The first draft of a new investment strategy based on a capabilities-based assessment now in progress is due on 1 April. (This information came out last Friday at a media roundtable with the DOD's EW leadership hosted by the Association of Old Crows.)
AEA is a touchy subject with the US Air Force. This is not least because the enduring need to jam or destroy enemy air defense systems seems to conflict with the huge investment in low observable technology over the past two decades.
So when the two biggest pieces of the AEA SOS -- the standoff B-52 core component jammer (CCJ) and the stand-in joint unmanned combat air system -- both got axed from the budget in 2006, few were surprised.
Neither technology is expected to make a comeback now even though the USAF loses its USN-supplied escort jamming force of EA-6Bs after 2012.
decided to -- I don't want to say accept risk because that's a bad way to put
it -- they've just taken a look at all their needs," Greg Torba, deputy chief of USAF EW and cyber requirements, told us.
"I think where the
air force chose to go down the road of LO -- low observable - technology, and what
we can do with that against the cost of the CCJ," Torba added.
Click on the link below to read my transcript from the media roundtable.
Association of Old Crows (AOC) Journalist Series Roundtable
CAPT Brian Hinkley (USN), Head of the Electronic Warfare/Spectrum Dominance Division, Navy Network Warfare Command
Mr. Greg Torba, Deputy Chief of USAF EW and Cyber Requirements
McCreary (USN), Joint Electronic
Jay Kistler (OSD AT&L)
Brig. Gen. Andy Dichter (USAF, ret.), former Deputy Director for Joint Integration, Directorate of Operational Capability Requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations
We've had some -- I think you've all seen several of our discussions about our Electronic Warfare Joint Analysis Team that we've had going for the past close to a year.
formed in response to a request from US PACOM -- I might add persistent request
-- that we actually have a single -- I hate to use the word bellybutton because
there's a better term -- scratch the term bellybutton if you would please -- a single
point of contact for the many electronic warfare issues that they were raising.
And so the point was that the issues ranged a full gamut of capabilities and no one service or DOD entity really was responsible for all of them. And so the point was there needed to be someone to coordinate activities.
The discussion about digital RF memory is one that we have all the time. It's a -- I don't know if it should be a moot discussion -- but it's certainly has been a part of the electronic warfare toolkit, and always has been. And how you're able to manage all of the aspects, everywhere from the requirements side, to acquisition to testing to joint testing and so forth, and who was pulling all of that together.
And after about three years of visiting PACOM on joint requirements oversight council hub trips, and PACOM pointing out, "Every time [our] people [ask] something, [your] people respond. Thank you very much. But [you're] not responding in an integrated manner."
So that's why we formed the electronic warfare joint analysis team [EW JAT] primarily to address those capability needs identified by the combatant commander, echoed by many other combatant commanders, and, of course, agreed to by the services that those were, in fact, needs. But no one was coordinating those. So we've been operating basically for a year as what Mr. Young has commissioned as joint analysis teams.
But the joint analysis teams, however, are really formed to do some specific activities and then go away. And so we were primarily formed to respond to the combatant commander-PACOM's request for assistance in the electronic warfare area. We have done that. We have taken our issues throughout the program review cycle. I can't tell you anything more than we're very pleased with the discussions so far. The secretary will announce his decisions in his budget.
But we're having a very good dialogue, and very good success, I believe, in keeping all of the balls in the air and together in the same area relative to this important area. And so that's primarily what we've been doing.
In response to calls saying essentially, well, what happens after the joint analysis teams have completed its job? We have coordinated a charter. We're looking seriously about a long-term vision for what a group like this could be. We've learned how to work together. I've got to tell you tremendous, tremendous support from all the services, the combatant commander-STRATCOM and other components ... all the way across the board. Tremendous ability to work together is what we've shown, and solve problems together.
So we've used that experience in moving on to the next level and -- proposing to move on to the next level -- we'll see what forms that takes as we go on. Our combatant commander at PACOM led the charge in asking for us to stand up a group like this, and they suggested that the task force would be an appropriate level of involvement at the department level. We might try that name for a while but an organization ... [inaudible]
But basically I think that's what we're about here and we'll talk a lot more about it at the convention. We wouldn't want you guys to skip the convention based on getting too much stuff here now would we?
Dave Fulghum: Do you think the lack of information coming out of the air force about what they're going to do with Cyber Command is waiting on some sort of decision like this?
Fulghum: I mean there's a lot of overlap --
Fulghum: And it needs to be coordinated, right?
