Future Force: joint operations
Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper
Remarks to the Air Armaments Summit VI, Sandestin, Fla., March 17, 2004
It’s a pleasure to be here tonight and to see so many old friends again and to be able to escape the craziness we call Washington, D.C. At this particular time of year it’s particularly nuts. I see so many of my old friends out there.
It’s good to see General Bill Kirk, sir. Show us your finger there, sir. Would you hold that up? We want to see this finger–that one right there. That’s good.
As it turns out, Cliff Long was driving the tractor, and General Kirk was demonstrating how the thing that drops the seeds in the ground works. He was tracing the path of the seeds from the hopper down through the little blade thing that slings them out and…. When he felt this sharp pain he hollered to Cliff to stop and thank God for Cliffs quick reactions or it would have been worse than you see right here. And now he’s supposed to go turkey hunting this weekend? Nancy, you’re going to let him hold a gun? Don’t do that.
I’ll pay for that, I guess you all know.
It is a pleasure to be here tonight I just want to talk very briefly. It’s late, and I’ve got to get on an airplane and fly back to Washington tonight, and you all have had a long day and very productive sessions. I appreciate everybody’s time.
I want to talk just about a few things very quickly. I’ll try to make it quickly and as you all know when I get fired up it may be quick and it may not be quick, but I’m going to do my very best.
It’s a pleasure for us to see how this particular forum has grown in the years it’s been in existence and to see this room full tonight. And not only full of blue suit uniforms which we had in the first forum, but now we have all kinds of uniforms and we have all sorts of senior representation that’s coming here together to solve a common problem.
I’m excited to be a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You know, we have a great group of Joint Chiefs right now, and we spend a whole lot of time together. You all have heard about the Tank, the great mysterious Tank. The Tank is a conference room. It’s really not that cool, but we spend a lot of time in there together. What we have vowed to do is work on joint concepts of operations.
Now I’ve talked to this audience before about that, about the importance of CONOPS. I’ve been preaching CONOPS for many years now and when I got to Air Combat Command in the year 2000 we started writing concepts of operations based on a very simple principle. You don’t know how you’re going to fight when you go to war unless you can write down your concept of operations.
But the habit patterns we have in all the services is to start with a vision statement. Global Vigilance Reach and Power, and the angels sing and the sun breaks out. From the Sea. Army After Next. And then the next thing that happens is you’ve got a long, unruly line outside your door of people who are going to sell you the programs that enhance Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. Can anybody in this room think of one program that does not enhance global vigilance, reach or power? I can’t. But when you take the trouble to write down how it is you’re going to fight, and you discipline yourself–when you write it down, you don’t name one program or one platform. You just describe what it is you have to do.
From that you extract capabilities which distill into requirements, and then you get to the programs which, by the way, are aggregated in a way that actually answers the requirement, and you get away from the situation we have today. You walk in the AOC today, you walk up to one of the crew positions in the AOC and here’s a guy standing with three work stations in front of him.
You say, why do you have three workstations in front of you? Well, sir, I get the data off of this one, then I have to reenter it over here, and then once I get that, I’ve got to reenter it over here and that gives me my answer.
Well, why do you have to do that? Well this company builds this one, and this company builds this application and this company builds this one. It doesn’t occur to us how goofy that is.
What we need to do is say put those three guys in a room that build these three things, tell them to come out when they’ve got one screen. Oh, we can do that? You bet we can do that.
So you start with a simple notion of writing down the concept of operations. You wouldn’t dare buy a house that your architect couldn’t draw for you first. But we’re buying parts and pieces of our military without having a picture of the house.
We’re getting over that, gang, and let me tell you how proud I am of the companies that are represented here tonight that have gone out and they have worked the integration problem. Every single major company has a major integration effort going on where they’re bringing the stuff together and they’re applying the principles of horizontal integration, they’ve listened to the talk about cursor over the target, a very simple organizing principle. If you can get the sum of the wisdom of our manned, unmanned and space platforms and put the cursor over the target, then you can decide am I going to kill it? Am I going to save it as we do in humanitarian operations? Or do I just want to learn more about it? What am I going to do? You have choices.
But if you get the signals intelligence platform talking with the imaging infrared platform, talking with the GMTI platform, nine times out of 10 those digits can talk to one another and solve about any problem you’ve got, and you never have to print out the picture that we only print out because the simple analog eyes of the human being has to see the picture in order to know what the hell it is. The digits know.
