Supporting Air and Expeditionary Forces: Expanded Operational Architecture for Combat Support Execution Planning and Control

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Overview

Anticipating varied and fast-breaking regional crises in the future, the United States is reassessing how it prepares, maintains, and employs its military forces. This research looks at the current operational architecture for incorporating CSC2 and proposes an expanded version of an architecture for the future. The accompanying CD-ROM contains electroic versions ofdetailed process diagrams and holds the complete library of notional information products proposed by the author.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833038388
  • Publisher: Rand Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 107
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Supporting Air and Space Expeditionary Forces

Expanded Operational Architecture for Combat Support Execution Planning and Control
By Patrick Mills Ken Evers Donna Kinlin Robert S. Tripp

Rand Corporation

Copyright © 2006 RAND Corporation
All right reserved.




Chapter One

Introduction

During the past decade, the U.S. military has supported continuous deployments of forces around the world, often on very short notice and for prolonged duration, to meet the needs of a wide range of peacekeeping and humanitarian missions or major contingency operations. The pattern of varied and fast-breaking regional crises appears to be the model for the foreseeable future and has prompted the United States to reassess how it prepares, maintains, and employs its military forces. In response to this operating environment, the Air Force has reorganized into an Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF).

The AEF concept divides the Air Force into ten relatively equal groups (i.e., AEFs) of people and equipment. In any given 90-day period, two AEFs (or one AEF pair) are vulnerable to deployment to fulfill steady-state Air Force deployment requirements. The aim of this concept is to replace a permanent forward presence with forces that are primarily stationed in the continental United States (CONUS) and can be tailored rapidly, deployed quickly, employed immediately, and sustained indefinitely.

These AEF global force projection goals present significant challenges to the current combat support (CS) system. CS is thecollection of people, equipment, and processes that create, protect, and sustain air and space forces across the full range of military operations. It spans many functional areas, including civil engineering, communications and information, logistics readiness, maintenance, munitions, and security forces.

In addition to challenges to the CS system, the importance of command and control (C2) has been identified as a key component of the AEF Agile Combat Support (ACS) system that needs further development. Joint doctrine defines C2 as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission. Air Force doctrine includes in it the functions of planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and resources. In this report, we expand on joint and Air Force definitions of C2, typically applied to battlespace management, and address the functions of planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling CS resources to meet operational objectives-in other words, CSC2. In a narrow sense, these standard definitions, because they deal with battlespace management, include C2 functions with respect to the operational and tactical levels of warfare. We take a wider view and include in the CSC2 definition the strategic level as well, e.g., over the program objective memorandum (POM) process in which CS plans need to be assessed, monitored, and controlled.

To date, operational planning has not sufficiently incorporated CSC2. It is challenging to do so for several reasons. CS planners usually do not have up-to-date and reliable CS resource information in a format that can be easily broken down for use by operators. Also, most logisticians are not trained in and do not participate in air campaign planning. Finally, operators are often unwilling to commit early on to plans (to the degree that they would put them in writing and pass them on to CS planners).

This work expands on the work of Leftwich et al., which presented initial concepts for guiding the development of a CSC2 operational architecture for the AEF. When that work was started, the Air Force simply had no operational architecture for CSC2. Leftwich addressed the problem of CS not being integrated into operational planning, focusing mostly on the Commander of Air Force Forces (COMAFFOR) and Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) levels during strategic planning and contingency planning and execution. For example, during crisis action planning, Air Force operators had limited access to CS information to influence their decisions. The Air Force began to implement Leftwich et al.'s recommendations but asked for further work. The current work introduces new concepts for Air Force involvement in the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) processes and provides further detail on CS contingency planning and execution processes associated with specific organizational nodes described in the earlier report. While Leftwich described some of the CSC2 information produced and passed between organizational nodes, this work goes further in depth and breadth, adding detail on those information flows and the decisions they drive. We intend this study to guide the refinement of the Air Force's CSC2 operational architecture, specifically at the Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) and COMAFFOR A-Staff levels.

We recognize that coalition support has been a key factor in recent U.S. military operations and that coordinating and integrating the CS of coalition partners has been a significant challenge. However, that issue was outside the scope of this report-which focuses on internal Air Force issues-and is not treated here.

