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24 Mar 22. Generals Say China and Russia Persist in Western Hemisphere Meddling. China and Russia are looking for opportunities to undermine U.S. partnerships in the Americas, generals said.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command, testified today before a Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Russia and China are spreading disinformation, actively sowing division and internal discord with the intent to undermine the foundation of our nation, our democracy and democracies around the world,” VanHerck said.
Russia and China’s intent is to hold critical infrastructure in the homeland at risk below the nuclear threshold in order to disrupt and delay U.S. ability to project power globally, while attempting to undermine the U.S. will to intervene in a regional overseas crisis, he said.
“We must continually demonstrate to potential aggressors that an attack on our homeland will result in failure. We do that by demonstrating homeland readiness, responsiveness and resiliency, and by displaying a range of kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities to defend the homeland,” he said.
Also, security cooperation relationships with allies and partners are critical to integrated deterrence, as is NORAD, with its mission to provide warning and defend the approaches to North America from aircraft, missile and other threats, VanHerck said.
Homeland defense design is focused on key principles that start with all-domain awareness, from undersea to outer space and everywhere in between to include the cyber domain, he said.
All-domain awareness also includes the use of advanced capabilities, like machine learning and artificial intelligence to quickly analyze, process and deliver data to decision makers at the speed of relevance, he said.
“By doing so we will increase senior leader decision space and enable decision superiority over our competitors,” he said.
“China and Russia are aggressively expanding their influence in our neighborhood,” said Richardson. China continues its relentless march to expand economic, diplomatic, technological, informational and military influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and challenges U.S. influence in all these domains.
Without U.S. leadership and modest investment, concern regarding negative continued predatory Chinese influence in this region could continue. Beijing “doesn’t invest in Latin America, it extracts,” she said.
In January, the Russian deputy foreign minister said he could neither confirm nor deny that Russia would send military assets to Cuba and Venezuela, she said.
Recent visits between the presidents of Brazil and Argentina with Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrated concerning potentially broadening of Russia ties in the region, Richardson added.
In this hemisphere, transnational criminal organizations operate nearly uncontested and blaze a trail of corruption and violence that creates a wedge and allows China and Russia to exploit these countries, she said.
“Our partners are our best defense as we work together to counter our shared threats. We must use all available levers to strengthen our partnerships with the 28 like-minded democracies in this hemisphere. We must maximize important tools like security cooperation programs to train and equip our partner militaries, multilateral exercises to build interoperability,” she said, adding that partners include the State Department, and nongovernmental organizations, along with the private sector. (Source: US DoD)
23 Mar 22. Multidomain operations concept will become doctrine this summer. The U.S. Army has spent roughly five years refining its multidomain operations warfighting concept and it will become doctrine in June, according to Richard Creed, director of the service’s Combined Arms Center doctrine division.
The doctrine will address great power competition and potential conflict with near-peer adversaries across air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.
The service has released several versions of its MDO concept, refining it through evaluation, exercise, wargaming and its first Multidomain Task Force. The task force was established to test the MDO concept, but will now be used as operational units around the globe. There will be five tailored to operate in specific theaters, from Indo-Pacific Command to European Command.
The second MDTF was established in Europe last fall. The first is based out of Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington State and is focused on INDOPACOM.
In the final doctrine set for release in a few months, the Army defines multidomain operations as “the combined arms employment of capabilities from all domains that create and exploit relative advantages to defeat enemy forces, achieve objectives and consolidate gains during competition, crisis, and armed conflict,” according to a document obtained by Defense News at Fort Leavenworth.
“The description of MDO is pretty simple,” Creed said in a March 21 briefing at the Combined Arms Center with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. “And that’s the point. We wanted it to be that simple, because a lot of this stuff we’ve been doing in fits and starts for a long period of time.”
Readying for multidomain operations
The doctrine acknowledges the operational environment includes not just air, land and sea but also space and cyberspace and that Army forces operate “through the physical dimension, influence through the information dimension and achieve victory (win) in the human dimension,” the document notes.
Army formations will be designed to exploit “relative advantage” in those three dimensions, it adds.
The doctrine concludes that winning against a peer threat like Russia or China requires Army forces to “fracture the coherence of threat operational approaches by breaking up their interdependent systems and formations and then rapidly exploiting opportunities to defeat enemy forces in detail,” according to the document.
Multidomain operations is conducted during three phases of operation: competition, crisis and armed conflict. It addresses the challenge of peer competitors using layered capabilities at stand-off range to deter, requiring the U.S. and its partners and allies to use redundant land-based capabilities to take out or degrade threat networked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and long-range fires capabilities, the document details.
China and Russia are positioned to “win without fighting” when it can control the narrative and facts on the ground, so the Army must establish a truthful narrative to contest that approach during both competition and crisis phases of operation, the document says.
