WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three Army leaders detail how their commands are integrating capabilities to influence future multidomain and full-spectrum operations.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command; Lt. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, spoke during the Association of U.S. Army’s Warriors Corner event –“Special Operations, Space, and Cyber Operations: A Modern-Day Triad” – in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11.
They discussed how their commands provide the joint force with an enhanced capability to see, sense, stimulate, strike and assess across spectrums of conflict.
“Two years ago, if we were doing an exercise and we were doing our mission analysis and running up to the exercise, we never would have thought about how we organize space, cyber and SOF. Now, it’s automatic,’ Karbler said. “Mission analysis within my team is how are we leveraging the triad capabilities as part of our mission analysis? That is at the forefront now where as two years ago, we did not necessarily think that way. How does intel integrate the intel enterprise to get after the multidomain or multi-capability approach we all bring?
“We might have cobbled it together along the way, but now it’s really a part of the formal mission analysis,” he added.
Karbler said traditional missile defense has morphed into a discussion about “left-of-launch,” which refers to the ability to disrupt, delay, deceive, or disintegrate adversary missile capability before that missile or aircraft launches.
He said they are exploring the concept of an exercise aimed at “left-of-launch” capabilities with U.S. Space Command called the Missile Defeat Effects Coordinator. He added that missile defeat combines traditional Army integrated air and missile defense as well as left-of-launch capabilities.
“You can imagine now with the Triad that we have the capability and the capacity to really get after the left-of-launch capabilities,” Karbler said. “The Triad is really nothing more complicated than combined arms, but using our capabilities, accesses and abilities to do things during pre-crisis operations as we are looking at active campaigns and being able to provide these capabilities early on.”
Karbler said when 1st Space Brigade Soldiers are operating with their SOF and cyber counterparts they are gaining access that a 1st Space Brigade Soldier normally would not have. But together, they are getting into areas that are advantageous to them and disadvantageous to the adversary.
“My space operators are able to do exquisite operational preparation of the environment on adversary capabilities,” Karbler said. “We couldn’t do that if we didn’t necessarily have the access that SOF or cyber are gating us. We are able to take that operational preparation environment and take that information and data, get it across a pretty robust federated intel community with great support and better refine the intel product that, if needed, during crisis operations we can put into effect.”
Braga said he foresees the Triad being leveraged for irregular warfare options, flexible deterrents and flexible response options for the joint warfighter. He said the Triad has to work together, experiment together and learn together.
“The character of war is changing,” Braga said. “I would also say the nature of deterrence is changing. The scale and scope of today’s threat has expanded and this is a different kind of Triad.”
Braga said collectively, the Triad conducted seven experiments last year, and they will conduct more than 14 next year to identify gaps in capabilities, equipment, and tactics, techniques and procedures. He also described three key mission threads they sought to game out with 89 partners across interagency, joint and international partners.
The first is multidomain operational preparation of the environment. The second is enabling network access from either the human dimension, the cyber realm or the space layer and the third is defeating enemy networks.
“Together, we have an outsized impact against the adversary’s capabilities when you’re talking about their capabilities in SOF, space and cyber, which is why it’s inherent we have to work together, why we’re experimenting together, we’re learning together,” Braga said. “Again, we’re changing it from the form and function of equipment to how we interoperate downrange.”
Barrett said the experimentation approach needs to anticipate operating in a contested environment and will include scenarios such as examining what disconnected cyberspace operations look like. She added that ARCYBER could help inform where threats and messages are coming from to inform those efforts.
“We’re participating in a lot of exercises and experimentation for those types of scenarios,” she said. “What I’m going to tell is: where is it coming from, how is it coming, how is it being delivered, who is doing it, is it automated, and can we target it depending on what the operation is and what kind of effect we’re trying to have.
“This is at the layer that becomes ones and zeros at some point and we can give you that feedback in terms of to shape what it is that you’re doing,” she added. “I call this structured collaboration. It is structured because we do plan what it is that we’re going to be doing in advance and what types of innovation we want to do.”