Process and Culture
4.1 Managing Change
The catch phrase used to capture the technology-driven transformation in almost all aspects of warfighting in the years ahead—the so-called revolution in military affairs—points to the magnitude of the institutional challenges associated with this transformation. Revolutions do not occur smoothly, nor do they succeed without significant breakage on many fronts. Revolutionary change and transformation are even more difficult when the institutions are steeped in proud histories and imbued with strong cultures. And, in the absence of an immediate crisis facing them, institutions are particularly challenged to transform themselves.
Although the military situation is different in major ways from that of the industrial sector, some useful guidance is available in the form of generally effective principles that have been learned from the revolutions currently under way in banking, retailing, the distribution industry, and a number of other commercial sectors. Six keys to success derived from a study of successful transformations in the commercial sector are the following:
- A consistent and clear driving vision;
- A set of supporting processes, drawing broadly on those affected by change and often using specific institutions, to refine and communicate the vision, to quantify and test its reality, and to translate it into implementable pieces;
- A persistent and constant in-place leadership cadre, driving an ongoing sense of urgency;
- The willingness and drive to reengineer any process, doctrine, or organization and to take risks;
- The willingness to allocate the funding necessary for change and to reprioritize budget allocations; and
- A commitment to align the measurement system across the hierarchy and in accordance with the vision.
Each of these items is discussed below in the context of DOD implementation of these principles. Metrics for the management measurement system are addressed in section 4.6.
4.1.1 Clear Vision for the Future
As noted in Chapter 1, Joint Vision 2010 reflects the top-level vision in the DOD of what is possible through the exploitation of C4I technology, and the services have each translated this top-level vision into a service-specific vision.
Today, the culture of the DOD regarding C4I systems and capabilities is in a state of transition, with senior military leadership becoming more broadly aware of information technology as an evolutionary force in doctrine and operations. This evolution is characterized by changes in doctrine, growth in new descriptive terminology, and substantial leadership investment in awareness. In short, the committee believes that the DOD has performed reasonably well in articulating a vision for the future.
4.1.2 Supporting Processes
In the course of its work, the committee encountered a number of efforts aimed at refining and quantifying the vision of advanced C4I systems and at learning and capturing the creative energies of the services and numerous supporting industries; these efforts included some of the exercises and experiments of several services, and demonstrations such as the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstrations. The DOD leadership has also approved a number of recent concept studies and organizations that aim to better understand and, where possible, quantify the contributions to military effectiveness that can be realized from effectively exploiting information technology. So-called ''battle labs," along with numerous simulations, experiments, tests, and exercises, have contributed to a body of significant knowledge regarding the utility of advanced C4I systems. The committee found a large number of overlay offices and processes aimed at achieving jointness and interoperability, indicating at least some significant organizational acknowledgment of these matters.
Nevertheless, as is often the case in the evolution of any large enterprise, DOD's doctrinal and technical visionaries are far ahead of DOD's
institutional reality in terms of bringing information technology to bear on current and future military needs. For example, the mere presence of offices and processes does not mean that the organization as a whole places a high priority on jointness and interoperability, and there is a big difference between a laboratory or an experiment that is fully joint in spirit and execution and one that is focused primarily on a specific service but with token involvement of other services at the edges.1 And, in the information security area, the committee did not observe a comparable organizational acknowledgment.
Many factors have been blamed for the less-than-full realization of the potential impact of C4I on military operations. These factors include the following:
- Equipment, by law, must be purchased in the individual services.
- Time and tradition have created distinctive cultures within the services.
- In each service, promotion depends heavily on combat command experience.
- Congressional mandates have forced the DOD's suppliers to operate at greater and greater arm's length from those they serve.
- Traditional weapons change slowly, and the military has become accustomed to procurements that take many years to complete.
- Information technology in computers, communication, and sensors is changing at an exceptionally rapid pace.
- The military market for many commercial information technology products is comparatively small.
Numerous efforts are under way to deal with some of those individual causes. Yet none seems sufficient despite the prevalent answer to almost any question: "Yes, we're taking care of that." Because the issues are so diverse, it is necessary to aggregate the resources needed to deal with them, and thus an organizational approach to promoting change—much like Motorola University or the General Electric Crotonville school—seems a more promising approach.2 In this context, the organization pro-
vides an experimental context in which knowledge is captured at the point of action—because practitioners have the opportunity to codify their knowledge—and lessons learned become imperatives and lead to adaptation. If these lessons then link to doctrine, this learning process can be an institutional mechanism for responding to environmental change. It is critical to this approach that a strategic perspective be used, or else the knowledge management effort will degrade into one that creates only large repositories of reports. The role of communities of practice not only can affect the decision process (including key stakeholders and implementers) but also can begin to affect culture.
Consider, for example, General Electric's Crotonville Management School as a focus for then-CEO Jack Welch's continuing efforts to transform General Electric. Crotonville is far more than a typical management school. It is a key center of debate and refinement of the waves of strategic change that have made General Electric one of the world's most competitive and successful companies. It is both the source of refinement of the gospel and the place where it is debated and driven home across the General Electric management structure. The committee did not find any DOD entity analogous to the Crotonville school that might be the center of education and research aimed at driving the revolution in military affairs forward in a truly joint manner. To the best of the committee's knowledge no analogous transformation-driving institution exists within the military, particularly with respect to joint and/or combined operations.
4.1.3 Persistent Leadership Creating a Sense of Urgency
In the civilian world, chief executive officers and other key personnel can remain in place for as long as necessary to guide a substantial organizational change (i.e., time periods long enough to convince lower levels of the organization that waiting until the focus of management changes is not a viable option). Thus, CEOs and others can be chosen for their vision and commitment to change with the expectation that the individuals will endure. One military analog of such a leader was Admiral Hyman Rickover, an individual who personified a vision for the future with respect to the nuclear Navy and who could drive progress today, tomorrow, and every day beyond that.3 A more recent example is Rear Admiral Wayne Meyer, who presided over the development and deployment of
AEGIS for almost 14 years.4 It is also significant that AEGIS was developed more or less within all of the acquisition bureaucracy and constraints of the testing community.
But in the military, the long tenure of individuals is the exception—in general, short time limits on the tenure of driving visionaries within the DOD encourage the natural tendency of an organization to resist change. The DOD suffers from management turnover in the top military (and civilian) leadership that is much more frequent than turnover in the private-sector companies that have successfully effected major cultural changes. The committee met and were briefed by numerous impressive leaders—among them both operators and top-level staff—who were clearly providing a strong driving force for transformation, but who were within a short period, sometimes less than 1 year, of either retiring from the service or moving on to the next assignment.
This lack of continuity presents a major challenge for the military. Because the DOD is a government organization, its senior leadership is expected to rotate on a regular basis. The average tenure of a secretary of defense is 18 months, and while senior military leaders are expected to remain somewhat longer, both tenures are short compared to the time needed to effect major cultural changes.5 Thus, sustaining attention to large issues such as interoperability requires the existence of an institutional process to facilitate such change, rather than relying on a strong personality.
Because DOD is not constructed in such a way that a single individual personality can readily create the focus needed for change, it must instead rely on organizational entities that persist over time. Recognizing that the functions of C4I are the constituent elements of an integrated whole and that the C4I "fabric" must be treated as a global system in order for the functions of command and control to achieve optimum performance, the DOD in early 1998 consolidated intelligence, security and information operations, C4ISR and space systems, and the Chief Information Officer's responsibilities in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I. However, a year before this new structure was established, DOD decided to separate intelligence oversight from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I and subordinated command, control, and communications oversight inside the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. The decision directing the separation also would have eliminated
enforcement authority, leaving the residual bodies as policy-making organs.6
Finally, an institutional sense of urgency is also needed to create revolutionary change. Within the DOD, actual conflict and operational deployments are often required to move the system faster.7 Sometimes, a large, looming threat creates the same urgency, as the Soviet threat in the late 1950s and early 1960s drove the U.S. strategic nuclear program. But absent immediate conflict or looming threat, it is difficult to motivate rapid change. Moreover, lack of urgency in the DOD today is also underscored by the apparent unwillingness of the system to follow through on identified opportunities with rapid fielding, follow-through that would require significant reallocation of resources between weapons systems and C4I systems. In short, DOD does not exhibit persistent leadership in this area today.
4.1.4 Process Reengineering
Experience in the private sector with the application of information technology suggests that modest improvements are possible when such technology is used to automate existing processes. Applying information technology for such purposes is relatively straightforward, and most organizations are capable of using information technology in such ways to achieve incrementally faster and more accurate information flows and more efficient business processes.
The private sector has often found that radical (rather than incremental) improvements leading to real competitive advantage can be achieved only by significant reengineering of processes, operating methodologies, and organizations to exploit fully the capabilities enabled by information
The committee's view of this separation is negative. Those who viewed the separation as positive sometimes argued that C3 (rather than intelligence) is the "glue" that holds most weapon systems together, and thus that C3 should be institutionally integrated with weapon systems acquisition more than with intelligence. In this view, intelligence is regarded as a less real-time function that serves the political leadership in prioritization as much or more than it does the warfighter, while surveillance and reconnaissance are part of C3/weapons systems. The committee respects this argument but believes that the weapons system acquisition culture is so fundamentally different from C4I and so much more dominant within DOD that integrating the two would inevitably result in C4I being treated like weapons systems—a fundamentally misguided treatment when the underlying technologies are so different. Furthermore, the committee believes that the future of intelligence on the battlefield is that it must become more real-time in nature to be more useful to the warfighter.
For example, the GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" bomb was assembled in record time to support targeting of hardened Iraqi command bunkers in the Gulf War. The U.S. Air Force asked industry for ideas on how to destroy such bunkers in the week after combat operations started. The first operational bombs were delivered to the Gulf theater in less than a month (from project go-ahead). See the Federation of American Scientists' home page online at <http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/gbu-28.htm>.
technology. Indeed, in some cases, such reengineering has resulted in the creation of entirely new business processes that are the foundation of entirely new lines of business. Such new enterprises in essence redefine the terms of competition.
Wal-Mart, a company studied by DOD as an example of the achievement of major competitive advantage, did not simply replace paper with computers in its key processes. It reengineered most of its key processes in its distribution network around the new capabilities offered by the progress of technology, dramatically improving key aspects of its business from sourcing logistics to distribution to store operations. (Note also that Wal-Mart did not rely on state-of-the-art information technology and was thus able to minimize its expenses for new technology acquisitions.) Federal Express did not simply computerize what United Parcel Service had been doing, nor did Amazon.com merely automate what Barnes and Noble was doing. They reengineered their processes and aimed for dramatic rather than incremental improvement. It was as much success in this reengineering of process and organization as the application of technology that provided the competitive advantage in each of these cases.
In the DOD context, an operational focus on how C4I can lead to improved outcomes (rather than just providing new capabilities) raises the important question of how to reengineer operational processes and procedures to achieve improved outcomes with advanced information technology. Such reengineering will take on greater urgency as new digitized weapon systems are fielded. An all-digital capability will allow information available on individual weapon platforms to be shared simultaneously and acted on from across the battlespace. Targets acquired by sensors in aircraft, for example, can be seen concurrently at multiple echelons of command and can be engaged with minimal delay by designated air or surface-based weapons operating within preestablished rules.
Reengineering can also have an impact that ripples throughout an entire organization. For example, if combat forces can be applied quickly at the right location at the right time (perhaps as the result of using C4I effectively), then there is less need for larger force structures to be prelocated to cover the range of possibilities. With smaller force structures, the need for high-volume platform modernization is diminished, the need for supporting logistics is lessened, the need for lift is lowered, the need for infrastructures is cut, and the time needed to move forces is reduced. Military doctrine can focus less on forward basing and more on rapid deployment. In short, reengineered technology-exploiting processes are likely to enable major competitive advantage for the DOD, just as they do on the civilian side.
In its site visits, the committee did see some efforts that embodied the concepts of reengineering, such as the Army's Force XXI program. Such
efforts call for both business processes and combat doctrine to be reengineered. (An example of business process reengineering is the idea of reducing by a factor of 10 the personnel needed to operate a tactical operations center. An example of doctrinal reengineering is the idea of engaging in coordinated strikes across the entire 200-km-deep battlespace rather than engaging in attrition warfare.) However, in a number of cases it appeared that too little of this type of effort was under way, and that the result may be a requirement for so much technology and so much skilled manpower that the technology-enhanced versions of military units may be unaffordable, insufficiently nimble of movement, or otherwise unachievable.
4.1.5 Budgets and Reprioritization of Investment
Leveraging information technology to create large-scale institutional change usually requires the commitment of significant resources to that effort. In a world of finite budgets, such commitment inevitably entails the reprioritization and reallocation of budget lines. Moreover, given the pace at which information technology changes, ways of using information technology that are optimal today will inevitably be different in 5 or 10 years. The optimal balance and manner of use at any point in time will not be optimal—or anywhere near optimal—5 years later. Large corporations deal with such change by replacing information technology on a relatively frequent basis (i.e., more rapidly than they replace other capital investments). In the military context, balance and investment trade-offs arise at two fundamental levels: among C4I programs and capabilities and between C4I programs and weapons/platforms.
In observing DOD efforts in this area, the committee found little evidence that the very powerful statement of Joint Vision 2010 (or its service derivatives) has led to significant consequent reprioritization of resources and budgets. Indeed, because defense budget programming is undertaken incrementally, the trade-off is usually captured in terms of a question such as, Should an incremental dollar be spent on C4I or on weapons systems? This trade-off reflects a pervasive and very significant tension between the historical quest of military leadership for traditional weapons modernization and the call for investment in "force multipliers" such as modern C4I systems and applications. Furthermore, DOD does not have the luxury of rapid turnover in its C4I systems, as it often faces the tacit belief of its budget overseers in Congress and the Administration that C4I systems should have the same useful lifetime as do major weapons systems.
Because of the continued and anticipated rapid rate of advance of information technology, the appropriate balance between weapons systems and C4I technology will continue to shift, posing major challenges
for the military services. DOD will never solve the C4I problem "once and for all" but will need to think constantly about how information technology could be changing the way the services perform their missions, and how best to optimize the allocation of resources among C4I systems, weapons modernization, and force structure.
