AN ENVIRONMENT CHARACTERIZED by rapid change and chronic, extreme levels of uncertainty is an environment on the edge of chaos. It is a great place to be in, because it is where the action is, where the opportunities are, and where the future will be defined. As discussed previously, such an environment already surrounds the Navy. Responding to it effectively i.e., becoming quicker, cheaper, and better requires consideration of:
The following sections discuss these matters in the sequence above. Although the sections may be read independently, it must be remembered that they are interrelated.
The most essential Navy capabilities are sea control, forward presence, and power projection. These capabilities are not new, but in the current climate of change their characteristics and relative priority must be reevaluated.
The American economy relies heavily on international trade. In fact, all the economies of the world, including those of the developing nations, and all multinational companies depend for their prosperity upon uninterrupted worldwide commerce. World trade is vital and growing in importance; there is really no such thing as an isolated economy anymore. Although the international economy increasingly includes electronic financial exchanges and traffic in knowledge labor, it still depends for the most part upon the exchange of raw materials, product components, and finished goods. That trade requires free use of the seas, currently guaranteed to the world by the United States Navy, courtesy of the American taxpayer. Over the course of the twentieth century, the U.S. Navy has become the dominant sea power. In the latter half of the century, the United States has, in a spirit of enlightened self-interest, willingly used its Navy to maintain the "freedom of the seas." Indeed, freedom of the seas has not been significantly challenged for over fifty years only because of America's power and will to maintain it. All multinational corporations and peaceful nations have consequently enjoyed free use of the seas for legitimate trade. Although they may assume that freedom of the seas will continue, it is only prudent for the U.S. Navy to assume that it will not at least, not without challenge. Despite the recent historical record, freedom of the seas can be challenged, and, in a dynamic and uncertain world rife with technological, political, economic, and social change, a challenge is inevitable.
Freedom of the seas is the most important product of the United States Navy. It is the preeminent economic gift of the American people to the rest of the world. Without it, world trade and world economies collapse.
Sea control is therefore the fundamental capability of the Navy. There is no forward presence on the sea without control of the sea. There is no power projection from the sea without control of the sea. There is no initiation or support of littoral warfare from the sea without control of the seas between the United States and the engaged littoral. Sea control is absolutely necessary, the thing without which all other naval missions, and most national missions, precariously risk catastrophic failure. It is impossible to overemphasize this point.
There are four methods of maintaining forward naval presence, and all four can be employed simultaneously: forward basing, deployment, cruising, and sprinting. Forward basing involves and is limited by political obligations and vulnerabilities. Where these are not too serious and present few impediments, forward basing is a quite effective and efficient way to maintain presence.
Deployment is the scheme the Navy has used since the 1950s. The U.S. Navy is well practiced at it quite expert, really. However, deployment suffers from a serious drawback: it is expensive in terms of time, consumption of capital naval investment (i.e., ships and aircraft), fuel, and outlays to fund current-year operations.
Cruising can be thought of as an "infesting the oceans" variation on the Marine Corps concept of "infesting the battlefield." The U.S. Navy cruised extensively earlier in this century, even after World War II. Cruising is not practiced now, but with today's shipbuilding, weapons, and information technologies it is a feasible, easily implemented method. It may be perfectly appropriate to the "Navy-after-next."
Cruising can use large numbers of relatively inexpensive, slow, simple, lightly manned, self-sufficient, high-endurance ships spread over the oceans in a broad network. Such ships can be armed with missiles (offensive and defensive) and carry combat troops, two helicopters, and inflatable boats. Notional cruises are about five months long, "round the world," with adequate liberty and "show the flag" port calls. Cruising units can be aggregated to whatever extent necessary to counter emergent threats. A network of cruising warships is readily expandable and can be the mobilization focus of the Naval Reserve. It can augment or be augmented by deployed or sprinting forces.
Relatively junior personnel man the cruising ships, and they respond to mission exigencies in accordance with simple decision rules in which they are thoroughly drilled. Cascaded expert systems support the crews, utilizing both locally generated data and "demand-pulled" or "command-pushed" data from remote locations.
Lastly, forward presence can also be achieved through sprinting i.e., moving forces at high speed from bases in the United States to areas of crisis. Of the four methods of maintaining presence, sprinting has the least deterrent effect. To exert an early influence, U.S. forces must be visible in a region as, not after, political unrest begins to deteriorate towards crisis. Another drawback is that sprinting naval forces may frequently lack staying power; high-speed mobile forces can easily "outrun" their logistics "tail." Still, sprinting (or surging) is currently the option usually exercised in the face of rapidly developing crises. In the absence of prearranged bilateral agreements, naval surges are attractive courses of action because of the self-sufficiency of afloat expeditionary forces.
Like the other services, the Navy has placed a premium on power projection since the beginning of the Cold War. The United States did not think that the Soviet Union had developed the capability to invade and occupy the American continent. However, the U.S. was very concerned that the Soviet Union would invade and occupy other countries. Also of concern was that the U.S.S.R. would use its massive strategic strike capability to neutralize the power of the United States. To deter Soviet military action against the U.S. and its allies, America developed a credible power projection capability able to be used against the Soviet Union. Since the U.S.S.R. did not seriously threaten the ability of the United States to maintain freedom of the seas, the U.S. Navy emphasized power projection over sea control sea control efforts were focused primarily on countering Soviet submarines.
