The U.S. Army will ensure that its war-fighting units can conduct electronic and cyber operations in the next decade, the serviced announced in a vision statement, part of a plan to combat the rise of Russia and China.

Esper said that soldiers from the 1st Cavalry are already training for “high-intensity” conflicts, based on the type of operations the Russian government has recently presented in eastern Ukraine. During a recent visit to the cavalry’s training site, Esper said the soldiers “were dealing with drones, they were dealing with intermittent communications, they were dealing with cyberattacks, and that really gave me a good feel that we were on the right path.”

The secretary described the future battlefield as being faster, having constant surveillance and subject to disruption of communications or electronics. It is a fight that will pose threats in all domains, Esper said, “air, land, sea, space, cyberspace.”

The new vision says the Army will experiment with developing “automatic systems, artificial intelligence, and robotics,” to boost effectiveness and make units less logistically dependent.

The Army has requested $429.4 million for research and development through fiscal year 2023, Fifth Domain has previously reported.

The Army is already attempting to infuse cyber and electronic warfare into brigades. Each unit now includes a cyber and electromagnetic activity planner to bolster digital fighting options for commandeers. Military officials have previously told Fifth Domain that some units are training for counter-drone capability.

Mark Pomerleau contributed to this report.

Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.

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