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STATEMENT BY
LIEUTENANT GENERAL DUNCAN J. MCNABB
DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR
AIR FORCE PLANS AND PROGRAMS

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

REGARDING AIR FORCE TRANSFORMATION

 26 FEBRUARY 2004



Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss with you the ongoing transformation of the United States Air Force.

To support US national security, the Services must maintain broad and sustained advantages over potential adversaries by providing joint commanders with the most effective solutions to conduct a broad spectrum of joint operations.  The capabilities necessary to achieve this have, of course, changed over time, requiring the military to constantly adapt and "transform."  The Air Force, like all the Services, has contributed significantly to the US military's transformation through the years.  Examples of past transformational technology breakthroughs in air and space power include jet aircraft, supersonic flight, missiles, nuclear weapons, spacecraft, long-range airpower, and precision-guided munitions.  Throughout its history, the Air Force has also gone through numerous significant organizational and conceptual changes to maximize the effectiveness of these new capabilities.  This ongoing transformation of the US military continues today.


Scoping Transformation:

Secretary Rumsfeld's Transformation Planning Guidance defines transformation broadly as "a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people, and organizations that exploit our nation's advantages and protect against our asymmetric vulnerabilities to sustain our strategic position.." Perhaps more to the point, it adds that:  "shaping the nature of military competition ultimately means redefining standards for military success by accomplishing military missions that were previously unimaginable or impossible except at prohibitive risk and cost.Eventually such efforts will render previous ways of warfighting obsolete and change the measures of success in military operations in our favor."

It is important to emphasize that not all change is transformation.  Transformational efforts, whether they are technologies, concepts, or organization adaptation, should result in significant improvements in warfighting capabilities or the ability to address new threats.  Not all efforts achieve that.

Ultimately, transformation must be understood in a strategic context.  There have been two separate, but related, transformations of the US military over the past decade that will continue for the foreseeable future.  The first is the transformation from an industrial age force to an information age force.  Vast leaps in information technology dramatically reshaping warfare in the areas of intelligence and surveillance, command and control, and precision kinetic and non-kinetic weapons.  Before long, joint force commanders will be able to see the entire battlespace, identify key adversary centers of gravity, and rapidly communicate that information to friendly combat forces to wield precise, desired effects.  Technology is also enabling us to produce the effects of mass without having to mass forces.  This approach requires the deployment of fewer forces (and thus enhance rapid mobility), reduce the length of the conflict, and limit collateral damage.


The second ongoing transformation is that from a Cold War-posture to a Global War on Terror-posture.
  The military advantages America currently enjoys are in danger of eroding in the face of new, unique challenges in the 21st century security environment.  In a security environment where traditional concepts of deterrence may no longer apply, the United States must prepare for new and unpredictable forms of terrorism, attacks on its space assets, information attacks on its networks, psychological operations, cruise and ballistic missile attacks on its forces and territory, unpredictable threats, reduced access to forward bases, advanced dispersal and deception techniques, and attacks by chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-explosive-armed adversaries.  We must be able to conduct operations effectively across the entire spectrum of conflict , meeting the unique demands of peace operations, homeland security, urban operations, and low intensity conflicts against a broad range of potential adversaries, not just high intensity operations against a conventional foe. 

Air Force Transformation Strategy:

With these considerations in mind, the Air Force is pursuing a six-part strategy.  To play its part in these transformations in support of the Joint Force Commander, the Air Force is pursuing the following strategy:  

  • Work with the other Services, Joint Staff, and other Department of Defense (DoD) Agencies to enhance joint warfighting

  • Continue to aggressively pursue innovation to lay the groundwork for transformation and ensure that new transformational capabilities are developed and fielded as rapidly as possible

  • Create flexible, agile organizations that continually collaborate to facilitate transformation and institutionalize cultural change

  • Shift from threat- and platform-centric planning and programming to capabilities and effects-based planning and programming

  • Develop "transformational" capabilities we cannot achieve today or must be significantly improved to address the new security environment

  • Break out of industrial age business processes and embrace information age thinking

Allow me to highlight key Air Force initiatives in each of these areas. 

