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25 Mar 21. Cybercom’s Partnership With NSA Helped Secure U.S. Elections, General Says. Being both the commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency improves the ability to provide the nation with speed, agility and flexible responses to adversaries who are increasingly modernizing, getting quicker and getting more sophisticated, the agencys’ director said.
Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone testified today at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2022 and the future years defense program.
“We operate in a domain that changes rapidly, and this change is measured in weeks rather than months. Being able to rapidly react to that, as we’ve been able to prove in the security of elections in 2018 and 2020, is empowered by that relationship,” he said, referring to his dual-hatted role.
To defend against foreign interference in elections the Election Security Group was created, he said, noting that it consists of a combined team from Cybercom and NSA.
Nakasone also mentioned the importance of partnerships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which involves sharing information with those who need it as quickly as possible.
Cybercom conducted more than 2,000 operations to get ahead of foreign threats before they interfered or influenced the 2020 elections, Nakasone said.
The general said he wanted to make three important points: “First, Cybercom must be and is able, ready and willing to act. Second, Cybercom’s partnership with NSA remains the foundation of our success. And third, we enable our domestic industry, allies and partners by providing critical threat information and insights, which improve their ability to act under their unique authorities.”
Cybercom is building on recent guidance from the department, seeking to promote readiness, improve training and attract and retain high-end talent, Nakasone said.
Even with COVID-19 impacts and lengthy security clearance timelines that impact the entire department, Cybercom was able to attract a number of high-end talent to the force, he said.
Nakasone mentioned that Cybercom seeks to attract diversity in its force and to root out extremism in the ranks through education, monitoring and good leadership.
“We owe it to ourselves, our workforce and our nation to set and to be the example,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
25 Mar 21. Defense Innovation Leader Stresses Importance of U.S., China Technology Race. As a pacing threat, China has a well-integrated, systematic, long-term strategy to make sure it’s doing the most to achieve its goal to be No. 1 in the world in technology, the director of the Defense Innovation Unit told the National Defense Industrial Association, Tuesday.
“We’re not entering a new Cold War,” said Michael Brown in a virtual, keynote address to NDIA’s National Security Artificial Intelligence Conference and Exhibition.
What he thinks is different from the former Cold War starts with China’s economic scale. China clearly has the potential to overtake the U.S. in terms of economic scale because its population is four times as large, Brown said.
The other key difference is China is well-integrated into the global economic system, he said.
“That’s part of the reason they’ve risen so dramatically economically, and they’re using global institutions. They want to be well-integrated and, in fact, setting [up] how those institutions operate. China [also] wants to have very successful integration of commercial technology into their military,” he said.
China has quite an impressive set of technologies where they’re already leading, Brown said.
Spotlight: Artificial Intelligence
“If you look at where they’re challenging us [in] AI [artificial intelligence], they are a lot closer than we would like, and we need to continue to invest to make sure that we maintain a lead. I would say AI is just one of the areas where we need to continue to invest to make sure that we — with our allies — have a lead,” he said.
The DIU director emphasized that China has more genetic data on U.S. citizens than the United States. They’ve also made it a point to figure out what they can do with mining that data and combining that with other information they’ve stolen — like health records, or our security clearance information — which has dramatic implications, both offensively and defensively, he added.
Brown said one of the things the U.S. needs to do in response is think about long-term investments in technologies “[and] not to pick winners and losers to make sure we’re setting the table so we have a very robust set of commercial suppliers who can be challenging these Chinese global champions,” he explained.
If the U.S. is thinking out beyond the next 20, 30 or 40 years as China is, such an investment will have untold spillover effects, Brown said. This is where the internet, global positioning systems, miniaturized electronics and other key innovations have come from that lead to tremendous economic prosperity, which, in turn, guarantees U.S. national security, he added.
Brown said he thinks of the technological race with China as a superpower marathon, and there are four steps the U.S. should take that will put it on the best footing for this race:
- Bolster investment in basic research and development that’s both on the federal level and on the private sector side. “I think one of the advantages of federally funded R&D [research and development] is you get a very long-term time horizon and some willingness to take risks,” he said.
