DROP ZONE: Why Multi-Domain Operations?

War in the age of technological integration and globalization has eliminated the right of weapons to label war and, with regard to the new starting point, has realigned the relationship of weapons to war, while the appearance of weapons of new concepts, and particularly new concepts of weapons, has gradually blurred the face of war.
— Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, China PLA, Unrestricted Warfare, 1999

Many members of the joint force are already disenchanted with use of the term “multi-domain operations.” Instead of transforming the way we conceptualize military operations, it is quickly becoming the latest buzz word used to gain funding for defense contracts or to sound smart over dinner conversations. While this agitation may be justified by the abuse of the term, the joint force cannot afford to ignore this potential evolution of warfare. For decades, China’s People’s Liberation Army has endeavored to build and exploit asymmetric advantage over the US, aiming to “realign the weapons of war” and thus “gradually [blur] the face of war.” A key objective of this approach is creating access through the “seams” of one domain with weapons in another – which is the embodiment of multi-domain operations. We must find ways to protect these “seams” by fighting these asymmetries – OTH’s articles for this upcoming week address just that.

First, OTH’s Interview with Joseph Campo, Commander 432d Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, illuminates a real world view from the operators about the current and future use of unmanned aircraft. It offers suggestions on how to best exploit the US advantage in unmanned flight for success in future conflict. Campo’s perspective on the use of automation and human-machine teaming in high intensity conflict set the groundwork for the strategic employment of this quickly advancing technology.

Then John “Vapor” Bott discusses the conceptual underpinnings of the multi-domain operational concept. As he notes:

“Multi-domain discussions must lead to action and regular improvements rather than descending into jargon-filled, traditional biased Service arguments over funding.”

Vapor cuts through rhetoric and vague talk to offer a deeper understanding of what multi-domain means and why it is important to transform the US military into a multi-domain force of the future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.


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