Now that the Soviet Union is defunct, it is time for the Navy to reconsider its power projection role, beginning with the obvious, fundamental question: "Why must the Navy be able to project power?" In brief, the Navy requires the ability to project power in order to support three missions:
Paramount among these three missions is sea control (because it must precede the other two): controlling the seas to maintain free navigation by the United States and friendly countries and to deny the seas to countries hostile to the nation or its friends. Sea control requires the will and capability to neutralize military power that can challenge free use of the seas. Thus sea control entails the ability to project power:
Littoral warfare is especially relevant to the first two of the three supported missions controlling the seas and gaining footholds on foreign territory. To dominate the battle spaces related to these missions, the Navy and Marine Corps must be able to:
Responsive command and control is an essential part of sea control, forward presence, and power projection. That seems obvious, but the key word is responsive. By that criterion, Industrial Age systems of highly structured and centralized command and control are inadequate at the edge of chaos. They are too slow, too vulnerable, insufficiently agile, and unable to collect and process all the relevant information they need. The evolving environment requires decentralized command supported by timely flows of relevant information. Mission commanders must thoroughly understand mission objectives and must sharply focus on mission execution. They must be supported with pertinent information provided from all sources via redundant delivery systems. Two simple examples of this mode of operating at the edge of chaos are the use of wire-free communications to support damage control efforts and the simultaneous use of multiple, interconnected (aurally and visually) observers and action personnel on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier (see next section).
Mission commanders ought to be equipped with cascaded expert systems that feed decision nodes by: 1) consolidating externally received information with organic input; 2) reducing information to digestible amounts in readily understandable formats. Furthermore, mission commanders should be provided with, and trained in, the use of simple decision rules. They can then apply the rules to consolidated information and act accordingly.
Now, suppose a large-scale version of this decentralized system of command and control is also the way to run the entire Navy in the future.
In an article written several years ago, John Pfeiffer reports on the work of three professors (University of California, Berkeley) who studied "high-reliability, complex organizations which, in the throes of adapting to fast-changing times, manage to achieve remarkably low failure rates."2 Primary emphasis in the article is given to flight operations aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. Thus, some of what follows is familiar to naval professionals, but all of it merits close attention.
In the complex and rapidly changing world of a carrier flight deck during flight operations, very complex procedures must be executed quickly and perfectly, or catastrophe results. Information for decision making comes in fast-flowing floods. Scores of decisions and actions must occur nearly simultaneously and are often followed by torrents of more information and equally urgent decisions that likewise allow no margin for uncorrected error.
The flight deck is not unique. Rapid development of technology and ready availability of large amounts of time-sensitive information are causing many other organizations and activities (at least in their critical parts) to exhibit similar characteristics: high speed; high tension and stress; extreme complexity; no tolerance of uncorrected error; operations at the edge of chaos.
Information demands and flows are increasingly large and fast in all professions and businesses. Huge amounts of information (good and bad, and who knows which is which?) arrive constantly. Decisions must be made faster, and the impacts of those decisions develop faster. Such is life in the present quickly moving and turbulent world.
The old, Industrial Age organization (there are many such, and the current Navy organization is one of them) is unsuited to operations at the edge of chaos and is rapidly becoming obsolete. It is composed of big wheels supported by staffs of experts; gradations of smaller wheels; and cogs. The standard organization chart shows it well, although most of the cogs do not even show, and the experts given little real power are put into small boxes off to the side of the supported wheels. The Industrial Age organization's vertical decision structure, with its concentration of power at the top, cannot quickly digest the data and information provided it. As a result, it responds too slowly, and too often inappropriately. By its very nature it is condemned to be inadequately efficient and effective in the evolving environment.
In spite of this archaic structure's inherent systemic deficiencies, many organizations expend considerable effort, and legions of consultants earn a good living, trying to make it work in the new, modern world. Society educates more big wheels (and then pays them well) because it assumes (out of habit) that more big wheels can make the thing go. Does the old structure actually work? Ask the cogs.
The Navy still uses that type of vertical organization for parades and pay, but should not use it for operations at the edge of disaster and chaos. The flight deck certainly does not use it. Every person on the flight deck is an expert, doing one task (or a few tasks) very well. The tasks are significant in the most extreme sense: if done well, people live; if done poorly, people die. Every flight deck crew member understands that complex, fast-moving, merciless environment, and knows that everybody on the flight deck is an expert. When speaking as an expert in a certain area, a crew member whether officer or seaman is listened to, even deferred to. Experts demand to be heard, and are heard, because they are experts. Furthermore, any "cog" acting as an expert can shut down flight operations, and no officer (not even an admiral) will contest the right, obligation, and authority to do so. Such behavior is not punished; rather, it is supported, recognized, and rewarded.
There is one important caveat to note: in all organizations "there tends to be a chronic gap between 'taskers,' who give orders, and 'operators,' who must carry them out."3 For the flight deck and organizations analogous to it, the obvious conclusion is that taskers should not give operational orders. The key is to train the operators well and then tell them what to do, but not how to do it. (Actually, operators need more than good training and a clear mission order. They also need information, as discussed below.)
