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US House Armed Services Committee

STATEMENT OF: 

           BRIGADIER GENERAL DAVID DEPTULA
DIRECTOR, 
AIR FORCE DEFENSE REVIEW
HEADQUARTERS 
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

28 MARCH 2001

During my comments today, I will discuss the status of many programs. For FY2002, the President's budget includes funding to cover our most pressing priorities. I should note, however, that the programs I will discuss, and the associated funding levels may change as a result of the Secretary's strategy review which will guide future decisions on military spending. The Administration will determine final 2002 and outyear funding levels only when the review is complete. I ask that you consider my comments in that light.

What is Transformation?

The Air Force approach to transformation starts with the notion that we cannot achieve meaningful transformation without integrating our expanding capabilities with those of the other services and elements of national power. Our definition of transformation, therefore, is: activities by which a nation and its military fundamentally change operational concepts, doctrine, organizational structure, training and education, personnel policies, and military technology to expand strategic options and shrink those of adversaries in a rapidly changing environment. From the Air Force point of view, military transformation involves much more than the acquisition of new systems or reacting to failure. It means actually shaping the course of change through aggressive, integrated, and coherent change processes.

Transformation is a response to the rapid geo-strategic and technological changes that we have witnessed since the end of the Cold War. The intellectual genesis for transformation can be traced to Mr. Andrew Marshall, the Director of Net Assessment who saw the outlines of the emerging revolution in military affairs (RMA) even before the Soviet Union's demise. He came up with a viable definition for the RMA that serves as a guidepost for our transformation efforts. An RMA consists of three elements and one very important metric: 1)-new military technologies that provide the basis for 2)-innovative operational concepts that become a reality based on 3)-enduring organizational change, all resulting in order-of-magnitude increases in offensive military capability that fundamentally alter the conduct of military operations. Although we as a service are dedicated to ever-improving levels of efficiency, we focus our transformation efforts on those changes that will elicit greater leaps in joint force capability compared to legacy methods.

Human nature being what it is, it's a natural reaction to try and hold on to the past. Yet, in times of rapid change, just like capital flows in the market, the nation must also invest in and expand upon its unique asymmetries-it must invest in success. Aerospace power is one area that offers this unique strategic leverage.

 

The Seeds of Transformation

The Gulf War. The best way to illustrate the Air Force's transformation philosophy is to offer a recent example-the Gulf War. Prior to 1991, two separate leap-ahead military technologies had matured enough to offer an order-of-magnitude breakthrough. The first was low observable, or stealth technology and the second was the development of precision-guided munitions. Together, these two capabilities, in conjunction with an effects-based planning methodology, allowed US forces to execute an innovative concept of operations that has come to be known as parallel warfare. Simply put, it is the simultaneous application of force across the breadth and depth of an entire theater.

If you take a look at what happened in the first 24-hour period of the Gulf war, US aerospace power launched attacks against over 150 separate and distinct targets-more targets than were engaged in the years 1942 and 1943 in the Combined Bomber Offensive of World War II. That is a many orders of magnitude increase in force application capability that in some circles is yet to be acknowledged. It had a devastating impact on Iraq's ability to wage war and played a critical role in the Coalition's successful liberation of Kuwait--which was achieved at far less cost in lives than anyone expected before the war began.

Technology and new operational concepts do not tell the entire story, however. The air campaign that set the conditions for victory in the Gulf War could not have happened without the organizational innovation that emerged from the Goldwater-Nichols Act. That new joint warfighting structure allowed the centralized control of American forces through the Joint Force Commander, and all US airpower, regardless of service of origin, through the Joint Forces Air Component Commander. It was Congress that enacted the key organizational change that made it all come together. The result was a lightning quick victory for the coalition and thousands of American and Iraqi lives were saved. These Gulf War breakthroughs hinted of a larger transformation that was still to come-one that is still evolving with stealth and precision, parallel war and centralized aerospace control.

End of the Cold War. Some revolutions have a short shelf-life. What seems unique at the time tends to become the norm. America became used to the image of surgical strikes and Iraqi soldiers surrendering en masse-stealth and precision, once revealed, became commonplace. But change being part of our culture, the Air Force, within a mere five months of the Soviet Union's implosion, stood down the venerable Strategic and Tactical Air Commands and replaced them with a new, more flexible organization, the integrated Air Combat Command. This was an organizational transformation stunning in scope for so large an organization--some of you may remember a time when Strategic Air Command was considered the ultimate symbol of the entire US military. This dramatic change was based on the internal shocks that had been generated by the Gulf War. We now realized that a new perspective would better serve the nation. Aircraft are neither "strategic" nor "tactical." What really matters is how we use them in an integrated way to achieve strategic or tactical effects.