- Invest in its talent. “We did this to create more engineers in the 1960s, and we need to similarly have an effort again, to make sure we’re creating the right STEM talent,” he said.
- Ensure all U.S. departments and agencies work together. “I think this gives us an organizing principle in terms of making sure we’re leading in the tech race,” he said, noting that China is the sense of urgency that should motivate us.
- Focus with the shareholder revolution in this country. “Basically, since the 1980s, we’ve been increasingly focused on efficiency of capital, [such as] what are the short-term measures in a world where you don’t have great peer competitors. But in a world where you have challenges from strategic adversaries, you probably don’t want the supply chain running through those areas. It would behoove us to make sure our capital markets are focused long enough term so we can make investments in strategic capabilities, in addition to reflecting efficiency of capital,” he concluded. (Source: US DoD)
24 Mar 21. House fight over defense dollars looms. The House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), named education and training for cybersecurity and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence as one of his top priorities heading into the 2022 defense policy bill cycle.
“Cyber is just an emerging threat that we’ve got to recognize we’re not prepared to meet,”
Rogers told reporters at a virtual Defense Writers Group event on March 22. “I’m really interested in trying to develop our workforce with cyber and AI capabilities,” Rogers said.
The new HASC ranking member called out the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s recommendation to create a digital service academy to bolster cyber and AI skills. The setup would be similar to that of the military academies and students could earn professional certificates and advanced degrees at no cost as long as graduates committed to work for the government after graduating, he said.
But Rogers’ chief priorities are increasing the Defense Department’s topline spending 3% to 5% of this year’s $740bn budget after inflation adjustments to make the U.S. more competitive with China.
“They are moving at an incredible pace to develop their military capabilities across the spectrum and around the world. We have to focus on them. We can’t ignore Iran, we can’t ignore North Korea or Russia, but they are nothing compared to the challenge we’re going to face with China,” Rogers said.
HASC Chairman Adam Smith has long contended that DOD has enough funding and needs to spend its money more judiciously. Rogers agreed on the principle but also said the modernization efforts DOD needs require billions of dollars more in resources.
“I’m going to be supportive of anything that I think makes the Pentagon more efficient in the way of reforms. But the fact is we have passed a lot of reforms in the last four years that they just haven’t implemented,” Rogers said, adding that he’d like to work with Smith on measures that “try to force the Pentagon to comply with what we’ve already put in place.”
“But even with that,” he said, “we have to recognize that we’re going to have to increase defense spending to keep up with the pace from China…we have to modernize and we’ve got to do this stuff now.”
Those modernization dollars, Rogers suggested, would go to Indo-Pacific Command, for example, which asked for $4.7bn in fiscal 2022 (more than double this year’s budget), and to increase the Navy’s fleet.
On the Army side, Rogers said he was most concerned about progress on the Army’s long-range fires if DOD’s 2022 budget stays flat or declines.
“People have to realize and keep in mind that we’ve worn our equipment out, we’ve worn our manpower out over the last two decades; we don’t have time to defer these investments any further,” Rogers said. (Source: Defense Systems)
24 Mar 21. US failed to collect reimbursements from Afghanistan coalition partners for years, IG finds. For four years, the Pentagon failed to charge partner nations for use of American rotary-wing aircraft in Afghanistan, and the department has no way of knowing how many millions of dollars has been lost, according to a new report from the department’s inspector general.
During that time period, American and coalition costs for rotary-wing transportation hit $773m. How much of that should be reimbursed is effectively impossible to know, according to the auditors.
For the 38 members of the Resolute Support coalition, American air transportation is vital for moving from the central hub in Kabul and Bagram Airfield to four outposts located in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar and Laghman. But auditors discovered that the Department of Defense “did not request reimbursement for air transportation services provided to Coalition partners” between September 2017 and September 2020, despite a standing requirement to do so.
When it comes to transportation, coalition partners in Afghanistan are divided into two categories. “Lift and Sustain Coalition partners” have their costs covered by the DoD, as those partners would be unable to participate in the Resolute Support mission without the U.S. paying those expenses. There are 21 members in this category.
The “Pay-to-Play” category contains 17 members: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They are supposed to reimburse the U.S. for the costs associated with using American transportation capabilities in Afghanistan. (Iceland no longer participates in the mission, but did during the time period studied by auditors.)
