Acting Director Major General Robert “Bo” Dyess’ Comments:
For centuries military strategists and practitioners understood that a fundamental conception of war was necessary to inform military thinking to prepare for future conflicts. An examination of the history shows many examples of leaders who understood this necessity. For example, in 1864, Prussia and Austria-Hungary went to war with Denmark over the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein. Unlike previous European conflicts, the war with Denmark was conducted within a conceptual framework created by the Prussian Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. Helmut von Moltke led the Prussians to victory against Danish forces that were ensconced in an earlier conception of war, one rooted in early nineteenth century. Following Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. military attributed much of its success to the efficacy of the AirLand Battle concept. This week’s reading underscores the importance of concepts in thinking about the problem of future war and providing a method for militaries to grow and solidify their understanding of what future combat may look like. This can often be the difference between success and failure on the battlefield. As General Donn Starry stated in his Commander’s Note #3, 20 Feb 1979: “A concept is an idea, a thought, a general notion. In its broadest sense a concept describes what is to be done; in its more specific sense it can be used to describe how something is done.” Concepts provide the intellectual foundation and framework for future force development.
In his 2001 essay, “That Elusive Operational Concept,” Brigadier General (Retired) David Fastabend, former ARCIC Concept Development and Learning Directorate Director, analyzes concept development. Fastabend’s argues that concepts have common characteristics. Characteristics that concepts should possess:
To develop a clear articulation of how the future Army will fight, Fastabend stressed the importance of overcoming challenges to concept development:
The Army modernizes and develops the future Army using the Think-Learn-Analyze-Implement paradigm. While doctrine explains how current Army forces operate and guides leaders and Soldiers in the conduct of training and operations, concepts describe how commanders might employ future capabilities against anticipated threats to accomplish missions. Concepts are the result of Army leaders thinking about the problem of future warfare to illustrate how future joint and Army forces may operate, describe the capabilities required to carry out the range of military operations against adversaries in the expected operational environment, and explain how a commander might employ these capabilities to achieve desired effects and objectives. Concept development is informed by known shortfalls; technology, threats, technologies, missions, and lessons learned from previous operations, experimentation, and research. The absence of a well-developed concept has potential to adversely affect the Army’s ability to innovate, resource, and prepare for the future.
As the Army develops the Multi-Domain Battle concept leaders must be mindful that the concept requires broad debate and the expression of new ideas and the consideration of old ideas used in new ways. Leaders must consider when and who will debate the ideas and ensure the debates do not turn into parochial arguments. Leaders must strive for clarity and simplicity while capturing the complexity of war. Leaders must refine concepts through experimentation and testing to validate ideas in realistic and challenging. Leaders must ensure concepts allow for a grounded projection into the future to ensure we can meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Lastly, leaders must remember that concept development is not completed overnight. The development of AirLand Battle was years in the making. Given that DOTMLPF solutions are derived from concepts the Army doesn't have to get it completely right but it does have to be more right than our enemies.
See the following webpage for MDB information, ideas, articles, and videos related to Multi-Domain Battle: http://www.tradoc.army.mil/MultiDomainBattle/index.asp
To contribute to the Multi-Domain Battle Dialogue: #MultiDomainBattle
How to develop and sustain a high degree of situational understanding while operating in complex environments against determined, adaptive enemy organizations.
How does the Army influence the security environment and engage key actors and local/regional forces in order to consolidate gains and achieve sustainable security outcomes in support of Geographic Combatant Commands and Joint requirements.
How to maintain an agile institutional Army that ensures combat effectiveness of the total force, supports other services, fulfills DoD and other agencies' requirements, ensures quality of life for Soldiers and families, and possesses the capability to surge (mobilize) or expand (strategic reserve) the active Army.
How to prevent, reduce, eliminate, and mitigate the use and effects of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives (CBRNE) threats and hazards on friendly forces and civilian populations.
How to operate across multiple domains and with multiple partners to defend the homeland and mitigate the effects of attacks and disasters. Recently updated.
How to assure uninterrupted access to critical communications and information links (satellite communications [SATCOM], positioning, navigation, and timing [PNT], and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR]) across a multi-domain architecture when operating in a contested, congested, and competitive operating environment.
How to train Soldiers, leaders and units to ensure they are prepared to accomplish the mission across the range of military operations while operating in complex environments against determined, adaptive enemy organizations.
How to develop resilient Soldiers, adaptive leaders, and cohesive teams committed to the Army professional ethic that are capable of accomplishing the mission in environments of uncertainty and persistent danger.
How to develop agile, adaptive, and innovative leaders who thrive in conditions of uncertainty and chaos and are capable of visualizing, describing, directing, and leading and assessing operations in complex environments and against adaptive enemies.
How to conduct effective air-ground combined arms reconnaissance and security operations to develop the situation rapidly in close contact with the enemy and civilian populations.
How does the Army deploy and project forces, conduct forcible and early entry, and set conditions across multiple domains to rapidly transition to offensive operations to ensure access and seize the initiative.
How do Army forces establish and maintain security across wide areas (wide area security) and across multiple domains to protect forces, populations, infrastructure, and activities necessary to shape security environments, consolidate gains, and set conditions for achieving policy goals.
How to integrate joint, interorganizational, and multinational partner capabilities and campaigns to ensure unity of effort and accomplish missions across the range of military operations.
How to conduct combined arms air-ground maneuver to defeat enemy organizations and accomplish missions in complex operational environments.
How to set the theater, provide strategic agility to the joint force, and maintain freedom of movement and action during sustained and high tempo operations at the end of extended lines of communication in austere environments.
How to employ cross-domain fires to defeat the enemy and preserve freedom of action across the range of military operations (ROMO).
How to understand, visualize, describe, and direct operations consistent with the philosophy of mission command to seize the initiative over the enemy and accomplish the mission across the range of military operations.
How to design Army formations capable of rapidly deploying and conducting operations for ample duration and in sufficient scale to accomplish the mission.
Continuous feedback, collaboration, and teamwork are keys to the success of the Campaign of Learning and driving innovation in the Army. Please use the Army Warfighting Challenges as the framework to contribute your ideas and recommendations with respect to this topic to improve our ability to innovate as we develop the current and future force.
The Army Warfighting Challenges (AWFC) framework may be accessed here:
Please contribute to the Army Warfighting Challenges.
For previous weekly readings go to: ARCIC Professional Readings
All the best,