Multi-Domain Operations: A Developing Doctrine – TTG

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From US Army TRADOC Pam 525-3-1. A framework which explains where multi domain operations (MDO) will be going.

“HUNTSVILLE: The Army’s experimental Multi-Domain Task Force is a “game changer” that’s turned the tide in “at least 10 wargames,” the commander of US Army Pacific says. “Plans are already changing at the combatant command level because of this.” The key: the unit cracked the Anti-Access, Area Denial (A2/AD) conundrum, Russia and China’s dense layered defenses of long-range missiles, sensors, and networks to coordinate them. “Before, we couldn’t penetrate A2/AD. With it, we could,” Gen. Robert Brown said of the task force’s performance in “at least 10 exercises and wargames. With the Multi-Domain Task Force,” he told me after his remarks to the AUSA Global conference here, “we could impact their long-range systems and have a much greater success against an adversary. If I go into any more, it’d be classified.”

“In the future, Brown said here last week, “all formations will have to become multi-domain or they’ll be irrelevant, [but] it’s going to be years before it can happen.” The Army’s goal is modernize enough forces to wage multi-domain warfare against either China or Russia — but not both at once — by 2028.” (Breaking Defense)

Comment: I was intrigued when, in April, SecDef Austin announced he was sending two units with about 500 personnel to Germany. The units are a multi-domain task force and a theater fires command. Sounded like a mere symbolic move. But there’s nothing symbolic about these particular units. They are an early implementation of the Pentagon’s new multi-domain operations doctrine which focuses on theater level operations. That doesn’t mean mass divisions and corps. It means theater level employment of global assets across the entire spectrum of conflict. It’s still billed as a concept rather than a full blown doctrine, but it’s getting there and is already being implemented in the Pacific theater.

In an Army Chief of Staff paper, “Army Multi-Domain Transformation Ready to Win in Competition and Conflict” dated 16 March 2021, the multi-domain task force (MDTF) is described as “theater-level maneuver elements designed to synchronize precision effects and precision fires in all domains against adversary anti-access/ area denial (A2/AD) networks in all domains, enabling joint forces to execute their operational plan (OPLAN) directed roles.” The MDTF’s purpose is during competition, to “gain and maintain contact with our adversaries to support the rapid transition to crisis or conflict”; during a crisis, to “deter adversaries and shape the environment by providing flexible response options to the combatant commander”; and if conflict arises, to “neutralize adversary A2/AD networks to enable joint freedom of action.”

Russia has been modernizing their doctrine, force structure and equipment in earnest for at least the last decade. Surely China has been moving in the same direction. It’s about time we do the same. It will be several years, at least, before this doctrine can be fully implemented with the necessary force structure and equipment. In many ways, our military has atrophied terribly due to two decades of brigade level, at best, counterinsurgency operations. However, we should, and apparently are, implementing this new doctrine now with the minimal force structure changes of the MDTF and the inclusion of EW within cyber. Our current equipment can be employed more effectively especially if land, sea, air and space systems are better integrated. It’s an evolution, not a revolution. 

TTG

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/armys-multi-domain-unit-a-game-changer-in-future-war/

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/04/breaking-new-army-long-range-units-coming-to-germany/

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34 Responses to Multi-Domain Operations: A Developing Doctrine – TTG

  1. Eol says:

    A2/AD is just modern defense IMO – is it really necessary to have a doctrine that demands superiority over Russia or China at – lets say – 200 km from their border? And at which point do we just call this outright agressive posturing ?

    • TTG says:

      A2/AD is defensive. It not only protects the homeland, allies and deployed forces from attack. It protects long range offensive fires from the threat of attack. Offensive fires like the Avangard hypersonic missile, the Kalibr-M hypersonic cruise missile and the Tornado MLRS can strike distant targets from the safety of an effective A2/AD umbrella. Is that not also aggressive posturing? No, it’s just the result of great power prudent military doctrine and force structure.

