MultiDomain Operations: ‘how the US Army, as part of the joint force, can counter and defeat a near-peer adversary capable of contesting the US in all domains, in both competition and armed conflict. The concept describes how US ground forces, as part of the joint and multinational team, deters adversaries and defeats highly capable near-peer enemies in the 2025–2050 timeframe.’1
TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 - The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028
LtGen Wesley- Army Future Concepts https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/modern-war-institute/id1079958510?i=1000466591730
3 Main Tenants:
- Calibrated Force Posture
- Multidomain Formations
a. Enhanced and broader need for combined arms maneuver. The emerging operational environment and the challenges posed by China and Russia, particularly their capability to create political and military stand-off, demand that the Joint Force apply the proven principles of combined arms maneuver and massing of effects at decisive spaces. What is different is the idea that Army forces must apply these joint capabilities more comprehensively (earlier, in greater capacity, and at lower echelons) and in new ways (faster and with greater agility). Multi-domain formations provide the Joint Force with additional means to stimulate, see, and strike key components and vulnerabilities within enemy systems. Army forces also continue to conduct the traditional tasks of seizing terrain, destroying enemy forces, and securing friendly populations. Army forces retain the ability to overmatch the enemy, despite reduced friendly capacity, by converging capabilities from across all domains, the EMS, and the information environment. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 x
b. Operating at echelon. Army forces execute Multi-Domain Operations with echeloned formations that conduct intelligence, maneuver, and strike activities across all five domains (air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace) as well as the information environment and the EMS.5F 6 The ability of Army formations at echelon to converge capabilities in multiple ways and sequences provide the Joint Force Commander with options to impose additional complexity on the enemy. The echeloning of forces prevents the isolation of forward positioned forces within the stand-off range of enemy anti-access and area denial systems at the beginning of a conflict and enables strategic and operational maneuver by forces from outside the range of anti-access and area denial systems. Maneuver at echelon by Army forces then enables the Joint Force to overwhelm Chinese and Russian military systems with multiple dilemmas and massed effects, creating windows of superiority to enable freedom of maneuver.6F 7
c. Converging cross-domain capabilities. Convergence has two advantages over singledomain alternatives: cross-domain synergy creates overmatch and multiple forms of attack create layered options across domains to enhance friendly operations and impose complexity on the enemy. The ability to converge cross-domain capabilities enables the Joint Force to stimulate, see, and strike vulnerabilities in the Chinese and Russian systems and defeat their efforts to create stand-off.7F 8 Currently, the Joint Force converges capabilities through the episodic synchronization of domain-federated solutions, but will have to conduct continuous and rapid integration of multi-domain capabilities enabled by mission command and disciplined initiative against near-pear threats in the future.
d. Maximize human potential. The Army builds and sustains multi-domain formations through the selection, training, and education of the leaders, Soldiers, and teams in them. Employing multi-domain capabilities requires the Army to attract, retain, and employ leaders and Soldiers who collectively possess a significant breadth and depth of technical and professional expertise. The Army must exercise careful talent management to make the most of these highquality personnel and integrate them into trusted teams of professionals who are able to thrive in ambiguity and chaos. Improving the resilience of leaders and Soldiers—the Army’s most valuable capability—requires training, educating, equipping, and supporting them to execute Multi-Domain Operations in all of its intensity, rigor, and complexity.
e. Required Army capability sets. The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations concept requires the Army to develop or improve capabilities to contribute cross-domain options within the Joint Force by:
(1) Calibrating force posture geographically and across all the Army components to defeat Chinese and Russian offensive operations in competition and to deter escalation to armed conflict.8F 9
(2) Preparing the operational environment by building partner capacity and interoperability and setting the theater through such activities as establishing basing and access rights, prepositioning equipment and supplies, conducting preparatory intelligence activities, and mapping EMS and computer networks.9F 10 (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Army Network)
(3) Building partners’ and allies’ capacities and capabilities to defeat increasingly sophisticated Chinese and Russian-sponsored unconventional and information warfare.
(4) Preparing the operational environment for competition and conflict by building understanding of and capabilities in select urban areas of particular operational or strategic importance.
(5) Establishing precision logistics that provides a reliable, agile, and responsive sustainment capability necessary to support rapid power projection, Multi-Domain Operations, and independent maneuver from the Strategic Support Area to the Deep Maneuver Area. (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Future Vertical Lift, Army Network)
(6) Establishing necessary authorities and permissions normally reserved for conflict or to higher echelons to operate in competition and rapidly transition to conflict effectively.
