Small Wars Journal

Services Debate Multi-Domain: ‘Battle’ Or ‘Operations’

Services Debate Multi-Domain: ‘Battle’ Or ‘Operations’ by Sydney J. Freedberg – Breaking Defense

"'Battle' is very tactical," said another participant approvingly. "We've got to have a cultural shift." We need to recognize we're in conflict right now with great power adversaries, even if we're not shooting at each other.

QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE: The Army wants the other services to endorse its Multi-Domain Battle concept for combined operations across all domains — land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace — against high-end adversaries like Russia and China. The goal is to get a multi-domain concept co-signed by all four branches by October 2019. To get there, the Army has to listen to its sister services and revise its ideas.

So the Army’s thinking of broadening Multi-Domain Battle to multi-domain operations to better capture the complexities of modern conflict. “I haven’t run this past the Chief of Staff of the Army yet,” one briefer said this morning at a joint conference here, sounding a little nervous, but “battle” puts the focus on frontline combat. “Operations” better captures the wide range of activities and places involved — from peacetime probes in cyberspace, to deniable “little green men” staging a bloodless coup in Crimea, to electronic deception far from the battlefield…

Read on.