The Air Force may soon join the Army in developing new
capabilities for multi-domain battle, senior leaders say, just a few
weeks after Army and Marine Corps leaders came together to publish
an outline on future combat operations.
In tomorrow's complex
battlefield, the Army will need stronger air defense systems to
counter emerging anti-access/anti-denial capabilities and free up
airspace for friendly aircraft, said Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess, acting
director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.
Force could then fly unimpeded during combat operations and provide
close-air support to help ground troops move freely in contested
"We would work on the air defense and the Air Force
would be able to come in and conduct the missions that they need to
conduct," Dyess said, while speaking Monday at the Association of
the United States Army's Global Force Symposium. "It's a symbiotic
relationship and we all need to work together to achieve the
Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess, acting director of the Army Capabilities
Integration Center, talks about the multi-domain battle concept
during a panel discussion at the Association of the United States
Army's global force symposium in Huntsville, Alabama on
March 13, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sean Kimmons)
According to Dyess, the Air Force is "very close" to
collaborating with the Army on the multi-domain battle concept in
preparation for future warfare, which planners predict will involve
Soldiers fighting in dense urban areas against near-peer enemies.
In February 2017, the Army and Marine Corps published a white
paper providing an overview of what ground troops may face in
2025-2040. In addition to discussing other potential threats, the
four-page document states that Russia and China continue to improve
and export integrated air defense systems, which can allow ground
forces to establish air superiority on their own.
paper also states that ideas expressed in it will likely be refined
and expanded based on input from the other services.
has got to be a joint fight from the beginning," Dyess said. "There
is some urgency to this. We cannot afford as a nation to wait 10
years to develop this concept."
At AUSA's annual meeting in
October, the Army officially announced the multi-domain battle
concept, which is meant to broaden how the service fights on land --
sometimes with the assistance of air assets -- and allow for the
incorporation of capabilities in the maritime and cyber domains.
Also during the meeting, leaders representing all services
participated in a panel discussion, expressing their support of the
Recently, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David
Goldfein rolled out a new concept called multi-domain command and
control, which is intended to improve situational awareness, rapid
decision making and employment of Air Force assets in future
U.S. Army Pacific has also been working directly with the joint
Pacific Command, headed by Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., to finalize
exercises to test and develop new multi-domain capabilities.
"Multi-domain battle is an evolution, not a revolution," Dyess said.
"It's a natural evolution of combined arms designed to meet
challenges of the 21st century."
Army Training and Doctrine
Command has been developing the multi-domain concept and is now
incorporating aspects of it into the Army Doctrine Publication 3-0,
which outlines a common operational concept for Army forces, he
Improving interoperability with coalition partners is
also a key part, he said, since they could support the U.S. Army
against near-peer enemies. Last year, he noted, British, Australian
and Italian military members, among other foreign troops, took part
in an Army Warfighting Assessment at Fort Bliss, Texas, to test new
capabilities like robotics and autonomous weapons systems.
A Patriot missile leaves the launcher tube on its way to
intercept a target. The Army needs more air defense capabilities for
the future multi-domain battle, said Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess, acting
director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center. He spoke
during the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama on
March 13, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Randall Jackson,
10th AAMDC Public Affairs)
"We would not fight on the future battlefield without
allies," he said. "It will be joint, it will be a coalition,
it will be intergovernmental."
Soldiers are also
doing their part in envisioning future fighting
capabilities, said Paul Rogers, director of the Army Tank
Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or
Through Soldier innovation workshops, he said, young NCOs
are plucked from their units to team up with creative design
students from an industrial design college in Detroit to
draw up capabilities the Soldiers would like to see in
A dozen NCOs and up to 20 designers typically
come up with nearly 300 advanced concepts over a 2 1/2-day
workshop, he said Monday at the symposium.
driven by the NCOs. They quickly take control and run the
workshop, and it's their outbrief that we get after two and
a half days," he said, adding that they've done almost 10
workshops so far. "It's really a great way for us to grab
innovation from the Soldier."
In the near future,
Army leaders plan to delve deeper and identify gaps in the
capabilities that may be needed to fight in a multi-domain
environment. At an event slated for August, specific gaps
will then be addressed to industry partners, allowing them
to hone in on their efforts, according to Dyess.
Examining capabilities in areas where the U.S. military has
been dominant, like air supremacy, is also an important step
in this process.
"We don't want to be surprised on
the future battlefield," he said. "If we're surprised on the
future battlefield, that means Soldiers, Marines, Airmen are
going to be killed. In order to not be surprised, we have to
question the assumptions that we have."
By U.S. Army Sean Kimmons
Army News Service
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