By the end of this month, the Pentagon Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) is to lay out requirements for the military services under the Joint Warfighting Concept’s (JWC) four areas–Joint Global Fires, Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), Contested Logistics, and Information Advantage.
“Here we stand now in 2021, and we have China and Russia making huge changes and going unbelievably fast,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the JROC chairman, told the McAleese and Associates’ FY2022 Defense Programs conference on May 13. “Speed is critical, and I’m trying to put speed back in the JROC. The JROC is going to publish strategic directives for the joint force by the end of this month in all four of those supporting concepts to define the future in each of those critical areas. We’re working with the department to figure out how to put speed in focused experimentation so we can drive to the future. We’re working to figure out how to transition experiments quickly into operations, and the reason we’re doing this is because the threat demands it.”
Established by the fiscal 1996 National Defense Authorization Act, the JROC has as one of its charges the identification of “new joint military capabilities based on advances in technology and concepts of operation,” but Hyten said that the JROC has never met this objective.
“How does the JROC establish new joint capability requirements based on new technologies and new concepts? We haven’t done that, and so that’s what we’re gonna do,” Hyten said. “By doing that, we believe we will help enable the services to move fast because we’ll define the information requirements. We’ll define the data requirements. We’ll define how those pieces have to be done. The advantage the services get from that is, if we define them correctly, the services never have to come back to us in every program they have with interoperability requirements and an interoperability KPP [key performance parameter] because we’ll have already defined that up front so they won’t have to come back every two years and ask, ‘Mother may I?’ They’ll understand that right from the beginning.”
There have been concerns that the Joint Warfighting Concept’s reliance on long-range, joint fires may be insufficient to prevail in a conflict with China or Russia and that the concept may need to bolster its airpower component, as retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, suggested last year that the concept had not fared well in wargaming (Defense Daily, Dec. 8, 2020).
That may change, as it appears that the Joint Warfighting Concept will evolve, based on service and industry input.
“One way industry can help is we’re going to publish strategic directives in each of those [four] areas, and since we’ve never done that, I can tell you that they won’t be perfect,” Hyten said. “My hope is that everything that’s in there will be correct, but not everything will be in there. And where we’re missing things we need the services, acquirers, operators, and industry to come back and tell us, ‘You missed this,’ and if we did screw up something, tell us that we screwed that up as well because we are committed–me and the other vice chiefs of the services–to making sure we are nimble and quick in responding to changes in technology and requirements. That’s the only way we can stay ahead.”