      • DougDiggler says:

        Is this more Pentagon wishful thinking, like their exercise that involved firing a still nonexistent hypersonic from a B-52? I get the feeling that NATO’s ID Pol army would not fare well in attacking the military professionals of Russia, not even in these proposed multi-front “crumbling” attacks. However, it is nice that they’re finally getting around to studying Operation Bagration. However I think the operational heirs to that offensive have probably improved on it and have also spent much time considering being on the receiving end of such a nightmare. They play chess while we play Nintendo.

        • Leith says:

          Doug D –

          I’m not sure why you think MDO is preparation for a war against Russia. Even the concept of such an attack is insane. There is zero feasibility and practicality of any foreign power attacking and successfully invading Russia. Even if the US goes insane enough to think it possible, the rest of NATO would never go along with it. A war such as that would turn Western Europe into rubble.

          Regarding hypersonic missiles: A year ago in May 2020, Trump claimed:
          “We have a — I call it the ‘super-duper missile.’ And I heard the other night, 17 times faster than what they have right now….And you take the fastest missile we have right now — you’ve heard Russia has five times, and China is working on five or six times. We have one 17 times. And it’s just gotten the go-ahead. Seventeen times faster, if you can believe that, General. That’s something, right? Seventeen times faster than what we have right now. Fastest in the world by a factor of almost three.”

          Probably bullpucky as no final flight testing has been completed. 17X would seem to indicate speeds above Mach 12. I don’t know if that is doable, but I don’t doubt an American hypersonic is on the way. The AF, Navy, Army, and DARPA all have programs. Open sources indicate the AF AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon is closest to completion.

  2. Christian J. Chuba says:

    Wow. We’ve been pushing our navy up Russia and China’s nose today and doing the same with NATO war games on land and air patrols. I hope this doesn’t give us a false sense of confidence to be outright reckless.

    For some reason we have become obsessed with depriving the Russians control of their arctic coastline. I’m not saying we are control freaks (actually we are control freaks) but I can easily see a situation developing up their if we think we have some technology edge. That is one place Russia wants to be secure and for some reason, if there is water, we must have our navy just outside that 12 nautical mile limit.

    What kills me is that we do this in the name of ‘freedom of navigation’ but that route is going to be mostly transporting Chinese stuff to Europe and only because the Russians are paying for the necessary ice breakers and rescue stations. In other words, we are waving our wand over waters that are only navigable because of Russian investment.

    Anyway, so they were able to develop a simulation? That’s impressive.

    • Deap says:

      Arctic route, when “warmed”, is the fastest route between China and Europe for cargo shipping – an efficient trade route. Russia looks forward to economic benefit from global warming, if/when this route no longer demands ice-breakers. Or even if it does – they are building out to be ready. The red ships of the Arctic, waiting dockside in Murmansk.

  3. Can the MIC make anything other than cost over-runs these days?

    • d74 says:

      The answer is too easy: no.
      Not only are the costs insane, but the functionality is insufficient. Simply put, it doesn’t work or seem unfit for fighting. Stacking technologies is a dream that does not stand up to warfare realities. ‘Keep it simple’ seems out of reach.

      I followed the adoption of the 120mm mortar by USMC. They started with a good weapon, with confirmed potential. The end point was tactical paralysis.
      This is (was) a very small issue, and an old one. It is significant.

  4. aka says:

    I still do not get what is new about this doctrine?
    How is this going to be different from usual joint operations or combined arms?
    Is there going to be new weapons?
    I mean cyber warfare, electronic warfare, information warfare, propaganda was there before and have been used before.

  5. blue peacock says:

    Washington would be easy to spot in a game of chess. It’s the player with no plan beyond an aggressive opening. That is no strategy at all. The failure to think several moves ahead matters.

    https://wulfstein.org/2021/05/11/washington-is-playing-a-game-with-no-strategy/

    While I don’t agree with everything many pundits including Chas Freeman say about our behavior with respect to China, I do see the point that Chas makes in the quote above. Iraq and Afghanistan are great examples. Our political and governmental leadership have no sense of “smarts”, all they’ve known for decades is bully behavior under both Democrats and Republicans, especially towards those they perceive as weak, like our “invasion” of Grenada. How would we actually perform against a serious military rival like China or Russia? What would be the reporting at hysterical CNN, MSNBC and Fox when a few carrier strike elements are sunk? Would they be shrieking to unleash nuclear-tipped ICBMs? How would a “mission accomplished” George Bush/Dick Cheney type with all their hubristic swagger react? The continental US has not been attacked like ever. What happens when Seattle, Los Angeles and even DC are under actual missile fire? How would contemporary woke Americans who have no tolerance for “sacrifice” react?

