Military News

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Work Details the Future of War at Army Defense College



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2015 – On stage today at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work summoned up scenes from a future war where soldiers and machines join forces in a multidimensional “informationalized” zone, using advanced tools to fight adversaries from space to cyberspace.

During a keynote address on international security and future defense strategy on Carlisle Barracks, Work described a daunting array of challenges for warfighters.

“In the future, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine forces and our allies who fight with us are going to have to fight on a battlefield that is swept by precision-guided munitions but also one that is swept by persistent and effective cyber and electronic warfare attacks,” he said.

That fighting will include regular warfare, hybrid warfare, nonlinear warfare, state-sponsored proxy hybrid warfare, and high-end combined-arms warfare, Work added, like what might be seen on the Korean peninsula.

To prepare for the threats, the deputy secretary offered three principles of future war.

The Future of War

The first is that the future of ground warfare, regardless of the type, will see a proliferation of guided munitions and advanced weaponry, he said.

“We should just assume that is the case. If we're wrong, so much the better,” Work said. “If we're right, we'd better be prepared for it. And this proliferation of precision will continue because we see it continuing today.”

Ground forces will be faced with what many call G-RAMM -- guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles with GPS capability and laser guidance, infrared homing, anti-radiation weapons, and fire-and-forget anti-armor weapons, he added.

“We're not too far away from guided .50 caliber rounds. We’re not too far away from a sensor-fused weapon that instead of going after tanks will go after the biometric signatures of human beings,” Work said.

Informationalized Warfare

The second principle of future ground combat on the front lines will have to contend with what the Chinese call “informationalized” warfare, he said.

Work defined informationalized warfare as the combination of cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, and deception and denial to disrupt command and control and give the enemy an advantage in the decision cycle.

The third principle is that the combination of guided munitions and informationalized warfare will span all types of ground combat, meaning that the foundation for ground-force excellence will be combined-arms operational skill, Work said.

Defense Innovation Initiative

“It's also why we applaud the fact that the U.S. Army will not declare its [brigade combat teams] full-spectrum combat ready until they have completed two decisive-action rotations at the National Training Center,” the defense secretary said.

Training and the familiar operational and organizational constructs will take U.S. forces only so far, the deputy secretary said.

New operational and organizational constructs and technological capabilities must be deliberately identified, he said, and that’s what the Defense Innovation Initiative is all about.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has expanded the initiative, which was announced in November, and Work said Carter wants the department focused on three things:

Increasing Competitiveness

-- Increasing competitiveness by attracting talent. This includes the future of the all-volunteer force, the way the services train the force and their leaders, and the way the department trains the future civilian and contractor force.

-- Improving competitiveness through technological superiority and operational excellence.

-- Increasing competitiveness through accountability and efficiency throughout the department.

Work said a key part of the initiative is called the “third offset strategy.”

Third Offset Strategy

“The whole purpose of the third offset strategy,” the deputy secretary said, “is to identify the technologies, the operational and organizational constructs, and the new operational concepts to fight our future adversaries.”

A big part of the offset strategy will be to identify, develop and field breakthrough technologies and to use current capabilities in different ways, he added.

“We just demonstrated firing the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile against a ship without changing its seeker-head, completely doing it by off-board sensing. Well,” Work said, “now we have 2,000 potential 1,000-mile-range anti-ship missiles.”

Work said that since World War II, American military strategy and the national defense strategy have been built on an assumption of technological superiority and better-trained men and women organized to employ the technologies in an innovative way.

A Wall of Flesh and Blood

“I like the way Dwight Eisenhower explained it after World War II,” he said. “While some of our allies were compelled to throw up a wall of flesh and blood as their chief defense against the aggressor's onslaught, we were able to use machines and technology to save lives.”

After 40 years of an all-volunteer force, Work said, the United States has an enduring advantage in its people.

“I will stack this all-volunteer force up against any potential opponent and especially those that are authoritarian in nature, because they will never, ever be able to match the creativity, the initiative, the mission drive that our people have,” the deputy secretary said.

“But our technological superiority is slipping,” he said. “We see it every day … the fact is we want to achieve an overmatch over any adversary from the operational theater level all the way down to the fighter plane, Navy ship or infantry squad.”

New Ways to Fight

The department’s focus on innovation is about finding new ways to fight, train and create organizational constructs, he said.

“Battlefield advantages in the future are going to be very short-lived because the amount of technology that is out there right now is unbelievable,” Work said.

Work said he believes the third offset strategy will revolve around something called free-play combat in each dimension of combat.

