If you need about two hours of time to fill this weekend, then I would encourage you to take a look at a video from this past week’s AUSA 2016 conference. Specifically, the Army rolled out their new warfighting approach — multi-domain battle. Rather than give you a weekend reading, instead, here is a weekend watching. It is long — about 2 hours. Most of those two hours are consumed by each of the service and coalition representatives giving their impression of multi-domain matters. If you do not have two hours to spare, at least watch the Marine Corps Commandant, General Neller’s comments. I think he nails it in terms of recognizing how our frame of reference viewing warfare has to change to adapt to current and potential challenges. He captures the essence of future fight challenges saying “We have not had to fight to get to the fight” (about 1:14 into discussion).
In other words, there is a real risk in our defense force having been conditioned to fight against a foe who is resilient, yet minimally equipped and trained. We have been fighting an adversary trained an equipped with rudimentary doctrine and materiel. Were we to face a more seriously trained and equipped adversary, like that of a state competitor, we would be facing an altogether different military challenge. Consequently, our paradigm of thinking about waging warfare must shift from anecdotal frames of reference from Iraq and Afghanistan to forcible entry operations of 1940s and 1950s. That is an entirely different contextual experience than our force is accustomed to. It is an entirely different contextual experience than our country is familiar with
In addition to the AUSA panel discussion, I would encourage spending some time this weekend thinking about the following scene setting contexts. Maybe next week I will share a lengthy reading of some historical context. Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia. It is a useful case study to look at how a focus on one way of warfare overlooks environmental considerations, specifically the human factor. Sometimes the enemy does not fight the way we want or expect. And, the popular motivations are not as nominal as one might initially think them to be. Anyway, enjoy the weekend.
AUSA Panel Discussion on Multi-domain Battle
Under Secretary Navy Janine Davidson abridged thoughts
Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson comments on futility of A2/AD terminology
For some counterpoints about multi-domain warfare and where the Joint force might be heading see