The point in highlighting this issue is not to substantiate the need for a particular balance, rebalancing, or change in investment strategy. Rather, it is to emphasize that the question of balance, its evolution over time, and the impact on military effectiveness are critically important and warrant having a standing and continuing activity to look at broad investment trade-offs, with military effectiveness being the dominant consideration.
4.2 Special Non-Technical Challenges Faced by the Military
Realization of the full exploitation of C4I will require major changes in military operations and in the processes and culture of the military institutions themselves. Discussions with individuals from the top military and civilian leadership in DOD as well as with captains, corporals, and other operators in the field during exercises and experiments helped the committee to appreciate the enormity of the challenge.
This transformation is occurring (or trying to occur) at a time of significant reduction in resources. To those actively engaged in the process, reductions in resources will always appear to be a major aggravating factor making the transformation more difficult. Nevertheless, a number of committee members have participated in similar transitions in the commercial world, and note that while significant resource reductions are a major source of pain for those involved in the transformation, such reductions also can in fact have positive effects because they eliminate any doubt of the need for rapid change. In addition, this urgency can drive major reengineering rather than incremental progress, and thus produce a more positive result.
Still, the DOD faces many challenges that are not found in the private sector, challenges that are specific to the role, history, and culture of the military. None of these is an absolute inhibitor of the required transformation, but taken together they loom large. Success in moving forward at a sufficiently rapid pace will require awareness of these factors and conscious effort to deal with them.
4.2.1 Situational Challenges
Like most other modern institutions, the military lives and operates in, and must plan effectively in the face of, a highly uncertain world. While a few situations, as in Korea, provide reasonable planning scenarios,
the military must in large part be prepared to respond rapidly and effectively to situations that are far less predictable, against a variety of potential aggressors, and with a wide range of potential coalition partners.
In addition, and in contrast to most private-sector institutions that have shown how to achieve competitive advantage based on technology, the military can only exercise and practice anticipated types of operations, rather than build on continuous experience, which allows incremental progress. Commercial organizations are engaged in their regular business every day, and the partners with whom they work and their competitors are a relatively stable set. Thus, real operational successes and failures are apparent if management knows how to look for them, giving decision makers a near-real-time window into the operational effectiveness of the organization.
By contrast, the competitive arena for the military is not nearly so orderly or well defined as for the private sector, and the analogy to the private sector has many limitations. While generating profit is the clear and unambiguous objective for private-sector firms, success or failure of the DOD is not something determined in the "marketplace"—as a matter of national policy, it is unacceptable for the DOD to fail. Furthermore, unlike private sector firms that practice their particular business every day, the DOD must be prepared for a very wide range of possible military operational scenarios under the constraint that (thankfully) the nation is not continually engaged in those scenarios. The military services train regularly, but the stakes involved in exercises are simply not the same as those associated with war, nor is the degree of unpredictability the same. Furthermore, live exercises are expensive. The result is that DOD must rely on a variety of surrogate indicators (e.g., the outcome of simulations, the judgments of experts) to assess itself. This set of differences is compounded by the major shift in command structure, from a service-based preparedness mode to a joint task force operational mode, which occurs upon deployment.
4.2.2 Organizational Challenges
By law, the services have the responsibility to organize, train, and equip their forces. As such, they control the budgets for their acquisition programs. Service program managers—who are responsible to the service—will naturally pay greatest attention to satisfying program requirements that are most desired by the service. For those situations in which interoperability is both not a service priority (for whatever reason) and also entails additional expense, budget pressures work against interoperability. (Box 4.1 provides an illustration of how military culture, the acquisition system, and doctrine can affect system design for data com-
BOX 4.1 Data Sharing Acquisition, and Doctrinal Reengineering
A good illustration of how cultural and Institutional factors can affect system design involves the issue of data interoperability. As discussed in. Chapter 2, data incompatibilities between systems are a major source of interoperability difficulties. But in addition to technical reasons that lead to data incompatibilities, cultural factors can also create significant impediments, to reaching, agreement on data definitions
Many of these factors manifest themselves as operational and doctrinal concerns. One concern is that delivery of Information to a subordinate may be confused with authority to act on that Information. traditionally, flows of Information to, lower echelons have been limited by available resources and, accompanied by direction, (commands). But because interoperable systems by definition facilitate information, exchanges with few constraints, they make it much easier to separate Information from command. As a result, doctrine based on combining Information with command or authority is threatened by a reengineering of doctrine that involves the separation of information from authority.
One illustration of this threat to existing doctrine is that a common operating picture shared at all levels of the command hierarchy enables a mode of command known as "command by negation." In this mode, subordinate units—possessing a clear picture of the overall battlefield and knowing the commander's overall intent—act on their own initiative consistent with the commander's intent. Thus, they need not wait for approval or direction from higher authority and can operate at a much higher tempo. if the commander observes the unit doing something inappropriate, or if the, commander's intent changes for the unit's operating area of responsibility, he can direct the unit to do something else.
A second illustration relates to trust among, units from different services and even from the same service Data collected organically by a unit (locally collected data) are often regarded. by. that unit as more trustworthy than data fed to that unit from other sources (foreign data). The reason is that, the meaning and value attached to data are contingent on the circumstances under which the data were collected and on the theory used to collect the data, and the unit is much more familiar with the theory and circumstances surrounding locally collected data (and thus its limitations and qualifications) as compared to foreign data. Handling of data that a subsequent system will regard as foreign data is considered risky, because the performance of the subsequent system or operational element becomes vulnerable to imperfections in that data. Because it is the characteristic of interoperability that enables data to be passed for subsequent use in the first place, interoperability can be regarded as a kind of threat to system performance.
Expectations of trust also affect the timing of information exchanges. A unit may prefer to delay the sharing of data because the data might not be fully analyzed or complete. However, users (e.g., higher-level commanders) may in many circumstances find incomplete and partially analyzed data delivered in a timely manner to be more useful than more complete and more fully analyzed data delivered late. Interoperable C4I systems enable sharing to take place at a time and under circumstances that are less controllable by the unit providing the data.
These matters of trust help to explain the sense of proprietary ownership over data that the committee observed from time to time. ''I want the raw data" is often heard as a rallying cry. Data (as opposed to information, which is processed data and/or fused data) is thought to be the absolute truth, and those who control data often are regarded as having substantial decision and resource leverage. In a truly integrated operation, of course, data belongs to everyone. However, the committee was frequently exposed to controversies about the view that "the commander of the Joint Task Force owns the data."
Operating and doctrinal factors such as those described above are often reflected in the acquisition process. The acquisition system is supposed to reflect the concerns of users, and thus it is probably not accidental that there are no mission area requirements for sharing information, and existing documents are inadequate. The mission need statements for C4I systems generally provide no guidance against which a program can be tested, and state only that "the system must be interoperable The concept of operations does not usually specify the information flows, and thus cannot explicate the value added at each node of a C4I. network or why various information flows are important
Finally, data sharing may well have cost implications. For example the Theater High Altitude Area Defense radar system was designed to provide track data. But if it is also called on to provide imaging information, a new processor could be required for the system. Moreover, if some other military operator were to ask for Theater High Altitude Area Defense radar data for use in some other context, he would likely meet with stiff resistance from the system: owner, who would probably be concerned about repercussions in the event of misuse of the data or might worry about inadequacies in the requesting authority's processing or interpretation methods.
patibility.) Furthermore, even when a C4I program of one service is required to accommodate interoperability needs originating from another service, the new requirements for such functionality are often not accompanied by additional budget authority. There is thus no economic incentive for the other service to restrain its wish list.
The services also have the responsibility for training the forces. A major component of training is the unit exercise. Because unit training is
frequent, C4I systems from the same service must interoperate often, with the result that interoperability problems are more likely to be identified. In this context, the units have substantial "local" incentives to fix these problems, because left unfixed, they will recur frequently. By contrast, joint exercises and training are relatively infrequent and involve a set of variable C4I interactions among the units that happen to train together. Thus, the immediate pressure to fix problems arising in a joint context is considerably less compared to the pressure to fix problems that will arise in the relatively near term with a unit exercise. Local incentives are thus missing, and many interoperability problems may remain hidden because the systems are not exercised often or thoroughly enough.8 (These points support the recommendations in Chapter 2 for more frequent and systematic testing.)
A related training point is that time-phased procurements of C4I systems create doctrinal problems. A contingency might call for Unit A, equipped with and trained in the use of a new C4I system, to work together with Unit B, which lacks the new C4I system. Unit A must thus be "backward compatible" from a doctrinal standpoint, and must be able to adjust its procedures and tactics accordingly to work effectively with Unit B. For example, the Division 21 experiment at Fort Hood promises to
produce one or more divisions equipped with fully digital C4ISR systems and services by the beginning of the next decade. Unfortunately, the majority of the Army will not have access to such capabilities until years later, unless substantial budgetary change is enabled by Congress.
4.2.3 Schedule and Budget Challenges
Schedule and budgets put tremendous pressure on military C4I acquisitions. One manifestation of these pressures is the importance of reprioritization in light of the leverage of information technology, as discussed in section 4.1.5. In particular, the trade-offs between system functionality and interoperability or security can lead to significant reductions in interoperability or security in order to meet schedule and budget commitments. As a result, directives intended to assure jointness and interoperability of C4I systems have proven relatively ineffective because program managers and the services have few institutional incentives to comply with them, and few penalties accrue to C4I programs that are not interoperable. For example, despite an Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I directive making the Joint Technical Architecture mandatory for all C4I systems, a DOD Inspector General report found non-compliance in the plans of a large number of C4I programs.9 If such non-compliance is found in a program's written plans, it can only be assumed that some others that have compliance written into their plans will not in fact comply. On the security side, there are clear operational trade-offs of system assurance and security against connectivity, functionality, and convenience of operation. Effective systems assurance consumes money and management energy without the outward appearance of providing additional functionality. In fact, an assured system does provide more functionality. It just takes active hostilities to show it. Also, system assurance is made more difficult by the interconnection of large networks of systems that are key to realizing the C4I vision.
A related budget point is that in the private sector, attempts at integrating disparate information systems are generally accompanied by significant budget authority that is controlled by management responsible for the integration effort. In some cases, budgets of the programs to be integrated are even taxed to produce the centrally managed integration budget, which then gives those programs strong incentives to work constructively with the integration authority. A similar situation does not apply to DOD. While certain C4I oversight offices within DOD do have the ability to withhold budget authority from the services for C4I pro-
grams that are not paying sufficient attention to C4I interoperability, they do not in general have budgets of their own to spend on efforts to promote interoperability. Stopping programs that do not comply with requirements for interoperability requires identifying them in the first place, and then investing time and political capital—a highly inefficient process.10
A final budget point is that because individual programs are often funded on a line-item basis by the U.S. Congress, program managers must explicitly account for spending funds designated for one program on another. While this requirement promotes accountability of taxpayer funds, it does pose a potential impediment when unforeseen expenditures may be necessary in one C4I program to support interoperability with other systems. Logic may well dictate that reprogramming funds from one C4I program to another is the most effective means to achieve interoperability, but such decisions may be questioned when the reprogramming report is made. To the extent that such reprogramming is made difficult, it may well be harder for program managers to make the trade-offs necessary to achieve integration.
4.2.4 Coalition Challenges
The necessary and correct working assumption that all future military operations will be joint and will most likely involve coalition partners places a special set of challenges on achieving true interoperability and security among C4I systems among all parties in such operations. There are many challenges to be faced in that regard:
- Inability to fully predict coalition partners. While all future U.S. military operations can reasonably be expected to employ the four military services, the coalition partners are generally unpredictable and subject to continuous change. This greatly complicates (indeed, renders essentially impossible) any effort to plan for C4I interoperability in advance of the formation of a coalition.
- Inadequate investments, incompatible architectures. U.S. military budgets are large compared to those of other nations on an absolute basis. Potential coalition partners, for the most part, lack adequate resources to modernize their C4I systems, and thus may well be using equipment that
- is substantially incompatible with present and planned U.S. C4I systems. For example, the committee viewed a South Korean command and control system based on 1950s 60-word-per-minute teletype technology. An exacerbating issue in this regard is that the extent to which other nations favor indigenous military procurements of C4I systems diminishes the likelihood that multinational systems will interoperate readily, pending the development of technology that might render such difficulties inconsequential. In fact even when multiple nations (e.g., NATO members) ostensibly subscribe to certain C4I interoperability standards, interoperability is far from assured (as is often the case with international commercial standards).
- Trust and security. The United States places many restrictions on the types of information it is willing to share with certain coalition partners. Such concerns are understandable in light of the fact that today's coalition partner may be tomorrow's adversary. However, from a technical standpoint, developing interoperable information systems that allow only selective passage of information creates major challenges. 11
- Doctrinal differences. As noted in Chapter 2, U.S. military doctrine emphasizes the importance of devolving operational control to the lowest levels of command consistent with centrally determined top-level goals. This doctrine makes sense for the United States, but it is not accepted by all potential coalition partners. Differences in doctrine can lead coalition forces to misunderstand information or direction coming from U.S. forces, and vice versa.
- Language. Language differences are a major impediment to interoperability. While these can be managed to some degree with bilingual liaison officers, the inability to exercise command and control directly in a common tongue can cause critical operational problems.
4.3 The Acquisition System
Success in ensuring that competitive advantage is achieved in the C4I arena requires that the changes in the DOD environment extend to
its mind-set and processes, and to the regulatory and oversight structure, for acquiring new technology. The organization, procedures, and regulations governing acquisition of military capabilities are oriented largely toward major weapon systems for which the time from concept definition to fielding of the first article of production typically ranges from 10 to 15 years. This process is designed around a series of phases and checkpoints, beginning with the development of a validated mission need and progressing through concept definition, program formulation and risk reduction, engineering and manufacturing, and production, deployment, operations, and support. Further, there have historically been tensions between the DOD and the commercial providers of weapon and C4I systems, tensions involving budgetary considerations, compliance issues regarding contractor and acquisition authority relationships, and increasingly inquisitive, often hostile, news media. These tensions have typically driven significant increases in the acquisition program delivery time. As program length has increased, the pace of evolution of electronic system technology—particularly information technology—has also accelerated, now averaging a factor-of-10 improvement in capability every 5 years. Thus the standard acquisition process ensures that no program has a reasonable possibility of delivering current C4I technology to the warfighter.
