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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Supply Chain Competition and All-Effects Warfare: Achieving Strategic Advantage (Part 2 of 2)

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?

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Supply Chain Competition and All-Effects Warfare: Fundamentals of Strategic Advantage (Part 1 of 2)

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.

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Do We Still Have a Coalition of the Willing? Reinforcing National Security through Dedicated Cultural Training

The U.S. has been working with collation partners for decades to address matters of global and national security. Alongside over 80 partner nations, the U.S. has accomplished milestones in the Global Fight against ISIS, which would not have been possible without such a combined front. Part of these successes are due to the DoD’s shift a decade ago to incorporate partner nations in our military processes to fuse holistic intelligence for decisionmakers through multiple coalition intelligence cells around the world. As the battlespace continues to shift from years of counterinsurgency to face revisionist powers and rogue states, the personnel identified to fill critical positions that interact with coalition members will determine the successes of future conflicts. This essay will describe some recent advances the US Air Force has made toward improving coalition intelligence operations and recommend ways to improve selection and training programs in the future.

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War is a Learning Competition: How a Culture of Debrief Can Improve Multi-Domain Operations

The Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) community continues to evolve and progress. MDO is, and will be the fundamental enabler for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and the way our nation fights future wars. As the maturing community integrates new concepts and processes, Multi-Domain Operators must identify and engrain the valuable lessons along the way. Creating a set of standards to capture feedback and drive improvement is vital for development in any organization. The debrief culture of the US Air Force fighter community, among others, is well known for its direct, highly effective feedback and learning methods. This type of focused feedback is important to the fighter community because the debrief is where the majority of learning takes place. The MDO community would benefit greatly by utilizing this debrief culture as a model from which to develop its own unique culture of consistent, iterative improvement. Because a standard day, or sortie-equivalent, is not yet fully fleshed out for Multi-Domain Operators, the purpose of this paper is to convey the necessity for debriefing lessons learned, and provide best practices in their current form. The ultimate objective is to create a foundation for the MDO community to adapt these practices as the details and nuance of its daily execution become more specific and clear.

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Defense Of The Homeland In A New Age, Part III

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.

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Defense Of The Homeland In A New Age, Part II

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.

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Defense Of The Homeland In A New Age, Part I

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.

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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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A Bomber for the Navy

Rather that sending the B-1 Lancer into early retirement, the Department of Defense could transfer it to the Navy for duty as a land-based ship-killer.

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Innovation Madness: Accepting Risk Today to Avoid Defeat Tomorrow

The United States Air Force (USAF) recognizes a need for future innovations as near-peer competitors make rapid advancements in military capabilities. However, the current USAF system does not facilitate keeping up with these competitors. Innovation requires a cultural shift regarding risk acceptability at all levels, starting with leaders. The USAF can facilitate this shift by further addressing regulatory guidance and Professional Military Education programs. Until the USAF as an organization is willing to accept risks and ultimately failures to achieve success, mission impacting innovations will continue to be elusive.

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An Acquisition Offset: Exploiting the Time Dimension

Accepting increased product and process risk is necessary to facilitate the faster acquisitions timelines the future operating environment demands.

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***OTH Anniversary*** Returning to Marshall: Mastering Risk by Understanding It

Leaders must remember that risk is inherent in all military operations. Identify the risk, mitigate the risk, and accept prudent risk.

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Courage and Risk: How far can we manage risk?

Further advancing our conversation on approaching risk in a future characterized by complexity and uncertainty, David Pappalardo presents Risk and Courage.

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OTH Podcast 3: The Evolving Character of Risk in the Emerging Security Environment

Welcome to OTH’s third podcast! For this episode, we turn our attention to the evolving character of risk in the emerging security environment.

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Drop Zone: Reconsidering Risk in National Security

International security is a high-stakes competition in which risk is a central and constant factor. The changes taking place across

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Returning to Marshall: Mastering Risk by Understanding It

Joint Doctrine does not sufficiently and separately address risk as both a necessary part of military operations and as a series of hazards to the force. Risk is not just a list of “things to avoid and mitigate,” but instead must be identified and categorized into two separate classes: accidental and operational. A conflation of these two types of risk directly contributes to the perception that the US military is a “risk averse” organization that refuses to allow for and appropriately reward prudent risk-taking. Thusly, Joint Doctrine must specify the differences between accidental and operational risk in a more deliberate way than it currently does in order to provide clarity to commanders and staffs.

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Podcast 2: Relating Gray Zone Conflict & Multi-Domain Operations

Welcome to OTH’s second podcast! For this episode we’ve brought together a group of experts to discuss two topics that have consumed Defense policy and academic conversations over the last few years: Multi-Domain Operations and Gray Zone Conflict.

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What Horse Racing Can Teach the Warfighter about Prudent Risk

Commanders must be willing to allow risk to be assumed at every echelon and to encourage prudent risk taking throughout his/her command. On an increasingly unpredictable battlefield, commanders must seek every opportunity to rapidly and effectively seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. An understanding of the risks associated with any and all actions must be thoroughly understood in order to most effectively seize on overlaid risk opportunities while avoiding underlaid ones.
By Tom Flounders

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