Enhancing Joint Warfighting


A critical part of transformation is the bring to bear the most effective force for a given situation, regardless of what Service or combination of Services contributes that force.  The Services already strongly support each other in many areas and continue to enhance that cooperation.  Almost half of the Air Force budget is invested in joint enablers (airlift, refueling, and air/space C4ISR) in FY 05 and that continues to increase.  For example, the Air Force has recently plusssed up funding for joint enablers such as the C-17, Predator and Global Hawk.

The Air Force has also been working closely with the other Services to further improve joint warfighting in various areas.  Some examples: 

  • During Operation Iraqi Freedom, an Air Component Coordination Element team was located within each component's force headquarters to allow the air component to better integrate air and space power with the operations of the other components to more fully achieve the Joint Force Commander's objectives.  

  • The Air Force and Army are working to improve air support of ground forces in a number of forums:  Air Force Task Force Enduring Look, Air Force Doctrine Symposium III, Center for Army Lessons Learned and Air War College Lessons Learned, Joint Combat Air Support Executive Steering Committee, the Combat Air Support Summit, and Army-Air Force Warfighter Talks.  In addition, the two Services recently held an Army-Air Force Transformation Symposium to jointly address this issue as well as enhancing cooperation in conducting future urban operations and forcible entry over strategic distances.

  • During Operation Iraqi Freedom, two-thirds of Tactical Air Control Parties (the airmen embedded in Army ground units for close air support) were outfitted with standardized special operations equipment.  This significantly improved their ability to enable time-critical targeting and timely close air support of ground forces.

  • A Joint UCAV Program Office was stood up on 1 October 2003 to address Air Force and Navy UCAV issues.  Its goal is to create standards that will allow UCAVs to be built along common lines in hopes of decreasing costs while retaining interoperability.

  • All the Services are collaborating to synchronize development of a joint C4ISR network

  • Air Force participation in OSD, Joint Staff, and other joint wargames explores the potential synergy of emerging joint concepts.

  • The Air Force also holds regular Warfighter Talks with the Army, Navy and Marines to better coordinate our efforts to support the joint commander.

  • The Air Force has established an 11-person on-site liaison office with Joint Forces Command to better coordinate joint concept development and experimentation.

Maximizing the advantages of joint operations requires a common framework that enables DoD to identify both Service interdependencies and gaps.  To accomplish this, the DoD is creating new Joint Operating Concepts (JOCs), which will depict how the joint force of the future will fight across the spectrum of military operations.  The JOCs are also intended to be specific enough to permit identification and prioritization of transformation requirements inside the defense program.  The JOCs strive to build a force with specific characteristics:  fully integrated, expeditionary, networked, decentralized, adaptable, decisive, and lethal.

The process of developing the JOCs and their supporting operations and integrating architectures is presently under way.  Once they are completed, future Service transformation roadmaps will describe comprehensively how the Services are developing the capabilities necessary to execute them.  The Air Force is developing Service operating concepts and a Master Capability List that support the new JOCs.