The DOD no longer enjoys the leverage it used to exercise regarding the development and application of technology. The government cannot compete successfully with industry for the intellectual resources needed to satisfy its requirements, any more than it can hope to employ traditional acquisition methods and controls to leverage technology. The market drives the directions of research, engineering, and technology resources, and the market is a reward- and incentive-driven environment. The most likely means for success in leveraging these factors to the advantage of the DOD is for the department to pursue a pattern of behavior consistent with the forces of the market, that is, to participate in the market as a consumer and partner, keeping pace with market developments and providing capital incentives as its means of leveraging commercial system solutions to its requirements.
The leaders of the acquisition process must also face the realities of a diminishing force structure even as requirements for military capability grow. An important management challenge to DOD leadership is to achieve timely provisioning of military capabilities that can produce a higher likelihood of success of military operations, over a more varied spectrum of tasks, with fewer resources. In the context of a smaller force structure, it is worth noting that even as the military strength of the nation, in terms of actual personnel strength, has shrunk by more than 40% over the past 8 years, the oversight of the acquisition process has not de-
creased in proportion to that reduction.12 The current requirements generation, acquisition, and program management culture of the DOD requires significant alteration in order to capitalize on the immense changes that information technology has brought to industry and the world. While numerous DOD leaders appear to espouse the tenets of "acquisition reform," the behavior of program directors and managers has evolved little—nor has that of the huge oversight bureaucracy instituted to ensure that every acquisition of significance satisfies the traditional acquisition regulations.
The willingness to take risks and the use of effective risk management are essential to realizing the full potential of C4I-enabling technologies. Traditional risk-avoidance strategies invariably cede the advantage to smaller and more agile enterprises, even when the "right" decisions are made.13 In the commercial sector, the entire history of information technology suggests that it is very difficult to predict what the important information technology applications will be 3 years (roughly two current generations) in the future. Many information technology applications and capabilities are proposed; a few survive, while the majority fail. Marketplace success (i.e., large market share) often goes to vendors that deploy an initial version of a product with minimal functionality and then go on to improve and upgrade the product after fielding it.
One key area in which greater risks must be taken is in taking advantage of the flexibility already built into the acquisition system. The existing acquisition process was redesigned to (in principle) allow considerable flexibility in the program management, but that flexibility is seldom put to use by program managers. In practice, conservative "by the book" approaches better suited to long-lived weapons systems are still preferred, even for C4I programs. The training that acquisition managers receive does not prepare them well to understand the intrinsic differences between C4I (information) and weapon systems, and they may be ill-prepared to argue the significance of those differences before acquisition boards and oversight councils.
While significant modifications to some processes have been made to deal with this issue, much more needs to be done. The committee sees the need for changes in the several areas that are described in section 4.3.2 through section 4.3.6.
4.3.2 Requirements, the 80% Solution, and Functional Specifications
The realization that the rate of change in technology as well as in operational requirements (especially in C4I) is not matched to the typical multiyear cycle time for traditional system acquisition has led to the concept of evolutionary acquisition, also known as "spiral development." Given a validated requirement and an approved architectural framework for future development, evolutionary acquisition allows more rapid deployment of systems and provides a process for incremental upgrading of fielded systems. Conceptually, the requirements, definition, testing, and fielding steps of traditional acquisitions are executed over much shorter cycle times for each incremental deployment. Evolutionary acquisition permits incremental addition of capabilities to a system and the underlying technologies evolve without this being viewed as "requirements creep."
A fundamental tenet of evolutionary acquisition is acceptance of the "80% solution." Insistence on a "100% solution" can radically increase costs and extensively delay system deployment. It should be stipulated that an "80% solution'' is the goal for virtually all C4I acquisitions. The rationale is simple: no C4I system requirement can be effectively specified to the 100% level, nor can any C4I acquisition program deliver a "final" solution. An 80% solution allows the program design to take advantage of the inevitable changes in the underlying information technologies. It also provides a base of experience on which to specify and build the remaining functionality. And, it allows a more gradual path for possible changes in doctrine and tactics for using the capabilities provided by a new C4I system.
A good C4I acquisition, particularly an evolutionary acquisition, actively engages the end user in the acquisition cycle, particularly from the concept development through the design stage, and again in the test and acceptance phase, as noted in section 4.3.4. The end user should have significant influence in determining the "80%" point in the acquisition contract, and should be able to interface freely with the contractor (in concert with the acquisition program manager) regarding technical, cost, and capability trade-offs during the engineering and integration stages of the program. Rapid prototyping and similar techniques are useful ways of capturing user input quickly in the concept development and design stages.
A prime example of successful "80% rule" application is the Global Command and Control System (it is one of a very few major C4I acquisition success stories). The Global Command and Control System objective was functional: replacement of the antiquated World Wide Military Command and Control System with new, high-technology-based global C4I
system capabilities—without sacrificing the essential capabilities of the legacy system.
The Global Command and Control System was excluded from traditional acquisition oversight, but only because it avoided designation as a major acquisition program. It was not, therefore, initially subject to reviews by the Major Automated Information Systems Review Council, nor was it required to pass through the test and evaluation process prescribed for "weapon system" acquisitions (a term that appears applicable to all acquisitions of sufficient value to warrant a Major Automated Information Systems Review Council review, as well as others—determined by the judgment of various officials in the acquisition process chain). As a consequence, the Global Command and Control System effort succeeded in achieving a very rapid (in about 2 years) replacement of the World Wide Military Command and Control System with state-of-the-art technology and a modern architectural construct that facilitates insertion of new technology as it becomes available.
This required a departure from the acquisition mind-set requiring formally validated specifications as requirements. Since the pace at which information technology advances drives the rate at which it must be exploited, one must be willing and able to accept and manage the risks attendant with reduced oversight from the acquisition community. The Global Command and Control System evolutionary acquisition process was, nonetheless, loosely based on the traditional acquisition model; but it was more rapid and flexible. The phases and milestones were set much shorter, consistent with a 6- to 18-month Global Command and Control System implementation schedule. Following rapid completion of the equivalent of milestone II, the program developed through repeated evolutionary cycles as new requirements became known. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I-approved model contained six steps for each review phase: (1) identify requirements, (2) validate requirements, (3) assessment I, (4) prioritize requirements, (5) assessment II, and (6) develop. The steps were tailored to program needs, and decisions were delegated to as low a level as possible. 14
A hybrid of traditional acquisition and evolutionary acquisition is also possible, as illustrated by the acquisition practices of the Special Operations Command. This approach initially takes a program through a normal DOD-5000 acquisition cycle, including all milestones, but then at milestone III (deployment) switches to evolutionary acquisition to incorporate
mature technologies or to infuse research and development products where absolutely necessary.
The effectiveness of a particular C4I system must be judged by its ability to perform specific desired functions within a defined range of scenarios. The set of scenarios must be well chosen, as they will determine the necessary types and levels of interoperability among subsystems and systems. The implications of these choices flow through the operational and systems architectures to systems design. In most cases system capabilities will be planned for improvement over the system life cycle, building on the progress of the underlying technologies. Hence, system design must begin with the operational architecture of the system. An optimal set of evolutionary implementations will embody trade-offs between desired functionality and performance on the one hand, and what the expected progress of the key technologies will allow to be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed on the other.
Requirements for C4I systems should specify overall system functionality and performance, as opposed to detailed design specifications that are typical of weapons systems. There are always multiple solutions to a C4I requirement, and the trade-off between communications, processing, human-machine interfaces, system architecture, etc., depending on how addressed, can result in markedly different approaches and capabilities. The commercial market is the development driver for the technology pertaining to C4I; hence, military specifications to the level of detail customary in historical system acquisitions can result in unfavorable cost and capability impacts (as opposed to letting the bidding vendors propose the best solution for a functional requirement). 15
4.3.3 Exploiting Commercial Technology
Military C4I systems depend on two very different classes of technology. One class of technology has historically been dominated by government needs (including those of the military). In the C4I domain, these technologies include sensor technology and, often, hardened communications infrastructure, and government is the primary customer as well as the principal funder of their development. Accordingly, the needs of the private sector do not affect the course of this class of technology very much. The second class of technologies is the set of information process-
Note that it is not unreasonable for a functional requirement to include a statement of compatibility or interoperability with other systems. As discussed in Chapter 2, the easiest way to facilitate interoperability may be for the system in question to conform to a specific architecture that is common to a number of systems. For this reason, a functional requirement that specifies an architecture is not necessarily a contradiction in terms.
ing, communication, and decision support technologies whose primary market is in the private sector, and whose pace of development and detailed properties are dominated by the forces of the marketplace. This class of technologies is frequently referred to as commercial off-the-shelf technology, or COTS.
COTS technology is a "playing field leveler" of unprecedented proportions. It cannot be controlled or limited by government regulation, commercial interest, or military preference. The technological leverage the government enjoyed in the post-World War II era has disappeared in all but unique applications, such as specialty weapons and extremely high-survivability C4I systems. The course of technological advancement is now determined in world markets primarily by the ultimate bill payers, that is, the end users of the tools, processes, and applications enabled thereby.
Since the power of emerging technology is no longer under government control, and the government cannot solve its firepower, interoperability, and other technology shortfalls through specification, mandate, or other historical leveraging methods, it must learn to behave like a consumer. For reasons of economy and speed of acquisition, DOD will have to take increasing advantage of commercial technology, with as little change thereto as possible, for all digital information, research, and operational needs. DOD, like most public and private enterprises, must learn to adapt much faster to the forces of technology advancement and bring the resultant new tools and capabilities into its inventory of operational systems as they become available, not after they are obsolete. Doing so requires people familiar with digital-age technology and also demands major changes in the regulatory, operational, and doctrinal structures of the DOD and all its constituent parts.
Comparing commercial interests to the traditional view of the government as a customer leads to a far different industry perspective than that of only a decade ago. The increasing rate of advancement in technology, particularly in computers, software, and data transfer media, has created a "churn" rate unparalleled in business history. Businesses spring up and disappear or are absorbed by other businesses at a dizzying rate. Any business, large or small, that does not learn to adapt very quickly to the reality of "real-time" consumer expectations and fast-paced technology advancement is at very high risk.16 Every information-based business today is in fierce competition with all others, not only for market share and revenues but also for limited engineering, networking, security, and software expertise.
Designing, acquiring, fielding, and upgrading complex C4I systems in a fashion that fully exploits the rapid progress of commercial technology is a significant challenge. Moreover, the challenge is usually amplified by the necessity for simultaneously providing a high degree of security and robustness against information warfare attacks. COTS components are developed and brought to market with little attention to security, because for the most part security considerations do not enter into the development of most general-purpose COTS products, as noted in Chapter 3. Thus, military C4I systems built out of COTS components must take special account of potential security weaknesses. For example, the fact that a system has potential weaknesses makes it particularly important for system designers to specify essential and non-essential functionality in the event that security is breached, to plan for failure (e.g., backups and alternative paths to achieve critical functionality).
Riding the wave of commercial technology will be difficult for the military, and it requires a high degree of technical and system competence, diligence in anticipating and tracking market advances, and ability to envision applications for those advances faster than adversaries can. Speed of application becomes ultra-important when technology is equally available to potential enemies.
DOD has made significant—but not altogether successful—attempts to move in the direction of exploiting commercial technology. In the recent past, the services' Persian Gulf experiences and those of the defense-wide Defense Management Review in the early 1990s combined to drive a new look at the possibility of exploiting commercial technology in C4I systems. The operators began calling for COTS technology in requirements statements for new information systems. This drove significant modification in the views of many program managers, but was more successful in creating expectations than in satisfying them. The goal of using commercial technology in military systems without modification has not been generally realizable. In some instances, such as software procurements for desktop applications, the shrink-wrapped versions of software have proven satisfactory; however, commercial products intended for consumer, business, or industrial markets generally require adaptation for application to operational military requirements. 17
Interoperability remains a problem for commercial information technology, especially in the software domain. DOD wants "interoperability"
between its myriad electronic systems, and values "open systems" as the enabler for achieving that objective. Industry wants freedom to develop proprietary solutions to the demands of the market, and regards "open systems" as being in tension with the protection of proprietary rights. DOD often attempts to assure industry that "open systems'' and proprietary rights are not mutually exclusive, since the desired level of "openness" is limited to standard, open interfaces between modules and subsystems and does not pertain to the innards of software or hardware where the functionality of systems resides. Industry often does not believe such claims. DOD is, after all, interested in multisource form, fit, and function replacements for modules and subsystems, in order to keep prices under control, and the easiest and most effective way to procure form, fit, and function replacements is for DOD to furnish potential suppliers with the designs and source code associated with the desired modules or subsystems.
Intellectual property rights also figure strongly in another respect: that of DOD as a source of technology risk investment. DOD is regarded as having an appetite for ownership of intellectual property developed under government contracts, with an eye toward turning it over to a contractor's competitors in order to create multisource procurement potential. This is unacceptable to industry in a world where intellectual property is regarded as the most important factor for survival against highly agile, fast-moving competition.
While it must operate with the knowledge that, for many technologies, it is just one consumer in a vast market, there are a number of ways in which the DOD has some potential to influence the direction of commercial technology to better meet military requirements:
- Participating in standards efforts. For example, TCP/IP was not designed for operation in a mobile environment—a capability that would be very useful to DOD. DOD has participated in standards-developing forums to incorporate such desired features into future releases of the TCP/ IP standard.18
- Funding the development or deployment of required technologies that may have later commercial application, with the understanding that resulting products will be made available to DOD as supported "shrink-wrapped" products. For example, the National Security Agency recognized the growing dependence of DOD on commercial communications satellites in the early 1980s. Classified space-qualified cryptographic modules were provided
- to commercial satellite builders to be integrated into their space platforms and ground stations so that the satellite command links could be protected against unauthorized commands. In addition, some of the satellite system operators reviewed their command and control systems and redesigned them to eliminate vulnerabilities to threats from outsiders and disgruntled insiders. The driving force was that DOD would only lease commercial service on satellites launched after a set date if the satellite had a secure command link.
