Development and Implementation
Phase 4—Development and Implementation—can take several forms, as options, including:
- Development of new tactics, perhaps using existing assets or technologies in unexpected ways;
- Development of new variant capabilities within existing programs, e.g., converting the software of a surface-to-air missile to make it a surface-strike missile as was done with the Standard Missile 1 (SM-1) in the 1970s;
- Rapid prototyping to field a few critical units as either sufficient to meet the need or as a “stop-gap” prior to acquisition program production unit introduction;
- Use of naval support centers to make changes to systems that are in service but out of production; and
- More aggressive use of quick reaction capability (QRC) or other authorities.18
The options for development and implementation should be considered based on the expected time frame of the emergence of the surprise, the technology readiness level of the requisite counter-capability, and the community resources and schedule capacity to develop the capability. Note that these options may be exercised not only to accommodate anticipated surprises, but also to develop U.S. counter-surprises that could be used to disrupt an adversary in the midst of its unleashing a surprise on U.S. forces to, for example, buy time for a U.S. response.
In Phase 5—Force Response—U.S. naval forces test the capability, leveraging the U.S. naval test infrastructure, ensure training and proficiency, and determine the impact of the new capability on a readiness level against surprise. This additional attribute, fleet/forces readiness level against surprise, is the basis from which the preparedness is characterized. As each new urgent need arises, it should be determined whether the surprise element is a driver and, if so, characterized in terms of this attribute.
The five functional elements outlined above, provide the framework as illustrated in Figure 1, which the committee chose to organize its interim report and ultimately address the study’s terms of reference. Within this framework, the committee has begun to examine what works well, along with what does not work well (i.e., the obstacles, barriers, and bottlenecks preventing progress) in the three example surprise scenarios
18“QRC programs leverage DODI [Department of Defense Instruction] 5000.02 procedures and authorities to speed up the fielding of systems and capabilities to satisfy near-term urgent warfighting needs.” See Air Force Instruction 63-114, January 4, 2011, Quick Reaction Capability Process, p. 5, para. 1.1.
examined thus far. Accordingly, the committee offers the following initial observations and insights, which will be expanded and built upon in its final report, to help mitigate the impact of potential surprise and to address capability surprise as integral to the naval enterprise.
Observation 1: Scanning and Awareness
(Surprise is Unavoidable, Prepare for It!)
The recommendations for surveillance in a 2009 Defense Science Board (DSB) study19) differ slightly from those in a 2008 Naval Research Advisory Committee (NRAC) study,20 and a 2011 report of the Center for a New American Security report (CNAS)21 has prescriptions to better account for predictive failure. Taken together, these documents form a reasonable starting point for the strategy this committee seeks to develop. The committee categorizes the recommendations of these three reports as either “preparation” or “avoidance” strategies. It specifically notes that DSB 2009 argues that surprise is unavoidable and thus places less emphasis on avoidance strategies and greater emphasis on preparation, flexibility, and speed of response, whereas the NRAC 2008 emphasizes the surveillance aspect; i.e., both of these previous reports deal almost exclusively with the front end of the framework suggested in this report.
It is worthy of note that the DSB 2009 study on capability surprise does not recommend any specific efforts to avoid the effects of surprise. The study concludes by presenting options for decision makers, including the integration and management of surprise at a high enough level to affect senior decision making; among other things, it recommends a pair of definite “surveillance” tasks (scanning and sifting and capability projection). In the present report, scanning and sifting is included in “scanning” and capability projection is part of “awareness.”
Scanning and sifting may not appear as a priority in the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), but the NIPF nevertheless requires mindfully gathered inputs.22 There may not be sufficiently high NIPF categories to allow careful collection of surprise-based intelligence. Science and technology information will have to be collected even if there is no “smoking gun” that points to specific subject matter as a concern. Scanning and sifting will be useful only if enough data are used to make good guesses.
19Defense Science Board. 2009. Report of the Defense Science Board 2008 Summer Study on Capability Surprise, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Washington, D.C., September.
20Naval Research Advisory Committee. 2008. Disruptive Commercial Technologies, Assistant Secretary to the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., June 26.
21Richard Danzig. 2011. Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Predictions and National Security, Center for a New American Security, Washington, D.C., October.
22The National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF) is “a means to capture issues of critical interest to senior intelligence community customers and communicating those issues to the IC for action. The NIPF consists of a dialogue with the senior policy community, a matrix of intelligence priorities, and written guidance to the community explaining critical information needs associated with the priorities in the matrix.” See http://www.dni.gov/content/AT/NIPF.pdf. Accessed May 12, 2012.
