Gen. David G. Perkins, commander at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command , took an opportunity while speaking at the “Land Forces in the Pacific: Advancing Joint and Multi-National Integration” conference last week to present his vision of the future of U.S. warfare.  Multi-Domain Battle, or MDB, represents what the general feels is the most effective way to make use of existing military equipment and personnel in a 21st century battlefield.

In short, the strategy behind the MDB concept is simple: streamline the utilization of the five combat domains (air, sea, land, space, and cyber) in a joint coalition effort between sister services and even partner nations.

When a crisis occurs in a land domain, the Army or Marine Corps is considered the “owner” of that domain and is expected to respond in a traditional manner, perhaps with mortars or howitzers. If a crisis occurs at sea, the Navy is viewed as owning that domain, so a ship or sub-surface solution is applied.” General Perkins explained.

This division of responsibility was originally intended to keep the branches working within their areas of expertise, but by blurring these lines, the general points out, the U.S. can offer a broader range of strategic options to commanders in theater, and make existing defensive forces even more formidable.

In a hypothetical situation, the general explained how MDB could be used to bring the full military force of the United States to bear against enemy ships pursuing U.S. Naval vessels.  Under existing strategy, the Navy would be left to address the threat of pursuing vessels on their own, but through an MDB coalition of forces, other branches could come to the aid of Naval ships in a manner that would be difficult to counter by opponents.

The enemy knows the whereabouts of U.S. ships that might come to the aid of friendly vessels. What the combatants not aware of are the presence of Army howitzers or missile batteries, located on islands in the area, which are armed with anti-ship precision fires.” The General explained.  “So now, the enemy isn’t just worried about the U.S. Navy — they’re also worried about the U.S. Army, which can emplace its guns in hard-to-detect areas on land.”

By blurring the areas of responsibility for each branch, combat commanders would have “multiple options” while the enemy would be faced with “multiple dilemmas.”

Expanding the concepts behind MDB would also allow for a more successful integration of the defensive capabilities of allied nations using the same principles of cooperation and intersecting vectors of fire, if you will.