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Document created: 1 March 2008
Air & Space Power Journal- Spring 2008
Col Scot T. Heckman, USAF
Editorial Abstract: Dwindling manpower in Air Force Weather (AFW) and an increasingly net-centric Air Force are forcing a change from the days of the face-to-face weather briefing. Furthermore, the Air Force needs a better degree of forecast consistency. The author proposes that automated forecasts and forecast tailoring represent significant changes for AFW but that their implementation will remove potential human bottlenecks, enable greater detail for decision makers, and increase the speed of access for all users.
The weather briefer is obsolete, a victim of net-centricity. In a world where everyone is connected, people affected by weather will access related information directly and integrate it into their decision processes. No longer will “Stormy” the weather briefer, acting as both an expert and a bottleneck, serve as gatekeeper to weather databases. To remain relevant to net-centric operations, Air Force Weather (AFW) must aggressively develop support for net-centric access and redefine the role of the weather briefer. Specifically, if it wishes to meet the demands of increasingly net-centric decision makers, despite a shrinking manpower pool, AFW must automate the forecast-tailoring process, remove the weather briefer, and address inconsistency in the weather database.
Understanding the interaction between net-centricity and AFW operations requires some awareness of the fundamental concepts of each. According to The Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare, “NCW [network-centric warfare] is characterized by the ability of geographically dispersed forces to attain a high level of shared battlespace awareness that is exploited to achieve strategic, operational, and tactical objectives in accordance with the commander’s intent.”1 Increased sharing of information via the network at all levels of command likely will result in massed effects (increased combat power), decision superiority, heightened speed of command, and self-synchronization.2 As described in the Net-Centric Environment Joint Functional Concept, when connected, units can pursue a commander’s intent without repeated contact with superiors to synchronize operations, relying on shared awareness based on consistent information to self-synchronize.3
The Transformation Planning Guidance of 2003 specifically states that “implementation of the Department’s force transformation strategy will shift us from an industrial age to an information age military. Information age military forces will be less platform-centric and more network-centric.”4 NCW will increase connectivity at lower echelons of command and throughout functions other than command and control (C2). The Net-Centric Environment Joint Functional Concept notes that “since C2 nodes are already fairly well connected, the real power of the Net-Centric Environment will be in connecting the other functions and extremities of the force.”5
The Office of Force Transformation monitors the progress of the transformation effort. The Transformation Planning Guidance directs each of the services to write a road map that addresses, among other things, its conversion to NCW. Service NCW programs include the Joint Tactical Radio System, Air Force Link-16 airborne data link, Department of Defense (DOD)–wide Global Information Grid network-infrastructure program, Navy Cooperative Engagement Capability data link, and Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below data-link system.6
In addition, looking to improve their forces’ shared situational awareness and collaborative decision making, the services are actively increasing the connectivity of their forces and experimenting with new tactics, techniques, and procedures to take advantage of the new capability.7 Despite the newness of NCW technologies and procedures, success stories have emerged from Operation Iraqi Freedom. For example, data links and the Blue Force Tracker system have reduced incidents of fratricide, and procedures enabled by new data links have allowed the development and striking of targets within 45 minutes.8
Before discussing weather operations, we should define the term decision maker as used in this discussion. Specifically, such an individual receives weather information and takes action based on that information—a purposely broad denotation since the environment affects virtually every mission and function to some degree. Indeed, the substance of this article could affect anyone who has access to weather information.
For weather operations, Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-9.1 Weather Operations, describes how “Air Force weather operations execute five core processes—collection, analysis, prediction, tailoring, and integration—to characterize the environment and exploit environmental information.”9 Such characterization includes collection of environmental measurements taken by the DOD, US government, and foreign instrumentation; analysis of the measurements; and prediction of the future state of the environment. These actions produce a four-dimensional representation (latitude, longitude, altitude, and time) of the environment, consisting of such environmental parameters as wind speed/direction, temperature, pressure, humidity, clouds, and precipitation. In order for military decision makers to exploit this information, we must derive such decision parameters as ceiling, visibility, cloud-free line of sight, and thermal contrast from the environmental parameters, some of which (e.g., wind speed) double as decision parameters. We tailor forecasted decision parameters to a particular mission by retrieving them for the time(s) and location(s) needed, packaging the information into usable form (maps, tables, graphs, etc.), and formatting the result for integration into the decision maker’s decision process. If the decision maker provides operational limitations (i.e., thresholds), we may highlight these in the final product. We then measure or generate weather data and provide decision makers weather information in the form of a product—a collection of information in a particular package (text, map, or graph) and format (file type). In the future, we anticipate that net-centric data management and services will make the processing and communication of a tremendous amount of information feasible and timely.
