The JAPCC hosted a multinational gathering of distinguished speakers and panellists at the annual Joint Air and Space Power Conference in Essen, Germany. This year’s conference was held from 8 to 10 October 2019.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Shaping NATO for Multi-Domain Operations of the Future’ and it had been discussed in four themed panels.
The first panel explored a working definition of what constitutes Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) and addressed prevailing environmental views from the Air, Land, Sea, Space and Cyber domains, in order to set a baseline for discussion of MDO and what distinguishes it from Joint, Hybrid, and Effects-Based Operations.
The second panel examined the foundational requirements associated with Multi-Domain Operations. In this context the panel discussed the legal and policy requirements for conducting multinational MDO to improve understanding of the role of political and military decision makers. The panel also looked at the impact of Multi-Domain Operations on the Airpower principle of centralized command and decentralized execution and control, as well as the increasing criticality of assured access to and control of the Space and Cyber domains.
Panel Three addressed the challenges NATO may face in order to meet the requirements discussed earlier. Potential challenges may include educational, psychological and behavioural adaptations in order to ensure that the individual service member can cope with the increasing speed of operations and decision cycles as well as develop a sufficient depth of understanding joint capabilities which is necessary for conducting future Multi-Domain Operations. Other potential key issues comprise securing the Electromagnetic Spectrum and protecting the Space and Cyber infrastructure to enable the information gathering, sharing and communications essential for Multi-Domain Operations. Other challenges to legal, command and control as well as data sharing aspects raised in Panel Two were addressed as well.
The last panel expanded on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, hypersonic weaponry and robotics, as well as mining, managing and exploitation of Big Data as potential key enablers for effective Multi-Domain Operations. Finally, the panel addressed the paradigm shifts required to effectively transition from traditional command and control to a truly joint and unified command relationship that will characterize future Multi-Domain Operations.