Fulghum: I thought EA would sort of wrap all of this, bring all of this together. When you have a sensor that is turned into a weapon that is turned into a communications device that is turned into a network penetration device. I mean that sounds to me like --
Kistler: I think the answer is cyber is still emerging and we're doing a lot right now just to define cyber. And we're working on the relationship between that -
Fulghum: That's where I was wanting to get to --
Kistler: It's not just cyber. People call it information warfare. Counter-IED, that's EW; aircraft survivability, that's EW. We tend to bin these things into pots according to mission and that's what we're talking about. Because those pots represent a lot of money.
The issue is to bring all that together to see what the total investment is and what the total benefit for the warfighter is what we're always talking about. My job is kind of to take the core strategy and push it down into the different activities. And, vice verse, to bring those technical activities back up to have top-level visibility.
We're working through that right now. We work with STRATCOM, we work very closely with the joint staff and USDI and other players who are trying to get our arms what do we mean by cyber, who's going to control cyber.
That's a debate that's still going on. There's a recognition that EW overlaps with whatever we do in cyber. You're exactly right.
Fulghum: I think actually the point was, are you guys getting any sense of where the debate is? And what has caused the dissolution of the effort to make an organization like that functional and then the decision to back away from it and are you getting any sense of -- ?
Chaisson: Kind of along these lines one of the recommendations and things that they're talking about when you're talking about consolidating things, talking about a single kind of EW czar - say, at OSD level, AT&L or something like that. I think that kind of follows in here ... I think this would be an opportune time to say -- is that a feasible idea? And, if so, with the election coming up, change of administration, how quickly kind of timeframe are we looking at before things of that nature would happen?
The term "czar" I think really doesn't fit in our terminology very well. It's very hard to integrate in our structure. But if you were to see how well --. And I'll ask Col Buckout and Ryan -- they're both on the EW JAT and been part of it for some time -- to tell you about how well people are working together.
Sometimes you need a single as you say oftentimes "bellybutton" because you can't get people to work together. Right? You need the decider. Well, perhaps we have found a way to get people to work together for a common good. To share and to share well. And thus far we've done that.
I will tell you [inaudible] has certainly led the charge in sharing [inaudible] army EW vision [inaudible] right behind that [inaudible] came through and shared theirs. We've got pretty good stuff from the navy as well, and the marine corps.
We are working well at sharing. And so I don't know why we would have to have a czar, per se, that would replace what we've had in the EW JAT, and probably will have as we transition to our new structure.
So if you can say the function that you asked for out of an EW czar, I think we have the function in a more enduring form.
Because when czars leave the czarina gets killed, right? And the whole czar's family, and everybody goes off and creates a new organization.
So really and truly if you're looking for something that's enduring, then I think this - again, the EW JAT or the task force structure is enduring -- and its enduring because we create a common vision, a shared need and we allow that each service has their own unique applications and so forth of common technology, common knowledge and so forth. We all build on an electronic warfare reprogrammable database right? That was one of the things we were all talking about. We've got to make this thing robust and really worthwhile. There's something that everybody needs, and we all joined together to encourage the department to really fix that.
So I think if you say the function of EW czar -- and were to look at Mr. Young's letter back to the congressman on that -- I think it says we will perform that function.
It's actually bureaucratically more expensive on us but it's also more enduring. Bureaucratically more expensive? More meetings. I mean more energy. Scratch the word expensive, [in terms of] money. But it is expensive in terms of meetings, schedules, people doing things and coordinating with each other and things like that, that you wouldn't do if you were a czar. If you were a czar you would just lay down the law and move on. It's a more enduring structure
Trimble: May I ask, how does it directly influence the requirements process and the budgeting process?
I think a lot of times we make decisions that are sub-optimized or are less than the ones we'd like because in the press of time and of course we're all driven by certain clocks around here and the budget cycle is one of those, other cycles are different cycles. We're all driven by those. And so if in the press of time somebody has to make a decision based on the information in front of them, they're going to make it.
So, if we can broaden the base of information and make sure that good, jointly-agreed upon information is brought forward, we get good decisions. And I think you will see the results after the president announces his decisions in his budget.
MCCREARY: Can I comment on that?
MCCREARY: And these comments really go to the last two questions. As STRATCOM -- General Chilton was tasked by General Cartwright to examine what the gaps are, look at the DOD force structure, both material and non-material, you understand that one of the demand signals that came out of all the leadership at the COCOM level and also the services is, yes, not only do we need an enduring organization and team leadership to engage all of this.
But, to the point, we need essentially to articulate how this relates to our national military strategy across all of our domains, all of our warfighting functions both material and non-material.
And whatever enduring organization moves forward -- whether its [inaudible], or a czar, or if it's an executive steering committee -- I don't know if we know the exact solution yet. We will work through that.
But just the fact that I believe the nation now recognizes where we need to move forward to ... We will have the enduring organization, the leadership roles, the people understand the problem, and are committing both intellectually and resource committing to solve those problems and maintain our qualitative technology advantages I think that's the most important thing.
