and presents different pieces of 
information, and Joint Interactive Planning, which relies on networks to 
help service commanders plan in a joint environment.

* Establish joint command and control functions and joint intelligence, 
surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

* Conduct simultaneous, joint tactical actions throughout the battlespace 
that are based on a shared understanding of both the tactical and 
operational situations.

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