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Preparing for 'Network-Centric' Warfare

By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 27, 2001; Page A13

Less than a month on the job, the Pentagon's senior civilian intelligence official said last week that his top priority will be using data networks to bridge the divide between "sensors" and "shooters."

John P. Stenbit, the new assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, called it "network-centric" warfare.

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"That means anybody can get any information at any time," Stenbit told reporters at the Pentagon. "So anybody in the world who's got a gun at any moment can be solving the problem of what are his 10 best targets, and it's not somebody waiting for somebody else to tell him."

A former TRW executive vice president and CalTech engineer, Stenbit noted that he first worked in the Pentagon 25 years ago during the Ford administration -- the first time Donald H. Rumsfeld was secretary of defense.

After all this time in the private sector, Stenbit said he now realizes that the Pentagon manages its money in "upside-down" fashion, allowing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to recruit, train and equip the nation's forces -- when it's the global, joint force commanders-in-chief (CINCs) who actually lead the fight.

Using a private sector model, Stenbit said, the CINCs would get the money and buy "what they needed from the services."

Thus, Stenbit said, the mission of his office is to make sure the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines bring computer networks to the battlefield that can talk to one another -- so, for example, Army soldiers on the ground can get real-time intelligence from Air Force planes in the air.

AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE: Peter Teets, former Lockheed Martin president, is being considered by the Bush administration to become undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), intelligence sources say.

President Bush announced in May that he planned to nominate Al Smith, chief of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, for the service's No. 2 post. But Smith withdrew, citing family reasons.

Teets retired from Lockheed in late 1999, accepting responsibility for "disappointing" profits. Shortly before he stepped aside, Lockheed lost a contract valued at $4.5 billion to rival Boeing for design and construction of the NRO's next-generation spy satellites, an effort known as "Future Imagery Architecture." If nominated and confirmed, Teets will inherit the FIA contract again, this time from the other side of the equation.

ROGUE MISSILE THREATS: Addressing a missile defense conference last week in Huntsville, Ala., CIA Deputy Director John E. McLaughlin focused on three rogue state missile threats -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea -- and a "cross fertilization" among these and other nations that makes missile threats possible.

Iran, he said, will soon field a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (range 1,300 kilometers) capable of hitting Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey -- and U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.

Iraq has rebuilt "several critical missile production sites," McLaughlin said, and is hiding a small number of Al Hussein short-range ballistic missiles (range 650 kilometers) that can strike Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

North Korea, the biggest threat of all, he said, could test a long-range Taepo Dong 2 capable of hitting parts of the United States with a "nuclear-sized payload" sometime in 2003.

How do such nations develop sophisticated ballistic missile technology?

The North Korean No Dong, developed initially from Russian Scud technology, forms the basis of the Iranian Shahab-3 as well as Pakistan's medium-range missile, McLaughlin said.

Iran and Pakistan, meanwhile, are viewed by CIA analysts as potential "secondary" proliferators, eager to turn their technology imports into exports for hard cash they can turn around and use to import still more technology.

Russia and China further complicate the picture, McLaughlin said, peddling technological know-how and missile components to the rogue nations of the world.

"Last year, Russian entities continued to supply ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to countries like Iran, China and Libya," McLaughlin said. "The transfer of ballistic missile technology to Iran -- to cite just one case -- was substantial. And we believe it will permit Iran to further accelerate its missile development programs and to move ever closer toward self-sufficiency in production."

China has helped Pakistan develop solid-propellant missiles and provided missile-related items and raw materials to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

"Many countries developing longer-range missiles," McLaughlin said, "probably believe that the very possibility of their use would complicate American decision-making in a crisis."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company