U.S. military services — in one form or another ― are beginning to transition to multidomain operations, which requires the seamless integration across land, air, sea, space and cyber.
While the effort is largely conceptual, eventually systems and solutions will have to be procured with this new approach. Yet even at this early state, Rob Smith, vice president of C4ISR & UAS, Rotary and Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin, explained recently that the Department of Defense is going to need capabilities that link systems and information together.
While this may sound easy, Smith said differences in planning cycles, technologies and classifications is challenging. To help answer these questions, Lockheed Martin is hosting the fourth in an evolving series of tabletop exercises in August focused on multidomain operations to help the Air Force think through some of these challenges.
“How do you take all the platforms that are out there and link them together and then be able to create decisions that happen a lot faster or get to decisions that you couldn’t have gotten to if you were looking at each of the domains independently,” Smith told reporters during a July 12 media roundtable. “Then, how do you do planning, execution and operations across multiple domains.”
Moreover, it is still unclear where humans are in the decision-making loop, on the loop, the extent to which allow just machine to machine communications, learning and decision making without humans interacting with that at all.
The Air Force has made multi-domain command and control a top priority, which will involve the seamless integration of air, space and cyber capabilities, providing commanders cross-domain options to make more rapid decisions in complex battle spaces.
One of the reasons for the tabletop, he said, is to help the military understand some of what needs to be investigated further and where Lockheed Martin already has solutions. Also, the exercise provides “an opportunity for us to rethink warfare and how we’ve done things almost since the beginning of when warfare was created,” he said. He added that the wargames are driven and funded by Lockheed Martin.
Previous exercises have examined rapid assessment cells across multiple domains, integrating air tasking orders in other domains and different automated tools.
Contractor Lockheed Martin recently hosted a war game aimed at helping the Air Force better understand and craft its much-anticipated study on multi-domain command and control.
The August exercise will look at combining strategic and tactical operations as Lockheed Martin tests its common mission software baseline. That baseline has tactical decision aides and tools as well as items that have been designed to operate more at the edge where decision making processes are tighter, John Clark, vice president of ISR & UAS, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said.