Domain services

Army delays multi-domain doctrine, sends team to glean intel on Ukraine fight

Seen through a tree-mounted rear-view mirror, Ukrainian army soldiers stand in a frontline position on May 20, 2022 in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Va. : The US Army’s next multi-domain operations doctrine, which was to be released in June, will be released later than expected as the Army assesses it against the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a top general, including sending a team to Europe to glean the latest information.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has given the military a chance to ensure that its concept of multi-domain operations, essentially how the military plans to wage wars in the future, is sufficiently developed. and effective, said Gen. Paul Funk, Army Training and Army Commander. Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

“Someone gave us the opportunity to look at our stuff and not expose our most precious treasure to it – our sons and daughters,” Funk told reporters on Thursday after an event hosted by the Association of US army. “And they gave us the opportunity to examine it. Why don’t we just use it for a timeline? Why don’t we look into this and make sure we’re on the right track? »

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The delay could be news to lawmakers who were told by Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville last month that June was still the deadline for the doctrine. Spokespersons for neither the military nor TRADOC clarified the apparent disparate timelines as of press time following a request from Breaking Defense on Thursday.

General Paul E. Funk II visits Fort Hood

Gen. Paul Funk, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), at Fort Hood, Texas on July 15, 2021. (Staff Sergeant Daniel Herman/US Army)

The Army has been developing its multi-domain operations strategy for several years as the service’s future combat concept. It is intended to establish how the service plans to fight on the future battlefield in all areas of warfare, including digital and electronic operations. But in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the military has an opportunity to measure its draft doctrine against an actual conflict.

Funk said doctrine will always be released before the end of the calendar year and that the Army is taking an additional “90 to 100 days” to “review it to make sure we’re on the right track.”

“I think so,” Funk said. “Frankly, it’s pretty clear that we are.”

Funk said the service sent Army Lessons Learned Center personnel and doctrine staff to Europe to “capture and verify what we write as doctrine.” The goal is to ensure that what is written in the doctrine is what “war will look like on the battlefield today and be good enough for tomorrow”, he said. .

The four-star declined to say exactly where the doctrine and lessons learned from personnel are in Europe. But, he said, they talk to Ukrainians, people who train Ukrainians and refugees to gather as much information as possible about the Russian military, from the tactical level to the strategic level.

“They’re trying to come together on everything, but they’re trying to do it through a lens of ‘Are we going to be ready for the future? “said Funk.

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine began in late February. Although they were repelled by surprisingly aggressive Ukrainian resistance, the Russian army used artillery to devastating effect, hitting several Ukrainian towns and, the UN says, killing thousands of civilians. But the war cost the Russians dearly, with thousands of soldiers killed, according to NATO. Russia also has would have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of ground vehicles in Ukraine. The war exposed many shortcomings of the Russian military trying to move troops and supplies onto the battlefield, offering myriad lessons for the US military.

Earlier this week, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said, for example, that the conflict had demonstrated the importance of logistics, the impact drones can have on the battlefield and the need for secure communications. .

“We watch every day in real time what is happening in Ukraine,” Wormuth said.

The Army’s broader multi-domain operations effort includes new formations and new platforms. The military is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar modernization effort that includes new, secure networks for longer-range artillery and advanced helicopters — all with an eye on potential conflict with Russia and the United States. China.

The military has also created multi-domain task forces in the Indo-Pacific and Europe that will house long-range fire, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities in multi-domain operations.

“It’s a doctrine for 2030,” Funk said. “So let’s make sure it’s at least as fair as we can make it now.”