Weather information made available to decision makers must be accurate, timely, relevant, consistent, and accessible. Accurate information facilitates correct decisions more often than incorrect ones. Timely information prevents delayed decisions. Relevant information allows the decision maker to pinpoint pertinent data. Consistent information guarantees that individuals involved in a collaborative decision process do not receive conflicting statements about the weather. And accessible information permits decision makers to find what they need in a usable form.
Increasing connectivity, net-centric decision making with its demand for consistency, and decreasing AFW manpower will reduce AFW’s ability to support net-centric decision makers in the future unless it shifts resources from human-based forecast tailoring to a more automated approach.
NCW’s network revolution will radically change communication modes, categorized here by the degree of network-interface usage. In this construct, machine communications require a network interface, but human communications do not. For example, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication involves one computer application automatically requesting information from another and the other automatically responding via the network. Human-to-human (H2H) communication does not require a network interface even though some voice communications will eventually take place over the network (e.g., Voice-over-Internet Protocol). Examples include a briefing to a commander and his staff, a telephone conversation between action officers, or ground troops passing target coordinates to aircraft over voice links. Machine-to-human (M2H) communication requires a network interface, as when a human uses a computer to access a Web page or query a database.
As decision makers at all echelons gain network access, the primary mode of communication for weather information will change from H2H to M2M and M2H. No longer the primary mode, voice communications will yield to network communication, which permits the transmission of detailed data. Freed from communications within line of sight or on certain frequencies, decision makers will have access to the entire network (via reachback). Major C2 nodes have traditionally possessed this kind of access, but the vision for NCW entails extending this kind of connectivity to the most tactical levels: the cockpit, tank, platoon member, and so forth. Decision makers who have experienced difficulty accessing weather information in the past, due to limitations in communications or AFW personnel resources, will demand access—and the number of decision makers served will rise.
Increasing Demand for Consistency
Self-synchronization based on shared awareness puts a premium on consistency of information.10 Contradictory information frustrates attempts to collaborate and self-synchronize since collaborators must resolve conflicts before working on the tactical decision at hand.
All decision makers in an operations area must get their weather information from a consistent and authoritative source to prevent disruption of coordinated operations. To cite a simple example, a fighter mission launches, expecting marginal conditions in a refueling track, but the tanker cancels since its information shows conditions out of (the tanker’s) limits. Although this scenario is manageable, imagine decision makers involved in a complex joint and/or coalition operation attempting to plan their part of the overall operation and trying to avoid or mitigate the effects of weather. One of the four principles of AFW operations, consistency serves as the basis of the call for “one theater, one forecast,” found in Joint Publication 3-59, Joint Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Meteorological and Oceanographic Operations.11
Decreasing Air Force Weather Manpower
Recent budget uncertainty caused by the ongoing global war on terror, the Quadrennial Defense Review Report of 2005, and former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld’s call for transformation has resulted in a new plan for the future of the Air Force. Faced with replacing aging aircraft and no promise of additional funds, the service plans to cut approximately 40,000 troops (12 percent) by the end of fiscal year 2009.12 In addition, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne introduced Air Force Smart Operations 21, a program designed to improve processes and reduce inefficiency. Secretary Wynne seeks to institutionalize continuous process improvement and “look at innovative ways to use our materiel and personnel more efficiently.”13
These reductions continue a long pattern of drawing down the Air Force after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reductions in AFW’s enlisted personnel since 1985 have proved slower than those in the overall Air Force—not the case with officer reductions, which dipped in 2001 to as low as 43 percent of the 1985 levels compared to the overall Air Force low of 62 percent in 2001.14
Faced with pressure to reduce manpower and costs, AFW historically has automated processes to reduce manpower, consolidated work centers to reduce overhead, and leveraged weather data produced by others (e.g., the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and US Navy capabilities). AFW must cope with the challenge of simultaneously reacting to budget and manpower reductions while funding and managing a transformation to meet the demands of NCW.
