080211-N-3925A-004The following contribution from Captain Victor Addison, OPNAV N51 Advanced Concepts, comes as a response to the discussions on Information Dissemination regarding the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO) Version 3.0 in the context of Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.

Captain Addison began the conversation with his analysis of the CCJO and the Navy with his January 2010 Proceedings article You Can’t Always Give What You Want available to Naval Institute subscribers.

I appreciate the spirited discussion on CCJO led by Galrahn and Prof. Rubel (also here, here, here, and here). To clarify two things about my article, I’d like to point out the following: 1) My intent was to examine Navy support to joint force objectives in our expected operating environment (as defined by the NDS, CCJO and JOE) and consider issues related to readiness, training, and ops. With the exception of highlighting the virtues of multimission ships, I am not advancing any particular force structure argument. 2) My reference to sea control as being part of our particular service dialect means that this is a fundamental capability (often referred to in varying degrees as maritime superiority, supremacy, or dominance) that the joint force needs the Navy to provide. JFCOM’s stated intent in providing a capstone concept is that service concepts can be developed to complement it. This is why we don’t see a discussion of sea control in the CCJO.

The extensive review of joint force “activities” by Galrahn highlights a potential point for consideration in the next CCJO rev. Much of the recent effort to assess our strategy in Afghanistan could be distilled down to questions like: “what are our goals?” and “what kind of war are we fighting?” These are not simple questions. Defining the four basic categories of joint force activities as combat, security, engagement, and relief and reconstruction might be technically correct, but this approach leaves a lot to the imagination–particularly since combat is the only activity that is the exclusive purview of DoD as the supported agency. Perhaps CCJO could be a sort of “Rosetta Stone” to translate grand strategy into joint operations by discussing broad categories of “joint force objectives” such as:

  • DEFEATING adversaries (state, state-sponsored, international etc.)
  • SUPPORTING allied/friendly governments and populations
  • DEFENDING the homeland
  • SECURING the global commons and ungoverned spaces

Without objectives, activities (the joint force “toolbox”) lack purpose and have no defined end state. For example, “engagement” sounds like a worthwhile activity, but we need to associate this activity with an objective to calibrate our efforts and assess results.




Posted by galrahn in Navy, Uncategorized


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  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com/ Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    So, exactly how do the tasks map to the strategic goals? There’s no single answer to the question, and I think each of the tasks can support any of the objectives, depending on the time, place, and situation.

    Defeating adversaries:
    Combat, security, engagement, and relief and reconstruction can each play a role, depending on the nature of the adversary. The joint force has executed all of these tasks to effect the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, with support from naval forces both at sea and ashore.

    Supporting allied/friendly governments and populations:
    Engagement and relief and reconstruction seem to get a higher utilization rate in support of this strategic objective – worldwide. Combat and security don’t feature as prominently in the news, but I suspect that not every operation gets covered by the press because our friends in need may not want the publicity.

    Defending the homeland:
    For naval forces, this one is tough to link between the goal and the CCJO activities. It could be that naval forces can best defend the homeland by remaining in the forefront of supporting the other three strategic goals. I think that this is most true of the fourth goal pointed out by Captain Addison…

    Securing the global commons:
    Naval forces ensure that our vital lines of communication remain open, as has always been their purpose. They do so with security operations designed to maintain our situational awareness and position our forces where they can deter or interdict those who would threaten our lines. If needed, they can rapidly initiate combat operations against significant threats to that communication, execute relief/reconstruction operations (bringing a disaster-stricken port back into the global network, for example). Maintaining confidence in their ability to execute all of the above is, I think, a form of engagement.

    I feel it is the security of the global commons that is most important to the various combatant commanders outside the continental United States. Without it, they would never be able to execute a mission, because the assets they need and their associated logistics tails would all be stuck here in garrison.

  • RADM (Ret) Ben Wachendorf

    As ADM Vern Clark correctly said when he was CNO, we are all products of our perspective. My perspective in this area includes service as OPNAV Director of Strategy and Policy (N51) 2000-2002 and senior Navy officer at JFCOM (Chief of Staff) 2006-2008.

    First, congratulations to CAPT Addison on an excellent article which addresses issues of critical importance to the future of the U.S. Navy. Second, congratulations to Paul Merzlak and his staff at USNI for another excellent issue of Proceedings. CAPT Addison’s piece is one of several excellent articles in the January issue of Proceedings.

    CAPT Addison is spot on when he says that platforms, weapon systems, and service program were deliberately left out of CCJO. One of the reasons for this was to avoid the old school defense budget thinking of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 DOD budget allocation, salami slicing to meet budget bogeys, never allow anyone outside a service to question budget decisions made by that service, and we have always done it that way as justification for decisions.

    I do not mean to defend transformation and other baggage of SecDef Rumsfeld’s watch, but I do believe that capabilities based budget decision making is far superior to the old school way of doing business in the Pentagon as outlined above prior to Mr. Rumsfeld’s second tour as SecDef. It is far more important to clearly understand what it is we are trying to do before making force structure and other DOD budget decisions on how to do it. The days of assuming we will always have x number of CVNs, y number of submarines, z number of amphibious lift, etc. are over and will never come back.

    At the risk of sounding like Polyanna, I believe naval forces have a very good story to tell through the lens of JOE/CCJO. Remember 9/11 and the very capable combat forces the world’s greatest naval power had on station in effective weapons range less than 48 hours after the tragic events of that day. Army and Air Force did not come close to matching that capability for weeks, some would argue months. Another positive example is no notice tsu nami relief and certainly includes USCG in Hurricane Katrina response.

    It is my view that DOD capital investment spending is likely to decrease 30-40%. If that is correct (and even if it is not), it is imperative that all services base difficult budget decisions on joint war fighting requirements to include irregular warfare, closely examine life cycle costs, strongly oppose pork barrel political agendae, and use sound business investment metrics. We also need to carefully consider return on investment in soft versus hard power to include all elements of national and international resources. Again, I believe the Navy has a very good story to tell here.

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