Then you have something like the E-10 which we put up there and the crew positions on the E-10, you sit at your crew position and you tap the sum of the wisdom of these platforms, you end up with a cursor over the target. The person that’s sitting there is a weapons controller, not some sort of a technical genius who has to interpret the tribal hieroglyphics of the platform it’s talking to before you can do anything with it. Let’s get over that. It’s the same thing we got sucked into on computers.
Why do I care whether it’s got 2.4 megabytes hertz processor and a gigabyte thing here? Why do I care? Can it do Microsoft Word?
No, what we do is we buy a processing machine with an E-flat, double clutch, water-cooled, megahertz processor in it and we plug it into the wall and we use it a as communication device. How stupid are we?
Think about it.
You take your cellular phone. Do you know what sort of processor it has in it? No. You don’t care. Why? You make a phone call on it. It works.
That’s where we’ve got to get with our command and control.
Let me talk to you about a few things we’re doing out there in the Air Force today. I talked about distilling things down to effects and things we have to do. I’m going to talk about a few of those here tonight.
We’ve got a future warfighting organizational construct that we’re about to implement in the Air Force where we take our numbered air forces and we’ve organized them to do 99 percent of their work as the planners and executors for their combatant commander, their regional commander.
As we do that we set up their Air Operation Center. Their Air Operation Center’s up 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and all the Air Operation Centers around the world are networked. And supported/supporting relationships are set up between the Space Operation Center at 14th Air Force, the Information Warfare Operation Center at 8th Air Force. And we have habitual relationships.
When we deploy an AEF package over for an exercise or for normal operations, it’s monitored through the Air Operations Center Network just as it would be if we were deploying to war. We use the same software. We use the same screens. We use the same processes and procedures as if we were deploying to war and we do it every day.
Down at the squadron level on the squadron duty desk is the squadron scheduling device that hooks it up to the Air Operation Centers–It’s the same one they’ll use when they go to war.
We don’t do it that way now. No, what we do is we take all the stuff we use in war and we put it up and put a canvas over it over in the corner, and when we go to war we say we better break that stuff out. Does anybody remember how to use it? We relearn it all over again in the course of battle.
Tom Robbins down here has this little duty to go fix this, and he’s got about a week left to go fix it. He’s working it real hard.
We’ve got another thing we call Joint Warfighting Space. Here’s the deal in Joint Warfighting Space. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take some work that they’ve done in the Ballistic Missile Defense business, building small rockets that can lift about a thousand pounds of payload. We’re going to put our Air Force research labs–Speed’s going to do this for us–to work building some micro sats, small satellites, and some small sats, and there is even a new term called nano-sats. I don’t even know if you can see them. I don’t know what the hell they do, but we’re going to build some of them.
The main feature of this rocket that we’re going to build is that you’re going to be able to launch this thing in hours instead of days or weeks. It’s going to be reliable. It’s going to be in the hands of a military operational commander, and its objective is going to be to serve the joint commander in the theater. We’re going to put these satellites up over a theater of war to be directed by that Joint Force commander.
Now it will network with National Security Space and with our strategic assets, but its primary purpose will be to serve that Joint Force commander. And here’s what you guys have to do to work here in the Armament Center. We’re going to have a kinetic dimension of this, too. We’re going to have a kinetic dimension of this, too. We need about a thousand pound warhead that can fly halfway around the world in a matter of minutes and we can put it any anywhere we want to. I would really like it to be able to penetrate something fairly significantly hard and deeply buried. We need you to work on that for us and I think we can do that.
Run by military people, launched in a short period of time, and dedicated to military commanders. That’s what Joint Warfighting Space is going to be about.
We’re going to continue to work on long range strike. People ask me, what is going to be your replacement bomber? The answer to that is I’m not sure that the replacement for bombers is going to be a manned bomber. It may be something that goes through or from space to get to its target. I’m not sure what that is.
Now it may not come very soon. It may come 20 years from now, and in the mean time we may need another generation of manned bomber and we’re looking at some options for that. We’re looking at a variation of the F/A-22 called the F/B-22 which would be larger, would carry two people in it, it would carry about 32 small diameter bombs, it would be very stealthy, it would still retain some properties of supercruise and be able to defend itself so it could operate in the day time. It would have about 75 or 80 percent of the range of the B-2 bomber, and I think it would be a good step between what we’ve got now and where we need to go. We’re taking a look at that now and that’s what we’re going to press on for.
