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U.S. European Command and Transformation

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Charles F. Wald

Joint Force Quarterly
Issue 19

General Charles F. Wald, USAF, is Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command.

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U.S. European Command and Transformation

The United States is at war, but not the type of war we have trained, equipped, and planned for. Since it is not war in the traditional sense, it requires changes in the way we fight and think. It requires transformation. In the words of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, this "is about more than building new high-tech weapons....It is also about new ways of thinking... -and new ways of fighting." Transformation is all-encompassing, it is here, and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) is not just talking about it-it is doing it.

The command has been directed to transform to better exploit the Nation's advantages while defending its asymmetric vulnerabilities, thus maintaining its strategic position. According to the April 2003 Transformation Planning Guidance, we do that by developing and implementing innovative "combinations of concepts, capabilities, people, and organizations" across three broad areas: how we fight, how we do business inside the Department of Defense (DOD), and how we work with interagency and international partners.

As to how we fight, the DOD plan is to look hard at all areas of military culture and capabilities: training and doctrine, organization and leadership, matériel and facilities, personnel, and education. To transform how we do business, we will focus on adopting business models that streamline analysis and decisionmaking in order to produce more timely results in every field from acquiring new systems, to quality of life issues, to war planning. While we look inside DOD, we must also look outside, at how the department works with the other Federal agencies to bring all national elements of power to bear, and at how to better partner with friends and allies, coordinating with and supporting their transformational efforts while mitigating capability gaps.

In the words of Defense Transformation Guidance, "Transformation is necessary to ensure U.S. forces continue to operate from a position of overwhelming military advantage in support of strategic objectives." Therefore, the goals of the transformation strategy identified in the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review are to:

-protect critical bases of operations (homeland, bases overseas, allies, and friends)

-project and sustain power world-wide (well-armed and logistically supported forces)

-deny sanctuary to an enemy, locating and striking protected or remote forces while limiting collateral damage to improve deterrent power, reducing the number of attacks against the United States and its allies

-protect information networks while retaining the ability to attack enemy information systems

-maintain access to space and protect U.S. space interests

-leverage information technology to build an interoperable joint command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability that gives U.S. commanders a decisive advantage in situational awareness and decisionmaking.

This is more than new technology. In the words of Secretary Rumsfeld, "more important...than simply having new hardware," transformation is "a culture of change, flexibility, and adaptability" that encourages innovation. The key is not just changing the way we fight in terms of hardware but how we think about fighting-a cultural shift in cognitive processes that will enable the Armed Forces decades from now to recognize impending technological or sociological changes that may create opportunities or vulnerabilities and adapt, incorporate, and leverage them. As it enters the 21st century and faces non-traditional and asymmetric challenges, the United States cannot afford to be wrong, slow, outthought, or outmaneuvered; otherwise, like many great powers, it will be defeated by a more agile and adaptive enemy.

Fighting the Cold War Legacy

<text>Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bipolar security scenario, EUCOM, along with the rest of the military, has been changing, evolving, and even transforming to prepare for the post-Cold War world. For example, the wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans caused the command to focus on the challenges of deploying significant forces out of the central European region, sustaining them in a new location, then returning them to their European bases. Although they proved slow to deploy, the Cold War legacy forces and structures still provided the knockout punch that crushed Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard with ease. However, while proving adequate to the task, the Cold War structures started to show their inflexible, slow-moving shortcomings in the 1990s peacekeeping missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the short Kosovo campaign against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. In the latter, the lack of flexibility and adaptability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command structure was widely blamed for the length of the campaign and combat ineffectiveness. Inability to better prosecute the relatively straightforward Kosovo campaign cast doubt on Alliance capability. In facing the Cold War legacy issues-European basing, force structure, and both EUCOM and NATO command and control (C2) structures-the nations and their militaries have resisted change that is costly, resource intensive, and often perceived as unnecessary.

Improvements occurred during the decade between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the century, but they were gradual and lacked sufficient impetus. Transformation was needed, but it would take a more severe wake-up call-September 11, 2001. The 9/11 attacks confirmed that the challenges of the 21st century were immediately upon DOD and EUCOM. Transformation had a new urgency. EUCOM immediately began transforming while simultaneously supporting NATO operations in the Balkans, planning and conducting supporting operations to Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, executing Joint Task Force Liberia, and prosecuting the war on terrorism. As seen in these operations, this new asymmetric threat-terrorism-cannot be defeated solely through traditional military means. Overwhelming military capability is not only insufficient; often it may be the wrong tool. We must seek new approaches and new partners to win this war.

