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2004 Speeches
Jim Albaugh

Jim Albaugh

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

The Boeing Company

"Industry's Arsenal: Transformational Technology for the 21st Century Warfighter"

Army Science Conference

Orlando, Florida

November 29, 2004


I'm happy to be here to address this meeting of the best and brightest in the Army, industry and academia to talk about science and technology and the future of the United States Army.

I think one thing is obvious to anyone who has followed the American warfighter over the past several years. That is, that the services have been making significant scientific and technological leaps to help our men and women carry out their ever-changing missions.

The value of a conference like this is that it sends a message to policymakers and taxpayers that the Army is doing what it takes to stay on the leading edge of transformation.

Just look at some of the disciplines being covered during this conference: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; Microelectronics and Photonics; Directed Energy; Advanced Computing and Simulation; Nanotechnology; Robotics; Sensors and Signal Processing; and I could go on and on.

I'm also pleased that for the first time since this conference began in 1957. industry and academia have been asked to participate. After all it truly is a partnership of the Army, government, and non-government organizations that will enable the transformation that the Army has set out to achieve.

I'm here to talk about transformational technology and the new ways of doing business that industry can bring to this partnership. Before I do, let me talk a little bit about myself. I'm an engineer, I've never been in the military. I have never been shot at. The only thing I've asked people to do is give me forty hours of hard work. I didn't go to West Point or any of the outstanding training schools the Army has. My degree is in civil engineering -- I grew up wanting to build dams.

After I graduated, I found that all the good dam sites were already taken, so I got into rocket science instead. Of course it turns out that rocket science and building dams have a lot in common. Both are about flow and stress, but instead of fluid flows in dams, you have gas flows in rocket engines.

So being an engineer by training, I am somewhat wary about giving you my views of the battlespace of the future but never being bashful -- with due warning about my background -- I give them to you nonetheless.

Now, as enthusiastic as I am about technology, I do recognize that it is only an enabler.

If no one sees the possibilities it creates...if no one is prepared to act differently...there is no progress.

There were primitive cultures, for instance, which invented the wheel on their own, but limited its use to playthings. They did not take the technology a step further and design carts or wagons. I wonder whether we -- in our own time -- are not at a similar stage of development -- or non-development -- when it comes to taking full advantage of information technology. But before we explore where we are going, let us take a look at where we are now.

It will be noted many times over the next couple of days that we are a nation at war.

Those of us in industry are humbled by the job that our military is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world including the 272,000 deployed Army personnel. Those of us supporting these forces need to think every day about the challenges and risks that they face and the job that we have to help them accomplish their mission and bring them home safely.

And I can say that I have no trouble getting our workforce motivated to deliver on our commitments to the warfighter. The deeds and the sacrifices of our troops are an inspiration to them.

On that note, I should add one other thing: Undoubtedly, you've seen my company in the news a lot over the past year-and-a-half and not always in a flattering way. Let me assure you that we are dealing aggressively with the issues of concern to our customers and to our company. Nothing has happened that in any way diminishes our ability or our capabilities to satisfy our customers' needs. I can also assure you that at no time have these issues distracted our employees from executing on our commitments and delivering on our promises.

But I'm not here to talk about my company, let's talk military and industrial transformation.

Transformation: The Call to Arms

Today, the byword in the military seems to be "force transformation." The fact is force transformation has been with us for millennia.

I haven't seen it yet, but I'll bet somewhere in his new his new "swords and sandals" epic "Alexander," Oliver Stone has Colin Farrell pontificating on something that could be characterized as "transformational" in tactics, weapons, training or strategies.

While threats change from century to century and from conflict to conflict, the capability requirements desired by leaders from Alexander to Napoleon to von Clausewitz to Patton have not. The capability requirements of: Superior speed and mobility, Situational Awareness, Integrated command and control, and precision remain and remain constant.

Over the centuries, commanders have struggled to achieve superiority in these areas. In the Civil War railroads and steamships certainly provided armies greater speed and mobility. The telegraph and innovations like the balloon "Intrepid" hovering over the battlefield provided enhanced situational awareness .

As for "integrated command and control," it took a parade of generals before General Grant gave Lincoln the confidence that command and control was linked-up from headquarters down to the unit of action. And more accurate artillery and individual weapons provided more precision ... not to mention the brilliant use of cavalry troops.

While the requirements of the warfighter are nothing new, neither is the way these objectives have been met or advanced.

Whether it's been Enfield or Colt or Krupp or one of today's contractors like Boeing, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon, the partnership between the military and industry and the application of technology has enabled startling advances in warfare over history.

Transforming the 21 st Century Warfighter

Transformation is not just a byword for sweeping change on the battlefield and in the barracks, but in the labs and factories, it compresses development times, lowers costs, multiplies effectiveness.

This conference will look at all manner of scientific and technological transformation, I want to look at one area: Network-Centric Operations: the power of space, air, ground and even underwater information networks to multiply the effectiveness of a wide array of platforms.

Let me draw an analogy. We're coming to the end of Fall, the migratory season for millions of birds. Think of a large number of birds perched on a treetop or a telephone wire. A single bird takes off and hundreds follow. No bird wants to be left behind, and no bird wants to collide with another.

After a moment of seeming pandemonium, they wheel about as though they had been transformed into a single organism. Due to a balancing act of aerodynamic forces, a flock of birds is able to turn faster as a unit than their individual reaction times would permit. It's a beautiful sight to see.

