9 November 2016

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

November 2, 2016 

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

The Army's taking notice of the changing operational landscapes emerging. Part of this recognition involves the new push toward a multi-domain battle concept, one that recognizes the force must move beyond its traditional air-land battle to fight in air, land, littoral space and cyberspace.

This notion and recognition is where Army’s top leadership believes warfare is headed, William Lasher, deputy chief of staff, G6, Army Forces Command, said during a panel at the annual MILCOM conference in Baltimore Nov. 2. Lasher was referencing the rollout of the new battle concept at the annual AUSA conference in October. Multi-domain battle is substantially more complicated than air-land battle, he said.

The Army previously took steps toward such a construct as it recognized the need to build cyber capacity, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commanding general of the Cyber Center of Excellence and commanding general at Fort Gordon, said at the same panel. The cyber forces provide organic cyber capabilities to enhance unified land operations.

Lasher explained that in the future adversaries will intentionally and frequently try to take down Army networks as an asymmetric means to undermine combat power. “We’re watching our adversaries do this in other areas,” he said.

Lasher said the force must take a look at its current architecture to include the tactical systems that are supposed to be in the battlefield. The Army, within the last 15 years of conflict against a technologically inferior adversary, has mainly been focused on counterinsurgency. As a result, officials said, the service has fallen into the habit of forward operating base-centered warfare. They’ve assumed they can land in a place and either fall in on fixed infrastructure or set up a satellite link and that will support troops for an indefinite period of time. “We have got to seriously rethink how that works,” he said, as future conflict with near-peer competitors will be significantly more contested.

He added that he is encouraging the Army to achieve network maneuverability as a solution, which, he explained, can have several facets. One aspect involves maneuverability within the electromagnetic spectrum. He noted how some are frightened by the spectrum sell-off within the continental United States as the spectrum is finite and “spectrum auctions” are necessary in order to properly allocate space for increasing use by commercial and government entities. When forces deploy overseas into a sovereign nation with completely different spectrum regulations, however, they must still be maneuverable with their systems in terms of being able to move in the spectrum, Lasher asserted.

He also explained the Army must be more diverse in space. They must be able to move to different satellite constellations and have redundant satellite connectivity at reasonable bandwidth. “The days of us plugging in on one constellation and not being able to move off that constellation, I suspect, are numbered,” he said. 


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