However, auditors place no blame on the coalition members for the unpaid funds. Instead, they found breakdowns in the two Pentagon offices that are supposed to track the information: U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Multinational Logistics (USFOR-A-MNL) and the logistics division of U.S. Army Central (ARCENT).
“USFOR-A MNL did not obtain flight data, determine rates, or establish an agreement with Coalition partners for air transportation services. In addition, the ARCENT Logistics Directorate did not have internal controls in place to identify if orders were initiated” inside a government system, the auditors found. “We confirmed that ACSA coordinators did not initiate any orders for air transportation services for any of the 17 Pay-to-Play Coalition partners. Furthermore, in September 2020, the ACSA program manager stated that USFOR-A MNL personnel had never billed Coalition partners for air transportation services.”
Put simply, those offices never set up a way to track who was using American assets, where they went and how much those nations should be charged; there was also no system to allow the U.S. to ask for a monetary refund. And because no tracking was done, American taxpayers have no way of knowing how much money partners should have been paying.
“The DoD paid $773 million for air transportation services provided to U.S. personnel, Pay-to-Play Coalition partners, and Lift and Sustain Coalition partners from September 2017 through September 2020,” auditors found. While the 17 Pay-to-Play countries only make up part of that, “because USFOR-A did not receive or track Coalition partner flight usage data, the exact cost of air transportation services provided to Pay-to-Play Coalition partners cannot be determined.”
As a result of the IG’s findings, new procedures are being implemented:
- The IG recommended that USFOR-A-MNL begin gathering flight usage data, determine a per-person unit cost for moving partners around the country and sort out how to bill the partner nations. Army Col. Michael Scarpulla, the chief of staff for the deputy commanding general for operations in Afghanistan, concurred with both recommendations and pledged work would begin quickly, with the first bills submitted in the second quarter of 2021; a quarterly format will follow.
- The IG also recommended that ARCENT “conduct a review of all reimbursable services provided in Afghanistan to Coalition partners and establish internal controls” for tracing such information going forward. Army leadership agreed, with plans for monthly checkups on the information to ensure it is correctly tracked and billed.
Overall, the IG seems satisfied that these issues will be resolved, declaring concerns either closed or closed pending the results of billing efforts. (Source: Defense News)
24 Mar 21. Overmatch is fleeting: How the US Army’s multidomain task force will help the military remain dominant. The U.S. Army’s multidomain task force might have started out as an experimental unit, but a new plan to operationalize it puts the unit front and center in competition, crisis and conflict against adversaries.
The move is detailed in an Army whitepaper released March 23, in which the service acknowledges it must transform now to meet future challenges.
“Although our Army still maintains overmatch, it is fleeting,” the service wrote.
“By 2040, China and Russia will have weaponized all instruments of national power to undermine the collective wills of the United States, Allies and partners, while simultaneously cultivating their own security partnerships. This will lead to an unstructured international environment where the line between conflict and peace is blurred,” the whitepaper added. “As China and Russia continue to modernize their militaries, the Joint Force will find it increasingly difficult to deter their illicit and aggressive actions.”
The Army identifies China as the country that poses the “most enduring strategic challenge” and is likely to reach “military parity” with the U.S. military by 2040.
The first multidomain task force was stood up at Joint Base Lewis-McChord several years ago to participate in Indo-Pacific Command theater exercises to help inform the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations war-fighting concept as it evolves into doctrine.
This unit, which is aligned to U.S. Army Pacific, “represents the first of these units to bring multi-domain capabilities to combatant commanders,” the paper noted. “The MDTF’s All-Domain Operations Center, or ADOC, is currently under construction and will enable 24/7 oversight of adversary contact in all domains.”
The MDTF is expected to be the centerpiece of Project Convergence 2021, an annual campaign of learning that examines how the Army and the joint force will conduct multidomain operations.
The Army has previously discussed plans to add a second MDTF assigned to the Pacific as well as another for Europe, and the service recently unveiled plans to have one located in the Arctic. But the whitepaper makes it clear the Army wants to build five of these units, with one that is “aligned for global response,” the paper stated.
