Abstract: The ubiquity and automation of social networks now makes it possible for public discourse to be manipulated at machine speed. The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the next war could be won or lost without a shot being fired, before even the vanquished party recognises that their interests are threatened. However, there is little consensus among Western scholars or security officials particularly about location and characteristics of the battlefield. This gap in the literature precludes the development of policy, strategy, and capability to prevail on it. This article situates the battle in the hive minds of audiences — the collective perception of a situation held by a group, defined as the cognitive domain. Finally, the article asserts that the cognitive domain is both threatened and vital ground and therefore should be considered a warfighting domain in its own right.Read more
Executive Summary: Our previous article on supply chain competition and warfare explained how political, economic, and security issues unleash and restrain strategies of competitive advantage. China is waging all-effects warfare. Meanwhile, democratic states and the US compete with a self-imposed disadvantage: inferior operating strategy at the strategic level of significance. How can we compete and when necessary, wage superior complex warfare in kind?Read more
Executive Summary: In the hands of authoritarian powers, supply chains are systematically weaponized into broad warfare that subsumes democracies’ traditionally narrow military approach. This series analyzes supply chain competition, warfare, and strategy in two parts. Part I discusses fundamentals that set strategic parameters for achieving an “all-effects” advantage: globalization and protectionism; strategies of national security; incentives and risks; and political and technological change. This broad perspective on competition and warfare is necessary to implement the cooperative and confrontational competition prescribed in the US National Security Strategy. Part II identifies decisions and makes recommendations to combine superior “all-effects” using diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and social instruments of power. This integrative perspective is necessary to synergize strategic advantages derived from the US National Defense Strategy and sixteen other national security-related strategies.Read more
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.Read more
Editor’s note: The following article is the third of a three-part series discussing necessary advancements which will best enable the Department of Defense to continue to lead during current and future periods of competition. Part I focused on the history of the current threats, Part II outlined areas of defense and civilian research which must be pursued, and Part III delves into the path forward for cohesive, joint application of technology and research.Read more
Editor’s note: The following article is the second of a three-part series discussing necessary advancements which will best enable the Department of Defense to continue to lead during current and future periods of competition. Part I focused on the history of the current threats, Part II outlines areas of defense and civilian research which must be pursued, and Part III delves into the path forward for cohesive, joint application of technology and research.Read more
Editor’s note: The following article is the first of a three-part series discussing necessary advancements which will best enable the Department of Defense to continue to lead during current and future periods of competition. Part I briefly reviews threats America has faced thru history and those which it currently faces across all domains. Part II outlines areas of defense and civilian research which must be pursued, and Part III delves into the path forward for cohesive, joint application of technology and research.Read more
In 21st Century warfare, social media fuels influence through “likes,” “shares,” and “tweets” driving narratives that blur the lines of politics, law, war, peace, elections, and freedom of speech and press, creating an information crisis. The current lack of an adequate United States (US) response to this crisis threatens its democratic institutions and national security. Bolstering this emerging threat are social media platforms rewarding users for engaging as fast thinkers without regard for bias or manipulation that is being exploited by hostile state and non-state actors to create narratives resulting in the decay of truth. Compounding this problem is social media’s ability to transition influence from institutions and governments to the individual. Though social media-enabled information warfare alone may not be decisive in current and future conflicts, nations must prepare to counter its effects across all instruments of national power: diplomatic, information, military, and economic.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
The culture of the Air Force is defined from the mission statement; to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace. Air has always been the first domain in the mission and the main focus of the Air Force. Considering this cultural mindset, the other two domains in the mission statement will not receive the attention they need until the culture is changed.Read more
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.Read more
Warfare in the information age is rapidly becoming the cornerstone to the JFC’s scheme of maneuver. The AF needs to take a hard look at how cyber forces are organized, trained, and equipped for the future fight.Read more
Cyberspace operations lack specified mission types and core activities to meet the Joint Force Commander’s desired outcomes. In order to give maneuverability back to the joint warfighter the DoD must recognize this paradigm shift within cyber and pair core activities with mission types.Read more
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 CommandsRead more
The US has a problem on her hands, and the emerging answers fail to address the real problem. While militaryRead more
This is the text from Tuesday’s European Security podcast. This interview will cover an array of topics, from Brexit andRead more
The multi domain aspect will never be what we want it to be without the synchronization required to integrate allRead more
USCYBERCOM presents an opportunity to effectively implement human domain forces in a high-threat, resource constrained environment. Estimated Reading Time: 5Read more
Cognitive computing may have significant implications for future cyber and multi-domain operations.Read more
What are the US options if cyber deterrence is an intractable idea? Jake Bebber has a few ideas.Read more
In the future operating environment, to successfully deter and defeat our adversaries, we must better understand how the domains interact and their basic principles.Read more
Retired Lt Gen David Deptula shares his thoughts on the future of warfare-in particular, aerospace power in an age of uncertainty.Read more
Seventy years of American invulnerability to existential threats is coming to an end and Civilian and Military leaders will have to adapt.Read more
In OTH’s fourth podcast we examine the concept of cognitive warfare and what it means for the future security environment.Read more
The military does not create cyber culture, because it is not solely a military occupation.
By John Myers
This initial cyber cadre will eventually recruit, train, and grow more junior personnel as the program expands.
By John Myers
Utilizing cyberspace as a warfighting domain is still, however, in its infancy. It must evolve similar to how the utilization of the air domain evolved during the 20th century
By Joed Carbonell
The military cyber community lacks a solid culture to set the tone and expectations for how fusing cyber and kinetic operations should be conducted, central to enabling effective multi-domain operations.
By John Myers
Organizational culture is central to how a group performs … or fails to. It sets group norms, expectations, and valuesRead more
The United States Air Force’s definition of airpower is merely a description of all Air Force activities and is incorrect.
By Tom Flounders
Cyberspace is the key terrain of the present RMA because it connects the domains together, creating an integrated layer of joint-force effectiveness
By Brian Viola, Erica L. Fountain, and Michael C. Williams
An important lesson airpower’s evolution of thought regarding who is fit to fly aircraft can be applied to the cyberspace operations career field: the uniformed cyberspace operator does not necessarily have to be a computational genius.
By Katrina Schweiker