The deputy secretary described a book called “Average is Over” by an avid chess player and economist named Tyler Cowen.

Free-Play Combat

Cowen wrote about how people used to think that a computer could never beat a grand master at chess. That proved to be wrong, but he found out that in a person-machine chess game, in three-play chess, the combination of a person and a machine always beats a machine and always beats a person.

“How far do we take three-play combat in air-sea battle 2? How does it affect our command and control? Where are we comfortable having autonomous decision-making? Where are you going to have a person in the loop? How will you net all of this together to give you a decisive, enduring advantage on the battlefield?’ he said.

Work added that these are fundamental questions for organizations like the Army War College to think through.

Another aspect of future war will be at the squad level, which will be operating in a far more disaggregated way than they have in the past, the deputy secretary said.

Disaggregating Infantry Battalions

“When I went to Afghanistan to visit Marine units, I asked [Marine Corps] Gen. Joe ‘Fighting Joe’ Dunford about the record for the disaggregation of a single infantry battalion across the battlefield,” the deputy secretary said. “He said the record was a single battalion disaggregating into 77 discreet units spread over a wide area.”

This has big implications for leadership and command and control, Work said, “especially in an informationalized warfare environment in which the enemy is constantly trying to get into your networks and disrupt your command and control.”

The key to ensuring that these disaggregated small units have overmatch is by providing support in fires, intelligence and logistics, Work said.

“If we combine them into well-trained, cohesive combat teams with new advances in robotics and autonomy and unmanned systems, three-play combat at the squad level, we can create super-empowered squads, super-empowered small units with enhanced situational awareness and lethality,” he added.

Exciting Times for the Force

The Defense Advanced Projects and Research Agency's Squad X program, among others, is working on several ideas now to increase human and machine collaboration at the lowest tactical level, including ground robots and small microdrones, Work said.

The deputy secretary said this is an exciting time for the force.

“This problem requires thinking,” Work added. “We need to tackle it together and not worry so much about the resources as the intellectual capital that we need to put in the bank to allow our joint force to be successful in the future.”

`Swoosh' welcomed as 334th FS pilot for a day

by Senior Airman Ashley J. Thum
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/8/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- He's nine years old, loves basketball, and has a heart as big as his smile.

Jeremiah Seaberry, also known by his call sign "Swoosh," was made an honorary member of the 334th Fighter Squadron during a 4th Fighter Wing Pilot for a Day event, April 3.

Immediately upon his arrival to the squadron, Swoosh was welcomed into the 334th FS with a flight suit, patches and a complete mission brief for him and his family by Capt. Kat Frost, PFAD project officer.

Swoosh also met his crewmate for the day while at the squadron, Capt. Adam Luber, 334th FS pilot. The two became fast friends as Jeremiah experienced firsthand the life of an Air Force fighter pilot, from gearing up in a helmet and G-force compression pants to flying sorties in an F-15E Strike Eagle simulator.

"Capt. Luber is awesome," Swoosh said.

To see him running around the squadron's crud table with Luber and grinning from ear-to-ear while using his flight suit's oxygen hose as a microphone to sing into, one would find it hard to believe that Swoosh wasn't expected to live past his first birthday. Although he has exceeded expectations, Swoosh continues to suffer from severe sickle cell disease.

"It's stunted his growth, and his body will mature later than other children his age," said Portia Seaberry, Swoosh's grandmother. "He knows he's different and it has affected the way he looks at himself in comparison with other children."

Frost said the PFAD program was designed specifically for children just like Swoosh.

"This program is for children who have experienced some type of difficulty in their life, whether that's because of illness or a disability," Frost said. "We work with the 4th Medical Group and medical providers in the local community to identify children that qualify for and may be interested in this opportunity."

Swoosh may deal with pain and other obstacles, but he doesn't let that stop him from thinking of others. His caring personality was evident throughout the day as he made sure his family members, Rico, Jerrel, Melissa and his grandmother, were included in the day's activities. He admitted he was surprised he was chosen for the program.

"They picked me out of everybody," was his wide-eyed reaction. "It made me feel special."

Swoosh and Luber made quite a pair, particularly in the flight simulator as they bantered back and forth like true crewmates.

"You got me, Swoosh?," Luber asked from the weapon systems officer seat.

"Yeah, I got you," Swoosh replied.

Their exchanges were punctuated by cheers as Swoosh successfully achieved multiple objectives in the pilot position.

"He was really interested in all of our fighter pilot traditions and I think the whole family enjoyed the day," Frost said. "Knowing we were able to give him these memories that might help him get through some tough times made it one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had."