The document also noted the MDTF in the Arctic will be tailored to deal with “multiple threats.”
“MDTFs represent agile development embodied in an organization,” the paper stated. While the conventional force generation mans, trains and equips organizations and then provides them to combatant commanders, “MDTFs break this mold.”
“Each MDTF will be designed and tailored to operate at the required echelon in order to meet the needs of the supported Joint Force commander,” the paper read. “From inception, each MDTF will be assigned or aligned to a Combatant Command, then built, trained, and exercised within the context of the Combatant Commander’s requirements.”
The units will be scalable from operational to the strategic theater level. The hope is this design will result in more capable forces to operate in areas where access is denied by the opposing force.
The MDTFs will also serve as an “organizational centerpiece for modernization,” according to the document, because they will “accelerate change through experimentation and testing during all-domain maneuver.” They are also expected to help develop new ways to fight and will inform the Joint All-Domain Operations architecture and strategy.
The units, acting as theater-level maneuver elements, will “synchronize precision effects and precision fires in all domains against adversary [anti-access, area denial] networks in all domains, enabling joint forces to execute their [operational plan]-directed roles,” the paper described.
The Army’s war-fighting concept identifies multidomain operational phases as competition, crisis and conflict, and the paper put the MDTF’s roles front and center in managing these phases.
In the competition phase, which is below the level of conflict, the Army plans to maintain forward presence while building and maintaining relationships with allies and partners around the world.
MDTFs would serve as the tool to “gain and maintain contact with our adversaries to support the rapid transition to crisis or conflict,” according to the paper. “With requisite authorities, maneuver in all domains allows MDTFs to identify and secure positions of relative advantage from which they deny, delay, degrade, and disrupt the adversary.”
In the crisis phase, the Army would hold adversaries’ interests at risk and impose costs on their actions. MDTFs would play a critical role in deescalating crises and bring them back to competition “on favorable terms” by “delivering non-kinetic and kinetic maneuver to demonstrate friendly resolve, impose costs and alter behaviors,” the paper explained.
MDTFs would “neutralize” adversarial networks used to deny territorial access in order to give the joint force the ability to maneuver by employing “synchronized combinations of non-kinetic and kinetic effects to disrupt, defeat and destroy A2/AD capabilities,” according to the document.
A plan for how the Army will operate in the competition phase of Multi-Domain Operations is expected to be released shortly, Army Chief Gen. James McConville said last week at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force virtual conference. (Source: Defense News)
23 Mar 21. Deputy Defense Secretary Sees Challenges, Opportunities for DOD. The deputy defense secretary certainly sees all the challenges facing the department, but she also sees opportunities.
Kathleen H. Hicks has been in her job just over a month, but this doesn’t mean she is a rookie. Hicks began working in the Pentagon in 1993. No one needs to tell her how to get from the “E-ring” of the massive building to the “A-ring.”
The department is also massive, but Hicks knows her way around that bureaucracy, as well.
Her prior experience enabled her to hit the ground running. This was needed as the prior administration’s challenges to the 2020 election results delayed some of the turnover that normally occurs.
Budgets, China policy, extremism, Afghanistan, global posture reviews and more are all overlaid by the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is more as the department has to take into consideration what climate change is doing physically and metaphorically to the strategy environment.
Hicks discussed many of these issues during a Pentagon interview — her first since taking office.
Typically, the president’s budget request is delivered to Congress in early February. New administrations, however, take a bit longer. Due to the peculiar circumstances following the 2020 elections, the fiscal 2022 budget request may take longer still.
Hicks signed a memo in the middle of February discussing how the department will examine the budget request. DOD planners will look at fiscal 2022 shipbuilding additions, the nuclear enterprise, long-range fires and aircraft — especially the F-35 and Air Force tanker programs.
The budgetary effects of climate change and COVID-19 will also be studied and addressed in the request.
DOD officials have not spoken about the topline for the budget, which last year was at $705bn.
