1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security


Lieutenant General Douglas D. Buchholz, USA
Director for Command, Control, Communications
and Computer Systems
The Joint Staff

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity to address the Committee on information superiority, and to present the Joint Staff's plan for meeting the Chairman's Joint Vision (JV) 2010. I will first provide an overview of my mission and a brief description of JV 2010 as DoD's road map towards our future. I will then highlight some of the current C4 programs and initiatives to achieve information superiority - the cornerstone of this vision. Finally, I will build on this foundation by discussing the vision and concepts needed to make JV 2010 a reality. 

J6 Mission

My primary mission as the Chairman's representative for communications, information systems, and information technology is to: recommend policies and develop plans and programs for C4 systems; ensure adequate C4 supports our commanders-in-chief (CINCs) and the National Command Authorities; conceptualize future C4 operational architectures and improve command and control capabilities; provide C4 information for combatant commands; manage the global command and control system (GCCS); and oversee C4 support for the National Military Command System. We accomplish this by overseeing system development, recommending improvements to current C4 systems, and developing concepts for future systems designs - while ensuring these systems serve all the Services and are interoperable. I also direct many aspects of communications support to operations. Some examples include satellite channel allocation, and the deployment of the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE). JCSE is a joint communications unit that deploys on short notice to provide essential and timely communications and information systems support wherever needed in the world. Critical to the success of our mission is my ability to exercise wise stewardship over scarce and valuable resources - not only the command and control systems we use in joint operations or the people that operate and maintain them, but also the ever-crowded radio frequency spectrum. The Joint Staff J6 is concentrating its efforts toward building a command and control infrastructure that supports a wide range of operational requirements. It takes focused architectural planning, developmental work and a strong collaboration between Service staffs, CINCs, and defense agencies to develop and deploy interoperable systems. The C4 Directorate focuses its efforts toward the goal of providing greater support, more effectively -- now and in the 21st century. To summarize my role, I strive to ensure our warfighters - our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, have information superiority when and where needed, to ensure victory and fulfill the country's national security objectives. There is no single document that advocates this theme better than JV 2010. 

JV2010 Overview 

Successfully identifying and responding to a crisis involves moving forces to the crisis area and decisively maneuvering them to the optimal location; getting sustainment to deployed forces when and where they need it; and protecting those forces and their supply lines across the total threat spectrum. We refer to these concepts as dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full dimensional protection. They are vital to our ability to find and exploit an adversary's weaknesses and resolve crises on our terms. As the Joint Staff's C4 executive, my job is to ensure that the command, control, communication and computing needs of JV2010 are provided on time, on target. This is the essence of information superiority. JV2010 recognizes that the post-Cold War world is complex and dynamic, and that the military is likely to participate in more operations of different types in more places than ever before. As the military evolves toward the 21st century, information superiority becomes an essential force multiplier. The full committee has already heard from the Chairman and the combatant CINCs, and they have spoken eloquently about the challenges they face. Our nation's ability to identify an emerging crisis, make effective decisions, and then carry them out depends upon information - getting it, verifying it, and putting it in the right hands at the right time. Protecting information and information systems is also important to achieving and maintaining information superiority. Joint Vision 2010 builds upon our experiences in recent joint and combined operations and lays out a road map for the future in simple, powerful terms. Our successes in the battlespace of the future, whether combating large, heavily armed forces or providing peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, depend upon the precise application of force across the full spectrum of missions. The cornerstone of this effort is our ability to get the right information to the right place at the right time - or information superiority. 

Information Superiority 

Joint Vision 2010 defines information superiority as our ability to collect, process and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same. It is a concept that combines the exploitation of information and the lethality of precision weapons to become a formidable combat force multiplier, while simultaneously preventing an adversary from exploiting weaknesses in our own information systems. As with all other forms of combat, we constantly search out the relative strengths and weaknesses of both our information flow and those of our potential adversaries, and then design operational concepts and systems to leverage these strengths and weaknesses. We have made major investments to develop precision weapon systems and the platforms that get them to the target; however, if these weapons and platforms do not get the right information at the right time, they quickly become marginal and never meet the operational capabilities that give us such an edge technologically. In essence, the weapons become nothing more than "dumb bombs." We must also understand that information superiority is not solely limited to combat environments. Other military operations, from peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance to nation-building, also depend upon available and robust information exchange. 

