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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces 1 Introduction THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPERIMENTATION Experimentation is a fundamental part of the scientific method and of the processes that move science into technology and utilization by modern society. Experimentation with large or small military units has always been a key tool in the shaping of military forces. Many military commanders have taken innovative steps—some successful and some disastrous—under the pressure of the exigencies of battle. Experimentation in peacetime, without the pressures of battle and the potential consequences of winning or losing wars, offers military commanders the opportunity to test and to explore the value of new military systems or new ways of using existing or planned systems. Through experimentation, military planners can learn how systems will perform under field conditions against the actual (e.g., captured) or simulated equipment of potential adversaries, and they can learn the shortcomings of our own military systems and ways of improving them. They can explore how various operating techniques will work against surrogate opponents who use operational methods and tactics different from our own. By simulating future systems, they can also learn how those systems will work in simulated combat environments and how to use forces equipped with such proposed systems. By such means they can explore new ideas and concepts for the use of variously composed and equipped forces against diverse anticipated threats, and they can learn how to integrate such forces on a large scale in the joint and combined force environment. Innovative design and use of military systems and techniques in warfare have often led to revolutionary changes in how military forces are constituted and
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces how they fight. Examples from the 20th century include the use of armored forces in land warfare, the use of submarines and sea-based aviation in naval warfare, the application of ballistic missiles to intercontinental attack, the use of nuclear submarines to form long-enduring and essentially invulnerable undersea tactical and strategic strike forces, and the use of space systems for observation, communication, and navigation. Peacetime experimentation under simulated battle conditions on a large or small scale can be treated as a rehearsal for warfare if such innovations are allowed and encouraged. The experimentation process has therefore become a key tool for transforming U.S. military forces and systems from those oriented to the Cold War to those capable of waging future war against a different and evolving array of threats to U.S. national security. For the Navy and the Marine Corps in particular, experimentation has enabled historical transformation in the fleet,1 such as that brought about by naval aviation, and, more recently, has contributed to a better understanding and appreciation of emerging operational concepts such as urban warfare and network-centric operations. THE NETWORK-CENTRIC WARFARE CHALLENGE A new defining concept for naval—and indeed, joint force—warfare, driven by the information revolution of the last quarter of the 20th century, has been that of network-centric warfare,2 the idea that the information network, rather than platforms (e.g., ships, and aircraft), provides the underlying framework for force structure and utilization. A recent report of the Naval Studies Board on network-centric warfare indicated the importance of experimentation to developing naval forces according to that new defining concept. It stated: Experimentation provides a means to explore alternative doctrine, operational concepts, and tactics that are enabled by new technologies or required by new situations. That is, new technologies or situations may call for different ways of conducting operations. But without actual operational experience in using the new technologies or in using existing technologies in new situations, experiments are the next best thing…. Although they can fail in their ability to find the right solution, experiments should always provide knowledge about the ramifications of new ideas and 1 The term “fleet” is used in this report to include both the U.S. Navy’s fleet and the U.S. Marine Corps’s Operating Forces. 2 For additional reading, see VADM Arthur K. Cebrowski , USN, and John J. Garstka, 1998, “Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 124, No. 1, January, pp. 28-35; David S. Alberts, John J. Gartska, and Frederick P. Stein, 1999, Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, 2nd Edition (Revised), Department of Defense C4ISR Cooperative Research Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration), Washington, D.C.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces technologies, to assist those who write requirements by reducing the likelihood that they will specify requirements for too much (something that cannot be achieved within reasonable bounds) or too little (improvement insufficient to justify development).3 The report also states: Essential as they are, analytical methods alone are insufficient for the design of systems of this [network-centric operations] complexity. Actual experimentation by the fleet and Marine force elements is required, to learn how legacy subsystems and their components will operate together with existing or testbed versions of new subsystems and components and to devise concepts of operation using the new and the legacy subsystems and components in the actual operational environment. When such a development process, part of what has been called spiral development, is used, new equipment and concepts can be incorporated into the fleet and the Marine forces based on validated concepts of operation.4 The report then recommends: The spiral development approach involving design-test-design of new software and equipment and model-test-model to devise new joint concepts and their testing in fleet and Marine units should be adopted as a standard mechanism for achieving network-centric operations systems.5 While the report provided recommendations on how experimentation could contribute to building network-centric capabilities, it also expressed serious concerns about the adequacy of the Navy and Marine Corps approach to experimentation, citing a tendency to focus on a few critical events; an extreme underutilization of analysis, modeling, and simulation; and a failure to decompose broad problems into components that can be studied in appropriate ways over time.6 These same concerns are relayed through specific questions in the terms of reference for this study (see the preface) and are addressed in the responses of the Committee for the Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces. 3 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 294. 