- Establishing mechanisms for early warning of commercial developments. Product prototypes typically emerge as concepts 2 to 3 years before their commercial release. This lead-time would allow DOD to intervene early to either incorporate DOD requirements or leave an opening (software changes, extra chips) in these products for DOD customization. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, service laboratories, and the like are suited to take advantage of such early warning to develop modifications or add features to emerging COTS technology.
- Investing in DOD-unique changes and additions to commercial products without losing the benefits of using commercial technology. Since product features are increasingly a function of software, these modifications tend not to impose any additional physical constraints on the product. In some cases, however, this approach might require such measures as requesting (or paying for) empty chip sockets to be placed in COTS products.
- Leveraging DOD's unique role as a neutral arbiter in mediating industry convergence on standards. Competing commercial interests may block progress important to information technology developments of interest to DOD. In some instances, DOD may be able to play a leadership role in helping these varied interests to reach convergence. An example of such success was the DOD role in facilitating the President's Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative.19 Key to this initiative was development of an industry-agreed technical architecture for the distribution of interac
The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADLI) is designed to "ensure access to high-quality education and training materials that can be tailored to individual learner needs and can be made available whenever and wherever they are required. This initiative is designed to accelerate large-scale development of dynamic and cost-effective learning software and to stimulate an efficient market for these products in order to meet the education and training needs of the military and the nation's workforce in the 21st century. It will do this through the development of a common technical framework for computer and net-based learning that will foster the creation of re-usable learning content as 'instructional objects.'" In order to facilitate the development of specifications that meet the interests of all participants (from both government and the private sector), the ADLI will ensure that a common set of guidelines for this new object-oriented learning environment is developed through active collaboration with the private sector, where many of the innovations in network technology and software design are taking place. For more information, see the ADLI Web site at <http://www.adlnet.org>.
- tive learning software over the Internet. Given the intense competition among commercial parties, closure on this work was difficult without DOD's willingness to assert leadership as a trusted third party to produce a reasonable result.
Much of the emphasis in acquisition for the last 10 to 15 years has been on separating users from the acquisition process except at very precisely defined points (e.g., the mission needs statement, the operational requirements document). The separation of testers and buyers, after many years of their working together, was the result of (the perception of) many cases of slipshod and prejudiced testing. In the 1980s these functions were separated by congressional mandate, an action that will make any change in this area difficult.
The nature of C4I systems in general, and of systems developed using a spiral development approach in particular, calls for a more cooperative and collaborative approach to program testing:
- By insisting on a separation of testers from acquisition personnel, the test process relies on an "over the transom" model that takes a long time to execute.
- The process does not put systems into the hands of users early enough to allow refinements or mid-course corrections prior to fielding.
- The current model is based on the full specification of system requirements in advance. However, all of the requirements for a C4I system are not usually known in advance. For example, experimentation might reveal new ways of using the technology that were not originally anticipated. Furthermore, the time needed to meet 100% of the requirements is often too long compared to the rate of change of the underlying technology, and thus a system that must be fully specified (so that it can be tested "properly") may well be based on obsolete technology by the time it has met those requirements.
- C4I systems are hard to test in a stand-alone environment (especially for things like interoperability); they are best evaluated in real-life settings, connected to the other parts of the C4I network.
Thus it is important that end users be more closely coupled to the work that the acquisition system does—setting requirements, testing systems, and so on. The end user would be better served if the C4I acquisition process not only involved users more closely in the initial statement of component subsystem requirements and system-level requirements but also kept them fully involved in the continuing revision of those requirements to meet certain identified performance and affordability objectives
(Box 4.2). Additionally, the end users should remain closely involved during developmental testing (both at the modeling and simulation and full-scale levels) to ensure that operationally the C4I system actually performs as expected in the total system environment.
Under DOD's acquisition reforms, the roles of the program manager, the prime contractor, and supporting engineering organizations are in transition. The use of integrated product teams involving all parties above is common today.
4.3.5 Flexibility in the Process
In recognition of the need to rapidly bring new technology into the hands of users, DOD has adopted programs that take off-the-shelf subsystems and products and develop them for DOD use through pilot programs. These efforts are not classified as acquisition programs and thus are able to more rapidly and nimbly test new technologies and concepts. Advanced concept technology demonstrations (ACTDs) act as a catalyst and matchmaker to bring together mature commercial technologies and unmet user needs. ACTDs and similar programs (e.g., the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstrations) have also proven to be a valuable way of educating users about the potential of certain C4I applications.
However, to take full advantage of the opportunities that these programs afford, DOD needs some budgetary flexibility to exploit unanticipated advances in C4I technology that have a high payoff potential. High-value C4I applications may emerge quickly (e.g., as the result of experiments or demonstrations such as a Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration) or on a track other than that of a normal acquisition (e.g., as the result of an ACTD). Because ACTDs and other experiments have not been planned for within the normal planning and budget process, follow-on procurement requires both a process for insertion into the appropriate phase of the acquisition process and a means of gaining budgetary support. Because service budgets do not include extra funds for such circumstances and reprogramming funds is a difficult task (implying that the budget for an otherwise funded program must be reduced), an "offline" funding mechanism is required to cover unanticipated needs. Finally, even if an ACTD does not enter the mainstream acquisition process, funding streams are needed to ensure that useful leave-behinds from ACTDs are kept compatible.20
BOX 4.2 On the Importance of Close Coupling to End-User Needs
When designing and implementing C4I systems, the importance of working very closely with end users cannot be overstated. From the designer's perspective; a C4I system that does useful things should be seen as a benefit. But from the user's perspective, the threshold for utility is not whether a system is "useful", but rather whether it provides more utility than other systems or ways of doing things. System designers develop systems to meet operational needs as they have been reported to them, but because these reports are inevitably incomplete (it is hard to report on all of the "little" things, about a system that greatly affect its usability for and utility to the end user) designers focus on system capabilities; how the user must use the system becomes an afterthought
In its site visits and other experience, the committee noted several examples in which the user's job was made more difficult because of the introduction of a new C4I system.
These examples suggest strongly that the canonically correct approach to system design is to define (or reengineer) the user's job first, taking into account user skills, training requirements, and so on, and then design the system in order to help the user accomplish the new job, rather than focusing on system capabilities per se. Inevitably, the user-centered approach to system design requires that the designer work closely with the user—preferably side by side over an extended period of time—to uncover "little" things that a designer might not imagine on his own.
4.3.6 Support of the Legacy Base Versus New Technology
The military services have tended to retain legacy information systems that were developed in response to "stand-alone" requirements, were not regarded as subject to connection with other systems and, therefore, are not operationally friendly with their increasingly interdependent companion systems. The legacy systems issue is one of the greatest challenges faced by the DOD today. This base of information systems comprises thousands of multigeneration electronic system elements and billions of dollars of capital investment, and is kept alive through the expenditure of many more billions in support costs.
In the commercial world, such legacy systems are often kept operational based on a view their cost must be amortized before new capability can be economically justified. The military environment likewise seeks to amortize its investment; but the reasons are both functional and economic: the large-scale modernization of legacy systems entails major changes in training, doctrine, and organization, in addition to the difficulty of securing political support for new investment dollars.
4.4 Personnel, Knowledge, And Professionalism
As C4I technology becomes more pervasive in supporting the operations of U.S. military forces, and as operational processes and procedures are reengineered, the skill set required of DOD personnel—both civilian and military—to function effectively will undergo considerable redefinition. Fortunately, the composition of today's DOD personnel is changing. Younger military people, many now moving into positions of senior rank and responsibility, are conversant and comfortable with the use of information technology tools, processes, and systems.
DOD offers its people a range of opportunities to develop expertise in C4I.21 Nevertheless, while DOD people—especially the younger ones joining the military services—are increasingly familiar with information technology, DOD must foster and accelerate the development of a culture of stronger information technology awareness within the military forces, among both staff and combat personnel. Development of such a culture requires changes in the status and the perception of information systems personnel, including effective and meaningful rewards and incentives and increased training in C4I systems and capabilities for all military forces. It is vitally necessary to attract, retain, and employ information technologists for the operation and effective use of military information systems and combat systems alike; yet the current operational leadership culture relegates such resources to the perceived status of second-class citizenry.22 There are marked limitations in promotion opportunities, education and training, and command and senior leadership opportunities for personnel in the military information systems and technology fields. And, DOD's efforts to retain qualified personnel in information technology are complicated by a general shortage of information technology workers
These opportunities include offerings of the National Defense University (including its component colleges, among them the Armed Forces Staff College and the Information Resources Management College), the NATO School at SHAPE and the NATO Communications and Information School, and the Naval Postgraduate School. For more information on these institutions, see the National Defense University home page at <http://www.ndu.edu>, and especially the page for the School of Information Warfare and Strategy <http://www.ndu.edu/ndu/nducat25.html>; for the Information Resources Management College, see <http://www.ndu.edu/irmc/>; for the NATO School at SHAPE, see <http://www.vabo.cz/English/military/NATO/nat2.html> and http://www.vabo.cz/English/military/NATO/Courses/courses.html>; for the NATO Communications and Information School, see <http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/hb32711e.htm>; for the Naval Postgraduate School, see <http://web.nps.navy.mil/~ofcinst/code39.htm>. For the most part, the C4I courses offered by these institutions are descriptive rather than technical.
As an example, Navy pilots often refer contemptuously to even operational electronic warfare specialists as "geeks."
nationally.23 Hence, the combination of industry's greater monetary rewards and opportunities for personal recognition and advancement creates a strong force beckoning to every engineer, technician, and system specialist—enlisted or officer.24
In order to attract and retain highly qualified information technology and systems experts, a new DOD leadership commitment is needed—to providing career paths for information technology specialists that include training and firsthand experience in combat doctrine, strategy and tactics, and employment of military forces. It is highly likely that people with information technology backgrounds will soon become operators in the strictest sense of the military definition thereof. Therefore, commitment to a vision of fully integrated and joint technical/combat forces, and the attendant opportunity to compete for and achieve command of combat units and promotion to the most senior positions of military responsibility, are necessities. With increased status also comes increased accountability for operational outcomes and greater commitment to careers in the armed forces.
A possible additional synergy between the civilian and military sectors with respect to C4I expertise is the reserve and guard personnel system. Reserve and guard personnel have "day jobs" in civilian life, and those with information technology jobs in the civilian world provide a natural coupling between that world and the DOD environment. Of course, the C4I systems that they must handle in the DOD are different from the information technology systems in the civilian world, but the
systems do share certain commonalities (e.g., they are often built out of the same components). More importantly, the intellectual skills and capabilities needed to operate and support information technology systems in the civilian world are also highly useful within the DOD world.
Lastly, despite DOD's best efforts at retention, the financial lure of the private sector may well be too great for DOD to achieve low turnover in C4I personnel. If so, DOD will need to recruit personnel, train them quickly in information technology skills, and then accept that a high portion of them will leave DOD when their service obligation is completed. This trajectory, which seems quite plausible, suggests that DOD must prepare for rapid, effective, high-volume training in information technology skills. How best to provide such training is an open question at this time.
4.5 Exercises, Experiments, And Doctrinal Change
Doctrine refers to the fundamental principles that guide the actions of military forces, i.e., how those forces fight. Doctrine is developed on the basis of the judgment and experience of senior military commanders and is promulgated throughout the services.25 Exercises and experiments are both intimately tied to doctrine, but they have fundamentally different purposes. The purpose of an exercise is to train units to fight in accordance with established military doctrine. That is, a unit engages in exercises in order to learn how to apply to combat the principles enunciated in doctrine and to maintain readiness through training. The purpose of an experiment is 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 those technologies or in those new situations, experiments are the next best thing, because they provide more of a basis for making informed doctrinal choices than does reliance only on analytical studies and/or simulations.
Note that experiments can often be expected to "fail" (although the consequent learning is, of course, a success by definition). That is, an experiment may be conducted that tests a particular doctrinal approach to using technology in a certain scenario. The results of that experiment may well show that the doctrinal approach selected has serious flaws not
apparent before the experiment. Such an outcome should be expected from time to time; the term "experiment" would not apply if this were not the case.26 By contrast, exercises are intended to "succeed." An exercise is conducted with certain training goals in mind. Success is achieved when the units involved are able to achieve those training goals, i.e., when they have learned how to conduct themselves in accordance with established doctrine.
Achieving the vision of the future articulated in Joint Vision 2010 will require both experiment and exercise, experiment to determine new doctrine (i.e., how best to exploit information technology in support of the revolution in military affairs), and exercise to teach U.S. fighting forces the doctrinal implications for how to fight. The Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff and the military services have begun some testing, experimentation, and exercising to explore new concepts of operation and doctrine that advanced information technology makes possible. Indeed, new organizations have emerged in the services and the joint commands to explore, codify, and invest in C4I and information technology for military applications. As noted in Chapter 1 (especially Box 1.7), studies, exercises and experimentation, and recent and ongoing military operations have all demonstrated the potential for dramatic enhancement of military effectiveness through the use of improved C4I technologies and systems.
Despite current efforts, however, much more testing, evaluating, exercising, and modeling and simulation need to be done in order for the military to translate its vision of information superiority into reality. While the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the services have at least a broadly defined and understood vision of information-dominated warfare, they are just beginning to examine the more relevant issues of how force structure, weapons employment procedures, battlespace management, and logistics support can be shaped through information-enabled military dominance.
Today, the benefits and advantages achievable through aggressive use of the latest C4I technology are neither well proven across the full spectrum of potential military operations nor well understood in terms of the reengineering of operations that this technology can potentially enable. Some indications of the benefits and advantages are known from experiments and modeling, but such experimentation is not sufficiently mature to be the sole or even the primary basis for decision making regarding doctrinal changes and major trade-offs in acquisition and force structure.
