The Army continues to work with each of the other services as it hones and moves forward with its multi-domain battle concept, the commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command told Army Times.
Multi-domain battle, unveiled a year ago by Gen. David Perkins, the top officer at TRADOC, forces the Army to look beyond ground warfare as it prepares to fight on an increasingly complex and unpredictable battlefield.
Whether it’s fighting the Islamic State terror group or Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the Army and the other services must prepare to fight in all domains, Perkins said. And under multi-domain battle, the Army must learn how to operate in and affect all domains in conjunction with the other services, he said.
Ultimately, as the multi-domain battle concept develops, it will transform the way the Army and the other services operate on the battlefield.
This is why it’s critical for the Army to work closely with the other services from the get go, Perkins said.
Most recently, Perkins and Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, head of Air Combat Command, are working on concepts to join the two forces and their respective spheres.
The aim is to better integrate the two services as they operate in the air and on land, as well as in cyber, space and the electromagnetic spectrum, and with their Navy counterparts at sea.
Key to that is creating a common operating picture for the two services, Perkins said.
The Air Force has traditionally focused on both friendly and enemy forces and their systems. This focus and the nature of air combat means the Air Force can disperse its forces for protection but is still capable of massing its power for offensive attacks.
Ground combat doesn’t allow for such rapid movement, Perkins said, so the two must coordinate for rapid planning as they integrate missions.
New task force
Over the past year, the Army also formed the Multi-Domain Task Force, an organization of 1,500 soldiers that is a scaled down version of the typical 4,000-soldier brigade. The task force will work as an experimental force to test tactics and methods for future formations.
“It will not look like the brigade I commanded, because those were land domains,” Perkins said.
These moves are all part of the Army’s long-term development and implementation of the multi-domain battle concept.
TRADOC staff and others have written a new version of the foundational Field Manual 3-0, focused on transforming large-scale Army operations. Forming the task force was a concurrent second step.
Future steps will involve training the doctrine the Army has developed, and then redefining problems and experimenting with how multi-domain battle is conducted.
The tangible aspects of this concept will emerge over time, including developing equipment that enhances or changes capabilities. The same evolution will take place at Army facilities so that a training rotation will include not just rotations to combat training centers but also in-house cyber and simulation training.
“Part of it is boots in the dirt,” Perkins said. “Other parts are virtual, and we have to develop facilities and training and leader development.”
Changes that took place decades ago as the Army realigned itself to fight the Cold War threat after Vietnam will also happen to today’s formations.
“The Army 10 years from now will not be organized like the Army is today,” Perkins said. “Very much of that is going to be a joint effort, a joint activity.”
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.