Asymmetric Challenges and Asymmetric Answers

Necessity is the mother of invention. In EUCOM, resources-especially kinetic-are extremely limited due to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). Furthermore, EUCOM currently has no military areas of operations, no Afghanistans or Iraqs, where kinetic military actions are appropriate. Thus it must seek more innovative ways of using its assets to fight the terrorist threat.

If necessity is the mother of invention, reality is the father. The realities of the EUCOM AOR are mindboggling: 93 countries on 4 continents, including the most highly developed European nations and the most underdeveloped African states; a religious and cultural spectrum stretching from Western to Orthodox Christianity, from the home of Judaism to some of the most sacred sites of Islam, to Animism in the African center to Christianity again in the African south; and most of Samuel Huntington's clashing civilizational fault lines. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and AIDS compete with terrorism as the greatest threats to peace and stability. This command is home to both the most politically stable and unstable regions. Thus it is not a one-size-fits-all AOR. Unique national approaches are impractical. Likewise, terrorists use the seams created by borders to find sanctuary. A regional approach is both the most practical and the most effective, enabling EUCOM to develop unique counterterrorism strategies to deal with the terrorism issues of each region.

A Holistic Approach to Defeating Terrorism

Using regional approaches to reduce the AOR to manageable portions allows the command to move beyond tactical operations to the long-term strategic picture. As spelled out in National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, "There will be no quick or easy end to this conflict." We need to think long-term-decades-and develop the right plans for accomplishing the President's strategic intent to:

-defeat terrorist organizations of global reach

-deny further sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists

-diminish the underlying conditions terrorists seek to exploit

-defend the United States, its citizens, and its interests at home and abroad.

EUCOM works toward an end-state where the nations of every region are willing and able to defeat terrorist organizations within their borders, deny them sanctuary, and diminish internal conditions that give rise to terrorism, all without direct U.S. assistance other than intelligence and information sharing.

Defeating and defending are established missions readily grasped and acted on by planners and to which traditional military tools such as air-strikes and cordon and search missions are generally applicable. Missions to deny and diminish are not so easily tackled; they require nonstandard counterterrorism tools. Perhaps the most powerful long-term, nonstandard counterterrorism tool the combatant
commander has for denying sanctuary and diminishing underlying support to terrorists is theater security cooperation (TSC). Its activities include large-scale combined exercises with NATO and Partnership for Peace countries, joint combined exchange training (JCET), international military education and training (IMET), senior officer visits and ship port calls, humanitarian assistance, and medical outreach. The impact of these programs on an under-developed country with a struggling military or law enforcement component can be immense. Senior officer visits convey how much we value a partner and open doors to training, assistance, and information sharing. The visit of a carrier strike group is estimated to mean over $1 million per day in revenues for a host city. The value of IMET can be measured in decades. the commander credited the ability of West African States forces to quickly form and operate as a coalition as well as the common training and education many officers received through IMET-Maofficers had attended U.S. Army airborne, ranger, officer basic, and advanced courses as well as command and general staff college. JCET exercises conducted by theater Special Operations Forces and linked to skills needed for the war on terrorism are designed for U.S. forces but are highly valued by other nations. The impact of medical outreach activities such as the medical civil assistance program lasts for years and combats negative views of America espoused by terrorists and extremists. EUCOM has shifted its priorities for many of these activities-in concert with TSC guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)-to regions where the potential for terrorist sanctuary is highest and the need to diminish the underlying causes is greatest.

Not all these programs are controlled by EUCOM or even DOD. Many are directed by the Department of State or another Federal agency. For example, the Georgia Train and Equip Program is a two-year State Department initiative to help Georgian units provide security and stability to citizens, protect national sovereignty, and enhance regional stability. This capability has been achieved and must now be sustained. Similarly, the Pan-Sahel Initiative is spending $6.25 million to provide equipment and training to company-sized elements of the Pan-Sahel countries of Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Several regional terrorist groups now operate with relative impunity in the vast uncontrolled northern spaces of these countries; these are sanctuaries that must be denied. Training and equipping will, if sustained, enable these countries to eliminate these -sanctuaries without direct U.S. involvement. Both programs were sponsored and funded by the Department of State in partnership with EUCOM, who provided the trainers. Programs designed to aid the partner governments while providing valuable training and interoperability are essential to long-term foreign policy strategy.