4.6 Management Metrics and Measures of Military Effectiveness
Achieving large-scale cultural change in an organization requires commensurate change in management and the organizational metrics. Metrics are (or should be) important to senior decision makers in any organization. It is a long-standing axiom of quality management that ''if you can't ,measure it, you can't improve it." In large commercial organizations, the behavior of personnel is strongly influenced by the metrics that management uses to assess performance, whether those metrics are part of a formal assessment or are more perceived than formal. People are keenly aware of what matters in terms of rewards, promotion, credit, and the like, and they behave in a manner consistent with their perceptions. Good management metrics help to drive organizational behavior that supports areas of operational significance. In general, management metrics focus on organizational performance or characteristics and are used by senior management to assess the effectiveness of the organization and its leadership. Box 4.3 lists some candidate management metrics.
BOX 4.3 Possible Management Metrics
Possible management metrics might include the following:
A different class of information—what might be called measures of military effectiveness—can be used to help make decisions about resource allocation and procurement (e.g., what systems should be bought; what balance should be struck among personnel, weapons systems, and C4I). Such measures may, for example, support the case for acquiring 100 standoff weapons rather than one attack airframe (or vice versa). In practice, measures of military effectiveness may also have operational significance for battlefield commanders, though that is not their primary purpose. Box 4.4 describes some measures of military effectiveness that could be used to better understand the impact of C4I on military operations.
Measures of military effectiveness are the variables of significance associated with the prevailing theory or doctrine of combat. By analyzing how these measures change in different combat scenarios (e.g., using different C4I systems, different tactics, different weapons), it is possible to gain insight into what combinations of tactics, weapons, and C4I systems are likely to be more or less effective for a given scenario. Undertaking such analysis over a broad range of scenarios of interest to DOD thus provides analytic support for particular approaches to investment.
4.6.1 DOD Use of Management Metrics and Measures of Military Effectiveness
The committee is aware of some areas in which management metrics have been changed in order to drive cultural change within DOD. For example, promotion to general officer rank now requires that a person must have served in a "joint" assignment. At this writing, the DOD is attempting to formulate criteria to set a standard of information security practice that could be used to hold unit commanders responsible for such practices within their command.27 Nevertheless, it is almost certainly the case that there are additional opportunities to exploit responsiveness to management metrics in driving change.
Box 4.4 Possible Measures of Military Effectiveness Related to C4I
The committee recognizes that this list of possible measures of military effectiveness is not exhaustive. Further, it does not differentiate between what the Military Operations Research Society calls measures of force effectiveness that characterize how a force performs its mission (e.g., loss exchange ratios), measures of C2 effectiveness that characterize the impact of C2 systems within the operational context (e.g., ability to generate a complete, accurate, timely common operating picture of the battlespace), measures of C2 system performance that characterize the performance of internal system structure, characteristics, and behavior(e.g., timeliness or accuracy), and dimensional parameters that measure the properties or characteristics inherent in the C2 system itself (e.g., bandwidth).1
DOD has a long tradition of using measures of military effectiveness in a variety of contexts to help make investment trade-offs, including measures relevant to C4I. For example:
- Measures of effectiveness indicating significant imbalance in two areas of information technology were identified through analyses of C4ISR system and capability options incidental to the Quadrennial Defense Review:28 (1) surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are in danger of outstripping the military's ability to process and exploit the information collected therefrom; (2) data dissemination requirements, generated by these same sources and the associated C4I automation, are in danger of outstripping the military's communication capability and capacity, particularly at the tactical level.
- When the range at which a weapon can be used most effectively is constrained by the identify-friend-or-foe performance (rather than the lethal envelope of the weapon system), investment in enhanced identify-friend-or-foe capability is warranted.
- The operational utility evaluation of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile system demonstrated that the improved situational awareness (360 degree coverage vs. 60 degree coverage) afforded to pilots by the Joint Tactical Information Data System would substantially enhance fighter lethality and survivability.
Other efforts under way to develop tools to assess the contribution of C4I to military effectiveness include:
- NATO Research Group (RSG)-19 is completing a "code of best practices" that characterizes the state of the art in methodologies for assessing the impact of C4I on mission effectiveness in such areas as: structuring the problem, characterizing the scenario space, formulating measures of merit, selecting and creating appropriate tools and data, executing the tools using appropriate experimental design, and deriving insights from the resulting data.
- Work is in progress on the Joint Warfare System, a new simulation tool that features enhanced representation of C4I, and on NETWARS, a new simulation providing enhanced representation of communications.
The Quadrennial Defense Review, released by the DOD in May 1997, analyzed the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. national security. It reviewed all aspects of the U.S. defense strategy and program, including force structure, infrastructure, readiness, intelligence, modernization, and people. For more information, see <http://www.defenselink.mil/topstory/quad.html>.
Both are in the preliminary stages of development; several years will be required to refine, verify, and validate them.
Despite such work, the committee was told that measures of military effectiveness related to C4I are not particularly relevant in an operational sense either to units or individual commanders. With frequent updates to C4I systems owing to spiral development models and other factors, judgments of effectiveness (and subsidiary matters such as interoperability) are time-perishable, and tracking appropriate measures of military effectiveness becomes even more valuable.
4.6.2 Considerations in Assessment of C4I System Effectiveness
Experience from the private sector suggests that the benchmark for evaluating the success or failure of an information technology application should be its contribution to the end user. In the DOD context, the analogous statement is that the benchmark for evaluating the success or failure of a C4I technology application should be its contribution to the combat operator. All too often, new technology is introduced for reasons that are unrelated to end-user success except in the most indirect kind of way. For example, it is not unknown either in the private sector or in government that new technologies are introduced primarily because they simplify the jobs of those in the information systems support group.
The vision and the promise of the revolution in military affairs are that U.S. combat decision making will require much less time than that for an adversary. Thus, a reasonable quantitative measure of C4I system effectiveness is speed of command and control, including data input, analysis, and reconciliation; decision making; and subsequent action. The speed of a communications or computer system in transmitting information and the speed with which decisions can be made are both subsumed under this overall "end-to-end" measure. In addition, the speed and efficiency with which data are gathered from diverse sources, fused into useful decision support products, and distributed in a rapid, secure, and reliable manner to decision makers are all possible measures for which data could and should be compiled, suitably weighted, and used appropriately in the assessment of C4I effectiveness.
Furthermore, that assessment can and should be used to ascertain on a continuing basis the weakest links in any operational process involving C4I systems and to effect continuous improvement. In essence, speed of decision or command is a function of the decision maker or the commander. The set of decision support tools for such purposes can never be too efficient or too effective; therefore, a highly aggressive effort for continuous improvement in using C4I would no doubt have the effect of
making decisions faster and of higher quality, and of making command a better-informed and more effective function.
This is not to say that speed is the only measure of command and control, or even the only measure of the effectiveness of C4I systems. In particular, the contribution of better C4I systems to the quality of decisions made by commanders is just as important (arguably more so). But where human judgments are the key to success, the value of C4I is particularly difficult to assess. After all, a sophisticated C4I system can be used to transmit incompetent orders. For this reason, the quality of decision making is mostly omitted from this discussion.
The argument above emphasizing speed of command and control does not reduce the importance of management metrics or intermediate measures of military effectiveness that have operational significance. For example, tracking DOD progress in building and sustaining joint interoperability in the field and to understand the interoperability situation is an essential component of any effort to promote interoperability. Both system managers (e.g., the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, the Joint Staff Directorate of C4 Systems chaired Military Communications-Electronics Board) and operational users (e.g., theater CINCs or joint task force commanders) benefit from such tracking. But for tracking to have operational significance, assessment of C4I interoperability from the perspective of joint task force commanders and the abilities of C4I systems to support their needs is critical. Once appropriate measures are defined, suppliers of C4I systems should be asked to describe the result of their system improvements in terms of the defined measures, or to define new measures for consideration for adoption by DOD. Intermediate indicators do not directly assess the end result, but rather assess the factors that likely influence the end result positively or negatively, before the end result occurs.
Management metrics and measures of military effectiveness are important components of sustaining the revolution in military affairs and characterizing the impact of the use of advanced information technology on mission effectiveness. But it is important to note several caveats.
- Both management metrics and measures of military effectiveness inform but cannot substitute for the judgment of senior military leaders. As the discussion above regarding the quality of decision making suggests, numbers aren't everything.
- Overreliance on precise quantitative evidence resulting from exercises and studies is likely to delay changes necessary to exploit the ben
- efits of C4I, because developing quantitative evidence is often quite time-consuming. Furthermore, quantitative evidence can be "cooked," and in any event may well not yield results that provide a clear basis for decisions.
- Overall measures of military effectiveness may help capture the contributions of C4I systems to outcomes, but identifying the precise contribution of C4I systems taken as a whole may well be problematic. And, it is even more difficult to identify the precise contribution of a specific C4I system. Using a given set of widely accepted measures of military effectiveness to distinguish the particular contribution of C4I to military operations may result in a confounding and confusing analysis unless proper care is taken to understand the data. (The obvious solution—to use measures of military effectiveness that are specifically tailored for evaluation of C4I—runs the risk that these measures of military effectiveness are developed for the specific purpose of showcasing and defending a particular proposed C4I acquisition.)
- A C4I system designed to meet a particular need may in fact have applications that go far beyond that particular need, and it may provide an infrastructural capability that potentially benefits a large number of weapons systems; the Global Positioning System is an example of an infrastructural technology upon which many weapon systems have come to rely. Measures of military effectiveness focusing on the system's ability to meet the initial need will not capture the broader possibilities.29
- Appropriate quantitative metrics or measures of military effectiveness may be very difficult to develop. In such cases, summaries based on human judgment provided in the form of "stop-light" scorecards (i.e., sets of red/yellow/green indicators) of some relevant problem area and its resulting impact on operational capability (by mission or by function) can be a useful way to measure progress. Sophistication is not particularly important; rather, the fundamental need is to move to a point where the problem area is analyzed and assessed based on considerations of operational significance, as well as facilitated in a technical sense. (Chapter 2 provides an example of how such scorecards can be used in assessing interoperability.)
A related point is that opinion surveys of users may provide useful information, if the results are tracked over time. For example, surveys of commanders' assessment of their view of the battlefield, of their ability to dynamically reallocate resources, and of their reactions to a statement like
- "C4I systems now interoperate adequately with each other for joint battles" provide judgment-based measures of military effectiveness that can point to problems and corrective actions.
- Because measures of military effectiveness are tied to specific doctrinal approaches to military operations, C4I systems that enable new ways of doing business (e.g., new concepts of operation or new doctrines for how to conduct military operations) are hard to assess using existing measures of military effectiveness. Indeed, a proper assessment may well require a new set of measures of military effectiveness. For example, the placement of radios inside tanks enabled the German army to develop a concept of operations—the blitzkrieg. But in the absence of clear and convincing evidence that the blitzkrieg could be a successful approach to the conduct of war (and there was no such evidence before the Germans used the blitzkrieg), it is hard to see how the combat value of placing radios in tanks would have been formally assessed against that of using additional tanks. Indeed, the German army achieved astonishing victories with relatively few casualties on both sides—measures of military effectiveness that focused on the number of Allied tanks destroyed, for example, clearly would not have demonstrated the effectiveness of the blitzkrieg.
The corollary of the proposition that new measures of military effectiveness are needed for new doctrines is that without such measures, the case for a revolution-enabling investment in information technology (or C4I) is difficult to make analytically. In the private sector, investments in information technology to facilitate or promote such fundamental change are more often made on the basis of an instinct and judgment about the inherent potential of a new concept. On balance, the result has been some remarkable successes—and many failures. Similarly, the success of the Revolution in Military Affairs will depend on the sound judgment of visionary and experienced military leaders who are open to evidence provided in exercises, experiments, studies, and simulations.
4.6.4 Ways of Generating and Developing Data
Once metrics and measures of military effectiveness are developed, a question arises as to how relevant data may be obtained. Computer simulations are one approach to investigating the worth of new concepts and technologies. Simulations can certainly provide useful information, but the information generated through many of them can be less than adequate in several ways:
- The information obtained in a simulation is not particularly vivid or memorable. Printouts and static graphics simply do not have the emotional impact of live demonstrations.
- The models underlying a simulation are usually based on an accepted understanding of current doctrine and tactics. Thus, they are ill-suited to demonstrate how a radically new doctrine enabled by C4I technology can lead to dramatically new results.
- Most models must make simplifying assumptions about the nature of combat. Thus, the fidelity of any model can always be challenged by parties opposed to the model's programmatic implications.
A complementary approach to modeling and simulation is to make use of live experiments. The DOD has embraced the concept of live experiments to a certain degree, and each service has a program of experiments to explore the use and value of C4I.30 Live experiments have the virtues of greater realism and enable the examination of larger excursions from present doctrine and organization than is possible within the limits of a simulation. In addition, they can help to uncover a host of system integration problems, provide valuable training, and build users' confidence that they can trust C4I systems for mission success and survival in future wars.
On the other hand, live experiments are expensive to conduct on a large scale, and it is all too easy for reasons of training and economy for an experiment to explore only small deviations from the accepted wisdom, while larger deviations may be the ones that result in the largest payoff. Small-scale experiments are also inherently at odds with understanding the value of C4I applications that cut across systems, echelons, functions, and services. In small-scale settings, costs often dictate small samples and reduce the ability to control variables, and the large number of degrees of freedom makes rigorous conclusions problematic. Moreover, live "experiments" tend to attract public attention where failure can lead quickly to loss of support. Under these circumstances, the incentives are weak to structure tough tests to fully stress a system.
Two other possible ways of developing data (used in the telephone and computer industry) are the following:
- Generating periodic tests of a working system of systems and/or processes and tracking those test responses over time for trends, and
- Observing and tracking all field failures (including exercise results) and conducting a root-cause analysis on all the major ones to observe
- improvements or degradations and causes. Of course, such an approach presumes that appropriate instrumentation is available to capture such data as may emerge.