Capability projection requires the support of technically and operationally qualified experts and an adversarial mindset. Scanning and sifting requires operations in multiple intelligence modes: financial, open-source, human, and other clandestine means. Surveillance may require an organization within the Navy to “own” this responsibility lest it be neglected, and it should be a standing organizational element because surveillance activities need to be ongoing throughout the lifetime of any product enabling a surprise. Awareness is a further extension identified by this committee in which a risk assessment is performed on the capability projections to surmise which are more likely and in what timeframe. The primary product of phase 1 in the committee’s proposed framework is a standard risk assessment to gauge which potential surprises represent the greatest risk to naval forces in the expected time frame. The expected timeframe would be based partly on trends in technology readiness level (TRL) of technologies enabling surprises, which can be different for different potential adversaries.
Observation 2: Assessing Surprise
(Adopt Nonconventional Thinking!)
In discussions with leaders from the three example programs named above, the committee has observed the following characteristics of a strong anticipatory modeling and analysis capability:23
- Team independence;
- Access to a strong base of cross-disciplining technical, and operational expertise;
- An ability to identify threats through campaign-level modeling, system-of-systems simulation, and high-fidelity physics-based models;
- Precise vulnerability modeling, and analysis capability;
- Mechanisms for recommending and/or deploying solutions as necessary;
- Significant steady funding; and
- Focus on a particular mission.
Delving into each of these areas in greater detail, the committee has observed that successful red teams have been granted independence in their assessment of vulnerabilities and evaluation of threat responses.
The committee has also observed that in order to identify threats and anticipate surprise, successful red teams perform modeling and analysis at three levels of fidelity: (1) campaign-level modeling validated through (2) system-of-systems simulation made realistic by (3) high-fidelity, physics-based models. Successful implementation of this multitiered modeling involves an ability to leverage simulations that exist today and are being developed in government laboratories and industry, often by individuals in the small and medium enterprises networks. Running exercises and threat scenarios through
23As discussed earlier in this report, these example programs are (1) the Navy SSBN Security Program, (2) the Air Vehicle Survivability Evaluation Program (Air Force Red Team), and (3) the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program (whose responsiveness was exemplified by the shoot down of the wayward National Reconnaissance Office satellite, code name Operation Burnt Frost).
this 3-tiered modeling and analysis capability will identify potential threats, allow for response evaluation, and identify potential vulnerabilities. Subsequent, in-depth vulnerability assessment (including precise evaluation of algorithm, software, hardware, or system performance issues) has proven essential to determining the impact of a threat and an effective response.
Following on the theme, as understanding of the implementation of and capabilities for potential surprises mature it is important that independent red teams are engaged with the appropriate balance of skills to ensure as complete an understanding as possible, particularly from military and/or cultural perspectives that may not exist within core organizations. Their own cultural ethos makes U.S. forces vulnerable to unanticipated surprise by determined foes that do not play by U.S. rules or values, as is all too visible in hostage taking and exploitation of civilians. For example, misrepresentation coupled with media exploitation to influence world opinion and rally discontent could provide a fatal punch to a military operation. Social media could be exploited to interfere with the executions of naval missions as in the Surprise Scenario 3 example, flash mob-like surprises.
In this committee’s opinion, radical departures from conventional thinking are essential to preparing forces for combat and the development of new tactics. Indeed, various organizations have looked at methods to expand the composition of red teams to achieve diversity in thinking to better represent the adversary. Desired attributes of red teams include cultural, ethnic, and international diversity; are multiservice, multigenerational, multidiscipline makeup; independence, and inclusion of nonmilitary, business, commercial, and academic-sector members. The NRAC 2008 “Commercial Technology Red Cell Experiment” that allowed a group of nonspecialists to brainstorm possible responses to U.S. power projection was an example of a good experiment to predict capabilities.24 This experiment demonstrated that “credible threats to [naval] forces could be developed from imaginative combinations of commercial products and that the internet functions as an R&D resource and global supply chain for irregular forces.” An expected outcome of this activity is the continually updated prioritization of projected surprises based on the risk and expected timeframe from the scanning and awareness function and the projected impact of the most likely surprise capabilities from the red-teaming assessment.
Observation 3: Prioritization, Decisions, and Resourcing
(Evaluate and Prepare to Make Tough Choice Trade Offs!)