Many organizations facing environments and situations similar to those on the flight deck have assessed requirements and possibilities differently. They see the new technology in information distribution and processing as an opportunity to take more centralized (tighter) control of operations. They assume that with more information from operators in the field, obtained more quickly and processed in greater detail, decisions about execution ("how to do it") can be made, and made better, at a centralized command facility. That assumption is false. Take the flight deck: not all the significant information regarding the "beat" of the flight deck can be communicated to a decision maker in the bowels of the ship. Likewise, the "beat" of the battlefield, in business or war, cannot be fully communicated to a decision maker a "big wheel" at a headquarters. The smells, the tensions, the noises, the pulse, the feel, the events unconsciously seen and recorded peripherally all these cannot be verbalized or digitized, transmitted, and reconstituted accurately, completely, and quickly enough.
Experts must make some decisions on the scene (actually, many decisions, in fast-breaking and dangerous situations). However, no expert can "know it all." No expert can make sense of the turbulent flow of events, in toto, just by looking at the whole operation although every expert must have a general understanding of it. Areas of expertise, responsibility, and authority must be kept to a level to which the expert can be trained and within which the expert can be fully aware of all important, relevant information. In other words, every expert must be focused on an aspect of the chaotic environment small enough to be ordered and understandable; and the organization must recognize each expert as the primary (and, in some cases, absolute) authority within that area, regardless of rank.
The organization must also acknowledge that even the best-trained human can make mistakes if given defective or inadequate information, or if the ability to recognize and use information is impaired by exhaustion or overloading. Therefore, each expert must be supported to ensure that appropriate information is received and processed correctly. Providing proper information support to the expert sounds like an simple matter, but it is actually difficult. Consider: if the expert receives conflicting information, which source should be believed? If the expert receives more information than can be digested, what warrants immediate attention? True, information can be correlated and checked for quality before the expert receives it, but then it may arrive too late (actually, it is likely to arrive too late).
The solution is to limit input to the expert to factual observations, and where feasible to have at least three paths for transmission to the expert. If multiple paths of transmission are not feasible, or if the input consists of analyzed information, then the input should be sent from one source. If there is too much incoming information for the expert to digest, it should be sorted, partially analyzed, and then presented by supporting expert systems that can be programmed and activated at will.
Flight deck management is the epitome of decentralized management. It has five salient, essential properties:
The inescapable fact is that in times of rapid change, centralized management does not work well in a complex, technologically sophisticated society. Does the reader want confirmation? Ask the old Soviet Politburo. Ask a combat commander in a modern military force. Ask the field or sales representatives of companies selling the products of new and swiftly developing technologies. And lastly, ask the cogs.
It would be fitting to use more flight deck management throughout the Navy (and, in fact, throughout the Department of Defense), because it is the management system most suited to command and control in combat or at the edge of chaos. Every commander and, indeed, every civilian manager has wrestled with the question of where control of operations and tasking should reside. The specific answer varies with the technological level of the organization and the operation at hand. The answer has usually been: as far up the command ladder as possible, without saturating the command staff, and as far down the command ladder as absolutely required. As the Navy's data collection, transmission and processing technologies advance, the tendency is for the Navy to move decision making further up the command ladder, because it is believed that all relevant information can be acquired and utilized at the higher levels of command.
That is the wrong way to go. More and better information must be sent to the lowest level that has a directly involved decision maker with the scope and training to understand and digest the information fully. The Navy must have and depend upon experts operating in a loosely managed structure based on information freely flowing in all directions (on a sort of "information bus"). The management system of the future a future which has already arrived is the flight deck system writ large, the most appropriate system for a technologically advanced, responsive next Navy.
The flight deck has burst the bounds of its specific context, and it is not much of an exaggeration to say that the entire Navy faces a flight deck situation as it heads into the twenty-first century. In flight deck situations, a strict and rigid chain of command based on organizational rank does not work. What does work is a strict and flexible chain of command based on skill and knowledge. What does work is having team members support the objective of the organization by doing their jobs well during operations in or at the edge of chaos. What does work is having the organization exist primarily to support its experts, enabling them to perform expertly within their areas of responsibility.
In sum, here is what the flight deck teaches the Navy:
Here endeth the lesson, but not the job namely, becoming the next Navy. Now is the time to start. To that end, let us take a closer look at force structure and fleet organization.
There are really three force structures to be examined: one for today, the second for tomorrow (the next Navy), the third for the day after tomorrow (the Navy-after-next). Since the world is changing far faster than it did at the deliberate pace of the recent past, all three structures must be considered simultaneously. The Navy does not have the luxury for sequential change through gentle stages at a measured pace. There is no time for that, because everything is happening all at once.
Today the United States boasts the best Industrial Age navy, one already in transition to a trans-industrial (or post-industrial, or information, or knowledge-age) navy. In the future, as in the present, the Navy must be able to thwart or defeat enemies and weapons of both the Industrial Age and its successor. Some countries will be converting from agricultural to industrial economies, as others move from industrial to trans-industrial economies. All countries will change at different rates, and in some countries (such as China and India today), various parts of society may leapfrog over whole stages of development. Gradual, sequential change is out of the question for them, just as it is for the United States.
The extremely complex political-military environment will require some naval forces similar to those of the present, augmented by the ships and aircraft programmed for procurement over the next few years. That will be the composition of the next Navy, tomorrow's Navy. The nation needs it, but in and of itself the next Navy will be inadequate for the day after tomorrow. Buying large quantities of today's military tools to fight developing asymmetric threats is simply not feasible; America's defense budget cannot afford it. Moreover, how many additional aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, stealth bombers and fighters, Super Hornets, main battle tanks, and Aegis cruisers will we need to counter people smuggling asymmetric weapons for use against the United States on its own territory? To counter terrorists and their methods? To counter advanced biological weapons in the hands of non-state enemies skilled in smuggling and terrorist techniques? Answer: more than the nation can afford.
