Facing the Future: Terror War Promotes Transformation Concepts
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2005 – Some people say you can’t transform the Defense Department and fight a war at the same time. But the director of administration and management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense says there’s no better time.
Transformation — that evolution that’s changing the way the military plans, trains and fights — demands a hard look at age-old practices and a willingness to let go of outdated ones to adopt new ones, Raymond F. DuBois Jr. said during an interview with the Pentagon Channel for its documentary “Facing the Future.”
DuBois acknowledges that change doesn’t happen easily or without resistance — anywhere — and that the military is not immune. “Change is threatening,” he said. “Change tends to develop antibodies in any organization which want to reject the transplant, if you will.”
But there’s little incentive like war to erode this resistance, he said. “War promotes change, because it gives you a challenge that you hadn’t thought about before,” he said.
DuBois said the war on terror isn’t just speeding up the pace of transformation; it’s also providing a test bed in which new concepts are being field-tested 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The challenges in the field of combat give us the opportunity to test new concepts, new organizational concepts, new training concepts and new logistical concepts that help drive transformation to the future,” he said.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said that the military must transform as it fights the global war on terror, and DuBois said he couldn’t agree more. “Because if we do that, we will be better at defeating our enemy and deterring their behavior,” he said.
The department’s transformation plans are far-reaching — more than many people realize, DuBois said.
“When transformation was first put on the table, most people assumed it meant changes in weapons systems and in platforms,” he said. “And then people began to recognize that it was systems, platforms, information technology, how one communicates from sensor to shooter.” It also expanded to include ways of working jointly in a battlefield environment.
“You make a mistake if you try to pin it on any one of those particular areas,” DuBois said. “It is all of the above. Most of all, it is the way we think about how we prepare our forces to preserve the peace.”
And history has shown that the way to do that, he said, is to prepare for war.
As the military pursues that objective, it’s critical that it shed Cold War-era operations and mindsets to face up to 21st century threats and challenges, he said.
Just as transformation has no limitations in scope, DuBois said it has no timetable. “Transformation is not something that can be achieved and therefore stopped,” he said.
In reality TV parlance, it’s not “an extreme makeover where you have a ‘before’ and ‘after,’” he said. “It’s a continuum. It moves us from a thought pattern, a state of mind, a state of culture, to a changed state of mind or changed culture in how we adapt and address the challenges of the 21st century.