October 2009

Shaping a Collaborative Maritime Strategy for the Pacific: The USCG Role

A new approach to maritime security which provides for layered defense of the American homeland built around maritime domain awareness is viewed as a crucial effort in the United States.  To build capabilities for the new approach requires redirecting U.S. maritime capabilities away from an emphasis on overseas presence and strike to participating in extended homeland defense missions.  An emphasis on security vice defense requires new tools and approaches to engaging federal entities in maritime security.  At the same time, it requires engaging allies in building maritime data tools and situational awareness through such programs as the container security initiative.  This is a “network-centric” approach but directed towards extended homeland defense.  

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The Emergence of a 21st Century Concept of Air Operations

The evolution of 21st century air operations is unfolding under the impact of a new generation of aircraft and a significant shift in the role of air operations in support of ground and maritime forces.  The “5th generation” aircraft have largely been viewed as simply a next iteration of airframes whereby “legacy” or “4th generation aircraft” will be replaced by new stealth airframes.  And aircraft have been largely viewed as operating within the classic domain of air operations, largely playing the role of air superiority, air dominance, air defense, strike and support roles seen as separable sequences of tasks.

While it is clear that expeditionary military operations cannot succeed without control of the skies, the fifth generation aircraft will be able to contribute to a significant change in the role of manned aircraft within air, ground and maritime operations.  The change is significant enough that one can speak of the challenge of crafting a concept of 21st century air operations transformed by the introduction and use of the new aircraft.  The transformation is underway as the 5th generation aircraft are being introduced, affecting employment concepts and roles of legacy air elements as well.  Rather than anticipating change only with a significant replacement of one class of aircraft by another, changes in operations of “legacy” aircraft are already anticipating the changes to be accelerated by the new aircraft, and these changes will be accelerated as the new aircraft enter in larger numbers.  The new “5th generation” aircraft will generate significantly greater “integrated” capability for the non-kinetic use of aircraft and an expanded use of connectivity, ISR, communications, and computational capabilities built around a man-machine interface which will, in turn, shape the robotics and precision revolutions already underway. 

 21st century air operations are a significant building block for overall U.S. and allied joint and coalition operations.  Capability to connect air, ground, and maritime forces throughout the battlespace via air assets can support the decision-making of the ground and maritime command elements.  Indeed, the C4ISR envisaged in network operations is becoming re-shaped into C4ISRD whereby decision-making is shared across the battlespace.  Distributed information and distributed decision-making will be enhanced as air operations become much more capable of providing information in support of the deployed decision-maker, and kinetic and non-kinetic support elements can be cued in support of air, ground, and maritime combat requirements. 

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ECATS:  Pioneering Outsourcing in French Pilot Training

The Cognac-Châteaubernard French Air Force base was at first a military airfield created in 1938, before being occupied and expanded by the German Luftwaffe between 1940 and 1944. Heavily bombed at the end of the war, it was rebuilt right afterwards and a flying school was created in 1945, before being transferred to Marrakech (Morocco) from 1950 till 1961. Since then, Cognac air base has been home for the EPAA (Ecole de pilotage de l’armée de l’air, i.e. the Air Force Flying School) in charge of the training of young pilots in their pre-specialization qualifications. Besides its historic legacy, what makes BA709 unusual though is the integration in the past three years of a customized EADS subsidiary – an operational unit of the Military Air Systems Division of EADS Defense & Security (DS) to be precise -, called ECATS for “EADS Cognac Aviation Services”: for the very first time in France, a military base has been welcoming more than a hundred civilian employees whose task is to support the Flying School’s training equipment and infrastructure. In June 2009, ECATS celebrated its 50,000 flying hours at Le Bourget and has been pioneering such an approach in outsourcing training services’ support, which is now being duplicated and even expanded in other settings. This report focuses on such a “success story” by attempting to provide an overlook of the lessons learned ever since the process of privatization was initiated.


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"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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