An Army Transformed: USINDOPACOM Hypercompetition And US Army Theater Design

An Army Transformed: USINDOPACOM Hypercompetition And US Army Theater Design
An Army Transformed: USINDOPACOM Hypercompetition and US Army Theater Design
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The United States faces a hypercompetitive geopolitical landscape in the Indo-Pacific region, arguably the most consequential theater for US national interests over the coming decades. Although the United States has created exquisite military capabilities to counter insurgencies and fight terrorists, rivals like China have developed a whole-of-government toolkit focused on expanding their span of control and freedom of action, separating the United States from its allies, and deterring US leaders from greater engagement in East Asia.

China is actively transforming its military forces, with an eye toward defeating the United States in the event of armed hostilities. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also creatively employing its military and paramilitary assets strategically to outmaneuver the United States and partners in meaningful gray zone approaches. The PRC enjoys strategic depth and increasingly operates on internal or heavily protected lines of communication while demonstrating the ability to threaten American interests with a variety of multi-domain capabilities and forces.

Meeting this challenge will require joint transformation to a more hypercompetitive theater design. Army adoption of the four transformational roles of grid, enabler, multi-domain warfighter, and capability and capacity generator will be essential to realizing this more hypercompetitive Joint theater approach.



Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Executive Summary xiii

Hypercompetition, a Pacing Threat, and a Priority Theater xiii

Lost Initiative and an Imperative for Transformational Change xiv

Principal Finding: The Joint Force Is Out of Position for Hypercompetition xiv

Principal Recommendation: The Army Needs to Adopt Four Transformational Roles xv

Unacceptable Risk Absent Transformational Change xvi

Acknowledgments  xvii

Chapter 1. Prologue: Divining D’Aveni 1

Why We Are Here: Hypercompetition  1

Describing the Contemporary Competitive Space  1

Strategies for a Hypercompetitive Business Environment 2

A Rough Military Translation of D’Aveni 3

Toward an Adapted Framework for Hypercompetition   5

Chapter 2. Introduction: Why USINDOPACOM Matters  7

Why USINDOPACOM Matters: The Rise of a Credible Near-Peer Rival 8

Erosion of US Reach and Influence   9

Taming the Pacing Rival 11

Chapter 3. Study Origin, Purpose, Methodology, and Scope 13

Origin. 13

Purpose  13

Study Scope: What This Study Does and Does Not Do 14

Study Methodology: Spiral Development According to Three General Stages 15

viii US Army War College Stage 1 (Develop Preliminary Insights, November 2018 to February 2019)  15

Stage 2 (Refine, Test, and Record Insights, February 2018 to May 2019) 16

Stage 3 (Report Findings and Recommendations, May–December 2019)  17

Chapter 4. Analytic Framework  19

Background: One Question, Three Lenses, and “Ready for What”   19

One Question 19

Three Lenses  20

Lens One: Hypercompetition 20

Lens Two: Strategic Purpose and Approach  22

Strategic Purpose: Maintain Favorable Military Balance 23

Strategic Approach: Seize the Initiative and Expand the Competitive Space 24

Lens Three: Elements of Theater Design  25

“Ready for What?” 25

Why This Framework?   26

Chapter 5. Study Assumptions  27

Background: Assumptions as an Essential Starting Point 27

Nine Foundational Assumptions 27

Assumption 1 28

Assumption 2 29

Assumption 3 30

Assumption 4 31

Assumption 5  32

Assumption 6 32

Assumption 7  33

Assumption 8  34

ix US Army War College Assumption 9 35

Chapter 6: The Indo-Pacific Military Problem  37

The Pacer, the Legacy, and the Spoiler  37

The Past and Present as Prologue: The Indo-Pacific’s 2028 Military Problem 38

Contours of a 2028 Joint Military Solution  41

Chapter 7. Strategic Insights  43

Insight 1 43

Insight 2 46

Insight 3  48

Insight 4  49

Insight 5  52

Insight 6 54

Insight 7  56

Chapter 8. Principal Finding and Recommendation  59

Principal Finding: Out of Position for Hypercompetition  59

Principal Recommendation: Four Transformational Roles  60

The Army as the Grid 61

The Army as the Enabler  63

The Army as Multi-Domain Warfighter  64

The Army as Capability and Capacity Generator  66

Where Do We Go from Here?  68

Chapter 9. Findings and Recommendations by Element of Design  69

Strategy and Operational Concepts  71

Finding 1 71

Forces and Capabilities   72

x US Army War College Finding 2.  72

Footprint and Presence  74

Finding 3 74

Authorities, Permissions, and Agreements 78

Finding 4  78

Mission Command Arrangements  84

Finding 5  84

Chapter 10. Conclusion 89

The Risks of Action and Inaction  89

Risk of Action: Moderate to High  90

Escalation  90

Strategic Distraction  90

Institutional Resistance   91

Risk of Inaction: High to Extremely High 91

Limitations of This Report and Areas for Further Study  92

A Final Word   93

Expert Working Group Participants  95

Senior Review Group   97

About the Researchers 99

Project Directors  99

Contributing Researchers  99 


National Strategy and Policy Community and Academia, Members of the intelligence community, members of the government and policymakers, Members of Congress, foreign policy analysts, military leaders and strategists, military and Congressional leaders focused on the Indo-Pacific Region, and members of the general public interested in U.S. military relations with China may want a copy of this publication.

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Department of Defense (DOD),Army War College,Strategic Studies Institute (SSI)
  • Freier, Nathan
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  • Army War College
  • Strategic Studies Institute
  • Multi domain Capabilities
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