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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report 4 Discussions with Invited Speakers The symposium featured three distinguished speakers with unique perspectives on the S&TI community: Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence; Jacques Gansler, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise at the University of Maryland and former Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L)); and Robert Hegstrom, Director of the Battlespace Awareness Portfolio, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Intelligence (OUSDI). A summary of each speaker’s remarks and the resultant discussions is provided below. Biographies for all three speakers can be found in Appendix F. THE HONORABLE DENNIS BLAIR During his address to the symposium audience on the importance of anticipating technological surprise, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair emphasized that the responsibility of his office is not just to send out warnings of technology surprise, but also to employ technology in prosecution of the IC mission. The United States does a reasonably good job of identifying both offensive and defensive ramifications of high-end technology threats, especially at the nation-state level. However, Admiral Blair stressed that surprise seems to come when benign, well-understood technologies are used in novel ways. An example of this is the use of commercial aircraft as weapons to take down buildings in
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report the attacks on September 11, 2001. It was referred to as a failure of imagination to not have anticipated this act. IEDs used in Iraq and Afghanistan are another example of a game-changing surprise despite the U.S. military having previously encountered booby traps during the Vietnam War. IEDs are not new technologies, but instead use existing technologies in a way that was not anticipated and is difficult to counter. Predicting this type of surprise requires more than technological expertise; it necessitates an understanding of how technology may be used in different contexts. The proliferation of technology around the world presents new challenges for the IC in anticipating technology surprise. Potential adversaries have sophisticated tools available to them—capabilities that were once accessible only to well-resourced nation-states. Particular Areas of Technology to Watch The DNI discussed with the symposium participants three key areas to watch in anticipating surprise: cyber technology, biology, and the evolution of existing technologies. Cyber technology was emphasized as an area of great focus at present. While the subject is well-warned about in that much has been published about cyber threats, the area retains high potential for surprise. Current governmental strategies may not fully consider the combination of technological expertise and imagination that exists elsewhere. While the 19th century was transformed by chemistry and the 20th century by physics, the 21st century may be defined by advances in biology. This progress may bring both benefits and potential threats. Just as advances in precision in time and space (e.g., GPS technology) revolutionized warfare, so establishing identity through biometrics could similarly influence warfare and national security. Finally, evolving technologies may change the operational assumptions upon which systems are built. For example, joint munitions effectiveness manuals’ models for explosive devices had been based on old values for the strength of concrete. As concrete formulations have improved, attacks on hard targets have required specialized technologies to deliver the same effect. This change, caught by the DIA/DWO, demonstrates the importance of reexamining assumptions as seemingly mature technologies evolve over time. Additional Discussion During a question-and-answer (Q&A) session, several additional points were discussed, as described below. A major point brought up for discussion was the observation that it cannot be assumed that adversaries will make decisions based on their own self -preservation.
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report Examples of this phenomenon include Kamikaze pilots of World War II and suicide bombers today. Accordingly, the value of integrating the social sciences into threat warning has become increasingly important. A recent case concerns the involvement of the social sciences to understand the psychology of radicalism. To tap technical knowledge from academic institutions, there is no substitute for face-to-face visits. Directly connecting scientists and engineers with warfighters was suggested as a way to identify new solutions for on-the-ground problems. The FY10 and FY11 budgets reduce funding for S&T, specifically within the IC. Although R&D budgets may grow in some areas, there is a shortfall in program budgets to continue development if a technology is successful. As Admiral Blair told the symposium audience, “The only substitute for having enough money for everything is agility.” In keeping with this philosophy, it was expressed that there should be an effort to reduce single-purpose information/intelligence collection systems, which are less agile, and instead focus on multipurpose collection systems built to accommodate a changing array of intelligence requirements. THE HONORABLE JACQUES GANSLER The second address to the symposium was presented by Dr. Jacques Gansler, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, University of Maryland, and former Under Secretary of Defense (AT&L). In his address to the symposium participants, Dr. Gansler emphasized that facing significant national security challenges—both in scope and in uncertainty—requires a holistic view of security, a broad spectrum of security missions, an ability to take advantage of globalization, and recognition of the long-term national security implications of non-military events (e.g., the global financial crisis, a worldwide pandemic, the aging U.S. population). Addressing these challenges requires addressing four highly interrelated acquisition issues: What goods and services to buy (the requirements process), How to buy them (acquisition reform), Who does the acquiring (the acquisition workforce), and From whom it is acquired (the industrial base). The following list is a summary of what Dr. Gansler identified as the top five priorities in overcoming the challenges he discussed. Acquisition workforce. The service chiefs and various national security secretaries and directors must recognize and promote senior acquisition personnel (military and civilian) in order to demonstrate their personal recognition of how critical smart acquisition personnel and practices are to U.S. military posture in the 21st century.
