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Options for small NATO countries to prepare for multi-domain operations
Material posted: Publication date: 10-11-2022
Recently, a new term "multi-domain operations" (MDO) has emerged, which describes how battles will be fought in the future, as the armed forces will operate in a more concentrated manner (Figure 1), which means that they will operate in five military areas: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. Military operations will be conducted in five areas under their simultaneous management or coordination from a single center. This new perception, perhaps a change in the conduct of war, is influenced by the level of modern technological development, the need to increase the survivability of their own troops on the battlefield and the understanding that effective military activity requires actions carried out not only in classical military conditions, but also in space and cyberspace. This, of course, changes the established understanding of conducting military operations, and now is the right time to start thinking about how small NATO countries will adapt to these changes. We will start this section by discussing the term MDO, then consider the changes taking place in the US Armed Forces, and finish with the changes taking place at their joint level. The term MDO was first used by the US Army in 2017 with the introduction of multi-domain warfare as a continuation of the concept of concentrated weapons in the 21st century. This publication identified the need to change the methods of warfare to allow the US Army to operate in all areas that are well adapted by potential adversaries and enhanced by their military might. It is assumed that in future conflicts various means of influencing the enemy in electromagnetic, information and cyberspace will be used; other means such as space-based effectors, economic, legal and political instruments of pressure will also be used.Of course, all these measures can also be introduced in response to the actions of potential opponents of the United States.

It is noted that timely and rapid data exchange between various entities and headquarters operating in the Ministry of Defense is the key to success. This can be ensured by choosing the optimal data exchange architecture. It is necessary to create a flexible structure of interaction and operational management, since operations will be carried out in a dynamic environment and with limited resources.

Intelligence systems currently being developed to identify and track targets deep in the battlefield will be further developed, as well as means of destroying targets that will become more accurate and will be able to hit a target from an even greater distance. The intelligence systems will be integrated into a single network that will allow receiving information from various sensors, unmanned reconnaissance platforms, ground, sea, air units and satellites in space.

The publication emphasizes that the successful implementation of the MDO requires not only the US military component and the capabilities of partners, but also other means available to the government as a whole to help solve military problems. The developed concept describes in detail the possible actions of the enemy forces and their own priorities for capacity development in the framework of the preparation and implementation of the MDO in 2025-2040.

Most of the conceptual reflections expressed both in the above-mentioned publication and in other publications are currently being put into practice by the US Army.A report to Congress published in November 2021 mentions that five MDOS task forces will be created (Figure 2). Interestingly, two of them are already fully functional. The first of them is based in the US state of Washington and is responsible for operations in the Pacific, while the second is based in Wiesbaden, Germany, and is responsible for supporting operations on the European and African continents.

Donatas Palavenis


Tags: assessment , USA

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