4 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 22. 5 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 23. 6 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., Sections 2.5.5 and 2.6.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces PAST USE OF, AND NEW SIGNIFICANCE FOR, NAVAL FORCE EXPERIMENTATION In moving toward network-centric operations, the naval forces (and the other Services), are in fact looking toward experimentation to explore the new concepts of operation demanded by the developing post–Cold War threat and made possible by advancing information and related technologies. Experimentation is not a new technique to the Navy and Marine Corps. As described later in this report, experimentation with launching and recovering aircraft from ships began only a few years after aircraft were invented. Although the technology then did not allow the aircraft to be major strike systems, these aircraft were initially useful for locating enemy forces and later became attack systems as the technology advanced to enable such operations. Similarly, although Marines had been landing from ships in small boats for many decades before World War II, the pressures of warfare led to the rapid development of prototypical modern amphibious landing systems to enable and support amphibious, over-the-shore operations. After the war, experimentation led to the modern fleet of nuclear-powered attack and strategic missile submarines: that experimentation involved nuclear reactors in submarines—first in simulated runs across the Atlantic using a reactor in the laboratory, and then on actual extended voyages using reactors in submarines. These investigations were followed by adoption of previously developed streamlined hull forms and advanced control systems to “fly” the submarines under water. The streamlined hull forms and control systems were developed before, and independently of, the nuclear work described here. The hull shape development also involved experiments earlier than the ones done by the nuclear submarines. Beyond these few broad examples, experimentation has been a key tool supporting advances in all forms of naval warfare; advances in gunnery, guided missiles, and naval ship propulsion; and progress in all other activities related to the shaping and operation of naval forces. A part of such force development has been the evolutionary improvement of particular equipment, platforms, and major combat and support systems as technological advances and budgetary constraints have permitted. These advances have been somewhat characteristic of the spiral development approach that has become increasingly attractive in shaping today’s forces. A key difference between the block improvements in systems such as ships, aircraft, and air defense missiles and the movement toward more rapid system evolution through what is now called spiral development7 has been the more rapid advances in the underlying technologies that characterize the key systems that are at the heart of the new network-centric warfare paradigm. 7 Edward C. Adridge, Under Secretary of Defense. 2002. “Evolutionary Acquisition and Spiral Development,” Memorandum, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., April 12.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces Whereas the technology of aircraft engines and missile guidance, for example, may have taken years to change significantly, the technology of information gathering, manipulation, and communication changes within months. Naval forces thus must develop new and more responsive approaches to change in order not to be left behind by adhering to an older pace and outdated methods. In this context the concept of spiral development supported by continual experimentation has taken on new meaning and significance for future naval forces. BROAD RANGE OF ACTIVITIES COVERED BY EXPERIMENTATION As would be expected from an activity that has assumed increasing importance in naval force planning and development, the term “experimentation” tends to be used rather loosely to cover a broad range of activities. Additionally, different communities within the naval forces, such as the R&D community, the acquisition community, and the fleet commands, and even other Service forces, tend to think about experimentation according to the dictates of their own orientation and activities. This gamut of activity has created various definitional inconsistencies in the field of developing and improving the current and future utility of naval (and other) forces and have even entered the legal requirements for creating and fielding the forces. These complexities of definition are discussed in detail in Chapter 2, where the committee’s definition of experimentation is given, in context. However the definitions are applied, the current focus on experimentation has the purpose of solving the force design problems raised by the changing environment for the building and use of military forces. Given their cost, experiments—especially those involving the use of forces in the field—must be carefully focused and designed to make the best use of the resources committed. In today’s budget environment of competing priorities and with the limited time available for fielding effective new systems and forces under the pressure of terrorist and other threats to U.S. and allied security, concepts for systems and force design and operation cannot be adopted at random simply to see “what if”—instead, they must be developed deliberately to solve a pressing military problem. Thus, the post–Cold War Navy strategy articulated in 1992 in From the Sea8 was driven by the need to orient U.S. naval power toward the littorals, whence the new threats originate. The concept articulated in Operational Maneuver From the Sea9 is meant to minimize the need for opposed landings over the beach and 8 Department of the Navy. 1992. “… From the Sea,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., September. 