The Essential Elements of Dispersed Basing

The calculus for US basing options has changed. The dispersed basing concept, combined with hardening and other solutions, offers the US the ability to survive and project power towards peacetime credibility and commitment, while also providing capacity to execute effective multi-domain operations in conflict. The United States must implement access-enhancing measures now to optimize—and maintain—its power-projection capability in the not-so-distant future.
By Aaron Sick

The Combat Cloud Across the Range of Military Operations: Interagency Coordination

The Combat Cloud and associated network must exhibit critical attributes such as the ability to be self-forming, self-healing, gracefully degradable, and redundant.  Under this construct, the ability to collect data and integrate it in an open, adaptive information system will significantly enhance C2 and operational agility for the US military and other US governmental agencies across the range of military operations. 
By Shaun Williams and Jacob Hess

CSAR: Restoring Promise to a Sacred Assurance

Time and again, in war or natural calamity, USAF rescue crews charge unhesitatingly into the midst of death’s rage to save the desperate few. It is this quiet devotion that underwrites the Air Force’s promise to the combat aircrew it sends into harm’s way: We won’t leave you. There is great power in this promise.
By Brandon Losacker

What Horse Racing Can Teach the Warfighter about Prudent Risk

Commanders must be willing to allow risk to be assumed at every echelon and to encourage prudent risk taking throughout his/her command. On an increasingly unpredictable battlefield, commanders must seek every opportunity to rapidly and effectively seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. An understanding of the risks associated with any and all actions must be thoroughly understood in order to most effectively seize on overlaid risk opportunities while avoiding underlaid ones.
By Tom Flounders

Fifth Generation Warfare: An Evolving Technical Dimension of War

The fifth generation warfare notion wraps up network-centric warfare, combat cloud, multi-domain battle, and fusion warfare concepts. These are all important ideas that do not exist individually but rather function together as an integrated interdependent system of systems where the whole is greater than the parts.
By Peter Layton

The Case for Dispersed Basing

There are compelling reasons for implementing dispersed basing, including survivability and the capacity to execute multi-domain operations. There are also significant challenges to overcome, including building partnerships; sustainment; restructuring personnel and training requirements; ensuring command, control, communications, and computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) connectivity; and base defense.
By Aaron Sick

The Combat Cloud Across the Range of Military Operations: Multinational Partnerships

Today’s increasingly dynamic operational environment requires a full spectrum of multinational capabilities that span across the domains, especially those that are typically very coalition heavy, such as peacekeeping missions and humanitarian assistance. This diversity requires coalition members to become part of a dynamic information-sharing system and a specific C2 network.
By El Mostafa Bouhafa and Jacob Hess

Cosmic Girl’s Stiletto

The United States Air Force must be far more clever with the use of the assets at its disposal.
By Peter Garretson

Tyranny of the Easy Button: Finding Balance Between Contract & Organic Logistics

Proper balance between contract support and organic logistics forces is imperative to ensure the US Army’s ability to meet the future demands of a multi-domain battlespace.
By Jessica McCarthy

Bridging Startup and Military Cyber Cultures Part III: Adapting Cybersecurity Architects

The military does not create cyber culture, because it is not solely a military occupation.
By John Myers

USAF Strategic Development of a Domain

The success of our past and future battles depends on a lot more than what we do with our platforms — it depends on what platforms we have developed, where we have based them, and our partner building capacity.
By Peter Garretson

Bridging Startup and Military Cyber Cultures Part II: Key Differences in Building a Cyber Force and Architecting Security

This initial cyber cadre will eventually recruit, train, and grow more junior personnel as the program expands.
By John Myers

Multi-Domain Thinking and the Human Domain

Multi-Domain thinking requires an understanding of the nature of domains and how they interact with each other, while ultimately focusing on affecting participants in order to achieve a lasting outcome understood in the human domain.
By Tom Flounders

Outlining the Multi-Domain Operational Concept Part III: Moving Toward Practical Application

Multi-domain theory contains the potential for problem-based—rather than Service-based—solutions, leading to increased options for warfighters and decision-makers while presenting adversaries with increasing dilemmas.
By Jon Bott

Organising Logistics for Multi-Domain Battle: Making a Complex Problem Even More Complex

Sustaining operations in the hypothesised dispersed and deadly conflict zones of the present and future creates especially acute problems for land forces in multi-domain battle.
By David Beaumont

Outlining the Multi-Domain Operational Concept Part II: Evolution of an Idea

It is important to recognize multi-domain operations as an important new operational concept that is more mindset than prescribed method, one that evolves previous thought, and one that itself deserves continued development.
By Jonathan Bott

The Value of a Secret: Secrecy vs Innovation

Everything ran in its own compartment. I think that far more than people realize, it was a tragedy of bureaucratic inability to adapt to unconventional

Understanding Change: Improve, Innovate, or Create?

