HomeNewsArticle Display

Defense, industry partners plan for future multi-domain conflicts

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Titus Poulose of the 263rd Combat Communications Squadron with the North Carolina Air National Guard, operates communications equipment inside of a special cold-weather tent while deployed in support of Operation Deep Freeze (ODF), at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Dec. 6, 2018. ODF is a military mission in support of the National Science Foundation throughout the continent of Antarctica, to provide air, land, and sea support to McMurdo Station. (Courtesy photo submitted by Civ. Johnny Chiang)

Staff Sgt. Titus Poulose, 263rd Combat Communications Squadron personnel, operates communications equipment inside of a special cold-weather tent while deployed in support of Operation Deep Freeze, at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Dec. 6, 2018. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo by Johnny Chiang)


The U.S. military finds itself at a flashpoint, shifting from a period focused overwhelmingly on violent extremism to state competition.

It won’t be tanks, planes and ships that are the central differentiator in tomorrow’s conflicts, but the disruption of the ability of the U.S. to link and choreograph those elements together — a concept the Air Force is intently focused on.

“In my opinion, multi-domain command and control is the most critical element of achieving future victory through multi-domain operations,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.

Goldfein explained this priority in a 2017 letter, adding that “the evolution in our command-and-control capabilities requires new thinking, new training and perhaps new technologies or new ways to use older technology.”

This led to the implementation of Agile Combat Employment, or ACE, a concept intended to ensure forward deployed forces are ready for contingencies with little notice.

“The National Defense Strategy dictates that we ‘develop a lethal, agile and resilient force posture and employment,’" said Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, Air Combat Command chief information officer.

Raduege’s focus is specifically on the Air Force’s ability to apply the ACE construct to C2 and communications capabilities.

“For several decades, our forces have deployed forward to what amounts to a fixed-base environment," he said. "Today the growing need to operate from austere locations, as well as posture to maintain flexibility in the face of contingencies, forces us to take a hard look at our deployable communications capabilities.”

That ‘hard look’ came in the form of a think tank-style workshop at CyberWorx, an organization partnering Airmen, industry and academia to reimagine how technology might enrich and protect national interests.

Experts from across the Air Force and the Department of Defense’s joint community, as well as industry partners, came to CyberWorx to analyze a single, yet complicated problem-set: how do we operate in contested environments ensuring a steady-state of tactical C2 support?

Planning for Future Operations

Under the ACE paradigm, speed, adaptability and resilience are foundational when operating in contested and austere environments, which is why the workshop included special operation forces. They’ve operated under these constraints for decades as a baseline model for conventional forces.

“I envision a future where the war fighter is able to access necessary mission data from any device, over any network, at any location regardless of classification,” Raduege said.

Col. Bill Waynick, CyberWorx director, led the initiative to analyze and address the challenges to meet the ACE requirements within the Air Force’s tactical communications sphere.

Advances in technology make tactical communications equipment user friendly and provide more options for use in permissive, semi and non-permissive environments, Waynick said.

“What we need is adaptable and resilient equipment to meet the needs of the mission whether it be a large air base, (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), launch and recovery element, logistics node or (liaison officer) at an embassy,” he said.

Waynick was candid in his assessment of the DoD’s current state of communications and C2 infrastructure.

“There have been advances in technology such as satellites, satellite terminals, more virtual form-factor computing, cloud computing, next-generation transmission, such as Li-Fi, laser, and Wi-Fi or cellular," Waynick said. "We have the opportunities to provide resilient and robust communications for C2 and any other mission the Air Force needs. We need to acquire and utilize these forms of technology in a less rigid and flexible manner.”

Waynick said the findings of the workshop will be used to try and gain top-level Air Force support needed to meet the tactical communications requirements for ACE and as an input for planning choice for future funding.

“It will make us more adaptable and resilient to meet the variety of current and emerging threats,” he added. “We can't be a one-size-fits-all type force. We will need to approach tactical communications like a Swiss Army Knife going forward.”


Facebook Twitter
Explosive Disposal Ordnance (EOD) Airmen are often assigned to some of the most dangerous missions and perform tact… https://t.co/xYc9Ip5psn
Start this year by supporting your #Airmen in their pursuit of #resiliency. Learn about common triggers of invisibl… https://t.co/6gJSfJKvcK
RT @OHNationalGuard: The @180thFW hosted members of the Nigerian Air Force recently Officers visited the 180FW in search of #bestpractice
RT @HiAirGuard: Airmen from 154th Security Forces Squadron became first responders during a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear…
RT @US_SOCEUR: U.S. #airmen assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing perform maintenance on a CV-22B #Osprey aircraft in Szolnok, #Hung
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @AFResearchLab s X-60A program achieved a key developmental #milestone with the completion of integrated vehicle propulsio…
RT @DeptofDefense: If you want to get there as fast as possible, don’t stop for gas. ⛽ That’s why the @usairforce relies on airmen like Tec…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to learn more about @USAFCENT, the command that provides air & space warfighting capabilities to help defeat v…
Airmen with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard provide support at the “tent cities” to support Task Force South and… https://t.co/zg2yT0LqpS
Even the most advanced aircraft in history requires extensive maintenance performed by Airmen on the ground to kee… https://t.co/Kpv8JlzYIc
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Throwback Thursday and #TankerThirstThursday are the same game. Throwing it back to last month when a KC-135 Stratotank…
If you thought the C-5M Super Galaxy was cool before, wait until you hear @RichardHammond describe it and its capab… https://t.co/jbYbdyHx5q
Air National Guardsmen from @105AW are on the ground in Puerto Rico with their counterpart, @PRNationalGuard, provi… https://t.co/ZwzhCEpWY4
RT @HAFB: Join us for the Hill Air Force Base 80th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hill Aerospace Museum! A nu…
Ranges are crucial to the training and readiness of our warfighters. Get an inside look at how they prepare to figh… https://t.co/i5CnbpBGAw
.@cmsaf18 and his wingman, Senior Enlisted Advisor to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Master Sergeant… https://t.co/UD69jCjHPz
#AirForce is always looking for ways to improve processes and patient health care is no different. @JBSA_Official h… https://t.co/ysEFjoXYCE
RT @USAF_ACC: You know what day it is. #WarthogWednesday! 🐗👏 #DYK the weapon on the #A10Thunderbolt II is a 30 millimeter GAU-8 and is des…
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Earlier today, @SpaceForceCSO Gen. John W. Raymond became the first ever Chief of Space Operations. @VP Vice President M…
C-17 Globemaster IIIs sit at @March_ARB, where their engines routinely receive special eco-washes to prevent corros… https://t.co/so1CEcJYsP