What is “Multi-Domain Battle?”
Admiral Harris’ comments accord with the concept of Multi-Domain Battle, which the Army and Marine Corps have pushed over the last year as an answer to concerns over their ability to contribute to a high intensity war in the Western Pacific. At its core, Multi-Domain Battle hopes to enable the U.S. military to do what China’s PLA has already done; integrate land-based assets into an A2/AD battle in which sea and air assets predominate. The United States has enough bases in the Western Pacific to usefully employ long-range missiles, sensors, and other assets in an A2/AD fight; it requires an operational concept, an organizational commitment, and a forward looking procurement strategy to turn the Army’s potential contribution into a reality.
There’s nothing at all wrong with multi-domain battle; the U.S. military should attempt to leverage every capability it has in the Western Pacific, and can certainly benefit from integrating Army assets into the broader plan, even if the Army’s plan carries the whiff of inter-service struggle. And this, at its core is the problem; the extant structure of the U.S. military weighs heavily against long-term efforts at creating a multi-domain battle capability.