With inputs on both (1) risk assessment of emerging technologies and behaviors and (2) technology readiness level (TRL) of those technologies with greater risk of surprise, including projected timeline, from the Scanning and Awareness phase, and with vetted impact prioritization by an authoritative red teaming community from the Assessing Surprise phase, the Prioritization, Decisions, and Resourcing process can focus on the tradeoff options for the most cost-effective, lowest risk to deliver, and timeliest
24Naval Research Advisory Committee. 2008. Disruptive Commercial Technologies, Assistant Secretary to the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., June 26, pp. 5-11.
introduction of surprise mitigation or contingency capabilities. This tradeoff is not trivial, since the relative value of effective, “time-to-market” cost and risk may not be easy to establish and, in fact, may lead to a series of capability releases—one that can be fielded quickly by that is only partially effective and a follow-on release that provides more needed capability at a later time.
In this context, a new program start is a last resort as it is the most expensive and has the longest time to deliver. As this is typically not a new program start, the full assessment of alternatives methodology may not be warranted due to cost and time constraints. A model-based, and perhaps experiment-verified, approach to mitigate or provide contingency against surprise in a straightforward and timely manner is envisioned. If an operational TTP is deemed most appropriate, the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command (FFC) or its U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Coast Guard counterpart would be resourced to develop, train, and field the capability. The operation of the SSBN Security Program provides a very useful and model and example for prioritization, decision making, and resourcing in adopting mitigating actions against an array of potential surprises.25
Given the prioritization of needs against surprises presenting high risk to U.S. forces, and based on the potential impacts that have been identified and red teamed, what is needed next is to determine how to best programmatically integrate each surprise-mitigating capability into the force. This determination requires anticipatory analysis and the associated modeling. It is important that each of these mitigation determination efforts be done at the appropriate modeling resolution and scale; i.e, model fidelity, so that the potential program impact is properly understood for operational system and resource requirements development.
The newer models at all levels of detail that have been developed and are being used in various programs are of much higher fidelity as compared to older models, based on evolving computing capabilities and increasingly instrumented test data for validation. These should be used as appropriate to gain sufficiently accurate predictive data and metrics on a potential capability surprise. Further, some of the potential surprises may be of such a nature that new models must be developed to make adequate evaluations.
In performing the model-based analysis, it is also important to define metrics that can put surprises in an operational context that will permit reasonable program tradeoff
25In the prioritization of efforts against the access denial scenario, the committee believes the best near-term mitigation to an unfavorable offensive/defensive missile exchange in an anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment may be to advance the capabilities of networked electronic warfare and creation of cyber attack contingencies for which missile engagements become a last resort. It envisions a program to resource development of nonkinetic system modifications and solutions (electronic countermeasures and deception, cyber intrusion, and directed energy) as a viable prioritization option. A key focus area would be to develop approaches for which the nonkinetic means would be attempted first with sufficient kill assessment indication to provide a reliable input to the decision to engage with kinetic means. Alternatively, if such kill assessment is not readily identified in the near term, the contingency conditions for which nonkinetic measures are most appropriately used separate from kinetic measures should be investigated. For this example, investigations of nonkinetic approaches be considered along the entire threat kill chains.
evaluations to be conducted.26 For example, the operational concept for unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) both as a surprise threat and as a potential U.S. surprise enabler, would likely require new system level and, at least upgraded campaign level models to allow capability impact assessments and development of operational and resourcing requirements.
The committee recognizes that hedging against surprise is not free, and that in a period of declining national security budget “top lines,” protecting the flexibility to deal with surprise will perforce come at the direct expense of reductions in traditional naval capabilities.
Observation 4: Development and Implementation
(Use New Acquisition Starts Only as a Last Resort!)
In the early stages of this study, the committee was exposed to several critical cases where acquisition of new capability was identified as a process that is inordinately slow, and has the risk of impeding naval forces ability to respond to potential surprises—even for those surprises that fall into the category of intelligence-inferred surprise. For example, in the committee’s exploration of potential capability surprises associated with denial-of-space (Scenario #1) discussions with NRL’s Tactical Electronic Warfare Division provided examples wherein multiyear acquisition strategies do not appear to be pacing the evolving threat.27
A natural and easy response to why it takes so long to field new potential capabilities (in address to potential surprises by adversaries) would be to point to the DOD acquisition system and address changes through an update to the DOD 5000 procedures.28 Traditionally this has focused on the Federal Acquisition Regulations System (FARS)/Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Systems (DFARS) procedures with a particular emphasis on the requirements oversight (e.g., the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS), etc.) processes.
