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Joint Warfighting Conference 08

Last week I attended the Joint Warfighting Conference 08 (JWC 08) in Virginia Beach, Va. There were approximately 5000 attendees representing military, industry, academia, and government, registered for this year’s three-day conference. Titled “DoD Capabilities for the 21st Century,” the goal is to reach out to all joint warfighters. I also followed the proceedings via a live blog provided by Robert Pursell of USJFCOM Public Affairs, from which I took the following comments of note:

Air Force Col. Vincent Valdespino, J6, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computer System Directorate, on future challenges:

“Gen. Mattis has challenged me personally, ‘How do you ensure that that network is available to me and robust enough to become an enabler for me and not a problem for me. To be there when I need it, to be there when I’m out there on the edge, in an AOR, in the high wind, in the high sand of southwest Asia, and that radio, that phone, that cell, that network is going to be there be robust enough for me. How do I know it’s going to be assured, and that the information on it is going to be reliable?’ These are the things that the new boss has laid out that he wants to us to worry about, that’s what I have challenged my J6 staff to take on personally and find out how we can get better at providing these kinds of things. How are we going to do it, for example in a coalition environment, not just a joint environment but a coalition environment, not just a coalition environment but a civil environment.”

Air Force Maj. Gen. David Edgington The Director of the Joint Capabilities Development Directorate (J8) on “Leader-centric, Network-enabled”

The J8 is responsible for taking industry’s ideas and research and then turning them into capabilities to support the joint warfighter. The J8 is involved in joint capability requirements, joint integrated fires, and rapid capability transition.The J8 is responsible most importantly with Command and Control Capability Portfolio Management (C2 CPM).

“Command and control is the one that they issued to USJFCOM,” he said. “When they assigned this they looked at who should support this. It was delegated to the J8. “

“Command and control is a human endeavor, it’s beyond science and is an art. We’re getting away from the term network-centric and working towards leader-centric, network-enabled,” he said. “It’s about the leader telling his subordinate at any level, ‘here are the tools you can use, this is how you’ll do this.'”

Leslie Winters (J8) on Data Strategy:

“What we’re trying to do is get a hand on the portfolio activities and push them towards a C2 goal,”

Winters said her group’s goal is get data and information out to the warfighter. They do this by establishing a management construct, prioritizing the C2 data sharing needs, establishing a C2 data framework, supporting implementation and measuring progress.

“You can’t do C2 without all of this data,” said Winters.

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