Posture The Force


03 MAY 2007

Anticipate future operational needs and position well rained and ready forces to respond as needed.

Joint and combined war fighting capability and readiness are fundamental in our ability to prosecute ongoing military operations, maintain a credible presence to deter aggression, and respond effectively to contingencies. Because we execute nearly all of our activities jointly and in concert with allies, we must cultivate effective inter-service and multinational ways of doing business. Additionally, because our region is filled with uncertainty, we must maintain a full spectrum of responsive capabilities through an effective forward deployed force structure, thorough planning, and realistic combined training exercises. Other critical capabilities include the following:

A Strong Coalition. At present, we have over 40 partner nations with troops in Afghanistan and 26 with personnel in Iraq. They bring important mission capabilities, but also significant integration challenges. Blending capabilities of these countries into effective action requires, among other factors, a command and control infrastructure that accounts for remote locations, multiple languages, cultural differences, and challenging force protection issues. Our Coalition must share classified and sensitive information when appropriate, and have the networks and infrastructure to facilitate such exchanges.

Interagency Coordination. Establishment of security and stability in our region requires the application of all elements of national power: military, diplomatic, economic, and information. The military instruments can set conditions for security but other agencies foster lasting change.

We are fortunate to have several US Government entities engaged in the Central Command AOR. The Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, and Homeland Security, as well as subordinate agencies including the US Agency for International Development, Diplomatic Security Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and United States Coast Guard, are actively engaged in our theater. Their efforts are helping to protect critical infrastructure, prevent terrorist attacks on our homeland, train fledgling law enforcement organizations, and rebuild damaged or aging infrastructure. There is clearly a need for better integration and more comprehensive application of all the elements of national power.

Flexible Logistics. Strategic airlift, rapid sealift, prepositioned inventories, and access to bases with critical infrastructure are the key logistics components which support operational flexibility. Our primary focus in this area remains the timely deployment, equipping, and sustainment of units engaged in combat operations. There is no better example of the importance and flexibility of our contingency air and sealift capabilities than the evacuation of over 14,000 Americans from Lebanon during last summer's conflict between Israel and Hizballah. We will continue working with the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of State, and partner nations to ensure access to the infrastructure we need to support ongoing and future operations.

Adaptable Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)

Capabilities. Interoperable, high-volume communications systems are essential to conducting operations across a dispersed command space. Our systems operate near full capacity daily with little surge capability. Because many of our needs must be satisfied by commercial providers, access to them is critical. The largest challenge we face is integration of disparate systems into interoperable and reliable networks. We must embrace policies that enable successful integration and technologies that result in effective interoperability and efficient information-sharing.

Ultimately our ability to target violent extremists depends on precise and actionable intelligence. We continue to evolve our techniques and procedures to optimize efforts to "find, fix, finish, and exploit" targets. Our adversaries have been agile in adapting to our operations. We continue to improve battle space awareness, seeking greater specificity, detail, and timeliness of intelligence whenever possible. We are aggressively seeking ways to manage shortfalls or capability gaps in imagery intelligence, wide area coverage, sensor integration, signals intelligence, moving target indicators, layered Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance architecture, biometrics, counterintelligence, and human collectors.

Responsive Counter Improvised Explosive Device Program.

Insurgents' weapon of choice will likely continue to be the Improvised Explosive Device, or road-side bomb. They are cheap, effective, anonymous, and have been adapted to include toxic industrial chemicals such as chlorine. While some are crude, our adversaries increasingly use sophisticated technology, including Iranian-supplied Explosively Formed Penetrators. These weapons have killed or wounded 15,000 military and civilian personnel in Iraq, and IEDs are becoming increasingly prevalent in Afghanistan.

To counter this threat, and working with the interagency and our Coalition partners, we are fielding jammers, specialized route clearance vehicles and equipment, and improved vehicle and personnel protective armor. These initiatives have reduced IED effectiveness. We must continue to develop new technologies, tactics, techniques, and procedures. Of particular importance to CENTCOM is rapid fielding of Mine Resistant Armor Protected vehicles, and further research and development to improve the detection of mines, IEDs, and unexploded ordnance.

Personnel. Sustained operations in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility depend on personnel who have foreign language proficiency and cultural awareness competency in addition to military skills. Retention is a critical issue, and we depend heavily on quality of life enhancements such as Combat Zone Tax Relief, Imminent Danger Pay, and Special Leave Accrual. The Rest and Recuperation program continues to be a success, serving more than 470,000 troops to date. Over the past year, we have conducted a comprehensive review of the manning of our headquarters, which, after five years of war, is still highly reliant on temporary individual augmentation personnel. My subordinate war fighting headquarters are also heavily manned with individual augmentees. I am committed to working with the Services and the Joint Staff to properly size and resource all of these headquarters.

CENTCOM is also working to address requirements for low density skills. Our present inventory of language and intelligence specialists (especially human intelligence) and counterintelligence agents does not support current requirements. Language expertise is crucial in counterinsurgency, counterterrorist, and counterintelligence operations, and will continue in high demand. Contracting language expertise provides interim capability, but in the long run, we need service members and career civilians with the requisite language and cultural skills.


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