    Do we have the force that reflects good value for money considering that we spend more than Russia & China combined on the military? What type of military do we actually have relative to the tens of trillions of dollars spent over the last decade on the credit card? What are the metrics to evaluate actual effectiveness of a military beyond graphics and tables on Powerpoint slides?

    What would an actual strategic plan to crush the CCP look like? IMO, it begins with insuring no dependence on a Chinese supply chain. Would the Party of Davos even allow that?

    • TTG says:

      There’s a big difference between national strategy and military doctrine. Certainly the military doctrine should support the national strategy, but it cannot make up for the deficiencies in that national strategy. And it remains subordinate to that national strategy.

      The predominant national strategies I was familiar with were containment and rollback. Backing those strategies was the expansion of the US economic system throughout the world. Or perhaps it may have really been the other way around. I don’t know what it is now, but it is certainly not to crush the CCP. That is certainly not the driving strategy behind multi-domain doctrine. That doctrine sees a normal state of competition and addresses a transition to a state of conflict and back to competition.

  6. BillWade says:

    I always thought that our reality was the ability to fight two wars simultaneously against any two other countries, now we’re down to one?

    • TTG says:

      I don’t think the promise was ever against any two countries like Russia and China simultaneously. It was one major war and one minor war simultaneously.

  7. Leith says:

    TTG – Questions:

    1] How did that MDO exercise last fall in Yuma work out?

    2] Does MDO rely on full-spectrum dominance?

    3] Regarding the Figure 1 MDO Framework – Has DOD and all of the other services signed on to this?

    • TTG says:

      1. The Yuma exercise, Project Convergence, seemed to be a success from what little I read. It was still an Army exercise last year. This year the AF will participate.

      2. This does not appear to depend on full spectrum dominance. MDO accepts that the entire spectrum will be contested. As a result, there is a bigger push for defensive systems to protect and defend what we got. I think this is a welcome acceptance of reality.

      3. The Army is clearly the lead proponent of MDO with a lot of USMC input, but the AF and Space seem to be on board. The Navy is going in the same direction as illustrated in the PACOM exercises, but with a decidedly salty approach. This is to be expected. We’ll know when DoD publishes joint pubs rather than TRADOC pubs.

      This whole MDO concept isn’t a new idea. Back in the 80s, AF planners were expecting us 10th Groupers to take out the SAM belts in western Poland before they could penetrate the airspace to take on the 2nd and 3rd echelons. Those of us who survived were then to commence resistance and guerrilla ops with the Poles. Why not?

      • Leith says:

        Thanks.

        Regarding SF taking out SAM belts – I’m surprised the AF would ask for help as they had been bragging about their SEAD capability for years. And during that time-frame they had nine or ten Wild Weasel squadrons including a full wing at Spangdahlem. But perhaps those assets were planned to be used on early warning radars. Or that was probably before they acquired the Navy developed ‘smart’ AGM-88 HARM missile.

        • TTG says:

          The AF had the 3rd Shock Army and all their good buddies to worry about along with the East German SAM belts to contend with. We left all that to the AF and NATO troops. We developed very detailed plans for taking out the Polish belts and had recon help from our DATTs from the Warsaw.

  8. Christian J. Chuba says:

    I read the links. Turned the tide in 10 out of ??? wargames (cynicism, cannot find the off switch), no mention of what the scenarios actually were. Since they are classifying the details, have to read in between the lines a bit.

