The conflict in Ukraine offers an essential real-world case study for testing multi-domain operations. The Russo-Ukrainian competition demonstrates that war is still a terrible, arduous business that resists simple fixes and grandiose ideas. Will the military forces use the battle to examine their warfighting doctrines, or will they cherry-pick lessons that support their actions?
The relative significance of a particular area has significant bureaucratic ramifications; funds are proportional to the domain’s importance. The Russian embargo of the Ukrainian shoreline and Odessa is inflicting havoc on the global food supply, and maritime operations have reached a deadlock. At the tactical and operational levels, electronic warfare activities such as jamming, finding enemies, and eavesdropping on unsecured communications have proven helpful. Senior employees and the headquarters have been located and targeted as high-value. Given the presumed Russian superiority in this arena, cyber has not been the absolute game-changer that many expected.
Finally, space has significantly contributed to delivering intelligence through aerial pictures. The Ukraine conflict provides the same chance for reflection on our military as the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 did. Sending an assessment team to Europe is a wise choice if its mission is to examine the war critically and identify faults in the Army’s multi-domain operations concept. The method will be less beneficial if it just validates the notions that the Army has favored. The objective of the Army within NATO is to discourage attack, not combat it.
Multi-domain operations are oriented similarly to offensive conflict operations. In Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, each service fought following its doctrine in its theater of operations. It may be against Russia or China, where the unity of effort and resource allocation will be crucial. Former Army Chief of Staff General Philip Breedlove believes that multi-domain operations may not apply to how the U.S. Army would fight if Russia invades the Baltic states.
He argues that aggressive activities should be confined to reclaiming the violated area. Former Army Chief of Staff General Philip Breedlove thinks the Army’s priority in the Ukraine situation should be to prevent a successful Russian invasion. In the 1970s, the Army rejected active defense because it was a defensive doctrine. There are antibodies inside the Army and the other services that resist a philosophy centered on security. He proposes an Army modernization plan that provides capabilities for a layered defense.