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Chapter 6
Concept of Operations

Today's breathtaking technological achievements notwithstanding, developing the concept of operations that incorporate new technologies and orgnizations to permit effective exploitation of new capabilities is even more critical than acquisition of the technologies themselves.

-James R. Fitzsimonds
Revolutions in Military Affairs

This chapter discusses how the Cyber Situation will be implemented and expound on what capabilities the Cyber Situation offers to future war fighters. Implementing the system will require dramatic changes to our present-day organizational structure and doctrine. No doubt some of these changes will appear radical and meet stiff resistance by individuals and institutions unconvinced of the merits the Cyber Situation has to offer to the defense efforts of United States military. History has shown those entities unable or unwilling to adapt to change have, at best, been left behind, and in the worst instances been eliminated as an entity.

To realize the full potential of the Cyber Situation, tomorrow's aerospace forces must devise dramatically different supporting organizations and doctrine in order to fully harvest these innovative new capabilities. As noted in previous chapters, the technology will be available in 2025; it will be the organization and command structures along with the doctrine and concept of operations (CONOP) that will form the second and third legs of the revolution in military affairs (RMA) triad.

Future Conops

War-fighting and conflict management in 2025 will apply the results of improved concepts and technology applications in the areas of surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and overall battlespace execution. As forecast in the 1994 SPACECAST 2020 study, "advances in surveillance and reconnaissance, particularly real-time 'sensor to shooter' to support 'one shot, one kill' technology, will be a necessity if future conflicts are to be supported by a society conditioned to 'quick wars' with high operational tempos, minimal casualties, and low collateral damage."125 The Cyber Situation has the potential to be the harbinger of the revolution.

Applications of the Cyber Situation

The Cyber Situation is ideally suited for the command, control, and execution of military operations across the spectrum of warfare from the selective release of nonlethal weapons to the full-scale assault of parallel war. In parallel war, aerospace forces simultaneously attack enemy centers of gravity across all levels of war (strategic, operational, and tactical) at rates faster than the enemy can react.126

Commanders always seek to control the throttle of the OODA Loop, operating faster or slowing the decision cycle of their foes. In past wars, tank commanders and fighter pilots always strove to get "inside the enemies OODA Loop." The difference in future conflicts will be the speed and scope of their decisions.

Parallel war requires large numbers of highly precise weapons directed against critical nodes. Additionally, they require a requisite level of detail on the enemy situation necessary for precision targeting. For these reasons yesterday's military commanders could not wage parallel war effectively. The Cyber Situation is ideal for conducting parallel war because it offers capabilities that fill both of these voids.

The Cyber Situation offers tomorrow's commanders an in-time view of the battlespace, exposing the enemy centers of gravity before his eyes. In 2025 operating at previously unheard of speeds will be a common feature of military engagement. Future warriors by way of the IIC will conduct Cyber Situations utilizing a whole new array of air and space sensors, UCAV, directed energy weapons, and highly mobile expeditionary forces. Operations will be controlled from Cyber Situations in continental US (CONUS) and instantaneously reach out and touch the enemy halfway around the globe.

A CONUS-based joint task force commander, for example, would have well exercised connectivity with combat units through Cyber Situations with CONUS-based stealth bombers, UCAV, and instantaneous access to space based precision strike weapons. Imagine the psychological effect on the adversary who will be unable to predict where the next blow will fall and will be powerless to defend against it

Command Structure

The 2025 force structure and battlespace requirements will make obsolete traditional hierarchical command and control arrangements. Cyber Situation capabilities require greater decentralization through information technology, growth of distributed systems and establishment of virtual organizations.

New information and communications technologies are shifting power to those with the most powerful computers and most effective sensors . . . at the same time, the punch packed by the individual soldier is increasing, eroding the role of field commanders and resulting in flatter command and control structures.127

The Cyber Situation allows greater emphasis to be placed on decisive decision making, precision engagement, high-speed and synchronized maneuver, agility, and enhanced command and control. The command structure will have freedom of operation within previously identified parameters much like the vaunted German decentralized, flexible command style known as Auftragstaktik (mission tactics). This method of battlefield command has enabled smaller forces to defeat much larger ones through a timely ability to seize the initiative and act according to "on the spot" judgment. The German breakout at Sedan, resulting in the fall of France in 1940 offers a familiar example of the successful employment of this flexible command philosophy.128

The war fighter must have access to a broad range of supporting weapons, improved mobility, survivability, and supportability-these changes that reflect a dramatically flattened command structure staffed by an extremely high caliber individual at every level. As the battlefield becomes less dense and more decentralized, the demands on small unit leaders increase. The flattened structure permits power to be defused and redistributed, often to subordinate actors. The overall impact is that the flow of information, and its associated awareness and knowledge, compels closed systems to open, eliminating many layers of the cumbersome and compartmented intelligence and analysis bureaucracy. The traditional emphasis on command and control will give way to an emphasis on consultation and control. This organizational structure permits the Cyber Situation to operate at maximum efficiency. It allows commanders at all levels to operate with greater latitude and autonomy as part of an integrated joint operation-a truly combined arms.