Officials at the time said the department needed a 3 to 5 percent increase yearly to maintain the resources necessary for the U.S. to keep its defense edge. Most pundits believe the topline will not reach that mark.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III talks about matching resources to strategy. “We don’t know as much about how strategy links to the concepts for our theory of how we achieve victory against potential adversaries, our theories of how we deter those adversaries, and the kinds of capabilities we buy,” Hicks said. “And that’s what ultimately needs to link to strategy.”
The capabilities are the most important aspect, not the topline number. “We owe a budget, and there’s a budget number attached to it,” Hicks said.
DOD really needs to expand the work and thinking that has gone into reorienting toward the China challenge over the past decade to pull out that piece that connects strategy to budget through capabilities, she said.
Competition with China will drive the discussion. Hicks called China the pacing challenge for the U.S. military. “We look at China as the nation or the entity that is growing its capabilities to a degree that really challenges the U.S. ability to defend its interests,” she said. “It means China is the country against which we have to think and plan our capabilities because they are the most advanced.”
“That’s what pacing challenge means,” Hicks said.
The competition crosses all domains of warfare. This is not to say that China paces in everything. Russia certainly paces the United States in undersea capabilities, for example, she said.
Space and cyber are two areas of special concern, Hicks said.
This does not mean the United States has to match every move the Chinese make. There are only 350 million Americans compared to 1.5 billion Chinese. The U.S. military could never match China in the numbers of service members.
“How do we think about how we can deter effectively,” she asked. “How do we think about the messages that we send with regard to our investments, with regard to how we work with others throughout the world?”
“Pacing a China challenge doesn’t mean necessarily a symmetrical … ship-for-ship count approach,” she said. “We look at how they are modernizing … and we have to pace our capabilities to overcome those challenges.”
This is more than simple military capabilities. Allies are the greatest asymmetric advantage the United States has over China and Russia, Hicks said. “It’s one that we haven’t fully exploited, and one where our allies are very eager in common interest to work with us.”
But the world doesn’t stand still, and U.S. officials cannot concentrate on one issue to the exclusion of all else. While China may be the pacing threat, U.S. officials must deal with Russia, Iran and North Korea, as well as violent extremist organizations. They must also deal with something totally unexpected like the tsunami of 2011 or last year’s wildfires. “So much of what we’re doing in national security … is thinking about managing risks, but it really is also looking to advance opportunities,” Hicks said.
The question becomes where can the United States grow opportunities for the American people through tools of national security? “That’s largely, of course, not military, but we’re always looking at how do we think about the kinds of forces in the military that we have developed, the time scale on which we’re pacing different capabilities and those threats that can present themselves,” the deputy secretary said. “We have to lean heavily on diplomacy, frankly. There are a lot of challenges in the world, and a lot of tools that we have — economic, diplomatic, intelligence and other ways of thinking about those challenges. But at the end of the day, the U.S. military has to prepare itself to provide options to the president across that full range.”
The deputy secretary said she wants to do exactly the same thing on the workforce issues. “Each service … or each component, has unique requirements [and] has unique perspective,” she said. “We want to bring those together and demonstrate that we can have unified approaches; that there will be sustained leadership attention on these issues, because that’s how we will change the culture.”
Recently, Hicks established the new Deputy’s Workforce Council to examine tough issues: eliminating sexual assault and harassment; combatting extremism; encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion; addressing transgender issues; workforce development and professional military education; and more.
This Workforce Council won’t be just the flavor of the day. “The theme really is one of endurance,” she said, adding that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told her that demonstrating consistency and endurance is incredibly important.
“People will wait you out for anything. So, you have to put in place processes to demonstrate that … you are here to change culture, and you’re going to stay committed to those areas,” she said. (Source: US DoD)
23 Mar 21. Defense of Taiwan Vital to Regional, National Security, Admiral Says. The Indo-Pacific is the most consequential region for America’s future and remains the priority theater for the United States.
While Russia, North Korea and violent extremist organizations are a threat to the Indo-Pacific region, China is of most concern, particularly in its stated number one priority of taking control of Taiwan, said Navy Adm. John Aquilino testifying today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee is considering his nomination for commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Aquilino noted that various studies predict that China might decide to launch a military strike against Taiwan sometime between now and 2045.
“My opinion is this problem is much closer to us than most think,” he said.