Swoosh quickly caught on to one particular tradition, using special coins to "challenge" one another. Throughout the day, he gave shy smiles to new acquaintances before slyly producing one of his newly acquired coins in hopes of earning a free soft drink.

Portia was overwhelmed with her grandson being treated as she called it, "a king for a day."

"To think that they would even consider children who have disabilities and things like that ... I feel like crying," Portia said. "It makes us feel like somebody cares. Thank you all so much. He's going to talk about this from now on."

Swoosh won't have a shortage of stories to share from his day.

To cap it off, he and his crewmate "stepped" to an F-15E with his name and call sign temporarily affixed to the nose, and Col. Mark Slocum, 4th Fighter Wing commander, presented him with flight wings "symbolizing the completion of his pilot training."

When asked how his day went, Swoosh had but one word. "Perfect."

Face of Defense: New Jersey Soldier Realizes West Point Dream



By Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Woolley
444th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 8, 2015 – Army Pfc. Nathaniel Okyere-Bour learned early in life that following a dream requires sacrifice.

When the New Jersey National Guard soldier was 3, his mother, Elizabeth, sent him to Ghana to live with her family while she followed her dream of becoming a nurse. She brought him back to New Jersey after she’d completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees and landed a job as an intensive care nurse at a Manhattan hospital.

The example, he said, led Okyere-Bour to set lofty goals as he grew up in a small Jersey City apartment. He achieved the first by gaining admittance to Jersey City’s McNair Academic High School. As graduation from the magnet school approached, the target shifted to top colleges, including Duke University and the University of Chicago. He got in. But the money wasn’t there.

A New Goal

Okyere-Bour enlisted in the New Jersey Army National Guard in 2013 with the aim of using a tuition waiver to attend Rutgers University. But something happened at basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Okyere-Bour got a new goal.

“The battalion commander spoke to us. He talked about how he went to West Point and what it meant to him,” Okyere-Bour recalled. “I thought, ‘That’s what I want.’’”

On June 29, Okyere-Bour will join the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2019. He will be among 25 Army National Guard soldiers accepted directly to West Point this year. Eleven others will attend West Point’s preparatory academy.

In the end, Okyere-Bour’s New Jersey National Guard leaders helped pave the road from Fort Jackson to West Point.

Stellar Performance

When Okyere-Bour joined Company F of the 250th Brigade Support Battalion as a wheeled vehicle mechanic two years ago, the unit’s leaders say he caught their attention with stellar performance -- and his insistence that he had what it took to get into West Point.

They ultimately agreed. All of the commissioned and noncommissioned officers in Okyere-Bour’s chain of command wrote letters of recommendation.

Support From Fellow Soldiers

“How could we not? He’s one of those soldiers who does everything right the first time and does it when you ask and never, ever asks ‘Why?,’” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Mahon, Okyere-Bour’s platoon sergeant. “We knew it would be a hell of an achievement if he did it and we were pulling for him. Who knows? He may be a general someday.”

Army Sgt. James Diana, Okyere Bour’s squad leader, said the unit made accommodations to allow Okyere-Bour to make up drill time that he missed during the arduous application process.

“We knew that if he got in, it would reflect well on all of us, our unit and the Guard,” Diana said. “West Point isn’t going to be easy. But I know he can do it.”

It turned out that the person who taught Okyere-Bour to dream big, his mother, at first didn’t realize the magnitude of her son’s achievement.

“I grew up in Ghana,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t know anything about West Point.”

But it became clear when she told a co-worker at Mount Sinai Hospital about the acceptance letter.

“He was like, ‘What?’ The next thing I knew, there was a crowd of intensive care nurses jumping up and down,” she said. “Then I understood what my son had done. It was a very big deal.”

Okyere-Bour says he hasn’t decided what he’ll study at West Point. He’s not sure what branch he’ll request either, although he said the officers in the field artillery unit his company supports have assured him there’s only one branch to pick, and its acronym is FA.

In the meantime, Okyere-Bour will finish out his first year at Rutgers. Although the credits will not transfer to West Point, he said the classes will prepare him for the military academy’s academic rigors.

“I’m just excited to get there and start,” Okyere-Bour said. “And I know that if it took that much work just to get in, what’s coming isn’t going to be easy.”

Wants to Become a Leader

Okyere said he’s ready.

“I realized I love the Army when I was at basic training,” Okyere-Bour said. “I want to do everything I can for the Army and I think the best thing I can do is become a leader. I believe I can make it.”

He’ll have a lot of soldiers in New Jersey pulling for him.