Throughout the decade of the 1990s the Air Force transformed itself into a force comprised primarily of precision-capable aircraft. It fielded a full constellation of Global Positioning System satellites that provided precision navigation to the entire joint force, anywhere in the world. We did this even as the grand national security strategy of containment shifted to one of global engagement. We downsized our forces and at the same time, our deployments and operating tempo skyrocketed. Deployments away from home that were thought to be temporary became semi-permanent. Increasingly the nation relied on aerospace power to shape the world and respond to crises. This was most evidenced by a string of contingency operations in the Balkans and the maintenance of air exclusion zones over northern and southern Iraq.

Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept. The increased operations tempo and reduced force created a strategy-to-force-structure-mismatch. This in turn led to recruiting and retention problems, leading to our second major post Cold War organizational transformation. The Air Force formed the Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF) concept in 1999 to make itself more flexible and to stem the recruiting and retention downturn. The EAF has at its core the formation of an entirely new way of doing business using 10 separate Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEFs) in a rotational concept that provided predictability and stability to our airmen. In turn, this provides fresh, motivated units made up of active, Guard and reserve personnel to the theater commanders-in-chief (CINCs). Whereas the change from SAC and TAC to ACC had provided an integrated and functional organizational structure, the EAF was more fundamental. It produced a new expeditionary mindset in our people.

It should be evident that your Air Force enjoys an unprecedented level of organizational flexibility that originates in our common heritage as airmen. Airmen have always looked forward, above and beyond. Change is in our very nature-we take it for granted and we thrive on it. It is all the more remarkable when you consider these changes and breakthroughs all occurred within our budgetary means during a time of down-sizing the military budget and rising operational tempo. Regardless of the environment, transformation is a way of life for us, and the transformation continues.

Each of the elements previously discussed forms a piece of our transformation flight plan. In the decade since the Soviet Union's downfall we've transformed our combat force into one almost exclusively employing precision munitions. The stealthy side of the equation is taking longer. The F-22/JSF team will complete the stealth-precision transformation and together with other stealthy platforms will pose a daunting offensive capability to potential adversaries that will actually shape how they act. "Effects Based Operations (EBO)" has evolved since it's application in the Gulf War air campaign. It rejects the legacy mindset of absolute target destruction and attrition as the critical measures of military effectiveness, and replaces it with an approach by campaign planners that analyze the enemy as a system, apply force at high leverage points, and conduct adaptive operations based on the achievement of desired effects. Finally, the Air Force has instituted radical organizational changes twice since the end of the Cold War. All these changes point the way to our future.

Air Force Modernization and Transformation

Air Force modernization is based on the revolutionary trends first glimpsed in the Gulf War, the deployment challenges of the post Cold War environment, and our projections about the future security environment. In order to turn those trends, challenges, and projections into reality, the Air Force has instituted a comprehensive corporate-style process for tying our vision of the future security environment to the Chairman's Joint Vision 2020. It is a process that allows for creativity by focusing not on platforms, but on future capability requirements. Good ideas from laboratory projects, wargames, experimentation, actual combat, and a variety of other venues feed into our strategic planning process and are distilled into a list of 14 critical future capabilities listed below. The programming process then filters programs through those critical capabilities to ensure the Air Force is staying on course.

THE AIR FORCE FOURTEEN CRITICAL FUTURE CAPABILITIES

       Rapidly dominate (within days) adversary air defenses to allow freedom to maneuver, freedom to attack, and freedom from attack.

       Render an adversary's cruise and ballistic missiles ineffective before launch or soon after.

       Protect our space assets and deny adversary space capability.

       Create desired effects within hours of tasking, anywhere on the globe, including locations deep within an adversary's territory.

       Provide deterrence against WMD attack and coercion by maintaining a credible, land-based nuclear and flexible conventional strike.

       Create precise effects rapidly, with the ability to retarget quickly, against large, mobile, hidden, or underground target sets anywhere, anytime, in a persistent manner. 

       Assess, plan, and direct aerospace operations anywhere in near-real time, tailored across the spectrum of operations and levels of command.

       Provide continuous, tailored information within minutes of tasking with sufficient accuracy to engage any target in any battlespace worldwide.