We’re looking at the close air support and what Secretary Roche calls the Battlefield Airman. It’s our Airmen who live on the ground with the troops, whether they’re special operators or whether they’re controllers for the maneuver units in the Army. It’s our Airmen that live on the ground and do direct work for the Army. We’re going to organize around that principle and have formal courses that focus on this. We’re going to organize our equipment so that–and as a matter of fact Secretary Roche has led a marvelous charge. People, if anybody here is from the combat controller world tonight, Secretary Roche has led the charge to cut the weight that our combat controllers have to lug around on their backs by more than half–just since the Afghan crisis. And we’re continuing to look at what the next generation of gunship will look like.
And here’s your next challenge. When that next generation of gunship comes along we don’t want to have something with 105mm barrels poking out the side of it. We want to have some munitions that do a whole lot of damage but they’re really not very big at all. Hockey puck size things. Go figure it out. We need this to happen, again, by next week.
Because the platform we want to build for the next generation gunship, we want it to be stealthy, we want it to not have to carry big, large pieces of munitions to do its job.
We’re looking at the A-10s. We’re going to take our fleet of A-10s and we’re going to cut them by some proportion and we’re going to take the money, as we did in the B-1, we’re going to take that money and we’re going to redo the A-10 to include reengining but also to digitize it and upgrade its systems.
In addition, we’re going to continue to look at dedicated close air support by throwing in with the Marines on the Joint Strike Fighter and buying a variation of the STOVL aircraft.
Now the Air Force is not going to care about the vertical part. We’re not going to jump up and down out of trees. But what we do want to do is be able to take advantage of the numerous short airfields that are out there around the world like we are doing now in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you go to an airfield like Bagram in Afghanistan that we’re flying from today and you look at that airfield, you’ll realize there’s no way we could ever put an F-16 in that airfield because it’s in such terrible condition, but we need that airfield to fly out of because it’s in proximity to the troops we’re supporting.
So that’s the way we’re going to look at the whole notion of close air support and the Battlefield Airman. And as I said, we’re also making sure that our special operations is in the mainstream of the United States Air Force.
We’ve invented these things we call contingency response groups. Not many people know it but when we airdropped the 173rd Brigade of the Army into Northern Iraq during the Iraqi crisis there were 20 Airmen in that jump that jumped with those Army guys. These Airmen were from our contingency response group. Many of them were graduates of the Ranger school. When they hit the ground, their job was not to capture the airfield or not to secure the airfield immediately; their job was to make sure that the airfield could be used as quickly as possible to land aircraft. So they check out the airfield lighting and the communications in the tower, the navigation aids, and they train themselves to do this just in a matter of minutes so that the next airplane in will have all that they need to make the airfield fully operational. That’s what we’re doing in the realm of Battlefield Airmen. That’s what we’re doing to help our special operators along with the business of the next generation gunship.
We’re also looking at taking a completely different look at close air support. Anybody who’s familiar with close air support thinks of the A-10 and airplanes close to the ground in Vietnam. What we found out in Afghanistan is that the young sergeant, Sergeant Markham on the ground riding a horse with the warlords of Afghanistan as a special operator, who stopped and set up his tripod with his keyboard and his laser goggles, and took a sighting on the enemy positions on the next ridge line and beamed them up to the B-52 which then put a string of bombs down that ridge line and took out 200 al Qaida in one pass and had the warlord tell the young sergeant, I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never seen that many of my enemy die at one time in my life.
Now Curtis C. LeMay would roll over in his grave if we said Curt, I’m sorry to tell you but your B-52s are doing close air support. He wouldn’t be too happy with that–but that’s what they’re doing.
Even today when you go off to the close air support conferences, you’ll have people that will say that isn’t close air support. Why? It’s not close to the ground. Would you rather have the noise and the heat close to the ground, or would you rather I had the enemy dead? Oh, okay, well, we can talk about that.
But it’s a new way to think about it, it’s a new way of doing business.
When we think about the next generation of weapons that go along with this, just think about what we’ve done so far. Think about the simplicity and the beauty of the GPS bomb, the JDAM It tickles me to death that Saddam Hussein bought GPS jammers that he surrounded Baghdad with and we were able to bomb them with GPS guided bombs. Take that.
Why? Because we knew what that jammer was going to act like. We knew what our bombs were going to do. We knew that it was going to work. It’s like the western fight in Iraq. When we were looking forward to making sure they weren’t going to fire any SCUDS out of the western part in Iraq, we got the team that was going to go out into the deserts of Nevada and we rehearsed the SCUD hunt and the western fight in the deserts of Nevada–with our Special Forces, with our coalition partners, with all the ISR assets, space, the unmanned air vehicles. We put them all together and we rehearsed it. I went out there and saw them night after night working to get this thing right. And let me tell you, those guys were unbelievably good. Nothing moved that they didn’t know about.
