That was then
Beginning in the late 1970s, the U.S. military focused on large-scale ground operations against peer threats. This framework was known as the "AirLand Battle" concept. When the Cold War ended, we reduced our close-combat capabilities, predicting that most potential combat operations would likely not be with a strategic peer.
This is now
Initially, this projection proved to be true. Recent U.S. combat operations have focused on counterinsurgency campaigns against an asymmetrical and terrorist threat.
However, a new, more complex operational environment has emerged that will force us to engage peer threats. And these threats have been increasing while our own military advantages have decreased.
Currently, peer threats exist across multiple domains. We are up against long-range precision munitions, advanced missile systems, small unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced electronic warfare and cyber capabilities – as well as information warfare, which is used to influence key decision makers, the U.S. public, and the international community.
The "Multi-Domain Battle" concept
To combat the peer threat, the U.S. Army introduced its "Multi-Domain Battle" concept in 2016. Unlike AirLand Battle, Multi-Domain Battle focuses on sophisticated enemy threats in all dimensions of the battlespace: land, sea, air, space, and cyber. The goal is a decentralized combined arms force capable of operating across all of these domains.
Through this concept, the U.S. military can execute coordinated operations that create temporary windows of opportunity using surprise, speed of maneuver, and overwhelming firepower. If these operations are to be effective, we must strengthen our long-range, cross-domain fires capability and increased mobility, as well as our electronic warfare and cyber capability. And in order to maintain superiority, we must continue to develop the Multi-Domain Battle concept through concept formulation, wargaming, experimentation, and command post exercises.
With the Multi-Domain Battle concept as our framework, the U.S. military can get back on top.
Lt. Colonel Wes Walters, US Army, Ret.
Executive VP of Business Development, Land Domain
Saab North America
This post is part of Saab USA's U.S. Military Insights blog series, where our employees who have served in the U.S. military offer their thoughts on the issues affecting their branch.