If China is allowed to take over Taiwan, it would be a severe blow to the credibility of the United States as a strong and trusted partner in the region, he said.
To meet this challenge, it will take all elements of national power, working together and with a sense of urgency, he said, adding that allies and partners will also play a key role.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative is a strong example of the effort required to compete and win in the region, Aquilino said.
The initiative focuses on acquiring advanced military capabilities to deter China, including space-based radars, missile defense, long-range precision fires, logistics, experimentation and innovation, and improved interoperability and exercises with allies and partners.
In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. and multinational partners conduct training exercises with Taiwan, he said.
Also, Aquilino said he was encouraged by Taiwan’s purchase of defensive military capabilities.
The need to defend Guam is also incredibly important, he said. That island, west of the International Dateline, hosts thousands of U.S. forces and is home to 170,000 U.S. citizens.
Aquilino noted many important partnerships in the region, including the so-called “Quad Partnership” the U.S. has with Japan, Australia and India.
He noted that China’s only partner in the region is North Korea, although China and Russia sometimes conduct joint military exercises.
As the administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance points out, he said, “America’s fate is intertwined with events beyond our shores. Global peace and prosperity depend on our presence in the Indo-Pacific.” (Source: US DoD)
23 Mar 21. ‘Land Forces Are Hard To Kill’: Army Chief Unveils Pacific Strategy. A new strategy paper from Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville says forward-deployed Army forces will survive inside Chinese missile strikes and fatally disrupt the PLA’s plans.
The future Army will fight as a tough, intractable “inside force” — a term usually associated with Marines — forward-deployed in adversaries’ backyards, says a new strategy paper from the service’s Chief of Staff. This approach, Gen. James McConville writes, has already shown promise in joint wargames.
In pop culture terms, the Army’s casting itself as Bruce Willis’s iconic action hero/survivor John McClane, in a new production you might call Die Hard In the Pacific.
Released today, “Army Multi-Domain Transformation” calls for long-range, land-based missiles on West Pacific islands to threaten targets deep within China’s “Anti-Access/Area Denial” defenses. (The approach could work in Eastern Europe as well, but the document only mentions the Pacific by name). Rather than deploy from the US in response to an attack – a deployment that enemy missiles, submarines, sabotage, and cyber warfare can disrupt – these forces will be pre-deployed in peacetime or rapidly deployed in crisis, setting up inside the areas the enemy hope to deny access to. Once on the ground, these nimble, logistically lightweight units will avoid destruction by using cover, concealment, camouflage, decoys and frequent relocation.
“The Army will provide [joint] combatant commanders with land forces that are persistent, cost effective, and survivable,” the paper says. “Technologically connected and geographically dispersed Army forces deployed across the land – whether archipelagic [i.e. islands] or continental – present a key operational problem for adversary sensing and targeting. Put simply, land forces are hard to kill.”
Are they really? The answer, historically, is yes. Even in the 1990s, when American precision airstrikes seemed unstoppable, they struggled to find and kill targets ranging from Iraq SCUD launchers to Serbian tanks. Indeed, ground troops have survived by, well, going to ground – digging in and hiding out – in the face of tremendous bombardments all the way back to the trench warfare of the Western Front. Other famous cases of survival under fire include the Germans at Monte Cassino, the Japanese at Iwo Jima, and countless examples with the Viet Cong.
Now, that’s not the most encouraging model of survival under fire. (John McClane doesn’t particularly enjoy any of the Die Hard movies, either). After all, American troops are used to being the ones with overwhelming firepower. But they’ll increasingly have endure being on the receiving end of precision-guided onslaughts, as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea modernize their long-range sensors, command networks, and missiles – anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and anti-troop – into layered A2/AD defenses.
The goal of Anti-Access/Area Denial, as the name implies, is to make it too deadly for American forces to operate inside a given area. The goal of an American “inside force” is to establish itself inside that that area before the shooting starts and dig in. That foothold disrupts the enemy’s area-denial scheme, creating an opening in the foe’s defenses into which US reinforcements can flow.