Finding P-1: DOD processes dealing with the acquisition of C4I systems have not been adequately restructured to account for the rapid pace of development in the commercial information technologies on which such systems will inevitably build.
Acquisition reform is a perennial subject of interest for the DOD. The acquisition process in its traditional forms often takes too long and delivers the wrong products. DOD has undertaken many attempts at making the process more responsive. But the behavior of program directors and managers has evolved little—nor has that of an oversight process established to ensure that every acquisition of significance satisfies the traditional acquisition regulations.
The rapid advancement of commercial information technologies makes available new capabilities for information processing, storage, and communications on a short time scale. Delay in the acquisition process results in a continually expanding delay factor in bringing the power of commercial technology to bear on military C4I requirements. Indeed, the present acquisition cycle virtually guarantees obsolescence upon fielding of military systems when technologies key to their success improve at the rate of an order of magnitude every 5 years.
For military systems (both weapons and C4I) to fully exploit this power, the acquisition process must be shortened. But because DOD no longer enjoys the leverage it once had regarding the development and application of advanced information technology, military C4I requirements must be met through an increasing reliance on technologies provided by the commercial market.
Rapid change in the technologies underlying C4I systems also creates a need, now not met, for regular reevaluations of the balance in resources allocated to weapon systems and C4I, as well as for mechanisms to insert funding to exploit unexpected technological advances.
A second aspect of the acquisition system is that it is particularly ill-suited to C4I systems. Program management and oversight processes are heavily weighted toward metrics associated with historical acquisition methods and tend toward dominance of cost, schedule, and predefined performance measures. Formulation of requirements and acquisition program management and oversight processes result in long acquisition cycles and a bias toward achieving maximum performance. These metrics
and approaches are often not consistent with the timely incorporation of commercial technology into C4I systems.
Thirdly, the current acquisition process is premised on the ability of a service to identify a specific system or program to address specific and articulated military needs. While such a premise may be reasonable for weapons systems, it is inadequate for C4I systems for two reasons. C4I systems and especially infrastructure deployments often have greater value in enhancing overall capability for multiple weapons systems than they do for meeting specific needs (e.g., Link 16 or the Global Positioning System). And, because the power of the underlying technologies increases so rapidly, users are often uncertain about how to use that power to fulfill their C4I requirements. Users more often come to understand their requirements through a process of experimentation with prototypes than by deep intellectual analysis conducted on paper. Such a hands-on process for defining requirements runs very much against the grain of the traditional acquisition system.
Finally, personnel in the acquisition process have not been well trained to manage C4I acquisitions or socialized into an information technology culture. For example, program managers receive education and training oriented primarily toward the acquisition of weapons systems rather than C4I systems. The committee notes that many different approaches could be taken to satisfy the objective of acquisition people knowing more about C4I. For example, a separate programming and acquisition system for C4I, analogous to the system used for equipping the Special Forces Command, could easily be staffed by personnel with specialized knowledge of C4I. Even within the regular acquisition system, individuals with training and background in C4I could be trained to perform acquisition, or acquisition personnel could be trained specifically in C4I. Recommendation P-2 makes a specific proposal to address this issue, but the committee believes it is more important to highlight the problem than to specify a solution in detail.
Finding P-2: In many instances, operational processes do not appear to have been reengineered to take full advantage of the capabilities that C4I technology can provide.
Reengineering of existing business processes to take full advantage of new technologies is quite difficult for both the private sector (witness the difficulties that many Fortune 500 companies have in embracing new business concepts) and in the DOD. Nonetheless, when successful, reengineering provides enormous leverage. The competitive arena for the military is not as well defined as that for private-sector enterprises, but it is reasonable to expect that reengineered, technology-exploiting operational pro-
cesses should enable major competitive advantage in the military, driving revisions of doctrine, smaller logistical footprints, enhanced agility, and a redefinition of the skill set required in the fighting forces. Major C4I system redesigns, like original systems designs, are likely to provide many opportunities for operational process reengineering.
Note that reengineering of processes is not in the end an issue of using the newest and most powerful information technologies. For example, Wal-Mart achieved its remarkable results from reengineering using relatively old mainframe computers. More important than the technology is the fact that successful reengineering eliminates activities that contribute only minimally to the achievement of the overall goals.
In its site visits and briefings, the committee saw a wide range of organizational responses to C4I technology. In some cases, internal processes were being reengineered, new doctrines and modes of combat operations explored, and potential points of high leverage found. In other cases, C4I technology was being applied to automate existing processes within the context of existing tactics and procedures. Some benefits were apparent from these latter efforts, but experience in the private sector suggests that automation of an existing way of doing business quickly yields diminishing returns and seldom results in large (order-of-magnitude) benefits. It is clear that efforts in the former category are difficult to undertake successfully, but such efforts are necessary if the so-called revolution in military affairs is to be even approximated.
The reengineering of every operational process will not necessarily result in order-of-magnitude improvements in efficiency, though some almost certainly would. In order to select processes that are both likely to show substantial improvement from reengineering and also be of high operational military significance, decision makers must draw on individuals with considerable expertise in two areas: the military operational art of war (i.e., doctrine, strategy, and tactics for employment of forces and weapons) and the capabilities made possible by advanced information technologies and C4I systems. Cultivating such individuals is the subject of Recommendation P-1 below.
Finding P-3: The military services have not accorded to information technology and C4I professionals stature comparable to their increasing importance for battlefield operations.
It is widely recognized that the talents and abilities of well-trained and committed technicians are essential to ensure the successful operation of modern military weapons such as jet fighters, warships, and sophisticated ground-based weapons. It is equally vital that the DOD build a suitably sized force of people who have the requisite education, under-
standing, and skills to translate functional requirements for information technology applications into system solutions, derived principally from the commercial markets where such technology is developed. At this juncture, the DOD is not succeeding in creating either the environment or the incentives to attract and retain such human resources.
Deficiencies in DOD's posture toward C4I professionals occur at two levels. The first is that DOD has not yet found a way to integrate its C4I personnel into combat line elements and to make them fully conversant with military doctrine, strategy, and tactics. Rather, they are regarded as implementers of high-level strategy decisions that are made without their input, and the status and prestige of C4I specialists are not comparable to those of individuals in traditional combat arms specialties. The role of "implementer" was once played by chief information officers of major corporations, but today chief information officers are regarded as part of the senior management and strategy teams in successful corporations. So, too, must the military find a way to integrate C4I personnel into the military establishment, and commanders, planners, and senior leaders must become fully conversant with these forces and the capabilities they bring to the combat domain. In some instances commands do recognize the importance of involving their senior C4I personnel as integral contributors to the decision-making process, but for the most part, the treatment of the C4I personnel in DOD relegates these valuable resources to the second-class status of support, rather than line functions.
The second deficiency is that even for C4I personnel as "mere" implementers, the DOD culture tends to discourage attracting and retaining the necessary engineering, system integration, and applications talent for implementing and sustaining high-technology C4I systems. Information technology talent is a scarce commodity, and as noted in section 4.4, the DOD must compete with higher compensation, advancement opportunity, and job satisfaction in the civil sector for such talent.
Finding P-4: The DOD process for coupling end-user operational needs to C4I systems is inadequate.
The general principle that operational needs should drive the acquisition system is well established within DOD. Under current practices (i.e., the traditional acquisition system), warfighter input (based on the perspectives of the CINCs) is codified in terms of validated military requirements, which are vetted through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council as the basis for new program starts. The acquisition system takes the military requirements and then—some years later—provides for fielding a system intended to meet those requirements. DOD also understands the importance of providing a vision that explicates its long-term goals—
the production and dissemination of Joint Vision 2010 has been a particularly important step forward in this regard.
On the other hand, the operational concerns that initiate the acquisition of a given system often turn out to be just one factor affecting the way in which a system is developed and procured; in practice, repeated engagements between end user and the acquisition system are not often in the critical path from design to procurement. Furthermore, input from the end users—the field commanders—is particularly important in the design and development of C4I systems, because it is more difficult to specify requirements for C4I systems in a form that they can be handed "over the transom" than it is for most weapons systems. In practice, the loose coupling between the acquisition process and warfighter input has a number of weaknesses.
- It is too slow. During the time between the articulation of a requirement and the time a system is delivered to respond to that requirement, the actual need may have changed, thus obviating (or more likely, changing) the nature of that requirement. Furthermore, the underlying information technologies almost certainly have changed, perhaps by an order of magnitude in performance, during this time. Thus, in practice, users may well be essentially disconnected from developers.31
- It requires user prescience. Research in human factors and user interfaces documents the fact that people are often quite poor at specifying in advance the functionality of a computer system that would be most helpful to them, but that "they know it when they see it." The development of a C4I system that involves a human user should call for continuous input into the development process. In addition, because deployment and fielding a system to large numbers of users will inevitably broaden the base from which operational user feedback can be received, the line between "development" and "deployment" should not necessarily be as well defined as implied by the traditional acquisition and fielding model.
- It is non-adaptive. Because the primary user input is received only at the start of the process (in the formulation of the military requirement), users must attempt to anticipate all possibilities and scenarios for use without having a good idea of the kind of system that would be truly
- useful. On the other hand, one of the major advantages of information technology is that it is an enabler for new ways of doing business and approaching problems, new ways that cannot be anticipated without information technology-based systems in hand with which to experiment.
- It focuses on specific requirements. An acquisition system that focuses on the satisfaction of specific requirements may well give inadequate attention (in terms of budgeting and management attention) to infrastructure programs that might benefit large numbers of users across different theaters serving different functions.
- It loses detail. In the present acquisition system, the articulation of military requirements is a responsibility of the CINCs. Thus, it is only natural that the concerns and frustrations of relatively senior officers are expressed. For example, top-level commanders expressed to the committee during site visits their considerable frustrations with current C4I systems that included slow communications speeds, lack of interoperability with adjacent systems, inconsistent results from different systems, and incompatibility with systems of other forces, domestic and foreign. Theaters such as Korea exhibited difficulties in integrating allied systems with U.S. systems because discrepancies in the budgets for both sides resulted in large gaps in technology deployment. Observed incompatibilities included language problems, data transmission media, and the technical sophistication of information analysis.
By contrast, lower-level personnel have control of a smaller span of C4I systems and are more reliant on a few of them. For example, during Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) 97, the committee spoke to many warfighters who expressed a need to filter and fuse data from multiple sources and who could greatly benefit from better decision support systems for tactical operations. This observation was repeated in one of the battle centers in Korea, as well as in discussions with field personnel. While such concerns are reflected in some form higher up the chain of command, critical nuances and details available from lower-level personnel are often lost in the abstraction process. While the abstraction process itself is not an unreasonable one (generals DO have a responsibility to filter and abstract the most important pieces of information received from privates and sergeants), the committee was not able to identify a point at which the concerns of lower-level personnel can be fed directly into the development process.
Warfighter input (especially that from a joint perspective) can be diluted when individual services are responsible for the articulation of system performance requirements and specifications. The reason is that while the initial specification of requirements may indeed be joint and operationally based, all development projects entail further refinement of
specifications as they proceed (this is especially true if a spiral development process is used). A service perspective—rather than a joint one—is thus automatically present as such refinement proceeds. For C4I systems that are primarily of interest to one service, such a perspective will probably enhance the outcome. But if the system is primarily of interest to a joint commander, or if the system is likely to depend on data provided by C4I systems in other services, a service perspective may well detract from (joint) interoperability and/or full functionality.
This is not to say that service-led C4I programs cannot be successful in producing highly interoperable C4I systems. But the committee believes that such interoperability successes happen because they are managed by particularly dedicated individuals with broad (joint) perspectives themselves, rather than because the acquisition process is optimized to support such outcomes.
Finding P-5: Achieving C4I interoperability is more a matter of organizational commitment and management (including allocation of resources, attention to detail, and continuing diligence) than one of technology.
It is often alleged that procurement of C4I systems that are interoperable with one another would require additional funding. This allegation is undoubtedly true when stovepiped systems are made to interoperate in the later stages of the design cycle. It is also true that designing all systems for interoperability when only some need to interoperate is needlessly expensive. And finally, satisfying a broader set of requirements is often more expensive, all else being equal, than satisfying a narrower set.
On the other hand, designing for interoperability from the start is often less expensive. The reason is that interoperability is a property facilitated by use of common and existing architectures, standards, data definitions, interfaces, and even code. With object-oriented technology, among others, interface requirements can be implemented as class libraries and shared to reduce development time and cost. By reusing existing work (whether manifested as preexisting military technology or COTS technology), major cost savings are possible in the development of a system. Additional savings may be possible to the extent it is possible to off-load the costs of integrating subsystems onto vendors (who are providing COTS products). Most importantly, total life cycle costs may well be less if the need to hedge against unanticipated needs for interoperability can be reduced, because retrofitting systems for interoperability results in working such problems case by case, providing expensive curative rather than inexpensive preventive medicine.
In addition, experience with corporate mergers in the commercial world suggests that consolidation of information technology infrastructures can result in considerable cost savings, even when the prior infrastructures were incompatible. Additional costs result from the need to make two infrastructures interoperate, but in the long run, more money is saved because excess capability in the infrastructures can be used more efficiently. To illustrate this principle in a military context, commanders are often faced with the paradox of wanting more bandwidth even as existing channels are not used to capacity, as the committee saw in Korea recently (in 1997) and as was especially true in the Gulf War in 1991. The reason for this paradox is that existing channels are stovepiped for the exclusive use of one system or another, thus rendering their excess capacity useless to other parties who could make use of it.
Nor does achieving interoperability require the development of new technologies. Interoperability problems result from human decisions to design systems with different specifications. Technology can sometimes be useful in helping to reconcile differing lower-level specifications (e.g., different frequencies or different voltage levels or different protocols) automatically, but no technology can be expected to automatically reconcile differing human judgments about higher-level issues (e.g., those related to data semantics and information flows, or those relating to judgments about releasability to foreign nationals).