So that's what JD is speaking of and I will take those two points there -- the fact that OSD is attempting to form an organizational construct that can take all of that. That [organization] can actually act on the warfighting assessment is good news. But even better news is the fact that this capabilities based assessment is as broad and as deep and as joint-participation as you can imagine.
Fulghum: Is this any reason on why things seem to have slowed down in CCJ and ACS? They're going back saying we need to reassess what those products are going to be. And so we seem to have actually lost ground rather than gained ground with those capabilities. I know navy seems to be going along with ICAP-3 and next generation jammer.
Torba: Well, that's a loaded question. I think it's a process question and based on two things: fiscally-constrained ends against risk and capabilities and what do we do and where do we get the biggest bang for the buck? And I think where the air force chose to go down the road of LO -- low observable - technology, and what we can do with that against the cost of the CCJ, which at the time it was given to us was a $7-plus billion bill. Industry just needs to help us out with COTS and GOTS better as opposed to --
Fulghum: Yeah, but industry said from the very beginning that those numbers were not their assessments of what the charge were. That those were pretty formulaic and that they were actually looking at a system that was actually half that price. So I'm surprised you're still saying it's - well, I suppose $2.5 billion isn't a low number either. But you're saying the air force hasn't progressed past that?
Torba: No I don't think so. I think this goes back to the start 2002. Then another report came out in 05. And the JROC said this is a validated requirement but the DAWG decided that - hey, how are we pay for this against all the other things that we're trying to do - recapitalization, modernization. We still have fourth generation aircraft that need survivability things. And against all the things that we're trying to do, including standing up the cyber command . They have decided to -- I don't want to say accept risk because that's a bad way to put it -- they've just taken a look at all their needs.
Fulghum: My understaning is the navy isn't going to be able to give EW support to the expeditionary air forces so that's a big-time risk isn't?
Torba: We're doing risk mitigation. MALD, MALD-J. Those are definitely standing things up to help reduce, mitigate some risk.
Buckout: I know that STRATCOM has some efforts that we really can't talk about in this room for starters. There are some considerable efforts.
Fulghum: You never got around to ACS.
Kistler: Well, it is difficult. I guess the best thing to say is directed energy, jamming, physical devices, the department is clearly aware of the risks that we face in that --there is activity not largely that we deal with. But it's clearly being pursued by STRATCOM as well the joint staff ..
Kistler: It's a difficult question because of the strategic nature. It's very hard.
Kistler: I couldn't give you a really authoritative answer...
Fulghum: No one ever takes advantage of Amy Butler.
Kistler: There's probably other forums where we could review these things.
Fulghum: Anything we say will probably end up in a joint byline anyway.
Buckout: I'm not the ACS SME. The last discussion I had are about three or four months old. You know one thing we want to talk about as we talk about roadmaps. I think all the services are retooling roadmaps right now. The army is in the middle of that because we've been fighting this war for about seven years now, and as we go along we are seeing these enduring programatics are not necessarily supporting where we need to go, where we need to be today. JCIDS isn't fast enough. The requirements determination process is not moving fast enough. Programs need to be spiraled out sooner.
That's the vice chief of staff of the army's primary push for FCS is to pull out spirals for ISR, for self-protection, for mobility for self-awareness sooner so we have a more netcentric capability. But along with that netcentric capability, both on the ground in the air and in any variety of platforms -- be it manned or unmanned vehicle or manned or unmanned aircraft -- that we have in our own battlespace.
You're going to have programs that need to be developed, or are going to be pulled out of existing ones, the ones we have today -- like ACS -- may not be entirely supportive of the ISR needs that we see developing right now.
So a lot of the roadmaps are changing. A lot of the programatics are shifting. And I can't say that you're going to see good solid stability in a whole lot of army programs. Does that make sense?
Fulghum: How about the new systems that are coming on? My understanding was you guys have sort of pitched everything out the window and gone back to industry and said let's try this again. Let's look at it again. Are you going to try where it's a dual downselect followed by a set of demonstrations?
Buckout: I don't think so. I think -- as I've said, there's a lot of programs out there that being are retooled to meet the mobility, asymmetric, unconventional aspects of the current war so we're better poised for different scenarios that support the tings coming at us rather than just the cold war scenario from which many of these programs sprang.
But I don't think we're throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think for instance with prophet. Prophet is sprialling into newer, more mobile capabilities. It's got an electornic attack capability going into it, a SIGINT system. That's going into something that's more streamlined and more capable. We're not just throwing the program away, and saying, "Well, okay, let's scrap it and start over." I think ACS is the same thing.