Unfortunately, while the problem is widely recognized and while numerous studies over the past few years have recommended changes or adjuncts to the DOD 5000 process, little meaningful progress has been made in speeding up the acquisition process. Therefore, as this study moves forward, it is the intent of this committee to take a different approach to the acquisition challenge and focus less on the procurement process and more on the way that we ask industry to develop and provide capability. As with any solution, the answers must not only be capable but also affordable to both the military
26To date, the committee has received input from several organizations that have modeling and analysis capabilities for use by naval forces, including OPNAV N81, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, the Naval War College, the Naval Post Graduate School, the Navy Warfare Development Command, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. One output of this committee’s final report is anticipated to be a brief profile of the various type modeling capabilities in organizations at the disposal of U.S. naval leadership.
27Naval Research Laboratory, Tactical Electronic Warfare Division, discussion with the committee on naval tactical electronic warfare capabilities and research, May 2, 2012, Washington, D.C.
28The Department of Defense acquisition policy is contained in DOD Directive 5000.1.
and industry alike. As suggested earlier, because of the burdens associated with DFARS, a new program start is a last resort, as the most expensive and longest time to deliver.29
Several organizations interviewed by the committee indicated that a regulation-burdened acquisition program as an almost insurmountable barrier to preparation and rapid technology response to any capability surprise.30 The committee recognized an even more foundational issue: that naval surprise normally occurs at the operational and mission level, while naval acquisition organizations and processes are centered on platform delivery. Several promising suggestions were raised during our investigations. Consciously building in capacity and capability reserve (software, hardware, and weapons) in platform payloads, including mission modules for the littoral combat ships, has potential for a cost-effective way to establish agility to respond to surprise. This method minimizes the changes to the capital intensive investments to platforms, while focusing on the packages that actually deliver mission capabilities and offers the emphasis on incremental improvements that may be rapidly implemented. Another suggestion explored formalizing and resourcing mission syndicates composed of the platform, sensor, and weapon research, requirements, resource, and acquisition organizations that provide contributions in delivery of a particular mission’s capability. This is an enhancement to OPNAV N95 coordination of a mine warfare enterprise and the naval laboratory warfare center concepts, where the syndicate lead is the holder of resources and “buys” mission platforms, sensors, and weapons from the providers. A mission focus approach to acquisition may inspire a more “systems of systems” engineering approach, and could reach across a board category of mission resources to anticipate and respond to surprise.
Observation 5: Force Response
(Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!)
In its current preparation for addressing known gaps that might arise from a new surprise, naval forces typically identify shortfalls in capabilities and flow these into the Department of the Navy and Department of Homeland Security requirements process—including use of urgent operational needs. The process by which gaps are identified, articulated, and prioritized is essential to maximizing naval capabilities and aligning appropriate countermeasures. Current success utilizing the requirements process in
29The committee notes with interest the computer-model-based approach that the U.S. Army, in partnership with DARPA is taking to develop the next generation ground combat vehicle, a new start program. The premise is that validated model-based calculation and simulations can expedite passage through the complex acquisition milestones by providing a more quantitative basis for decisions without requiring the building and testing of critical components. This development bears monitoring. LTC Nathan Wiedenman, USA, and Paul Eremenko, Program Managers, DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, discussion with the committee on DARPA’s perspectives on capability surprise, February 29, 2012, Washington, D.C.
30The committee was briefed by several experts who pointed out acquisition challenges associated with capability and readiness, including discussions with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation on April 12. For detailed discussion of a concrete example of concern, see U.S. Government Accountability Office, Report to the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, 2012, Airborne Electronic Attack: Achieving Mission Objectives Depends on Overcoming Acquisition Challenges, GAO-12-15, Washington, D.C., March.
establishing capabilities for surprise will be reviewed in detail in the final report. Any deficiencies noted by the committee addressed through recommendations.
The committee’s initial observations are that naval forces may not be preparing realistically for surprise, such as through reliance on games, modeling and simulation, exercises, and challenging red-teaming that creates and exploits simulated failures in networks and in space capabilities like GPS. Moreover, naval forces must adopt unconventional thinking and a common weakness is letting the designers of systems and concepts do their own red teaming. Experience teaches time and time again that people do not find a lot of flaws with their own work and, as such, independent red teaming is vital. At the same time, it is reasonable to state that red teams are subject to the same cultural influences discussed earlier and, as such, the committee plans to address these and other areas related to red teaming in greater depth in its final report.31
Rather, this committee’s impressions are that it is more typical for naval forces to exercise assuming chat rooms are operating and networks are functioning, because the denial of these would be “too hard” and/or require substantially more resources than available for the exercises. Yet it is well known that this potential surprise exists. The presence of cyber attacks, for instance, would be so disruptive that it is imperative that top cover be provided to execute any game or exercise with it. The Navy has not trained to operate in a denied environment for many years, though that condition was typical in past practice events some 20 years ago. There is a need to move out aggressively with realistic red-teaming, exercises, and training to establish procedures—such as for voice recognition—that must function in less-optimum environments.