When Mahon, the platoon sergeant, announced at a recent drill that Okyere-Bour had made it into West Point, the formation applauded for more than a minute.

“Private Okyere worked very hard to achieve something most people just can’t do,” Mahon told them. “We should be proud of him -- and remind ourselves that only through hard work do we achieve what we want.”

New MMHS increases Airlift Hub's capabilities

by Senior Airman Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


4/6/2015 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 730th Air Mobility Squadron opened the operations of its new Mechanized Materials Handling System in a ceremony here March 23.

Replacing the MMHS installed in 1992, the new $32 million system increases the capabilities of the 730th AMS in velocity and storage.

"The MMHS automates and speeds up how we process cargo so that aircrew can return to the mission with minimal delay," said Lt. Col. Wes Adams, 730th AMS commander. "It is imperative that we are as efficient as possible during ground times because aircrew can only fly so long before they have to stop and rest."

According to Ernie Weber, air terminal manager, the new system cuts the loading to one-third of the normal time and what would have taken four hours, now only takes one.

In addition to having an enclosed system protecting the potential 265 pallets from inclement weather, the facility has increased its staging docks from six to 16 and has the capacity to position 96 pallets for transit to the aircraft.

While similar systems exist at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Dover Air Force Base, Delaware; and Joint Base Charleston, North Carolina, the state-of-the-art system at Yokota is the only system like this in the Asia-Pacific theatre.

Building a facility of this magnitude required the partnership of the 374th Mission Support Group, Army Corps of Engineers, Government of Japan and the local industry.

"Although this remains an [Air Mobility Command] mission, we know that the system's capabilities add to the warfighting potential Yokota presents overall, making Yokota even more strategically relevant," Adams said.

Sacrifices of the military child recognized during April



By Amaani Lyle, DoD News, Defense Media Activity / Published April 07, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- To highlight the year-round contributions, courage and patriotism of the military community’s youngest members, the Defense Department observes April as the Month of the Military Child, said a Pentagon official.

Established by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the month recognizes some 1.9 million U.S. military children ranging in age from infants to 18 years old, who have one or both parents serving in the armed forces, said Barbara Thompson, the director of DOD’s Office of Family Readiness Policy.

“We want to highlight their sacrifices (and) support of the military member in their families, so it behooves us to take time from the busy calendar of our events and recognize military children,” she said.

Permanent change of stations, deployments and training activities, among other facets of military life, can present unique challenges to children who must constantly adjust to distance, unfamiliarity and uncertain schedules, Thompson explained.

“That can be a real sacrifice, because each parent is a very important part of that child’s makeup,” she said. “So we want to make sure that when they move or change schools, all of those transition times are supported with resources, programs and services.”

DOD offers a variety of programs to help military children overcome these challenges, Thompson said.

Available programs offer assistance

For example, the Child Development Program offers child care up to age 12. Similarly, youth development programs offer older children opportunities for recreation, and character, social and emotional development.

Thompson reported that parents, too, have resources to help best guide and nurture their children of all ages.

The New Parents Support Program helps parents during pregnancy and childbirth, and children up to 3 years of age, to reach their full potential through home visitations and parent support groups, she said.

Military OneSource is another resource available 24/7, 365 days a year, to support parents to learn more about parenting skills, as well as to find support for themselves, Thompson added. It also offers telephonic, face-to-face, online and video nonmedical and financial counseling, which she described as “strengthening pillars” for military households separated from extended family or settling into a new environment.

“On the installations, we have military family support centers,” she said, “where a multitude of services for transitions and life skills are offered to make sure our families can be resilient and strengthen them in their efforts to be the parents they want to be.”

Family support has evolved over the last 40 years to become the family readiness system, which is a collaborative network of agencies, programs, services and professionals who promote the readiness and quality of life of military families both on installations and in the community, Thompson said.

“There is no ‘wrong’ door,” she said. “So regardless of where you’re seeking support, whether it’s with your pediatrician or with your chaplain, he or she will also know the resources to support you in your efforts to navigate the military life course.”

A visual tribute

Across the services, Thompson said, parades, fairs, art and poetry contests will abound as installations develop engaging and amusing activities to solidify the bonds among families and communities.

“We want to make sure that children’s voices are heard during the Month of the Military Child,” she said. “It’s a fun time to be with their families (and) to take part in the various activities that the services developed to recognize military children.”

Community outreach initiatives include partnerships with the Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s 4-H youth group to promote “Purple Up!” on April 15, Thompson said. Students, school sports team members, teachers and community leaders will wear purple as a visual tribute to military children.

“It is hard to be a military child, and they’re doing it super well,” Thompson said.