It’s all about the network.

As the Army works to develop its multi-domain battle concept, one key Army leader said this week that the network will be the critical component.

“The network is probably the key integrating factor,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, the new commander of Training and Doctrine Command said during a March 8 presentation at the AFCEA Army Signal conference in Springfield, Virginia.

Townsend noted that the Army appears to be ahead of the other services in crafting a multi-domain battle concept for operations, although he acknowledged the other services are moving along.

The convergence of all the domains of war, the integration of sensor networks and things like telemedicine and distributed resupply are only going to be possible with the future network the Army needs, Townsend said.

This future network in a multi-domain environment, likely in a megacity, will have to be able to operate and survive in an EW contested environment, enable forces to be semi-independent and dispersed and enable rapid and precise joint fires in support of maneuver.

“We all know that our current network is too vulnerable to disruption by future adversaries. It requires too much power and spectrum to operate, it depends too much on satellite uplinks, it lacks sufficient range to maintain connectivity and it’s too cumbersome to move in the mobile fight that would characterize multi-domain battle,” he said.

Townsend noted that he saw glimpses of what is to come in multi-domain battle in large cities based on what he saw in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria as most recently serving as the commander of the global anti-Islamic State group coalition.

“The network’s our key enabler I think,” he said.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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