Current C4 Programs

Information superiority is the prevailing theme of our future operational concepts. To achieve this objective, we are evaluating key investments in joint C4 systems today, as well as developing new ideas and concepts. Our current focus is on the continued development and fielding of joint systems. Our core systems include: the Global Command and Control System and the Global Combat Support System. These systems, together with other joint programs such as the Global Broadcast Service, the Defense Information Systems Network, Mobile Satellite System, the Global Positioning System and others, form the building blocks of information superiority. General Kelley from DISA and my colleagues from the Services will provide more details regarding these programs. These programs are modern, state-of-the-art technology. They can enable large horizontal and vertical information sharing when added to current capabilities. The ability to pass megabits is crucial to information superiority. 


Our continuing world-wide operations show that the United States military is often called upon to participate in joint and combined operations. We are committed to ensuring that our C4 systems work not only across our joint commands but also with our traditional allies and potential coalition partners. We are overcoming the interoperability problems of the past by developing a joint technical architecture based largely on commercial standards. This has become key to our successes in fielding interoperable C4 systems, and it keeps DoD moving forward with private industry. We can see advances in this area by comparing the past with our real successes in Joint Task Force (JTF) operations across the globe. These JTFs are made up of units from multiple Services and many allied nations under one unified command structure. The most recent example is the Implementation Forces (IFOR) and Stabilization Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia. What some have called the Bosnia "C4 Miracle" quickly integrated multitudes of disparate systems to support the European Commander's (USEUCOM's) mission. This allowed our troops to avoid land mines instead of driving over them while significantly enhancing NATO's inherent C4 capabilities. This would have been almost impossible 10 years ago. We have reached the midway point in resolving interoperability issues, but more hard work lies ahead. Our joint technical architectures and our increasingly widespread use of commercial standards and systems are key to our successes, and they help DoD keep its technology base consistent with both industry and other nations worldwide. However, some interesting trends are impacting the C4 community. Commercial information and communication technologies are making rapid advances. In the past, DoD was a major force in creating, encouraging, and sponsoring the development of key information technologies in response to national security. Today, however, we look increasingly to the commercial market as a source of products and standards to meet our needs. This means DoD can obtain significant capabilities "off the shelf." There will always be some unique military requirements, but these requirements will no longer dominate the market. Many challenging issues remain in this area. 

The Road Ahead

Today, and in the future, US military forces will accomplish a wide variety of missions. These expanded missions will demand information superiority. This challenges the C4 community to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology to ensure our warfighters have modern C4 systems. The Joint Staff is leaning forward in this regard to develop new concepts that will take advantage of leading edge technologies, and provide a common direction for the road ahead. A household analogy may help illustrate this concept. A key to building our "house" of information superiority is to define our future information requirements -- the things we want to do and the appliances we want to run. We have building codes that specify the requirements for wiring our house. The same ideas hold true in warfighting. Our joint forces need to accomplish certain fundamental functions (we call this an operational architecture). We must connect these functions in what I term an information grid, similar to wiring the house. The trick is to ensure rapid and reliable movement of information and that no interruptions in service occur. 

The Information Grid

The information grid is the fundamental building block of the operational architecture in the 21st century environment. This grid is a network of air, space, sea, and ground-based information capabilities that connect the sensors - through robust command and control processes - to the shooters. The information grid consists of both military and commercial communications capabilities. The information grid also has the capability to simultaneously transmit many different types of information to multiple users. For instance, voice, data, and video can be transmitted point-to-point or by direct broadcast. Designing and integrating information assurance capabilities into the information grid will help mitigate the inherent vulnerabilities of our systems. The combination of these capabilities enables the information grid to provide the warfighter with reliable high-speed access to the relevant information required to conduct successful operations across the spectrum of military conflict. Referring to my analogy further illustrates this point. Modern houses are wired for power with a small "power grid." This grid, accessed via power outlets and light sockets, enables the modern household to conduct day-to-day "operations" with lights and appliances. The household "power grid" has a finite capacity. We know that plugging in too many appliances will ultimately trip a circuit breaker. Each house also contains a meter that records and displays electrical consumption. Each household's "power grid" is also part of a larger "power grid." We refer to this concept as a system of systems. Large-scale power grids also have a finite capacity. Too many air conditioners running on a hot day can result in large scale "brown outs." To avoid "brown outs," power companies developed very sophisticated technologies to monitor and regulate consumption. These technologies can also predict future demand and identify potential problems. We must do the same for our information grid, but we need to take it even one step further. We must measure our consumption of information versus our capacity to provide it (bandwidth). We must also develop methods that prioritize our information users to make more efficient use of our limited bandwidth. In my electricity example, if we know that our space heater uses 10 amps, the hair dryer uses 2 amps, and the coffee maker uses 5 amps, it is clear why the 15 amp circuit breaker trips when we turn all three appliances on at once. More importantly, we understand the need to prioritize how electricity is used based on our needs. The heater is probably the most important appliance if it is cold outside. Therefore, we may choose not to blow dry our hair to ensure the heater has the electricity it needs to function. The same principle holds true with information. In a major air campaign, the commander will want to ensure information is available to those who need it. If a commander understands his total information requirements, then he can establish priorities. For example, he may tell the logistician to hold off ordering spare parts until the Joint Force Air Component Commander processes the air tasking order. This type of resource allocation can only occur if the commander knows what his information demands and bandwidth limits are, by function, and how these demands and limits might vary over time. He requires information telemetry so he can react and allocate information across limited grids. 

