Released on Monday, the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, drafted a new strategy for how US ground forces will operate, fight, and campaign successfully across multiple domains—space, cyberspace, air, land, maritime—against all enemies in the 2025-2040 timeframe.
The new strategy calls for “super-empowered individuals and small groups”, who are mobile and can simultaneously fight in every domain of warfare, which will replace the conventional large units like today.
Since the end of the Cold War, US and Joint Forces have enjoyed considerable amounts of freedom across all domains. The purpose of this new concept is to prepare the US for an increasing number of actors who challenge US global hegemony.
The reported titled “Multi-Domain Battle: Evolution of Combined Arms for the 21st Century, 2025-2040?, repeats one key point over and over again according to Defense One.
Adversaries will make life as difficult as possible for U.S. troops by not declaring themselves to be the enemy, or, as the concept puts it, by “combining regular and irregular forces with criminal and terrorist enterprises to attack the Joint Force’s vulnerabilities while avoiding its strength.”
The world got a whiff of this new concept in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine through the use of local paramilitaries and proxy forces. “Adversaries have blurred the distinction between actions ‘below armed conflict’ and ‘conflict,’ enabling the achievement of strategic military objectives short of what the U.S. traditionally considers ‘war,” the report says.
Defense One then summarizes four more reasons why the US Army has to evolve onto a multi-domain battlefield or face the risk of losing America’s global empire:
- The exponential speed of information technology. U.S. forces can’t assume that they will have the best phones, drones, or computer hardware on the battlefield. As computers get smaller, cheaper, and more widely available, U.S. tech advantages will disintegrate.
- Warfare will be much more urban. Some 60 percent (conservatively) of the Earth’s population will live in cities in 2030, many in megacities with populations of more than 10 million. This is where adversaries will try to engage U.S. forces, not in open fields or deserts where today’s Army and it senormous battle vehicles have the advantage.
- The internet will be a key aspect of the battlefield, not just in terms of trading cyber attacks with enemy hackers but in the need to constantly and expertly shape global opinion about the conflict. Troll armies spreading fake news and disinformation, coupled with enough social-media traffic to overwhelm open-source analysts, could “complicate the [Army’s] ability to gain and maintain an accurate, up-to-date, intelligence-driven understanding of the situation, as well as control of the information environment,” the document says.
- Every bad guy becomes The Joker. The Army sees a rise of “Super-empowered individuals and small groups” who can “use access to cyberspace, space, and nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical weapons of mass effects to change the battlespace calculus and redefine the conditions of conflict resolution.” Read that to mean: lone wolves and minescule teams with the power to rival many of today’s nation-states.
Glancing at the American Empire, there are nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. To maintain this global force, the US Senate approved a $700 billion military bill this year. The amount eclipses $549 billion military spending cap established by 2011 Budget Control Act.
Summing up, America’s Army is going through a drastic overhaul after the failed conventional wars in the Middle East. The idea of small and decentralized nodes loosely connected operating across multiple domains–space, cyberspace, air, land, maritime seems to be today’s answer for tomorrow’s warfare. The concept has already been implemented in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine with not the best results. Meanwhile, as the American Empire unravels, the military–industrial complex is set to profit from years of war, as outlined in the report.