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Gen. (Ret.) Jim Jamerson, Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Lockheed Martin corp.

"Joint Force Building"

That's a great pleasure to join you for this conference, I've heard about many times, I've read many of the papers that had come from the conference and it’s a privilege to be a part of it. My title is Building the Joint Force, but what I am really going to provide to you is just some personal experiences, not philosophy, not academic but in fact my own experience, sort of practical experience of operating jointly. It crossed my mind when I read back through this that I haven't really defined it so there are a lot of definitions of a joint activity, I would just say, for our discussion today, for my part, it's the coherent and effective operations of the militaries, all of the military arms of a particular nation, and please don’t argue with me too much on that definition and that should get us through what we have to do here today. These are my views, this is my experience.

I had the fortune, good fortune, to have a lot of that experience in the 90's, as the world was going through a significant change as communism went away, as many as these other threats began to manifest themselves so it's been an interesting time to watch how the joint system has evolved for the United States, and of course I am speaking principally, from the perspective of the United States. I could say the time frame for my remarks is from Vietnam until now but 1968, I will tell you, is truly ancient history in the business of joint activities, and you can essentially throw away all the years up until about 1990 as far as what has really gone one in joint business. I'll focus on the US business but keep in mind that when I talk about joint activities in the US there is another whole level of activity called "coalition", warfare coalition building, which, if you just sort of multiply times 4, how difficult joint activities are, you'll get some sense of coalition activities.

Let me frame my comments sort of six broad categories: commitment, organization, training, equipment, exercises and operations, and I will skim fairly quickly through those areas. But the centerpiece of any time you talk about joint activities as commitment, and when I say that I mean commitment from the level of a senior leadership in a nation, if the leaders are not committed to "jointness" then "jointness" will not happen, it's as simple as that. The reason I mention the years that were throw-away years from when I first entered the world of joint sort of things until the early 1990s' is because there was no commitment. That's not a bad thing necessarily but I would tell you that it took our congress, and this is some times a scary thing, I can say that now because I am not in the military anymore, but it's a scary thing when it takes your congress through legislation, many of you know this is Goldwater-Nichols if you study this, when that sure determines whether you are in fact operate smarter and better than you have been up to then, but that's what it took, that was the enabling legislation that sort of force-fed joint activities into the military and made us actually do what we should have known how to do and should have been able to do ourselves.

Now, I'll make another statement here in this bit about commitment because I think it's important. When I talk about a commitment to "jointness", I would tell you that it is not, and I would repeat, not, it's not a disavowal of the individual services. Air, land, sea, other services of the nation, the foundation of effective joint operations is the individual services, and I'll note a comment here where people tend to forget that, those who in fact have never been through it tend to forget it because they are always looking for new ways to do business, but if you don’t have strong well-chained well-equipped competent services to underpin your joint activities then your joint activities are just doomed to failure, and to a degree that’s what happened to us for many years. So by saying that what I am really saying is I reject myself, based on my experience, what sometimes is referred to as "a purple military", one where you have no services, where you have just one uniform and people think this is the way that you approach bringing everybody together and performing jointly. That is not the way it works in my experience. I'm going to talk about organization just for a minute.

The United States is basically organized in what is called "regional commands", "unified commands" and this year we'll be familiar with the European, United States-European command, the United States central commend, which has been active in this particular region, that's the process by which we do joint things and we've done it fairly well since we've actually learned how to do joint. The unified command's biggest task is to move quickly to put an organization in the field that can handle some sort of a crisis, some sort of contingency. We generally call these things "joint task forces", and we form them fairly quickly for different crises.

There is a long build-up like there was for the war in Iraq then you can put this together fairly substantially ahead of time, if it's something that happens very quickly you can not. So we have several different ways we have approached that through the years: a standing joint task force, people that are assigned and are there all the time, the core of a joint task force, we've even had joint task forces formed in the United States designed to operate overseas, that, by the way, has not been all that successful. The unified commanders, the combatant commanders as they are not called, do not look kindly on having somebody come from another place and set up an operation in their particular area, and in general that's not a good idea because you don’t have the cultural sensitivities and lots of other things that go with an operation there. An equally important thing in the organizational side of this business is the quality of the people. This, again, was sort of force-fed to our military through the Goldwater-Nichols legislation, they literally laid out certain steps that people had to go through to progress in their own service and those steps included serving in a joint tour.

When I was a younger guy in the military people would tell you sometimes: "well, you ought to go be on the joint staff", you learn very quickly that that’s not where you wanted to be, you wanted to stay in your service, that's how you progressed, that's how you became successful. Since Goldwater-Nichols, late 80's, early 90's, has taken affect, it is now mandatory that officers serve on a joint staff somewhere prior to further promotion to the senior grades, that has given us very high quality people in the joint business.

Now, there is a counter-position, again, where sort of is running around in Washington these days that says: "well, if being joint is good then maybe we should take officers and just make them joint forever, take them at about the 12th year point in their career, put them in a joint staff and they never go back to their service", which I think is real foolish in this, but the logic of that being that you will now disavow, you will drop all of your parochial sensitivities for your own service, you'll become truly a joint person. Now, what you miss in that is the quality of officers that we have in our joint activities now comes from having served in their units, being current in the capacity of their units, in the qualifications and the abilities of their units and then come to the joint staff where they can then in fact address problems, knowing exactly what the air force, the army, the navy, the marines can do, and the coast guard as well.