Principles of War

The Cyber Situation will provide enormously enhanced capabilities and opportunities for the war fighter, but it will not alter the fundamental principles of war--objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise, and simplicity. These nine principles guide war-fighting at all levels of warfare and have withstood the test of time and will endure in 2025 as the bedrock of US military doctrine.129 The Cyber Situation optimizes the principles of offense, mass, and maneuver, enabling the commander to execute a wide array of precision weapons from CONUS across the spectrum of warfare at a single decisive point or a parallel attack against multiple critical nodes. The following section depicts the Cyber Situation in action in a hypothetical 2025 scenario.

A Future World

(12 March, 2025--1435 EST/2045Z) The persistent flashing blue light at the corner of his vision alerted the CJCS that the NMCC was initiating a category II ALERT, the blue code for International, Domestic. As the chairman made himself comfortable, he double-blinked rapidly to set in motion his Cyber Situation. As his computer-generated mental display command center whirled into being before his eyes, his mental display-mail--the message that started the ALERT--became operational. CINCSOUTH's image appeared and began briefing.

The government of Argentina was asking for help in conducting a hit on a narcoterrorist group hidden within a room in the center of the Zircon building, a 50-story skyscraper building in downtown Buenos Aires. The Argentina government is worried because the building also contains thousands of civilians unaware of the terrorists' presence. A moment's thought and the topographical detail map of Buenos Aires floats into view. As the CJCS studied the map from all angles, zeroing in on the Zircon building, the other major players "stepped" one by one into the "Cyber conference." The NCA, along with the unified CINCs, service chiefs, and State Department representatives all studied the unfolding three-dimensional schematics of the Zircon building within their own personal "cyberspace." Weather reports began to come in, indicating a storm raging off the coast in Tierra Del Fuego with winds NNE at 35 miles per hour. Light rain was falling in and around Buenos Aires. Now the CJCS moved into the "Cyber Situation" of the intelligence analyst that had been monitoring the situation. DNA and heat-sensing probes of the Zircon building were built into a three-dimensional map that pin-pointed the location of the terrorists on the 23rd floor in the offices of the Argentina Spaceways Co. Two floors above, a local telecommunications company was hosting an AT&T International conference. Local police already had sealed off the outer sectors of the building.

After studying the situation, the CINCSOUTH then ordered the execution of Operation Red Ball One--Option 2, with the CJCS approval. At this point the CSAF took over the "Cyber Situation" and entered the "Cyber-space" of the ACC commander. Together, they reviewed the life-like images that appeared before them marking US Aerospace bases. Beside each image were the unit's designator, manning level, and current activity. For the execution of Red Ball One--Option 2, after consulting his crisis action staff, the ACC commander decided to precision drop three squads of Space Marines from a TC-4 Globemaster on to the roof of the Zircon building. The Cyber Situation now included the colonel in charge of the 3d Special Operations Group the squadron commander of the Space Marines at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and the Globemaster wing commander at Eglin AFB, Florida. Together, they reviewed the prevailing weather conditions, where the wind and rain could affect operations. Next, they reviewed the computer-generated mental display schematics of the Zircon building, deciding where best to precision drop the squads, mapping out the ins and outs of the stairways and speed lifts of the building. Each of the three squad leaders of the Space Marines entered the "Cyber Situation" for a detailed briefing of the Zircon building's many exits and entries. They discussed the placement of portable force-field shields to isolate the floor and at what point the various nonlethal weapons would be used. One of the Marines suggested using an ultra-high frequency wave burst as the best method to subdue the terrorists with the fewest losses. The TAV-4 pilot and crew, already part of the Cyber Situation, once more reviewed the weather, adjusted for winds, and with the squadrons aboard, launched.

The CINC and others watched the outcome of the operation in their "Cyber Situations," noting the success of the precision drop and the excellent execution of the Space Marines in avoiding detection by the terrorists, while keeping the civilians calm. The success of the frequency wave burst earned the suggesting Space Marine a merit promotion and the entire operation the Argentine government's heartfelt thanks.

Chapter 7
Investigation Recommendations

This chapter discusses areas of concerns requiring increased R&D and time investment. First, it articulates specific shortfalls and identifies commercial and military solutions. Second, it identifies broader issues that will develop with the overall implementation of the Cyber Situation.

Some elements of the Cyber Situation have progressed further in the development process than others. By 2025 the communications architecture will be sufficiently robust to support the Cyber Situation. This will occur because of significant commercial investment as the civilian sector's insatiable appetite for increasingly rapid access to data facilitates greater profit for those who provide it. The military will likely be an investment partner in communications advances.

Computer power will continue to progress, doubling about every 18 months until the turn of the century. Again, the commercial sector will take the lead with the military purchasing adequate computer power "off the shelf."