The Navy's experience in fighting drug smuggling is instructive. One obvious lesson is that it is very expensive to use sophisticated and powerful Cold War era combat systems against small and dispersed smuggling vehicles. Using battle groups (with operating costs of about half a million dollars per day not counting the costs of capitalization, depreciation, and military personnel) to counter light planes and small boats is a bit rich. And the degree of success does not come close to justifying the cost. Cheaper and simpler systems in larger quantities often prove to be more effective as well as more economical.
As the threats and challenges change, and as capabilities for greater precision evolve, some economical and very unconventional naval forces can be developed forces with higher orders of flexibility, agility, and global presence ability. They will be equipped with additional, and quite different, tools to fight the threats of the day after tomorrow. Such forces will be the nucleus of the Navy-after-next. That Navy cannot yet be exactly defined, but the stage for it can be set now.
It must be assumed that the Navy-after-next will be composed of ships, aircraft, and submarines (though perhaps not exclusively who knows?). However, some speculation is useful, and a few simple observations are appropriate.
Powerful Navy ships tend to be large and expensive, but they can become cheaper and simpler as the information age progresses. In the future more so than today the second stage of the weapon system will frequently be incorporated within the round. It will be less important to have heavy hulls that carry heavy, second-stage machines. With speed, range, and maneuverability increasingly engineered and built into the round, there will be diminished need for the same parameters in the combatant hull itself. Still, the total weapon system will be quicker, even though the launching platform may not be as fast and maneuverable as earlier platforms.
Advanced information technology and better information will enable much more accurate targeting and weapon guidance. Naval forces will not need as many pieces of ordnance to provide the requisite explosive power for target destruction. As well, magazine capacity for equivalent destructive power will decrease, and ammunition replenishment will drop in frequency. There will be a less critical requirement for replenishment ships to haul ammunition to the battle area, because the combatant ships will be carrying what they need for the fight. Indeed, transfer of munitions at sea is an inefficiency that the Navy thanks to technology will be able to reduce significantly or even avoid altogether.
Since the cost of weapon systems will be concentrated in the rounds, each hull will not only be relatively cheaper but also more lightly manned, requiring fewer people to maintain, operate, and protect a ship and its weapon systems. As components of a larger force dispersed over a wide area, such ships can be knit together into a tight, resilient network for offense and defense. The ships will go into harm's way there is no avoiding that but the naval force's damage control "compartments" will be separated by miles of seawater while remaining mutually supportive. Of course, deploying such a force avoids the risk of presenting a few expensive, massive targets to WMD.
None of the foregoing is "pie in the sky." The "vision" can be engineered and built with today's technology.
As to the matter of size, tonnage is cheap in comparison with any other parameter. In fact, it can cost more to build a small ship than a large one, even if the combat systems of each are identical. The critical measure of expense is life cycle cost per unit of combat effectiveness. If building a larger hull with no attendant decrease in combat effectiveness can reduce life cycle costs, the choice is obvious build the larger ship. One possibility is to equip cheap commercial hulls (usually neither fast nor maneuverable) with modularized combat systems. In addition to economy, these could realize the advantage of disguise (denial of information through deception) while moving inconspicuously in the world's merchant traffic patterns.
Like Navy ships, powerful Navy aircraft tend to be large, heavy, and expensive. They too can become smaller, lighter, and cheaper as the information age progresses. Some aircraft will not need human aircrews. Remotely piloted, they will also be remotely reprogrammed as required while in flight. Not all remotely piloted aircraft will need to be recovered; consequently, their airframes will not have to be as rugged as those that have to endure carrier landings. Precision weapons will allow aircraft to destroy targets with fewer, smaller weapons. Smaller and fewer weapons mean smaller hence less vulnerable aircraft.
For the future, submarines must retain their traditional and most effective functions. However, the challenge for the submarine force will be to maintain stealth characteristics while simultaneously improving command and control connectivity. Sea denial capabilities, long the "bread and butter" of the Silent Service, will be enhanced by the incorporation of new technologies. Revolutionary life-cycle cost advantages will also be realized when crew sizes decrease and when every facet of design, construction, operation, and maintenance reflects that a nuclear submarine will be used for no longer than the lifetime of its first and only nuclear reactor core.
Ships, aircraft, and submarines are quite effective at projecting American power, but nothing projects American power quite as convincingly as an infantryman well-trained, well-armed, determined, probably tired and impatient looking someone in the eye and telling him what to do. Nothing! The Navy, of course, does not have combat troops as the Army and Marines do. However, it is part of the same joint military team that is developing into a much more tightly knit force. A major Navy mission is to bring that infantryman's power to bear, wherever it is needed, and to provide that trooper with absolutely reliable and effective support. As the cruising force of the Navy-after-next evolves, the Navy can embark platoons of combat troops on board each of its many, more lightly manned ships. The Navy-after-next will include ground forces in its wide range of distributed firepower, assembling them into larger concentrations as occasions demand.
The Navy has an effective fleet, good enough to do most of today's jobs very well indeed. It was built and organized on a model that was painfully developed and has proven to be effective, by heroes who deserve the greatest respect. The Navy is rather comfortable with the model. It is an organization with which today's admirals grew up, which they understand well, and to which they are loyal. However, it is not the right model for the future, or for the jobs that may be assigned to the Navy the day after tomorrow. The Navy cannot continue to be organized on the basis of its warfare specialties.