9 Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 1996. Operational Maneuver From the Sea, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., January 4.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces instead to have strikes from the sea launched against enemy inland “centers of gravity” with speed and surprise, as well as to hide the source of attack either by maneuvering far from these centers or deep within the sea or both. Advancing technologies for vertical-lift aircraft, higher-speed landing craft, and long-range fire support make this possible. Also emerging is the need for the sea basing of forces in order to avoid the risk of using land bases in an environment of shifting coalitions, when the stability and utility of any single base are uncertain and when fixed bases on land are vulnerable to attack from threats that range from terrorists to ballistic missiles. The Marine Corps has emphasized the importance of warfare in built-up areas considering these new kinds of threats, and the need to subdue opponents quickly in such areas to minimize both military and civilian casualties. The Marine Corps’s Urban Warrior experimentation campaign provided useful lessons that could be applied in Operation Enduring Freedom. POLICY FOR TRANSFORMING NAVAL FORCES THROUGH EXPERIMENTATION From the Sea was just a first step in reorienting U.S. naval power. The need to project naval power at sea and inland on a global scale has led to a more complete change in naval force strategy articulated by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in a 2002 document entitled “Sea Power 21: Projecting Decisive Joint Capabilities.”10 The new naval force strategy includes Sea Strike (the means by which Navy firepower and Marine ground forces will be projected where they are needed in order to protect and support U.S. and allied interests wherever they are threatened); Sea Shield (the means of protecting the naval forces at sea and ashore and in regions under threat to which they have been sent for support); Sea Basing (the means to support forces mainly from the sea without having to rely as much as in the past on land bases that may be considered politically intrusive and that would certainly be more vulnerable to attack by hostile forces); and FORCEnet, which integrates Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing as the “operational construct and architectural framework for naval warfare in the information age, integrating warriors, sensors, command and control, platforms, and weapons into a networked, distributed combat force.”11 This evolution of naval force strategy has created a host of issues related to integrating new technologies and operational capabilities into a new kind of naval force system. The CNO has established the organizational policy for approaching 10 ADM Vern Clark, USN. 2002. “Sea Power 21: Projecting Decisive Joint Capabilities,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 128, No. 10, October 1. 11 ADM Vern Clark, USN. 2002. “Sea Power 21: Projecting Decisive Joint Capabilities,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 128, No. 10, October 1, p. 37.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces these issues through Sea Trial, “a continual process of rapid concept and technology development.”12 The policy states: The Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, will serve as Executive Agent for Sea Trial, with Second and Third Fleet commanders sponsoring the development of Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing capabilities…. The Systems Commands and Program Executive Offices will be integral partners in this effort…. The Navy Warfare Development Command, reporting directly to the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, will coordinate Sea Trial. Working closely with the fleets, technology development centers, and academic resources, the Navy Warfare Development Command will integrate wargaming, experimentation, and exercises to speed development of new concepts and technologies. They will do this by identifying candidates with the greatest potential to provide dramatic increases in warfighting capability. Embracing spiral development, these technologies and concepts will then be matured through targeted investment and guided through a process of rapid prototyping and fleet experimentation.13 The Naval Transformation Roadmap of the Department of the Navy further states: … Navy headquarters (OPNAV) will support Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing concept development by working directly with NWDC [Navy Warfare Development Command] and fleet elements to ensure operational priorities and lessons learned are accurately reflected in budgetary resourcing. Specifically, Mission Capabilities Package (MCP) teams under Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Warfare Requirements and Programs) will assist in developing, resourcing, and implementation of these concepts, and in making the linkages from concepts and technologies to acquisition programs and fleet forces.14 Carrying this process forward, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Warfare Requirements and Programs) has aligned Sea Strike, Sea Shield, Sea Basing, and FORCEnet with the Systems Commands by assigning implementation responsibility for these major elements of Sea Power 21 to the Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Sea Systems Command, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.15 12 Navy Warfare Development Command. 2003. “Sea Power 21,” Newport, R.I. Available online at <http://www.nwdc.navy.mil/SeaPower21.asp>. Accessed November 9, 2003. 13 ADM Vern Clark, USN. 2002. “Sea Power 21: Projecting Decisive Joint Capabilities,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 128, No. 10, October 1, p. 39. 