RAdm. Foggo claimed that AirSea Battle is a brand new approach to warfare and that previous methods will no longer work. He went on to cite the Libyan conflict as an example of the application of AirSea Battle principles, never before applied. As a specific example of ASB procedures, he cites the launch of over 200 cruise missiles (Tomahawks) from ships and subs on day one to destroy
’s “lethal air defense forces” so as to enable follow on strikes. Really? This is new warfare, never before attempted before the advent of ASB? Cause it sure sounds like an exact repeat of Desert Storm. Libya
AirSea Battle in its classified form was completed in Nov 2011
The panel members each delivered a prepared statement. There were absolutely no differences between the statements of the various leaders. Someone ensured that these men were in tight lockstep. On a sidenote, I understand that synchronized testimony is going to be the newest Olympic event. The
appears to have a top notch team. But, I digress … US
One of the Congressmen asked BGen Killea (USMC) what were the top five things that need to be done to build the A2/AD capability we want so that Congress would know how to prioritize its support. He couldn’t even offer one item, saying “we still don’t know what we don’t know” and wound up saying that he would take the question under advisement for future consideration. This, despite the fact that ASB has been around for quite some time and, as noted above, was completed in its classified form in Nov 2011.
Maj Gen Jones (AF) was asked what progress the Air Force can make in the next five years so that the ASB can move forward. Jones’ answer was to protect the procurement of the JSF and the next generation long range strike bomber. Given the A2/AD ranges, the JSF is clearly not optimized for the A2/AD role. That’s not surprising, really, given that the JSF development was started decades ago. What’s surprising or, more accurately, disappointing, is the steadfast refusal to recognize the failure of the JSF on multiple levels and cancel the program and move on. Instead, the Air Force is focused on its budget slice regardless of whether that slice buys any useful capability as regards ASB.
BGen Killea (USMC) was asked about the role of the Marines in ASB and amidst the usual generic mumblings about co-operation and jointness, did describe a process of going ashore and establishing points of expansion (specifically, not bases) for furthering and developing the battle. The analogy that came to my mind was multiple points of infection from which a disease would spread. I’m not certain that was what he really meant but, if so, it’s an interesting concept and I’d love to hear more about it.
USS Florida (SSGN) shot over 100 missiles in Libyan conflict.
VPM is part of the ASB plan to make up for the SSGN retirements.
BGen Killea (USMC) was asked about the decline in amphibious capacity and claimed that our current situation was adequate and spent some minutes talking about studies and assessments and processes and, basically, saying nothing. It was the kind of answer someone else would give but very disappointing from a Marine. He also noted that ASB has not yet tasked the Marines with a specific role. That was a surprisingly impolitic comment from a panel that was otherwise all one big happy team.
Killea offered one great aspect of ASB for consideration. He stated that, contrary to many people’s assumption that ASB was intended to provide access so as to enable subsequent entry, entry might be required, in some circumstances, to enable access. I’m going to think deeply about that one and explore the ramifications. Fascinating!
Far and away, though, the highlight, or lowlight, as it turned out, of the testimony came when the committee Chairman addressed the entire panel and noted that SecDef had released the Defense Strategic Guidance in Jan 2012 but has not yet released an actual defense strategy and then proceeded to ask an absolutely brilliant question, wanting to know how the military was designing and executing operational concepts such as ASB in the absence of an actual defense strategy (the last formal defense strategy having been completed in 2011 and now being rendered obsolete by the DSG). In other words, what strategy is the military using as a baseline in designing operational concepts such as ASB? The Chairman went on to note that the DSG was 11 pages. When none of the panel members could offer an answer, the Chairman asked, “What’s our strategy?”, and observed that Congress would prefer to develop procurement based on strategy rather than see strategy developed based on procurement. He noted that Congress was uncomfortable depending on an 11 page Guidance document as the basis for procurement.
This brief incident was absolutely humiliating and embarrassing to witness. Our top military leaders couldn’t answer the most basic of questions: “What’s our strategy?” Here we are, spending billions of dollars and initiating countless acquisition programs with no strategy to provide a rationale for the suitability of any given weapon or system. The uncomfortable silence that greeted the Chairman’s question screamed out the breakdown of our uniformed leadership. This was a gut-wrenching moment. I can only hope the panel members left determined to do something about it. Sadly, I fear not.
The panel members consistently refused to even admit the possibility that ASB could apply to
. As best I can tell from the testimony, China is a mythological country that does not even exist. Certainly, the military has never heard of a person or place called China . China
All in all, the testimony was a sad “State of the Military” exposition sprinkled with a few fascinating tidbits. My original impression of the military’s version of ASB was that they had latched onto it as a means of persuading Congress to fund the latest round of acquisitions. Nothing in this testimony changed my mind. ASB is a front for acquisitions.