It's taken millions of years of evolution for nature to achieve this near perfect situational awareness within a networked system. The question is, can we achieve something like this in the space of a few years through the combination of technology and a willingness to embrace change?

We can and we must.

Industry is already moving in the direction of using sensors and communications systems to enable shared data, information management and enhanced decision-making.

We're already seeing the results in: Inventory tracking, Financial management, Medical systems and in the future it will transform air traffic management or commuter management.

In my view, defense offers the greatest near-term and long-term potential for network-centric solutions. In the past, we put enormous resources and intelligence into each platform. In the future, we can realize tremendous leverage through a network by sharing information and capabilities by turning data into information, information into knowledge, knowledge into decision-making, and decision-making into action.

We're already seeing how existing platforms are being linked to improve effectiveness in Iraq and Afghanistan . Those examples are widely reported and I won't bore you with them. Suffice it to say, plugging-and-playing existing platforms into networks is beginning to give our forces strategic advantage in the battlespace. A recent article in "Technology Review" said that the Iraq experience demonstrates that we are at a "midpoint in the move toward the networked force."

These early capabilities will be enhanced further with other programs currently in development: Joint Tactical Radio Systems; FAB-T; Wideband Gapfiller Satellite; Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite; and then, of course, the Holy Grail: Future Combat Systems.

Future Combat Systems

Operation Iraqi Freedom has demonstrated two widely varied enemy doctrines one well understood and the other an approach that will more and more characterize the threat in future conflicts. Both deserve examination as we move forward with Future Combat Systems.

Recently, Lieutenant Colonel "Rock" Marcone, battalion commander of the 69th Armor of the Third Infantry Division, was quoted as he remembered the battle for Baghdad : "It is my belief that the Iraqi Republican Guard did nothing special to conceal their intentions or their movements. They attacked en masse using tactics that are more recognizable with the Soviet Army."

We carried the day not with transformational technology but with superior forces and superior firepower. Now, we face an insurgent force in places like Fallujah in a totally different kind of conflict.

Today, whether combating time-worn ground tactics or fighting an enemy in civilian clothes whose weapons of choice are rocket-propelled grenades, car bombs and IEDs, we can't afford to have vital information closely held at the command level and units unsure of which road to take, or troops on the ground, like our enemy, unable to see, unable to communicate and adrift in the battlespace.

Future Combat Systems is meant to change all that -- a networked system-of-systems combining advanced communications and technologies linking soldiers with both manned and unmanned ground and air platforms and sensors.

We've already seen some examples of the power of networked information in Iraq .

At the command headquarters level there was "a very impressive digital connectivity" that, "had many of the characteristics of future network warfare that we want," according to Brig. Gen. Robert Cone, former director of the Pentagon's Joint Center for Operational Analysis and Lessons Learned. General Schoomaker has said: "If you go and see the First Cavalry Division today in Baghdad , they're operating very much with the kind of things we envision with FCS in terms of networking."

I don't want to go into a lot of technical detail about FCS here. I'll leave that to the program people and the technologists at the conference. Let me just interject that I'm satisfied with the job the "One Team" industry partners have all done in keeping the program moving forward on schedule and on budget.

I'm grateful for the confidence Sec. Bolton and the Army have shown in the industry partners with the recent acceleration of the program. I'm also pleased with the positive review FCS has received from the Institute for Defense Analysis in their thorough and clear-eyed examination of the program and the progress to date.

What I want to say is that FCS has also spurred a transformation in the way we in industry do the business of meeting the needs of the warfighter. It's about changing the way we collectively deal with technology and the business of procuring new weapons systems.

Systems Integregation

In the industry arsenal of the 21 st Century, "Rosie the Riveter" will be a systems engineer. Industry will deliver by means of different approaches like the Lead Systems Integrator. The LSI is a style of operation that focuses on optimization at the systems level versus the platform level. While it embraces the best of technology and integrated platforms it favors no individual technology or platform.

It enables trades of risk, cost and capability. It opens competition at multiple work levels giving small and large companies the equal opportunity to compete, and it demands the best of industry solutions and innovations from around the world. LSI partitions work in a way that allows graceful upgrade without revamping the entire program. It drives perpetual innovation through spiral development.

In other words it keeps the scientists and innovators here perpetually busy and ever-innovating.

Most important, it's a transformation in the way industry does business

It will be industry working with government that will bring the necessary resources required to do integration at a higher level than ever before. Contrary to what some may say, the government customer is a full partner with clear expectations and the flexibility to trade requirements to ensure the optimal solution and maximize system operational effectiveness. Indeed, the government is embedded with the contractor and vice versa. And it's working: Ground-based Mid-course Defense; FCS.


Let me close by saying transformation has come to mean many things but, most of all, it's a new way of thinking about how our armed forces fight. It's also a mind-set open to new trades and new ways of doing business.

When I think about how business is transforming to deliver what the 21 st Century warfighter needs, I think of something Gen. Schoomaker had to say in reflecting on the nature of conflict in the future: "Some people see war and peace as a light switch. When the lights are off, it's peacetime. When the lights go on, it's wartime. I see more of a dimmer switch. We'll see the intensity wax and wane, but there will always be some level of conflict going on."

Just as Gen. Schoomaker's comment so effectively describes the permanent nature of the global threats we face, we in industry also need to recognize it as a signal for us to transform along with the Army in how we do our job in order to meet the needs required by the ever-changing capabilities-based environment we live in.

By keeping pace with the transformation of the military, the science and technology of industry's arsenal can provide our warfighters with the capabilities necessary to ensure our fights are unfair and that our troops come home safely.

Thank you.