We picked them up and we took that very team and we sent them over to Iraq to fight that war.
I wish you all could see it, to see how good these people are. It would make you so very proud to watch them come together, to network them the right way, to see the way it should be done. We should be doing it this way all the time. It shouldn’t be special, it should be routine.
You look at the dust storm, the dust storm at the end of March a year ago. Our space guys watched the dust storm come and they said you know, it’s going to hit right here. This is when it’s going to hit. All the guys reorganized the Air Tasking Order. Here’s the dust storm, here’s the picture of the dust storm if you’re looking through your eyeballs from the air. They organized with themselves, they got the Joint Stars up to speed. If you’re looking at this same picture through Joint Stars it looks like this. Those little colored dots moving down the roads, those are vehicles that are moving, that were moving forward from Baghdad trying to reinforce the Medina Division down south. We tracked them with the Joint Stars.
They passed that information off to the Global Hawk. The next picture shows you what the Global Hawk was looking at.
Now this looks like blobology, that’s what I call it. But if you look at the real picture, not on a viewgraph, this is really pretty clear. That glob of things with the circle around it and that were in the center of the previous one are tanks along the road that we were able to get the coordinates of to the Global Hawk, pass that information off to the bombers, and go take them out. We did massive damage to the Iraqi maneuver units to the point that in the interviews later the people who were down there said we just walked away from our equipment because we knew if we stayed with it it was going to be hit.
Now this was not elegant. The Global Hawk guys and the Rivet Joint guys and the Joint Stars guys and the bomber guys were talking together on CHAT, which is like the Hotmail. It’s in chatrooms. They were talking through chatrooms. Not at the speed of light, but at the speed of typing. They still got the job done.
The good thing about chatrooms, as we found out, is you can go back and figure out what the guy said four or five times ago so you have to be pretty correct when you’re passing information because you can recheck and see what the person really did say.
But our young people figured this out on the fly, ways to do this, and it was absurdly effective.
Why did we have to figure that out on the fly? Why can’t we figure that out ahead of time? That’s what we’re going to do, gang. We’re going to get on this notion of integration and we’re going to make this thing happen.
I’ve got another video here I want to show you. I want to show you another armament feed here.
This is the Predator. Everybody knows the Predator. It’s everybody’s favorite little thing. Why do we like the Predator? We like the Predator because it stays airborne for 24 hours. It can stare. It’s just as astute in its 24th hour as it is the first hour.
This is the story of the Predator. When we found through Signals intelligence, we found Baghdad Bob’s transmission facility in downtown Baghdad. We’d already hit his main facility and we knew he was using a remote satellite dish and we finally tracked it down. It was right by the Grand Mosque so we couldn’t hit it with a 500-pound or a 1,000-pound or 2,000-pound bomb because of collateral damage. So we call up our little Predator. The little Predator who happened to be flown that day by a female F-15 pilot. She goes in there and she’s in conversation with our Rivet Joint people and they finally locate it.
Let’s go ahead and run the film.
You’ll see right in the middle there, that’s the dish.
A little later on you’re going to see another dish just like it off to the right. One of these is Baghdad Bob’s and one of these was Fox News. So we tuned in Fox News to see which one we were going to get here. But that’s our little Hellfire taking out the satellite dish with very little collateral damage, and off to the right, that’s the other dish there off to the right. Thank heavens we didn’t hurt Fox News.
As she shot that missile she said I’m going to dash out. Everybody knows the Predator does 70 miles an hour. I think she pushed it up to 75 and dashed out of there.
You’ve heard me say it before, but we like to say that when you’ve got a 70 knot wind with the Predator you can go to the target or come back, but you can’t do both.
All of this is put together by magnificent people. Many of the magnificent people I talk about are arrayed before me here tonight.
It is amazing to me after I’ve been wearing this uniform for nearly 38 years to be able to travel far and wide around the world, and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff I see all the services in action. And whether they be Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines, when you visit them in time of crisis, you never cease to be amazed.
I’ve been doing this a long time now and every time we have another crisis I get amazed all over again at the quality of the people that we have out there.
What’s even more amazing now it’s not just the active duty people, now it’s the National Guard people, it’s the Reserve people. You can’t tell the difference.
I go up to a bomb dump at Incirlik, Turkey and here’s a master sergeant and a tech sergeant standing there guarding the gate. I go up and salute.
