More than 60 aircraft and 300 personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps participated in 18th Wing’s first WestPac Rumrunner exercise January 10. In addition to air tactics and joint interoperability, Airmen were tasked with ensuring continuous airpower by using tactics derived from Pacific Air Force’s agile combat employment concept of operations, or ACE.
Last year, the Air Force announced it was moving the 24th Air Force, which specializes in cyber operations, and the service’s Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command to the Air Combat Command. This spring, the Air Combat Command is working on the merger of those cyber components with its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities from the 25th Air Force and integrating cyber into its operations.
The move, which started eight months ago, signifies a shift in the Air Force’s emphasis on putting cyber into everyday operations, said Col. Chad Raduege, USAF, who has been nominated for appointment to brigadier general, director of cyberspace and information dominance, Air Combat Command (ACC).
In an era of complex geopolitics of peer and near-peer adversaries racing to advance electronic warfare (EW), the U.S. Marine Corps, like the other services, is centering on improving its signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare operations. The service is examining its training and how it integrates the capabilities into its battalions.
The Marine Corps’ efforts in so-called SIGINT and EW was the focus of this year’s Signals Intelligence Day held on Capitol Hill and organized by the Association of Old Crows Advocacy’s Signals Intelligence Industry Partnership.
The Army is transforming its Cyber Command to meet the challenges of a multidomain battlefield. Just over eight years old, the command, located at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, will evolve by 2028 into something possibly called the Army Information Warfare Operations Command, which will fully incorporate cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.
For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. military will be adding another service to its organization, the Space Force. The move becomes official with the signing of the S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by the president later today, announced Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, USA. The top two military leaders briefed the press at the Pentagon and broadcasted the event online December 20.
The U.S. military is aggressively pursuing the ability to function in any domain, across the realms of sea, land, air, space and cyber, with Joint all-domain command and control enabling decision-making and operations.
For part of the Air Force’s contribution, the service will look to its Shadow Operations Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, as the place where it will validate the tactics needed for multidomain operations, including Joint all-domain command and control, Air Force leaders explained at recent AFCEA International events.
On December 1, the service connected key sensors to the center, activating initial existing capabilities, leaders announced recently.
The Army is two years into its aggressive front to modernize and shift to be a more agile, lethal force, moving away from counterinsurgency warfare. One of the service’s major priorities as part of that modernization effort is to create an integrated tactical network that can support soldiers fighting anywhere at anytime against near-peer adversaries in a contested environment, explained Maj. Gen.
When it comes to acquisition reforms, many know of the talent management, leader development and other transaction authority endeavors, but in this column I want to highlight a lesser-known effort, Army Directive 2018-26 (Enabling Modernization Through the Management of Intellectual Property), which will be incorporated into a number of other Army regulations covering acquisition, technology transfer and integrated product support.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet is facing myriad challenges from multiple nations as it seeks to maintain force superiority in the Indo-Pacific area of operations (AOR). What once was science fiction is now science fact, and technology leaps that used to be the purview of the United States now are blossoming in nations with an eye on global hegemony.
The deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, USN, described the situation the fleet faces in the final luncheon address at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, held November 19-21 in Honolulu. While the vast size of the Indo-Pacific AOR has not changed, the environment has shifted dramatically.
Enabling military information systems to interoperate in a coalition environment will take more than just technologies that shake hands easily. Countries with diverse opinions of their ad-hoc partners will complicate already difficult logistics during even simple operations.
Trust lies at the heart of coalition interoperability, offered keynote panelists opening the third day of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, being held November 19-21 in Honolulu. Participants represented four of the Five Eyes nations from three continents as they explored the issues inhibiting effective coalitions.
The U.S. Coast Guard has increased its activities across the Pacific theater, including a national security cutter deployed under the control of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet. Concurrent with these efforts are increased efforts in cyberspace, with a special focus on personnel.
These points were emphasized by Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, at the keynote breakfast opening day 2 of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 being held November 19-21 in Honolulu. Adm. Lunday described an expanding mission that includes serving the maritime security needs of small Pacific nations.
The future of the military is built around usable information, and the future of that information lies in innovation. Industry and government both understand these points and are moving to accommodate them, but their work still is far from complete.
Panelists exploring the Defense Department’s digital modernization gathered on the first day of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 in Honolulu November 19-21. They cited several hurdles to be overcome—some technical, others basic. “Data is good, but it’s useless until you can analyze it to make it useful,” said Adm. Dick Macke, USN (Ret.). And making data useful will be the key to prevailing in future confrontations.
The ability to fight and win across any battlespace of air, land, sea, space or cyber is a necessary component of any successful future campaign, U.S. military leaders have indicated. And the ability to operate adroitly in such a manner needs to come straight from the top, from its leadership. However, the complexity inherent to multidomain operations will require tomorrow’s leaders to be more skillful than in any previous era, asserted Gen. Paul Funk, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Gen. Funk took over as the Command’s 17th leader in June.
Multidomain operations (MDO) are not new for the U.S. military’s amphibious force. The Marine Corps approach of maneuver warfare “easily accommodates multidomain operations,” claimed Lt. Gen. Robert Hedelund, USMC, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and commanding general, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. “In fact, it is central to that requirement.”
The United States and NATO are facing greater threats from the Russian Federation, and a growing interest from China, in the waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic, warned Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, USN, who spoke Tuesday at AFCEA International and IEEE’s MILCOM conference in Norfolk, Virginia.
The dual-hatted commander oversees both the U.S. Navy’s Second Fleet and NATO’s new Joint Force Command Norfolk. To combat rising threats and provide stability, both commands must improve their operational abilities in these northern waters, he said.
More crisis points are challenging U.S. goals in the Indo-Pacific region, and the combined command in charge of that vast theater is gathering resources and partners to maintain an effective military and diplomatic presence against rivals and other threats to peace and security. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is building new coalitions, acquiring innovative technologies and adding greater capabilities while continuing to carry out its mission.
Operating across the great distances of the Indo-Pacific region requires robust communication solutions. To meet the technological demands of airmen in the region, the U.S. Air Force, and in particular the Pacific Air Forces, are considering resilient network architecture, advanced software, battlespace command and control center solutions, new high frequency capabilities, low-earth-orbit platforms and decision-making tools, among other innovative solutions.
The U.S. Army is committing to the multidomain operations (MDO) concept with a $700 million budget plan for fiscal years 2021-2025. The investment includes cyber, cloud and information warfare.
“Multidomain operations is our fighting concept, and it serves as the foundation of the Army Modernization Strategy. The MDO is how the Army supports the joint force in the rapid and continuous integration across all domains of warfare—land, sea, air, space and cyberspace—to ultimately deter, and win the fight should deterrence fail,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the audience at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.
Defender-Europe 2020, a massive, first-of-its-kind exercise to take place next spring, will test the Army’s ability to rapidly project power forward, effectively operate with other nations and engage in multidomain operations, service officials revealed at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.
On the battlefield of the future, warfighters will need to be extraordinarily interconnected to weapon systems in the air, sea, space, land and digital realms. To support operations across these multiple domains, warfighters will have to rely on advanced command and control capabilities and vigorously employ cyber defenses to its weapons and systems.