Working with other joint force elements, Air Force capabilities enable and accelerate joint force power projection operations in the new security environment.  The mobility and swiftness, stealth, precision, and range of the Air Force, working with the dramatically enhanced capabilities of the Army, Navy, and Marines, have already paid huge dividends in recent operations.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was the first war that executed a campaign as designed by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986: a truly joint warfighting effort from planning to execution. Air, ground, maritime, and space forces worked together at the same time for the same objective -- not just because they occupy the same battlespace.   For example, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army Tactical Missile System and Patriot units, coalition air forces, and space assets were all included in a combined Air Tasking Order.  In addition, ground forces were able to bypass major enemy formations because, according to General Peter Pace, the Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, of the "trust our ground forces had in precise and timely airpower."  To avoid repeating the mistakes made in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, the Air Force enjoyed unprecedented coordination with the land component commander to ensure air and space forces were fully integrated with the Army and Marines, as well as British troops.  For instance, during the Race to Baghdad, the Marines, Army and special operations forces bet on air and space power in ways beyond any they had done in the past.  These included not only indirect fires, but also persistent ISR, rapid resupply and a robust Space umbrella that provided an unprecedented level of situational awareness previously unavailable to battlefield commanders anywhere in history.   The resulting trust and confidence in truly joint operations this engendered has inspired all the services to continue working to close the seams that have developed over the years.

Reducing the Acquisition Cycle:

Developing and fielding weapon systems in today's dynamic threat environment requires a new approach to Air Force acquisition.  Agile Acquisition is changing the way the Air Force delivers capability to the warfighter through two basic improvements:  it decreases acquisition cycle time and increases credibility in executing programs.  The goal is to achieve effects on the battlefield with today's technology today rather than yesterday's technology tomorrow.  Achieving this aim requires collaboration among all the stakeholders in the acquisition process to include the warfighter, funding, engineering, test, S&T, program management, industry, contracting, sustainment, and others.

The Air Force and DoD began this transformation with complete revisions to the directives governing acquisition.  The governing principles include encouraging innovation and flexibility, permitting greater judgment in the employment of acquisition principles, focusing on outcomes vice process, and empowering program managers to use the system versus being hampered by over-regulation.  Development and delivery of integrated capabilities requires the flexibility to use innovative approaches such as evolutionary acquisition where capability is delivered to the field incrementally.  The warfighter gets products delivered quickly, and the acquisition team has the opportunity to infuse emerging technology into the system and deliver full capability.


Transforming to a Capabilities-Based Force:

In the past, we improved our capabilities program by program and platform by platform, focusing development efforts on making each individual system go higher, faster, farther, etc. with little consideration of how it would integrate with other capabilities in the Air Force, in other Services, or in allied militaries.  We had to turn this around.  Now we look at our National Strategy and determine the effects the Air Force must create. We next determine what capabilities we need.  Only then do we talk about what platforms, or combination of platforms/systems, we need to provide these capabilities.  It was also critical that the operators took the lead in determining capabilities and that we pursued a capabilities-based planning process wherein warfighting effects and the capabilities needed to achieve them became the drivers for everything we do.

Accordingly, the Air Force recently developed Air Force Concepts of Operations (or CONOPS).  These new CONOPS focus on the effects we need to produce and the capabilities we need to maintain or develop, before we consider the platforms we need.  Through these Air Force CONOPS, we: 

1.      Analyze problems we'll be asked to solve for the Joint Force Commander

2.      Define the operational effects we expect to produce; and

3.      Identify the capabilities that Air Force expeditionary forces need


The Air Force has developed six initial CONOPS: Global Mobility, Global Persistent Response, Global Strike, Homeland Security, Nuclear Response, and Space&C4ISR.

In order to precisely assess each CONOPS, our Capabilities Review and Risk Assessment (or CRRA) identifies and analyzes current and future capabilities, capabilities' shortfalls, health, risks, and opportunities.  The CRRA is a twofold process: each CONOPS executes a CRRA within its effects and capability purview.  Then, an Integrated CRRA assesses capabilities and capability shortfalls across all CONOPS.  The CONOPS first identify desired warfighting effects and then develop top-level capabilities required to generate those effects.  The CRRAs then identify capability gaps, overlaps, and robustness within each top-level capability.  Finally, the Integrated CRRA identifies an acceptable level of risk and risk mitigation measures within each capability.  This assessment helps the CONOPS Champions articulate any disconnects between required capabilities and programs.

