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STATEMENT BY
LIEUTENANT GENERAL DANIEL P. LEAF
VICE COMMANDER
AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND

BEFORE THE
UNITED STATES HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE

 21 OCTOBER 2003

 

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:

On behalf of the outstanding men and women of the United States Air Force, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today.  It is a privilege to testify on Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) Interoperability:  New Challenges in 21st Century Warfare.  I had the honor to help defend this great nation during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as Director, Air Component Coordination Element with the Coalition Forces Land Component Commander in Kuwait and Iraq.  I want to thank all of you for your continuing support to the armed forces.

The Armed Services have made remarkable advances in interoperability.  Since Operation Desert Storm, we have solved several major problems-timely sharing of tasking orders, common situational awareness tools and improved communications.  We embrace a common operating environment that enables communication among component commanders and coalition forces through classified computer networks and video teleconferences.  These advances are mandated to us through the joint community and codified in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instructions (CJCSI).  Our requirements are driven by key performance parameters to ensure interoperability.

Beyond technical interoperability is what I label "conceptual interoperability."  The secret to success in OIF was the working relationship between the Coalition Forces Air Component Commander, General Michael Moseley, Coalition Forces Land Component Commander, Lieutenant General David McKiernan, Coalition Forces Maritime Component Commander, Vice Admiral Timothy Keating, and the Commander of Special Operations, Brigadier General Gary Harrell.  This team of commanders demonstrated the understanding and appreciation for the missions and assigned tasks of each service in coalition warfare.  They understood conceptual interoperability is more than the capabilities of individual weapons systems and the associated tactics, techniques and procedures.

Conceptual interoperability is when we foster teamwork.  As a warrior, trust is crucial.  We have learned the hard lesson that we must cooperate to overcome the competing priorities in warfare with overlapping and integrating capabilities.  The commanders in OIF balanced their individual perspectives to achieve the objectives established by the President.  For example, General Moseley knew that destroying enemy air defenses was paramount to the 3rd Infantry Division's march to Baghdad.  He directed the systematic destruction of Iraqi surface-to-air missile systems through the "kill chain" process.  Coalition forces would find, fix, track, target, engage and assess through persistent air and space superiority.  This enabled the land component freedom to operate their forces and achieve tactical advantage over opposing ground forces.

Finally, I must acknowledge that C4I Interoperability is a product of smart, young troops in the field.  Their innovative use of technology in a disciplined manner is vital to our success.  Our ability to use software to chat and collaborate with each other improves our lethality.  As an example, FalconView software is a simple map program that runs on a standard personal computer.  It not only allows aircrews to mission plan at the tactical level but also allows us to share flight routes, threats and imagery with the other components improving situational awareness.

We recognize we must continue to move forward through service partnerships.  We are committed to partnerships at the most senior service levels to cultivate good behavior patterns amongst all ranks.  We are also committed to developing new technologies.  Blue Force Tracking is a possible joint tool to help with combat identification of friends or foes.  As we move forward in the 21st Century, our interoperability is necessary to meet the challenges of tomorrow.  We appreciate your continued support.

Again, I am honored to appear before you and look forward to your questions.


House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515