Partnering with Other Agencies

The Secretary encourages partnering with other agencies. It is crucial in the war on terrorism and whenever there are restrictions against traditional military assets, especially in long-term campaigns in low-priority areas such as Pan-Sahel in northwest Africa. By combining and coordinating, EUCOM, the State Department, and other agencies can have a greater effect. We call that the full Government team effort.

To make the team effort work, trust must be developed between organizations with radically different cultures and approaches. That is best accomplished through early and frequent consultation among agencies, but most importantly between the combatant command, embassy teams, and the Department of State in coordination with the Joint Staff and in accordance with TSC guidance provided by OSD.

An example of teamwork is long-range counterterrorism planning. It began with developing a concept plan for a particular region. The Joint Inter-agency Coordination Group (JIACG) participated from the first. As tasks and objectives were developed for this long-term concept plan, it was recognized that the majority required to "deny sanctuary" and "diminish underlying conditions" were nonmilitary. Overt military operations could sometimes be counterproductive. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the lead planners for the war on terrorism, was then tasked to review and critique the plan. Next a brigadier general led a team to Washington to brief the plan to the Joint Staff J-2, J-3, and J-5, OSD, Office for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, International Security Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State, and Department of Treasury Office of Financial Asset Control. They were not staffing the plan or seeking concurrence or approval. They were seeking critical feedback and building a rapport with the agencies we had to partner with to make the plan work.

The next step was an interagency planning conference in Stuttgart with planners from the same agencies, as well as representatives from the country teams in the region of concern, SOCOM, CENTCOM, U.S. Strategic Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Joint Staff, to discuss, refine, and develop an interagency action plan rather than a military plan with other agencies consulted as an afterthought. That was followed with bringing the U.S. ambassadors to Stuttgart to discuss planning and progress and ensure that their concerns were vetted before the plan was finished and submitted for formal staffing, the next step.

Although this is not the traditional doctrinal process for developing, gaining approval, and implementing counterterrorism plans, we have taken the Secretary's transformational direction to try innovative methods to move forward in this war.

Partnering with Friends and Allies

The original concept plan was developed with participation by planners from Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, along with French and Italian liaison officers. That did not constitute official concurrence with the goals and objectives, but it demonstrated the transparency of the planning effort and opened the door to closer partnership with European friends and allies in all areas of the global war on terrorism.

Transparency and trust are key to all operations with allies because EUCOM is a guest command living in host nations. All bases are subject to the rules, regulations, and prevailing political winds of the hosts. Forward basing is both an advantage, providing tremendous operational agility, and a curse. Any host nation can prevent effective use of the bases in their countries. These hosts are NATO, our closest allies for over fifty years. They are our staunchest supporters and sharpest critics. These are the nations most capable of diplomatically, informationally, economically, and militarily supporting or undermining U.S. efforts. Accordingly, we must engage them as allies and partners or risk losing them and the power they can bring to this fight.

Outside the Alliance, we must also build and maintain relationships with regional security partners such as Algeria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Nigeria, and Russia while maintaining ties with our oldest regional friends and partners such as Morocco and Tunisia. Regional partners are vital to a holistic approach to winning the war.

This balanced approach, focusing on regions, using nontraditional counterterrorism tools, partnering early with Federal agencies, and working with friends and allies, is the innovative approach EUCOM is undertaking to defeat terrorism.

To meet the Secretary's transformational goal of projecting and sustaining power in distant environments, the command has been looking closely at where its forces are based with regard to their most likely missions in the next ten years. As during the Cold War standoff with the Warsaw Pact, the EUCOM center of mass is Western Europe. However, with NATO expansion eastward and increasing demands for U.S. force deployments out of Europe to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, this positioning may be detrimental to mission accomplishment. Therefore, EUCOM plans to maintain a significant number of major, enduring installations in Western Europe called joint main operating bases, while establishing temporary joint forward operating sites and joint forward operating locations where needed. These will be more austere facilities throughout the AOR close to areas of crisis.

Additionally, EUCOM will begin developing and implementing plans to employ more rotational forces in theater, reducing the large and expensive permanent presence established in Europe in the 1950s. To face new threats better, these forces will be lighter and more rapidly deployable than the heavy forces currently assigned to EUCOM. Many of these rotational forces will have forward access to new areas in Eastern Europe so they can help train the newest NATO members, ensuring their interoperability and ability to complement our capabilities as we transform.

NATO Transformation

The Secretary's Transformation Guidance notes that it is in the interest of EUCOM to ensure that its transformation is complementary with likely partners and that it does not widen the capabilities gap to the point of incompatibility.