During each CONOPS CRRA, the CONOPS Champion and Risk Assessment Teams:  (1) identify their CONOPS desired effect(s) and top-level capabilities; (2) review existing and planned programs, S&T, and special access programs; (3) determine strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities; and (4) assess  the impact of not having specific capabilities across a range of contingencies.  This analysis will: (1) provide senior Air Force leaders an operational, capabilities- and risk-based focus for investment decision-making and (2) achieve the goal of using operational warfighting effects as the drivers for resource allocation for the Air Force.

Metrics to measure the Air Force's progress toward force transformation will be derived primarily from this analysis once the CONOPS and CRRA processes have been finalized and specific required capabilities determined.

 Transforming Air Force Culture and Organization:

The process of transformation begins and ends with people.  Only through the effective development of airmen and the seamless integration of their capabilities into Air Force operations can the Service optimize air and space power.

Allow me to quickly summarize a just a few of the Air Force's key efforts in these areas: 

  • The Air and Space Expeditionary Force construct has been critical in transforming the Air Force from a threat-based, forward-deployed force designed to fight the Cold War to a capabilities-based force based primarily in the United States that is sufficiently flexible to conduct a wide range of operations throughout the world while accommodating the high operational tempo of today's contingency environment.

  • Through the new Force Development construct, the Air Force has a transformed vision for how it trains, educates, promotes, and assigns the Total Force in a more deliberate, coordinated, and connected approach.  Transforming the Air Force is not possible without a process such as this to ensure Airmen understand the nature of the changing security environment.  Recognizing this, we are restructuring our officer Professional Military Education programs.  For instance, we are expanding the opportunities for in-residence attendance and specifically tailoring the education experience to the officer's development path.  This will include more opportunities for select individuals to pursue relevant advanced technical degrees at civilian institutions.  We've also begun providing the opportunity for our enlisted force to obtain advanced degrees from our highly acclaimed Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).  We're also revamping our personnel assignment system to better develop our future leaders through a purposeful pairing of primary and complementary assignments and experiences.  Future plans will expand the Force Development construct to include our reserve components, enlisted corps and civilian workforces.

  • Through the Future Total Force (or FTF) effort, the Air Force is continuing its transformation in the way it integrates the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and civilian force to produce greater combat capability more efficiently.  As the Service relies more on Guard and Reserve components to provide critical peacetime and wartime capabilities, it makes sense to allow some units the opportunity to live, work, and train together.  FTF would allow each component to contribute its unique strengths to provide the capability, experience, stability, and continuity required to operate today's information- and technology-driven forces.  It would also enable the Air Force to make better use of basing infrastructure and maximize the utilization of expensive weapon systems.

One way to implement this is to expand the integration of Active and Reserve component units.  Moving Guard and Reserve units with like assets to active bases or vice-versa could facilitate leaner, more efficient operations, maintenance, and infrastructure.  The Air Force has already established units using this concept.  Examples are the merger of the Air National Guard's 116th Bomb Wing and Air Combat Command's 93rd Air Control Wing to form the 116th Air Control Wing (a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Blended Wing) at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia; and the integration of Air Force Reserve Command's 8th Space Warning Squadron associated with Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.  Reserve Associate and Active Associate units have proven that this concept works and benefits the Active and Reserve Units.  Indeed, they have been used for the last 35 years.  There are currently a total of 11,000 Air Force reservists assigned to associate units, including 32 Reserve Associate flying units.  The movement of the 126th Air Refueling Wing from Chicago to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois represents another example of the efficient use of available infrastructure by different components.

 Developing Transformational Capabilities:

The Air Force is also pursuing new "transformational" capabilities it cannot achieve today or must be significantly improved to enable DoD's transformation goals and the new AF concepts of operation.   These capabilities and associated unclassified Air Force efforts are described in detail in the Air Force Transformation Flight Plan.   However, I will briefly provide a short overview here.

