The Army Warfighting Challenges are the Army’s enduring problems, the solutions to which improve combat effectiveness for the current and future force. The AWFCs are important to the Army because they integrate across warfighting functions (mission command, intelligence, movement and maneuver, fires, engagement, maneuver support and protection, and sustainment) to help understand how units and leaders combine capabilities to accomplish the mission.
While each individual AWFC provides a means to integrate across warfighting functions, the Army requires a tool to integrate across AWFCs in order to establish priorities for resourcing, learning, and science and technology activities. The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s integrating tool to support prioritization across AWFCs is the AWFC Capabilities-based Assessment – the Capabilities Needs Analysis.
Specifically, the CNA prioritizes the Army’s
1) fielded and programmed doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, facility and policy capability solutions to sustain in the Program Objective Memorandum,
2) capability gaps incurring unacceptable risk to mission accomplishment, and
3) potential DOTMLPF-P capability solutions to solve or mitigate the critical capability gaps. This last solution set helps focus capability development learning activities and science and technology investments to improve combat effectiveness for the current and future force.
From the AWFCs, the Army Operating Concept establishes the first-order required capabilities (see Appendix B of the AOC), which describe what the Army must be able to do in order to win in a complex world. Like the AWFCs, these required capabilities cut across warfighting functions to ensure the Army understands and communicates how the combat formations implement the warfighting functions’ required capabilities in accomplishing various missions. Though enduring, in the context of the AOC, the solutions to the AWFCs ensure future Army forces, as part of joint, inter-organizational, and multinational efforts, can operate to accomplish campaign objectives and protect U.S. national interests.
Therefore, to identify solutions to the AWFCs the first step of the CBA process (see Figure 1 for the general approach for a CBA) is to decompose the required capabilities into more definitive tasks, conditions and standards required by formations for mission accomplishment in Defense Planning Guidance compliant scenarios.
The CNA uses six approved scenarios that span the range of military operations, exercise all of the AWFCs, present multiple threat types, and include a comprehensive range of environmental conditions and all phases of joint operations. CNA uses the Modular Force 2020 formations as the basis to determine where these formations fall short in accomplishing their assigned tasks in each of the scenarios.
Understanding how the future Army conducts tasks in the range of conditions and to new and more challenging standards is the first step in identifying capability gaps of our combat formations. Trained CNA analysts tie in to Campaign of Learning events (e.g. experimentation’s Unified Challenge, wargaming’s Unified Quest) to understand how the concepts community envisions the future force operating.
This allows the analysts to either capture the gaps (the inability to accomplish a task or set of tasks) identified by the experiment or wargame, or use the gained understanding of how the future force operates to identify gaps through a more traditional CBA effort. Additionally, the CNA analysts can make better judgments on any potential mitigating capability solutions to the critical gaps. During this process of identifying gaps and potential solutions, the analysts determine which gaps’ risk levels are unacceptable and which solutions mitigate the gaps in the most feasible manner. These assessments enable CNA’s prioritization.
The CNA’s prioritization efforts within and across AWFCs then support the AWFC analytical framework consisting of the challenge’s problem statement, running estimate, learning demands, integrated learning plan, and interim solution strategies. The CNA helps establish the problem’s
1) most important required capabilities,
2) the current and programmed force’s most important assets to sustain in the POM,
3) the critical capability gaps to inform learning demands,
4) a focus for developing the integrated learning plans,
5) and an assessment of potential solutions to gaps across the near, mid, and far timeframes to support establishing interim solution strategies
Army Capabilities Integration Center and Centers of Excellence leads brief the products of the AWFC analytical framework at the quarterly Capabilities Integration Enterprise Forums to provide the Capabilities Development community the status of each AWFC.
These venues allow for greater collaboration across the Army to increase learning and gain a greater appreciation of the future force’s most important challenges. While providing prioritization support to the AWFC leads, the CNA community captures the recommendations from the CIEF and post-event collaborative efforts to further refine the scope of analysis in the CNA.
The greatest advantage of the current construct of the CNA and the actions spawning from the CIEFs and other learning venues is a continuous update to the body of knowledge and analysis contained in the CNA database. Though TRADOC continues to execute the CNA on an annual basis, the community has broadened the analysis’ aperture to capture more learning events in real time. This establishes a continuous CBA update to support the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System and the Department’s planning, programing, budget and execution processes.