“How you doing, sir?” “Doing just fine.”
‘Where are you all from? Expecting to hear some active duty base. “Sir, I’m from Little Rock.” Little Rock? “Yes, sir. In the Air National Guard.”
What do you do there? “I’m the sheriff.” You’re “the” sheriff? “Yeah, I’m the sheriff of Little Rock.”
I said you took a pay cut to do this.
He said “yes, sir, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world right now.”
I turned to the tech sergeant. I said “who are you?” He said “I work for him.” I said who’s guarding Little Rock, for God’s sake?
Amazing people doing amazing things all around the world.
I work with these Joint Chiefs every single day, and what we have vowed to do is we have vowed to write joint concepts of operations where we can describe on a piece of paper how we’re going to fit together and deal with the most difficult tasks we have out there in the world today. And even in peace time. Admiral Vern Clark is asking the question, why do I have to do heel-to-toe carrier rotations whether the threat is high, medium, low or non-existent? And if a carrier presence or an AEF presence is required, why can’t the Joint Chiefs get in there and talk it over and let us decide what sort of force might be recommended to go fill that need, whether it’s an exercise or a presence mission?
And what about equivalent capabilities? What about division-ready forces on the ground? Why do they have to be Army? Why can’t they be Marine? Why can’t we substitute those forces to go do similar jobs?
These are things we are dealing with in the Tank and we’ve got the right set of Joint Chiefs to go make the right things happen.
Let me just sum this up with a couple of points. First of all I want to make a point on the F/A-22. We have made dramatic progress in the last year in the F/A-22. The people we have flying that airplane are combat veterans, each and every one. They are hard to impress. When they come back from their missions, and I get e-mails from lots of them, they tell me if we went to war tomorrow even though this airplane is still in test, this is the airplane we want to take because nothing can touch us.
You all have developed that small diameter bomb they’re going to put on that F/A-22 and it’s going to be able to get back behind enemy lines and as we talk about concepts of operations when the Army writes its CONOPS about brigade combat teams and they’re going to be deep behind enemy lines, it’s the F/A-22 that’s going to be able to penetrate, help those guys out if they’re in trouble, and keep the air clear over the tops of their positions. Keep the air clear so we can resupply on the C-17s. It’s the only thing that’s going to be able to do that.
When the Army canceled the Comanche, it puts that burden on us to make sure that we’re able to take care of the deep operations that they were going to do with that airplane. As they reduce their air defense units it’s up to us to make sure that we keep that air cleansed over the top of their positions. We’re going to take those obligations very, very seriously.
In the most stressing scenarios we have with the United States Navy, it’s going to be the Navy and the Air Force that get in there and use stealth, standoff and precision to kick down the door to create the conditions for access. We’ve got to make sure we work with them and take that seriously.
We’ve got to use this concept which I know you’ve talked about here about the time of flight. The time of flight concept. That is you can argue that you can stand off with cruise weapons hundreds of miles and take out fixed targets, but when that hundreds of miles equates to an hour of time en-route, then you have a time of flight problem. When you have an Army soldier on the ground that needs help right away, you’re not going to take care of that problem with a cruise missile that has a 45-minute en-route time. You need to have something overhead that has a 45 second time of flight between the platform and the ground and it’s got to be very accurate. We’ve got to think of these things so we don’t get ourselves carried away with these notions of standoff when you consider time of flight in the equation. That’s what you all have to do for us.
Finally, let me just make a comment on the situation that this world finds itself in. This thing we call the global war on terror. Let us make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, that the Usama bin Ladens of the world are out to kill all of us. When we see actions that appease terrorists, it just encourages them. If Usama bin Laden on the 11th of September, he was able to kill 3,000 of our citizens, but if he could have killed 30,000 or 300,000 or three million on that day he would have done it with no more remorse than he showed for the 3,000.
So don’t believe for a minute that we have negotiating room, we have common ground with this group of people There is none. And the President is exactly right. There is only one option and that’s to hunt them down and take them out because they want to ruin our way of life. If we value our way of life we have to stay dedicated and serious about this global war on terrorism. Make no mistake.
The people of this nation look to the people that wear its uniform as the symbols of the pride and strength of this nation and it’s our job to carry this out.
I know the Joint Chiefs I work with every day feel exactly the same way, and I know that the band of brothers I call blue suiters are dedicated to that.
On behalf of all of them let me tell you that we are going to take them out. We’re going to track them down. We’re going to do what it takes because they are not going to ruin this nation’s way of life.
God bless each and very one of you. Thank you all very much.
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