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    Multi-domain battle has immediate applications, says Gen. Perkins

    Redlegs train on new M777 Howitzer

    Photo By Spc. Brianne Kim | A gun crew from 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade...... read more read more



    Story by David Vergun   

    Defense Media Activity - Army   

    HONOLULU, Hawaii (Army News Service) –- Imagine an enemy intent on destroying U.S. ships, say, somewhere in the Western Pacific. A novel but technologically feasible concept called multi-domain battle, or MDB, could frustrate that intent, said Gen. David G. Perkins.

    Gen. David G. Perkins, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spoke at The Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare-sponsored "Land Forces in the Pacific: Advancing Joint and Multi-National Integration," May 24.

    MDB is a concept that maximizes utilization of all five domains: air, sea, land, space and cyber, in a joint, coalition effort.

    For MDB to work, the military needs to do away with domain "hogging," he said.

    Domain hogging works like this, he said: When a crisis occurs in a land domain, the Army or Marine Corps are considered owners of that domain and are expected to respond in a traditional manner, perhaps with mortars or howitzers. If a crisis occurs at sea, the Navy is seen as owning that domain so a ship or sub-surface solution is applied.

    Perkins described a fictitious MDB-type scenario that might occur somewhere in the Western Pacific or even elsewhere.

    Enemy ships armed with mines, torpedoes and missiles are going after friendly vessels. The enemy knows the whereabouts of U.S. ships that might come to the aid of friendly vessels. What they're not aware of are Army howitzers or missile batteries, located on islands in the area, armed with anti-ship precision fires.

    So now, the enemy isn't just worried about the U.S. Navy, they're also worried about the U.S. Army, which can emplace its guns in hard-to-detect areas on land, whereas ships are pretty easy to locate.

    This gives the combatant commander multiple options and the enemy multiple dilemmas, he said.

    Besides relying on sister services, MDB also calls on partner nation capabilities.

    Royal Australian Army Maj. Gen. Roger Noble, is on loan to the U.S. Army as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, provided another example.

    Last year, in a previous assignment, Noble was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, which was assisting the Iraqi army in its drive to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. During the fighting, the U.S. Army wanted to use its offensive cyber capabilities to perform a mission that's still classified.

    However, the U.S. Army didn't have the proper authorities and permissions in place to use that capability but Australia and the United Kingdom did. So the U.S. Army relied on its partner's capability in the cyber domain, he said.

    Perkins said cyber or space domains could also be used to shut down the enemy's naval navigation system or its anti-ship missiles, irrespective of which service or nation owned those assets. It doesn't matter who owns them; the domains should be available to whoever needs them, he said.

    Some partner nation leaders look at the busy slides Perkins uses to explain MDB, and are scared off by the complexity. They think "ray guns and flying saucers," Perkins said.

    They believe MDB to be complicated and expensive, but Perkins said he tries to reassure them they don't need to be equipped with the most modern hardware to provide MDB assets within a multi-partner force.

    For example, a small Pacific nation without a large navy might have a number of small, shallow-water vessels that could contribute to force protection in areas where U.S. and coalition forces are operating.

    Or, some small nation with hardly any assets at all might have land located in a strategic area from which land, air and naval power from the coalition forces might be projected. Everyone, he said, has something to bring to the fight.

    Perkins said the MDB concept was rolled out last October. Noble said that the first time he saw Perkins' slides, he immediately knew what it was about.

    Noble said that when he was in Iraq last year, MDB was being utilized by coalition forces, even before it was called MDB. Naval aircraft, launched from ships, were delivering precision ground fire and multiple nations and military services were working in and sharing multiple domains.

    Perkins said there's nothing like war to test concepts like MDB and to flesh out problems like when one nation's radios don't talk to another.

    The next best thing to war for learning, he said, is conducting rigorous exercises like the ones U.S. Army Pacific Command does in various countries year-round in the Pacific.

    "We see multi-domain battle as something to put in place right now," Perkins said.

    Perkins said he's working with Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, to establish an MDB task force "to try to take stuff we have in the Army now and repurpose it," he said. For example, USARPAC has equipment that could be used in anti-access, area denial.

    Brown, he added, comes from TRADOC, so he understands MDB and has been an advocate of the concept.

    Perkins said the Pacific region is a perfect place to test out MDB in rigorous exercises because all domains are well-represented there, and there are multiple coalition partners available to bring multiple capabilities.

    Brown's boss, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command, said he's excited about MDB. "I want to see the Army shoot down a missile, fired from a plane that launched from a ship," he said. "Then, I want to see the Army shoot down the aircraft that launched the missile and then I want the Army to sink that ship.

    "I'm convinced this is the way to fight, particularly when you don't have a clear advantage over our adversaries," he said. "Adversaries are now fielding new weapons in quantities approaching the zombie apocalypse."

    MDB "must be incorporated in the way we train year round," he said.

    Harris added that MDB will be hard, risky and expensive, but it will be essential to winning the next battle in a complex battlespace. "We can't be afraid to fail in public," he said, regarding the notion of experimenting with out-of-the-box ideas.

    The North Korean leader isn't afraid to fail in public with missile launches that go awry, he pointed out.

    Perkins said the conference is an ideal place to share the MDB vision with partners. "The Pacific is such a big area. It would take me months for me to visit leaders from each nation. Here I get to speed-date," he said.



    Date Taken: 05.31.2017
    Date Posted: 05.31.2017 08:49
    Story ID: 235794
    Location: HI, US

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