14 Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, and Commandant of the Marine Corps James L. Jones. 2002. Naval Transformation Roadmap: Power and Access …From the Sea, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., p. 34 15 VADM John B. Nathman, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, N7, “N6/N7 Naval Capabilities Development,” presentation to the Naval Studies Board, November 6, 2002.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces For the Marine Corps, force development and requirements to be determined through experimentation remain the responsibility of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC). More recently, MCCDC has established the Expeditionary Force Development Center to develop concepts, coordinate assessment and experimentation, and integrate the implementation of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) across the range of Marine Corps operations.16 The underlying purpose for this establishment, however, is to develop a single process—the Expeditionary Force Development System—by which the Marine Corps will transform itself in conformity with its capstone concept, Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare. It is clear from the background presented above that as Navy and Marine Corps force transformation policy and practice have been developing, the issues and problems posed by the emerging U.S. naval force strategy will be approached to a major extent through experimentation with actual forces and military command structures. This consideration helped to determine the orientation and scope of this report. SCOPE AND ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT As stipulated in the terms of reference for this study, the committee concerned itself with the role of experimentation in building future naval forces in the joint environment. The study effort focused on programs of experimentation that explore warfighting concepts intended to meet the new threats and conditions of warfare facing U.S. naval forces. Given its objectives, the committee viewed NWDC and MCCDC as organizations central to its examination of naval experimentation and focused on their processes and programs and successes to date. The committee also focused on organizations with which NWDC and MCCDC interact and which have important roles in experimentation, such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Third Fleet, the Navy Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), and the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). Their experimentation activities collectively bring together technologies, systems, doctrines, and tactics, techniques, and procedures that cut across traditional boundaries and cultures, that require substantial integration efforts, and that have the potential for dramatic improvements in naval capabilities. NWDC and MCCDC also conduct experimentation that supports immediate and mid-term needs in the fleet as well as forces in the fields, and they are also responsible for coordinating their Services’ participation in joint experimentation. All of these experimenta- 16 Col Frank DiFalco, USMC, Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Operations Center, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, “Marine Corps Role in JCDE,” presentation to the committee on August 15, 2002.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces tion activities—including the Navy’s Fleet Battle Experiments Alpha through India (FBE-A through FBE-I), and the Marine Corps’s experimentation efforts starting with the Hunter Warrior Campaign and continuing to the present time—were the focus of the committee’s attention. It is recognized that the results of this study may be relevant not only for the Navy and Marine Corps but also for other naval organizations and their experimental efforts. Within these bounds arose a number of issues and issue areas that are explored in this study. They include the following: The assessment of the effectiveness and utility of ongoing and future Navy and Marine Corps experimentation; Approaches to and problems of defining and planning an experiment campaign for a specific purpose; Planning for the incorporation of the results of successful experiments into the forces, especially when those results will affect the program of record; The availability of resources for experimentation and the interaction of experiments with exercises intended for other purposes when such exercises are used to provide ships and other resources needed for the experiments; and Developing an understanding of the relationship and balance between naval and joint experimentation. Other issues are also highlighted and are discussed in context throughout the report as they arise. Chapter 2, “Experimentation—What It Means,” discusses issues in defining an experiment according to the needs and interests of different communities involved in naval force planning. It describes how individual experiments fit into a campaign of experimentation to explore naval force systems and concepts of operation, and it discusses methodological approaches to carefully designing experiments to yield the needed information. Chapter 3, “Experimentation—Past, Present, and Future,” describes Navy, Marine Corps, and other Service experimentation and the results that have flowed from such efforts. Chapter 4, “Emerging Roles in Experimentation—The Joint Connection,” discusses the movement toward joint experimentation, the benefits derived, the problems involved in conducting joint experiments using naval as well as other Services’ forces, and the effects of joint experimentation on the Navy’s and the Marine Corps’s ability to conduct experiment programs to reinforce their own core military competencies. The results of Navy and Marine Corps experimentation programs and their bearing on the issues sketched above, as well as other issues that have emerged from this review, are evaluated in Chapter 5, “Effectiveness of Experimentation for Future Naval Capabilities.” Chapter 6, “Recommendations for Improving the Overall Effectiveness of Naval Experimentation,” presents the committee’s recommendations.