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3/22/21 Multi-Domain Integration is the new Full-Spectrum Dominance PDF Print E-mail
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By Will Griffin

From The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space | Original Article (see Winter/Spring 2021)

Full-Spectrum Dominance, or Full-Spectrum Superiority as stated in the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, is defined by the Pentagon as the "the cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime,and space domains; electromagnetic spectrum; and information environment (which includes cyberspace) that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference."

Veteran activists in the peace/antiwar/anti-imperialist movement recall the wide use of this term over the past few decades. Today, the Pentagon has adopted a new term which goes even further and highlights the complexity of the technological advances within the military-industrial-congressional complex: Multi-Domain Integration (MDI).

"I think global integrated operations is really the next big 'advantage space' for the Department of Defense," says Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the current Deputy Director of the Global Operations Center (GOC). The new GOC is operated by the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) - the most transnational combatant command of the Pentagon. It operates out of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, home of STRATCOM. On the official website of STRATCOM it says, "The GOC is the nerve center for USSTRATCOM. The GOC is responsible for the global situational awareness of the Commander, USSTRATCOM, and is the mechanism by which he exercises operational command and control of the Nation's global strategic forces."

"The way we integrate is the way we fight... and the nations that figure out how to integrate global operations across all domains will have a significant advantage on the battlefield," said the current STRATCOM Commander, Admiral Charles A. Richard.

In 2018, the former STRATCOM Commander, Air Force General John Hyten, said, "Integration is in our vision because the integrated capabilities of our country is what's going to create the power."

So, what exactly is MDI? Multi-Domain Integration, or sometimes referred to as Multi-Domain Operations, is the Pentagon strategy to connect and dominate the five operational domains in a synchronous, fluid and smooth operational control: maritime, land, air, space, and cyber. It's Full-Spectrum Dominance with a new flair.

Officially, there is no definition for MDI or MDO. The US Army, the US Air Force and Joint Operations under NATO have published differing descriptions. The Joint Air Power Competence Centre describes this issue clearly:

"The use of the term Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) has increased in popularity over the past decade as military services, those of the United States, in particular, have sought to codify their approach to warfare beyond the traditional confines of land, sea, and air. The term is new enough that, while many in military circles within the US and NATO have heard and even used the term themselves, the term is yet undefined by most nations and by NATO... A pessimistic and dismissive view of MDO, as a term, could be seen as a mere buzzword, synonymous with joint operations. And without clear definitions, it will be difficult to dispel naysayers. In the interim, time and resources are being expended on examining MDO and how NATO, and its member nations, can utilise the concepts contained therein. In the short-term, it is imperative that the 29 members of NATO arrive at a clear definition so they can move forward together."

Without getting bogged down in finding the perfect description of an institution that simply wants to dominate the entire world, we can at least find some patterns. At the very least, MDI requires the global integration of all combatant commands of the Pentagon. Combatant commands are a way for the Pentagon to carve the world up into a pie for themselves, assigning specific structures to particular spheres of the globe.

The War Department (DoD) maintains 11 combatant commands: Africa Command, Central Command, Cyber Command, European Command, Indo-Pacific Command, Northern Command, Southern Command, Space Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command and Transportation Command. Each command has a "geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces", claims the DoD. With MDI, the goal would be to integrate all of these commands, and over the 5 operational domains; to dominate everything, everywhere and all the time. The command that is leading the charge is STRATCOM.

STRATCOM experienced a serious change after the 9/11 attacks. Prior to 2001, the command only maintained nuclear weapons and prepared for nuclear warfare - as if this wasn't bad enough. As the years passed by, STRATCOM was assigned new 'missions', more than the direction of nuclear holocaust. It adopted new responsibilities such as missile defense, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, global strike, cyberwarfare, electromagnetic warfare and "combating" weapons of mass destruction. For over a decade now, the home of STRATCOM - Offutt Air Force Base - has been considered the most dangerous place on earth.

A former STRATCOM Commander Kevin Chilton once said: "In 2002 this command did not experience a sea-state change but a tsunami of change in the way it was organized and the missions that they were given to perform." Another former STRATCOM Commander James Cartwright said: "When we got to 2002 we brought space. In 2003 we had a fire sale and picked up missile defense, ISR and global strike. In 2005 we picked up combating weapons of mass destruction. I'm hoping in 2008 we'll get the world hunger piece."

Today, as MDI is being led by STRATCOM, more and more power is being centralized within the hands of a few. The imperialists and warmongers of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen is leading us all onto a path of destruction. Of course, this is all being done in a plutocratic way, leaving democracy as nothing but a dream.

In the Nuclear Deterrence Forum Series held by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, STRATCOM Commander Admiral Charles A. Richard gave an opening remark,

"I want to start with an assertion... I assert that the United States and the Department of Defense have not had to consider the full implications of competition through possible crisis and possible armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer-adversary in close to 30 years... Great Power Competition, what does that mean? One thing it means is it all starts with the threat. We used to know how to operate in a threat-based world, that was the Cold War and we did business very differently back then. We're not in that again, but we're coming out of a capabilities-based world. So, we have to get back to the idea that all domains are going to be challenged; that Strategic Deterrence, which has always been fundamental and foundational to the rest of the defense strategy and what the department does, is going to get tested in ways that it hasn't been tested before. We need to be ready to answer that bill... Remember, Strategic Deterrence is more than just Nuclear Deterrence, particularly today. It is non-kinetic, space, cyber, it is your conventional piece of this. All of this has to be integrated together. It's not just a STRATCOM job, it's all combatant commands, and we have to be able to rethink the way we do business."

Outside of Nuclear Deterrence, 'Strategic Deterrence' has been the doctrine of the US military for decades. In a nutshell, it's the strategy to develop so much superiority that your adversary will think twice about attacking you as they know it will be responded with an equal or greater attack on them. Just how the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction guided the nuclear arms race during the Cold War, the same policy applies to all other domains: cyber, outerspace, electromagnetic warfare, etc. STRATCOM wants to be the central force in the global integration of all combatant commands over all operational domains to hold all of the power, militarily and operationally, under the banner of Strategic Deterrence.

It should be noted that in 2019, STRATCOM dedicated one of their buildings, the Command and Control Facility, to the infamous war criminal Curtis E. Lemay, a US Air Force general who implemented a bombing campaign in the Pacific theater of World War 2. Just to highlight some of Lemay's thinking, here are some of his quotes from various writings and interviews:

-"If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals"

-"There are no innocent civilians, so it doesn't bother me so much to be killing innocent bystanders"

-"We should bomb Vietnam back to the stone age"

-"Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier."

So, the fact that STRATCOM dedicated and renamed one of their buildings after this psycho war criminal is a sign of how they think about the world.

The Pentagon has been conducting multi-domain operations for years attempting to sharpen their use of the empire's toys under a unified command. Despite not agreeing on a specific definition for MDI, STRATCOM seems to be the chosen command to lead this charge into the future. Using Russia and China as justifications for this global integrations project and to place more tax dollars into the Pentagon budget, MDI has become the new Full-Spectrum Dominance.

Will Griffin is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan  wars,  director  of  The  Peace  Report, and board member of the Global Network.  Will is one of the veterans who is a speaker with We Are Not Your Soldiers, a project of World Can't Wait. He  produces  a  short  monthly  space  issues  video  for  the  GN.  See  the  videos  on  YouTube  at  GNspace4peace  Will lives in Philadelphia, PA.


 
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