WASHINGTON — U.S. Soldiers can expect greater integration with British and Australian troops in the future battlefield as the Army focuses on bolstering interoperability with allied partners and other military branches during Project Convergence 2022, Army leaders said.
The Army hosted the all-service event to merge joint capabilities and develop speed, range and decision dominance to achieve overmatch.
After acting as observers in PC 2021, members of the British and Australian militaries actively participated in this year’s Project Convergence, the Army’s series of annual experiments held at Camp Pendleton, California in October and Fort Irwin in November.
About 500 British troops and 200 members of the Australian Defense Force took part in PC 2022, which expanded the scope, scale and complexity of the experiments of 2021. The Army and the joint force also focused on sustainment and augmenting its ability to rearm in contested environments.
Project Convergence falls under the service’s larger effort in building the Army of 2030, where the service will reorganize and develop innovative technologies to outpace near-peer adversaries in future battles.
“I believe that the Army has a huge role to play in the future war fight whether it’s in the European theater or whether it’s in the Indo-Pacific theater,” Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth said during a meeting with reporters on Nov. 9. “We obviously have a tremendous role in terms of providing sustainment. We’ve got tremendous command and control capabilities.”
Greater collaboration among each of the nation’s military branches along with partner nations will pose multiple threats for enemies, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville. Additionally, the joint capabilities showcased during the event provide combatant commanders with more options on the battlefield, he added.
Those options include mid-range and long-range precision fires and precision strike missiles that can hit targets up to 500 kilometers away.
“We're going to fight as a joint force. We're going to fight as a combined force,” McConville said. “What you want to do is present your adversary multiple dilemmas so they can't focus on one problem set.”
During this fall’s iteration, the British Army displayed its interoperability capabilities in air defense, unmanned aerial systems, fires, and electronic warfare and signals intelligence.
The Australian Army’s division and brigade command and control nodes contributed to the experiments with satellite communications and coalition network capabilities.
“[Adversaries] just can't focus on the air because it's a multi-domain fight that they're going to have to deal with,” McConville added. “And land is part of that along with space, cyber, air and sea. And what we see in the future fight is we're going to be contested in all those domains.”
About 3,000 service members, civilians and contractors took part in the first phase at Camp Pendleton, which focused on integrated offensive fires and effects experiments using video, simulation, and subject matter expert input.
Participants engaged in experiments in a maritime environment across the Indo-Pacific region with forces stationed in Japan, the Philippines, Australia and Hawaii.
The number rose to about 4,000 during the second phase at Fort Irwin, in which Soldiers deployed tactical maneuvers with simulated and live demonstrations. The scenarios focused on linking sensors to shooters and expanding the range of the joint force, said Lt. Gen. Scott McKean, Army Futures Command deputy commander.
The militaries tested about 300 new technologies including the Army’s 82-ton light maneuver support vessel, which can sail at great speeds while carrying heavy cargo, and the Air Force’s Tactical Operations Center, a lightweight, scalable, battle management system. The technologies range from autonomous aerial supply vehicles to remote combat vessels.
“It’s going to be really hard to tell what's Army, what’s Air Force, what’s Navy, and what's Marine Corps, what’s British land forces, what’s Australian,” said Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements. “The enemy won't be able to tell because we'll be so integrated and such a team that the combined effects of the all-domain force will roll right through them and that would happen today."
In addition, representatives from Canada, New Zealand and other nations acted as observers for the experiments.
During PC 2022, the U.S. Army prioritized assessing the all-service ability to connect and collaborate with allied nations. In one instance, during an Australian experiment, the joint force will used U.S. sensors to detect an adversary.
Participants transmitted the intel through the Army’s Firestorm system, an artificial intelligence-powered network which pairs sensors with shooters, to the Australian forces. After receiving the information the Australian military can then decide whether to target the enemy.