oversight

Future Warfare: Army Is Preparing for Cyber and Electronic Warfare Threats, but Needs to Fully Assess the Staffing, Equipping, and Training of New Organizations

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2019-08-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

              United States Government Accountability Office
              Report to Congressional Committees




              FUTURE WARFARE
August 2019




              Army Is Preparing for
              Cyber and Electronic
              Warfare Threats, but
              Needs to Fully Assess
              the Staffing,
              Equipping, and
              Training of New
              Organizations




GAO-19-570
                                                August 2019

                                                FUTURE WARFARE
                                                Army Is Preparing for Cyber and Electronic Warfare
                                                Threats, but Needs to Fully Assess the Staffing,
                                                Equipping, and Training of New Organizations
Highlights of GAO-19-570, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
The rise of great-power competitors,            The Army is changing aspects of its doctrine, organizations, and training to
such as China and Russia, prompted              develop a force that can effectively engage great-power competitors—Russia
the Army to transform the way it plans to       and China—through multi-domain operations by 2028. Multi-domain operations
fight. The Army is developing a new             present adversaries with multiple challenges across multiple domains (land, air,
warfighting concept to guide how its            sea, cyber, and space) in contested environments. To this end, the Army is
forces will engage jointly with other           revising its doctrine to guide how the force and specific units will function. The
services in multiple domains, especially        Army is also reorganizing its force by creating new units to conduct missions in
in cyber and space.                             multiple domains and by updating the responsibilities of key Army formations,
The House Armed Services Committee              such as Army divisions. Also, the Army is training its combat forces for multi-
included a provision in House Report            domain operations in part by increasing the focus on cyber operations.
115-200 accompanying a bill for the
National Defense Authorization Act for          The Five Warfighting Domains Envisioned by the Army Operating Concept
Fiscal Year 2018 for GAO to review the
Army’s implementation of the concept.
Among its objectives, this report
addresses (1) how the Army is changing
its doctrine, organizations, and training
in order to execute multi-domain
operations; and (2) the extent to which
the Army has established new cyber
and electronic warfare units, including
any challenges faced by these units,
and whether the Army assessed risks
associated with its plan to establish
these units.
GAO reviewed Army concepts, doctrine,     The Army is establishing new cyber and electronic warfare units for multi-domain
force design, and training documents      operations, but did not fully assess the risk of activating some units at an
concerning multi-domain operations.       accelerated pace and is experiencing staffing, equipping, and training
GAO also interviewed Army and             challenges. For example, the Army activated a cyber battalion in December
Department of Defense officials.
                                          2018, and as of March 2019, this unit was understaffed by more than 80 percent.
What GAO Recommends                       Army guidance directs the Army staff to conduct assessments on new units to
                                          determine whether the Army can staff, equip, and train these organizations.
GAO is making three recommendations, However, Army leadership believed the threats justify developing these units at
including that the Army comprehensively an accelerated pace. Consequently, the Army did not assess the staffing,
assess the risk of staffing, equipping,   equipping, and training risk before activating one unit, and only conducted an
and training the cyber and electronic     initial risk assessment before activating a second unit. As a result, senior Army
warfare units that it has activated at an
                                          leaders may not know what other challenges could arise, such as sustainment,
accelerated pace, and to do so for new
                                          as the units grow in capability. Army officials told GAO that as these units evolve,
organizations it plans to activate in an
accelerated manner for multi-domain       it is uncertain when more comprehensive risk assessments would take place.
operations. The Army concurred with       The Army has previously accelerated the activations of other units when it saw fit
one recommendation and partially          to do so, and is considering creating other new units for multi-domain operations.
concurred with two recommendations.       If the Army does not assess risks for units activated at an accelerated pace,
GAO clarified the recommendations, as those units may be unable to effectively conduct multi-domain operations.
discussed in the report.
View GAO-19-570.For more information, contact
John Pendleton at (202) 512-3489 or
pendletonj@gao.gov.


                                                ______________________________________ United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                  1
              Background                                                                5
              The Army Is Changing Its Doctrine, Organizations, and Training to
                Execute Multi-Domain Operations                                       10
              The Army Is Establishing New Cyber and Electronic Warfare
                Units, but Units Are Facing Staff, Equipment, and Training
                Shortfalls in Part Due to Incomplete Risk Assessments                 15
              The Army Engaged with the Joint Staff and Other Services and
                Envisions Opportunities for Further Coordination                      22
              Conclusions                                                             24
              Recommendations for Executive Action                                    25
              Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                      25

Appendix I    Comments from the Department of the Army                                29



Appendix II   GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                   32


Table
              Table 1: The Army Is Activating New Units at an Accelerated Pace
                      Resulting in Staff Shortages as of March 2019                   16

Figures
              Figure 1: The Five Warfighting Domains Envisioned by the Army
                       Operating Concept                                                6
              Figure 2: The Army’s Expanded Battlefield in Multi-Domain
                       Operations                                                       9
              Figure 3: Concepts Shape Army Doctrine, Organizations, and
                       Training                                                       10




              Page i                                             GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Abbreviations

ARSTRUC             Army Structure Memorandum
CTG                 Command Training Guidance
DOD                 Department of Defense
FORSCOM             Army Forces Command
GAO                 Government Accountability Office
ICEWS               Intelligence, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, and Space
TRADOC              Army Training and Doctrine Command



