JOINT BASE LANGLEY EUSTIS, Va. (June 16, 2017) — Senior leaders from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command continued the Multi-Domain Battle discussion during the Association of the United States Army’s 35th annual Virginia Colonial Professional Forum at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, June 14 and 15.
During the forum, local AUSA chapter members, along with industry representatives and the military met at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business to learn more about “Innovation and Collaboration: Keys to Modernizing for Multi-Domain Battle.”
Gen. David Perkins, TRADOC commanding general, began his keynote explaining the relationship between doctrine and concepts, noting that although the two are tied together, they serve different purposes.
“Doctrine is how you run the Army with the organization, materiel and training that you have today,” Perkins said. “Concepts, on the other hand, help you change the Army for the future.”
Through his discussion of Army concepts – both past and present, the commanding general of the “architect of the Army” explained the need for Multi-Domain Battle is based on the adversaries’ study of U.S. doctrine.
Since Desert Storm, the Army has had to cover down on a full range of military operations – from the Global War on Terrorism, to Iraq and Afghanistan, which has allowed time for adversaries to focus on the Army’s ability to conduct joint combined arms maneuver, Perkins said.
“And so what happened is — our adversaries, and potential adversaries, started going to school on us … and they’ve been going to school on us for decades,” he said.
These adversaries, Perkins explained, have drawn three lessons from studying U.S. forces and doctrine: They are aiming to separate U.S. capabilities by domain; keep U.S. and coalition members out of the area of operations; and prevent the U.S. from being able to maneuver. However, Multi-Domain Battle aims to address these challenges by operating across all domains to provide multiple dilemmas to adversaries.
“What we want to do is look through all the domains – air, maritime, space, cyber and land – and at a point in time of our choosing, we want to get what we call temporary domain superiority,” Perkins said.
In order to achieve “windows of domain superiority,” the Army must understand what the future operational environment will look like. TRADOC’s G-2 (Intelligence) continued the Multi-Domain Battle discussion with the next presentation by looking to the future operational environment, trends and the potential threat technologies the U.S. may face across the domains.
“There’s tremendous ambiguity as we look out into the future, but there are some things and some forecasts that we can actually draw upon,” said Jerry Leverich, TRADOC G-2. Leverich told the audience about a number of “potential game-changers” for the near, mid and far-term, including chemical weapons, robotics, enhanced directed kinetic energy weapons and the internet of things.
“It’s a no-brainer that technology will influence the character of future conflict and war,” Leverich said. “How soon that comes to bear presents a challenge for us; however, minimizing the potential for surprise is one of the biggest things we’re trying to do.”
Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, acting director of TRADOC’s Army Capability Integration Center, acknowledged that although the future is unpredictable, the Army must continue think clearly about the future of armed conflict.
“The character of war will change, and therefore, the way you organize your forces must change, and the way you bring in new technology and weapons systems must change in order to be prepared.”
Dyess emphasized the urgency to modernize the force, noting the challenge between addressing current and future readiness.
“Our challenge is to ensure that we articulate future risks … because we have to say that future readiness – with the passage of time – is current readiness, and if you do not prepare for the future, you’re going to be behind,” Dyess said.
Brig. Gen. Mark Odom, director of ARCIC’s Concept Development and Learning Directorate, discussed TRADOC’s next Capabilities Information Exchange, a partnership between TRADOC and industry, which is scheduled for Aug. 15 and 16 on Fort Eustis, Virginia. During the CIE, members of industry will have an opportunity to conduct a focused discussion with experts and ask specific questions regarding technology requirements.
Day 2 of the forum began with a presentation from Brig. Gen. David Komar, director of ARCIC’s Capability Developments Directorate, who provided an overview of the Future Force Development Strategy. The strategy not only discusses what capabilities the Army will need to sustain overmatch against the enemy, but how the force plans to achieve these objectives through modernization.
Additional highlights from TRADOC leaders included a presentation on the increase in Army end strength, led by Dave Paschal, acting deputy for TRADOC G-37 (Training), as well as a panel discussion on contracting, where Ellen Helmerson, deputy chief of staff for TRADOC G-8 (Resource Management), provided her thoughts on innovation and collaboration with contracting activities and industry.
Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, TRADOC deputy commanding general and chief of staff, brought the forum to a close with an overview of the command’s priorities and highlights on several ongoing initiatives, which focused more on the “people side of the equation.” These initiatives included updates on Soldier 2020, talent management, Army University and NCO 2020.
“We owe it to our Soldiers, and we owe it to our nation to make sure we overmatch the enemy in terms of the quality of our people,” MacFarland said.
To learn more about Multi-Domain Battle, click here.