We do have new programs starting up. We do have some spiraling our early. We're looking at our CREW capability, and spiraling those into our first family of integrated electronic warfare systems, IEWS. That's where the army needs to go. Have something better than SIGINT and something better than CREW. CREW does one thing: it goes after radio-controlled IEDs. You need to have an electronic attack capability added to that, so we're calling on some of the current technologies turn out to be old already ... current technologie s??? You say what's old is new again but I think it's capitalizing on current resources, current investment, current technologies, driving towards a better system rather than scrapping the whole thing. I don't think in this age of fiscal reality you can afford to scrap stuff. You improve on what you have as much as you can ...
Fulghum: The marine corps is doing an interesting job by linking their radios to ICAP-IIIs, getting you real time delivery of electronic fires
Fulghum: Ah, so that's where that expeditionary E-6s are going to go? They're going to go to the army then?
Buckout: ... Now it's all about expeditionary brigade combat teams that can go and fight, JTFs, etc. Being able to have that full control of the battlespace with a UAS-based asset were you can maneuver, mobility electronic fires, etc, at the platoon brings a whole lot of capability to fires.
Fulghum: How quickly will you have airborne delivered electronic fires?
Buckout: I can't give you a date because we're still working the JCTD, still working with JCIDS and the requirements processes.
Fulghum: I'll settle for next two years, next five years?
Buckout : I would say that by the next three or four years, and some of that will be in the technology demonstration process. Let's say -- I'll tell you what, let's toss out a date. I'll do it. I'll commit. I'll say 2015.
Trimble: Let me ask, you had brought up the CBA. What can you say about where that -- how things look for airborne electronic attack, and where the gaps are and what the needs are?
MCCREARY: You want to know specifically what the gaps are?
Trimble: Well, I guess, however you can describe what the CBA determined about state of airborne electronic attack and what the needs are going forward.
Hinkley: Is everybody just concerned about airplanes electronic attack?
Trimble: I'm Flight.
Navy: Is there any concern about surface or ground electronic attack. I'm just curious because a lot of -- ... A year ago, if you asked in the navy who was in EW centre, everybody would turn to the EA-6B platform, and you run navy EW. But EW is far more than -- I'm an EA-6B guy but I'll take my wings off and put them on the table here because electronic warfare isn't just aviation eletronic attack. So, it's more encompassing than any of that, but I'll let JD answer the question.
MCCREARY: From STRATCOM's perspective, the CBA, as pointed out, looked at all of the domains. We did in particular look at airborne electronic attack as one of those things but probably not in the context that you were thinking.
We're trying to get rid of the term airborne electronic attack because it creates such a narrow focus. I mean it actually is one of the indicators of how we have fallen in the trap of describing electronic warfare the way we have: very platform-centric, very technology-, mission-centric. Typically, when people say airborne electronic attack, they think Compass Call, counter-IADS mission. We've expanded that a little bit to something of e asymmetric mission ..
What we're really trying to describe is there are EA, ES, EP functions across the military. Some of them are offensive EA. Some of them are defensive EA. That could be in a land-based environment, and it could be in air-based environment.
To get specifically to your question, though. In the airborne arena we certainly find -- no surprise, lots and lots of studies have been done about what we're at with EA -- the department has not come up with their final answer yet.
But, one of the great things about where we are, is now I think we have a much more complete understanding of the things that we need to do with our electronic attack capabilities both offensive and defensive. And so as we look at, is it CCJ, is it unmanned, is it a stand-in component/stand-off component, how does it play with space-based, how does it support not only counter-IADS, but defense of a carrier strike group, the defense of forward-based infills ... [inaudible] in urban environments, in a high-end warfare context.
We can now look at it and work with industry to really come up with a more efficient approach that will answer the true gaps not just one particular set of beliefs that we've held onto for some time.
Trimble: And what's the timeline for the department to come up with the answer to those issues?
MCCREARY: Well, we're actually on a very definitive timeline. The chairman has tasked STRATCOM to work with PACOM, all the services and interagency in the next six months. So by 1 April we will have done a comprehensive analysis of where we stand from material and non-material investments across all of the capability gaps, which are classified and I can't go into any of the details of those. But it's pretty -- it wouldn't be hard to figure out what they are. It's pretty logical. No incredible surprises.
What is going to be terrific about this is working very closely with the services, COCOMs and all elements of OSD, we can look across all of our portfolios and figure out, how does the spectrum read through all things we do in DOD from cradle to grave across DOTMLPF? What's our top-down strategy, national military strategy, and national investment strategy -- with our industry partners -- and move forward with a comprehensive view of how do these things in a single battlespace. What are the technology enablers that will allow us to scale up as COTS advances? ...
Trimble: I guess this is also where the JAT comes into play to be that clearing house of information