       Ensure our use of the information domain unhindered by all attempts to deny, disrupt, destroy, or corrupt it; and ensure our ability to attack and affect an adversary's information in pursuit of military objectives. 

       Provide the airlift, aerial refueling, and en-route infrastructure capability to respond within hours of tasking to support peacetime operations or a crisis

       Build an aerospace force that enables robust, distributed military operations with time-definite sustainment.

       Build a professional cadre to lead and command expeditionary aerospace and joint forces.

       Implement innovative concepts to ensure we recruit and retain the right people to operate our aerospace force in the future.

       Achieve an unrivaled degree of innovation founded on integration and testing of new concepts, innovations, technologies, and experimentation.

 

Transformational Military Technology

            The following discussion provides a glimpse at some of the future capabilities the Air Force is pursuing that provide the order-of-magnitude increases in offensive capability that mark a true transformation. 

Space and Cyberspace. There is a transformation taking place in the realms of space and cyberspace and the Air Force is leading that transformation. Today, Air Force space systems provide the nation vigilance, communications, precision navigation, and the timing signals that synchronize the Internet and allow your mobile phone and pager to work, to name but a few. But we are transforming our space force into a space-control force, a force that will ultimately provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance around the globe. This is especially important as our adversaries move to mobile platforms. A cost-effective Space-Based Radar is the kind of system that may allow us to do that. Air Force programs will also prove critical to enhancing missile defense systems with satellite constellations like SBIRS [Space-Based Infra-Red System] and by providing the critical command and control architecture to make it work.

The Air Force is looking to move space far beyond those near-term missions, however. The future offers near real-time global force application. What does near-real-time global force application mean? When the National Command Authority decides they want to achieve a particular effect, those effects can be realized within minutes of the decision.

What will it take to provide that kind of option to the National Command Authority? Systems like Space-Based Laser, Combat Aerospace Vehicle, and reusable launch and orbital vehicles. These will be coupled with computer network defense and computer network attack to achieve effects at the speed of light. Again, the focus is not just on platforms, but is based on the way we look at and integrate information technology so we can achieve dynamic battlespace control, integrating and rapidly fusing information from every appropriate source. We are not talking about days or weeks to plan for these operations as we do today, rather we want a system that allows adaptive execution in minutes with precision that can only come from predictive battle space awareness. This type of system changes the whole mindset of operating in small groups affecting geographically limited locales, to one where US and allied forces think and operate across the entire globe--global network centric warfare.

Precision Weaponry. The precision era that started so tenuously in Vietnam, has now evolved to an all-weather capability. The remaining hurdles for precision engagement weaponry are at hand and require aggressive stewardship to make them a reality. The Air Force is pursuing smaller and more precise munitions such as Small Diameter Bomb that will allow each platform a ten-fold increase in lethality. Moving targets are a challenge that will be met with the next generation of autonomous seeking weapons. Their small size and ability to seek, characterize, and attack with precision against mobile targets will allow US aerospace power to reduce an enemy mechanized formations to dismounted infantry in hours. This will have huge ramifications for how the joint force is configured and fights.

Your Air Force is also pursuing the ultimate in speed, lethality, and precision-directed energy weapons. The Airborne Laser constitutes a very important element of boost-phase missile defense but it has greater meaning for the future. In summary, advances in miniaturization, autonomous seeking, and directed energy will yield order of magnitude increases in our rapid precision engagement capability. They will revolutionize our ability to operate in the fourth dimension--the dimension of time--that will allow us to apply force at key points simultaneously across an entire area of interest.

Stealthy Combat Platforms. Stealth and precision work together to present our adversaries an insoluble dilemma. The operational implications are obvious, especially against an increasing air defense threat, consisting of proliferating advanced surface to air missile systems (SAMs), but the strategic implications might be even more important. Simply the decision to transform one's airpower into a predominantly stealthy, precision force will cause our adversaries to change their national security priorities--to dissuade them from making choices we'd prefer them not to make. Today they only have to contend with a silver bullet stealth force, but their problem magnifies geometrically if we transform into a primarily stealthy force. Stealth in numbers has strategic meaning. This country does not buy silver bullet tanks, silver bullet aircraft carriers, or silver bullet submarines-and it cannot afford to enter an uncertain future with a silver bullet force of stealthy land-based airpower.

