From the 104th Training Division (LT) Commander

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Hello Timberwolves,

In my civilian position, I work with the Space and Missile Defense Command. In this position, my focus is on helping the Army determine how to use space capabilities to fight in the future—2030 and beyond. In this article, I will provide my perspective how the Army will fight in the future and how the 104th Training Division’s role as trainers of future leaders can shape this future.

Before talking about where we are heading, we must understand where we are currently. The emerging operational environment presents more complex challenges to the Army than any experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the United States Army was occupied for twenty years fighting counter insurgency wars in the Middle East, our adversaries continued to develop their war fighting capabilities. Instead of building more sophisticated aircraft carriers or more advanced jets, our adversaries decided to develop their non-kinetic capabilities such as cyber and space to engage us below the threshold of armed conflict. With these capabilities, our adversaries are able to contest across all domains (land, sea, air, cyber, and space) and the information environment to create standoff, delay the movement of forward forces, hinder the arrival of follow-on forces, and enable a fait accompli. In addition, domestically, they are able to disrupt our democratic processes and divide us internally. All of this at a fraction of the cost of developing advance weapon systems.

To address this multi-domain threat, the U.S. Army developed the Multi-Domain Operational (MDO) concept, which outlines the way our Army will counter and defeat our adversaries. Two key themes in the MDO concept are the requirement to compete below the threshold of armed conflict to deter adversaries and the ability to converge capabilities across all domains, and environments continuously and rapidly to defeat adversaries in armed conflict. For the Army to achieve these requirements it must be able to see and understand the battlespace across all domains, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the information environment. It must decide on a course of action that converges multi-domain capabilities quickly at the decisive point and shapes the battlespace through cross-domain action and maneuver. Lastly, it must be able to strike the adversary either kinetically or non-kinetically at multiple decisive points or spaces to defeat the adversary.

Ok, so how does this relate to our role as trainers of future Army leaders? The actions above will require future leaders skilled in executing planning via troop leading procedures or the military decision making process. The Army runs on orders. Our trainees must be able to take an order from higher and immediately analyze it using the factors of METT-T (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, Time). They must conceptually see and understand the battlespace. After gaining an understanding, they must decide on a course of action and issue a plan that converges capabilities at a decisive point with speed and tempo to shape the battlespace for success. We must develop leaders that can plan and make informed decisions. A key part of any plan is the ability to maneuver to the decisive point. This is where their map reading skills come into play. It is a lot easier now to find a lost lieutenant in the field on land than it will be in the future when they are in a galaxy far, far away. We must develop leaders who are competent at navigating/reading a map. When reaching the objective, our trainees must be able to strike the enemy at multiple decisive points. We must develop leaders who are proficient on their individual weapon system. Right now, that is a M4/M16. Tomorrow, that may be a light saber or a non-kinetic system like a cyber tool that takes down an enemy’s air defense network. To tie all of this together, our trainees must understand that leaders supervise by conducting rehearsals of the plan and by conducting inspections. Pre-combat checks have had and will always have a place in our Army. We must develop leaders who understand their importance. Let’s shape the future.

Timberwolf 6 out.

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