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report Weapons costs as a military requirement. This will require early and enhanced systems engineering (throughout both government and industry) and incentives to industry for achieving lower-cost systems. The value of “rapid acquisition” for both military and economic benefits. This will require the full use of what was referred to as spiral development. Each development block is based on proven technology; continuous user and logistician feedback yields subsequent “block” improvements. Balancing of resources. There is currently a strategy/resource mismatch that requires realignment. Taking full advantage of the potential benefits of globalization, while not ignoring the potential vulnerabilities and risks. Key take-aways and points from the symposium discussion of these core issues are summarized in Table 4-1. Additional Discussion During a Q&A session, the following points were among those discussed. First, in a discussion on Title 10 regarding who is responsible for the equipping and maintaining of armed forces, it was agreed that both service chiefs and COCOMs must work better together. Another point concerned the need for better systems engineering and engineers able to address the underlying science that may impact complex systems integration. In particular, the independence of systems engineering, integration issues, and independent cost estimation should be high-priority considerations for decision makers. As is addressed in the panel discussions summarized in Chapters 2 and 3, acquisition reform alone is not enough. Human dimensions such as social and cultural aspects must also be integrated into how technologies are used. Another suggestion brought up during the panel discussions, red teaming, was recommended by participants to be part of the acquisition process. MR. ROBERT HEGSTROM Mr. Robert Hegstrom, Director of the Battlespace Awareness Portfolio in the OUSDI, began his talk by describing current efforts in the Battlespace Awareness Portfolio. Preventing technology surprise was described as a core priority of his office, in addition to work with the Military Intelligence Program and the National Intelligence Program. Threat concerns highlighted over the course of the discussion included longer-range ballistic missiles, the recent Chinese anti-satellite test, and IEDs. Currently, there is also a need to focus on new-technology-based threats, especially those disruptive in nature.
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report TABLE 4-1 Key Considerations for Core Acquisition Issues What goods and services to buy? In a resource-constrained environment, the priorities must be addressed: Lower-cost systems and services; Optimized, network-centric systems-of-systems (vs. individual “platforms”); A “reserve” of resources to rapidly respond to urgent COCOM needs (vs. the current 15- to 20-year acquisition cycle); A balanced allocation of resources to address irregular operations; Interoperability of “Joint” and coalition systems; and Planning and exercising “as we will fight” with allies, multiple agencies, and contractors on the battlefield. (requirements process) How to buy them? To achieve higher performance faster and at lower costs: Require cost as a design/military requirement. Provide viable, continuous competition options (e.g., competitive prototypes) to incentivize higher performance at lower costs. Maximize use of commercial products and services at all levels. Implement modern, enterprise-wide IT systems (logistics, business, personnel, etc.). Institutionalize a rapid-acquisition parallel process to respond to COCOM urgent needs. Create incentives for contractors to achieve desired results (in cost, schedule, and performance). Minimize conflict of interest concerns. Fully utilize spiral development: get basic capabilities out and improve them incrementally. (acquisition reform) Who does the acquiring? The acquisition workforce lacks expertise in key areas. A large workforce turnover in the coming years will provide continued challenges and opportunities. Both quantity and quality of senior and experienced military and civilian personnel are required (especially for expeditionary operations). In the last decade-plus, this “requirement” has not been met. (acquisition workforce) From whom is it acquired? A 21st-century national security industrial base should: Be efficient, responsive, technologically advanced, and highly competitive (at all levels, including public and private sectors); Be globalized, utilizing “best in class” (requires significant changes to U.S. export controls); Invest in intelligence R&D and capital equipment; Include commercial, industry and maximize dual-use facilities and workforce; and Contain an independent systems-of-systems architecture and systems engineering firms. (industrial base) Merger and acquisition reviews should be based on this vision. Despite congressional resistance, all work that is not inherently governmental work should be sourced competitively (public vs. private). Government-industry communications should be encouraged once again. Finally, structural changes are required to eliminate the appearance, or reality, of conflicts of interest (regarding “vertical integration”). SOURCE: Compiled from information provided by Jacques Gansler.
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report To better understand threats perceived by COCOMs, Mr. Hegstrom took part in a Joint Requirements Oversight Committee session with representation by all COCOMs to identify the integrated priority lists for each. Identified areas of concern included: Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); Battlespace awareness; Gaps in analysis capabilities (one COCOM specifically identified that excessive collected data, without adequate resources to analyze it, was a “giant anchor”); Restrictions on information sharing with allies; Human intelligence; Full-motion video; Targeting and tracking capabilities; and Persistent surveillance. Mr. Hegstrom next discussed the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, which seeks to update long-term strategies (and budget recommendations) for the current fight and future challenges. Teams are being formed to address the following subjects: Irregular warfare, Civil support, High-end adversaries (for near-peer threats), Enablers (for processing and dissemination), Global posturing, and Business processes. In addition to these teams, an additional “Analysis and Integration” team will synthesize results from the other teams for the FY10-FY15 budget, soon to be submitted to legislators. Related budget issues were a key concern in the final segment of the formal discussion. After the new administration entered in 2009, there has been reprioritization, and resources have been added to ISR. Additional Discussion During a Q&A session, the following points were among those discussed. First, in a discussion regarding the amount of time the OUSDI spent investigating foreign threats to defeat current U.S. capabilities, it was mentioned that space threats are one current focus, and that the United States is no longer assured of dominance in this area. This became evident after the Chinese anti-satellite test, which had been forewarned by some analysts but was not considered a real possibility until after the fact. Counter-threat intelligence analysis was emphasized.
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Avoiding Technology Surprise for Tomorrow’s Warfighter: A Symposium Report Regarding the attention paid to open publication of foreign intentions in native-language publications, it was noted that OUSDI uses such publications as indicators for focusing further intelligence collection needs. A long discussion was held on the issue of what causes surprise. Points raised included the following as contributing factors: Lack of belief in outside experts. There is a lack of coupling between the IC and outside experts. Conservative analyses. IC tradecraft and editing standards limit analysts’ ability to effectively warn of potential surprises that are feasible but for which only limited intelligence data is available. This point was emphasized throughout the discussions. Lack of specific, unequivocal indications and warning data. Lack of specificity limits the ability to be conclusive, and low presumed likelihood leads to low dedication of resources. At the end of the session, discussion ensued regarding trust issues in S&TI. Key points included the fact that data interpretation is subject to cultural biases as well as U.S. “mirror-imaging” regarding normal system or technology development timelines.