You can always count on the Pentagon to come up with jargon that unleashes hubris. When I was in the Air Force, it was all about “global reach, global power.” I also heard about “full-spectrum dominance.” Now the latest buzzword is “All-Domain Operations.” “All-domain” means land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace, which are supposed to be integrated by computers, with information being shared at the speed of light, or close to it. The U.S. military will know so much, be so nimble, and act in such a coordinated fashion that its rivals and enemies won’t have a chance.
This is what the Vice-Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had to say about this:
“we’ll have a significant advantage over everybody in the world for a long time, because it’s the ability to integrate and effectively command and control all domains in a conflict or in a crisis seamlessly — and we don’t know how to do that. Nobody knows how to do that.”
I’ve been hearing about “seamless” and “global” integration for a long time, and it’s never going to happen. War is fundamentally messy, chaotic, a realm of chance, influenced by what Clausewitz termed “fog and friction,” and of course the enemy rarely reacts in ways that are predictable. No matter. A “global” vision of “all-domain” dominance has the virtue of justifying enormous defense budgets, so it’s likely here to stay.
As an aside, I do like the way the term has grown like Topsy, according to this report:
“Breaking Defense readers have seen these ideas evolve rapidly over the last few years, with even the terminology becoming ever more ambitious, from Multi-Domain Battle to Multi-Domain Operations to All-Domain Operations.”
Yes — who wants only multi-domain battles when you can have all-domain operations? Let’s show some ambition here!
Note how in this vision, there’s no talk of national defense or of upholding the U.S. Constitution. It’s all about power projection in the cause of dominance. It’s an enabler to forever war — one that will be increasingly driven by computers.
What could possibly go wrong with such a vision?
One thing is likely: if there’s ever a war of hubristic buzzwords in the future, the Pentagon might finally have a fighting chance.
11 thoughts on “All-Domain Operations: Hubris Unleashed!”
Bill, DoD excells in the Buzzword Domain. Possibly they also dominate. They are very good at buzzwords. Yes, the networked, sensor-shooter, global strike vision of the late 90s is alive and well. DoD operates like a professional wrestling promotion with faces, heels, bluster, and phony-earnest anger widespread. However, it is clear that DoD does not have a significant advantage over “everybody in the world” as DoD itself knows, e.g. as explained in the Afghan Papers and elsewhere. They create self-confidence via this kind of bluster. The song remains the same…
It’s all about justifying enormous budgets. We must be strong everywhere! Dominate everything!
In other words, no strategy — no thinking — just “integrated” weapons — and lots of profits.
Oh, and just today (Feb. 19), Trump shoved out the door a DoD official (John Rood) who’d expressed doubts on the wisdom of extorting Ukraine for “dirt” on the Bidens. “Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.”
Hey, let’s put in charge of this the folks who developed that fabulous app for the Dems in Iowa!! What, indeed, could possibly go wrong with computers looking out for our interests? (“Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” of course featured the Soviets concocting The Doomsday Machine, to be triggered automatically by a first strike by the US. And we know how that scenario turned out!) [My use of the phrase “our interests” is a tad ironic, of course, as I have made it clear umpteen times that I don’t view my interests, or the interests of “the 98%” on the whole, as at all commingled with the interests of the US Ruling Class.] It wasn’t that many presidencies ago (okay, I admit I’m spacing out on just whose watch it was!) that the Pentagon’s official stance was that the US military needed to be able to fight something like “2 1/2” fairly substantial wars simultaneously at various points on the globe. Hmmm. Do Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Ukraine (by proxy), Venezuela (a shooting war is hankered for!), etc. add up to “2 1/2” fairly substantial wars?? I’ll have to toss that question to the “experts”! The Pentagon’s marketing phraseology may change, but the one fact I never let slip my mind is simply: none of these activities are morally justified!!
Yes, Greg. They left “morality” out of the domains to dominate.
I fondly recall when President Jimmy Carter talked of human rights. Well, we’ll have none of that claptrap in Warrior Corp USA.
“One nation, under God…”
Hmmm. Certainly not a God whose Son said things like “Blessed are the peacemakers.” or “If someone strikes you on one cheek turn and offer him the other.” or “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”
Perhaps we ought to change the wording to “One nation, under Mars…” (Mars being the Roman god of war.)
“One nation, under the influence of sheer idiocy.” “One nation of sheep, so eager to be fleeced.” “All hail the Emperor, Donald the Abominable.” Etc., etc.
Just wondering “who” or ‘what” REALLY controls the “Grand Domain” or “Global Power” and whether it keeps Americans safe. With Bezo’s CIA cloud and Amazon/Microsoft fighting over JEDI, will the pentagon have control or a high tech company will run the govt/world??
A must read write up…..
Amazon and Microsoft, et al., may rack up all the juicy Pentagon contracts within their reach, but the National (in)Security State will continue to be operated for the protection/benefit of the US Ruling Class. That is Marxism 101!!
As if by default, therefore, Marshall’s dictum of preeminence has remained the implicit premise of the American grand strategy: a stubborn insistence that freedom is ours to define and that America’s possession of (and willingness to use) overwhelming force offers the best way to ensure freedom’s triumph,
Hitler, it appears from my study of history, was far more concerned with vanquishing “Bolshevism” than his Western European rivals and their American ally (which, like in First World War, conveniently waited until the war on European continent was well advanced before risking life and limb there). The United States simply picked up Adolf’s ball and ran with it: Western Europe must be fortified to hold back the menace of the Red Tide. (And no shortage of US flag-grade officers hankered to use nuclear weapons into the bargain.) Gen. Marshall’s “freedom” was simply the freedom of the post-war US to maintain its position of dominance in the world. Untold millions of civilians and scores of thousands of US troops have been sacrificed in the intervening decades in support of this unholy objective.
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