Dr. J.P. London's ASYMM 9 Opening Remarks, 9/22/16
Good morning everyone. My name is Jack London. I am the Chairman of CACI. And it's my privilege to welcome you to today's symposium on "Offset Strategies to Prevail Against Asymmetric Threats." I'm looking forward to hearing from our distinguished guests and audience throughout the day.
At this point I want to emphasize that we are invoking the Chatham House rule. Today's discussions are not for attribution. Themes may only be used without reference to the speakers or attendees, or to their affiliation. Our discussions are also unclassified. No media are present.
I am also proud to note that this is the ninth symposium in our Asymmetric Threat Series since we began them in 2008. The symposia are designed to promote dialogue on critical national security issues that have a distinct "asymmetric" perspective. Our focus is on ideas, events, and leaders that drive the evolution of strategic thought and practice. All of our symposia are held as pro bono, educational, and non-political, non-commercial, public service events.
I also want to thank CACI's co-sponsors of today's symposium. First is our co-sponsor over the past four symposia, the Center for Security Policy, represented by CEO Frank Gaffney. And our partner for a second time, the Association for Old Crows, represented by Major General Kenneth Israel. Both Frank and Ken are leading some of our discussions today. Thanks to both of you!
Over the course of the past eight symposia, we have examined the asymmetric threat environment, including first the notional transition to "soft" and "smart power" frameworks. Our series addressed cyber threats to our supply chains and industrial base. We have examined decision superiority in countering surprise, denial, and deception. We discussed the interplay of offense and defense in combating asymmetric threats. Our last symposium began our discussion on cyber, electronic warfare, and critical infrastructure strategies.
Today, our focus is "Offset Strategies to Prevail Against Asymmetric Threats." And we face a complex and challenging threat environment. Ask anyone on the street to name a top national security threat and ISIS would likely be the most common answer. In fact, global terrorism seems to be more pervasive, expanding, and inescapable than ever. Meanwhile, Iraq and Afghanistan remain high priorities.
Regional conflicts also dominate national security concerns. Starting with the Middle East, the civil war in Syria continues to escalate, drawing everyone into its fray. A possibly staged coup further destabilized Turkey this past July. Months after downing a Russian jet that may or may not have entered their airspace, Turkey started repairing its relationship with Moscow. Speaking of Russian jets, airstrikes in Syria are now being launched from an airbase in Iran. Meanwhile, Iran continued ballistic missile testing and was directly linked to a 2013 cyber attack against a New York water dam.
In Europe, Turkey's instability rattled NATO, but the Brexit vote rattled the European Union. Ukraine may be rattled again as Russia built up troops on its border and resumed the hostile rhetoric that preceded Crimea's annexation.
In Latin America, the Rio Summer Olympics, as such, went rather smoothly, despite mass anti-government protests and corruption allegations. But it led to President Rouseff's impeachment. As Venezuela's economic and political crisis worsens, leading officials from their anti-drugs agency were indicted in a U.S. federal court for helping drug traffickers.
Let's pivot to the Asia Pacific. North Korea has stepped up ballistic and nuclear missile testing, as well as anti-American rhetoric. China's hegemonic tendencies continue, as do tensions and posturing in the South China and East China Seas. And last month China increased personnel training and humanitarian aid to Assad's Syrian government, signaling Beijing's growing concern over the course of Syria's civil war. That brings us back to where we started. In these new and old hostilities we have nuclear weapons, cyber attacks, and political and economic instability. Our national security is clearly at risk.
To triumph against threats and adversaries, the U.S. must also look ahead. We already know that our focus will not be on one single adversary, but many adversaries of varying capabilities and hostilities spread around the world. We also know that the technological playing field has been greatly levelled, both in traditional and emerging domains. Meanwhile, our national security agencies still operate under a constrained budget and under complicated acquisition policies. Of course we'll have a new presidential administration in January of next year.
Regardless, it's imperative that we retain the freedom to attack and the freedom from attack in and through all domains – air, sea, land, space, and cyber – as well as across the electromagnetic spectrum. We will need an effective and efficient integration of systems, capabilities, operations, and policies. It seems obvious that this will require multi-dimensional, nuanced, and "bold" innovative approaches.
In pursuit of these bold innovative approaches and strategic advantages for the future, our national security leaders are using an idea out of the past – the offset strategy. The First Offset Strategy was a Cold War era plan to counteract the Soviet Union's significant quantitative advantage in conventional forces with a nuclear arsenal. And it worked…for a short while. The Second Offset Strategy came in the 1980s. We developed a new generation arsenal including stealth technologies, precision-guided weapons, ISR platforms, and advanced military communications and navigation systems. That also worked well…for a while.
Now we have the Third Offset Strategy in the making. It's largely focused on manned-unmanned teaming technologies to transform and prepare the military for multi-regional conflicts and cross-domain challenges. Over the next five years, DoD plans to invest $18 billion into six emerging areas: anti-access and area-denial, guided munitions, undersea warfare, cyber and electronic warfare, human-machine teaming, and war gaming and development of new operating concepts.
But the Third Offset Strategy raises some important questions. The Department of Defense has spoken in detail about the Third Offset's technological and spending priorities. By doing so, has the U.S., either inadvertently or knowingly, exposed its vulnerabilities? Furthermore, has the U.S. shown its opponents what they should plan to deter, counter, or destroy? Frankly, advantages are harder to keep when they've been made public.
This is especially troubling, given that our technology advantages are already eroding for several reasons. First, they are stolen. Cyber theft and espionage are serious problems. Second, they are shared…via rapid dissemination at the speed of the internet. Third, there is an increased level of technological sophistication around the world. These all have led to our opponents leveraging our technologies against us.
Next, by focusing on human-technology integrated tools and concepts, do we risk eliminating the human factor? Automation has left us free to work on more complex tasks. But autonomous systems are being designed to make critical – even lethal – decisions without human intervention. We should not forget that warfare is a human endeavor. Often the outcome is determined by the "will" of the adversaries. It's hard to resolve a dispute remotely, let alone conquer an unseen enemy.
Finally, what's the goal of the Third…or any…offset strategy? Creating long-term, sustainable advantages is the generic answer. But as I described earlier, there are no generic threats. And unlike the first two Offsets, today we face many adversaries. And without goals, how will we know if we've succeeded? Is there even a measure of success? Or have we already succumbed to a pitfall?
As you can see, these are pressing issues. Today, we have the opportunity to refine our thinking, define the issues, and begin constructing solutions. I look forward to hearing from our distinguished speakers and panelists. They will be introduced as we proceed with the agenda. But I'd like to thank them all for taking the time to be with us today. And I want to thank the Gannet Conference Center for hosting today's symposium. Finally, thanks to everyone at CACI, CSP, and AOC who made our symposium a reality.
We are now ready to begin our program. I'm sure it will bring valuable experience to us all. Let me reiterate the Chatham House Rule – today's proceedings are "off-the-record" and "not for attribution." Thank you again for being here.
Now I want to introduce our keynote speaker. Lieutenant General Jack Weinstein is Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U. S. Air Force, Washington D.C. General Weinstein is responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for focus on Nuclear Deterrence Operations.
He also served on the Headquarters Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command staffs. He has commanded at the squadron, group, wing, and numbered Air Force levels.
Before his current assignment, he was Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command, and Commander, Task Force 214, U.S. Strategic Command, Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.
General, we thank you for being here today to share your thoughts with us. Please welcome, Lieutenant General Jack Weinstein!
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