Photo: Dustin W. Sisco via US Navy
Coming on the tail of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, announced the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations, an effort to build a globally-integrated force.Comprised of eight key elements, the idea is to have a network of forces that can “form, evolve, dissolve, and reform in different arrangements in time and space with significantly greater fluidity,” Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn, the director of Joint Force Development on the Joint Staff said in an American Forces Press Service article.
The eight elements are:
- Mission command: the concept allows decision-making decentralization, letting lower-level leaders execute their commanders’ wishes however they can. Rapidly advancing technology will allow staffs to work together through mobile networks.
- Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative: Builds on mission command, expecting leaders to understand their environments and expect conflicts occur over multiple domains.
- Global Agility: US forces will be staged strategically around the world so they can quickly respond to any threats, including digital ones.
- Partnering: To take advantage of expertise and resources the US doesn’t have, on a “scalable basis” the report says, from a small unit using a nongovernmental partner to exercises like IMCMEX.
- Flexibility in establishing Joint Forces: Forces would be established more according to specific security challenges or threats, less on geography. Hybrid commands would increase lateral coordination and allow commanders to support each other accordingly.
- Cross-domain synergy: Everyone’s strengths will be exploited to create advantages for the rest of the force.
- Use of flexible, low-signature capabilities: Right now, American advantages like cyberspace, space, special operations, global strike and intelligence are only used in small doses by other forces. The new concept would integrate them more widely across other forces.
- Increasingly discriminate to minimize unintended consequences: Not just trying harder to not destroy everything around a given target, but also to use manoeuvre and information operations better.
The Joint Chiefs plan to implement the concept through more cross-training, so the Army can talk to the Air Force, etc., so the “mission command” part of the process works; using a cloud to improve situational awareness and get everyone on the same page; but also learn how to do things if the network goes down, so everyone yelling at computers and each other.
Although the plan for global integration was spurred by the decreasing size of America’s military, Dempsey said he believes we have 80 per cent of the needed force already.
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