So theories that say there's such a thing as a professional joint staff in fact, in my view, are flawed. Now, in the area of training, I will truncate this a little bit to only say that training is principally, the biggest demand on training is how do you find the time and the resources to allow your components, your air or navy/land components to in fact train up to the level that they have to train to, to make you jointly successful. With the operational tempo that exists in the world out there today that's a real challenge, and that's the biggest problem our senior commanders have is bringing the troops back from being deployed and getting them back into the training mood so they can be deployed again, it's going to be much worst as they try to work their way out of this Iraq business. Equipping a joint force: mostly what comes to a joint operation is the equipments of the components, air force, navy, army, marines, that they bring with them, because those are the organizations that do acquisition, so they buy their own equipment, they figure out what they need to go through time, and they are very good at it, by the way, that's not a problem, but there is another aspect of that which has grown over time, and it's what you kind of generally consider non of the rubric of "the joint requirements process".

In my experience, I'd give you a quick example, when we begun to operate in Bosnia in about the middle 90's we needed some reconnaissance capability that we were all familiar with and there was a thing called ARL which I think was Army Reconnaissance Law at the time, we used to use it in drug 5 operations, counter-drug operations in central and south America, it was the ideal system to monitor the activities in Bosnia Herzegovina. Unfortunately there are only about of those that existed, they were under the US army at that time and they army and their force structure had no reason to buy any more, they didn’t want any more, and they weren't going to buy any more, so at the joint level we had a requirement for the system, at the service level they didn’t see a requirement, so we went without. You will probably, if you read about joint activities in America these days you will see that the Secretary has begun to work much harder at the joint requirements process – how you identify things that the joint commander needs to get his job done. Exercises: I would just tell you that in exercises the true challenge is to try to bring a joint organization together to have an exercise. We did joint exercises all of my career, most of them were an absolute waste of time and money. It's really hard to bring a large, .. these things are carried out … half of the United States, the Eastern half of the United States you'd have a joint exercise. Learned very little, gained very little. So again, the key for exercises is to make sure that the operating units, the ones you are going to really use in your joint operation have the option to get that kind of training. Joint command can in fact, given the wonders of simulation in this day and age you can do a lot of that higher level training through the simulation process. OK, Operations.

Now, because in today's world, when you look at the spectrum that goes from the war on terrorism to conventional operations through theater missile defense and theater missile challenges, there is a lot on the plate for joint forces, but joint forces are in fact probably the best structure to approach that kind of a problem. I'd say the relevant guideline, when we put together a joint operation, in my experience was, you use anything you have, you use everything you have, you try to be unencumbered by too much traditional thinking, the national command authority, the White House, the President in our case, they needed options.

Normally when you are faced with these sort of strange fast braking contingencies you just need options to decide what you want to do next. The joint commander provides those. What you really have to remember in that case is just what's the level of training of your army, navy air force, marines units, how competent are your units that are going to perform the mission for you, that actually do it? I would give you a couple of examples of how that has progressed, how it progressed through the 90's. We had an embassy crisis in Liberia, among the many crises in Liberia, but this was in the middle 90's, we needed to get some people into the embassy, the ambassador called and said: "I need some security and I need it right now". We had no bases to operate from close by, we had the Navy Seals and the special operating forces of ours who trained almost daily in jumping from air craft, inflating the rubber rafts and the location of the embassy showed they could just paddle themselves up to the steps, climb the steps – they are right at the embassy. When we brought up that idea to our folks back in Washington they went ballistic, they said "absolutely not, no possible way, you can't do that", and this harkened back to problems we had in Granada where we dropped some troops in the water and in fact they drowned, for reasons unrelated to what we were talking about, by the way. You would note that now we have gotten over that, the Afghanistan business and other things and we have now taken this really viable peace of our military, the special operation's folks, and we are now putting them to good work. Sea-based missile defense, things like IGES ships, when I was in … we brought IGES ships down here in the first Gulf War, the connectivity activity was not very good, I don’t know how effective they probably were. We've done that a couple of times since, but I just heard a comment when I was at a different place here about a week ago, in Dubai, that said in the slow speed missile launches and the cruise missile launches that occurred in the Iraq business here a few months back, the land based systems didn't see everything, an IGES ship in the Gulf saw every launch! Saw every launch, tracked every launch, so, again, this is another example of how you need to use all the capabilities that you have.

So to sort of wrap this up seems to me that after years of us talking about what's called "a-symmetric threats" that we now actually have to go deal with a-symmetric threats, so you need creative thinking, you need the flexible use of joint forces, because I think you can almost assume that when you, in fact, have solved one problem, in the world we live in today if you have gotten stronger in one area you probably gotten weaker in another one, and you've either gotten weaker because you had to pull resources from there, or because the guy on the other side, the a-symmetry seeking threat, had found another soft spot. Joint forces are superbly structured they are properly used to cover the soft spots and leave your decision makers with real options for today's world. Thank you very much.

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