“I don’t care about organization charts, I care about the unity of effort.” In this episode, I cover some of the top quotes I heard while attending the 2022 AFCEA Tidewater Integrated Combat Symposium in Hampton, Virginia. I had a great time hearing from great leaders on what the Air Force needs from the cyberspace operations and information warfare community, and I’m excited for my next chapter in Air Combat Command.
Here are some of the top quotes I heard this week while attending the 2022 AFCEA Tidewater Integrated Combat Symposium in Hampton, Virginia.
“Between all three parts of information security, availability is the most important to the warfighter.”
This was mentioned by Mr. Ted Uchida, Deputy Director of Operations, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Whether in competition or conflict, the ability for the warfighter to communicate with each is paramount. This is dependent on redundancy and resilient communications being available in contested environments. When we say contested environments, often we think of the physical realm and either kinetic or potentially poisonous environments, which still must be considered. However, times have evolved to where information and data have become the most precious commodity in the world. We must do our part from the cyberspace community to ensure we enable the tip of the arrow with the ability to communicate.
“We can’t do JADC2 without EITaaS.”
This was mentioned by General Mark Kelly, Commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Taken from the 2022 Joint All Domain Command and Control Strategy: “The JADC2 Strategy provides a vision and an approach for identifying, organizing and delivering improved Joint Force C2 capabilities, and accounts for adversaries who have closed many of the capability and methodology advantages we depend upon for operational success. As an approach, JADC2 supports the development of materiel and non-materiel solution options using innovative technologies coupled with a willingness to modify existing policies, authorities, organizational constructs, and operational procedures to deliver information and decision advantage to Joint Force Commanders.”
Taken from an Inside Defense article regarding Enterprise IT as a Service: “[EITaaS will] transfer responsibility for basic networking and commodity IT work out of the service and freeing up airmen and guardians for mission defense work.
To get towards the concept of JADC2, we have to stop doing certain legacy tasks and transfer them to the industry. We already know we won’t get more manpower, so we must transform our existing manpower towards roles that will deliver information and decision advantage to Joint Force Commanders. I believe if properly executed and understood by the warfighting community and the Air Force at large, EITaaS can serve as part of that transformation path towards the JADC2 cconept.
“Don’t be fooled by action masquerading as progress.”
This was mentioned by Constant Elevation alumni Colonel Billy Pope, currently serving as the Commander, 690th Cyberspace Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. This quote strongly resonated with me because as a staff officer, I often see lots of people around me “doing stuff” but not really producing anything. I care too much about my personal time that I need to efficiently and effectively be productive at work. This is all about doing the right things and doing things right, not just doing things. Progress must take you forward, not leaving you in the same place you were before.
“I don’t care about org charts, I care about unity of effort.”
This was mentioned by Mr. Uchida as well. This was in response to a question on who should be taking lead in various components of the Agile Combat Engagement concept. To me the response was addressing the complexities of cyberspace and the information environment and its relationship to the concept. Similar to the concept of Zero Trust, there can’t be one solution or one office responsible to deliver effects. Only through the power of collaboration and unity of effort as a team at large can we truly make progress.
“OCO and DCO must not overshadow Comm.”
This was mentioned by Mr. Uchida as well, and it showed his understanding that while the Offense and Defensive side of cyberspace operations are important, let us not forget the core functions and capabilities the cyberspace operations community provides to the warfighter. Similar to the previous comment about availability
“Shoot, Move, COMMUNICATE.”’
This quote was mentioned by me (yep, I’m quoting myself) in several conversations with Constant Elevation Alumni Brigadier General (select) Heather Blackwell, currently serving as Director Cyberspace & Info Dominance, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. I was fortunate enough to accompany her on several of her engagement as well as listen to her Key Note “Come Back Comm–Bringing IT Capability to the Fight!” We both understood the critical time we are currently in and how the environment in the Air Force is at our advantage to accelerate change. To have the largest impact, oftentimes we need to have the simplest message. The term “Shoot, Move, Communicate” comes from the US Army’s Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks, Warrior Skills, Level 1, and is applicable to every Soldier. Its simplicity in use is something we can borrow, yet remix to resonate within our community. The ability to Communicate is foundational to warfighting, so we must take the responsibility seriously and aggressively change and adapt to the current environment. The Air Force needs us as a community truly understand our role within the warfighting team and evolve that community to meet that role.