With multi-domain concept, Army aims for 'windows of superiority'

By Sean KimmonsNovember 14, 2016

Searching for windows of opportunity with multi-domain tactics
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Gen. David Perkins, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, addresses a crowd during an Association of the U.S. Army breakfast discussion in Arlington, Va., Nov. 9, 2016. Perkins spoke about how multi-domain tactics can be used to open up wi... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Paratroopers prepare to board a Chinook helicopter for an airborne operation
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sept. 30, 2015: Paratroopers from 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, prepare to board a 12th Combat Aviation Brigade CH-47 Chinook helicopter for an airborne operation, at Juliet Drop Zone, in Pordenone, Italy. The 173rd Airborn... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service) -- One tactic the Army is now considering as part of its drive to achieve windows of domain superiority in future battles is the strategic deployment of artillery along coastlines to sink enemy warships.

With such windows of superiority, created from a mixed use of land, air, sea, cyber and space domains, U.S. military units would maneuver freely to penetrate and defeat enemy strongholds.

"If the Army can provide capability to the maritime domain, that really starts to change the equation there," Gen. David Perkins, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, said at an Association of the U.S. Army breakfast discussion Wednesday.

This spring, U.S. Pacific Command aims to conduct a multi-domain battle exercise to test maritime missions using Army assets. U.S. Europe Command also will hold a multi-domain exercise on that continent sometime next year, according to the general.

"We're starting to put together these multi-domain battle exercises in the real domain to replicate some of these capabilities," he said.

In October, Army leaders officially announced a shift to the multi-domain battle concept, a shift that is meant to keep the service ahead of potential adversaries around the world. To guide the concept, TRADOC planners have pinpointed eight capabilities for the Army to concentrate on.

Along with cross-domain fires, the capability areas to lead the Army into the future include combat vehicles, expeditionary mission command, advanced protection, cyber electromagnetic, future vertical lift, robotics/autonomous systems, and Soldier team performance and overmatch.

With autonomous systems Perkins said, one example of achieving domain superiority would be the ability to perform breach operations without risking the safety of Soldiers.

"I want the ability to conduct an autonomous breach with robots, [and] never have a manned system in there probing for mines," he said, adding that U.S. forces could also employ an electromagnetic field to prevent enemies from interfering with the robots.

Army leaders also are looking for ways to diminish emerging anti-access/anti-denial capabilities, like long-range fires and precision munitions. That way, Soldiers would face fewer difficulties moving around contested territory.

Once inside a contested area, the U.S. military's superior ability to move quickly could allow it to land a knockout punch against an enemy.

"When the U.S. military maneuvers, that's a very difficult dilemma to deal with," Perkins said. "Our people are better trained. We can jab much better."

But overreliance on such capabilities can also present protection and sustainment challenges when those capabilities disappear. If communications go offline, for example, well-trained leaders will be needed to keep operations on the right path.

"When and if they lose communications, they'll still understand the commander's intent and can operate for periods of non-connectivity," Perkins said. "[They] have to be very comfortable not having continuous communications, yet [they must also have] a continuous understanding of the battlefield."

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