The Air Force of today is facing numerous challenges to achieve the necessary capabilities to prevail in the future.  Networking of air, space, and ground systems is limited.  The amount and type of ISR assets needed for time-critical and simultaneous targeting in most cases are limited.  Legacy air capabilities are vulnerable to the next generation of advanced air defense systems.  Rapidly s
triking anywhere on the globe and conducting persistent operations is very difficult.  Often, the only effect we can produce on a target is to destroy it with kinetic weapons, which is not appropriate in all situations.  Critical information and space systems are vulnerable to attack.  The United States has a limited capability to affect adversary command and control and intelligence-gathering abilities and deny space to adversaries if necessary.  In most cases, forces cannot be deployed abroad in a timely manner.  American territory and forces are also highly vulnerable to ballistic and cruise missile attacks.  The threat from the continued proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons creates a continuous need to ensure that US forces can survive, fight, and win in a contaminated environment.

We have already made great strides in reducing the kill chain and putting the cross hairs over the target in minutes, rather than hours, and much more precisely.  For instance, we beamed coordinates to a B-1 and 12 minutes later, it put four JDAMs on a restaurant when we though Saddam Hussein was inside.  However, it took 45 minutes from the time we thought we saw him go in to when we got authorization from our chain of command to strike.  If we could make the entire process take only 30 minutes, rather than 57, the effect might have been completely different.

To overcome these shortcomings, the Air Force is pursuing the following sixteen "transformational" capabilities - capabilities that must be significantly improved to enable the new CONOPs and DoD's transformation goals.   The first five combined would help enable the United States to achieve information superiority:   

  • Seamless joint machine-to-machine integration of all manned, unmanned, and space systems.  

  • Real-time picture of the battlespace

    Predictive Battlespace Awareness, which is a commander-driven process to predict and preempt adversary actions when and where we choose

    Ensured use of the information domain via effective information assurance and information operations

  • Denial of effective C4ISR to adversaries via effective information operations

There are numerous ongoing efforts that will combine to achieve these capabilities.  The larger ongoing Air Force programs include Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Automated ISR, the Combat Information Transport System, the Distributed Common Ground System, Global Positioning System Blocks IIF and III, Joint Tactical Radio System, Link 16, and the Transformational Satellite. 

Additional transformational capabilities the Air Force are pursuing include: 

  • Penetration of new, advanced enemy air defenses to clear the path for follow-on joint forces (with stealthy platforms such as the F/A-22, UCAVs, and information operations)

   Effective and persistent air, space, and information operations beyond the range of enemy air defenses under adverse weather conditions (with advanced standoff weapons)

    Protection of vital space assets

    Denial of an adversary's access to space services

  • Detection of ballistic and cruise missile launches and destruction of those missiles in flight (with new missile defense systems)

    Rapid establishment of air operations, an air-bridge, and movement of military capability in support of operations anywhere in the world under any conditions with advanced rapid global mobility assets.

    Responsive launch and operation of new space vehicles and refueling/repair/relocation of existing vehicles

  • Significantly lighter, leaner, and faster combat support to enable responsive, persistent, and effective combat operations under any conditions

  • Order of magnitude increase in number of targets we can hit per sortie (with the new Small Diameter Bomb)

  • Achievement of specific, tailored effects on a target short of total destruction (with non-lethal and directed energy weapons and information operations)

    Rapid and precise attack of any target on the globe with persistent effects with both information operations as well as the Common Aero Vehicle and future long-range strike assets. 

These capabilities will not only revolutionize traditional high intensity combat operations, but will also enable the United States to face new non-conventional threats and the future security environment.  For example these capabilities will help the United States:  

  • Counter various anti-access strategies by adversaries.

  • Protect critical C4ISR systems and networks against adversary attacks and counter adversary PSYOP campaigns.

  • Protect critical space assets against growing adversary threats to them.

  • Counter advanced dispersal and deception techniques and enable tracking of targets under the cover of night and in adverse weather.

