America’s adversaries have begun challenging U.S. forces in nearly every domain including the air, land and sea, said Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, Army Futures Command deputy commanding general and director of the Futures and Concepts Center during a Center for European Policy Analysis panel in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. military officials have repeatedly stated about the threat from enemies’ advances in hypersonic weapons, modern weapon technologies and increase of their combat power.
The Army will increasingly need to lean on other military branches as well as foreign partners to assure military dominance, Eric Wesley added.
“If you’re challenged, what that means is that you no longer necessarily have overmatch,” Wesley said. “The only way you can create overmatch when all domains are in play, is to create synergy between them so that the total is greater than the sum of the parts. We don’t have enough resources to ensure that the U.S., our partners and our allies always dominate, all the time in all domains.”
The Army recently announced that four major units will soon deploy to support ongoing missions in Europe and Afghanistan.
About 500 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, recently deployed to Lithuania and others from the division deployed to Poland earlier this year in support of U.S. Army Europe’s Atlantic Resolve campaign. Atlantic Resolve is the U.S. commitment to European allies to keep stability in the region.
The 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 3rd Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Stewart, Georgia, will travel to Europe to help train European allies and take part in security operation activities. The Army Reserve recently activated seven new units within Europe to support operations responding to the Russian threat to Ukraine.
U.S. Soldiers take part in several annual European exercises, including Immediate Response hosted by Croatia and Slovenia; Saber Guardian in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania; and Swift Response.
Wesley said that Soldiers can expect to see greater interaction among allies, Airmen, Sailors and Marines. Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 159th General Support Aviation Battalion recently deployed to Kuwait to take part in a joint medical evacuation exercise with teams from the Air Force and Navy. They also performed UH-60 Black Hawk acclimation training.
In the Pacific, the Army also participates in joint exercises that include Operation Cobra Gold, hosted by Thailand, one of the world’s largest multi-national military exercises.
“I think what you’re going to see in the next year is we’re going to move to a joint concept,” Wesley said to an audience that included representatives from different European nations. “It’s how we’re going to fight in the future. Right now you see a convergence of ideas between the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines.”
Wesley identified three problems in U.S, forces’ struggle to maintain overmatch. The first: U.S. adversaries have invested in “all” domains.
The second, is that potential adversaries have engaged in multiple layers of standoff.
The third problem stems from Russia and China’s willingness to leverage the competition space to achieve their strategic and operational objectives, posing significant challenges for U.S. forces. Soldiers will have to fight on expanded battlefield space beyond conventional warfare and could achieve victories solely in cyberspace, Wesley said.
Already near-peer adversary China has been rapidly modernizing its infrastructure and possesses anti-access/area denial sensor technology that can limit freedom of movement in the Pacific. Russia remains a threat in cyberspace, threatening the Army’s network and using social media to spread disinformation.
Wesley said that the Army must engage quickly and won’t have time to rest on its laurels. To hasten the acquisition process and get needed equipment and capabilities into the hands of Soldiers faster, he said the Army created eight cross-functional teams to accelerate progress toward achieving its six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, air and missile defense, the network, and Soldier lethality.