    Well I’m glad they realize that they aren’t going to be able to fly B52’s over Kaliningrad or start out by parking aircraft carriers and cruisers in the East China sea and launch cruise missiles. That’s a relief.
    —————————————————————
    The China scenario (from the picture in the caption)
    No capital ships in range of Chinese missiles. We use islands to launch long range missiles at them and then have small, mobile units generating fake signals, signatures, whatever, to confuse their counter-fire.
    1. It’s hard for me to see how we could use this to advance anywhere if that was a goal, or to defend Taiwan, a mere 50 miles from the mainland.
    2. I could see this being very effective at blockading China’s maritime traffic and making it hard for them to strike back but I sure would hate to be … Taiwan, S. Korea, and possibly even Japan.
    ————————————————————–
    The Russia scenario:
    The picture shows the Russians launching missiles from Kaliningrad to various capitals and our mobile units taking them out w/missiles instead of us launching air strikes. I can see how our mobile units would survive but I don’t know how we stop the Russian missiles in time or how we target the spots in Kaliningrad. I thought that the Russians also have a mobile firing position doctrine as well.

    This more than exhausts my ability in comprehending the articles. I do love the reference to the WW2 inflatable tanks (serious, no cynicism at all, my dad ran into one of those brigades, used loudspeakers at night to make it sound like they were building a bridge)

    • TTG says:

      A major point of the MDO concept is that it can have a deterrent effect on any Russian or Chinese adventurism. The idea is that the retaking of the Baltics or the conquest of Taiwan will come at a serious kinetic price beyond the initial casualties. The same cost calculus should shape any ideas we have at future military adventures. There is no doubt that Russian and Chinese military doctrine and force development are the driving force behind our development of new doctrine and force structure.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        So Baltics = Sarajavo = Taiwan
        if you get my drift.
        (TTG, I know you’re just reporting, not advocating yourself.
        Even so, I feel the need to comment on these developments..)

        Sounds like a terrible idea to me.
        Enough with the U.S. being the world’s policeman.
        With Joe Biden being budybody-in-chief, claiming the right, and ability!, to interfere in the internal affairs of other great powers:

        “I had a long conversation for two hours recently with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping],
        making it clear to him we could do nothing but speak out for human rights around the world because
        that’s who we are,”
        Biden said.
        “I’ll be meeting with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin in a couple weeks in Geneva
        making it clear that we will not stand by
        and let him abuse those rights.”

        https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-xi-jinping-putin-memorial-day-warning

        Wow! If I were Putin, I would say
        “Who the hell do you think you are?
        The Lord God Almighty?”

        One of my other thoughts: This can’t be blamed on John Winthrop or the evangelicals.
        The “Shining City on a Hill” sermon was a plea for his flock to lead a godly and pure life themselves,
        not to impose their moral code on foreigners.

        • Leith says:

          The Multi-Domain Operations concept that you dislike so much was conceived back in 2017. The Trump administration was in power then, not Biden’s. And it’s early development continued for the next three years under Trump. Would you wish for Biden to cancel it?

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            Actually I was responding to this sentence:

            The idea is that the retaking of the Baltics or the conquest of Taiwan will come at a serious kinetic price beyond the initial casualties.

            The problem is escalation: Where does it end?
            We know where it ended in WWI.
            Is penalizing (via kinetic action) the Russkis should they decide to retake the Baltics, whose ownership has after all varied over the centuries,
            worth the risk of starting WWIII? I certainly don’t think so.

            I also brought up recent remarks of Biden which put certain values not universally shared in America at the center of America’s foreign policy agenda.
            Values which are near and dear to America’s editorial boards, but certainly not to much of Middle America.
            (For example, men competing in sports as women. This is a “human right”???)
            Trying to impose such values on others really does increase the risk of conflict.

        • David Habakkuk says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          A few observations on questions to do with the ‘kinetic price’ of ‘adventurism.’

          If one read either Russians themselves, of people in the West who follow their discussions in a reasonably objective manner, one thing that has been obvious for very many years is that, as it were, Vilnius is not Sevastopol. There are compelling reasons why it would not make any sense for Russia to attempt to reabsorb either the Baltics or Poland, even if there was no ‘kinetic price’ in the terms of a direct response whatsoever. (The obvious prospects of a ‘kinetic price’, in terms of the need to wage a protracted counter-insurgency campaign, are a different matter.)