In recent years, it’s been the Marine Corps who’ve called themselves the “inside force,” emphasizing the agility and toughness of their Marine Expeditionary Units deployed by ship and aircraft around the world. Now the Army is making its bid to use the term – and while it lacks the Marines’ expeditionary agility, its sheer size gives it the edge in staying power. This paper is a shot across the Marines’ bow in the already roiling budget wars.
Will this work? Well, the wargames are promising, the paper says. “Large portions of the MDO [the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations concept] have already been validated in Joint wargames,” it says. “Many of these wargames have revealed the utility of ‘inside forces’ postured before conflict begins.”
“There’s a need in the near-term to defend against all of those [Chinese missile] threats from a 360-degree standpoint, and if the answer is Aegis, I’m ready to support it,” the presumptive head of Indo-PACOM told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“In INDOPACOM [Indo-Pacific Command],” the paper says, “relatively light multi-domain forces, capable of engaging targets in all domains at operational and even strategic ranges will be prepositioned in parts of the first island chain [which runs from Indonesia through the Philippines to Japan – ed.] and act as the linchpin of effective joint and combined defenses. Joint and combined capabilities in the first island chain will mix anti-ship, anti-aircraft, and surface-to-surface missiles to threaten early damage to adversary forces.”
Equally important, the paper says, they’ll be able to absorb the damage the enemy dishes out in return.
American HIMARS multiple rocket launchers during a live-fire exercise in Australia, part of the Talisman Saber 2019 wargames.
Highlights From The Paper
Below are selected excerpts from Army Multi-Domain Transformation: Ready to Win in Competition and Conflict, organized by theme.
Cover of Gen. James McConville’s first strategy paper, released March 23, 2021.
Win The First Battle
Now and in the future, first battles are decisive to the outcome of campaigns. Winning the first battle or preventing a fait accompli in crisis will be necessary to prevent prolonged conflict and escalation. Ground forces will decisively shape the first battle by leveraging positional and capability advantage to rapidly deliver options for crisis response, and to win in conflict.
The Army is also creating a Global Near-Peer Scenario as a backbone to [Army analysis]….The Army scenario will be global in focus. Peer adversaries are global actors that have global pressure points. They do not adhere to neatly drawn Combatant Command boundaries. The scenario also acknowledges the requirement for different theories of victory in different geographic settings….
Adversary nations have political structures that enable them to conduct long-term strategic planning in the context of decades, not years. To remain relevant and effective, the Army must expand our temporal context and pursue a consistent intellectual picture spanning from 2028 to 2035 and beyond.
The Army says its “Strategic Landpower Network” of connections in foreign countries can smooth the path for the rest of the services.
The Army will continue to provide the foundation for DoD security cooperation through the Army’s comprehensive landpower network of Allies and partners….The Army is uniquely qualified to maintain and expand this vital network…..
Partner militaries, including their senior leaders, are predominately land force-centric. In the Indo-Pacific, 24 of 29 armed forces chiefs are army officers, and of the 30 NATO member states, 22 have armed forces chiefs from their respective armies….
In 2019, the Army trained over 7,100 foreign students in various courses throughout the enterprise. Of those, 1,200 were foreign officers in professional military education courses. The Army will prioritize course allocations to grow our pool of participating partners 50% over the next five years…
[T]he National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP) aligns National Guard units with over 84 nations.
Since Operation Desert Storm, China and Russia have studied the American conduct of war, and have designed concepts and capabilities to counter our strengths and exploit our weaknesses, particularly in force projection. The Joint Force can no longer assume that the homeland is a sanctuary, or consider the ‘global commons’ uncontested. Joint Force deployment will be contested from fort to port to foxhole, eroding our ability to project power….
Fighting state actors from a cold start by projecting power from the homeland over many months is no longer a viable course of action. There is no alternative to the dynamic presence of formations in contested theaters. Army forces are uniquely structured to establish this presence, with a suite of capabilities that provide depth of range and speed, and benefit from extensive landpower networks with partner armed forces.
A notional organization for a future Multi-Domain Task Force, with weapons ranging from hypersonic missiles to electronic warfare.