If an automobile company were organized the way the Navy is, it would have a Department of Drill Presses, a Department of Stamping Machines, a Department of Paint Stations, a Department of Foundries, and so on, with a vice president in charge of each one. Departments would be responsible for all operations, maintenance, and training related to their equipment, wherever in the world it happened to be. Every manager and foreman in each department would have a lapel pin denoting rank (by color: gold for managers, silver for foremen) and department (by shape: drill press, stamping machine, paint station, etc.). The company would have Drill Press Associations, Stamping Associations, Paint Shop Associations, and Foundry Associations. Each tool association would have rank and representation in the corporate offices roughly comparable to the perceived importance of the tool and to the power of the tool's association.
In reality, healthy and successful manufacturing organizations actually, most commercial organizations of any type instead organize themselves by product (or service) and function. Usually they use a matrix organization of functions and products/services within each business unit. Corporate staffs execute tasks (e.g., marketing, legal) that are common or corporate only. Promotion to and representation within corporate ranks is dependent upon results: that is, upon how well the functions and products/services are managed and how the bottom line is affected.
Of course, automobiles and industrial equipment are not the Navy's products. Nor are ships, submarines, or aircraft. Rather, the Navy's products are the warfare capabilities it develops and refines in order to win battles and execute missions at sea and from the sea. The Navy's business units are Fleets, Battle Forces (defined below), and Task Forces. Its bottom line is defined not in dollars, but in what it costs to execute warfare missions and tasks costs measured in terms of the warfare currencies of time, casualties, capital equipment, and supplies. The Navy's tools are ships, planes, and submarines rather than foundries and drill presses.
Yet despite differences in detail, the Navy's current organization is analogous to the fictional business model described above. That organization must change. The Navy cannot afford its current structure: past, present, and future cuts reduce that structure's viability. Undeniable fiscal realities demand the planning and design of a different model.
Organizational structure is one of the obvious places in which to realize savings of time, money, and billets. The Navy is presently too hierarchical and too fragmented to be quick. It has too many staffs and too many distributed functions to be efficient. The Navy will be quicker and more efficient if it is organized less by its tools and more by its products and services, functions, and business units. Its increased efficiency will reduce bottom-line costs.
What "end state" should the Navy seek? Given an environment of pervasive, rapid, and (probably) accelerating change, it is not possible at best, it is imprudent to define an end state for the Navy based on things e.g., ships, aircraft, and weapons. The end state ought instead to be based on qualities namely, unsurpassed (and unsurpassable) agility, flexibility, and quickness.
In light of the foregoing considerations, this Newport Paper sets forth a notional structure for the next Navy, a structure that improves the effectiveness of the Navy while realizing efficiencies that will be necessary in the future. The proposed organization, composed of an operational structure and a support structure, is intended to meet efficiently the needs of the next Navy while it prepares to become the Navy-after-next.
Specifically, the primary objective of this reorganization is at least to maintain quality in the "product line" (warfare capabilities) at current operational levels, while consolidating functions at the support levels. The reorganization is based on the following parameters:
Many models can be made to work, and any model can be made not to work (or, by its critics, made to seem unworkable). Most corporations that have tried various solutions to their own problems have failed in implementation, regardless of how accurate their diagnoses and prescriptions were. They simply could not stomach their own medicine. The real challenge facing the Navy is not so much to determine what its problems are and how to solve them, but to do what needs to be done.
The Navy is still in the diagnosis and prescription stage. Yet to come is the really tough part: taking its medicine. However difficult that task may be, it must be done, for to do nothing is to invite disaster, no matter how much is said.
"The National Command Authorities (NCA), consisting of the President and the Secretary of Defense, or their authorized alternates, exercise authority over the Armed Forces through the combatant commanders for those forces assigned to the combatant commands and through the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Chiefs of the Services for those forces not assigned to the combatant commands."4 Our concern here is with the operational chain of command, which flows from the NCA to the combatant commanders, also known as combatant commanders-in-chief (CINCs). Each CINC holds warfighting responsibility for a geographic area of the world and is directly responsible to the NCA for mission execution and readiness. A component commander from each of the armed forces serves each CINC.
In the next Navy, the naval component commanders for the CINCs are Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT). Each has a broad geographic scope, but a narrow functional scope. The geographic scope of CINCPACFLT, with headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is roughly equivalent to that of the traditional CINCPACFLT. CINCLANTFLT, with headquarters currently in Naples, Italy, has a geographic scope roughly equivalent to the areas of responsibility traditionally assigned to CINCUSNAVEUR and CINCLANTFLT, combined. In this construct, PACOM and CENTCOM are serviced by CINCPACFLT; EUCOM and SOUTHCOM are serviced by CINCLANTFLT.
These fleet commanders focus on joint warfare capabilities, the true products of the Navy. The agile, responsive support structure of the next Navy the notional Commander, Naval Forces in the United States (COMNAVUSA) is responsible for supporting the fleet commanders across the full range of combat functions.
In support of the CINCs whom they service, CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT, as currently directed by CJCS:5
CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT are also responsible for the following service-specific functions within each combatant command:
Within their own commands the Navy component commanders are responsible for:
Directly subordinate to the Navy component commanders are the Numbered Fleet Commanders (NFCs)/Joint Force Commanders (JFCs). COMSOLANT, SECOND, and SIXTH Fleets are subordinate to CINCLANTFLT; THIRD, FIFTH, and SEVENTH Fleets are subordinate to CINCPACFLT. Each NFC/JFC has direct liaison with the supporting functional commands under COMNAVUSA.