The committee believes that senior DOD leaders, both civilian and military, take interoperability challenges quite seriously. But DOD lacks a process for establishing a culture supportive of C4I interoperability that will outlive today's senior leaders. Absent such a culture, DOD efforts to promote and enforce interoperability will be fragile. For example, consider the fact that the C4I apparatus within DOD is subject to nearly constant change (both threatened and actual), a fact that leads to the conclusion that the C4I constituency is unstable and constantly under fire. A constantly shifting bureaucratic base does not give confidence that high-level management attention to C4I issues can be sustained. If so, individuals associated with the program can simply wait things out until the next bureaucratic rearrangement. A second example is the proliferation of organizations within DOD with some responsibility for interoperability. In the committee's view, the very existence of many such organizations strongly suggests that none of them work very well to achieve their interoperability goals.
Given the unavoidable fact that the senior DOD leadership turns over on a time scale short compared to the time that it takes for major cultural change to occur, DOD must rely on the creation of an enduring process to promote its C4I goals, especially interoperability, rather than on the services of any particular set of individuals. Moreover, because oversight is
inherently time-consuming (because of the assumption that things may be going on that may not be fully consistent with organizational goals), this process must be based on the establishment of cultures and incentives that support interoperability, rather than oversight alone.32
Because the C4I systems in question are constantly in flux, understanding how to manage technological change assumes at least as much importance as the technologies or the architectures themselves. The effectiveness and efficiency with which joint military operations can be conducted will depend heavily on how well the services can collaborate and sustain that collaboration over time before the battle. Such peace-time collaboration, among fiercely independent groups like the services, however cannot be dictated, legislated, or simply announced. It will require the establishment, within the services and the DOD, of a supportive environment that can foster continual, effective, efficient independent collaboration and the development and use of internal systems that can support such collaboration.
DOD must alter its military and civilian culture in ways that are commensurate with the importance of C4I to its future vision. Organizations often say that their most important asset for the future is their people. The reason is that it is people who implement policies and carry out the day-to-day operations of the organization. Without good people, the best plans cannot be executed effectively. But organizations whose prevailing culture encourages behavior that does not support management goals also find that the plans of management are not well executed.
The DOD is a large organization, and many aspects of its culture could be changed. As before, the committee focuses here on several areas that it believes provide high leverage. In addition, DOD must change certain key aspects of the acquisition system for C4I systems if the full potential of new C4I systems and technology is to be exploited.
As in previous chapters, the recommendations in this chapter on DOD process and culture are cast in terms of what the committee believes should be done, rather than specifying an action office. The argumentation for each recommendation contains, where appropriate, a paragraph regarding a possible action office or offices for that recommendation, represent-
ing the committee's best judgment in that area. However, this action office (or offices) should be regarded as provisional, and DOD may well decide that a different action office is more appropriate given its organizational structure.
Recommendation P-1: The Secretary of Defense, working with the service Secretaries and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should establish in each of the services a specialization in combat information operations, provide better professional career paths for C4I specialists, and emphasize the importance of information technology in the professional military education of DOD leadership.
Today, the treatment of the technical force in DOD relegates these valuable resources to the second-class status of support, rather than line functions. If it is true that information is critical to the prosecution of modern warfare, and that information dominance can provide the operational military advantages of large forces without incurring their costs, then specialists in C4I systems must be better aligned with those in the mainstream operational community.
Better alignment begins with unified, joint and component commanders who have a good understanding of how best to exploit information technology and C4I to enhance military operations (e.g., rapid change and new capabilities thereby enabled). Developing dual competencies—both technological and operational—among military leaders is likely to require changes in their professional military education throughout an individual's career (perhaps including rotational operational tours for ''information systems" personnel and information systems tours for operational personnel). Such changes would focus greater attention on the role and potential impact of C4I and information systems on the operational art of war. Information system employment must become a first line combat function, just as is employment of combat forces and weapons.
This means that the C4I specialists must not be regarded as "geeks off to the side" or as mere implementers but as individuals who are trained in and involved with doctrine, training, and operations—full members of the combat operations team that are fully conversant with the operational employment of military forces. C4I specialists should not only be knowledgeable about the relevant technical disciplines, including communication systems operations, information warfare, information security, and so on, but also be engaged as military operators, involved in combat operations just as completely and widely as today's combat infantry, armored, sea- or air-power operators. It is, therefore, essential that the C4I specialists be trained in the doctrine, strategy, tactics, and combat use of military forces, and be fully integrated into the combat units and opera-
tional planning elements of the military forces.33 Professional military education opportunities provide many forums in which traditional combat operators and C4I specialists can learn about the specializations of the other. (The Army Signal Corps is an example of making the technology people part of the operational team.)
Other steps that can be taken to support this recommendation include:
- Increased promotion opportunities and recognition. C4I specialists, as well as combat arms specialists, should have the opportunity to compete for and attain command of combat forces and advancement to the most senior positions of responsibility. Note that the flip side of greater promotion opportunities and status is increased responsibility: system administrators need to have more of an "operator on the front lines" mentality that exposes them to an environment different from that of administrators working for a bank, and the C4I specialists in all decision-making roles must be held accountable for operational outcomes just as all other team members are held responsible. Furthermore, DOD should develop ways to celebrate the excellence and importance of the C4I specialists publicly and graphically even apart from expanding their upward mobility.
- Higher pay scales ("proficiency pay" or "incentive pay" or "special pay") for C4I specialists. While it is true that military service is a privilege, the fact remains that for disciplines in which the private sector competes with the military for talent, the higher rates of compensation found in the private sector are a powerful draw for many of those with talent. Additional compensation for C4I specialists that partially makes up for the private-military pay gap would help to reduce the outflow of talent from the military, especially at the lower levels.34
In this regard, the combat information specialists of the future are likely to share certain characteristics of good intelligence analysts today. In particular, the value of intelligence advisors to a commander is significantly enhanced when the intelligence analysts understand the significance of information about the enemy in the context of the commander's intent and how the commander is likely to want to use that information. And, he advises the commander on what can and cannot be done given his knowledge of both "red" and "blue." Such ability depends on being quite knowledgeable about the doctrine and capabilities of friendly forces as well as about those of the enemy. Combat information specialists will also have to be able to collect and integrate information from many sources, just as intelligence analysts do today.
Additional compensation is made available to about 43% of military personnel who receive special and incentive pays offered as inducements to undertake or continue service in a particular specialty or type of duty assignment. Examples of these pays include Jump Pay, Sea Pay, Submarine Duty Pay, Flight Pay, Imminent Danger Pay, medical and dental officer pays, and various enlistment and reenlistment bonuses (see Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, available online at <http://dticaw.dtic.mil/prhome/paybenef.html>). The pays for medical and dental officers are particularly relevant, because they are offered primarily to reduce the salary differential between military service and the private sector.
The military services are the appropriate action office for establishing a specialization in combat information operations. The service training and doctrine commands, as well as the various schools that provide professional military education, are the organizations through which combat operators can become more familiar with C4I and information technology. The Joint Staff, specifically the Directorate for C4 Systems and the Directorate for Operational Plans and Interoperability, would be an appropriate office to conduct a review of this area and formulate recommendations for improvements where needed. And, the criteria that service promotion boards examine in determining promotions will be critical in promoting a more C4I-knowledgeable military. Expansion of the possible career paths for C4I specialists is a function of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Recommendation P-2: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology should train its civilian and military personnel who participate in the acquisition of C4I systems to understand the difference between C4I systems and weapons systems.
Program managers must understand the intrinsic differences between C4I and weapons technologies, and they must be able to argue the significance of those differences in front of acquisition boards and oversight councils that are more accustomed to dealing with weapons systems. Today, conservative "by the book" approaches that are better suited to long-lived weapons systems are regularly applied to C4I systems, even though the existing acquisition process allows considerable flexibility in the management of a C4I program.
If program managers are to advocate non-traditional approaches to acquiring a C4I system, testers and evaluators must understand the impact of these non-traditional approaches and refrain from judging C4I systems according to traditional criteria. For example, they must understand from a testing perspective the ramifications of evolutionary acquisition.
One appropriate forum for such education would be the Defense Systems Management College of the Defense Acquisition University. The Defense Systems Management College provides systems acquisition education and training for the people responsible for acquiring weapon systems. As such, it offers courses of study that are designed to prepare selected military officers and civilians for responsible positions in program management and other associated acquisition functions.
Recommendation P-3: In order to explore and develop ("incubate") new ideas for the use of information technology to support military needs, the Secretary of Defense should establish an Institute for Military In-
formation Technology either as a free-standing unit or by expanding the charter of an existing institution.
Experience from the commercial sector demonstrates that creative information technologists flourish in an entrepreneurial culture that encourages and rewards intellectual risk taking. To a large degree, this phenomenon results from the fact that risk takers are allowed to keep the fruits of managing risk successfully. But since the DOD culture does not generally allow the risk takers to reap such benefits, shaping such a culture within the military requires that its leaders help absorb those risks for those with good ideas, regardless of their level in the hierarchy. Indeed, the committee believes that all levels of the DOD/service hierarchy contain individuals with good insights about existing problems, ideas about how to fix those problems, and innovative concepts about how C4I technology could be used to improve military effectiveness. But because of the traditional military command structure, those at lower levels of the hierarchy face considerable risk if they challenge the conventional wisdom.
One example of where risk absorption is essential is in the receiving of operational feedback from end users. The end user must feel comfortable about being honest in the evaluation (without negative feedback from the designer), while the designer must be protected from the penalties of negative feedback, which should be used to direct system improvements.
Risk absorption should not be confused with a lack of accountability. Risk absorption deals with different kinds of risks: the risks of proposing new ideas, the risks of undertaking ventures or experiments that may fail. In the first case, proposal and advocacy of a new idea do not raise questions of accountability. In the second case, the individual or organization in question should be assessed on the basis of whether or not the experiment was well founded in light of what was known at the time the decision to proceed was made.
A major purpose of the proposed institute is to facilitate creative intellectual risk taking. Toward this end, it would bring together for extended periods of time combat operators, military information technologists, and civilian information technology experts from academia and industry in an environment where innovative ideas for using information technology to support military needs could be explored relatively freely and with minimal personal risk. Innovation would be encouraged by an institutional culture that applauds success and provides for soft failure.
A key element of the proposed institute is the synergy between technologists and the military operators. The technologists provide the supply side—what can be done with information technology. Such information, especially if it is visionary, can influence markedly the commander's view of what will be possible in military operations. The operators pro-
vide the demand side—the commander's "druthers," i.e., what he would like to be able to do militarily—information that can stimulate the development of new applications and perhaps new technologies. Technologists will learn from the operators in side-by-side contact and in understanding lessons learned from demonstrations, experiments, exercises, and operational deployments.
The educational dimension of the institute would be approximately that of advanced graduate education in the private sector—learning through problem-based work rather than courses (as is more typical of undergraduate education). Thus, its educational intent would be to share knowledge rapidly and adapt what it teaches to the changing world in a timely manner. In this fashion, it would not operate as a training command, in which courses focus on established doctrine (which—quite properly—takes a long time to evolve). An educational dimension structured along such lines would also enable the institute to provide ongoing support for a career path for C4I specialists.
The institute would also serve as a "think tank" responsive to the services (especially the doctrine commands) and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The output of the institute would be both reports and "prototype" or "proof-of-concept" demonstrations. (In this latter output, the institute would differ from traditional think tanks.) As a rule, the institute would not develop technology on its own, instead focusing on the potential adaptation and use of commercial off-the-shelf capabilities in military information technology applications. The technology work undertaken by the institute would thus focus primarily on integration and "stitching together" COTS components to serve military needs.
It is expected that the institute would connect closely with a variety of different institutions and activities:
- Training and doctrine commands and the Joint Battle Center, through which the institute could facilitate a close coupling between service-based strategy and analysis and joint C4I experimentation;
- Service and defense agency research and development efforts in information technology, and the service development laboratories, through which the institute could keep abreast of current C4I developments;
- The Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstrations, through which the institute could demonstrate in-house work of its own and/or facilitate appropriate work originating in other DOD or contractor bodies;
- The Joint Staff (especially the Directorate for C4 Systems and the Directorate for Operations), through which the institute could couple to operational concerns; and
- The various war colleges, through which the institute could help to
- develop the intellectual basis for a broad educational program on C4I issues, particularly for military leaders.
With a stated mission to ensure excellence in professional military education and research in the essential elements of national security, the National Defense University is one possible location for the proposed institute, though it would have to extend itself to engage technologists and system developers. The Joint C4ISR Battle Center is a second possible location, though it would have to extend itself to embrace a research and education function that it currently does not have.
Recommendation P-4: The Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, working with the service Secretaries and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should direct that as a general rule, every individual C4I acquisition should (a) use evolutionary acquisition; (b) articulate requirements as functional statements rather than technical specifications; and (c) develop operational requirements through a process that includes input from all the services and the CINCs.
Over the time scale of a typical military C4I program, the applicable technology underlying the program, as well as operational requirements for its use, the doctrine that governs its operation, and the world and local environments in which it must operate, can be expected to change dramatically. Large increases in performance mean that features or capabilities desired by users that may have been unrealistic at the start of the program (i.e., when the requirements are first defined) may become more realistic later in the program. Moreover, the nature of the relationship between users and C4I systems is such that users are often unable to foresee how a system might be used without actual operating experience. However, once given that operating experience (something that requires a functioning system), they are in a much better position to articulate other needs and requirements that they did not realize they had. Waiting for a 100% complete statement of requirements that the system will eventually have to meet is a recipe for radically increasing costs and extensively delaying system deployment.
For these reasons, an "80% solution"—an evolutionary acquisition—to the functional requirement, followed by effective preplanned product improvements is not unreasonable as the initial statement of requirements. Such a formulation would encourage commercial technology application and dramatically reduce the cycle time for developing new C4I systems.
An important corollary is that in many cases it is necessary for program plans to state only functional requirements. Indeed, overspecifica-
tion of the design limits the ability of a supplier to find better or more cost-effective ways of implementing the system. The major exception to this general principle is in the specification of interfaces to other systems. Because these interfaces are essential to achieving interoperability, a high degree of detail is appropriate in specifying them. Such detail should be derived from the operational, technical, and systems architectures that describe the system in question and how it relates to other C4I systems.
