Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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US Confident its ‘Multi-Domain Battle’ Concept will Destroy China’s A2/AD Defenses

Will be destroyed

(Photo : DoD) China's A2/AD defense system and its three layers.

The United States Marines will lead attacks to destroy China's anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) network defending mainland China and the South China Sea in accord with the U.S. military's new "Multi-Domain Battle" concept for defeating this Chinese defensive system.

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This concept leverages the U.S.' edge in technology and training and transforms the traditional concept of the "combined arms battle" into a more lethal and faster paced version emphasizing "heavy action." It lays great emphasis on all-arms offensives to quickly destroy the enemy face-to-face and not from long-distance.

The "Multi-Domain Battle" should work well against an enemy such as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) with a defensive mindset. The dominant weaknesses of the PLA is an overly centralized command structure where military decisions can be overridden by political commissars, and where initiative isn't encouraged among front line officers or the ordinary soldier, who are instead drilled to follow orders to the letter.

The People's Liberation Army Ground Force hasn't fought any major military engagement since 1979 when it was roundly beaten by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in a series of bloody border battles.

The People's Liberation Army Navy has won a number of small sea battles against Vietnam since the 1970s. The People's Liberation Army Air Force has no combat experience whatsoever.

No longer will the U.S. Navy be left alone to obliterate the layered A2/AD defense extending out beyond the east coast of the Philippines using long-range air launched cruise missiles and air strikes. The U.S. Air Force will now also enter the fight with long-range strategic bombers from Guam.

B-52 Stratofortresses; B-1 Lancers and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers will unleash massive bomb or missile loads onto Chinese ballistic missile sites and the surface-to-air (SAM) systems defending them. A single B-1 and B-2 can carry more than 80 250 kg satellite guided bombs, more than enough to annihilate a single ballistic missile battery.

But the centerpiece of this new concept will be the Marines' launching amphibious assaults on Chinese held islands in the South China Sea and invading mainland China itself to destroy A2/AD defenses.

Gen. David Perkins, Commander U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command said his command is working with the other services to develop the Multi-Domain Battle concept, which will change the way U.S. soldiers fight.

Under the Multi-Domain Battle, the Army must learn how to operate in and affect all domains in conjunction with the other services, said Gen. Perkins.

"What can the Army do to help the Air Force deal with anti-access area denial?" he asked. "Rather than cramming a bunch of Joint Strike Fighters in there with a high casualty rate, maybe you use ground forces to take up the air defenses."

In the maritime domain, instead of expending the Navy's capabilities, maybe the Army's land-based artillery systems can be equipped with anti-ship missiles. The goal is to better enable the services to fight together effectively against a common, complex enemy, said Gen. Perkins.

In the future, the Army will rely even more heavily on empowered sergeants and lieutenants, said Gen. Perkins.

"They have to have a broader understanding of the operational environment they're in, they have to have a broader understanding of their mission," he said. "They're operating at a higher level, which means they have to understand everything that comes into play with that."

And because of the faster and more confusing pace of future war, the Army's cyber warriors can no longer be the only soldiers in the Army who understand cyber.

"Everyone has to have a basic understanding of the basic capabilities, what the enemy can do," said Gen. Perkins.

"They have to know enough to put the demand on the system. If a soldier needs somebody to shut down the enemy's communication, he may not know how it's done, but he should know enough to ask for it and then when that capability is provided, know how to leverage it. They have to know more than how their rifle works." 

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