National Academies Press: OpenBook

Powering the U.S. Army of the Future (2021)

Chapter: 1 The Multi-Domain Operations and the 2035 Operational and Technology Environment

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Suggested Citation:"1 The Multi-Domain Operations and the 2035 Operational and Technology Environment." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Powering the U.S. Army of the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26052.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Multi-Domain Operations and the 2035 Operational and Technology Environment." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Powering the U.S. Army of the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26052.
×
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"1 The Multi-Domain Operations and the 2035 Operational and Technology Environment." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Powering the U.S. Army of the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26052.
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Page 13

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1 The Multi-Domain Operations and the 2035 Operational and Technology Environment TODAY’S OPERATING ENVIRONMENT Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), by definition, involve a broad range of coordinated efforts involving not only combined arms maneuver, but also various information, cyber, and space operations. Moreover, the Army’s concept emphasizes conflict avoidance and influencing friendly, neutral, and adversarial groups. The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Definition of Multi-Domain Operations MDO describes how the U.S. Army, as part of the joint force, can counter and defeat an adversary capable of contesting the United States in all domains (air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace) in both competition and armed conflict. The concept describes how U.S. ground forces deter adversaries and defeat highly capable near-peer enemies in the 2025–2050 timeframe. MDO provides commanders with numerous options for executing simultaneous and sequential operations using surprise and the rapid and continuous integration of capabilities across all domains to present multiple dilemmas to an adversary in order to gain physical and psychological advantages and influence and control over the operational environment. 1 Although the study was intended to be based on an Army MDO scenario, tangible scenarios were not available at the time of the study effort. In lieu of such scenarios, the study committee held a data- gathering session dedicated to understanding the Army’s current thinking on MDO and the 2035 operating environment. The output of that meeting, combined with additional inputs, most notably from RAND’s Arroyo Center, guided the committee’s assessment of power and energy (P&E) systems. The committee chose to focus on maneuver operations of an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), because it is a predominant combat formation and represents one of the most challenging scenarios from a P&E standpoint. 2 Overview of Total Energy Transported To the Field For an ABCT today, the vast majority of energy transported to the field is in the form of jet propellant 8 (JP8) fuel, due to its volumetric energy-density superiority over every other source, except for 1 Congressional Research Service. 2020. Defense Primer: Army Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/IF11409.pdf. 2 While the U.S. Marine Corps has similar needs to the Army, the committee scoped the study to focus on the Army specifically. Furthermore, USMC requirements for mobility and transportation are different and the USMC has recently begun retiring their Abrams tanks, which are a major focus of this study. For these reasons the committee has chosen to focus on the Army. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-1

nuclear. To put the relative power requirements in perspective, the energy usage for a 12-day ABCT mission (including defensive and offensive operations) is provided in Table 1.1. 3 The 514,000 gallons of JP8 estimated to be used by an ABCT (shown in Table 1.1) would equate to roughly 18,800 MWh of chemical energy. Dividing this 18,800 MWh by the 288 hours in a 12-day mission results in an average power expenditure of 65 MW for an armored brigade over a typical deployment. Peak power demands during the thick of combat while on maneuver were not identified, but are of course significantly higher. As a rough comparison, the 69,046 batteries used by the same ABCT provide 2.5 MWh of electrical energy, a very small fraction of the brigade’s total energy consumption. 4 TABLE 1.1 Armored Brigade Combat Team Overview (12-Day Operation) Fuel usage 514,464 gallons of JP8 Battery usage 69,046 batteries Authorized personnel 4,216 soldiers Authorized equipment 37,876 pieces SOURCE: Schwankhart, R. 2020. Energy Consumption Requirements Overview—Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) Case Study. Presentation to the committee. RAND Corporation. Anticipated Operating Environment of 2035 To bring the joint force together in a focused, coordinated, and strategic way, enhanced battlefield awareness is critically important. Supporting this technology, there will be improved bandwidth communications, leveraging commercially available technologies (including 5G), but with unique modifications for military use. These adaptations include system-wide enhancements to accommodate terrain differences and the lack of fixed nodes. Increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned ground vehicles, remote control vehicles, and manned and remote sensors will provide ever-increasing information to be processed. Avoiding “information overload” to the warfighters will be essential. Informational control will be accomplished by providing all soldiers just what each needs to know when they need to know it while allowing artificial intelligence programs to handle the rest. At the same time, new weapon systems now being developed, such as directed energy and cyberwarfare weapons, may add to the ever-increasing electrical power requirements of the future battlefield. For the purposes of this study, the committee assumed that heavy armored ground combat vehicles, both manned and unmanned, supported by dismounted soldiers, will continue to be an important component of the Army’s fighting forces for the foreseeable future. The committee recognizes that there will also need to be some new light reconnaissance vehicles (manned or unmanned) capable of stealth operations. Lastly, the committee supports the Army’s stated objective for 7-day self-sustainment of our front-line forces, fully recognizing that this presents significant challenges in terms of providing adequate power, ammunition, food, and water. 5 3 Volumetric energy density is considered to be a more important metric than gravimetric energy density because JP8 supply trucks “cube out” before they “weigh out.” 4 Note: The Operational Logistics (OPLOG) Planner is the main tool provided by Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) to assess mission equipment and energy needs. 5 Williamson, M. 2020. The Army’s M1 Abrams Tank Replacement. Weapons and Warfare. https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2020/11/16/the-armys-m1-abrams-tank-replacement/. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-2

Upon reflection, the committee believes that its work would have benefited from a better understanding of how the Army expects to operate within a multiple service, multi-domain operational environment. More specifically, being provided at study initiation with a set of detailed scenarios of personnel, vehicles, and equipment to be deployed would have been helpful. Recommendation: For future studies, the Army should make available a clearer view of how multi-domain operations would be conducted, such as through detailed scenarios that describe science and technology needs for Multi Domain Operations in 2035. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-3

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At the request of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, Powering the U.S. Army of the Future examines the U.S. Army's future power requirements for sustaining a multi-domain operational conflict and considers to what extent emerging power generation and transmission technologies can achieve the Army's operational power requirements in 2035. The study was based on one operational usage case identified by the Army as part of its ongoing efforts in multi-domain operations. The recommendations contained in this report are meant to help inform the Army's investment priorities in technologies to help ensure that the power requirements of the Army's future capability needs are achieved.

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