By Combat Capabilities Development Command Public AffairsFebruary 4, 2019
Technology is evolving faster than ever before and becoming a global commodity that empowers and emboldens the full spectrum of our nation's adversaries. In 2018, this idea moved beyond insight and conventional wisdom into the realm of institutional change.
War has moved more deeply into the information age, and the weapons in the fight are increasingly available as the digital world has minimized our adversaries' capability gaps. The second- and third-order effects of this change have been outlined, but not thoroughly understood; the nature and velocity of change means the challenge evolves as we study it. Our adversaries see our strengths and actions and move to create opportunities to act, which demands a new level of responsiveness and agility. Our Warfighters have long succeeded under these conditions, and exploiting short-lived windows of opportunity is a core concept of Multi-Domain Operations. Our institutions now face a similar task.
Army leaders recognized the need for disruptive institutional change and have created a new Army Command for the first time in more than 40 years. Army Futures Command, or AFC, will modernize the Army for the future, integrating the future operational environment, threat, and technologies to develop and deliver future force requirements, designing future force organizations, and delivering materiel capabilities.
CCDC has embraced this reality both institutionally and throughout our workforce. As we tackle the twin challenges of letting go of the old processes and understanding the new challenges, we have not lost focus on our mission: to discover, develop and deliver the capabilities Soldiers will need on the complex future battlefields where our nation's future will be decided. Our understanding of fundamental scientific truths continues to inform Army requirements, and the skill of our workforce continues to bring new systems from concept to design to fielded capabilities.
As we moved closer to integrating into AFC in 2018, we focused on tangible technology transitions, and an equally essential yet intangible item: effective partnerships with the other AFC and Army elements, our sister services and industry partners.
Soldier capabilities depend on output from those partnerships, and the character of these outputs must mirror the changing character of war. In the age of industrial-scale war, output was measured in the delivery of tangible objects. The information age brought forth less tangible outputs, as leaders began to see the impact of having the right information at the right time -- an impact that could create or close off opportunities as effectively as weapons that outmatched the adversary.
Today, CCDC scientists are setting the conditions for future types of warfare as-yet untested, such as algorithmic warfare conducted through the medium of artificial intelligence. The command's scientists and engineers are creating and delivering intangible innovations such as new data sets, testing procedures, development processes, machine learning code and delivery systems. These outputs will become part of AI systems that turn information Soldiers have yet to fully perceive into the knowledge they need to exploit or close a window of opportunity. These systems will then need to adapt to the changing conditions of engagement in ways unlike any Army system has ever done before.
These new systems will not stand alone, but must be integrated with industrial-age systems that still define the physical reality of the battlefield. Integration is a CCDC chartered mission, one that has expanded as access to commoditized technological capabilities has made the operational environment more complex. Threat-informed development tells us that adversaries will exploit this complexity and contest the dominance of U.S. forces across all domains to achieve their objectives, sometimes without resorting to armed conflict. This will complicate the mission of deterrence and drive further demand for responsiveness and agility across the Science & Technology community.
CCDC's ability to create, integrate and upgrade systems at the speed of relevancy is a competitive advantage over adversaries who simply buy and use technology, but who lack the sophisticated S&T team that CCDC represents. The command's extensive network of international and domestic partnerships with academia, industry, military partners and other government agencies is a competitive advantage over adversaries who lack this vital access to the global intellectual, industrial, and military communities.
CCDC is already working to address these challenges, wrapping up the first year of a thorough campaign to increase the transparency and effective use of our resources and core competencies in order to achieve the agility required to support the Army in today's contested spaces. Our Campaign Plan addresses integrated technology development and the core requirements that make it possible: people, infrastructure, business practices and communication. This plan enabled the command to quickly pivot to realigning its efforts to support the Army Modernization Priorities by restructuring portfolios, eliminating ineffective programs and spearheading new initiatives with new partners, such as the AFC Cross Functional Teams.
At the same time, CCDC understands it is the Army's steward of technologies that will become capabilities the future force requires. Therefore, we must operate across multiple time horizons. Yesterday's basic research is the foundation of the capabilities we deliver today, just as the partnerships we foster now will become the bedrock out of which we will carve capabilities for Soldiers of the future.
For that reason, CCDC is working to maintain a balance between supporting the modernization priorities that will make the force of 2028 the most lethal in the world, and conducting the research necessary to develop technologies that will empower the force of 2040 and beyond.
Download our "Support to Army Modernization - 2018 Edition" below for examples of CCDC technology transitions that are weighted toward the Modernization Priorities because those needs are of immediate importance to our nation's Soldiers, our partners and stakeholders. The most advanced capabilities require a long development process, and we will report on these success as we move scientific discovery from a technology under development to a capability that empowers, unburdens and protects Soldiers.