Throughout this report, we refer to four different operational architectures: the AS-IS, TO-BE, the Evolving AS-IS, and the Expanded TO-BE. Leftwich et al. took as their starting point the existing operational architecture, calling it the AS-IS. The results of their research were assembled into what they called the future, or TO-BE. Because the actual operational architecture they observed has evolved since the original work (and continues to evolve)-due to Air Force-initiated changes and implementations of some of Leftwich et al.'s concepts-we refer to the current architecture that we took as the starting point for our analysis as the Evolving AS-IS. We analyzed the Evolving AS-IS architecture and built on some of Leftwich et al.'s more general architectural concepts. We refer to the assembly of our results as the Expanded TO-BE. Table 1.1 shows these four architectures, their place in this research, and a few distinguishing characteristics of each.

Our analysis leads us to believe that, to meet AEF demands, the Air Force needs to implement several changes to doctrine, policy, organizations, and information systems.

We present our expanded architectural concepts in three parts: textual descriptions of processes, organizations, and information products; detailed process diagrams; and graphical depictions of notional information products. This report contains complete textual descriptions in the main body, process maps in part in the body, and examples of information products in both the body and appendixes. The accompanying CD-ROM has electronic versions of the detailed process diagrams and the complete library of notional information products we have proposed.

In the next chapter, we discuss background to this research-the previous work on which this builds and a summary of the operational architecture as it has evolved over recent contingencies-and our analytic approach. In Chapter Three, we present the results of our analysis-the expanded CSC2 operational architecture. Following that, in Chapter Four, we describe shortcomings in the Evolving AS-IS operational architecture and propose changes to bridge those gaps. In Chapter Five, we summarize our work and offer several conclusions. Appendix A contains more detailed descriptions of recent contingencies that are summarized in Chapter Two, and Appendix B contains two notional planning scenarios to illustrate features of the operational architecture. Two process diagrams have been placed in the enclosed CD-ROM to add further detail to descriptions of the operational architecture found in Chapter Three and Appendix B.

Chapter Two

Background and Analytic Approach

We now discuss the objectives of CSC2 as derived from AEF goals, summarize the previous work on which ours expands, and trace the evolution of the Air Force's CSC2 operational architecture through several recent contingencies.

Objectives of CSC2

AEF operational needs drive CSC2 requirements, as shown in Table 2.1. Rapidly tailoring force packages requires that CS planners begin to generate support requirements based on desired operational effects alone. CS planners must coordinate closely with operators to estimate suitable force packages before such decisions are finalized. Early generation of CS requirements will contribute substantially to course of action (COA) assessment, focusing efforts on feasible COAs early in the planning process.

Rapid deployment requires that CS planners provide force bed-down plans and assessments quickly. Generally, assessments begin before plans are finalized, and therefore the capabilities, capacities, and status of all potentially relevant airfields need to be available if quick turn assessments are to be made on the suitability of specific bases for receiving forces being contemplated. In addition, the status of in-theater resources should be continuously updated and effectively communicated to facilitate rapid Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD) development.

Quick employment and subsequent sustainment require that theater and global distribution, maintenance, and supply operations be rapidly configured and reconfigured to meet dynamic battlespace needs and that global prioritization and allocation of CS resources be rapidly shifted to areas of interest. Effectively allocating scarce resources requires that CS resource managers monitor resources in all theaters and prioritize and allocate resources in accordance with global operational needs. Finally, operational planners and resource managers should constantly monitor key performance parameters during execution and be able to adjust to changes in either CS performance or operational objectives.

Summary of Previous Work

CSC2 AS-IS Deficiencies

RAND's prior analysis of the Air Force's CSC2 process revealed important shortfalls in the AS-IS architecture, which can be grouped into the following five categories.

Poor Integration of CS Input into Operational Planning. The conventional roles of the operations and CS communities often entail separate and relatively independent C2 activities. The traditional separation between the CS and operational planning communities hinders effective integration. At the same time, operators lack logistics or installation support training and hence tend not to consider the effect that support capabilities have on planned missions. An additional hindrance to incorporating CS input into operational planning is a lack of CS assessment capabilities and up-to-date and reliable CS resource information.