Current development in other areas is not as advanced and will therefore require greater emphasis to mature at a comparable rate. Intelligent software is becoming more commonplace and its application more widely implemented. However, currently available intelligent software has narrow application and is neither very complex nor does it possess suitable capacity. To achieve the military requirements of the Cyber Situation, allocation of R&D funding must continue to increase the pace of development in intelligent software applications.

Finally, 2025 intelligence collection requires technology advances in both computer power and intelligent software but currently is more affected by the developmental limitations in intelligent software. Commercially available intelligence software is proliferating and will augment products developed and managed by the military. However, development of small satellites, both capable of short duration intelligence gathering as well as the ability to cover communication gaps, will require the infusion of scarce military dollars to supplement private sector investment.

The following are other, broader issues that require attention. First, the developmental technologies required by the Cyber Situation must have a more effective linkage. Since each of the capability areas required by the Cyber Situation is developing on a separate path, the synergistic effect of combining these areas might better achieve the goal of complete OODA integration.

Second, research into the functions of the brain must be encouraged and accelerated. This is a new area for both the medical community and the military. The research effort must focus on the capacity and interface within the brain and how information is processed in going from raw input to final decision.

Third, social and cultural biases to a brain implanted decision tool must be overcome. The Cyber Situation is designed to assist, not control each decision maker. To fully exploit growing technology, cumbersome hardware and software requirements must be reduced to the simplicity and seamlessness of a chip implant. With that technology in hand, the Cyber Situation can become a reality.

Chapter 8

The Cyber Situation makes the entire OODA Loop available to the commander in one location. It provides observation through the collection platforms, the IIC, and the computer chip. It orients the user using the IIC, the archival databases, and the brain chip. These are neither new nor revolutionary capabilities provided to the commander. Senior decision makers throughout time have had access to the orient and observe portion of the OODA.

Where the Cyber Situation provides a unique orient and observe capability to the commander is the rapidity in which a decision maker has access to a complete picture. Before the Cyber Situation linked the collectors and analysis tools in one step, each event was accomplished singly. Collectors were tasked and controlled by one group and the analysis occurred elsewhere. The collected and analyzed information then had to be briefed or presented to the commander who applied his own analysis to the information and determine his own solution. This information could (and often did) come to the commander incomplete or with biases attached. The Cyber Situation cuts through the processing and provides the commander with an in-time picture from which he can observe and orient to an unbiased and a complete picture.

With the commander fully informed, the Cyber Situation helps with the decision process. The Cyber Situation is designed to be a decision aid not a decision maker. This none-too-subtle difference confirms that, as conceived, the capability resident in the Cyber Situation is designed to facilitate the best possible decision from a human, who will always be in the loop. Options available to commanders for any situation will be clearly displayed and evident to them; they can select one or seek additional information from the Cyber Situation before proceeding.

It is in the final area of the OODA Loop, the act, where the Cyber Situation provides true added value. Once the commander has fully observed, oriented, and reached a decision, action can occur. The full impact of this full spectrum of the OODA Loop cannot be over stated.

Prior to the full deployment of the Cyber Situation, even the best complete strategic OODA cycle will continue to take hours or days. Providing the commander with the information needed to reach the point of action meant collecting the right data, putting it in the hands of the right analyst, and providing that information to the commander. This is a cumbersome process at best, often overcome by events before the information was forwarded to the right decision maker. Since there was a time-consuming structure in place, information was unavoidably dated (even the freshest information is minutes old) and often incomplete. Thus, even under the most terrific circumstances, the commander was making a decision and perhaps employing forces without the best information.

Not only was the information incomplete, decision makers often contemplated as to whether the information their subordinates provided was reliable and credible. With the capability provided by the Cyber Situation, the information accuracy will be reliable and credible. Further, decision makers will have unobstructed access to information. In short, a decision can finally be made with a complete picture of the battle space.

Once a decision had been reached, the commander transmits execution orders. These orders must be properly formatted and transmitted to subordinate units for action. Again, there is an unavoidable time lag between when the orders are transmitted and when they are acted upon. In these precious hours, the situation the commander desires to effect can change dramatically.

With the capability provided by the Cyber Situation, the commander can employ forces instantly and flexibly. Whether the weapon of choice is a laser, UAV, or F-22, through the Cyber Situation the commander has instant access to it.

What is even more compelling about the capability available through the Cyber Situation is that with the exception of the brain chip, the technologies required to field it are well along in development in 1996. Communications architectures are growing in both commercial and military applications and computer power is still on an exponential growth rate. Software, too, is becoming more intelligent. Indeed, the required capability is on the horizon.

In the end, the development of the Cyber Situation becomes a matter of priorities and trade offs. The question that must be asked at the highest levels in the Department of Defense is whether or not bits are as important as bullets and how the DOD budget dollar must be spent to satisfy the operational requirements for air power in 2025. If what is required is the capability to provide the commander with all the information and tools to act on a decision, then the Cyber Situation is the solution.

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Contact: Air Force 2025
Last updated: 11 December 1996

Chapter 8