The doctrine will require the Army to understand how forces on land influence the other four domains and how capabilities used in other domains influence outcomes on the ground. The strategy also requires “a mission command approach” to command-and-control to reduce the risk from degraded networks and a heavily contested electromagnetic spectrum.
The final doctrine will include seven chapters. The first addresses foundations of operations including the vision of war, the operational environment and Army formations.
The second covers fundamentals of multidomain operations, including tenets, imperatives, operational framework and operational approach, while chapters three through five are on operations during competition, operations during crisis and operations during armed conflict and war, respectively.
Not present in previous versions of the concept and new to the doctrine is the sixth chapter, on Army operations in maritime-dominated environments.
“This represents a capstone doctoral shift to account for the Pacific pivot,” Creed said, although it will be applicable anywhere there is water. “There are some very different considerations in terms of planning, conduct and expectations for the operation,” he added.
The last chapter focuses on leadership during operations, emphasizing the mission command approach.
Looking to ‘playbooks’
The doctrine is general enough to apply to a variety of theaters and situations, but, according to Brig. Gen. Charles Lombardo, who commands the Army’s CAC-Training, the Army is working to develop “playbooks” for operations against near-peer adversaries like Russia and China that take a “pretty granular approach.”
These playbooks break down, at a systems level, the threat and what would be needed to operate against those threat capabilities, Lombardo said.
During operations in competition, the doctrine says the Army should preserve a desired security environment, develop and refine operational planning and improve itself and partners. The Army should also set conditions in the theater for future operations to include access, intelligence, plans, training and interoperability.
During a crisis, the Army should deny adversary goals, deter further adversary military action, alter the adversary’s risk calculus and provide flexible deterrent and response options. The service should deploy and tailor Army forces, demonstrate the capacity of multiple aerial ports of debarkation and seaports of debarkation and open up lines of communication.
Lastly, during a conflict or war, the Army needs to understand the enemy operational approach and goals, present multiple dilemmas and converge capability across the joint force and isolate and destroy enemy capabilities and maneuver to dislocate and disintegrate the enemy’s position and enable the entire joint force to operate in addition to land forces. This means accepting some risk, the document notes.
While the concept will be solidified in doctrine, it does not mean it will be set in stone, Creed noted. The doctrine will likely need updating, but is meant to help the service move into a force capable of overmatching its high-end, near-peer adversaries. (Source: Defense News)
23 Mar 22. Department Seeks Greater Partnerships With University Research Centers. Maintaining technological superiority for the nation is a top goal for the Defense Department, and ensuring that happens means DOD must seek out diverse input from a variety of sources, including researchers at historically Black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, also known as HBCU/MIs, David A. Honey, the deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering said.
“As the federal department with the largest research and development investment, the DOD must continue to make strides in removing the barriers of equal opportunity in contracting and research partnerships,” Honey said. “This begins with developing an inclusive culture to help build trusted relationships between our university-operated contract laboratories and the HBCU/MI community.”
The undersecretary spoke today during the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Town Hall Series, which is funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense through the HBCU/MI program.
The department has 14 university-affiliated research centers, or UARCs, which Honey said serve as a critical element of its innovation base. They also provide some of the independent and objective scientific and technical expertise that the department relies on to develop and maintain the nation’s technological superiority.
“These research centers act as trusted advisors to the DOD by utilizing their core competencies to address the department’s priorities,” Honey said.
Already, Honey said, the department is working to build more partnerships between its UARCs and HBCU/MIs. One example of that is a pilot program at the University of Maryland, College Park’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security.
That UARC now has a partnership with three HBCU’s, including Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., as well as Morgan State University in Baltimore, he said.
” are supporting research projects addressing the modernization priorities established by the DOD, to include 5G, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cyber assessments, and the chat bot testbed, which will explore the deployment of a multilingual solution that is usable for understanding problems in influence information operations and insider threats,” he said. “I’m very confident that additional partnerships like this will continue to be explored and established in the future.”
To keep building and maintaining technological superiority, DOD will continue to work with universities, including HBCU/MIs, to ensure the best talent is tapped to meet the needs of the nation, Honey said.
“We are striving to level the playing field for all research institutions, so that the best possible expertise is made available to the department,” Honey said. “The DOD strives to harness the technological and scientific knowledge of a community that represents the wide-ranging backgrounds of the American people.” (Source: US DoD)
22 Mar 22. DoD acquisition nominee pledges to push advanced tech, small business opportunities. The nominee to be the Pentagon’s next acquisition chief has a simple message when it comes to developing advanced technologies such as hypersonics: Don’t be afraid to fail, and learn from those failures.
“A failed test is one where you don’t learn,” Bill LaPlante told the Senate Armed Services Committee in his nomination hearing to be undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment Tuesday.
