By Major Kimber Nettis , Air Force Institute of Technology / Published April 18, 2019
Brigadier General Mark Odom, Director of the Concepts, Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command, stressed the importance of a joint operational understanding to be successful in Multi-Domain Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Katie Scott)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - The Air Force Institute of Technology’s School of Strategic Force Studies hosted a Multi-Domain Operations Joint Working Group at AFIT on April 11 and 12.
The purpose was to bring together the services to define the implementation plan for integrating MDO concepts into education and training in the Air Force as well as define MDO best practices and Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures to share across the joint operational forces.
Brigadier General Mark Odom, Director of the Concepts, Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command, discussed the challenges to adding cyber and space to the multi-domain operations. “Conceptually it is evolutionary, but the practical execution of it is quite revolutionary because the development, execution ability, and duration of effect for these capabilities differs dramatically in terms of time.”
Additionally, Dr. Jeffrey Reilly, the Director for the Multi-Domain Operations Strategist concentration at Air Command and Staff College advocated for a definition of the term domain stating that a domain is “a critical macro maneuver space whose access or control is vital to the freedom of action and superiority required by the mission.” A domain is an area that requires access and an area in which one can make effects. By expanding the definition of a domain, the cyberspace domain could be expanded to include the wider electro-magnetic spectrum and the addition of the cognitive or human domain. Expanding an understanding of the domains is necessary in order to truly capture the current operational environment and current TTPs of current threats such as Russia and China.
There were two working groups that focused on MDO education and operations. The education group discussed who is currently teaching MDO concepts, at what level, and to what audience. The group also identified gaps in education, platforms used for the Continuum of Learning environment, and different technology solutions and innovations that are available to help educate the force. Representatives from the new 13 Oscar career field initial skills training course, the director for the MDO Strategist Concentration at Air Command and Staff College and representatives from the Air Force Institute of Technology were members of this group.
The operations group focused on warfighter needs, TTP development, current and future MDO integration strategies, tools and innovations needed to support future MDO capabilities, as well as service structure and processes involved in operations. Changes in doctrine were recommended in order to achieve a multi-domain analysis framework. Currently the Operational Design process does not drive multi-domain planning, but is reliant on the commander or the staff to be fully multi-domain informed. Representatives from the Joint Electronic Warfare Center, Army’s Cyberspace Electromagnetic Activities Branch, 624 Operations Center, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Air Combat Command, Air Force Weapons Integrations Center, and recent warfighters and planners from contested Areas of Responsibility with multi-domain operations experience participated in the operations group.
AFIT’s School of Strategic Force Studies is responsible for cyberspace, nuclear, and space Professional Continuing Education in the Air Force. The out-briefs for the working groups and releasable presentations will be made available on the AFIT website www.afit.edu/EX or email Major Kimber Nettis at Kimber.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.