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Page ii                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                       Letter




441 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20548




                       August 15, 2019

                       Congressional Committees

                       In recent years, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Army have
                       cited growing concerns about the ability to operate in contested security
                       environments. After a decade of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and
                       Afghanistan, and what the unclassified Summary of the 2018 National
                       Defense Strategy called strategic atrophy, DOD concluded that its
                       competitive military advantage is eroding. 1 Several DOD reports,
                       testimonies, and guidance all refer to the threats posed by both great-
                       power competitors—particularly China and Russia—and other
                       adversaries, now and into the future. 2 These threats are defined by rapid
                       technological change, competition with the United States through
                       operations below the threshold of armed conflict, and potential challenges
                       from adversaries in every operating domain, especially cyber and space. 3

                       Against this backdrop, the Army has been developing a new Army
                       Operating Concept, which the Army is using to define how its forces will
                       engage jointly with the other services for the task of deterring and
                       defeating Chinese and Russian aggression in both competition and
                       conflict. The Army calls this concept The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain
                       Operations 2028, and it would enable the Army to confront adversaries in
                       contested environments by presenting those adversaries with multiple




                       1
                        DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America:
                       Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (Jan. 19, 2018).
                       2
                        See Defense Intelligence Agency, Russia Military Power: Building a Military to Support
                       Great Power Aspirations (Washington, D.C.: 2017); Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Army,
                       and General Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, The Posture of the United States
                       Army, testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 115th Cong., 2nd sess.,
                       April 12, 2018; Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review (Washington, D.C.:
                       March 4, 2014). Great-power competitors are countries with diplomatic, informational,
                       military, and economic capacity that are nearly comparable to that of the United States,
                       and that are capable of waging large-scale conventional war.
                       3
                        A domain is an area of activity within the operating environment in which operations are
                       organized and conducted. For example, the Army recognizes five domains: land, air, sea,
                       cyber, and space.




                       Page 1                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
challenges across multiple domains (land, air, sea, cyber, and space). 4
The multi-domain operations concept will significantly affect Army
doctrine, organizations, and training in the coming years. 5

The Army’s effort to rethink its overarching warfighting concept comes at
a time when it is also undertaking a significant effort to modernize the
force, while also rebuilding and sustaining the readiness of the current
force. 6 In September 2018, we reported that the Army had reprioritized
tens of billions of dollars in planned modernization spending for new
priorities that support multi-domain operations, and also had established
a new Army Futures Command to provide additional guidance for its
modernization effort. In that report, we found that the Army had set
decisively defeating great-power competitors as an overarching objective,
but had not established processes for evaluating its modernization efforts
against this objective, and had not completed a cost analysis of its near-
term modernization efforts. 7 Further, we also reported in January 2019
that establishing the Army Futures Command creates unique
opportunities for the Army to improve its modernization efforts and that
the Army has generally applied leading management practices, such as
well-defined team goals and senior management support, to its
modernization. However, we also reported that the Army may be
beginning weapon systems development before technology is sufficiently
mature. This raises the risk that the resulting systems could experience
4
 Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet 525-3-1, The U.S. Army in
Multi-Domain Operations 2028 (Dec. 6, 2018). Throughout this report we may also refer to
the Army’s multi-domain operations concept as the “Army Operating Concept” or “the
Army’s concept” depending on the context. These terms all refer to the Army’s multi-
domain operations concept.
5
  The Army defines “doctrine” as fundamental principles, with supporting tactics,
techniques, procedures, and terms and symbols, used for the conduct of operations and
which the operating force, and elements of the institutional Army that directly support
operations, guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative but
requires judgment in application. See Army Doctrine Publication No. 1-01, Doctrine Primer
(Sept. 2, 2014).
6
 GAO, Army Readiness: Progress and Challenges in Rebuilding Personnel, Equipping,
and Training, GAO-19-367T (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 6, 2019).
7
 GAO, Army Modernization: Actions Needed to Measure Progress and to Fully Identify
Near-Term Costs, GAO-18-604SU (Washington, D.C., Sept. 28, 2018). In this report, we
recommended that the Army develop a plan to finalize processes for evaluating how its
near-term investments contribute to its ability to decisively defeat a great-power
competitor, and also that the Army finalize its cost analysis of near-term investments, and
report these estimates to Congress. DOD concurred with both recommendations, and as
of May 2019 the Army had taken steps to implement both of them.




Page 2                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
cost increases, delivery delays, or failure to deliver desired capabilities. 8
We also testified on these issues in May 2019. 9

Recognizing the significance of this effort and the need for multi-service
involvement, the House Armed Services Committee included a provision
in House Report 115-200 accompanying a bill for the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 for us to review the Army’s
progress in implementing the new warfighting concept. 10 This report
addresses (1) how the Army is changing its doctrine, organizations, and
training in order to execute multi-domain operations; (2) the extent to
which the Army has established new cyber and electronic warfare units,
including any challenges faced by these units, and whether the Army
assessed risks associated with its plan to establish these units; and (3)
how the Army has engaged with the Joint Staff and other services to
develop its new warfighting concept.