[Calibrated Force Posture] hinges upon enduring presence, not permanent presence – a combination of assigned forces, rotational forces, and access for key capabilities. [Army forces] They will be highly mobile, with alternate and supplemental positions to ensure survivability and unpredictability. This will require dynamic posture initiatives–turn-key or warm start sites to provide opportunities for maneuver without incurring the cost and host nation imposition of traditional basing or permanence. This posture will be optimized to host low-signature forward capabilities on a more ambiguous, distributed, and difficult to target infrastructure.
The ‘Inside Force’
Ground forces can defeat sophisticated adversary defensive schemes from inside positions, creating corridors for air, maritime and all-domain forces to exploit….
Operating as the Joint Force Commander’s “inside force,” the Army provides an asymmetric counter to the challenges posed by near-peer adversary militaries, through unique, land-based, foundational capabilities. The asymmetric advantages are based on the ability of landpower to maneuver and communicate rapidly, strike at range, and survive in complex terrain – leading to greater decision dominance and overmatch. At the operational level, Army “inside forces” will conduct persistent cross-domain maneuver to conduct flanking attacks and turning maneuvers. Army forces in distributed forward positions, will attack by strikes and raids across intra-theater lines of operation to create operational mobility corridors.
I Will Survive
The key attribute of capable inside forces is resiliency. Resiliency goes beyond hardened bases and encompasses a host of attributes that are mutually supporting. Resiliency for land forces combines mobility, cover, concealment, and deception. With mobility, land forces will be light and agile enough to quickly conduct operations, then reposition….
[T]his must also be augmented with the ability of the unit to conceal itself from detection through physical, electronic and cyber means. Deception will present false targets to the adversary through a combination of electronic spoofing and physical decoys….
The Army will persist in the face of adversary aggression – to include the use of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapons. Our adversaries will not hesitate to employ CBRN weapons if their vital interests or the integrity of their regimes lie in jeopardy.
Launch of Army-Navy Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) in Hawaii on March 19, 2020.
The capability to strike in depth with lethal and non-lethal cross-domain effects is critical to creating overmatch in operations against a peer adversary. Army multi-domain forces will be organized and equipped to extend land-based effects into other domains, providing a suite of tools to integrate in the joint fires process, from the onset. This includes short, mid, and long range precision fires to engage and destroy adversary land, air, and sea capabilities in depth….
In addition to providing an “inside force”, the Army will provide “outside forces” at the strategic and theater level that will have the capability and capacity to secure global key terrain, strategic choke points, lines of communication, threaten an adversary strategic flank, or hold their interests at risk.
The Joint Force must move away from synchronizing sustainment using archaic structures that are time and manpower intensive. By 2035, sustainment nodes will be survivable and capable of rapidly moving logistics to enable the Joint Force. The Army will provide the foundation for the Joint Force theater sustainment system….
Future MDO Forces will rely on host nation support, survivable and lightweight power sources, and dispersed caches as a part of Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS), [using] small, mobile, and tailorable material and ammunition stores. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
22 Mar 21. Gen. McConville Says Investment In I2CEWS Will Result In Multi-Domain Dominance. “Great power competition doesn’t have to mean great power conflict,” said General James McConville, chief of staff for the US Army, during his virtual keynote address on the first day of AUSA Global Force Next, 16-18 march 2021. “What we really want is great power co-existence.”
However he observed that to achieve that there need to be “peace through strength and a whole of government approach.…with strong allies and partners.”
Gen McConville said that readiness was the key, particularly at the small unit level. He said that the 2018 publication of the war fighting concept Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) recognises that the Army will be contested in all domains. To meet this, he stated that the Army was expanding on this concept, so that it could “gain decision dominance in overmatch over near-peer competitors.”
“Overmatch will belong to the side that can make better decision – faster,” he said. Cutting edge technologies being introduced included long range precision fires and hypersonic mid-range and precision strike missiles, the latter being introduced in FY23.
Multi-Domain Task Forces, two in the Indo-Pacific and one in Europe would be equipped with I2CEWS capabilities – intelligence, information operations, cyber, electronic warfare and space.
Project Convergence will lead to benefits such as the integration of the Army’s six new weapons systems.
“We are converging information by learning to harness artificial intelligence, machine learning, low earth orbit satellites in the cloud to link joint sensors to joint shooters in the right command and control node,” said Gen McConville. (Source: Armada)
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