Network Models

Predicting future demand for information is almost as important as defining requirements and allocating resources. This requires network models that simulate, to the maximum extent practicable, the flow of information in a military operation. These models will provide the ability to look at the impact of new information systems and changes in operational practices before we commit resources. Again, referring to the example, before we buy the space heater, we must ensure there is an outlet in the room and that the circuit breaker can bear the load. We are currently pursuing vastly improved models and simulations to assess information traffic movement and to add C4 reality to wargaming. Modeling and simulation of thousands of tactical networks will be difficult. Currently we can not do this effectively. Satisfying Information Demand
We are continuing to seek ways to use our resources more efficiently. Despite our advances, Parkinson's law still applies: "Individual expenditure not only rises to meet income but tends to surpass it." An adaptation of that axiom is: "Demand for information will always exceed our capacity to capture, process, and deliver that information." The model I described will help us understand and predict, but we must also get the consumers involved. We must develop an appreciation in the minds of information consumers that there are limits to our ability to gather and deliver information. Therefore, users must examine and prioritize their needs. This is easy to say, but very difficult to do. The natural reaction of any decision maker, particularly a commander who is entrusted with the lives of our sons and daughters, is to ask for all the available information to support an operation. This is not normally practical or achievable given the state of today's information grids. We must convey to operational commanders that limitations exist as to the quantity of information we can provide. We must also explain to them that priorities must be established. This means identifying the heavy consumers of information and modifying their appetite. Education is one way to reach this goal. However, we must also pursue automated technologies to identify and reduce the appetites of heavy consumers. Process redesign will also serve to be make us more efficient users of information highways. We must strive for balance on the battlefield. There is a complex relationship between the mix of information "appliances," (whether sensors, command and control facilities, or weapon platforms), and the required capacity of the information grid. We are continuing to challenge the R&D communities within government and industry to help simplify these complexities. 

Frequency Spectrum Sell-off

Achieving information superiority requires us to provide warfighters the most timely information possible. Spectrum availability will be paramount in this regard. Therefore, while pursuing advanced capabilities to maximize use of the frequency spectrum, we also need a better, more cooperative spectrum review process that takes national security into consideration. We need to ensure that frequency spectrum is not sold off without evaluating the cost and operational impacts on our warfighting forces. Our request is that as you review frequency spectrum decisions, you require that the information to make the right decision includes the impact to DoD. We do not want to realize significant revenues from spectrum sales only to spend even more to modify or replace warfighting systems which relied upon frequencies sold off. 

Budget Reform

Technology is advancing so rapidly that our budgeting processes may not be adequate to address our C4 needs with the speed we require. When potential opponents can buy state of the art C4 systems right off the shelf, but DoD must go through lengthy acquisition and budgeting processes, what we get often turns out to be obsolete by the time it reaches the warfighter. I am convinced that we can no longer afford the long lead-time of our budget system given the rapid advancement and widespread proliferation of communication and information technologies. Where significant capabilities are commercially available in the open market, particularly when these capabilities are essential to our future vision, we must have a more responsive budgeting process. We will continue working to make the necessary changes in this area, and will coordinate with the OSD comptroller, the Chief Information Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget. 

Acquisition Reform

We have made a number of significant improvements to our acquisition system over the last four years. In many instances, these changes have reduced the time it takes to process our requirements and have allowed us access to advanced technologies available only in the commercial marketplace. However, the process still takes too long and there are still companies in the United States who will not sell to us because of our unique government terms and conditions. We need you help to ensure that the changes already made to our ability to access the commercial marketplace are enhanced to ensure our warfighters have real time access to the best technology our marketplace has to offer. 