Continuing Human-Based Forecast Tailoring
Forecast tailoring entails translation of measured or predicted environmental parameters (e.g., temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, etc.) to decision parameters (e.g., heat-stress index, crosswind, lock-on range, etc.) valid at mission-specific locations and times. For example, we utilize wind measurements at the approach end of the runway to calculate the crosswind component, which the supervisor of flying uses to decide whether to continue flight operations or divert aircraft to another field.
In 1997 AFW began an ambitious reengineering effort that redefined much of the weather function’s organization and rearranged tasks among weather units. In the June 1998 edition of Flying Safety, Brig Gen Fred P. Lewis, Air Force director of weather, announced his decision to continue face-to-face weather briefings, provided by weather flights, despite a decrease in manpower.15 Operational weather squadrons would perform some functions of the old weather flights at regional centers, allowing smaller flights to concentrate on tailoring weather information for their supported decision makers. Implementation of this concept emphasized having weather technicians tailor information to every mission and deliver the resulting product to the decision maker.
Arguably the optimum support methodology, dedicating a weather technician to every mission faces even more limitations today than in 1997. Obviously, the time required per product and number of weather technicians on duty at a given time constrain the rate of production. In order to provide quality support, these technicians must learn the missions and environmental impacts for all of their supported decision makers—something that often calls for extensive on-the-job training. To make timely products, they must know the mission schedule and profiles and adjust to changes, such as delays in takeoff time or changes in the route of flight. En route target changes prove almost impossible to support unless we can dedicate a technician to a particular mission. The limited manpower available to meet demands forces weather flights to compromise by developing a single product to meet multiple missions (commonly referred to as a weather “flimsy” for multiple training missions), putting in longer hours, reducing time spent on each product, or simply admitting an inability to support some decision makers. This situation results in delayed, less accurate, and less detailed support, compared to the product created by using M2M access to weather databases. Over the next few years, AFW must contend with the prospect of asking a decreasing number of its technicians to support decision makers who prefer that their detailed weather information come from M2M or M2H interfaces.
To address this multifaceted and complex challenge, AFW must automate the forecast-tailoring process to meet the increasing demand for M2M and M2H access, change from a product-centric to an information-centric process, and reduce inconsistencies in the weather databases available to decision makers.
Automate Forecast Tailoring
The automation of forecast tailoring will permit decision makers to access M2H Web sites or program their decision-support-system applications to access M2M-enabled weather databases directly. They will no longer need to request products from a weather technician. Automation is preferable for several reasons:
• Forecast tailoring involves gathering information from many sources, determining values for the mission’s locations and times, and then putting the information into the proper package and format—tasks easily automated.
• Humans limit the level of detail that can be provided in a timely manner. Network access, however, allows decision makers to receive much more detailed information—for example, by indicating conditions (winds, temperature, turbulence, icing, likelihood of thunderstorms, etc.) along a route of flight at every mile or minute instead of simply using maps that require crew interpretation.
• Unlike human processes, which introduce a degree of inconsistency and error because they are not perfectly repeatable, automated processes, when fully mature, quantify the error because of their repeatability. Using the earlier fighter/tanker example, we see that automated forecast tailoring would ensure that the fighter and tanker receive the same refueling-orbit forecast since identical algorithms would generate it from the same information in the database.
• Nearly instantaneous network access requires neither human involvement nor queuing for a human response (i.e., no “Please hold for the next available briefer”).
• The number of possible products increases dramatically. Decision makers can use software written for a particular mapping or graphing technique to create all types of products without incurring a large manpower requirement or training burden.
• Perhaps the most compelling argument speaks to the expandable nature of network access—its ability to handle a large influx of decision makers without the need for additional manpower. In large, complex contingency situations, in which deployment of weather personnel may lag behind combat operations, such access can handle the spike in requests for weather information without adding manpower.
• Finally, in the few cases that justify using H2H, weather personnel can employ the developed M2H methodologies to develop their responses to H2H requests.