          By contrast, it has been clear, ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union, that compelling ‘geostrategic’ reasons, as well as ones of emotion and identity, would mean that any attempt to incorporate the whole of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol, in NATO, would be seen as an ‘existential threat’ by a very large section of élite, and popular, opinion in Russia. The the possibility of the kind of situation that finally materialised in 2013-14 had been rather obvious for years clearly had a major role in shifting Russian planners back to taking seriously the need to prepare, not simply for limited conflicts on their borders, but for war with the West.

          One of the best British foreign affairs experts, Anatol Lieven, who as the descendant of Baltic German servants of the Tsars actually has some ‘empathy’ both for both sides in these conflicts, set out the ‘strategic logics’ involved in a piece on the ‘Responsible Statecraft’ site on 31 May. It was headlined ‘What’s in a name? NATO’s “Steadfaster Defender” is exercise in doublespeak.’

          (See https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/05/29/whats-in-a-name-natos-staunch-defender-is-exercise-in-doublespeak/ .)

          It was in 1995, I think that I first came across Lieven arguing that there was absolutely no will in Russia to reincorporate the Baltics, but that an attempt to wrest Ukraine from Russia – as distinct from accepting and indeed encouraging, a situation where it could ‘face both ways’ – would have calamitous consequences. He has been proven right.

          In regard to Taiwan, experts whose judgement seems to me credible – notably Lyle J. Goldstein, who founded the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College, and also has his ‘ear to the ground’ about developments in Russia – have argued that there is a very considerable likelihood that a forcible reincorporation of Taiwan will be attempted. Reasons why this is unlikely in the immediate future, but distinctly possible really quite soon, are set out in an article he published in ‘The Hill’ back in March, available at

          https://thehill.com/opinion/international/542502-beijing-has-a-plethora-of-military-options-against-taiwan-after-2022

          However, the title of his article – ‘Beijing has a plethora of military options against Taiwan after 2022’ – brings out a rather critical point. As with Russia in regard to Crimea, only much more so, given its economic strength, it is very much easier for China to develop viable military options in its immediate neighbourhood than it is for the United States to develop means of frustrating them. And it appears that a whole range of modern technological developments, in missile technology and other fields, combined with the fact that both Russian and Chinese strategists are clearly thinking very seriously about how to exploit them, are increasing, rather than decreasing, this imbalance.

          One then comes to another matter on which Goldstein has written extensively over the years – the fact that the ‘conventional wisdom’ in London and Washington, according to which the tensions between Russia and China were so great that one could discount the risk that our policies might push the two together, has always been complacent baloney. Putting his name into ‘Google’ will turn up a veritable cornucopia of well-informed analysis. A useful ‘taster’ is perhaps a June 2019 piece in the ‘National Interest’ headlined ‘Chinese Nuclear Chinese Nuclear Armed Submarines in Russian Arctic Ports? It Could Happen.’

          (See https://nationalinterest.org/feature/chinese-nuclear-armed-submarines-russian-arctic-ports-it-could-happen-60302 .)

          As it happens, it has always seemed to me that a formalised alliance between China and Russia was unlikely, in part because I think people in both countries are likely to be rather more aware than their counterparts in the United States and Britain of some of the potential ‘downsides’ of formalised security guarantees. Among these are the risks of circumscribing one’s freedom of action in future situations one cannot anticipate, and also that one may inadvertently surrender the initiative to those to whom assurances of support are given.

          However, absence of any formalised alliance is quite compatible with the development of wide-ranging structures of collaboration, directed at the pretensions of the United States and its allies to maintain an essentially ‘unipolar’ world order. A particularly dangerous area, in particular in relation to Taiwan, relates to the Chinese using their massive economic and technological strength to build on the vast store of expertise developed by the Russians in the Soviet period on how to sink carrier battle groups.

          All this, in turn, brings one up against questions to do with ‘multipolarity.’ Back in 2004, the late Yevgeny Primakov, who had been a pivotal figure in the so-called ‘New Thinking’ of the Gorbachev era, and then in the turbulent politics of the Russian ‘Nineties, published a book entitled ‘Russian Crossroads: Toward the New Millennium.’

          A central purpose of this – actually very readable – account was to explain to an American audience the way that the ‘New Thinking’ developed out of a recognition of the failure of the Soviet system and Marxist-Leninist ideology, which had been developing within what might be called the ‘official intelligentsia’ for decades. Equally important was Primakov’s attempt to explain what was, and was not, involved in the shift to ‘multipolarity’ in Russian foreign policy which he initiated after he became Foreign Minister in 1996.