Unlike other commands, EUCOM has the added challenge of transforming within the context of NATO. While the Allies recognize the need to transform, they face greater challenges. Their national investment in defense requirements is generally much lower than the U.S. commitment due to the lack of popular support for meeting NATO obligations and for spending on capabilities many consider unnecessary for strictly defensive needs.

However, the Alliance itself is taking bold steps to transform. It has recognized the need for a new command and control structure and a force that is powerful, yet flexible and agile and able to operate across the full conflict spectrum. The result is the NATO Response Force, the first fully integrated combined arms organization with a worldwide deployment capability. It uses a graduated readiness system with a "very high readiness element" capable of deploying a JTF headquarters and a tailored force of several thousand equipped personnel within 5 to 30 days. The initial force, stood up on October 15, 2003, reached initial operational capability in summer 2004 and will be fully capable by summer 2005.

Transforming the Command Structure

To coordinate with NATO and stay abreast of Alliance requirements while fighting the global war on ter-rorism and supporting Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Stabilization Force, Kosovo Force, and other requirements, EUCOM needed a command structure nimble enough to operate from the tactical to the strategic while being responsive to the politico-military environment. The new C2 structure is the key element of command transformation that brings these other aspects together. The centerpiece of near-term transformation is the European Plans and Operations Center (EPOC), stood up on July 29, 2003. The center is designed to answer the transformational need for C2 headquarters that leverages information technology to automate time-intensive activities and create a fully collaborative planning and execution environment. EUCOM, like the rest of DOD, faces a mandated 15 percent staff reduction, giving impetus to restructuring the C2 structure to make the reduction without crippling a command just enlarged by half. Finally, all regional combatant commands are directed to stand up operational standing joint force headquarters (SJFHQ) by fiscal year 2005. EPOC is the EUCOM version of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) SJFHQ design. It replaces the Napoleonic J-code system of compartmented, stovepiped information flow that slowed planning and coordination until they were often outpaced by events.

This transformational C2 concept incorporates all the elements of the JFCOM prototype with a few modifications to meet unique EUCOM demands. EPOC includes a Joint Operations Center (JOC), cross-functional operational planning teams focused on geographic or functional areas and time horizons, and teams that support knowledge management and information superiority. Rather than the team of 58 as in the JFCOM model, EPOC numbers 200; but half are resident in JOC and all come from current EUCOM staffs, so there are no new manpower requirements. EUCOM SJFHQ is twice as large as the JFCOM prototype, but the additions are critical to a fully capable and integrated C2 element. The new members include exercise planners and coordinators, information operations specialists, and interagency planners and liaison personnel.

The EPOC knowledge management function is the core of the organization. It is a fusion of intelligence, planning, operations, and communications intended to make the right information available to the right person at the right time in the right format. More data than is manageable is available to any EPOC member. The window for decisive action has often passed by the time the planner has located the most accurate information. By organizing the data, using the human mind to turn it into knowledge, and then making it readily accessible, decisionmakers can move forward with confidence that they have the most timely, reliable, and relevant information, allowing more rapid translation of decisions into action. In this era of time-sensitive targets and time-critical warnings, knowledge management is essential for staff and decisionmakers on all levels. This knowledge management core spans the headquarters, so EPOC remains fully integrated into the rest of the command staff and can access its expertise.

The EPOC plans element has members from across the J-codes, providing resident expertise and eliminating the ad hoc nature of previous planning teams, which produced slow and often inconsistent planning. Ideally, individuals will have been assigned to the parent J-code directorate for a year before relocation to EPOC. This provides an understanding of the theater and enables the individual to "reach back" to tap the expertise of other subject matter experts in the parent directorate.

The planning teams are organized along time horizons, with a short-range division looking out 120 days and a long-range division looking out 2 years. Short-range planners focus more on crises and contingencies, such as noncombatant evacuation operations, while the others look at potential hot spots and initiate planning accordingly. An example of long-range planning was a team formed to consider the support Greece needed as it -hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics. This team developed an interagency exercise to look at requirements and issues. As summer got closer, team members went with the plan as it was handed off to the short-range planners, and then to the operations team, supporting it through to execution. This concept helps ensure consistency and reduces the impact of seams in EPOC. Such teams can obtain support from the EPOC state-of-the-art facility in Stuttgart or deploy in support of a subordinate command. EPOC enables EUCOM to be proactive rather than reactive, identifying potential trouble spots and conducting accelerated contingency planning or adaptive war planning to deter and dissuade or put boots on the ground early enough to prevent a crisis from becoming a war.