To address our first objective, we reviewed the Army’s concepts related to
multi-domain operations. We reviewed Army doctrine—the fundamental
principles by which the Army guides actions in support of its objectives—
related to overall operations, cyber operations, and fires, which includes
artillery, rockets, and missiles. We reviewed force structure documents,
such as force design updates, Army Structure Memorandums, and other
associated briefings related to planned changes, as well as changes
being considered for the future. 11 We reviewed strategies related to
different types of training, in particular those dealing with cyber operations
training and electronic warfare. We spoke with officials at Army
headquarters, Army Futures Command, and Army Training and Doctrine
Command (TRADOC). At Army headquarters, we met with

8
 GAO, Army Modernization: Steps Needed to Ensure Army Futures Command Fully
Applies Leading Practices, GAO-19-132 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 23, 2019). We made four
recommendations in this report, including that the Army follow leading management
practices for maturing technologies to a higher level, and also capture lessons learned
from its modernization cross-functional teams. DOD concurred with all four
recommendations. As of May 2019 the Army had not implemented the recommendations.
9
 GAO, Army Modernization: Army Should Take Steps to Reduce Risk, GAO-19-502T
(Washington, D.C.: May 1, 2019).
10
     See H.R. Rep. No. 115-200, at 108-109 (2017).
11
 Army, Army Structure (ARSTRUC) Memorandum 2020-2024 (Dec. 8, 2017). Army,
Addendum 1 to Army Structure (ARSTRUC) Memorandum 2020-2024 (June 6, 2018).
Army, Addendum 2 to Army Structure (ARSTRUC) Memorandum 2020-2024 (Feb. 4,
2019).




Page 3                                                       GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
representatives in the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 and the G-8. 12 At
Army Futures Command, we met with representatives of the Army
Futures and Concepts Center, including the officials who wrote the
Army’s multi-domain-related concepts. 13 Within TRADOC, we spoke with
officials at the Combined Arms Center who focused on doctrine
development and training, as well as the Force Development Directorate,
the Fires Center of Excellence, and the Cyber Center of Excellence. We
also spoke with members of the Army’s Cyber Protection Brigade, Joint
Force Headquarters-Cyber, and members of U.S. Army Pacific.

To address our second objective, we reviewed Army doctrine related to
overall operations, cyber operations, and fires. We reviewed force
structure documents, such as force design updates, Army Structure
Memorandums, and other associated briefings related to planned
changes, as well as changes being considered for the future. We spoke
with Army headquarters officials in charge of building new cyber units, as
well as officials at Army Futures Command and TRADOC. We compared
the Army’s process for establishing new cyber and electronic warfare
units with the Army guidance and the Standards for Internal Control in the
Federal Government. 14

To address our third objective, we reviewed Army white papers and
concept documents related to multi-domain operations, including the new
Army Operating Concept published in December 2018—TRADOC
Pamphlet 525-3-1: The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028—as
well as related concepts and papers from the Joint Staff and other

12
  The Department of the Army headquarters Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 office has
several responsibilities including developing and implementing Army policies for managing
and structuring the Army, training military and civilian personnel, and advising on cyber,
electronic warfare, and space operations not otherwise assigned by law, regulation, or
policy. The Department of the Army headquarters G-8 office validates, approves, and
prioritizes Army materiel capabilities and ensures the integration of materiel capabilities
across mission and functional areas. See Headquarters, Department of the Army General
Orders No. 2019-01, Assignment of Functions and Responsibilities within Headquarters,
Department of the Army (May 15, 2019).
13
   The Army Futures and Concepts Center was formerly the Army Capabilities Integration
Center under the authority of TRADOC. Authority for the Army Capabilities Integration
Center officially transferred to Army Futures Command on Dec. 7, 2018, and the name
was changed.
14
 Army Pamphlet 71-32, Force Development and Documentation Consolidated
Procedures (Mar. 21, 2019). Also GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal
Government, GAO-14-704G (Washington, D.C.: September 2014).




Page 4                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                   services addressing multi-domain operations. We reviewed Army and
                   Joint Staff guidance on developing concepts to understand existing
                   requirements and frameworks for inter-service and Joint Staff
                   collaboration on the development of concepts. We also reviewed other
                   documentation for evidence of collaboration between the Army and the
                   Joint Staff and other services, such as working group meetings, after-
                   action reports on tabletop exercises, and agreements. We also met with
                   Army officials, including officials from Army headquarters and TRADOC,
                   to determine how the Army is developing its concept, and with Joint Staff
                   and other services’ officials, including J-7 Joint Concept Development, Air
                   Force Air Combat Command, Marine Corps Futures Directorate, and U.S.
                   Navy Fleet Forces, to understand the degree of collaboration, as well as
                   current challenges and plans for developing multi-domain concepts. We
                   discussed the results of our assessment with the Joint Staff and officials
                   from the military services.

                   We conducted this performance audit from December 2017 to August
                   2019 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
                   standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
                   obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
                   our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
                   that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
                   and conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background
Changing Warfare   According to the Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the
Environment        Army, the character of warfare is changing. 15 For decades, the United
                   States enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating
                   domain—land, air, sea, cyber, and space—but today every domain is
                   likely to be contested by other great-power competitors and potential
                   regional adversaries. Figure 1 below describes these operating domains.




                   15
                    DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America:
                   Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (Jan. 19, 2018).




