Lt Gen Deptula: Senate Armed Services Testimony

In a 5 Nov 15 statement before the SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE on Revisiting the Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, Lt Gen USAF Retired David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies talked about the need for change and the inertia that must be overcome:

Intro Highlights

"I believe the biggest challenge our defense establishment faces is one of institutional inertia. We are well into the information age, yet our systems, organizations, and concepts of operation are rooted in the industrial age of warfare. This in addition to the fact our diplomatic, economic, and informational elements of our national security enterprise are also largely unchanged since the mid 20th century, and require more integration than ever before. We can no longer afford this misalignment—not only is it costly, but it also projects undue risk.

Change with respect to the military involves four principal factors: first; advanced technologies that, because of the new capability they yield, enable the second element; new concepts of operation that produce order-of-magnitude increases in our ability to achieve desired military effects. The third element is organizational change that codifies changes in the previous elements, or enhances our ability to execute our National Security Strategy. It is through these lenses that we need to measure our progress. The final essential element to progress is the human dimension. People are fundamental to everything we do, especially when it comes to leadership."

Conclusion Highlights

"The challenge before us is to transform today to dominate an operational environment that has yet to evolve, and to counter adversaries who have yet to materialize. The 9/11 commission report’s now famous summary that the cause of that disaster was a “failure of imagination” cannot be repeated across our security establishment."

"The Islamic State does not have a JCIDS process. I finish with a plea for new thinking. In the face of disruptive innovation and cultural change, the military can maintain the status quo, or it can embrace and exploit change. I suggest that the latter is preferred. Our services need to learn better how to rapidly adapt new technology to the innovative concepts of operation that technology enables.

Our intelligence community, military, and other security institutions will suffer if their internal organizations fail to adapt to new, disruptive innovations and concepts of operation.

One of our most significant challenges is the structural and cultural barriers that inhibit the diffusion of new ideas that challenge the status quo. That is the challenge for not just our military, but for all the other pillars of our national security architecture. We must challenge our institutions to have an appetite for innovation—and a culture that rewards innovative solutions."

You'll many other interesting ideas in the video and complete text of his statement.