Four platforms will define the stealthy Air Force of 2020. In the Air War Over Serbia, the B-2 proved its ability to fly with impunity and strike targets with global range in any weather. The F-22 distills multiple capabilities into one platform that in the past required many separate aircraft to accomplish-air dominance, destruction/suppression of enemy air defenses, precision attack, supercruise, advanced all-aspect stealth, and information integration.

The F-22 has capabilities that no other nation possesses providing the US a true asymmetric advantage that is critical to maintaining its sole superpower status. In anti-access environments, the F-22 can operate from thousands of miles with tanker support, but unlike legacy platforms will be survivable and lethal when it reaches the combat zone. When theater access is achieved, the JSF can operate with great precision and survivability in the modern air defense environment-where non-stealthy jets cannot go.

The joint strike fighter (JSF) will help close the US-allied military technology gap that strains our key alliances-again, stealth in numbers has strategic impact. Finally, the Air Force is aggressively pursuing a stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) as part of an advanced technology demonstration. Applying lethal force from an uninhabited vehicle is risky, but it is also the future. That is why, together with DARPA, we are attempting to come to grips with those risks and through experimentation, turn UAVs into lethal systems. 

Stealthy airpower is a crucial US asymmetrical advantage that we cannot squander-we need to capitalize on that advantage to shape our future. To that end, these are a few of the major trends the Air Force is pursuing to increase the nation's strategic options by providing order-of-magnitude increases in military capability. These capabilities must be combined with new ways of operating--fighting smarter rather than simply using them to fight old-style wars a little better. These new operational concepts are the subject of the next section.

Transformational Operational Concepts

            The Air Force believes that the huge increases in capability shown over the last decade, and those we want to field in the coming decades, show the way to new ways of conducting military operations. These new joint operational concepts can provide the integration templates for how we as a nation conduct military operations across the spectrum of conflict.

            Effects-Based Operations (EBO): EBO is a framework and perspective for planning, executing, and assessing military operations that integrates other elements of national power to produce effects that compel desired political outcomes. Legacy methods focus on target destruction, moving arrows on a map, and attrition, but EBO moves beyond those narrow, tactical viewpoints. Under this campaign planning philosophy, the military planner uses superior knowledge to avoid attrition encounters, applying force at the right place and time to achieve specific operational and strategic effects. EBO allows for greater planning agility and a less plodding, more adaptive approach to the achievement of specific effects. Although elements of EBO have been used in the past, we believe that through aggressive education and training using EBO, warriors from all the services can achieve a more comprehensive framework for integrating various service, multinational, and government agencies into a coherent campaign philosophy.

            Global Reconnaissance Strike/Global Strike Task Force: Potential adversaries are taking advantage of various methods to deny US forces access to their centers of gravity. Enemy anti-access strategies must be denied through the use of stealthy, long range platforms that can apply precise force with great rapidity. The Air Force has pioneered two operational concepts for crushing anti-access threats. The Global Reconnaissance Strike concept offers a total joint force solution for "breaking down the door" to allow follow-on joint operations. The Global Strike Task Force outlines the Air Force's key contribution to the joint anti-access campaign, showing how the F-22 teamed with the B-2 provide indispensable capability for holding various adversary anti-access systems at risk. These "rapid takedown" concepts will constitute the core of our future operational concepts where adversary anti-access strategies might be employed.

Rapid Halt Operations: The US has an interest in global prosperity and must retain the capacity for rapidly halting adversary aggression that threatens the stability of the world community. Joint aerospace forces will constitute the key to this capability, which provides not only a rapid, global-range capability, but has a huge role in deterring destabilizing behavior. Capitalizing on the precision, global reach, and knowledge provided by US aerospace power, this concept allows for the rapid employment of tailored joint forces to seize the initiative by isolating, incapacitating, and rapidly halting aggression. Using this concept, the Air Force has shown that it can "swing" forces from one theater to another in rapid fashion, allowing the possibility that fewer forces can accomplish more than one major warfight simultaneously.   

Coercive Campaigns: Not all US military operations focus on unconditional surrender or regime change. In fact, only the most extreme historical cases had this as a goal. In the post Cold War environment, the US is interested in controlling aberrant behavior and shaping hotspots, not annexing territory. This requires a different mindset that focuses on coercing the target nation through coordinated military and diplomatic means. Coercive campaigns require a different military campaign mindset. In a coercive campaign, effects-based employment of appropriate elements of national power can modify an opponent's behavior to comply with US strategic objectives.