Of course, the quality of automation software remains critical to the success of implementing this approach. Patient development and testing as well as gradual implementation will prove key to building trust in the new technology. Several obstacles, however, block the path of a fully automated solution:
• Decision makers who prefer M2H and M2M must accept the responsibility of maintaining access to weather information and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the content. This fundamental cultural change shifts the burden of retrieving weather information from the weather technician to the decision maker.
• Some decision makers will resist using network-based access methods. The need for H2H weather information, presented by the person who made the forecast, repeats the argument used by AFW reengineering to retain human-based forecast tailoring. However, when pressed, many decision makers admit they are trying to assess the uncertainty in the forecast by interacting with the presenter.16 The fact that AFW has provided decision makers very little in the way of uncertainty assessments with weather predictions constitutes a serious shortcoming in its past support of those individuals. Weather predictions’ varying degrees of uncertainty arise from the initial indeterminate state of the environment, primarily due to shortcomings of observation methodologies and coverage. Knowing this, decision makers must “look Stormy in the eye” to assess the uncertainty in the forecast. AFW has recognized this shortcoming and is developing objective methods to quantify uncertainty and include it in the weather database for retrieval by decision makers—a new capability reflected in AFW’s Characterizing the Environment Enabling Concept, released in April 2006.17 Because we do not yet have a methodology for humans to quantify uncertainty objectively, we must use subjective methods that depend on the widely varying skills of individual forecasters.
• Automation may affect accuracy. Currently, when forecasters tailor products for decision makers, they make adjustments to computer-based forecasts to account for model errors and biases, which usually, but not always, improve the accuracy of the information. If taking the human out of forecast tailoring results in a significant drop in accuracy, decision makers will demand reintroduction of the human. People should remain part of the process until the decision maker can pull from the database a product equal to or greater in accuracy and detail than the one previously available. We should not compromise accuracy for better access and more detail. If a human can improve the accuracy of weather information, his or her efforts must occur in the “prediction” process, thus making the results available in the weather-information database.
• Automating weather-impact assessments presents a challenge. AFW has gone to great lengths to catalogue environmental impacts on the various missions and operations it supports, believing they serve decision makers better by providing not only weather information but also the “so what” aspects. Even though decision makers want impact assessments, weather personnel may not possess adequate qualifications to make them. Decision makers should assess environmental impacts to their operations because of their familiarity with them and the possible work-arounds. To help its personnel in this endeavor, AFW, in cooperation with the Army Research Laboratory, has developed rule sets to derive operational-impact assessments from decision parameters.18 In a net-centric environment, conversion of these aids to a Web-based service would give decision makers full control over the rule sets so they can modify them to suit their situation.
• Some decision processes require an environmental expert. In cases involving fluid, interactive decision processes and operations sensitive to the environment, decision makers may designate an individual to assess environmental impacts instead of accessing the database themselves. This designated environmental expert (not necessarily a weather technician) could use M2H interfaces and Web services to develop the necessary mission-tailored information.
Change from Product-Centric to Info-Centric
A decision to use network access in the future would require making any human adjustments to the information in the net-centric database—a shift that will force AFW to change its operations from product-centric to information-centric. AFW must concentrate its efforts (particularly its manpower) on optimizing the accuracy of decision parameters and rely on automation to generate the products. Several disadvantages accompany the product-centric approach:
• In most cases, manual production ties AFW’s manpower to a schedule, eliminating the option to skip products or allow issuance of automated ones. Limited manpower constrains the number of different products and the frequency of updates.
• Weather personnel must make the products, even during completely benign weather, when an automated product would suffice.
• If demand for a particular product increases, manpower must shift to meet it. An information-centric approach would involve deriving products from the database, freeing personnel to modify the data as needed without concern about actual production.
In this effort, AFW can follow the lead of the National Weather Service, which is adopting an information-centric approach by implementing the National Digital Forecast Database.19 The service’s forecasters adjust a database at the office and use product-generation software to create everything from terminal-aerodrome forecasts, to severe-weather warnings, to the voice on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather radio.