          At the risk of glossing his thoughts with my own, what he was arguing was that the attempt to maintain a ‘unipolar’ world order would turn out to be unfeasible, and not in the interest of Americans. He also helped clarify why there were many, in the context of the pervasive delusion with a patently bankrupt system, throughout the Soviet Union, who were happy or indeed enthusiastic about the idea of a ‘vassal’ status within a ‘unipolar’ U.S.-dominated order.

          However, Primakov was also I think cautioning that it would turn out to be unwise for the United States, and its allies, to gamble on forces in Russia, such as those represented by his inveterate opponent Boris Berezovsky and his fellow ‘oligarchs’, who were enthusiastic about this prospect. A reversion towards a more ‘nationalist’ foreign policy, which would necessarily, given the country’s geographic location, be ‘multipolar’, was a natural development.

          And he further argued that, once the ‘ideological’ element which had corrupted, and confused, a ‘nationalist’ foreign policy in Soviet times, was removed, there was no reason why it necessarily had to imply major conflict with the United States. There would, as is commonly the case in international relations, be a mixture of conflicting and complementary perceived interests, but the latter were actually considerable, not least in relation to coping with the problems of ‘jihadism’ in the Islamic world.

          It is, however, rather obviously, one thing to have a Russian policy which is ‘multipolar’ in the sense of balancing relations between different power centres, and one which in effect restores the country to the position of a pivotal force in an essentially anti-American coalition. As such, despite its patent lack of many Soviet strengths, it would have the immense advantage of not being hamstrung by ideological dogmas.

          And here, it becomes interesting to look at the assessment of the directions in which his country has been heading put forward by the Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Dmitri Trenin, in the short summary of Russian history he produced in 2019. His interesting background – he started out as a career Red Army officer, and is I think, like Primakov, of Jewish ethnicity – as well as his long involvement with the Carnegie Center, make Trenin’s scepticism about the idea that a post-Putin Russia might be more friendly to the West particularly noteworthy:

          ‘The policies of Russia’s future leaders are more likely to lean to the left domestically and toward closer relations with non-Western countries, including China, internationally. Putin’s never-to-be-satisfied desire to be “understood” by the United States might be seen by his eventual successors as being akin to appeasement. In extremis, Alexander Nevsky’s hard choice of submitting to the East to fight off the West could be made again. For Russia, it has always been more important to save its soul than its body. The optimal geopolitical construct, however, would be something like a Grand Eurasian equilibrium with Berlin, Beijing, and Delhi becoming Moscow’s principal foreign partners.’

          Precisely this logic, as indeed Anatol Lieven has repeatedly argued, is a reason why the idea that ‘deterrence’ is required to prevent an invasion of the Baltics is hogwash. A key part of such strategy would, rather obviously, be to persuade people on the continent of Europe that in the longer term their best prospects of success in the emerging ‘multipolar’ order would be to join Russia in balancing China within what one might call a ‘Mackinderite consolidation.’

          To detach Germany in particular from the United States, without risking creating pressures for a rearmament of that country, it is critical to create the impression that the remilitarisation of Russian policy is simply a defensive response. To attempt to reoccupy the Baltics would, rather obviously, destroy any such impression for decades.

          However, there is no arguing with trauma. So, ‘TTG’ and his like will continue planning against non-existent threats, imagining the problems of the future in the light of their perceptions of those of the past, while Russia is busily cooperating with China in organising a consolidation of what Mackinder called the ‘heartland’, so finally realising the fears that figure expressed back in 1904.

          • Fred says:

            “David”

            “….a forcible reincorporation of Taiwan will be attempted.”

            If one has made even a cursory reading of the press you’ll find that the chip issue facing Western industries would immediately become worse, for years, crippling industrial output and not just in the military realm.

            “For Russia, it has always been more important to save its soul than its body.”

            To paraphrase what you wrote (or quoted), our self-proclaimed intelligentsia have sold America’s soul and appear to be quite willing to sell off the body, too.

