Without a single note card, without skipping a beat or step in his comments, the General "savaged sacred cows from the Joint Strike Fighter to cybersecurity to the AirSea Battle concept" in the words of Sydney Freedman of AOL Defense. You bet - that's one way to put it.
First he hit on the topic of sequestration, then followed with recapitalization. From AOL Defense:
That means "we've got at least another increment of a couple hundred [billion]," Cartwright went on. "If you take another two hundred billion out of this budget, we're going to start to run into a problem if you don't start thinking about the strategy," he said. "You really need strategy before you spend money, and what you spend it on needs to be something you can actually afford."And that doesn't even include what he said about the Joint Strike Fighter. Read the article.
On the ground, the current strategy is one shaped by a decade of optimization for operations from static bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. "We are now an occupation force," Cartwright said. "When you go to battle by getting up in the morning in your compound, getting into your armored vehicles, go out and patrol, and return to your compound at night, that is an occupation force." With all its armored vehicles, its body armor, and -- equally important -- its massive logistical tail, "it is a very heavy force, too heavy to move by air," he said. So if the Marine Corps and Army recapitalize their ground vehicle fleets without reconceptualizing them, they will lack the agility that future operations require.
Congress has got to find a way to get these kind of incredibly candid comments from military leaders while they are still on active duty. It is way past time for someone who is on active duty to testify ""We built the F-35 with absolutely no protection for it from a cyber standpoint," which is exactly what he said today. We are talking about a fighter aircraft that will serve as the backbone of the United States aviation for decades, and is already hampered by millions lines of software code that isn't quite right yet, and a retired VCJCS reveals the aircraft wasn't developed with cyberwarfare in mind? The Lockheed Martin guy two tables over looked very uncomfortable, and since Cartwright is a former marine aviator, his credibility on the subject is not in question.
What a stunning speech. I'll be posting a copy as soon as it is up. It will lull you to sleep in the first two minutes before he bitch-slaps you with repeated brilliance, then ends on a topic of medical innovation developed as a result of DARPA work that is an entire topic unto itself - and makes the entire concept introduced in the Matrix movies of uploading martial arts software into your brain not simply science fiction - but very possibly the very, very near future.
Cartwright also had some very interesting things to say regarding cyber. Indeed, as far as cyber goes, Cartwright is slowly becoming the most articulate person in the room on the subject. For a sample check out this video from OpenGov yesterday. In his speech today he talked about how the US is 90% defensive and 10% offensive with cyber, which he correctly IMO described as 'bass ackward.' Said another way, Cartwright takes a very Clausewitz view on cyberspace, and that attack is the first, best option. As he was discussing it I kept thinking to myself "why have the Chinese figured this out and we seem lost on the concept?"
Lots of good stuff today. More to come.
As a side note from Day 1 at #JWC12 - there were a lot of foreign officers in uniform at the conference today, indeed the conference had a lot of people in uniform. It's a different vibe when you are at a conference with so many people in uniform, and today it seemed like the Army showed up in battalion strength. I bet the venders were happy, and I imagine the Army was pleased to overrun a Navy conference like they did today.