Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Dempsey Releases National Military Strategy

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot predict exactly where the next threat to the United States and its interests may come from, but he knows it will happen faster than in the past and the U.S. military must be prepared.

The National Military Strategy released today by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey provides the blueprint for how the military will use its forces to protect and advance U.S. national and security interests.

“Globalization, diffusion of technology, and demographic shifts are driving rapid change as state actors and trans-regional networks challenge order and stability,” said Dempsey. “This strategy addresses these dynamics and our strategy to ensure that our force remains the best-led, trained and equipped military on the planet.”

The National Military Strategy follows the release of the 2015 National Security Strategy in February this year, as well as the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.

Strategic Outlook

The strategy recognizes that the application of military power versus traditional state threats is far different than military power against non-state actors. It also posits that the most likely scenario is prolonged campaigns rather than short, intense battles.

The strategy also states that as a “hedge against unpredictability with reduced resources we may have to adjust our global posture.”

According to the strategy document, the U.S. military also must be ready to counter “revisionist states” such as Russia that are challenging international norms as well as violent extremist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“We are working with allies to deter, deny and -- when necessary -- defeat potential state adversaries,” the document says. But at the same time, the U.S. military is building and leading an extensive network to take on ISIL.

Globalization Complicates Security Strategy

Globalization is allowing people and technology to move around the world in a way never seen before, complicating an already complex security situation, according to the strategy. Globalization has positive effects in stimulating trade and making many nations prosperous, but it also can exacerbate social tensions, cause competition for resources and may engender political instability.

Technology speeds everything up. The strategy noted that individuals and groups, today, have more information at their beck and call than governments had in the past.

Concerns About Russia, Iran, North Korea

While the document notes Russia’s contributions in some security areas such as counternarcotics and counterterrorism, it also points to that nation’s willingness to use force to achieve its goals.

“It also has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” the strategy states. “Russia’s military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces.”

But Russia is not the only country of concern in the strategy document.

Iran’s nuclear program worries American allies in the region and beyond, according to the strategy. Iran sponsors terrorist groups in the region and is active in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

North Korea remains an outlaw state that has developed atomic weapons and is building missiles capable of reaching the United States.

China a Question Mark

China is in a different class, but could be a threat to the United States, according to the strategy. It is a rising great power and the strategy encourages China “to become a partner for greater international security.”

Still, Chinese actions in the South China Sea are worrisome.

It is a complex strategic environment and the U.S. military cannot focus on one threat to the exclusion of all others, according to the strategy.

“[The U.S. military] must provide a full range of military options for addressing both revisionist states and [violent extremist organizations],” the strategy says. “Failure to do so will result in greater risk to our nation and the international order.”

Kendall: JIEDDO Move Will Protect Hard-Earned Capabilities

By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 – Improvised explosive devices have been a rapidly evolving and deadly menace in many parts of the world as terrorists employ these homemade bombs against military forces and civilian populations.

U.S. leaders created the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO, to counter that threat. As Defense Department strategy and resources shift from previous wars to focus on future missions, the Defense Department has begun to transition JIEDDO’s role and capabilities to the office of acquisition, technology and logistics.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, paid a visit yesterday to JIEDDO’s headquarters at the Pentagon to talk about what that move will mean for the agency’s employees.

Supporting the Warfighter

“There was a lot of concern before the ISIL threat emerged that we were going to atrophy the capabilities we built up through the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Kendall said during a speech to the workforce. “That’s a skill set we don’t want to lose.”

The undersecretary noted that the U.S. will work to suppress ISIL and other extremist groups, but that those groups are not going to disappear

“We are going to have to deal with these people whose weapon of choice is going to be improvised weapons of various types -- nontraditional fighting -- that is something you have been doing well for an extremely long time, and we are going to need you,” he said.

Employing System Capabilities

Kendall added that relocating the counter-IED organization within the defense acquisition, technology and logistics sector “was a natural solution.”

Finding, buying and employing technologies to protect from IEDs “very close to the operators” is a large part of what JIEDDO, now a new defense agency, does, he said.

“You do a lot of [research and development], you do a lot of fielding, you do a lot of the requiring,” Kendall said.

The new defense agency can access DoD’s joint rapid acquisition cell to help in its mission, he noted, pledging “full and complete support” in that mission.

Kendall said his directorate also offers support functions such as system engineering, development and testing, contracting and others to aid the new agency.

Kendall told the workforce that DoD has adopted some of the rapid acquisition practices JIEDDO pioneered.

“JIEDDO’s close engagement with its operational force customers and with the intelligence community makes it a model for innovation and agility in defense acquisition,” the undersecretary said.

An example he cited was the agency’s use of challenge-based acquisition to quickly find solutions, a practice cited by the White House as examples in innovative acquisition methods promoting effective competition.

“One important message: you’re here to stay,” Kendall said. “We need you. The country needs you.”

Carter: Troops will be Hard at Work Worldwide July 4th

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter today wished the men and women of the Defense Department a well-deserved Independence Day holiday, and said some service members would be working worldwide July 4th to secure the country and protect citizens, allies and partners.

Carter was joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey during a briefing of the Pentagon press corps here, and took questions about Syria, Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“As recent terrorist attacks overseas remind us, those who seek to harm this nation and our friends take no holiday, and neither do we in the Department of Defense,” Carter said.

The secretary also announced that President Barack Obama’s choice to become the next Marine Corps commandant is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert B. Neller, now commander of Marine Corps Forces Command and Marine Corps Forces Europe.

Carter made the announcement alongside Dempsey, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the president’s choice to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs when Dempsey retires in October.

Training Programs

In answer to a question about the number of personnel completing the department’s train and equip program in Syria, Carter acknowledged that fewer are completing the program than are volunteering.

Carter said he expects the number of fighters completing the program to grow but that two factors contribute now to the smaller numbers coming through the program. One is the need to vet program volunteers, he said, calling vetting a principal U.S. requirement.

“Only a fraction of those who step forward, willing to take this mission on, go through vetting and pass through that vetting,” the secretary said.

“Second is the requirement that they be willing, at least initially, to fight ISIL. And that is the principal purpose of their being trained and equipped,” Carter added.

Elsewhere in Syria, the secretary noted substantial gains being made by Kurds in the north and by opposition groups in the south supported by the department and who support U.S. goals of combating ISIL.

In Iraq, Carter said, 8,500 Iraqi security force fighters and about 2,000 members of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service have been trained in the department’s training facilities.

At Al Taqaddum Airbase in central Iraq, 500 Sunni tribal fighters have been recruited and are in training, he said, adding, “That's roughly the monthly throughput of the facility that we're trying to set up. And then there's Al Asad [Air Base] and other training bases.”

Lasting ISIL Defeat

Carter added, “The only way to have a lasting defeat of ISIL is to have someone who can govern and secure territory once ISIL is defeated. That has to be a local force on the ground. That's why the strategy calls for the United States to help train and equip, and then help enable local ground forces.”

That’s as true in Syria as it is in Iraq and elsewhere around the world, he said, “so that is the strategy that will both provide for the victory over ISIL or the defeat of ISIL, and … for that defeat to stick and endure.