Lessons from the desert

Steve LeSueur

Probably more than any other organization, the military holds up the mirror to judge its own performance. The lives of U.S. troops depend on it.

In Iraq, the Pentagon embedded 35 joint staff officers with U.S. troops to observe operations and compile lessons learned for future wars. Although the United States overwhelmed Iraqi forces in a swift and easy victory, the lessons-learned team still identified crucial areas where the military fell short and needs to improve.

Staff Writer Joab Jackson was present when Army Brig. Gen. Robert Cone, director of the Joint Forces Command's Joint Center for Lessons Learned, briefed reporters this month on initial lessons learned from the conflict. While Cone's team looked at a wide range of operations and activities, it's clear the Pentagon will be looking to bolster its technological capabilities in several key areas as it moves to address weaknesses and enhance its strengths.

"We've seen tremendous potential in what these things can do," Cone said about the information technologies that have become an integral part of the network-centric soldier. "But we've got a long way to go to tie this network together, and get the right information to the right guy at the right time."

Joab's feature story on page 14 about the lessons learned from Iraq provides a good glimpse at how the services are planning to get there.

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