The Complexity of Multi-Domain Operations

Air Force F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, sits on the ramp at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base October 7, 2016. (SMSgt Ralph Branson)

Air Force F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, sits on the ramp at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base October 7, 2016. (SMSgt Ralph Branson)

January 15, 2018 | Source: National Defense, nationaldefensemagazine.org, 28 November 2017, Hawk Carlisle

For the U.S. military to maintain its status as the greatest fighting force in the world, it must continue to learn and understand the multi-domain battlespace and significantly improve its operations across the entire range of military activity.

It is widely believed that the U.S. military is exceptional and by far the best in the world, but adversaries are catching up. The key to maintaining its advantage and deterring or defeating its enemies rests in its ability to simultaneously operate through and across all domains. It must present foes with multiple dilemmas for which they have no answer and no way to predict what will happen next.

Potential adversaries are making significant improvements in cyber warfare in order to minimize traditional U.S. dominance in all the other domains. The United States must become the best in cyber just as it has mastered all the other domains.

This will require significant advancements by the U.S. defense industrial base and the U.S. military in new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous and semi-autonomous systems, quantum computing and big data, to name a few. Also, just as it understands and works to gain and maintain space, air, land and naval superiority, it must also understand and work to gain and maintain superiority across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

The U.S. military has been nothing short of spectacular and its command and control of its forces has continually improved. The beginnings of multi-domain operations can be seen on today’s battlefields. For example, air operations centers have made significant advancements to fuse space, air and some nascent cyber effects to support the joint fight.