Multi-Domain Operations Is a ‘Distinctly Joint’ Warfighting Concept

Multi-Domain Operations Is a ‘Distinctly Joint’ Warfighting Concept

Photo by: AUSA

Top leaders agreed during a forum on Multi-Domain Operations, that the Army’s new warfighting concept can only succeed if it is executed in synchronization with the other services.

Participants on the panel at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., including Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific; and Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, commander of the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center, concurred that for Multi-Domain Operations to work, it will require buy-in from each of the Army’s sister services, as well as a cultural change that busts through traditional roles each service is used to playing in war.

“Multi-Domain Operations is a joint effort; the bottom line is, it’s distinctly joint,” said Wesley, who asserted the biggest problem in employing the concept will be command and control. “Coming up with a means by which you can command and control resources from all domains which are controlled across services or varying echelons will be exceedingly difficult, particularly if you want to get past episodic synchronization; it’s got to be continual.”

Brown pointed out that in each of the services “we grow up in stovepipes” and each believes its own service has the solution. He questioned whether Multi-Domain Operations will be able to be employed without a “forcing function” or whether it can occur on its own.

“We’ll even see sometimes, senior leaders see what needs to be done but as it passes down the chain for our folks to start executing it, they go back into that stovepipe and make it too much of a competition, and that will kill it. It’s related to those cultures and how we’re brought up,” said Brown, who said the Multi-Domain Task Force pilot program he has been leading in the Indo-Pacific region for the past 18 months has had strong proponents in the two Navy admirals in charge of U.S. Pacific Command.

Multi-Domain Operations is evolving as doctrine, and Townsend is confident that a year from now, when Multi-Domain Operations 2.0 is published, it will be signed by “at least one other service.”

“The Air Force and the Marine Corps have been with us arm in arm in developing this concept from Day 1,” in the 2015 to 2016 time frame, he said, explaining that the Navy “came onboard” earlier this year and now attends the Army’s meetings, conferences and war games. Townsend explained that TRADOC has been charged by Army leadership to continue refining the concept working with the Air Force and Marine Corps. “It’s joint friendly, it’s multinational friendly right now, there are no points in there that our sister services object to.”

-Gina Cavallaro, Senior Staff Writer, AUSA