AFW is slowly working toward information-centric operations. In January 2006, it completed the Exploit Environmental Information in Net-Centric Operations Enabling Concept—the best statement of AFW’s intent to move to information-centric processes.20 Though placing human “adjustments” in the tailoring process, the document calls for making the results available in the weather database for access by decision makers. AFW’s Joint Environmental Toolkit program, initiated in December 2005, includes some requirements for establishing information-centric forecast operations. The program’s legacy requirements, which will be of use during the transition, may take priority if the program continues over schedule and over budget.21
The transition still needs momentum. Even as of March 2007, Air Force Instruction (AFI) 15-128, Air and Space Weather Operations: Roles and Responsibilities, required very specific products, tasking weather flights to “develop and conduct a mission execution forecast process to tailor weather products for operational users” and to “provide tailored weather effects products from Tactical Decision Aids and the Integrated Weather Effects Decision Aid to predict go/no go weather thresholds as coordinated with the host/parent unit.”22
As previously mentioned, NCW’s shared awareness and collaborative decision making require consistent information. Inconsistency manifests itself in several forms, the simplest being redundancy. If two collaborating decision makers get their weather information from different sources, they will likely receive varying forecasts because of the differences in forecast models, human forecasters, or even tailoring software. Temporal inconsistency appears when one uses new information to update a forecast for a particular time and place. Since errors increase with time (e.g., the forecast for Monday issued on Friday [three-day forecast] is less accurate than the one issued on Saturday [two-day]), forecasts are updated until the last minute before an operation. Spatial inconsistency usually appears on boundaries between forecast models or agencies. In most cases, due to the natural variability of weather, spatial inconsistencies are not obvious. However, in some cases, usually in categorical forecasts (e.g., light, moderate, or severe turbulence), an inconsistency occurs that weather variability can’t explain. Unfortunately, inserting humans into the prediction may often improve accuracy yet reduce consistency since two forecasters given the same inputs will produce different outputs.
To eradicate inconsistency completely, all individuals involved in making collaborative decisions must access the same, perfectly consistent weather database. To optimize consistency in the database, we would have to adjudicate or fuse (otherwise known as “ensemble”) different forecast-model solutions and carefully monitor any human involvement to ensure consistency.23 We can meet the first requirement in the net-centric world of the future, but control over information access is not absolute. The second requirement becomes possible only by centrally controlling production processes and reducing human involvement to a centrally manageable scale. Finally, if humans do improve the accuracy of the information they process, would reducing human involvement sacrifice accuracy for the sake of consistency?
AFW, the Navy, and the National Weather Service generate and maintain overlapping and redundant weather databases. Within AFW, redundant databases exist among the Air Force Weather Agency’s production center and regional operational weather squadrons. Although Headquarters USAF/A3O’s Managing Net-Centric Environmental Data and Services Enabling Concept describes how AFW will try to solve this problem, implementation proceeds slowly.24 We must still resolve interservice and interagency issues regarding database authority.
Changing AFW without destroying its relationship with decision makers means that AFW leadership must develop the required technologies and carefully manage transitions, including actively changing AFW’s and decision makers’ cultures.
AFW’s future lies in the development of the flexible, automated forecast-tailoring applications advocated here. If these applications prove unreliable or difficult to employ, decision makers will not use them and will insist on having a weather technician provide their information at the same time the corporate Air Force is cutting weather manpower. Weather support will suffer, and we will lose opportunities to anticipate and exploit weather information.
We must ensure the effectiveness of applications that enable weather technicians to generate or adjust information in the weather databases instead of creating mission-tailored products. Prior to entering into development, AFW must make some effort to verify that human involvement improves the accuracy of information. By assuming that humans always improve accuracy, AFW could end up spending precious software-development funds (and time) on applications that provide little or no benefit to the decision maker.
AFW must implement standard M2H and M2M interfaces as soon as possible and make them available to developers of decision support systems. If AFW delays, it will also lose opportunities to integrate weather information into key decision cycles.
We must carefully manage three transitions to reach the proposed end state: changing decision makers’ interfaces from H2H to M2H or M2M by using automated forecast-tailoring applications, changing weather technicians’ practice of creating mission-tailored products to adjusting weather information in the weather database, and changing the DOD meteorology community from decentralized to centralized control of distribution.