                   Page 5                                                     GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Figure 1: The Five Warfighting Domains Envisioned by the Army Operating Concept




Since at least 2012, DOD began shifting its focus from counterinsurgency
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to adversaries who possess more
sophisticated capabilities. For example:

•    In 2012, DOD issued strategic guidance that cited efforts by Iran and
     China to pursue cyber and electronic warfare capabilities with the
     ability to counter U.S. power projection and limit operational access. 16
•    The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review acknowledged the efforts of
     China and others to counter U.S. strengths using anti-access and
     area-denial approaches and using new cyber and space control
     technologies. 17 The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review also
     addressed the rapid evolution of modern warfare, including
     increasingly contested battlespaces in the air, sea, space and cyber
     domains.


16
 DOD, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense
(Washington, D.C.: January 2012).
17
  DOD, Quadrennial Defense Review 2014 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 4, 2014). Anti-access
and area-denial strategies and capabilities are designed to either prevent an opposing
force from entering an operational area (anti-access) or limit an opposing force’s freedom
of action within an operational area (area-denial). See GAO, Defense Planning: DOD
Needs Specific Measures and Milestones to Gauge Progress of Preparations for
Operational Access Challenges, GAO-14-801 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 10, 2014). We
found that DOD’s plan for implementing the Joint Operational Access Concept did not
contain measures and milestones to gauge progress and recommended that future
iterations of the implementation plan include those measures and milestones. DOD
concurred and implemented the recommendation.




Page 6                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                             •    In 2016, an Army study of Russia’s operations and doctrine concluded
                                  that Russia employs formations, operational concepts, and
                                  capabilities that overmatch U.S. capabilities in range and lethality,
                                  thus challenging the Army’s ability to conduct operations and win
                                  battles.
                             The 2017 National Security Strategy stated that U.S. advantages are
                             shrinking as rival states modernize their forces. 18 The 2017 National
                             Security Strategy identified many of the challenges that China and Russia
                             pose, including Russia’s use of offensive cyber efforts to influence public
                             opinion, and how cyberattacks have become a key feature of modern
                             warfare. A classified National Defense Strategy followed in January 2018,
                             and the unclassified summary cited challenges to the U.S. military
                             advantage as a shift in the global environment. 19


Purpose and Origins of the   The Army’s multi-domain operations concept originates from an Army
Multi-Domain Operations      effort to rethink how it will fight in the new, more complex operating
                             environment. The Army defines multi-domain operations as ways for
Concept
                             confronting adversaries in contested environments by presenting them
                             with multiple challenges through the combining of multiple capabilities.
                             This means that ground forces should be able to operate freely in other
                             warfighting domains and, if necessary, be able to overwhelm an
                             adversary’s forces by combining capabilities across different domains,
                             such as land, air, sea, cyber, and space simultaneously.

                             According to Army officials, in 2014 the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense
                             tasked the Army to update its warfighting concept to deal with the threats
                             and challenges posed by great-power competitors in the future operating
                             environment. The Army officials added that around the same time, the
                             Army began developing and running a wargame scenario focused on a
                             threat that employed similar doctrine, tactics, and capabilities as those
                             used by Russia in Ukraine. In 2016, the Army also assessed the
                             increasingly sophisticated Russian military capabilities and identified
                             specific multi-domain challenges that the Army would face if it came into
                             conflict with Russia. Army officials said that its analysis highlighted the
                             urgency of updating how it would fight such an adversary. In beginning to

                             18
                              National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.:
                             December 2017).
                             19
                              DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America:
                             Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (Jan. 19, 2018).




                             Page 7                                                        GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
develop this concept, the Army reached out to the Marine Corps, as both
services face similar problems in ground-combat operations.

Since the Army began developing its concept, the Army established a
framework for assessing how the adversary operates and the problems
the Army needs to resolve as a ground force. For example, early on the
Army developed an expanded battlefield that stretches far beyond the
front lines, or “close area”, where ground forces face off against each
other. Under this expanded battlefield, adversaries can use more
sophisticated weapons and cyber capabilities that are based in distant
and protected territories, potentially reaching targets that are located well
behind the front lines, even within the continental United States. Figure 2
below depicts the Army’s new expanded battlefield for multi-domain
operations, including a description of each area of the battlefield.




Page 8                                                GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Figure 2: The Army’s Expanded Battlefield in Multi-Domain Operations




                                        Page 9                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                      The Army is changing aspects of its doctrine, organizations, and training
The Army Is           simultaneously to develop a force that can effectively engage great-power
Changing Its          competitors, such as Russia and China, across multiple domains, and
                      expects this process to continue through the 2020s. Army concepts
Doctrine,             propose new approaches for the Army to develop capabilities against
Organizations, and    emerging challenges. The new Army Operating Concept built around
                      multi-domain operations is intended to drive capability development,
Training to Execute   which is addressed through changes to the Army’s doctrine,
Multi-Domain          organizations, and training, among other areas. The Army’s goal is to field
                      a more lethal and capable force by 2028 that is able to dominate
Operations            adversaries in a multi-domain environment. 20 Figure 3 below summarizes
                      how the Army uses validated concepts to drive changes in capabilities
                      and the force.

