LEDYARD, Conn: The Air Force Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Symposium kicked off here Sept. 28 with a presentation by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper.
He told the mixed industry and government gathering that, in an era of flat or declining defense budgets, new platforms will be hard to come by.
“What that means is that the next generation of advancements and transformation in combat power will be more about how we integrate the stuff we’ve already got,” he said.
It doesn’t take too much imagination to consider “the breakthroughs and possibilities that take full advantage of that which we already own,” he added. “It doesn’t require new platforms and new magic to do this work.”
Just as he did at the first C2ISR Summit in 2002, General Jumper emphasized the need to break the “platform-centric” habit. He told the crowd, primarily government program managers and industry developers, to focus less on platforms and programs and more on integrated capabilities designed to meet combatant commander needs.
He also warned them to “beware of solutions looking for problems.”
He recalled a briefing he received as chief of staff in which hypersonic proponents lobbied for money based on a “capability gap.” Even if the purported gap were filled, it wouldn’t solve the most significant issues facing commanders, General Jumper contended.
“What is the combatant commander’s biggest worry?” he asked. “I continue to insist the combatant commander’s biggest worry is finding mobile or small targets in positions of obscurity in contested air space.”
The former chief also offered several vignettes of operators implementing ad hoc solutions to data sharing and battle management dilemmas. He said the audience here had to consider these people while developing and managing C2ISR capabilities.
“We’ve got to ask ourselves a simple question,” he said. “Are we making it harder or easier on those people out there, the junior people, who are just trying to do the right thing?”
Other Air Force speakers making presentations at the symposium in the next several days include Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley; Air Force chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz; Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command; and Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. There also will be presentations from government and industry speakers.
The symposium is being co-hosted by the Electronic Systems Center, headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and the Paul Revere Chapter of the Air Force Association.