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[] Tech firms seek to play role in military transformation effort,

October 29, 2002 

Tech firms seek to play role in military transformation effort 

By Molly M. Peterson, National Journal's Technology Daily 

Noting that the military's ongoing "transformation" will provide new
market opportunities for technology companies, the Information
Technology Association of America (ITAA) on Tuesday released a new
publication that could serve as a primer for firms that have never done
business with the Pentagon.

"Defense transformation ... calls for new players and a new playbook,"
ITAA President Harris Miller said in the book's introduction. "ITAA
believes that many companies heretofore focused in part or in total on
the commercial sector will repurpose their products and services to
bring important new options and capabilities to the national defense."

The 50-page publication, which Miller called a "first link" for
high-tech companies looking to build new bridges to the Pentagon,
provides perspectives on military transformation from Defense Department
officials, members of Congress, and industry experts from the private
and academic sectors. 

Retired Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, the Pentagon's director of force
transformation, called transformation the "co-evolution of technology,
organizations and concepts," and compared it to the "ongoing and
continuous" changes that occur in the private sector in response to
evolving technologies. 

"Once firms start buying high-quality information technology, they
realize their organizations are not structured to take advantage of this
technology, so they must restructure," Cebrowski said. "Once that
process begins, a profoundly different company emerges at the end of the

Cebrowski said hands-on experimentation is a crucial component of
transformation, and emphasized the need to deliver transformational
technologies to the battlefield, even when they are still in

"Injecting prototypes into the forces in the field opens the door for
the emergence of new operational concepts," Cebrowski said. "This is the
lifeblood of transformation." 

Cebrowski added that Defense is taking steps to accelerate the delivery
of experimental technologies to war-fighters. 

But so far, that type of hands-on experimentation has not been a
budgetary priority for the Bush administration, according to Andrew
Krepinevich, executive director of the Center for Strategic and
Budgetary Assessments. 

"Despite numerous high-level statements attesting to the value and
importance of field exercises and experimentation to the transformation
process, and pledges to pursue ... these activities aggressively, the
fiscal 2003 Defense program and budget submitted to Congress provide for
no significant changes or increases in field experimentation,"
Krepinevich said. 

The rapid delivery of transformational technologies to warfighters could
be a "valuable tool," said Pennsylvania Republican Curt Weldon, who
chairs the House Armed Services Military Procurement Subcommittee. "Just
as the private sector incorporates study groups to make their products
appealing to the public, there exists a potential to adopt this type of
method to improving our weapons systems."

But Weldon added that the Defense budget must balance transformational
priorities and immediate requirements, such as fighting the war on

"While I support the Defense Department's commitment to transform its
forces to meet the future needs, we must be mindful that our current
forces must still meet and defeat the current threats of today," he

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