Innovation is not an end in and of itself, but rather a tool that can be used to achieve a desired end.
By Jon Farley

OTH Podcast 1: Second Generation Military Design

Welcome to OTH’s first podcast! For this debut episode we discuss the evolution of military design and how we might bridge theory to practice.

Outlining the Multi-Domain Operating Concept

By Jonathan Bott Hew Strachan wrote that “getting the questions right is the first step to finding the correct answers.” In considering the challenges of

Getting off the Bench: Challenges to Integrating Cyber into Multi-Domain Operations

Utilizing cyberspace as a warfighting domain is still, however, in its infancy. It must evolve similar to how the utilization of the air domain evolved during the 20th century
By Joed Carbonell

C4ISR Concerns for Air Mobility Command

AMC C4ISR capability is dependent on deployment and sustainment capabilities provided by multiple organizations using a mixture of classified and unclassified systems. These systems have significant vulnerabilities in regards to operational security and potential cyber attacks.
By Isaiah Oppelaar

Combat Cloud: A High Tech Solution to a Low Tech Problem

Building a common operating picture from data stored in a cloud environment and creating the illusion of the availability of perfect information creates three large risks: joint forces become more vulnerable to Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) attacks and reflexive control strategies; command, control, and execution become increasingly centralized; and an information-denied environment causes decision paralysis.
By Katrina Schweiker

Putting the Advantage of Mass Back into Airpower: RPA Utility Beyond the COIN Fight

The USAF and broader DOD must seriously examine the potential role for RPAs beyond the permissive battle-spaces they currently excel in. They have far more to offer than surveillance and precision strikes against undefended, soft targets.
By Mark Nexon

Energy: The Dominant Element of the National Instruments of Power

Economic globalization, industrial modernization, and the technological revolution have led to the emergence of an element of a nation’s power that underpins them all: energy.
By Mike Benitez, Prichard Keely, and Mark Nexon

Purpose Driven Operations

It is incumbent upon commanders to develop purposes for subordinate operations first and subsequently build the tasks. The “why” trumps the “how” both in importance and in priority.
By Tom Flounders

Innovative Space Solutions

Integrating low cost near-space balloon technology with cyber, space, air, maritime, and land forces will operationalize near-space and allow the US to retain its asymmetric advantage over future adversaries.
By Brent Cantrell

Multi-Domain Battle: Does it End the Never-Ending Quest for Joint Readiness?

Future jointness demands fundamental changes to organizing, training, and equipping the joint force to meet combatant commander multi-domain requirements.
By Mike Benitez

Multi-Domain Strategic Thinking: What Problem Are We Trying to Solve?

Multi-domain strategy therefore requires patterns of thought characterized by focus on affecting human cognition, distilling clarity from complex environments, and planning and executing operations within the uncertainty of future conflict.
By Wilford Garvin

Looking Beyond Your Service for Multi-Domain Success

For “multi-domain” to be an effective concept, the military and civilian government must have a common understanding of the term, its implications on operations, command and control (C2), acquisitions, and the necessity of military multi-domain operations to be tied into the whole-of-government’s strategic framework.
By Aaron Sick

Making Sense of Irregular War

Irregularity in terms of non-uniformed forces and indirect force application describe how the war is fought, not why. While this may seem like academic semantics, it is not.
By Joe Brown

Multi-Domain Operations and Strategy in the American Revolution

George Washington’s objective was achieving victory in the human domain, and it proved to be the decisive factor for strategic victory.
By Tom Flounders

Reflexive Control in Operational Art: Designing Emergent Opportunity in the Vicksburg Campaign

