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DoD Transformation Here to Stay, Cebrowski Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2005 -- Transformation has taken hold across the Defense Department and "will be with us a very, very long time," DoD's top transformational thinker said here today.

In response to President Bush's directive to DoD to change itself to better confront 21st century threats, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has implemented many policies that have changed the way the military operates and does business, noted retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, director of the DoD's Office of Force Transformation.

The admiral, speaking at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics- sponsored luncheon, pointed to revamps made to the Unified Command Plan as well other significant departmental changes that required legislation from Congress.

The department remains committed to improved and expanded communications capabilities, said Cebrowski, who's slated to retire from his current position at end of the month. "We're not going to step back to a less-networked age," he said.

The admiral said it's "difficult to undo some of the things that have been done." For instance, he said, the U.S. Army isn't going to jettison its new combat-brigade structure centered on the Stryker armored vehicle and go back to an old-style, division-based tactical force structure.

"That's just the way things are," he said.

Also, he noted, the U.S. armed forces "are raising up a very large number of NCOs and junior and mid-grade officers who have combat experience" under the new transformational doctrine.

"That changes the force," he explained, noting today's servicemembers "have experienced many of these transformational things, whether they're items for procurement or they are tactics, or they are organizational constructs."

The Army and Marine Corps, Cebrowski pointed out, employ "a very robust way of capturing these (transformational) attitudes, turning them back into the training for the forces that are going to deploy again."

Consequently, a culture of taking lessons derived from troop combat experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq has been developed across the Army and Marine Corps, the admiral noted.

And "what happens is the doctrine process just catches up later," Cebrowski concluded.