Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr.
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) LANPAC Symposium
“Role of Land Forces In Ensuring Access To Shared Domains”
May 25, 2016
Thanks, General Sullivan for that kind introduction as the “Grey Owl.” I successfully avoided speaking at LANPAC for the past two years but I failed this year... and here I am.
(Additional accolades removed for brevity)
- Fellow Flag and General Officers – it's wonderful to see so many friends and mentors here this week...
- Distinguished guests...
- Ladies and gentlemen...
It’s great to be here with all of you.
I think it’s quite telling that you’ve invited me here today.
It goes to show how truly joint the U.S. military has become; we live in a world where we must think and fight jointly – and rightfully so. That’s why I’m proud to be here as the PACOM commander responsible for operations across domains – land, sea, air, space, and cyber – in the vast Indo-Asia-Pacific. For us to "be all that we can be" – pun intended – we can’t just think about one domain or one service. We can't be a “Domain of One,” to borrow yet another slogan.
Today, I want to pose an important question in order to encourage an important dialogue.
Do land forces have a role in ensuring access to – and freedom of maneuver in – shared domains? I believe the future security environment will require the Services to exert influence in non-traditional domains as these domains converge and become more complex, especially if our combatant commands are to achieve dominance across those domains.
Now I’ll tell you, operating offensively in other domains – the maritime, for example – may not come naturally to land forces.
Let’s face it, in most wars and conflicts, the land domain is the center of gravity. It’s where the decisive effort lies. As T.R. Fehrenbach famously said, “You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, and wipe it clean of life... but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman Legions did – by putting your soldiers in the mud.”
Folks, this is the core mission of the Army: to fight and win America’s wars in the land domain. You’re good at it! Ensuring the Army dominates in this domain is a task that can’t be abandoned.
But this is not to say we shouldn’t consider opportunities where the Army can project power in other domains – something that has done before, I’ll add.
During the Civil War, Army coastal artillery was used to engage ships. In the early 1900s, the batteries at Fort Kamehameha here in Hawaii were built to defend against the maritime threat. The Army's Coast Artillery Corps took on this mission, as well as some mine warfare missions, and later anti-aircraft, too. But as time passed and the need for longer range and more mobile defenses increased, we developed maritime and air capabilities that allowed the Army to divest itself from the coastal defense business. The Coast Artillery Corps was disestablished and the anti-aircraft defenders morphed into Air Defense Artillery.
Well, guess what... in the 21st Century, I believe the Army should consider getting back into this business because we now face an inverse problem.
Incredibly sophisticated missiles are proliferating throughout the world. Countries like China, Iran, and Russia are challenging our ability to project power ashore, from the sea, through ever-more sophisticated anti-ship missiles. More and more, adversary rocket forces are projecting power over the water in order to protect their control on land. They are also developing land attack missiles and the precision targeting systems that can threaten our facilities ashore. We need systems that enables the Army to project power over water, from shore. Fort Kamehameha hasn't moved an inch since it was built... but what we need today is a "Fort HIMARS" – a highly mobile, networked, lethal weapons system with long reach – and if we get this right, the Army will kill the archer instead of dealing with all of its arrows. I believe that the Army should look at ways to use the Paladin and HIMARS systems to keep at risk the enemy's Navy... not only the enemy's land, which we already do and do well.
The Army will be back in the coastal defense game, in a completely new way.
With today’s technology, we don’t have to sacrifice range for mobility.
There's a demand for land forces in shared domains. And to be frank, I know it’s gonna take a lot of work to get there. But I figured since Soldiers are fond of letting us Sailors know that you’re a lot smarter than we are, naturally, I’ve come here to get those answers.
One thing I can tell you: the question of the role of land forces in ensuring access to, and maneuver in, shared domains is something the U.S. and our friends, partners, and allies must address... not only as a matter of security, but also a matter of economic prosperity. As I just told you, our adversaries get this.
So, let me set the stage by telling you why this is important to the U.S. Pacific Command.
There are 36 countries in the PACOM area of responsibility, and in 26 of them, the Army is the predominant service.
Although many refer to this region as the Asia-Pacific, I prefer calling it the Indo-Asia-Pacific – this more accurately captures the fact that the Indian and Pacific Oceans are the economic lifeblood that links India, Australia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, Oceania and the U.S. together.
Strengthening that economic connective tissue through diplomatic and security partnerships is what America’s strategic rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific is all about.
Enhancing our collective prosperity is a big reason why President Obama initiated our Rebalance to this region a few years ago – a clear signal that the U.S. recognizes the Indo-Asia-Pacific as the world’s economic and political center of gravity. Last month, from USS John C. Stennis, Secretary Carter referred to the Indo-Asia-Pacific as “the single most consequential region for America's future.”
In the South China Sea alone, approximately $5.3 trillion in annual global trade relies on unimpeded access to sea lanes; $1.2 trillion of this sea-based trade is destined to, or exported from, the U.S. The Strait of Malacca alone sees over 25 percent of global oil shipments and 50 percent of all natural gas transits each day. And today, China is pressurizing our access to this vital maritime super highway.
Thanks in large part to open access to shared domains, including maritime, air, space, and cyber, this region is now home to the world’s 3 largest economies... and 7 of the 8 fastest growing economies. Freedom of navigation is part and parcel to this.
The region is also home to 7 of the world’s 10 largest armies. In fact, most of the region’s senior defense officials are Army officers.
Alright, with so many Indo-Asia-Pacific countries having large armies and access to shared maritime spaces; what is the role of land forces in protecting these shared domains?
We know that the Army is expert in the anti-air/missile defense domain. And no one disputes the fact that that the Army and Marine Corps are masters at fighting in the land domain. This is who you are.
