Providing a Roadmap for an MDO-Capable Army
A basic tenet of land navigation is knowing the current location and then planning safe and practical routes to get to the end point. It’s a simplified explanation, but to navigate effectively, understanding how to move is essential.
When this methodology is applied to providing the nation with an Army that possesses the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to win on an increasingly complex future battlefield, the answer is surprisingly similar. Knowing where the Army needs to be is important, but it also needs to take the correct path to arrive with the right force, at the right time.
The Army Futures Command (AFC) has the responsibility of identifying where the Army needs to be by building a force capable of conducting multi-domain operations (MDO) by the middle of the next decade. It is the role of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC’s) Combined Arms Center (CAC) to meet all of the necessary objectives to be ready to fight and win today, and also set the conditions for the MDO-dominant Army of the future. That means identifying potential capability gaps; writing the doctrine; training and educating future leaders; identifying needed materiel and facilities; and designing the organizations that will compete, fight and win against near-peer threats in large-scale combat operations (LSCO).
To ensure the Army is moving in the right direction in framing how the total Army will fight and win in future crisis and conflict, the team at CAC’s Future Force Integration Directorate (FFID) has reinvigorated TRADOC’s focus on building an MDO-capable Army. Dubbed Waypoint 2028, the effort codifies the supported and supporting relationship between TRADOC and AFC and is key to the overall success of the Army’s modernization efforts, according to Dr. Paul Reese, director of FFID.
“As an Army, we continuously review capabilities and capacity gaps that are required for our Army’s ability to execute successful operations and win,” Reese said. “The current review, undertaken by TRADOC and CAC at Fort Leavenworth, has identified key observations across the warfighting functions that we need to address to maintain our dominance in today's competitive environment.”
Steps TRADOC is currently taking to align the current force to become fully MDO-capable include:
· Providing a LSCO-capability gap study and mitigation efforts.
· Revamping Army capstone doctrine to include a rewrite of the Army operations and training manuals to support MDO.
· Building tailored organizational structures best equipped to win in competition, respond to crisis, and shape, penetrate and defeat peer threats in conflict.
Moving forward, TRADOC and CAC will deliver an Army capable of operating across multiple domains by 2028 by bringing together the best people, ideas, equipment, and facilities it will need to fight and win. These efforts include:
· Institutionalizing MDO-focused professional military education, branch training and leader development.
· Updating Army Doctrinal Publication 1, (ADP 1); rewriting FM 3-0 (Operations) to include MDO; Updating echelons above brigade (EAB) doctrine (FM 3-94, FM 3-90); publishing information advantage doctrine.
· Identifying and revamping Training Support System (TSS) modernization and facility upgrades (including combat training centers) to support the MDO force.
According to Reese, the shift to a MDO-capable force will be the most evolutionary change to the Army’s conceptual framework since the Air Land Battle construct was unveiled in the mid-1980s as the U.S. Army’s warfighting doctrine. Multi-domain operations builds on the lessons learned from Air Land Battle as well as the counterinsurgency fight that has defined Army operations since the 9/11 attack nearly 20 years ago. It acknowledges the increased complexity of the future battlefield by including operations in the information, space and cyberspace domains.
Emphasizing the significance of building an MDO-capable force, Reese stressed the importance of TRADOC working closely with the Army Futures and Concepts Center (FCC) and AFC to refine touch points and governance across the force development and design continuum. The goal is to not only assess the effectiveness of the current Army, but also deliver those capabilities to the force at the right time and speed to meet MDO objectives.
“2028 is our waypoint, a point at which we comprehensively reassess our assumptions about future warfare and adjust our investments accordingly,” Reese said. “It is key to ensuring we provide our nation with the MDO-capable force needed in the future.”