  • Greatly enhance the conduct of future urban operations and the ongoing global war on terrorism.

  • Protect US forces from new technologies available to adversaries and defend the US homeland.

  • Enable US forces to conduct responsive, persistent, and effective combat operations under any conditions, to include CBRNE environments.

    Significantly mitigate the unpredictability of threats in the new security environment and the greatly reduced access to forward bases. 

Transforming How the Air Force Does Business:

In addition to force transformation, the Air Force is also beginning to engage in business transformation.  Air Force business processes stem from an industrial age when America faced a security environment that was vastly different in character from the one the Air Force faces today.  Although they have been incrementally reformed and modernized over the last 30 years, the underlying philosophy and basic architecture of these processes has not changed-they are labor intensive, they lack agility, flexibility, and speed.  Accountability is fragmented and diluted throughout large bureaucracies that must render their collective assent to enable the accomplishment of the most mundane tasks.

 The Air Force seeks-relative to the status quo: 

  • A significant shift in business operations resources (dollars and people) to combat operations and new/modern combat systems

  • Work processes and a work load enabling its people to accomplish routine (non-crisis, non-exercise) organizational missions within a 40 to 50 hour work week

  • A compression of average process cycle time by a factor of four (relative to current established process baselines)

  • An improvement in the effectiveness of operations resulting in higher customer satisfaction ratings

  • Empowerment of personnel and enrichment of job functions

The Air Force has recently created several organizations, processes, and programs to begin the task of achieving these goals.   They include the Business Management Modernization Program, Air Force Business Modernization and Systems Integration Office, Air Force Business Management Modernization Program, Business Transformation Investment Process, and the Balanced Scorecard.

Conclusion: 

In conclusion, I would simply like to highlight that this is an exciting time for the Air Force. It is engaged in developing new strategies and new concepts of operation to meet an entirely different set of challenges and vulnerabilities.  Technology is creating dynamic advances in information systems, communications, and weapon systems, enabling the joint commander to understand the enemy, deploy forces, and deliver more precise effects faster than ever before.  Airmen are more educated, more motivated, and better trained and equipped than any time in the past.

The Air Force is fully committed to the transformation process and to maximizing joint combat capabilities.  It is using the Secretary of Defense's construct, primarily described in the Transformation Planning Guidance, to guide its transformation efforts.  The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan lays out the Service's ongoing transformation efforts in detail, which, in concert with the other Services, will help achieve the effects required by the Joint Force Commander in the changing security environment.


In addition to developing transformational capabilities, the Air Force has robust strategic planning, innovation, and long-term S&T processes in place to support the development of these capabilities.  It is creating flexible, agile organizations to facilitate transformation and institutionalize cultural change.  The Air Force is transforming the way it educates, trains, and offers experience to its airmen so they understand the nature of the changing security environment and are encouraged to think "outside the box."  It is continuing the transformation of how it integrates the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and civilian force with its Active Duty force.  The Air Force is continuing to transform into a capabilities-based force through the new CONOPS and the CRRA.  It is working with the Joint Staff, OSD, and the other Services and Agencies to improve joint warfighting and develop the new Joint Operating Concepts.


Transformation, however, should not be achieved at the expense of conducting current vital operations in support of the DoD Defense Strategy, maintaining adequate readiness and infrastructure, conducting critical recapitalization, and attracting and retaining quality personnel.  There must be a careful balance between these requirements and our investment in transformation.  We must fight the war today and prepare for the one tomorrow.  We believe our program achieves the proper balance.

The Air Force will always excel at providing air and space focused capabilities to the joint warfighter, while enhancing the capabilities of soldiers, sailors, and marines.  The diversity and flexibility of Air Force efforts and capabilities through concepts of operation, technology, and organizational structure provide unparalleled value to the Nation and make the whole team better. 
The Air Force will continue to work with the rest of DoD to keep transformation focused to provide the capabilities required for the Nation in the 21st Century.

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
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