Absence of Feedback Loops and the Ability to Reconfigure the CS Infrastructure Dynamically. CS and operations activities must be continuously monitored for changes in performance and regulated to keep within planned objectives. Today, asset visibility is limited and in-transit visibility is poor. Thus, it is difficult to estimate current resource levels and future arrival times. CS feedback data-resource levels, rates of consumption, critical component removal rates, and critical process performance times such as repair times, munitions build-up times, in-transit times, infrastructure capacity, and site preparation times-may not be recorded routinely. Even when these data are available, they are typically the focus of planning and deployment rather than employment and sustainment. Because operations can change suddenly, these data must be continuously available throughout operations for operators and logisticians to make needed adjustments.

When monitoring reveals a mismatch between desired and actual resource or process performance levels, it may be difficult to find the source, particularly for activities supporting multiple theaters (such as depot repair), or multiple services (such as a Theater Distribution System [TDS] or construction priority). Discrepancies between desired and actual levels of support may arise from changes in CS performance or in operations. Assessment must be able to quickly address CS performance problems or changes and estimate CS requirements to meet changing operational objectives. With limited monitoring and performance assessment, it is hard to know when to intervene and adjust CS activities in real time.

Poor Coordination of CS Activities with the Joint Service Community. Ultimately, most CS (logistics and installations) activities entail coordination among the services and the joint service community. Nowhere is such coordination more important and troublesome than in transportation and distribution management. In principle, the distribution system can operate smoothly if those involved do their job and know their role; troubles can arise when the relative roles of the different contributors in an operation are not understood, expectations differ on anticipated performance, or priorities differ among the major players. Because the AEF relies on rapid distribution logistics and because CS depends on rapid and reliable transportation, rapid theater distribution systems should be developed that take full advantage of cooperation with the Army, Navy, joint service community, and allied or coalition forces (if applicable). If rapid resupply cannot be established, the Air Force may have to rethink lean policies and deploy with more resources to sustain operations, which would negatively affect deployment and employment timelines. Just as CS needs and capabilities must be communicated to operations planners, so too must they be communicated to, agreed on by, and resourced with other services, the joint service community, and allied or coalition organizations. Similarly, CS personnel should clearly define base capabilities to execute beddown plans and be prepared to provide those requirements to allied or coalition forces that may host Air Force units in a contingency.

Absence of Resource Allocation and Prioritization Mechanisms Across Competing Theaters. Resources planned for other regions must often be diverted to support a theater preparing for or engaged in a contingency. However, although the current process can allocate resources among units within a theater, it cannot formally allocate scarce resources across competing theater and joint task force demands or support analyses that should accompany requests for scarce resources. This type of assessment must be done before resources are reallocated so that high-level decisionmakers (up to and including the Joint Chiefs of Staff) can see the effect of their allocation decisions before the fact.

Inadequate Understanding That CS Refers Not Only to Logistics but Also to Installation Support. Attempts to incorporate CS inputs into operational planning faced not only the traditional separation between operations and logistics but also the separation between logistics and installation support. Logistics and their installation support counterparts grow from experience and training in two very different career paths. It is false to assume that in a contingency logisticians or installation support can rapidly become well versed in each other's diverse activities. Analysis of the CSC2 processes associated with the above three examples showed duplication of some activities when these CS functions acted independently but synergistic improvement when they teamed up. Thus, CS needs must be (1) managed by staff with adequate depth, experience, and rank and (2) integrated with CSC2 processes to focus the results.

CSC2 TO-BE Concepts and Operational Architecture for the Future

Leftwich et al. (2002) proposed a TO-BE CSC2 architecture that would enable the Air Force to meet its AEF operational goals. The architecture would enable the CS community to quickly estimate support requirements for force package options and assess the feasibility of operational and support plans. The architecture would permit quick determination of beddown needs and capabilities, facilitate rapid TPFDD development, and support development and configuration of a theater distribution network to meet Air Force employment timelines and resupply needs. The TO-BE architecture would facilitate development of resupply plans and monitor performance, determine impacts of allocating scarce resources to various combatant commanders, indicate when CS performance deviates from desired states, and facilitate the development and implementation of "get well" plans.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Supporting Air and Space Expeditionary Forces by Patrick Mills Ken Evers Donna Kinlin Robert S. Tripp Copyright © 2006 by RAND Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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