To date, the committee has conducted only preliminary discussion on preparation and readiness with naval fleet. This area will be explored more completely in the final report and will utilize the surprise examples of this study (mitigation of space access, missile magazine depletion and social media surprise), plus potentially other scenarios as ‘pathfinders’ to develop and exercise the new organizational processes.
Observation 6: Factoring Surprise into Naval Preparedness
(Drive a Cultural Shift!)
As discussed earlier in this report, capability surprise is an inherently complex and multifaceted issue. As such, a sustainable and effective approach will likely require a shift in organizational thinking. An organization’s ability to react to any type of surprise depends on all levels of leadership to properly assess the situation, understand the overall mission objectives, create a mental decision model on which to act, and have the authority to call on as many diverse naval capabilities as required to respond.
For example, while some surprises arise slowly with ample indicators of a potential capability, the future types of very short-term capability surprises such as suicide bomb attacks on the USS Cole, and the 911 World Trade Towers require having
31Similar remarks pertain to the statements about the need to shift to a more “surprise ready” organizational culture, and the concomitant need for metrics for surprise readiness. Strong evidential support for the lack of surprise readiness and clear justification of the benefits of moving toward a culture of surprise readiness is important will be important for the committee to consider in its final report.
“meta-organizations”32 approaches understood and ready to be executed in minutes to hours across the appropriate skill and authority areas. This is important not only to support the immediate responses, but to rapidly examine other areas where an adversary might use these capabilities and very rapidly prepare responses to mitigate those potential capability surprise extensions across the entire regime that might be at risk.
While the committee has not yet explored the potential for generating meaningful metrics that might be used in addressing naval preparedness for dealing with potential capability surprise, we believe a cultural shift is needed towards increased flexibility and agility to react when such surprise or “black swan” events occur. This committee believes that integral to the organizations’ effectiveness in dealing with surprise is the issue of metrics, and the potential incorporation of surprise readiness into these metrics. Concepts to develop and integrate the culture of surprise readiness across the naval enterprise will be presented in the final report.
All naval forces of the world have been nurtured in an environment that breeds on honing one’s ability to deal with surprise. Professionalism as a mariner was often judged by an ability to “read” the winds and seas or to “weather” a storm without lost of limb or ships capability. This single-handed ability to deal with the surprises faced by the captain of a vessel is a classic template that has colored naval operations since 1776.
Thankfully, tremendous advances in technology and information sharing have given captains enhanced tools and data with which to face today’s surprises—as long as the event has been previously experienced and a reliable solution known.
However, when a totally new surprise emerges, it takes strong leadership to steer away from “let the captain handle it” or “let the commander and his staff figure this one out.” An ad hoc approach to facing a new problem is not likely to result in a high-quality solution, even less likely to be worthy of attribution to the mature and capable naval forces of the United States.
Historically, the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard have registered some “eye-watering” successes based upon timely and thoughtful ad hoc reaction to surprise. Similarly, some solutions have been less than stellar.
The goal of naval forces must be to always find the best reaction to a surprise, using the fullest measure of knowledge, intelligence, experience, and talent that can be brought to bear.
In the coming months, the committee plans to continue its work to provide an expanded and more comprehensive examination of the topics covered in this interim report and to complete its final report expeditiously. Furthermore, in the preparation of its final report, the committee will explore additional capability-surprise-related topics,
32Meta-organizations or meta-leadership are used when there are unexpected or fast changing situations such as in public health or homeland security to coordinate/lead across different organizations. An example was the response led by ADM Thad Allan, former Commandant of the Coast Guard, in response to Hurricane Katrina. Additional discussion on meta-organizations is found in the Scandinavian Management Journal, 2005, Vol. 21, Issue 4, 2005, pp. 429-449; available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956522105000813. Accessed June 8, 2012.
such as the interaction of intelligence and operations, and the potential use of offensive means to create surprises of U.S. origin to help mitigate or deter unanticipated surprise. It will also pursue additional interaction with the fleet to explore additional operational concepts for dealing with potential surprise based on hypothesized scenarios. Finally, the committee will explore the potential refinement of organizational concepts and suggested authorities against the committee’s postulated framework for addressing surprise.