The transition from H2H to M2H/M2M involves two parts. First, AFW must establish a candidate M2H or M2M interface. Manageability requires that decision makers have a standard interface with enough flexibility to fit many of their specific product needs. Traditionally AFW has allowed embedded weather technicians to develop products with their supported decision makers. Usage of a standard interface, however, demands gathering, prioritizing, and translating those product requirements into a set of production capabilities. Second, we must convince decision makers of the advantages of transitioning to M2H or M2M, taking the steps necessary to adapt their processes to the new mode of communication. We should identify prototype decision makers for initial transition in order to establish models for similar decision makers. For example, a candidate F-16 unit should make the transition and set procedures for other F‑16 units to follow. AFW should centrally monitor these efforts, not only to assist if problems occur but also to determine when it can move weather technicians to other tasks and locations, at which time AFW must replace their expertise and availability to answer questions with online information, a centralized call center, and/or traveling capability.
The move from product-centric to information-centric forecasting will require a major revision of AFW’s instructions and training syllabi as they relate to forecast tailoring. This represents a significant change in AFW culture, in which forecast tailoring has served as the central justification for military weather forces. Today, regional operational weather squadrons perform some functions in an information-centric manner insofar as they issue regional products related to all missions and provide the basis for mission-tailored products. More weather technicians must switch focus from mission to weather. For example, a technician at a weather flight would no longer produce a series of mission-tailored flight weather briefings (DOD Form 175-1) for C-130 intratheater supply missions in Iraq since automated forecast-tailoring software would generate those products, based on the crews’ request. Instead, the weather technician, probably at an operational weather squadron working in a team environment, would concentrate on accurately forecasting the temperature, winds, precipitation, turbulence, and icing associated with the cold front passing through Iraq that consequently affects all missions in that region. Technicians in weather flights would no longer generate products but would serve as “recognized experts, facilitating access to and understanding of environmental information.”25
Finally, the DOD must come to grips with multiple, conflicting sources of weather information. The Navy and Air Force have significant infrastructures dedicated to producing this information. Although overlap has decreased somewhat in the last 15 years, one agency must have authority to determine the definitive characterization of the environment valid at a given time and place. After that agency begins to answer decision makers’ requests with consistent information, it can take a hard look at the relative contributions of various overlapping inputs and cut those that fail to produce information cost-effectively, an action that may result in the consolidation of DOD centers.
The DOD’s implementation of NCW will increase connectivity at lower echelons of command and throughout non-C2 functions. The services are actively increasing the connectivity of their forces and experimenting with new tactics, techniques, and procedures to take advantage of the new capability, looking to improve their forces’ shared situational awareness and collaborative decision making.
As decision makers at all echelons become connected, they will demand more access to mission-tailored weather information via the network, without the direct involvement of a weather briefer. Given the increasing numbers of decision makers and the decreasing numbers of AFW personnel, AFW will not be able to match demand (particularly in a large contingency operation) unless it automates the forecast-tailoring process. The need for consistent information in collaborative decision making provides further impetus for automated product generation, requiring that steps be taken to increase consistency in the weather database.
Though it represents a significant change for AFW, automated forecast tailoring would remove potential human bottlenecks, allow greater detail, and increase the speed of access. To assure effectiveness, AFW must also change to information-centric forecasting, which captures human-adjusted forecasts and uncertainty estimates in databases that decision makers can access by using automated forecast-tailoring services as well as M2H and M2M interfaces.
Weather information remains important to DOD operations, but the briefers’ days are numbered. Net-centric access to weather information is the wave of the future, and AFW needs to move ahead of that wave.
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1. The Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of Force Transformation, 5 January 2005), i, http:/ /www.oft.osd.mil/library/library_files/document_ 387_NCW _Book_LowRes.pdf.
2. David S. Alberts, John J. Garstka, and Frederick P. Stein, Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority, 2nd ed., rev. (Washington, DC: CCRP Publications, February 2000), 2, http://www.dodccrp.org/files/Alberts_NCW.pdf.
3. Net-Centric Environment Joint Functional Concept, version 1.0 (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 7 April 2005), 23, http://www.dtic.mil/ futurejointwarfare/concepts/netcentric_jfc.pdf.