Immediately below the numbered fleet level are the next Navy's six battle forces, with each battle force commander directly subordinate to a numbered fleet commander. Each battle force is built around a permanently assigned core of two aircraft carriers and two amphibious assault ships; other ships, aircraft, submarines, ground forces, and expeditionary units are assigned as appropriate. Like an NFC/JFC, a battle force staff has direct liaison with the functional commands subordinate to COMNAVUSA.
Each battle force is the primary nexus for the administration, training, and command and control of the combat units assigned to it. That is, there are in the next Navy six principal junctions where support and operations connect namely, the six battle forces. In each battle force the shore support for ships, aircraft, and submarines converges with the operation of combat units on, above, or under the sea. In particular, a battle force is the point at which all single- and multi-unit underway training is tied together. The responsibility for training a given battle force and its units lies solely with the battle force commander and key subordinates in command. That is, the battle force commander, staff, and subordinate commanding officers rather than several dispersed training commands afloat and ashore coordinate, conduct, and evaluate single- and multi-unit training in accordance with fleet-wide guidance and standards established by the next Navy's Fleet Training and Doctrine Command. The battle force is the point of crossover between the administrative and operational structures.
On a smaller scale, a task force is a subset of units drawn ad hoc from within a given battle force for assignment to an NFC/JFC. It is organized and trained to meet specific needs of a combatant CINC. At the direction of a CINC, specialized assets may be assigned to augment a task force. For example, a task force requiring a more robust surveillance capability could draw on SEAL teams, MPA, special mission submarines, UAV squadrons, etc.
Also directly under the Navy component commanders are forces with highly specialized missions. These forces, composed of units often found in relatively small numbers, can be assigned as elements of task forces or as corps-level forces with specific missions.
Lastly, CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT each have a Fleet Tactics and Planning Support Group. The Group trains task forces in joint warfare tactics (training in unit tactics falls under the purview of battle force commanders), and it supports an NFC/JFC in campaign (operational level) planning.
Commander, Naval Forces in the United States (COMNAVUSA) provides support in training, tactical development, personnel, maintenance, communications, intelligence, and logistics to the Navy component commanders, worldwide. COMNAVUSA is the provider of all forces to CINCLANTFLTand CINCPACFLT for operation by their subordinate commanders. Headquarters for COMNAVUSA is Norfolk, Virginia.
COMNAVUSA is a supporting structure whose very design aims at improving response times and reducing expenditures by consolidating common functions and eliminating redundant support billets. Commanders in the supporting structure have responsibility for fewer functions. However, their geographic scope is (world)wide while their functional scope is narrow.
COMNAVUSA is an unequivocal, thoroughgoing shift away from the organizational structure of today's Navy. The shift is driven by the need for the next Navy to utilize the organizational schemes of successful modern businesses schemes proven to work in the trans-industrial age. The Navy's current organization is built around platform stovepipes (air, surface, and subsurface), each one incorporating the primary functions of maintenance, training, logistics, and personnel management. That method of organization has been effective, but also inefficient.
The next Navy's organization realizes efficiency in a modern matrix scheme, in which the columns are functions (e.g., maintenance, training, personnel, logistics), and the rows are warfare capabilities. One advantage that immediately results is a sharpening of command focus. COMNAVUSA focuses on effective accomplishment of functions necessary to enable and sustain naval warfare; CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT focus on the operation and fighting of naval forces at sea. As the Navy component commanders for the combatant CINCs, they have control of all Navy operations, either directly or through their subordinate commanders. Subordinate NFCs are routinely assigned as joint force commanders or as the Navy component commanders of joint force commands.
Efficiency is also immediately achieved by an elimination of redundancy. Today's Navy has six major type commands, each one having its own maintenance organization, composed of experts and supporting personnel. Without cutting the numbers of "value-added" maintenance experts, the next Navy obtains the following benefits from the consolidation of redundant functions:
Furthermore, the next Navy is more efficient by virtue of its improved, streamlined coordination among functions. The organizational structure of today's Navy is seriously weak in its coordination of functions between platforms of different types: among its thick-walled stovepipes, functions are duplicated at great cost (in people and money) and with little or no inter-type coordination. That arrangement does not appropriately use the information technology of the current era, and it does not facilitate joint operation of the U.S. Armed Forces. The organization of the next Navy corrects those deficiencies. Since functions are not duplicated across platform types, many fewer staff personnel are required to coordinate special platform needs across functions. Coordination of functions for specific operational needs falls to the naval warfighting staffs.
As in today's Navy, in the modern matrix the Navy component commanders, CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT, represent the combatant CINCs to the Navy (and vice versa). Also in continuity with the current structure, the numbered fleet commanders may act as joint force commanders or as naval component commanders for JFCs. However, the NFCs currently have little impact on the functional support they receive, except through the traditional fleet CINCs (CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT), often via the platform type commanders. In contrast, the next Navy's modern matrix provides flatter, better, and more efficient support of the NFC/JFC and the other naval operators.
Briefly, the COMNAVUSA staff functions are: Navy component commander for USACOM; battle technology innovation; comptroller; fleet warfare requirements; measuring and monitoring fleet readiness; public affairs; and legal services.