Information Assurance

Our current core C4 programs, as well as those yet on the horizon, will fall short of meeting our information superiority objectives, unless we deal with their inherent vulnerabilities. We will only achieve information superiority in the 21st century with an information assurance (IA) capability that supports the warfighter while defending our vital national interests in the information age. A comprehensive IA approach, which includes cooperation among government, industry, and DoD, is essential to ensure warfighters have the timely, accurate, and relevant information they need. Strategic military changes such as reduced overseas presence are creating an overwhelming demand for faster, more robust, and better protected sensors, networks, and information systems. Every facet of military operations - from peacetime predeployment and planning to employment and sustainment of forces - relies on how successfully we identify our information dependencies and vulnerabilities. The warfighter requires a tremendous amount of support from commercial service providers. Their ability to achieve military objectives depends on access to critical but unprotected national infrastructures such as electrical power, telecommunications, and transportation systems. Lacking the authority and capability to implement protection for these critical infrastructures by itself, the Joint Staff is working a number of cooperative initiatives. These initiatives will demonstrate to service providers and managers of national critical infrastructures our compelling need for a collaborative national IA strategy. One such initiative is the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection. This commission began on 15 July 1995 when the President signed executive order 13010, Critical Infrastructure Protection. The central concept in protection, whether national critical infrastructures or the warfighting grids and networks I spoke of earlier, is the notion of risk management. Several factors make up risk management. Since we can no longer afford to protect everything, we need to identify what information must be protected. This involves establishing priorities and precedence based on the value of information. Once we establish priorities, we must apply the appropriate protection. Both the scope and standards of protection are based on a sound understanding of the threats, our vulnerabilities, and technology. We are working with the intelligence community, interagency forums, CINC staffs, and industry to develop this risk management methodology. The Joint Staff is also working several other IA initiatives as part of a defense-in-depth strategy. Some of the elements of this strategy include education and training, indications and warning of electronic attack, and capabilities that protect, detect, and restore our systems. The Joint Staff is helping CINCs develop more realistic training to exercise current and emerging IA technologies and procedures. Allowing commanders to experience the effects of operating in a degraded information environment will better prepare them for real-world operational environments. Where augmentation is required, or safety and security preclude us from achieving training objectives, we must turn to modeling and simulation. We are pursuing interactive, high- fidelity modeling that displays the potential cascading effects of information attacks against our strategic and tactical systems and networks. We believe there is much untapped potential in this arena. We need a comprehensive process that analyzes attack indicators and disseminates warnings to persons or organizations determined to be at risk. An indication and warning (I&W) regime requires a policy structure to establish authorities, roles, and responsibilities across many jurisdictions. Moreover, we must develop and fuse technology with intelligence processes to ensure real time collection and analysis of indicators. If an attack is imminent, we need to have a dynamic C4 network in place to disseminate warnings. Indications and warning will best be achieved with a collaborative government-industry effort. We are vigorously pursuing "protect, detect, and restore" capabilities to help ensure the confidentiality, integrity, authentication and availability of information. Digital signatures will help ensure non-repudiation of information between sender and receiver. Industry can help in this regard. To date, commercial investment is focused on responding to common attacks to business interests. Some of these common attacks include low-level hackers, thrill seekers, or criminals. The government must supplement private sector initiatives with focused investments to protect against higher-order threats to national security. These threats can occur from nation-states, state-sponsored terrorists, and government-sponsored theft of intellectual property. DoD efforts should complement commercial initiatives to ensure the total needs of the nation are met. 

Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations

Experimentation is emerging as a key element of our strategy for implementing information superiority. To facilitate Joint experimentation in the area of information superiority, we recently established the Joint Battle Center (JBC). The JBC will provide the Joint Staff and the Services with mechanism for facilitating large scale experimentation in the area of Information Superiority. These large scale experiments, which we refer to as Information Superiority Experiments, will leverage the important work being done by the R&D community in the area of Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) and Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTDs). We recently established a Decision Support Center (DSC) to provide senior decision makers with insights into the relationship between various levels of battlespace awareness and Joint combat power. 


There are a number of challenges for the procurement and R&D communities as we pursue information superiority. Within DoD, we are focusing efforts in the following areas: 
  • ensuring that our core programs are robust and interoperable 
  • improving C4 network operations 
  • developing models and simulations that help measure network information flow 
  • ensuring national security needs are considered in decisions to sell off portions of the frequency spectrum 
  • a budgeting and acquisition process that keeps pace with technology development 
  • pursuing information assurance capabilities to protect our information and information systems 
  • testing emerging technologies in advanced concept technology demonstrations 

Twenty-first Century warfighters will depend on more timely, accurate, and relevant information than ever envisioned before. Achieving this will require significant advances in C4 technology. We should also understand that, in pursuit of these advances, potential vulnerabilities will emerge. This reality reinforces our need for a C4 vision that is secure, interoperable, embraces the commercial sector, and is responsive to the total needs of our warfighters. The Joint Staff, in cooperation with OSD, Services, CINCs, defense agencies, other government departments, and industry, is vigorously pursuing the comprehensive C4 vision to achieve information superiority for the 21st century battlefield. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, on behalf of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I appreciate this opportunity to present the Joint Staff's insights on how to achieve information superiority in support of Joint Vision 2010.