Following the direction of the chief of staff, the Air Force is continuing to move toward a new paradigm in the way of multi-domain command and control. While all the services are recognizing the need to shift to multi-domain battle, or fighting across the five domains of warfare seamlessly as opposed to siloed, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has made multi-domain command and control a top priority since his confirmation hearing.
Multi-domain operations is something the force must embrace, especially when looking at adversaries and the environment in which troops will have to fight, Brig. Gen. Kevin B. Kennedy, director of the Air Force's Cyberspace Operations and Warfighting Integration, said at a breakfast hosted by the AFCEA DC Chapter on Thursday.
To be effective here, the service will need command and control in a multi-domain environment, shifting from simply C2 in the air to C2 in air, space and cyber to enable centralized control and de-centralized execution, said Kennedy. That is going to be one of the fundamental tenets of how the Air Force thinks about air power, space power and cyber power, he added.
Following the landmark air superiority
Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team report
, the service is now embarking upon a new ECCT focused on multi-domain command and control.
Considering the next multi-domain C2 ECCT, one of the participants at the breakfast harkened back to lessons learned during the previous team's review process and its importance. As far as the multi-domain C2, there is always a desire to produce a solution, said Col. Douglas DeMaio, vice commander of Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base.
For DeMaio, it's important to view this issue through a cultural lens and define what the force is trying to solve. Relating back to air superiority, DeMaio noted that examining the elements of counter-air enabled an effective counter-air doctrine that has now been updated to domain control, which will allow various degrees of superiority.
By creating the ECCT, the Air Force not only updated internal doctrine but joint doctrine, he said.
When looking at this from a cultural standpoint, heretofore space and cyber have not been looked at as war-fighting elements, he added, pointing out that air had not been considered in joint doctrine as a maneuver element until the 1990s.
What that means is that air can now be an operation supported by other elements. “We’re looking at air, space and cyber; we are only a few policy decisions away from actually supporting space, supporting cyber as an operation,” he said. In developing how to fight and integrate air, space and cyber, similar to what has been done in the air, the force can now develop counter-space and counter-cyber doctrine constructs, he added.
It’s a cultural issue for the Air Force to view air, space and cyber as three equal components rather than individual pillars of excellence, DeMaio said. This will take cultural building from an Air Force perspective as the Air Force is the only service named after a domain, he added, and it will require training and a new outlook on systems.
In highlighting the need for a cultural shift in systems, DeMaio questioned why the Air Force looking at a sixth-generation aircraft instead of looking at a first-generation aerospace platform that supports air, space and cyber.
While the force likely will not be ideally integrated in 2020, DeMaio said he is “extremely confident” that the cultural changes airman make at the major and captain level will contribute to improving this capability. As evidence, he cited the annual Red Flag exercises in which the Air Force took these elements and tactically combined them successfully.