                      Figure 3: Concepts Shape Army Doctrine, Organizations, and Training




                      Doctrine. Given the Army’s attention to multi-domain operations, it has
                      updated or is in the process of updating doctrine that guides how the
                      Army fights. Primary among this effort is updating the Army’s overarching
                      operations field manual, which establishes how the Army conducts large-
                      scale ground combat operations against the threat posed by a great-
                      power competitor, among other things. 21 In its most recent revision to its
                      doctrine, the Army incorporated several aspects of multi-domain
                      operations, such as the expanded battlefield that includes cyber and the
                      electromagnetic spectrum. TRADOC officials stated that they are also in
                      20
                           Department of the Army, The Army Strategy (October 2018).
                      21
                        Department of the Army, Field Manual 3-0, Operations (Dec. 6, 2017). According to
                      Army officials, the doctrinal term has since changed from “large-scale ground combat
                      operations” to “large-scale combat operations” to recognize the fact that in a close fight
                      the Army will have to fight in more than the land domain.




                      Page 10                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
the process of updating doctrine related to cyber operations and field
artillery operations in order to build a force that can integrate both cyber
capabilities and long-range fires—such as artillery, rockets, and
missiles—for multi-domain operations. 22 The officials added that the Army
is developing or is planning to develop specific doctrinal guidance for new
Army units that will focus on multi-domain operations in the areas of
intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, and space.

Organizations. The Army wants to ensure that its warfighting
organizations have the engineering, artillery, air defense, and other
enabling capabilities needed to conduct multi-domain operations. For
example, the Army believes that formations above the brigade level, such
as division headquarters and corps headquarters, must have the ability to
conduct electronic warfare and cyber operations. To that end, the Army is
creating several new organizations focused on cyber and electronic
warfare (discussed later in the report). Additionally, the Army is trying to
align its multi-domain operations concept with a complementary concept
focused on the roles and responsibilities of these organizations above the
brigade level. 23 Expanding the roles and responsibilities of formations
above the brigade level signifies a departure from the Army’s modular
force, which was implemented beginning in 2004. At that time, the Army
embedded “key enablers” such as military intelligence, reconnaissance,
and logistics functions, as well as other specialized personnel and
equipment, into brigade combat teams to provide them independent
capabilities. 24 Moving forward, the Army envisions enhancing the
capabilities of brigade combat teams for multi-domain operations, as well
as providing additional key capabilities to formations above the brigade
level. For example:




22
   Department of the Army, Field Manual 3-12, Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare
Operations (Apr. 11, 2017). Also, Field Manual 3-09, Field Artillery Operations and Fire
Support (Apr. 4, 2014).
23
 Department of the Army, The U.S. Army Concept for Multi-Domain Combined Arms
Operations at Echelons Above Brigade 2025-2045 (Sept. 24, 2018).
24
 We last reported on the Army’s modular force transformation in 2014. See GAO, Army
Modular Force Structure: Annual Report Generally Met Requirements, but Challenges in
Estimating Costs and Assessing Capability Remain, GAO-14-294, (Washington, D.C.:
Apr. 16, 2014).




Page 11                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
•    Brigade combat teams. Brigade combat teams are the Army’s primary
     tactical unit, composed of around 4,400-4,700 soldiers. 25 They are
     being adjusted to conduct operations in the cyber domain, including
     new platoons focused on electronic warfare.
•    Army division headquarters. Army divisions command multiple
     brigade combat teams. The Army expects division headquarters to
     manage the electromagnetic spectrum and to be the primary echelon
     for integrating aviation, fires, and electronic warfare into ground
     maneuver to defeat enemies in a close fight.
•    Army corps headquarters. Army corps command multiple divisions.
     Under the Army’s concept, the Army corps headquarters will be the
     primary echelon for defeating mid- and long-range enemy artillery
     fires. The Army corps will also integrate artillery rockets and missiles,
     as well as cyber capabilities in support of division or brigade ground
     operations.
•    Field armies. Field armies, which have the ability to command two or
     more Army corps, are forward-stationed in regions with capable
     threats posed by great-power competitors. They will conduct
     campaigns to compete with adversaries short of armed conflict, and
     manage the transition to armed conflict should it be needed. The field
     army will also direct deception operations and provide long-range
     artillery and fires support. 26
•    Theater armies. Theater armies are also forward-stationed forces and
     will be responsible for managing and combining Army capabilities in
     support of information environment operations and space
     operations. 27 The theater army must be able to protect joint bases and
     networks and enable access to the theater.

25
   The size of the brigade combat team depends on whether it is an armored brigade
combat team, an infantry brigade combat team, or a Stryker brigade combat team.
26
   Military deception is actions executed to deliberately mislead adversary military,
paramilitary, and violent extremist organization decision makers, thereby causing the
adversary to take specific actions or inactions that will contribute to the accomplishment of
the friendly mission. See DOD, Joint Publication 3-13.4: Military Deception (Feb. 14,
2017).
27
 DOD defines the information environment as the aggregate of individuals, organizations,
and systems that collect, process, disseminate, or act on information. Information
operations are the integrated employment, during military operations of information-related
capabilities along with other lines of operation, to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the
decision-making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own. See
DOD, Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment (June 2016).