The Navy and Air Force have been projecting power onto the land – supporting ground forces with surveillance, reconnaissance, jamming, fire support, power projection from carriers and air bases, and so on. As I said before, I believe the time has come for our land force to project power from the land onto the other domains and operate seamlessly across shared domains.
I’m confident that we can make this happen.
Let’s consider the U.S. Army’s missile defense systems.
Last month, Soldiers used the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System – known as I B C S – to track, engage, and defeat ballistic and cruise missile targets. It controlled two types of radars and two types of Patriot missiles to engage multiple targets at the same time. Now that’s impressive.
Perhaps we can develop this capability so that the Army can kill stuff in other domains.
Imagine this. An F-18 Hornet acquires a target at sea, an enemy ship, and then passes the track data through Link-16 to any potential shooter with the right munitions and within range of the enemy ship. That information is passed through a gateway to the Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol, or "JREAP," that enables tactical data messages to be transmitted long distances, over the internet, effectively extending the range of the Link-16.
Because of the internet, JREAP-C tracking data can then be passed to several potential shooters on land such as the Paladin or High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. The JREAP-C “cloud” is necessary because Link-16 is already over-subscribed. The Paladin or HIMARS then kills that enemy ship from the land. Wow – A Navy fighter communicating with an Army ground-based weapon system to kill a sea-based target.
This may sound aspirational, but in actuality, it's not! We demonstrated this capability during NORTHERN EDGE 2015 in the ranges over Alaska, so this capability is well within the realm of the possible.
Folks, this is where we need to focus as domains converge.
Imagine this. I’ve often heard my friends in the Army pitch fire support plans using artillery to emplace minefields. Is this “Back to the Future?” If you read the history of the Army’s Coast Artillery Corps this will sound eerily familiar. How cool would it be to use ground-based artillery to put “steel” into the deep, blue sea – emplacing intelligent sea mines to restrict movement in the maritime domain.
In other words, we should be able to deny the enemy the sea – from the land.
These ideas, combined with the latest innovations in man-machine interfaces and artificial intelligence technologies, are real opportunities for the joint force.
Our boss, Secretary of Defense Carter, stated earlier this year that swarming, autonomous vehicles serving multiple roles, in multiple domains, are critical to the Pentagon’s ambitions. The Navy is already testing its “swarm boats” with much success.
We must bring the Army – and the rest of the joint force -together with their sensors and their fires as domains converge in the battlespace. By taking advantage of these technological advances we can help overcome the operational challenges we face in our resource constrained environment.
DoD has developed the Third Offset strategy, which experts believe is a real game changer. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work predicts that the advances in artificial intelligence and autonomy will lead to a new era of human-machine collaboration and combat teaming, where tactical acuity of a computer will help a human make better decisions. This collaboration applies to manned and unmanned platforms. Let me be clear – the Third Offset is not about winning wars on the cheap, as some critics might suggest, it’s about winning wars on the smart.
This DoD-wide effort will put the resources behind innovation to advance America’s military dominance through the 21st century. And I charge Army leaders – at all levels – to champion this initiative to enable the Army to project power into shared domains. I'm pleased that the Army is teaming with the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO.
Okay, big concepts... maybe – but so is Army beating Navy in Football. But it hasn’t stopped Army from trying.
To get from here to there, we’ve got to overcome some capability gaps. Luckily, we’ve got some really smart folks at Fort Eustis, Virginia to help us.
The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) – and more specifically, the Army Capabilities Integration Center or ARCIC – is working hard to explore ways to ensure the Army adapts as domains converge.
ARCIC understands that Army operations are inherently cross domain operations. In fact, according to ARCIC, the future operating environment “...will demand fires that can effectively operate across maritime, space, and cyberspace domains, as well as the electromagnetic spectrum.”
I couldn't have said it better if I gave a whole speech on it.
ARCIC goes on to say, “fires systems must deliver fires... targeting efforts must support target identification, discrimination, de-confliction, and airspace control and fires control through all domains.”
Wow, that was a mouthful. Folks, after realizing what I just said, its apparent I suffer from a case of cerebral flatulence. And yes that’s a phrase... according to UrbanDictionary.com.
You see; that’s what happens when a Navy Admiral makes an attempt at quoting Army doctrine. Cerebral flatulence.
Okay, let me convert that into Naval-ese – I’m going to trademark that word, by the way... Naval-ese.
To me, ARCIC’s analysis means the Army’s got to be able to sink ships, neutralize satellites, shoot down missiles, and deny the enemy the ability to command and control its forces. And beat Navy on the gridiron.
We have a huge undertaking before us – one that’s increasingly important to our land forces as they perfect their trade in combined arms maneuver and become more relevant in multi-domain operations: ensuring unfettered freedom to maneuver in shared domains. And one that's increasingly important to the joint force.
Our Nation depends on us – the big "Us" – getting this right. I know we're on the right track because of events like LANPAC and the culture of innovation, adaptability, and tenacity of America’s Army and Marine Corps.
Folks, I’ve run out of time and Army/Navy jokes. As much as I’d like to carry on about fighting in multiple domains, I’ll leave the rest to the true experts who'll follow me to the podium. So let me close with this thought.
America's strength depends on the synergy between those brave men and women who volunteer to wear the cloth of the nation and our partners in business and industry who support us and provide us with the best tools to get the job done... partners like each of you here today.
I truly thank you for all you do on a daily basis to help ensure our military and our nation remain ready to fight tonight... and win.
May God bless the men and women in our Armed Forces. May God bless great organizations like AUSA. And last, but certainly not least... may God bless America.
Thank you very much... GO NAVY!