The long-term goal is to implement the enabling capabilities of SJFHQ throughout EPOC, the main headquarters, and components. The first will be to link in a collaborative environment, which will allow simultaneous rather than sequential planning, as envisioned in the DOD Transformation Planning Guidance. Experts can be connected from any location or organization, achieving a more integrated and coordinated planning process. All levels of command can be engaged, resulting in a better understanding of commander's intent. That will provide a more consistent and higher quality product in a shorter time. The ability to collaborate rapidly within and between headquarters will shrink the requirement for forward footprint and augmentation, reducing the high operations tempo burden all services face, thereby easing quality of life concerns.

The effects-based approach to plans and operations, especially in combating asymmetrical threats, may be the way of the future. Commanders must understand the potential enemy to appreciate its strengths and vulnerabilities. Advantages and weaknesses may be intangible elements that cannot be attacked by bullets and bombs, such as an extremist ideology. The EPOC structure will better focus effects-based planning.

A promising and transformational capability is the system-of-systems analyst. Each analyst studies an element of the potential enemy-political, military, economic, social, information, or infrastructure-to determine key nodes and linkages. He develops an operational net assessment (ONA) for effects-based planning. The information he needs is available from multiple sources and centers of excellence. Likewise, the database he creates is available to other analysts. An ONA team then wargames the strategies, strengths, and vulnerabilities of both red and blue. Nodes are analyzed to seek the best means to influence the target's behavior. This kind of engagement often uses nonmilitary instruments-diplomatic, law enforcement, information, economic-or other means to achieve the desired effect.

Another transformational aspect of EPOC is including the nonmilitary instruments of power in all planning and operations. One of the three areas in the Secretary's transformation guidance is transforming the way DOD integrates military power with other instruments of national power. JIACG is the key to integrating all elements to gain their greatest effectiveness. The EUCOM JIACG is part of the EPOC organization and supports both the long- and short-range planning divisions with liaison team members and planners from the Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury (Office of Financial Asset Control), and other agencies as required. While JIACG planning and targeting processes are still developmental in terms of how military and nonmilitary instruments are best mixed and employed, the structure for cooperation is established and will increasingly benefit the global war on terrorism and other theater efforts.
EPOC, with JOC long and short-range planning divisions supported by JIACG and an information superiority division, and underpinned by a knowledge management core, is a highly focused, cross-functional, anticipatory transformational staff that is the key weapon in the EUCOM arsenal to combat the asymmetric threats of the 21st century.

Partnering with the Private Sector

The next step in partnering may be to look to the private sector. The tools of business are often better suited to diminishing the causes of terrorism and influencing the democratization of key regions by providing investment and employment that lead to long-term improvement in quality of life. Obviously this is outside the military's lane and more properly belongs to the Departments of State or Commerce or other agencies. The military works with the private sector most frequently as a customer, not an interlocutor trying to bring business to a specific locale. Most commonly, it is contracting for support to military activities, like buying locally fabricated items, labor, or foodstuffs, which gives local collateral rewards. Although laws and regulations limit activity between the military and business that could benefit the populace, such partnering may provide a new means of winning the war.

An example of such military, non-military, and private sector collaboration to reach common strategic goals is Caspian Guard, a regional multinational effort partnering U.S. and host nation military and nonmilitary agencies with private firms to help Caspian Sea littoral states establish an integrated airspace and maritime border control regime. Sponsored by OSD, Caspian Guard addresses counterproliferation, counterterrorism, and illicit trafficking as well as defense of key economic zones such as Caspian Basin petroleum. The concept is to focus EUCOM regional security cooperation activities in partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to assist the littoral states in integrating their airspace and maritime surveillance and control systems; their national command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems; and their reaction and response forces.

Fighting the global war on terrorism requires transformation, and EUCOM is changing both its tools and strategies to meet emerging challenges. Tools such as the European Plans and Operations Center help the command manage its limited personnel resources while improving its decisionmaking capabilities. Transforming from a heavy Cold War legacy military to a lighter, more deployable, and forward-positioned force will help the command more rapidly and effectively respond to challenges across the AOR. Transformational ideas such as theater security cooperation and other nontraditional military assets, and partnering with other agencies and nations, to include NATO Allies, will enable EUCOM to tackle problems in a more holistic regional way. Partnering with the private sector offers promise as well. These tools and strategies are the keys to defeating terrorism and other asymmetric threats.

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