SEA-AIR-SPACE NEWS: Joint Warfighting Concept 3.0 ‘Definitely Coming,’ Official Says

By Laura Heckmann

Defense Dept. photo

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Defense Department’s most recent iteration of a Joint Warfighting Concept was reviewed Apr. 4 by the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

“We just reviewed it yesterday … and that will be eventually signed into a doctrine,” Shyu said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space exposition Apr. 5.

The secretary of defense first tasked the chairman of the Joint Staff with developing a new Joint Warfighting Concept, or JWC, in 2019 to address strategic conflict, according to a statement released by the chairman in 2021. The JWC is a multi-year effort to “develop a comprehensive approach for joint operations against future threats and provide a guide for future force design and development,” the statement read.

The current version of JWC, which is classified, includes four supporting concepts: fires, information, logistics and command and control, said Gen. David W. Allvin, vice chief of staff of the Air Force, at the Air & Space Forces Warfare Symposium in March.

“If we ignore them and just focus on the capabilities that we think are going to be required for the main fight, we won’t get to the main fight,” he said. “And that’s why I think those supporting concepts are so important.”

Shyu said version 3.0 has taken joint warfighting concepts and decomposed them into “capability needed for a … highly contested fight.” From there, the concept focused on identifying critical physics-based modeling and simulation that can present options and choices tied to campaign-level modeling, she said.

“And that campaign-level modeling simulation capability enables the team to literally play red on one side and blue on the other side,” she said.

The physics-based modeling simulation tells the outcome of the conflict, she said. “And then what we’re able to do is learn from that. And the next stage you can do that again.”

Shyu said the next piece is prototyping activity and tying rapid prototyping into experimentation, “not just in the laboratory, but … in a real exercise in a live environment.”

A war room has “finally” been stood up in the Pentagon, cleared at all [Special Access Programs] levels, with “every single caveat you can imagine,” she added.

As the red-on-blue exercises play out, she will be looking for gaps, she said. “If there are gaps, are there asymmetric ways I can counter?” adding that asymmetrical capabilities are a focus, using Afghanistan as an example of the concept.

An improvised explosive device is asymmetric, a “very low-cost bomb can blow up our vehicle,” she said. “So, I’m working with an asymmetric capability against advanced adversaries.” In other words, unconventional strategies adopted to meet unconventional adversaries.

As the military seeks to understand and develop advanced capabilities, the driving force will be the student and the scholar, said Vice Adm. Jeff Hughes, deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting development.

Education, learning and adaption are “foundational enablers for innovation” and will “[drive] us to solutions faster than potential adversaries,” he said.

One of the six force design imperatives from the Chief of Naval Operations’ Navigation Plan 2022 is decision advantage, he added. Identifying a need to outpace the adversary reinforces a culture for competent warfighting. The plan is clear — students and faculty researchers will focus on warfighting concepts and capabilities, he said.

“We need critical thinkers. We need creative problem solvers,” he added.

A modernization effort of the Navy’s learning centers — such as the Naval War College, the Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School — seeks to align their curriculums and research to deliver warfighting advantage, Hughes said. “This is education to win.”

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, deputy commandant for information, called education “so, so important,” citing examples of Marines taking capabilities, understanding them and taking them “to the next level and operational — we became relevant overnight.”

Glavy said he “keeps score” of outcome-driven events within the Marine Corps to fully understand how their outcomes are generated, specifically through education.

“It’s remarkable,” he said. “You will find [a Naval Postgraduate School] graduate at the center of it.”

Shyu also emphasized the importance of science, technology, engineering and math programs, calling them “incredibly important, because we need the talent.”

Shyu said the Defense Department has initiated week-long STEM camps, with junior high students to “get them excited.” Shyu said 64,000 students attended STEM camps last year.

“This is how broad of a reach we have now, which is fantastic,” she said. “We realized that if you get them exited early, they have a much higher likelihood of going into STEM.”

She also said they have been “steadily increasing” scholarships, awarding more than 480 “Smart Scholars” last year. The Defense Department swaps funding for four years of education for four years of work in their laboratories after students graduate, she said. Retention after finishing is “extremely high,” she added.

Lastly, she said the department is looking at attracting more minorities and rethinking the approach to internships.

“If the average family income is far less than the average income of the nation, what you have to do is think differently about the internship, because the family may not be able to afford to send their son or daughter away for the entire summer,” she said.


Topics: Defense Department

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