Although conflict and violence remain immutable to the nature of war, the methods through which nations pursue political goals continue to evolve and change. How the changing character of conflict manifests and what the Army must do to prepare for tomorrow requires our continued study of the profession of arms to learn how today’s world will shape tomorrow’s conflicts. Prescience isn’t perfect. As the historian Sir Michael Howard observed, “No matter how clearly one thinks, it is impossible to anticipate precisely the character of future conflict.” While we cannot predict the future; we can anticipate based on observable trends. But as Howard warned, “The key is to not be so far off the mark that it becomes impossible to adjust once that character is revealed.”
Anticipating the demands of future armed conflict requires an understanding of continuities in the nature of war as well as an appreciation for changes in the character of armed conflict. Technological advances and changes in strategic guidance, joint operating concepts, and security challenges require the U.S. Army to innovate to ensure that forces are prepared to accomplish future missions. Shifts in the geopolitical landscape caused by competition for power and resources influence the character of armed conflict. These shifts, and violence associated with them, occur more rapidly than in the past due to advances in technology, the proliferation of information, and the associated increased momentum of human interaction. As stated in the Army Operating Concept, “the character of future warfare evolves based upon assigned missions; the operational environment; emerging technologies; and changes in enemy capabilities, objectives, and will.”
In this week’s professional reading, “An Advanced Engagement Battlespace: Tactical, Operational and Strategic Implications for the Future Operational Environment” the TRADOC G2 explores the operational environment and the changing character of conflict by analyzing the implications at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. TRADOC G2’s essay contends that future conflicts, referred to as engagements in the essay, share a common premise: advances in sensing, precision attack, and decision-making will fundamentally alter the character of future conflict. The essay argues that future conflict will be compressed in time, as the speed of weapon delivery and their associated effects accelerate enormously; extended in space, in many cases to a global extent, via precision long-range strike and interconnectedness, particularly in the information environment; and far more lethal, by virtue of ubiquitous sensors, proliferated precision, high kinetic energy weapons and advanced area munitions; routinely interconnected – and contested -- across the multiple domains of air, land, sea, space and cyber. The essay further argues that future conflict will be interactive across the multiple dimensions of conflict, not only across every domain in the physical dimension, but also the cognitive dimension of information operations, and even the moral dimension of belief and values.
The essay concludes by illustrating the importance of concepts, integrating capabilities, and learning. Concepts build on what is timeless and enduring: joint and combined arms warfare will be even more potent because of the increased potential for cross-domain synergy. Future synchronization challenges will be far more daunting because cause and effect must be orchestrated across multiple domains but since Special Operations Forces, conventional forces, interagency and multinational partners will operate alongside one another in ill-defined environments they require interoperability, integration, and interdependence far greater than what is achieved today.
TRADOC G2’s essay provides insights important to the continuing development of the Multi-Domain Battle concept. Army leaders develop and mature concepts for future armed conflict, assess concepts in experimentation and other learning activities, and use what is learned to drive future force development. The Multi-Domain Battle concept will guide and inform subsequent concepts and activities that develop doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) capabilities. To request additional information or participate in the development of the Multi Domain Battle Concept contact COL Mike Runey, Chief, Joint and Army Concepts Division, (757) 501-5271, email@example.com, or Mr. Mark C. Smith, Deputy JACD Division Chief, (757) 501-5270, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information and the latest articles on Multi-Domain Battle may be accessed at: http://www.tradoc.army.mil/MultiDomainBattle/index.asp
Link to TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist information: https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/mad-scientist
This week's professional reading can be found at the following URL: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/an-advanced-engagement-battlespace-tactical-operational-and-strategic-implications-for-the-