(7) Improving the capability to conduct Multi-Domain Operations in dense urban terrain at all echelons through the development of tactics and capabilities to increase the accuracy, speed, and synchronization of lethal and nonlethal effects. (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Army Network, Soldier Lethality)
(8) Supporting a credible U.S. information narrative through cross-domain actions that communicate and counter threats by Chinese and Russian reconnaissance, strike, combined arms, and unconventional warfare capabilities.
(9) Enabling commanders and staffs at each echelon to visualize and command a battle in all domains, the EMS, and the information environment, converging organic and external capabilities at decisive spaces. This requires new tools to more rapidly converge capabilities across the Joint Force, shifting training paradigms, and changing personnel and talent management practices. This also requires that Army formations be trained, manned, and equipped to leverage all available information, from national, joint, commercial, and Service repositories and libraries, or directly from collection assets seamlessly and in a time dominant 9 The idea of calibrating and re-calibrating force posture globally aligns with the idea of “forming operationally coherent forces” as described in the Joint Concept for Rapid Aggregation. 10 “Setting the theater” encompasses the actions to establish and maintain conditions to seize the initiative and retain freedom of action for a specific theater. These actions may occur outside of the theater as well. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 xii manner. (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Army Network, Soldier Lethality, Synthetic Training Environment)
(10) Providing to the Joint Force Commander multi-domain formations and systems that can converge capabilities to attack specific vulnerabilities in Chinese and Russian multi-layered, mutually reinforcing military forces and systems. This means creating commanders and staffs who have the means and ability to access and employ capabilities that reside across the Joint Force. (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, Soldier Lethality)
(11) Providing to the Joint Force Commander with multi-domain formations that have systems, leaders, and Soldiers that are durable, can operate in a highly contested operational environment, cannot easily be isolated from the rest of the Joint Force or from partners, and are able to conduct independent maneuver and employ cross-domain fires. This requires extended sustainability of systems and formations, and leaders and Soldiers who continue to operate effectively in austere environments and conditions. (Supported by Army Materiel Modernization Priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, Army Network, Air and Missile Defense, Soldier Lethality)
(12) Consolidating gains through clear demonstrations of U.S. security commitments to partners through combined exercises, training, information exchanges, and other presence activities.
(13) Enabling and complementing land, air, and maritime capabilities with operations in space, cyberspace, and the EMS to support the opening of and exploitation of windows of superiority that create dilemmas for the enemy while protecting the ability to conduct friendly operations in degraded, disrupted, and/or denied operational environments.
(14) Attracting, retaining, and making maximum use of high-quality, physically fit, mentally tough Soldiers who have the skills and expertise to conduct Multi-Domain Operations. f. Success in Multi-Domain Operations requires these capabilities be sufficiently developed, trained, and practiced within the Army, with the remainder of the Joint Force, and with allies and partners.
TRADOC MDO Website: https://www.tradoc.army.mil/Multi-Domain-Operations/
Army Mad Scientist: https://madsciblog.tradoc.army.mil/
Gen Townsend on MDO - https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/September-October-2018/Townsend-Multi-Domain-Operations/
Army Futures Command DCG talks about MDO: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/08/11/this-3-star-army-general-explains-what-multi-domain-operations-mean-for-you/
1. . https://www.tradoc.army.mil/Publications-and-Resources/Article-display/Article/1655556/multi-domain-operations/, assesses 24. Apr. 2019.
6 The U.S. Army Functional Concept for Movement and Maneuver, 2020-2040 defines cross-domain maneuver as “the employment of mutually supporting lethal and nonlethal capabilities in multiple domains to generate overmatch, present multiple dilemmas to the enemy, and enable Joint Force freedom of movement and action.”
7 As an example, Army formations can maneuver—or assist Joint Force maneuver—as a reconnaissance action, fighting to gain intelligence, key terrain, and set conditions that enable strikes, rather than maneuvering only after passive intelligence collection, deliberate analysis, and precision strikes have prepared the battlefield for maneuver.
8 The U.S. Army Concept for Multi-Domain Combined Arms at Echelons Above Brigade, 2025-2045 calls for formations able to integrate, synchronize, and converge all elements of combat power across all domains, the EMS, and the information environment to execute cross-domain maneuver; provide essential linkage to the expanded instruments of national power; and operate ubiquitously with joint, interagency, and multinational partners to overmatch any threat in any future environment. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 xi