True victory in military operations arises through the acceptance of defeat by one of the antagonists. Despite this, military decision making frequently devolves into analysis of things over thoughts. Grant demonstrated mastery of this concept at Vicksburg.
By Wilford Garvin

Bridging Startup and Military Cyber Cultures Part I: A Startup Chief Technical Officer Reflects on his Military Roots

The military cyber community lacks a solid culture to set the tone and expectations for how fusing cyber and kinetic operations should be conducted, central to enabling effective multi-domain operations.
By John Myers

Deterrence in a Complex Nuclear Future

As the United States Air Force prepares itself for the future, it must look critically at the manner in which it achieves nuclear deterrence. The world in which we live and the adversaries whom we strive to deter are far different, and so our deterrence method must also evolve. In order to defeat our adversaries in the future, we must prepare now.
By Mary Yelnicker

China: Case Studies on Geoeconomics

If America expects to maintain its economic and military advantages around the globe, it must also reinforce existing diplomatic, economic, and military relationships to avoid a premature end to US global primacy.
By Aaron Sick and Mark Nexon

Reshaping Centralized Control / Decentralized Execution for the Emerging Operating Environment

Centralized Control, Decentralized Execution remains as a central tenet for how the Air Force organizes to successfully employ airpower. But we cannot assume that the single theater COMAFFOR directly executing C2 over fielded forces without active participation by subordinate echelons will remain viable in the face of a near peer competitor.
By Brian McLean

The Problem with “Airpower”

The United States Air Force’s definition of airpower is merely a description of all Air Force activities and is incorrect.
By Tom Flounders

C-X: Next-Gen Cargo Plane for the Joint Force

Change in the operational environment between now and 2036 requires the Air Force to aggressively develop a vertical and/or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) tactical airlift platform.
By Matthew Andrews

A Three-Legged Stool? – Changing the Defense Acquisition System Paradigm

“Do you want it fast, cheap, or good? You only get two.” The Defense Acquisition System provides limited utility for the warfighter in procuring effective and suitable equipment in a timely and cost-effective manner.
By Michael Morgan

Reflexive Control By Design: Crafting Emergent Opportunity in Complex Systems

Reflexive control theory encourages patterns of strategic thought that increase a leader’s ability to shape environments and defeat an adversary’s strategy.
By Wilford Garvin

Winning Tomorrow’s War Today: A Cyber Revolution in Personnel Management

Cyberspace is the key terrain of the present RMA because it connects the domains together, creating an integrated layer of joint-force effectiveness
By Brian Viola, Erica L. Fountain, and Michael C. Williams

Building an Effective Cyber Force

An important lesson airpower’s evolution of thought regarding who is fit to fly aircraft can be applied to the cyberspace operations career field: the uniformed cyberspace operator does not necessarily have to be a computational genius.
By Katrina Schweiker

Regional Command: A New “Whole of Community” Approach

A whole of government approach is lacking and therefore the United States restructure its regional leadership construct .
By Isaiah Oppelaar

Become the Hydra: Setting Leadership Expectations for Degraded Environments

Military leaders must anticipate conducting operations in a context of adversaries seeking to slow or paralyze operational tempo by disrupting information and logistical supply chains. Accordingly, the military must create a culture of leadership that provides an antidote to such disruption.
By Peter A. Garretson & Jonathan D. Sawtelle

Notes from the Field Addressing Retention

The US Air Force finds itself in the midst of a human resource crisis and, without significant intervention, it may come up lacking in meeting complex future security demands.
By Brad “Pedro” Bashore

The Military Design Movement: Drifting towards Embracing Uncertainty and Transformation in Complex Environments

Design, as a multi-disciplinary concept for normative approaches to human decision-making, emphasizes ‘what is possible’ and ‘how a military ought to function’ rather than a highly descriptive and conforming model (termed positivism) where militaries seek to predict future system behavior through past experiences, reductionism, and mechanistic logic.
By Ben Zweibelson

A2/AD: Translating for the Warfighter Using Operational Art

Founded in concepts and strategy, conflict in an A2/AD environment has yet to bridge the gap to manifest itself in operational art, preventing the Joint Force from converting the idea into tactical tasks and stifling operational agility and coherence in future conflict.
By Maj. Mike “Pako” Benitez

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