COMNAVUSA will be the Navy component commander for USACOM. USACOM is a unified combatant command whose missions are to:
COMNAVUSA remains the single point of contact for USACOM on all matters related to Navy component functions. While retaining overall responsibility, it transfers the following operational functions of the USACOM Navy component commander to CINCLANTFLT and/or CINCPACFLT:
COMNAVUSA directly executes the following service-specific functions within USACOM:
In the battle technology innovation area, the staff is under the direction of a senior civilian executive, and administers the Navy Science Assistance Program (NSAP). COMNAVUSA staff is linked to the technical network of warfare centers; program executives; OPTEVFOR; private industry; Navy and other service laboratories; university laboratories; national laboratories; and foreign navies. The staff identifies fleet needs that may be met by the utilization of new technologies and within the constraints of security requirements communicates these needs to elements of the network. To be effective in this endeavor, COMNAVUSA staff must maintain awareness of promising new technological applications and concepts. (Given the explosive rate of technological development, that is a challenge.) Lastly, COMNAVUSA staff conducts and analyzes experiments for assessment of technical initiatives, and facilitates "fast track" integration of innovative technologies with new or modified doctrine, tactics, and techniques.
The COMNAVUSA comptroller provides resources directly to operating forces and to Naval Region Commanders for the infrastructure within their responsibility. The comptroller also:
COMNAVUSA staff has overall responsibility for the definition and submission of fleet warfare requirements. It consolidates warfighting requirements from CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT, and combat support requirements from the functional commanders. COMNAVUSA then submits all fleet warfare requirements to the Navy budget and program authorities. As a Navy component commander, COMNAVUSA advises USACOM of Navy budget and program decisions affecting joint warfare requirements. Similarly, COMNAVUSA advises CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT of those decisions affecting their own functions as Navy component commanders.
COMNAVUSA is the central authority for measuring and monitoring fleet readiness, setting standards and objectives in concert with serviced commands and organizations. The staff establishes measures; collects data into a single, widely accessible database; and provides expert feedback to managers of serviced commands and organizations. Attached to the staff is a neutral measurement and analysis group similar to NWAD Corona, incorporating skills and personnel found in organizations of inspectors general. COMNAVUSA uses non-financial measures of combat readiness, combat efficiency, organizational efficiency, and organizational effectiveness.
Lastly, COMNAVUSA is in charge of fleet public affairs and legal services.
Functional commanders in the next Navy's COMNAVUSA are analogous to the level of executive management often referred to as type commanders in today's Navy. Six executives, assigned as Echelon III commanders, execute the functions required to support forces afloat. Their commands are Fleet Training and Doctrine Command; Fleet Maintenance Command; Fleet Combat Support Command; Fleet Submarine Command; Fleet Expeditionary Command; and Fleet Operations Support Command. They are described in more detail below.
Fleet Training and Doctrine Command (three stars, unrestricted line):
Fleet Tactics and Doctrine Center develops, formulates, and evaluates doctrine and tactics for naval platforms, units, battle forces, and task forces (see Appendix B). It maintains close working relationships with joint and unique service commands also focused on tactics and doctrine.
Fleet Training Center provides standards and measures for all fleet unit training, as well as measurement guidance and analysis to battle force commanders in support of unit and force training. The standards and measures focus on the tasks essential to the execution of Navy missions, and emphasize time as a measure of readiness.
Fleet Maintenance Command (ships and aircraft; three stars, unrestricted line):
Director, Maintenance Resources includes Budgets and Schedules; Human Resources and Maintenance Training; Business Measures and Analysis; Contracts; and Comptroller Linkage.
Industrial Facilities Manager includes Fleet Maintenance Facilities; Industrial Policy; Manufacturing; Repair; Technology; and Intermediate Maintenance.
Director, Fleet Technical Support Center includes Ship Systems; Combat Systems; Aviation Systems; C4I Systems; FTSC Detachments; Technical Library; and Platform Configuration Records.
Director, Maintenance and Modernization includes Regional Maintenance Centers; Surface and CV/CVN; Submarines; Aircraft; Craft and Boats; Components; and Maintenance Requirements.
Maintenance Processes Manager includes Quality Assurance; Work Documents; Job Control; and 3M.
Fleet Combat Support Command (three stars, unrestricted line; deputy is the director of Logistics Support):
Logistics Support includes FISC Operations, Plans, and Policy (there are six FISCs Yokosuka, Pearl Harbor, Puget Sound, San Diego, Norfolk, Jacksonville); Acquisition; Fleet Inventory Management and Fuels Service; and Ordnance Management Service.
Strategic Lift includes Military Sealift Transportation Service (MSTS); Combat Logistics Force; and Cargo Handling Support Group.
Combat Engineering Support includes Navy Mobile Construction Battalions and Underwater Construction Teams.
Health Affairs includes Fleet Hospitals; Medical and Dental; Sanitation; and Mortuary Affairs.
Fleet Submarine Command (three stars, unrestricted line):
Fleet Expeditionary Command (two stars, unrestricted line):
Fleet Operations Support Command (two stars, unrestricted or restricted line; Commander double-hatted as the Fleet Information Officer):
Fleet Network Services is responsible for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore connectivity, and for LAN and WAN operations.
Fleet Information Services includes Intelligence Service; Cryptography Service; and Database Maintenance.