4. Transformation Planning Guidance (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, April 2003), 9–10, http://www.oft.osd.mil/library/library_ files/document_129_Transformation_ Planning_Guidance_ April_2003_1.pdf.
5. Net-Centric Environment Joint Functional Concept, 2.
6. Clay Wilson, Network Centric Warfare: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress, Report RL32411 (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 2 June 2004), CRS-15–19, http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL32411.pdf.
7. Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare, 50.
8. Wilson, Network Centric Warfare, CRS-22.
9. AFDD 2-9.1, Weather Operations, 3 May 2006, 8, https://www.doctrine.af.mil/afdcprivateweb/AFDD_ Page_HTML/Doctrine_Docs/afdd2-9-1.pdf.
10. Consistency is defined as “the extent to which information is free from variation or contradiction.” Net-Centric Environment Joint Functional Concept, 29.
11. AFDD 2-9.1, Weather Operations 6; and Joint Publication 3-59, Joint Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Meteorological and Oceanographic Operations, 23 March 1999, v, http://www.dtic.mil/ doctrine/jel/new_pubs/jp3_59.pdf.
12. Gen T. Michael Moseley, “CSAF’s Vector: Shaping and Transforming the Force,” 23 August 2006, http://www.af.mil/library/viewpoints/csaf.asp?id=262.
13. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, “Letter to Airmen: Air Force Smart Operations 21,” 8 March 2006, http://www.af.mil/library/ viewpoints/secaf.asp?id=219.
14. Maj Tom Blazek, Headquarters USAF/A3O-WR, to the author, personal communication, 15 September 2006.
15. Brig Gen Fred P. Lewis, “Air Force Weather: Re-engineering for Aircrews,” Flying Safety, June 1998, 9–12.
16. In the absence of a formal survey, my personal communication with Col Dennis Parnell (C-130 pilot with Air Force Special Operations Command) and Lt Col Steve Hiss (B-1 pilot) confirms discussions and interactions I’ve had over the last 20 years.
17. Characterizing the Environment Enabling Concept (Washington, DC: Headquarters USAF/A3O-W, April 2006), 10.
18. Richard C. Shirkey and Melanie Gouveia, “Weather-Impact Decision Aids: Software to Help Plan Optimal Sensor and System Performance,” Crosstalk, December 2002, http://www.stsc. hill.af.mil/ crosstalk/2002/12/shirkey.html.
19. Harry R. Glahn and David P. Ruth, “The New Digital Forecast Database of the National Weather Service,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 84, no. 2 (February 2003): 195–201, http://www.weather.gov/ndfd/resources/ bamsarticle.pdf.
20. Exploit Environmental Information in Net-Centric Operations Enabling Concept (Washington, DC: Headquarters USAF/A3O-W, January 2006), 1.
21. See The Request for Proposal for the Joint Environmental Toolkit, http://herbb.hanscom.af.mil/ esc_opps.asp?rfp=R582.
22. AFI 15-128, Air and Space Weather Operations: Roles and Responsibilities, 26 July 2004, 13–14, http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/ media/epubs/AFI15-128.pdf.
23. Ensemble forecasts combine multiple forecasts to determine a most likely answer and a range of possible answers.
24. Managing Net-Centric Environmental Data and Services Enabling Concept (Washington, DC: Headquarters USAF/A3O-W, May 2006), 1.
25. Air Force Weather Operations Functional Concept (Washington, DC: Headquarters USAF/A3, November 2005), 15.
Col Scot T. Heckman (BS, Lyndon State College; MS, Colorado State University; MA, Naval War College; MSS [Master of Strategic Studies], Air War College) is the military assistant for environmental monitoring to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration, Pentagon, Washington, DC. He has previously served on the staff of Air Force Space Command and Headquarters US Air Force. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he commanded the 36th Operations Support Squadron and the 7th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron at Andersen Air Base, Guam, supporting Pacific Command’s deterrent operations. A master meteorologist, he was director of operations during the stand-up of the 20th Operational Weather Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and led the Range Weather Flight at Cape Canaveral Air Station, supporting military, commercial, and NASA space launches. Colonel Heckman received his commission in 1986 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Lyndon State College, Vermont.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University
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