Finally, if the intent of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 35—that all C4I systems developed for use by or in support of U.S. forces are by definition to be considered for use in joint operations—is to be met, the requirements definition process should be under the control of a group that represents the interests of all stakeholders. As a general rule today, requirements are initially specified by the service programmatically responsible for a system to be acquired; other stakeholders such as the CINCs or the Joint Chiefs of Staff have opportunities for input, but primarily in later stages of program review when the system has been largely defined. Furthermore, while the requirements for some programs are vetted through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, the Defense Acquisition Board, or the Major Automated Information Systems Review Council, these bodies deal only with programs exceeding some (relatively large) dollar threshold (and the magnitude of a C4I program is not a good indicator of its operational importance). And, the fact that these bodies perform a review and oversight function for many programs means that they are limited in the attention that they can give to any specific program. The committee believes that a process that ensures input from the CINCs and inter-service input in the initial formulation, as well as the review of requirements, increases the likelihood that the requirements that a system is designed to meet will in fact satisfy needs for interoperability and jointness. 36
Note: This recommendation does not call for the establishment of joint offices for program management. While under some circumstances a joint program office for a C4I program may be appropriate, a joint program is dependent on the services for the monetary support, staffing, contracting,
and purchasing authority needed to execute an acquisition. Such dependency frequently leads to multiple inadequacies in program execution and can make the joint program less effective due to the inability of a joint program director to control service support for his program.
Because the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I have the ultimate responsibility for acquisition matters related to C4I, those offices are the appropriate ones to take action. The policy promulgated must require explicit justifications for approaches to acquisition that do not call for evolutionary acquisition, must be observed by all service acquisition arms, and must specify that all requirements contained in program documents for all C4I programs and all C4I within weapons systems be stated as functional statements.
Recommendation P-5: The Secretary of Defense should seek, and the Congress should support, an appropriate level of budgetary flexibility to exploit unanticipated advances in C4I technology that have a high payoff potential.
As new commercial information technologies and applications emerge that can significantly improve military capabilities, management and budgeting approaches must be flexible and responsive if timely acquisition of fast-paced information technological developments is to succeed. High-value C4I applications that emerge from an advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) or a demonstration such as those in the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstrations are all too often "orphaned" in relation to the regular acquisition track, and follow-through has been difficult in the past.
The reason is that the normal planning and budget process programs funds years in advance. Thus, some "offline" funding mechanism is required to cover unanticipated needs.37 Furthermore, even if an ACTD does not enter the mainstream acquisition process, funding streams are
needed to ensure that leave-behinds from ACTDs are compatible with the other systems where they are deployed, and are maintainable and supportable.
Of course, a C4I ACTD that is developed independently of various requirements to support interoperability and security is unlikely to be adequately interoperable or secure. Thus, ACTDs should be developed in conformance with such requirements, even if such development increases the initial research and development cost. C4I ACTDs that are not adequately interoperable or secure are not likely to have significant "leave-behind" operational utility in the long run in any event, so that funding streams for such ACTDs are not needed.
Given the tension between effective budgetary oversight and budget flexibility, the senior leadership of the DOD must take the lead in expressing the need. While budget flexibility is always regarded as desirable by those whose budgets are being overseen, the time scales on which useful applications of C4I can emerge is much smaller than the characteristic time scales of the DOD budget, making such flexibility particularly important in the C4I domain. For example, one approach for increasing flexibility that might warrant consideration (though the committee is not specifically recommending it) is to increase for C4I programs (and for C4I programs only) the current thresholds for budget reprogramming below which the DOD can take action without explicit legislative approval.
Recommendation P-6: DOD should put into place the foundation for a regular rebalancing of its resource allocations for C4I.
C4I is a fundamental technological underpinning of information superiority. If DOD is serious about its commitment to U.S. information superiority on the battlefield of the future, it must be engaged in a thoughtful and continuing examination of the resources it allocates to C4I. The outcome of such examination may support the beliefs of different constituencies within DOD about the proper future trajectory of C4I resources. Some believe that the fraction of the DOD budget devoted to C4I should increase significantly in the future; others believe that the amounts should decrease, and still others say it should remain about the same. The committee is explicitly silent on whether the budget is appropriately balanced today among readiness, weapons, force structure, and other types of military spending, but it does note that an increase in the fraction of the budget devoted to C4I necessarily entails trade-offs against these categories.
The committee believes that DOD would increase the likelihood of making sensible budget decisions about C4I if it put into place the foundation necessary for undertaking a rebalancing of C4I vis-à-vis weapons
and force structure as part of the regular budget process. Key elements of this foundation are the focus of the following two sub-recommendations.
Recommendation P-6.1: The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) should explicitly account for C4I spending as a whole in DOD's budget process.
As noted in Chapter 1, C4I is not a budget category within the annual DOD budgeting process. In the absence of such information, it is left to a large extent to the services to determine their own C4I priorities and how those weigh against their needs for force structure and weapons procurement. Input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff provides an opportunity to take a more integrated perspective, but without knowing what is being spent by all of the services on C4I in any given year, it is obviously difficult to take a defense-wide perspective on the level of overall spending.
It is true that the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (1997) performed a cross-walk through the budget to determine how much was being spent on C4I. However, 4 years is far too long a time to elapse between the points at which the overall spending on C4I is understood. While it does not make sense to build a new C4I plan every year, plans must be updated on a time scale comparable to that for significant progress and change in the underlying technologies. This time scale is much closer to 1 year than 4 years.
Whether an overall assessment of spending on C4I should include C4I that is embedded into weapons systems is an open question. On the one hand, weapons systems and command decisions will rely on certain capabilities, whether they are provided by systems that are programmatically designated as C4I systems or not. Thus, from an analytical standpoint, the programmatic category should not matter. On the other hand, extracting the costs of embedded C4I from the overall costs of a weapons system in which it resides may be quite difficult and prone to error. In particular, data not subject to a consistent reporting scheme across all weapons systems programs may cause problems for one program vis-à-vis another. Furthermore, weapons systems program managers may well be reluctant to explicitly call out the cost of C4I for fear of increasing its visibility to budget auditors.
Whatever definition of "C4I" is adopted, it must be governed by consistent accounting rules. These rules would address questions such as whether or not to include sensors physically carried by a platform (e.g., the radar built into the F-22), sensors operating in close proximity to a weapon (e.g., the radar associated with the Patriot missile system), and off-board sensors used to support precision strike operations (e.g., sensors carried on platforms such as a JSTARS aircraft).
Because the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) is responsible for supervising and directing the formulation and presentation of defense budgets and establishing and supervising the execution of uniform DOD policies, principles, and procedures for budget formulation, it is this office that must take the ultimate responsibility for a more frequent accounting of C4I expenditures and for using this accounting in establishing spending priorities. Of course, it is expected that the comptroller would work closely with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I in conducting such an accounting.
Recommendation P-6.2: The Joint Chiefs of Staff should develop and use measures of military effectiveness that can be used to assess the contribution of C4I to military effectiveness.
An increase in the fraction of the budget devoted to C4I necessarily entails trade-offs against other modernization, readiness, and force structure. Given that these costs will likely have major implications for force effectiveness, DOD should be confident that the benefits from more C4I resources are strong enough to provide a net positive result if it decides to move in that direction. Quantitative measures of military effectiveness will thus be necessary to support a continuing process of rebalancing investment among C4I, weapons, and force structure (and among C4I systems themselves). Furthermore, quantitative measures can also help to inform the judgment of senior military leaders about how the capabilities offered by C4I can best be exploited in conducting military operations (i.e., in the formulation of military doctrine). 38
Some indications of the contribution that C4I can make to military effectiveness are known from simulation and modeling as well as experiments. However, authoritative, accepted models typically do a poor job of representing C4I capabilities and performance in a realistic way, and C4I-oriented models that at least partially compensate for this shortcoming are generally neither comprehensive nor broadly accepted. Most commercial communications systems and process control systems do use mathematical models and simulations in some fashion. Sometimes relatively simple models and measurements result in substantive improvements. The same should apply to C4I systems.
To support intelligent decisions about investment and doctrine, tools are required at several levels:
- Measures that characterize the performance of C4I systems such as decreased latency of situational information at all echelons;
- Measures that characterize the contribution of C4I systems to particular military operations such as improved rates of fire, more effective expenditure of firepower, or increased ability to place targets at risk; and
- Results from force-on-force simulation and exercises, which enable assessment of overall contributions afforded by C4I as well as new doctrine that exploits C4I capabilities.
Analysts have sought for many years to develop measures of military effectiveness for C4I, and the committee recognizes the difficulty in developing them. But the difficulty in developing such measures should not be used as an excuse for ignoring them. Measures of military effectiveness for C4I, including intermediate measures for interoperability and security, can be defined, however incomplete and overly simplistic they may seem initially, and systematically used to measure progress in achieving the DOD's objectives for C4I. In some cases (perhaps such as interoperability—see Chapter 2), scorecards will have to suffice initially.
Finally, measures of military effectiveness and simulations and exercises must be based on scenarios with operational significance. They must be based on real military requirements and independently developed rather than developed specifically to showcase particular C4I systems or concepts.
The Joint Staff Directorate for Operations is the most plausible office to take action to support this recommendation because it has the closest connection to operational scenarios and deployments. Because a considerable amount of research and development in this area may be necessary (indeed, new theories of warfare may be needed), the Directorate for Operations may well contract significant work with various analytic organizations (e.g., RAND, the Institute for Defense Analyses, MITRE).
Recommendation P-7: The Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the CINCs, and the service Secretaries should sustain and expand their efforts to carry out experimentation to discover new concepts for conducting information-enabled military operations.
Experimentation within the DOD context is analogous to business process reengineering in the private sector. Both seek radically new ways of doing things that create value and advance the ability of the organization to conduct military operations or to make money. Experimentation
and business process reengineering can take place at many different scales—from how a combat operations center does its work to how Army corps and Air Force wings and Navy battle groups fight battles. Some may be relatively costly (e.g., the Army's Advanced Warfighting Experiment), others less so (e.g., the Air Force's Expeditionary Force Experiment).
Sometimes small-scale experiments that are less inexpensive lay the groundwork for success in larger experiments. For example, it is appropriate for the Army to have conducted small-scale experiments with digitizing battalion-sized forces before similarly equipping a full brigade. Even larger-scale experiments may be cost-effective in the long run if they help make the right investments and avoid the wrong ones. However, it is also important to note that the reengineering of business processes can have a high impact even with relatively low expenditures on technology (as the Wal-Mart experience demonstrates).
A number of techniques have been used to facilitate process reengineering. For example, the use of integrated process teams in key functional areas could be used to develop reengineered processes to go along with the use of new (or existing) C4I systems. Process "tiger teams" can be used in the field to "walk the process" and talk to individuals involved in a process at every level; such teams can be useful not only in discovering reengineering opportunities, but also in gaining understanding and support from the community that is the object of reengineering.
Reengineering often entails disincentives. Specifically, reengineering of business processes often results in many fewer people being needed to accomplish the same end result. The people who might be displaced by reengineering have vested interests in resisting it (and there is also the non-trivial emotional factor of being deemed "irrelevant"). Furthermore, the larger organization of which these people are a part may not wish to give higher authority a rationale for reducing its personnel levels (or budget). The fear is that if an organization saves money through reengineering, its budget will be cut, the savings directed elsewhere, and the organization left vulnerable to the risks of innovation. Under such circumstances, assurances that the organization will not face such losses can play an important role. (In the DOD context, such assurances must come both from the senior leadership of the DOD and from the Congress as well.)
Significant efforts to support experimentation are under way today. For example, a major step in this direction has been taken in the designation of the U.S. Atlantic Command as the leader in joint experimentation, with a new organization in the Joint Chiefs of Staff for experimentation consisting of approximately 400 staff. The Army's Advanced Warfighting Experiment has been strongly supported by the DOD and the Congress.
In a recent initiative, the U.S. Pacific Command recently conducted an experiment to assess the value of the Virtual Information Center to support the needs of the theater commander-in-chief and joint task force commander in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The Joint Battle Center, a creation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provides the combatant commands, at the joint task force level, with a joint capability and experimental environment that will be a forcing function for joint C4ISR capability and will foster rapid, near-term insertion of C4ISR technology. The Joint Battle Center will be a learning and experimentation center for the warfighter and the technologist, supporting Joint Vision 2010 and the requirements of CINCs for C4I capability.
Nevertheless, it is all too easy to fall back to "business as usual" when faced with budget pressures. Experimentation is undeniably expensive, and failure is to be expected from time to time. Well-meaning critics who focus on the cost and possible failure of particular individual experiments may wind up doing more damage than good in the long run. Fortunately, such criticism is rare today, but the committee lays down a marker for the future.
The organizations that support experimentation need no exhortation that experimentation is a good thing to do. But in the face of budget pressures to cut back on experimentation, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CINCs, and the service chiefs will have to strongly uphold the value of investing in the future.
Recommendation P-8: DOD should develop and implement a set of management metrics that are coupled to key elements of C4I system effectiveness.
Achieving large-scale cultural change in an organization requires commensurate change in management metrics. Indeed, a maxim of quality management is "if you can't measure it, you can't improve it." Metrics, a major motivator of human behavior, have been demonstrated to be an essential element of making improvements, and are the base for driving continuous progress.
In general, management metrics focus on the characteristics or performance of an organization, and are used by senior management to assess the effectiveness of the organization and its leadership. The committee is aware of some areas where DOD is attempting to apply management metrics to drive cultural change within the department.39
A range of such management metrics are required to assess and drive change associated with exploiting the full leverage of C4I in warfighting. Metrics aligned with such key areas as interoperability, security, and overall rate of implementation, as well as such associated elements as training, and skill resource levels, are called for. These metrics must be as quantitative as possible, though in some cases judgment-based ratings will have to be used. The metrics should be applied to units as well as commanders at higher echelons in a manner consistent with their responsibilities. Box 4.3 provides some examples of management metrics for gauging progress toward C4I implementation goals.