          • Leith says:

            Keith H. –

            Regarding your ‘men competing in sports as women’ comment: That ruling was set forth by SCOTUS and not by POTUS. And it was done just recently by a conservative court. The NCAA and IOC are fine with it, as are some K-12 school districts.

            I don’t like it myself as I believe it undermines Title IX. It should be challenged in court again. I’m certain it will be. Maybe this time they will get it right.

          • Ishmael Zechariah says:

            David Habakkuk,
            re: “For Russia, it has always been more important to save its soul than its body

            An excellent quote which Vladimir V. Putin modified it slightly: (a global nuclear exchange) would be a global disaster for humanity; a disaster for the entire world. As a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”.
            Mayhap Russian nationalists mean to keep Russia together, body and soul and free from globalist predators.

            Always good to read your essays. Thanks.

            Ishmael Zechariah

          • LeaNder says:

            Highly appreciated as always, David. You may realize, how much I loved Anatol Lieven’s Responsive Statecraft article. Haven’t been to that site far too long it feels.

            However, there is no arguing with trauma.

            I occasionally think of that background too, not in this case though. Today I thought of two things mainly, one I may have misread.

            TTG and Pat Lang never felt like supporters of COIN. Bits and pieces of the article made direct and less direct allusions to the topic.

            Today not so much a possible cross-generational trauma but fond SF memories with a little of a boy’s love of science fiction mixed in dominated for me. Perhaps?

            For this nitwit on the military matters at least. 😉

            Great discussion, and as always thanks for your inspired response.

  9. Les Priest says:

    I read an article on the American University in Moscow website a couple years ago. It was a joint Rus/US paper. The authors claimed that we are back to 1913; many new weapon systems, no big war for a long time. So the new war has surprise after surprise, & all of it is beyond the understanding of political leaders. Their final ‘hook’ was: ‘So you are good with manipulating the other sides power grid; what happens when you drop the power on one of their ICBM sites’?

  10. d74 says:

    A step aside. Because electronic waves are the basis of complex systems.

    The Russians have some very aggressive offensive electronic warfare capabilities. They jam, but they also interfere with networks, such as GPS, and insert themselves to deceive or neutralise.

    Countermeasures certainly exist, but they are disabling.
    One answer is to beat them on that ground. Offensive rather than defensive.

    Otherwise, I suspect that networked systems will be largely rendered ineffective. The West has jumped on this bandwagon, it may be an expensive lure.

  11. Les Priest says:

    The other wargame
    Poland, two months back; new equip from US (F35!?), up against Russia. In 5 days the Polish army was gone & Warsaw was besieged. I was surprised the Poles let this out, but, it may be leverage for more equipment &/or guarantees.
    Events proved the Polish wargame correct; Russia deployed almost an entire ‘front’, in two weeks. If push turned to shove in eastern europe, the Russians would not only deploy A2/d2, the best air defence & paratroops with integrated armour & artillery, but also mass. The Russians aren’t even finished reorganizing, the end product will be the First Guards Tank Army!
    I don’t think NATO could hold out for long, it’s only US forces after all. Resupply from US would take months. So an early decision, whether or not to use tactical nukes. That strikes me as an, awful, strategic problem. I hope this is being thought through.

  12. Bill H. says:

    Sounds to me like Californis’a response to an ever-increasing need for electric power. Building new power generation and distribution infrastructure was far too expensive, and state regulation was far too hostile to corporate effort to do so in any case, so they “solved the problem” by building complex computer networks to more efficiently distribute the power that we have.

    The system is still too small and the equipment is still wearing out, but by using it “more efficiently” through computers we can do very nicely.

    Until there’s a threat of forest fires, when we have to shut it all down and cook in the fireplace and eat by candle light. And ride on horseback to the store because we can’t charge our electric cars.

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      Bicycles? I always liked that mode of transportation.
      lt combined four things:
      Transportation
      Exercise
      Reducing carbon emissions
      Saving money
      What’s not to like?
      But I don’t know how practical this would be in CA.
      It works well in, say, th6 DC area.

    • Fred says:

      California owns neither generation nor transmission systems. It owns a regulatory system, which is the primary reason for their problems.

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