Page 12                                                           GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Training. The Army is also updating its training across a broad range of
efforts. Army training officials stated that there is a need to train units
collectively under multi-domain operations conditions against great-power
competitors like Russia and China, per guidance from the Chief of Staff of
the Army. The commander of Army Forces Command also issued
guidance for fiscal year 2019 to help train and prepare soldiers to conduct
multi-domain operations. 28 This guidance included increasing the realism
and rigor of every unit rotation to one of the Army’s combat training
centers, as well as designing warfighter exercises that focus on units
conducting operations in contested electronic warfare, cyber, and space
environments. Additionally, the training officials stated that in recent years
the Army has updated its decisive-action training scenarios to include
regional versions for Europe, the Pacific, and Africa that comply with the
multi-domain operations concept. 29 The officials added that, in future
years, several Army organizations will be collaborating to modernize the
Army’s home-station training and combat training centers in support of
fielding a force capable of conducting multi-domain operations. 30 All of
this builds upon the Army’s earlier efforts to shift its training focus to
large-scale combat after a decade of training for counterinsurgency
operations, as we testified to Congress in February 2019. 31

The Army is also taking steps to revise the training for cyber and
electronic warfare personnel. These steps include revising the U.S. Army
Cyberspace Operations Training Strategy so that it accounts for new
equipment and doctrine, but also for the new organizations being created
and the tasks those units will be expected to perform, according to Army
cyber officials. 32 Additionally, the Army Cyber School is revising its cyber
and electronic warfare training so that personnel will be able to conduct

28
 Department of the Army, Headquarters United States Army Forces Command,
FORSCOM Command Training Guidance (CTG)—Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19),
Memorandum for Headquarters, Commands Reporting Directly to FORSCOM (Fort Bragg,
N.C.: Aug. 7, 2018).
29
  Decisive-action training is training to execute continuous and simultaneous combinations
of offensive, defensive, and stability or defense support to civil authority tasks. See Army,
Field Manual 3-96, Brigade Combat Team (Oct. 8, 2015).
30
   Training at the combat training centers focuses on Army functions such as maneuver
and mission command.
31
     GAO-19-367T.
32
  Department of the Army, U.S. Army Cyberspace Operations Training Strategy
(Washington, D.C.: Aug. 7, 2017).




Page 13                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
multi-domain operations. Furthermore, the Army is working on a joint
solution for training cyber personnel on behalf of U.S. Cyber Command,
according to Army Cyber Command officials. 33 The Army’s goal is to
provide the total cyber force with the ability to conduct joint cyber training,
including exercises and mission rehearsals by developing a virtual
training environment that simulates realistic cyber threats. This cyber
training solution, called the Persistent Cyber Training Environment, will
allow for experimentation, unit certification, and assessment and
development of the cyber mission force in a virtual training environment.
The Army’s goal is that the environment will decrease training time,
increase throughput of personnel, and improve training quality. One of the
stated operational imperatives of the Persistent Cyber Training
Environment is to become integrated with multi-domain exercises.




33
  GAO, DOD Training: U.S. Cyber Command and Services Should Take Actions to
Maintain a Trained Cyber Mission Force, GAO-19-362 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 6, 2019).
We reported on the efforts of U.S. Cyber Command and the services to train and maintain
forces for key cyber missions. U.S. Cyber Command is a unified combatant command
focused on cyber operations.




Page 14                                                      GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
The Army Is
Establishing New
Cyber and Electronic
Warfare Units, but
Units Are Facing
Staff, Equipment, and
Training Shortfalls in
Part Due to
Incomplete Risk
Assessments

The Army Is Activating        The Army is seeking to quickly create or design several new cyber and
Several New Cyber and         electronic warfare units in order to execute multi-domain operations;
                              however, Army leadership is activating some units at an accelerated pace
Electronic Warfare Units at
                              due to the sense of urgency imposed by the growing capabilities of
an Accelerated Pace and       potential great-power competitors. Some of these new Army units are
Is Facing Challenges          more narrowly focused on a particular domain or skill set, such as the
                              recently activated 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion based out of
                              Fort Gordon, Georgia, and new Electronic Warfare Companies and
                              platoons. The 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion will focus on
                              providing offensive cyber capabilities consistent with its authorities to
                              conduct offensive operations. The battalion is designed to fit with various
                              Army formations—such as corps, divisions, or brigade combat teams—as
                              assigned by the Army. The Electronic Warfare Companies, which are
                              scheduled to be fielded during fiscal years 2023 through 2025 according
                              to Army officials, will be attached to an Army corps and will be capable of
                              planning and conducting electronic warfare operations. Electronic
                              Warfare platoons, which Army officials said are scheduled to be fielded
                              during fiscal years 2020 through 2022, will provide similar capabilities to
                              brigade combat teams and other Army tactical-level formations.

                              Other units are being designed to plan and conduct operations in and
                              across multiple domains, with specialists in cyber, electronic warfare,
                              space, and intelligence assigned to the same unit. For example, a
                              recently activated Intelligence, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, and Space
                              (ICEWS) unit will be capable of planning and directing operations in any


                              Page 15                                             GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
or all of those areas. The ICEWS unit will function as part of a larger
Multi-Domain Task Force, which will be capable of expanding those
operations into other domains such as land and air. The Army plans to
field at least two of these ICEWS units by the end of fiscal year 2020.
Additionally, the Army is restructuring or creating Cyber, Electromagnetic
Activities planning sections in the headquarters of more than 125 Army
formations, from special forces units up to theater-level Army
headquarters. This restructuring effort will take place during fiscal years
2020 through 2022, according to Army officials.

Army guidance states that a unit’s activation date should be identified 1 to
2 years in advance, according to Army officials, in order to provide time to
build up trained personnel and equipment in the unit before it is activated
and available to be deployed. 34 As a result of accelerating the activation
of these units, the Army is facing interrelated challenges in terms of
staffing, equipping, and training the units, as discussed below. 35

Accelerated pace creates challenges filling positions. The Army has
had difficulty filling its ICEWS unit and the 915th Cyber Warfare Support
Battalion with personnel to conduct operations. See table 1 below.

