DCGS Next Generation: Accelerating Change to Deliver Decision Advantage

By Kelly Borukhovich and Tyler Morton Approximate reading time: 11 minutes Abstract: The DCGS Next Generation (DCGS Next Gen) delivers

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Métis: Strategic Sense for a Wicked World

Abstract: The U.S. defense community regularly acknowledges changes in the character of modern warfare. These observations are often coupled with a variety of recommendations, such as creating more strategic thinkers and cultivating more agile service cultures. This article highlights the tangled interactions between these two challenges as well as a third: harnessing the power of storytelling. First, stories both reflect and influence an organization’s culture, and are therefore a useful tool for strategic thinkers. Second, when it comes to strategic thinking, the typical descriptions and illustrations used by defense professionals are incomplete and biased. Missing from this list of examples, for instance, is someone from the origins of Western civilization who personified the wisdom to convert “insight into a decisive asymmetry.” This ancient role model not only exemplifies the strategic sense necessary to prepare the joint force’s culture for modern operating environments, but is also closely linked to the third element of this trinity – storytelling.

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Cognitive Electronic Warfare: A Move Towards EMS Maneuver Warfare

In multi-domain operations (MDO), control of the electromagnetic spectrum is of paramount importance. By leveraging machine learning technologies coupled to advanced Electronic Warfare techniques, a key first step will be taken in enabling maneuver warfare within the spectrum.

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Communications in Multi-Domain Operations: What Does the BACN Bring?

Communications are an important element of any military operation. A lack of infrastructure and rough terrain have hindered U.S. military operations in Afghanistan (2001-Present) and Iraq (2003-Present). The difficulties encountered in both countries initially led to several different ad hoc solutions for overcoming poor communications. Eventually a long-term solution emerged, known as BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node) with two dedicated platforms, an E-11A and EQ-4B. This article provides new insights on the BACN program and its history, and considers the importance of E-11s providing BACN for future multi-domain warfighting environments. Finally, it encourages new ways of thinking on how to operate in a contested environment, proposing a “BACN-mesh” concept as a way of overcoming such a vulnerability with an adversary jamming the electromagnetic spectrum.

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Human-led Machine Learning & Advanced Threats: Case Method Inquiry and Visual Analytics Applied to COVID-19

In a pervasive and complex information environment, analytics are vital to understanding advanced threats. As we rely more on machine-learnt results, asking the right questions and visualizing deep analysis are key to grasping and solving problems. These skills are also vital 21st century leadership tools that can forge a common focus among otherwise stove-piped specialists.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an urgent threat that requires both scientific understanding and decisive leadership. The cause of the disease is SARS CoV-2, a mutating virus that thrives in conditions difficult to control at scale. To counter this threat, this article demonstrates in detail the potential of human-led case method and machine-provided visual analytics.

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Artificial Intelligence in the Operational Information Environment: The Need for Proactive Doctrine

Joint operations doctrine omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI) in the operational information environment, which is a problem. This commentary discusses why, and recommends effective changes. Key points are as follows. AI is becoming an autonomous cause of unanticipated effects. Humans are not the most effectively intelligent actors in all environments, yet our doctrine draws lessons from the past rather than anticipating emergent futures. Machines currently excel in experience-based learning and can discover relationships in data that we cannot discern. Humans can intuit, deceive, somewhat control, and manufacture and destroy machines. In time, AI will be able to perform those cognitive, informational and physical functions as well. As out-thought becomes out-fought, we need proactive doctrine now.

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OODA Point: The Requirement for an Airman’s Approach to Operational Design (Part II)

The ability to make and execute timely and effective decisions has been the foundation of military success for millennia. In the next decade, however, Combined Force Air Component Commanders (CFACC) planning, decision, and execution (PDE) cycles will be confronted by unprecedented challenges emerging in the constantly evolving digital ecosystem. The era of unrivaled access to the electromagnetic spectrum and dominance in multiple domains is rapidly coming to a close for the US airpower. As more and more state and non-state actors gain access to advanced technology, the CFACC’s PDE cycles will transition from an observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop to an OODA point. This phenomenon will also have a significant influence on the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) measures necessary to shape and execute preplanned and emergent decisions in contested operational environments. One way of mitigating these nascent vulnerabilities is to develop a deliberate framework of operational design focused on airpower to provide a proactive form of vision for future CFACCs.

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An Air Force Retreat: Moving Forward Without Space and Cyber C2 Authority

The Air Force should abandon its crusade for primacy outside of the Air Domain and instead advocate for Theater Cyber and Space Component Commands, under their respective Combatant Commands

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Modernizing C2 of ISR – Part 2: Breaking ISR’s Industrial Age Chains

Theater-level ISR C2 must be modernized to ensure the Joint Force is prepared for a complex future and can achieve multi-domain success.

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OTH Video: Interview with Lt Gen Jeff “Cobra” Harrigian

At the end of the day it’s about killing and surviving. To do that, we’ve got to go faster and think beyond just air, space, and cyber.

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Lt Gen Deptula Remarks – OTH Speaker Series – Aerospace Power in an Age of Uncertainty

Retired Lt Gen David Deptula shares his thoughts on the future of warfare-in particular, aerospace power in an age of uncertainty.

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***OTH Anniversary*** Multi-Domain Command and Control: The Air Force Perspective with Brigadier General B. Chance Saltzman (Parts 1 and 2)

As part of our anniversary celebration series, below we present the second most read article of 2017.

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Napoleon and von Moltke: Ghosts of Airpower, past and future.

By Brandon T. Losacker The Air Force lacks a coherent multi-domain airpower theory. This is a problem. The current doctrine

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Interview with Lt Gen (Ret.) David Deptula: Part 3

In an interview, Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on current and future challenges for USAF leaders and joint operations.

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Interview with Lt Gen (Ret.) David Deptula: Part 2

Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on the Combat Cloud, ISR, and the need for airmen to serve as joint warfighting commanders.

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OTH Interview of Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret): Part 1

In an interview, Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret) shares his perspective on current and future challenges for the USAF leaders and the Joint Force.

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Drop Zone: OTH Interview with Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

In a candid interview, retired Lt Gen David Deptula, shares his perspective on current and future challenges for USAF leaders and the Joint Force.

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Bridge Builders to Make Multi-Domain Operations Work

To achieve dominance in the networked age, the U.S. Air Force must build organizational expertise that can foster a culture that lives and breathes multi-domain integration.

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DROP ZONE: Joint Command and Control

Our Services need to mature and lead the drive to Jointness, both across the DOD and the complex American alliance system

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Multi-Domain Command and Control: The Air Force Perspective with Brigadier General B. Chance Saltzman (Part 2 of 2)

How do we need to organize as an Air Force to provide multi-domain capabilities? Second, how do we train our forces so they can provide multi-domain capability? Finally, how are we equipping our forces so they can do it?

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Multi-Domain Command and Control: The Air Force Perspective with Brigadier General B. Chance Saltzman (Part 1 of 2)

OTH interviews the US Air Force’s lead on developing multi-domain Command and Control.

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Reshaping Centralized Control / Decentralized Execution for the Emerging Operating Environment

Centralized Control, Decentralized Execution remains as a central tenet for how the Air Force organizes to successfully employ airpower. But we cannot assume that the single theater COMAFFOR directly executing C2 over fielded forces without active participation by subordinate echelons will remain viable in the face of a near peer competitor.
By Brian McLean

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