In his opening statement, LaPlante said the Pentagon’s acquisition system has to focus on delivering new capabilities that troops need — not just today, but in the future — to meet the quickly evolving threat from China and other leading adversaries.
To do this, the military has to move emerging technologies such as hypersonics, quantum sensing, artificial intelligence, autonomous devices and directed energy to programs of record and get them to the field to be used operationally, he said.
But LaPlante agreed with an observation from Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, that the Pentagon tends to be “risk-averse” and is hesitant to run a test unless it’s sure it’s going to succeed.
“Our adversaries have a different philosophy,” King said. “They test and test and test and fail and fail and fail, and learn every time and end up beating us in terms of issues like hypersonics and directed energy, for example.”
LaPlante pointed to the fallout from a pair of unsuccessful hypersonic glide vehicle tests that the Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ran in 2010 and 2011.
“The two tests, they both failed, and the United States stopped hypersonic glide vehicle work,” LaPlante said. “China and Russia just kept going. … It’s how you learn.”
Senators of both parties praised LaPlante, a former Air Force acquisition chief and current chief executive of Draper Laboratory, for his experience and knowledge, and no issues were discussed that appeared likely to endanger his confirmation. The committee also spoke with Erik Raven, the nominee to be Navy undersecretary, Marvin Adams, the nominee for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy director of defense programs, and Tia Johnson, who was nominated to be a judge on the Armed Forces Court of Appeals.
LaPlante and senators agreed the nation needs to do more to strengthen the defense industrial base and the supply chains it relies upon.
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the committee, expressed concerns that munitions stocks in key theaters around the world are too low and the nation does not have the capacity to quickly produce enough munitions and ammunition. Inhofe was particularly worried that there is not a hot production line to make Stinger missiles, at a time when the United States is sending thousands of the surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine to help them resist Russia’s invasion.
LaPlante said the U.S. needs “multiple” hot production lines to create weapons such as munitions and unmanned aerial systems.
“They, by themselves, are a deterrent, and we need to put much more focus on that across the board,” LaPlante said.
LaPlante also said that if he is confirmed, he will immediately speed up the delivery of equipment and weapons to Ukraine and NATO partners, and work to replenish the stockpiles that have been tapped for those donations.
The consolidation of the defense industry in recent years has also hurt the Pentagon, LaPlante said, by reducing the competition that drives innovation and speed.
And LaPlante said the Pentagon needs to keep pressuring prime contractors to have a thorough knowledge of their supply chain, “three or four tiers down,” so they know where critical points of failure might be.
Defense officials and industry leaders have regularly spoken about how their supply chains have been battered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has limited access to key components such as microchips, driven up costs and pushed industries to try to find other ways to keep their supply chains moving.
LaPlante also said the Pentagon needs to lower the barriers keeping small, non-traditional or startup companies from doing business in the defense technology and industrial base. This includes helping them get access to reliable financing and resources, he said, and working with the broader acquisition community to create more ways for innovative small businesses to subcontract with existing prime contractors.
“Small businesses in industry have to see that there’s skin in the game, that they have a viable line of business if they’re successful in innovating,” LaPlante said. “They don’t just get a one-off contract for a prototype.”
And increasing the opportunities for small and startup businesses that might have a new, better way of doing things is also a way to make sure large, traditional defense contractors don’t grow “complacent,” LaPlante said.
“We want the widest amount of competition possible,” LaPlante said. “If in fact there’s a new entrant, small business or a startup, that can do your job, you will be competitive with them, and it’s going to drive better behavior.”
Between 2019 and 2020, the National Defense Industrial Association said in its most recent Vital Signs report, the number of new vendors entering the defense industrial base dropped from 6,500 to 6,300. NDIA said that decline was “worrying” and could lead to production or innovation shortages.
LaPlante said that declines in the number of small businesses in the defense industrial base has to be reversed. He pledged to focus on fixing the problems small businesses are struggling with if confirmed.
“We need these small businesses and these startups to be in our industrial base,” LaPlante said. “That’s the ace in the hole of the country.”
He cited studies that showed issues with cost accounting standards, intellectual property concerns and the department’s sluggish acquisition and “authority to operate” processes are some of the biggest obstacles discouraging small businesses.
“To get a network, even for critical, unclassified information, it may take a small business months to have the government come in and give them the authority to operate their network,” LaPlante said. “All of these things have to be driven collectively, so a small business can say they have confidence that it’s going to get better for them.”
LaPlante also emphasized the importance of designing weapons using modular open systems that can be easily upgraded with new technologies, as the B-21 Raider bomber was designed.
“We’ve known about modular systems for 20 to 30 years,” LaPlante said. “We need to get them into all of our new systems, put it in the [request for proposal]. The B-21 … was designed with an open standard right from the beginning, such that continuous technology could be upgraded for decades to come. That should be in all of our systems.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
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