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Old 05-20-2019, 01:40 PM
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Arrow In the Pacific, US Army Must Be a Running Back Who Blocks

In the Pacific, US Army Must Be a Running Back Who Blocks
By: John Schaus - Professor Army War College - 05-20-2019

Joint success in the world’s largest theater requires the service to accept supporting roles, an Army War College study finds.

A professional football team that intends to win must have players who excel at roles outside their obvious specialization — running backs, for example, who can block defenders and receive passes. Our era of emerging great power competition — or, as we suggest, more appropriately hypercompetition —demands a Joint Force whose individual military components are ready and willing to perform missions outside their preferred service narratives. Nowhere is this truer than in the Indo-Pacific region.

Hypercompetition is a relentless struggle for transient advantage where physical, virtual, and cognitive maneuver create temporary windows of opportunity. In the area of responsibility of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, or INDOPACOM, hypercompetition is demanding transformation of all services, but perhaps most profoundly for the U.S. Army.

Since October, U.S. Army War College researchers have looked into Indo-Pacific theater design at and beyond 2028 on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. Though we have found that U.S. and partner forces have an impressive body of work under way, it is clear that the Army must change across five major elements of design: strategy and operational concepts; forces and capabilities; footprint and presence; authorities, permissions, and agreements; and mission command arrangements. A full report on our findings will be out this summer, but some team members are presenting preliminary findings this week at the Land Forces Pacific Symposium (LANPAC) in Hawaii.

A central conclusion in our work: theater success will require better joint cooperation. We found that the Army and its sister services are generally rowing in the same direction – working to thwart a rival great power – but are not necessarily in the same boat. Each has path-breaking ideas that require help from other services, yet have not completed the joint spadework necessary to realize them. What are needed are concepts, strategies, and plans that are joint from inception through execution, and military components that accept and excel at counter-cultural service roles and missions.

To wit: in INDOPACOM, the Army must not optimize for its preferred role of large-scale ground combat reliant on large maneuver forces. Instead, it will be an enabler of joint forces, a builder of partner capability and capacity, and a warfighter. Though the Army will help deter China as part of a joint and combined force, and certainly would fight in multiple domains as a member of that force, our research shows that in INDOPACOM the Army should embrace its essential theater role as the principal joint enabler. The Army is the enabling backbone that allows U.S. and partner forces to expand the competitive space, create dilemmas for and impose costs on their rivals, and generate more expansive joint military options. It does this through permanent and rotational presence, prepositioning materiel, and persistent exercises and operations.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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