Table 1: The Army Is Activating New Units at an Accelerated Pace Resulting in Staff
Shortages as of March 2019

                                       Authorized staff                   Number of        Percentage of
                                             positions              personnel in unit     positions filled
 Intelligence, Cyber,                                     199                    110                   55
 Electronic Warfare, and
 Space unit
 915th Cyber Warfare                                      171                     30                   18
 Support Battalion
Source: DOD officials and GAO analysis of DOD information. I GAO-19-570



By accelerating the activation of the ICEWS unit in October 2018 as a
pilot, or test, program, the Army activated the unit with only 32 percent of

34
   Department of the Army, Army Regulation 71-32: Force Development and
Documentation Consolidated Policies (March 20, 2019).
35
  GAO, High-Risk Series: Urgent Actions Are Needed to Address Cybersecurity
Challenges Facing the Nation, GAO-18-622 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 6, 2018). We have
reported on challenges related to personnel (recruiting, hiring, and retaining cyber security
personnel), equipping (supply chain issues), and training (identifying the needed skills)
across the federal government.




Page 16                                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
its personnel in place, and Army headquarters officials report that filling
the unit with personnel with the right skills has been a slow process. The
915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion is facing similar staffing
challenges. As of the end of March 2019, the unit was understaffed by
more than 80 percent as it filled 30 of 171 authorized positions for fiscal
year 2019, according to an Army headquarters official. The official
acknowledged that the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion may not
meet the authorized staffing levels for fiscal year 2019 if higher priorities
arise for the service.

Looking ahead, Army officials said that filling all of these new cyber and
electronic warfare units could be challenging because cyber personnel
are in high demand, with competition for these skilled personnel existing
between the Army, other government entities, and the private sector.
Army headquarters officials said they are exploring options to address the
challenges and have taken steps to retain the personnel that they have,
mostly in the form of retention bonuses and incentive pay. Some of those
incentives are targeted at the senior enlisted levels, which are some of
the personnel that Army officials indicated are in the most demand and of
which they have a shortage.

Accelerated pace creates equipping challenges. Officials with both
Army headquarters and the Army Cyber School cited equipment
challenges as one of the key issues that must be addressed when
activating a unit on an accelerated basis. For example, in November
2018, an Army headquarters’ official responsible for building the ICEWS
unit stated that the Army was having a difficult time identifying where the
unit’s equipment would be coming from. By the end of January 2019, the
official said the situation was improving and that 55 percent of the
equipment had been identified, but the Army was trying to find a source
for the remaining 45 percent. However, most of this is common Army
equipment, such as firearms, according to an Army official; those
percentages do not include the specialized cyber equipment that the unit
will need to perform its missions, such as a communications system
designed to transfer data beyond the line of sight during air defense
operations. An Army headquarters’ official stated that the Army is
prototyping different types of specialized equipment in order to expedite
the acquisition of such capabilities.

Revisions to training not keeping up with activation of units. Army
officials acknowledged the need to update its cyber training, in part
because the doctrine for new units is still being written. Officials with the
Army Cyber School and the Army’s Combined Arms Center stated that


Page 17                                                GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
the current U.S. Army Cyberspace Operations Training Strategy did not
foresee all of the new cyber and electronic warfare organizations the
Army now intends to create, including the Cyber Electromagnetic
Activities sections attached to various formations. 36 Army headquarters
officials stated that they are working on a revision to the U.S. Army
Cyberspace Operations Training Strategy to address these issues.
However, the first ICEWS unit and the 915th Cyber Warfare Support
Battalion were activated without this updated training strategy. With other
units scheduled to be activated in fiscal year 2020, it is possible others
may be activated without the training strategy as well. Without the
updated doctrine and subsequent training strategies that will result from it,
TRADOC officials said they would have difficulty designing training for the
new units, and soldiers will not have a clear understanding of their tasks
and missions.

Obtaining equipment also could be a challenge for training
servicemembers before they are assigned to cyber or electronic warfare
units, according to some Army officials. Officials with the Army Cyber
School stated that it could end up growing and producing a workforce that
outpaces its ability to procure equipment. However, Army headquarters’
officials stated that equipping operational units is a higher priority than
providing equipment to the schools for training, and the Army ensures
that those units receiving the equipment get the training they need upon
fielding the equipment. If the Army does not acquire new equipment
quickly enough, the result could be that soldiers in the Army Cyber School
will be trained on outdated equipment, which they will not use when they
get to the field.




36
  Department of the Army, U.S. Army Cyberspace Operations Training Strategy
(Washington, D.C.: Aug. 7, 2017).




Page 18                                                    GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
The Army Assessed           In the process of creating some new units, the Army assessed the risk of
Staffing, Training, and     whether it can meet the units’ staffing, equipping, and training
                            requirements before the units’ activation date, but it did not do so for
Equipping Risks for
                            those units activated at an accelerated pace. For example, the Army
Certain Cyber and           conducted risk assessments for some new Electronic Warfare platoons
Electronic Warfare Units,   and Cyber Electromagnetic Activities sections that it plans to begin
but Its Assessments for     activating in fiscal year 2020. Those assessments identified issues and
Units Activated at an       mitigation strategies for the Army to consider when making fielding and
                            resource decisions. For example, the risk of finding a sufficient number of
Accelerated Pace Are        qualified personnel for the Electronic Warfare platoons and Cyber
Incomplete                  Electromagnetic Activities sections would be mitigated by spreading the
                            activations over a minimum of 3 years. The assessment for the Electronic
                            Warfare platoons also identified some equipping issues that will require
                            either more senior-level input or extending timeframes for completion.

