National Academies Press: OpenBook

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

Chapter: 4 System Wide Communication Issues in Support of Multi-Domain Operations

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Suggested Citation:"4 System Wide Communication Issues in Support of Multi-Domain Operations." 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 41
Suggested Citation:"4 System Wide Communication Issues in Support of Multi-Domain Operations." 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 42
Suggested Citation:"4 System Wide Communication Issues in Support of Multi-Domain Operations." 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 43

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4 System Wide Communication Issues in Support of Multi-Domain Operations The Army Modernization Strategy describes how the Total Army—Regular Army, National Guard, Army Reserve, and Army Civilians—will transform into a multi-domain force by 2035 to meet its enduring responsibility as part of the Joint Force to provide for the defense of the United States and retain its position as the globally dominant land power. 1 The essence of the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept is to support the Joint Force in the rapid and continuous integration of all domains of warfare— land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace—to deter and prevail as the United States competes, as a nation, short of conflict, and fights and wins if deterrence fails. The tenets of MDO create significant performance challenges for several integration technologies, including power and energy (P&E), over the next 15 years. The first tenet is “calibrated force posture”—a combination of forward presence, expeditionary capability, and access to joint, national, and partner capabilities. The second tenet is the use of “multi-domain formations” that have the capacity, capability, and endurance to maneuver and choreograph effects across multiple domains. The final tenet is “convergence”—the ability to rapidly converge effects from multiple domains, simultaneously and nearly continuously, using multiple forms of attack and redundant sensor-to-shooter networks enabled by robust mission command. 2 These tenets will require a highly integrated and rapidly reconfigurable force posture that can execute and sustain complex operations with great speed and precision. The execution of missions and the degree of deterrence that can be achieved will strongly depend on the Army having the capability of competing and converging capabilities across echelons and domains in a single theater while also having the capacity to execute MDO in multiple theaters. Evolving technologies, especially information technologies and those technologies that enable and sustain them, such as P&E, will be fundamental to achieving MDO objectives. For example, 5G technologies have compelling characteristics, among them much wider bandwidth and the potential for lower latency that can be a critical enabler of Army MDO. The wider bandwidth also has the potential to more effectively exploit artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and autonomous systems, which can increase the speed and precision of executing complex military operations across all domains and echelons. The Department of Defense (DoD) will have to explore these technologies not only to advance its warfighting capabilities, but also to counter adversary efforts in this space as well. Energy Challenges for Network-Enabled MDO A key differentiator between military and commercial challenges, aside from the obvious threat to the lives of Soldiers, is the operating environment. Commercial solutions solve the problem of mobile devices in a static environment and are finely tuned over a long period of time to provide the best performance. However, military systems employ mobile devices in a mobile environment, requiring close 1 U.S. Army. 2014. 2019 Army Modernization Strategy: Investing in the Future. 2 Ibid. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 4-1

to optimum performance immediately upon deployment. Recently announced DoD investments, including $600 million for 5G experimentation, 3 should yield substantial insights that inform prospective tactical application. These largely domestic efforts will provide technical information such as communication (routing, interference, bandwidth, coverage), data management (distributed processing, caches and prioritization), and energy (source and supply alternatives and power management) in a military context, albeit not tactical. Army platforms, by definition, support component operational capabilities through mobility, power, communication, and other common functions. Obviously, the energy requirements for most vehicular platforms are driven by mobility, but networked information and sensing technologies— especially those involving electromagnetic radiation (radio, radar, etc.)—drive the ever-increasing need for power capacity. To the degree that platforms continue to utilize hydrocarbon fuels, information technologies will not drive new energy technology needs for large ground or aerial platforms. Quite the contrary, hydrocarbon-fueled engines will be actively optimized in real time in the future, driven by knowledge of the environment, mission status, and vehicle health diagnostics/prognosis—all facilitated by information technologies. It is the growing need for onboard power, and the desire for exportable power, that will motivate ongoing advancements in energy conversion, power management, and thermal management. Smaller-scale platforms—soldiers, autonomous ground vehicles, small electric and hybrid drones (less than 50 lbs.), and micro-autonomous systems—demand similar advancements in power capabilities as well as improved energy delivery and storage capabilities. Energy performance attributes like location, timing, delivery rate, reliability, and fungibility substantially impact energy-enabled technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), in turn enabling or constraining forward-deployed sensors, distributed data processing, and data sharing to support MDO command and control. One particular challenge in specifying P&E performance parameters is the lack of detailed unclassified operational concepts and scenarios, within which energy attributes would be balanced with other factors. A common Army planning parameter is for 72-hours of self-sustained operations; a future aspiration is to extend that to seven days. New information technologies may not substantially impact that energy balance, but perhaps requirements for stationary operations or silent mobility (with substantial power requirements for information and other functions) may substantially influence needs for silent conversion or storage, efficient networking and management, or other functions. Notably, many of these facets point toward development of power electronic technologies that enable efficient and high-power switching associated with power converters, filters, and power management and distribution applications. Resolving 5G Technical Challenges Through Science and Technology Studies The Army’s multi-domain doctrine recognizes the continuing evolution of the complex military operating environment. In the past, the Army has responded by emphasizing experimentation and systems- oriented investigation. 4 Salient examples include rapid equipping initiatives and the Network Integration Exercise—both of which emphasized field feedback on promising technologies and research capabilities such as the Network Science Research Laboratory (NSRL), which resides within the Network Science Division at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). 3 U.S. Department of Defense. 2020. DOD Announces $600 Million for 5G Experimentation and Testing at Five Installations. million-for-5g-experimentation-and-testing-at-five-installati/. 4 Ibid. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 4-2

The NSRL has developed a predictive model for Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) performance based on current wireless technologies. 5 This model needs to be updated to include 5G technologies to explore the performance characteristics of a 5G MANET. Simulations should be run that reflect various deployment and operating scenarios with co-simulation of P&E dynamics. Inputs for these analyses can be validated with data from sources other than the DoD 5G initiative. Modeling alone is not sufficient. Testing and field experimentation are important to validate predictions and to account for network performance in a variety of warfighting scenarios. This experimentation will require emulators for 5G radios and their P&E sources, emulators for mobile air and ground processing and relay nodes along with their P&E sources, models of environmental effects, measurement instruments on real-world systems to collect data during experiments, engineering trade-off analyses to identify the “knees” in network performance, and realistic scenarios to drive model performance and the planning of experiments to validate model predictions. This intensive evaluation will require a combined effort that involves diverse entities among the operational and acquisition communities, with strong support of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA (R&T)). Finding: 5G implementation on the battlefield offers significant bandwidth opportunities but presents some serious technical challenges, including P&E requirements on vehicles and for the dismounted soldier. 5G technologies should not be viewed as a “do it all” stand-alone solution but rather an opportunity to combine with other communications systems when appropriate. Recommendation: To realize the benefits associated with a significant bandwidth increase, the Network Science Research Laboratory’s (NSRL) MANET (mobile ad hoc network) predictive model of network performance needs to be updated for 5G technologies and other emerging communication technologies (e.g., Internet of Things, 6G, and short-range, directed, and secure communications across a variety of devices) complemented with subsequent testing and field experimentation. (Tier 1, Lead) 5 Verma, D., W. Leland, T. Pham, A. Swami, G. Cirincione. 2015. Advances in Network Sciences via Collaborative MultiDisciplinary Research. White paper presented at the 18th International Conference on Information Fusion, Washington, DC. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 4-3

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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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