In addition to the six functional commanders there are eight Naval Region Commanders (two stars, unrestricted line) subordinate to COMNAVUSA. They maintain close ties to civilian communities and Federal Executive Boards. To the extent feasible, the Naval Region Commanders consolidate all common functions of tenant commands in a given area. Such functions include administration; public safety; fuel; food services; child care; personnel support; brig; rolling stock; public affairs; legal services; medical/dental; environmental health and safety; building maintenance; public works; utilities; housing; construction; and recreation. The Naval Regions are:
Airplanes, missiles, submarines, ships, and boats are tools with which the Navy's products warfare capabilities are built. The next Navy is organized on the basis of functions and products, not tools. Functional commanders command the combat support structure, and joint force commanders (who are often numbered fleet commanders) apply the naval warfare capabilities required by the combatant CINCs.
Senior submarine, surface, air, amphibious, and mine warfare specialists are designated the "champions" of their respective warfare communities. However, three-star community representation and leadership is discontinued, just as three-star program sponsors were downgraded on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1993. The Navy no longer needs community representation and leadership at the headquarters level just as industrial firms no longer need drill press, foundry, and welding machine community representation and leadership at the corporate level.
Nevertheless, in the next Navy, significant warfare community representation continues at the headquarters level in the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements, and Assessments (N8, OPNAV). By virtue of its focus on program sponsorship, N8 is charged with planning for future technologies and programs within the "toolkits" of the warfare communities.
The numbered fleets have air, surface, submarine, and amphibious warfare specialties represented by staff warfare specialists. These staff experts submit inputs to CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT (via the NFCs) on near-term warfare requirements. Staff warfare specialists also link with the functional structure and influence it through their expertise.
The six battle force commanders have staff elements and subordinate flag officers with warfare specialty foci. Each submits inputs on requirements definition and program administration directly to an NFC.
Most of the fleet schools will maintain a community focus.
The bottom line: warfare community representation and leadership are reduced in the next Navy. Now is the time to do this. It is a notion whose time has come again. Decades ago, Navy leadership had all flag officers remove their badges of community identification at the time of promotion to flag rank. The wisdom behind that action must once again prevail as the Navy steps forward into the era of genuine joint warfare effectiveness.
Some excellent Sailors may be unable to make this adjustment. Over the years they have developed an intense loyalty to the tools of their trade, often at the expense of higher loyalty to the Navy. It is time to help them find remunerative employment in follow-on careers. They should be rewarded handsomely for their years of good and faithful service. (The reader should understand that not an ounce of sarcasm is intended here.) They have followed their leaders, have served the Navy and the nation well, and have made many sacrifices. The Navy and the nation owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
The Navy provides ballistic missile submarines and trained crews to STRATCOM, which plans and directs deterrent patrols and strategic operations. return.
That is, the evolving environment requires an agile, flat organization. return.
Wheels and cogs are the terms Pfeiffer uses in his article. return.
In a certain sense, the organization subordinates itself to its experts during edge-of-chaos operations. return.
Computer-based communications already give the Navy the ability to communicate as efficiently and effectively between ships as within a single ship. Concentrating weaponry into one large ship no longer necessarily affords any greater ability to concentrate fires. Therefore there is no reason to accept the risk of putting most of the eggs into a few baskets, so to speak. return.
Precision is really only half of the equation: precision and speed are the winning combination in a weapon system. A phrase for the next century is "Quick and Exact." return.
Bistatic targeting for submarine-launched precision weapons may avoid some of the knotty and vexing problems of subsurface-to-surface communications. return.
At least to maintain, not only to maintain. Improvement is always a goal. return.
For example:MPA, SeaBees, submarines, salvage units, replenishment ships, unique training assets. return.
New information technologies enable this to be done. Learning the effective and efficient use of these technological advances is imperative. return.
A note on staff composition: the COMNAVUSA staff includes a Chief Operating Officer (civilian), but not a deputy commander. The Chief Operating Officer ensures the continuity of policy and management expertise that can be gained only through long-term, deep, accountable involvement. return.
These are notional entities whose functions are described below. return.
N.B. Flattening is not necessarily related to rank the Navy can have a flat organization with twice as many three-star admirals. Rather, flattening is related essentially to how many (or how few) wickets a decision must go through before action is taken. Put another way, the question to ask in assessing the flatness of an organization is "How convoluted is the path that a customer must take to get the needed product or service?" return.
One way for Naval Region Commanders to consolidate functions is to make the commanding officers of major commands within the regions perform additional duties as functional managers. Functional management thus goes to subordinate commanders, not to the staff of the Naval Region Commander. This method of consolidation has the merit of broadening a commander's geographic perspective with a functional perspective that encompasses an entire region and crosses warfare community lines. The Naval Region Commander arbitrates disputes among functional managers in a region, but is not routinely involved in functional management. return.
2. John Pfeiffer, "The Secret of Life at the Limits: Cogs Become Big Wheels," Smithsonian 20, no. 4 (July 1989), pp. 39 40. The professors referred to are Todd La Porte, Gene Rochlin, and Karlene Roberts. For more detailed information on their study of the flight deck, see their article, "The Self-Designing High-Reliability Organization: Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations at Sea," Naval War College Review 40, no. 4 (Autumn 1987), pp. 76 90. return.
3. Pfeiffer, p. 40. return.
4. Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), p. 1 4. Another useful reference on the chain of command is the "Overview of National Security Structure" on the World Wide Web site of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, http://www.dtic.mil/jcs/overview.html. return.
5. Joint Pub 0-2, UNAAF, pp. IV 16, 17. return.