CHDS Partners with USNORTHCOM to Conduct Limited Objective Experiments

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The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) recently partnered with USNORTHCOM to conduct the second in a series of Limited Objective Experiments (LOE) designed to assist development of future revisions of the Department of Defense (DOD) Homeland Defense and Civil Support Joint Operating Concept (JOC).

An LOE is a narrowly scoped, analytically focused concept assessment. This experiment included participants, facilitators, analysts, and observers from over 20 different federal, state, and local government organizations as well as the private sector. NPS faculty, alumni, and students played a critical role in discussions, debate, and provided a wealth of data that will assist in the development and refinement of Homeland Defense and Civil Support concepts. The purpose of the experiment was to determine whether “Detect, Deter, Prevent, Defeat and Support” were comprehensive and definitive Lines of Effort that describe how the future Joint Force Commander executes Homeland Defense and Civil Support missions.

“We decided to hold the conference at NPS because of the abundance of knowledge and homeland security expertise. We wanted to get the perspective that originates at the State and local government level as well as DOD,” said LTC Marc Hutson, USNORTHCOM Strategic Concepts Branch Chief. “We are focusing on what we must do to accomplish Homeland Defense and Civil Support; we want to know if the lines of effort are enough, and what changes or additions need to be made.”

The USNORTHCOM approach to concept revision and experimentation is a continuous process that engages the Homeland Defense, Homeland Security, and Civil Support community of interest to innovate future concepts. Simultaneously, the process provides opportunity to influence new and emerging strategic guidance, as well as inform the Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Enterprise.

This Limited Objective Experiment focused on four primary objectives:

  • Determine whether the Lines of Effort described in the DOD HD & CS JOC comprehensively and definitively explain how the Joint Force Commander will defend and secure the Homeland.
  • If changes are warranted, gain insight into what HD and CS Lines of Effort need to be modified, added or deleted.
  • Gain insight into how these Lines of Effort relate to the overall national security effort to secure the Homeland and achieve unity of effort.
  • Given validation of, or changes to, the HD and CS Lines of Effort, gain insight into what changes are warranted to the “End to End Process” in the DOD HD and CS JOC.

The experiment included five data collection events encompassing a literature search, workshops, and a seminar. Over the course of the two day experiment, participants were asked to examine the lines of effort in both a historical and modern context to identify factors that influenced the choice of terminology used. They were then asked to determine if the terminology is applicable to the future strategic environment. From their conclusions, they developed recommendations to the lines of effort such as additions, modifications, or deletions.

Significant discussion identified a critical area for future excursions and experimentation. Specifically, concept authors should consider establishing separate lines of effort for homeland defense and civil support missions, while being careful to retain information on the relationships between the two and transitions from one to the other. Participants also recommended addressing if there could be circumstances where the DOD might have the lead in catastrophic events, and relative to HD, addressing DOD support to other USG organizations in the forward regions.

It was also apparent that interpretation of these words and concepts is affected by the frame of reference of the participants (Department of Defense, Interagency community, local and state authorities and private sector representatives). Certain words associated with the current or recommended lines of effort held different connotations for different audiences. For example, the word defeat was a concern to the law enforcement community because for the law enforcement community, “defeat” is not an intermediate step but an absolute last resort. This observation may lead concept authors to advocate for a common lexicon among government agencies to improve unity of effort. Although the primary audience for the DOD HD and CS JOC is the Department of Defense, this experiment reinforced the importance of participation by the interagency community and private sector in the development of future HD and CS concepts and experimentation.

The analysis report derived from this experiment and a list of recommendations will be sent to the concept developers for consideration. “All the information gained throughout the LOE 2 will be used in revising the Joint Operating Concept which will change the focus of future policy and strategy,” Christopher Miller, Brigadier General USAF Director, Plans, Policy and Strategy. “CHDS provided an ideal level of expertise and breadth of state and local government knowledge in support of USNORTHCOM’s experiment needs.”

“One of the most important functions of the Center is to provide expertise and opportunities for inter-governmental and inter-agency collaboration. We are proud to have USNORTHCOM as a partner in this effort. The LOE is a prime example of working together to gather deeper insight on strategy and policy development processes with our partner agencies,” says Glen Woodbury, Director of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

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