HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Space, cyber and special operations U.S. Army leaders explained how their commands are integrating capabilities to create a triad that influences future multi-domain and full-spectrum operations and provides the joint force with an enhanced capability to see, sense, stimulate, strike and assess across the spectrum.
The panel members: Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command; Lt. Gen. Maria Barrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Cyber Command; and Lt. Gen. Jon Braga, commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command participated as part of the 25th annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Aug. 9.
“There is a great expectation that the first shots in combat are going to be fired with cyber or in space. It will greatly impact the outcome and impact the battlefield,” Karbler said. “As the Space and Missile Defense commander, why wouldn’t we do this?”
Karbler said the three organizations are natural integrators who all support multiple combatant commands.
“When you look again at what the triad brings as part of integrated deterrence – being able to affect the adversary’s calculus – the triad will impact that,” he added. “Our first step is integrating across joint and multiple combatant commands and with our allies and partners.”
The symposium brought these experts together to share their thoughts and experiences in space, cyber and special operations and how the synergy of these organizations can come together to help the Joint Force and the Army face the future.
All three components are moving out on a collective framework to institutionalize and operationalize the triad. This will be accomplished through a series of experiments, exercises and engagements.
“We have to normalize the triad in exercises,” he added. “Education is a big part of it. We have to show up at exercises and make sure that the value-added of what the triad brings is recognized.”
Triad members said that they will be looking for opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities and integration during upcoming operations to show how when integrated, the triad enables effect no single component can deliver by itself.
With space, special operations and cyber all possessing unique but independent capabilities, each component can rapidly gain intelligence and attack critical vulnerabilities.
“Make no mistake about it, we are in constant contact with the adversary every single day,” Barrett said. “An adversary who seeks to weaken our strengths as a nation and undercut our strategic advantages. Part of why there is an affinity for this triad of working with space and special operations forces is because I think we do not see the world through a regional lens, we see it through a global lens.
“We need more options in the competition space,” she added. “We need to be able to pivot into crisis and have some ready options. I think this voluntary partnership is phenomenal from the standpoint of let’s figure out how to do it ourselves and produce a framework for doing this type of integration.”
Braga said this new cyber, space, special operations triad concept is not meant to replace the Nuclear Triad, but rather enhance integrated deterrence. He added that it is the commands’ professional responsibility to provide the best military advice to policy makers that will contribute to deterrence in a different way.
“The convergence of all three components will provide scalable, cost-effective and executable options for our policy makers,” Braga said. “After 20 years of sustained combat, one of the greatest lessons learned is the need to synchronize lethal and non-lethal effects through multi-domain operations.”
Because of the requirement to converge the forward presence and access of Army special operations forces Soldiers with space and cyber domains, Braga said, USASOC is working hand-in-glove with ARCYBER and SMDC.
“In the past many of our tactics, techniques and procedures were largely uncontested,” he added. “Even movements like deploying and redeploying from combat zones remained uncontested, Braga said. “That is no longer the case. We must change how we think, and how we accelerate convergence of these three capabilities to challenge our adversaries across the spectrum – from crisis, to competition, to conflict.”