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces ADDRESSING THE TERMS OF REFERENCE The terms of reference for this study chartered the committee to examine the role of experimentation in enabling future naval forces to operate in the joint environment, and to address the opportunities offered by and the implications of experimentation. Within these broad areas, specific questions were also provided as part of the committee’s charge. (The questions are listed in the section entitled “Terms of Reference” in the preface.) Pointers to key sections of the report that address each aspect of the committee’s charge are provided here for the reader’s convenience. Review of opportunities offered by experimentation. Chapter 1 articulates a broad motivation for military experimentation and, more specifically, experimentation to support naval transformation. Chapter 3 provides two Navy case studies, one historical and one more recent, that illustrate the influence of experimentation on today’s naval operations. The chapter also gives anecdotal historical examples that highlight the role of experimentation in evolving the capabilities of each of the other Services. Review of implications of experimentation. Chapter 2 discusses what it means to experiment in the context of military operations. It distinguishes among the various events that constitute a spectrum of experimentation activities, of which field experiments are one component. The chapter examines necessary processes for experimentation, including that of spiral development and the use of experimentation campaigns. It also delineates an environment and tools that support a sound experimentation program. Review of what has been learned from experimentation and which results have transitioned. Chapter 3 discusses what has been learned through recent experimentation programs of the NWDC and MCCDC beginning with the Navy’s Fleet Battle Experiments Alpha through India, and the Marine Corps’s Hunter Warrior, Urban Warrior, and Capable Warrior Campaigns. Chapter 3 also summarizes which results have transitioned, whether through concept, doctrine, and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and/or acquisitions for the fleet and the field. In addition, Chapter 4 reviews joint experimentation and summarizes what has transitioned to date from this process. Chapter 5 assesses the adequacy of what has been learned and of the transition processes for naval experimentation, referring to and summarizing details from Chapter 3. Review of spiral development. Spiral methodology, including spiral development, is defined and discussed in the context of military experimentation in Chapter 2. Navy and Marine Corps use of spiral development in recent programs of experimentation is assessed in Chapter 5. Since its application by naval experimenters has not been very systematic to date, recommendations are provided in Chapter 6 for utilizing spiral development.
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The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces Review of important questions that remain for experimentation and how they should be addressed. Chapter 5 evaluates the adequacy of the naval experimentation program, processes, and results. It lists specific areas for experimentation that are not in the current program but that are required for the development of concepts, such as that of network-centric operations, or to support already-programmed capabilities. Chapter 6 expands on recommended areas for future experimentation. Review of needed process and method improvements. The NWDC’s processes for planning and accomplishing FBEs are described in Chapter 3, and its approaches to identifying and selecting key concepts and developing them through experimentation are elaborated in Chapter 5. The MCCDC’s processes for experimentation, including concept development, are discussed in Chapter 3. All of the key naval experimentation processes are assessed in Chapter 5, and some specific shortfalls are mentioned. Chapter 6 provides recommendations for improving processes and methods. Review of environment and tools for experimentation. Chapter 2 defines and delineates an environment and a set of tools to support experimentation. The environment and tools currently in use by naval experimenters are assessed in Chapter 5, and certain shortfalls are noted. Some, but not all, of the items noted will be required for Service-unique experimentation as well as for joint experimentation in the future, according to the planned experimentation campaigns of USJFCOM discussed in Chapter 4. Chapter 6 provides recommendations for addressing the shortfalls. Review of joint experimentation and its relationship to Service experiments. Joint experimentation has been evolving over the past several years and even during the course of this study. Chapter 4 discusses joint experimentation from three perspectives: that of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, of the Regional Combatant Commanders, and of cross-Service experimentation. It then explores the implications of naval linkages to joint experimentation. Chapter 5 assesses the relationship of Service-unique and joint experimentation with respect to planning, processes, programs, and tools. Areas of progress are noted, as are areas for improvement. Chapter 6 elaborates on the committee’s recommendations for improvements—for example, in suggested guidelines for balancing joint and Service-unique experimentation. Review of Service experimentation programs in preparing for joint operations. The committee reviewed Service experimentation programs as a preparation for joint operations through the perspective of balance—how to maximize the Service participation in and influence on joint experimentation in the future while evolving core Service capabilities that are also a key to joint operations. This area is addressed in Chapter 5, where the need for alignment and synchronization between Service and joint experimentation is noted. Chapter 6 provides recommendations for achieving the desired balance, as well as ways to maximize participation in joint experimentation as a precursor to improved joint operations.
Representative terms from entire chapter: