Multi-domain

By Rob Smith, Vice President C4ISR & UAS Systems

Learning through Wargaming: Helping Define the Roadmap for Multi-Domain Operations

Having top military experts spend days playing games may seem counterintuitive. However, a series of wargames hosted by Lockheed Martin is helping unravel the complex web of challenges involved in implementing multi-domain operations to leverage advanced technologies and tools that integrate the agency’s military expertise across multiple fields of battle.

Multi-domain operations entail the coordinated execution of authority and direction to gain, fuse and exploit information from any source to integrate planning and synchronize execution of multi-domain operations in time, space and purpose to meet a commander’s objectives. The result is an advanced command and control network that can quickly and efficiently harness, evaluate, make decisions about and disseminate the information needed for all domains to swiftly bring our nation’s best to the fight. It’s a priority for Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, and it’s a priority for us at Lockheed Martin.

Now, command and control itself isn’t a new concept for Lockheed Martin. It’s in our DNA. We’ve been command and control leaders in the cyber domain for roughly a decade, in the air for more than 25 years, and in space for more than half a century. In fact, Lockheed Martin has supported every space command and control operational center developed since the early 1960s. So, what’s exciting about multi-domain operations is that we’re leveraging these diverse areas of expertise to facilitate collaboration and synchronization, creating powerful synergies based on a common picture and unified approach across many domains.

We’re also investing in innovation that goes beyond tangible products such as airplanes and ships. We are looking at ways to connect disparate assets in different domains to expedite the decision making cycle. We are exploring concepts like machine-to-machine learning, open-system architecture, automation, artificial intelligence and pattern recognition. We’re evolving technologies that connect, share, and learn. When these innovations are holistically connected across strategic, operational, and tactical levels, the result will be a multi-domain, user-friendly powerhouse ready to dominate the 21st century battlespace.

Where today a coordinated multi-domain effort can currently take hours or days to plan, the Lockheed Martin team is working to shrink that decision time to a matter of moments. How do we do this? We are developing a multi-domain toolkit that harnesses the complexity of the multi-domain battle by focusing on elements and processes central to complex planning. In other words, we are assimilating the essential information from stove-piped systems into an intuitive system that can, for the first time, provide concurrent (vs. serial) air, space, and cyber solutions with automated exchange among operations centers. By removing the “hand-jamming” of pushing information from one system to another, we are shrinking a laborious and error-ridden process to a near instantaneous action. We are also developing new concepts for quantifying multi-domain plan effectiveness against commander’s intent, such as how to use “complexity” as a weapon. By removing centricity from battlespace planning, we are paving the way toward truly dynamic multi-domain effects planning. This has simply never been done before. 

After hosting these wargames, we’ve identified significant opportunities in which workflow, products, and tools can evolve to leapfrog current technology and processes. As we plan for future wargames, we will remain focused on the organizational constructs, collaborative approaches, and technology enablers needed to integrate and harmonize aggressive effects across multiple domains. It’s a tough balance, and we all need to think and evolve pragmatically to rise to this challenge.

Because while the wargames we host are predicated on fictional scenarios, the threats are all too real. The future of warfare is changing, and the people who win will be those who can most rapidly and reliably obtain, process and act on the overwhelming amount of ever-changing information available. Through our investments, our wargaming and our continued advancement of sophisticated technologies, we’re helping ensure that the U.S. continues to have the upper hand in any encounter, in every domain.