Wednesday, April 17, 2024

US Army explores potential boundaries of future warfighting

From the National Training Center and Camp Pendleton, California, to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, a platoon-size team of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command multi-component Soldiers and civilians delved into cutting-edge technologies during February and March as part of Project Convergence–Capstone 4 (PC-C4).

PC-C4, a joint and multinational experiment hosted by the U.S. Army, brought together warfighters from various branches of the Department of Defense and invited nations to explore the future of warfighting communications, operations, and maneuver. This initiative aimed to test the integration and adaptability of emerging technologies in achieving a future operating environment characterized by a combined, joint all-domain force confronting realistic warfighting scenarios.

“We will be contested in the cyber and space domains, so we must prepare for this eventuality,” said Lt. Gen. Sean Gainey, USASMDC’s commanding general. “Integration and convergence in multidomain operations facilitates active campaigning and contributes to strategic deterrence through technology and tactics, techniques and procedures development, experimentation, exercises, engagements and operations from irregular warfare to large-scale combat operations. PC-C4 allows us to determine if and how our emerging space and high-altitude technology can support MDO through 2030 and beyond.”

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During PC-C4, USASMDC experimented with various emerging technologies, including a small form factor kit for electronic surveillance or attack, a virtual training environment for space systems, and elements of the Army’s new Theater Strike Effects Group. Soldiers also engaged in vignettes involving integrated fires using high-altitude platforms like medium-sized balloons.

Soldiers from the command’s 1st Space Brigade deployed the small form factor in combat-realistic scenarios at White Sands Missile Range to evaluate its suitability as a tactical space control system. This miniaturization supports the Army’s Triad, enabling space operations at the tactical edge, particularly for special operations forces.

While not part of an official Army program, experiments like PC-C4 inform the Army of potential capabilities and equipment for future consideration. Capt. Noah Siegel, Space Operations Officer, emphasized the importance of refining operating concepts and capabilities through events like Project Convergence and future exercises.

Additionally, observers from USASMDC’s Army Capability Manager for Space and High Altitude collaborated with a notional Theater Strike Effects Group at Camp Pendleton, focusing on authorities, policy, and lines of communication for the Army’s new space formation.

PC-C4 also provided an opportunity to enhance USASMDC’s role as the Army’s proponent for high-altitude capabilities. The Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, in conjunction with Program Manager-Fixed Wing, conducted balloon flights to inform platform development and refine data architecture for field operations, marking a significant step in high-altitude experimentation.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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