The core theme of all these new operational concepts is that new capabilities enable new military approaches. Those operations must expand US and coalition strategic options while constricting those of our adversaries. The future demands new operational constructs that take advantage of US asymmetries and offer quicker, more bloodless means of expanding global peace and prosperity.

Transformational Organizations

            As previously discussed, the Air Force has implemented two major organizational changes in order to adapt to the post Cold War world and provide organizations better suited to executing revolutionary concepts of operation. The consolidation of SAC and TAC into the Air Combat Command and the implementation of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF) concept--all done during a single decade marked by a heavy and sustained burden of continuing operations-- showed remarkable organizational flexibility.

            Yet the second of those changes, EAF, still labors under Cold War restrictions and must evolve. The first 15 month cycle of AEF rotations taught us that reorganization alone will not fully realize the potential in the EAF concept. For example, the 10 AEFs are not equal in capability because the Cold War force was never constituted for that requirement. Furthermore, each AEF lacks the ability to be independently capable. Many lack in standoff precision capability, stealthy platforms must be shared, and certain low density, high demand assets are overstressed.

            Fully-capable Expeditionary Aerospace Force. To fully realize the EAF concept, we must mature the EAF into one with ten independently operating, and equally capable AEFs. The theater CINCs must know that each AEF will deliver a known capacity for command and control, stealthy platforms, all-weather precision engagement, and other key functions. The EAF, however, includes more than our deployable assets. Space, ISR, national missile defense architecture, our nuclear posture, inter-theater airlift, recruiting & retention, and our excessive infrastructure require attention. If the past ten years is any indication, the future security environment requires a more balanced, fully capable EAF than it has today.

 

Conclusion

     The Air Force's modernization program is driven by an understanding that aerospace forces operate as part of a joint, interagency and coalition team. We know that transformation is a difficult process, but we have linked our modernization plan to critical future capabilities that will expand the nation's strategic options by offering order-of-magnitude increases in offensive combat capability. It's not just about greater capability, it's about capitalizing on this nation's key asymmetrical advantage to shape our world. In our position as the world's predominant economic and military power, we cannot afford to be reactive-we must invest in success.

Having said that, the path to revolutionary change defies any set process-we must be willing and able to act decisively in a chaotic, unpredictable environment. When we look back on historical examples of revolutionary military change, we see that none of the institutions had conscious transformation processes, and that the change agents within the organization often encountered substantial obstacles. The scholars of military innovation agree on one point-there is no unifying theory, prescription, or formula for innovation. To separate the wheat from the chaff takes vision and courage at all levels, and the Air Force relies on our cultural heritage of innovation to keep us driving forward, upward, and beyond.

Some elements of transformation will take time. It took twenty years after the first precision munitions dropped bridges in Vietnam for the Air Force to transform itself into a predominantly all-precision force. It took a decade to prove stealth in combat, and we have yet to realize the transformation of our combat force into a stealthy configuration. That is one of our primary transformational goals, and the F-22/JSF team are both critical in the near term to operating against modern, mobile, digital air defense threats. New operational concepts must be employed to take advantage of this breakthrough increase in offensive capability. The EAF is the key organizational transformation for the Air Force, but it must be rounded out with new post Cold War capabilities to make it whole-and to make it easier to integrate into joint warfighting plans. Fully realizing the potential of the EAF will also mean continuing our exploration of space as both a supporting and supported element of our expeditionary aerospace force--one that can be permanently deployed and ready to respond as needed.

What does this all mean for this subcommittee? I would offer that it is extremely important to adopt a capability-based approach when making procurement decisions. Cost per unit is often used as a measure of merit in making procurement decisions. A more accurate measure of merit that captures real value or capability of a particular system is cost per target engaged, or better yet, cost per effect desired. In this fashion one is led to consider all the elements required to achieve a specific effect. This is particularly important to consider in dealing with stealthy systems, because in many cases, while stealth systems on a per unit cost basis may appear to be more expensive than less capable systems, when considering all the elements required for alternatives to accomplish a similar effect, they actually become significantly less expensive in both lives and dollars when considering total cost to get the job done.

The past decade has proven that aerospace power was able to make the transformational leap from the Cold War to the new world due to its inherent speed, range, and flexibility. We have a rare opportunity to shape our nation's future by capitalizing on those strengths. As history's only Aerospace Nation, we have a strategic obligation to fully realize and exploit the asymmetrical advantages of aerospace power. Your Air Force is committed to continuously transforming as needed to serve our country.

 


House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515



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