                            In contrast, the Army activated the ICEWS unit and the 915th Cyber
                            Warfare Support Battalion in an accelerated manner because of the
                            urgent need to develop these organizations, given the growing
                            capabilities of potential great-power competitors. However, the Army did
                            so without completely assessing the staffing, equipping, and training risk
                            to those units over the long term. For example:

                            •   According to Army officials, the Army did not perform a risk
                                assessment for the ICEWS unit currently assigned to and participating
                                in exercises in the Pacific, because the Army initiated the unit as a
                                pilot, or test, program. According to Army officials, a risk assessment
                                was unnecessary prior to activating the unit because the Army
                                expects to refine the unit’s personnel, equipping, and training
                                requirements during the pilot program. However, the ICEWS unit is
                                expected to become part of a larger Multi-Domain Task Force in fiscal
                                year 2020. Until that occurs, the ICEWS unit is attached to another
                                active Army unit and, according to Army officials, eligible to be
                                deployed if needed based on its current capabilities. Unless the Army
                                assesses the staffing, equipping, and training risks of the ICEWS unit,
                                the unit may be unable to provide the expected capabilities, either
                                currently or as part of the larger task force to which it will belong.
                            •   The Army performed an initial risk assessment for the 915th Cyber
                                Warfare Support Battalion before the unit was activated in December
                                2018. However, Army officials told us that the Army has plans to grow
                                the unit to as many as 627 personnel by 2024, at which point it would
                                be considered fully operational. Unless the Army performs a more
                                complete risk assessment of the 915th Cyber Warfare Support
                                Battalion’s staffing, equipping, and training requirements prior to


                            Page 19                                              GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
       achieving full operational capability, the Army may be poorly
       positioned to make decisions about how to use and support the
       battalion.
Army guidance states that the Army should assess its ability to support a
new unit’s staffing, equipping, and training requirements, among other
things, so that senior Army leaders can evaluate proposed organizational
changes. 37 For example, under a force integration functional area
analysis, the Army staff evaluates all proposed organizational changes to
ensure that they meet the intent of senior Army leaders, have the
resources available to accomplish their mission, and that their projected
benefits justify increased resources. 38 These assessments analyze the
proposed organization in nine areas, such as staffing, structuring,
equipping, and training, and are intended to give senior Army leaders an
understanding of whether the organizations are affordable, supportable,
and sustainable. 39 According to Army officials, the force integration
functional area analysis is similar to a risk assessment. In addition,
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government state that
management should identify, analyze, and respond to the risks related to
achieving the defined objective—in this case quickly fielding a cyber force
to deal with current threats. 40

Because the Army has not completely assessed the risk of organizing the
ICEWS unit and the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion, senior Army
leaders may be left with an incomplete picture of the challenges in




37
 Army Pamphlet 71-32, Force Development and Documentation Consolidated
Procedures (March 21, 2019).
38
  According to Army Regulation 71-32, Force Development and Documentation
Consolidated Policies (March 20, 2019), the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, is responsible
for coordinating and supervising activities related to the development and management of
the force to ensure synchronization of all force integration functional area analyses to
support programmed activations, conversions, inactivations, or relocation actions.
39
   The nine functional areas are structuring, manning, equipping, training, sustaining,
funding, deploying, stationing, and readiness.
40
     GAO-14-704G.




Page 20                                                          GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
affording, supporting, and sustaining these units over the long term. 41
Moreover, senior Army leaders lacked key information needed to
understand the capability and capacity of the units at the time they were
activated. For example, these units currently do not have what they need
in terms of personnel and equipment to conduct their missions
successfully. Further, according to some Army officials, without such an
assessment, the Army does not know whether accelerated activation was
the best course of action; what challenges they may face in staffing,
equipping, and training the units; or how to mitigate challenges that may
arise in other areas, such as deploying and sustainment. Army officials
stated that there is a lot of informal discussion between relevant Army
offices to try to identify and deal with challenges for these units. However,
they also acknowledged the problems inherent in activating a unit by
accelerating timelines.

Such risk assessments also could inform future Army decisions as it
activates new units for multi-domain operations. Given the Army’s
perception of the threat environment, the Army may decide to activate
other multi-domain operations units in an accelerated manner. For
example, the Army is exploring ideas for creating several new units in
future years to enhance its capability in multi-domain operations, such as
a Theater Space Warfare Battalion. The Army also has been running
wargames to see how they would operate new types of units at the
division, corps, and theater level for commanding and operating long-
range missiles and rockets.

Army officials stated that as these units grow and evolve, it is uncertain
when more comprehensive risk assessments would take place. If the
Army does not perform a risk assessment for the activated ICEWS unit
before it joins the larger Multi-Domain Task Force, or a more complete
risk assessment for the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion as that
unit matures, the Army may end up fielding units that are not capable of

41
  In the past, when faced with a similar sense of urgency, the Army accelerated the
activation of its first Security Force Assistance Brigade. In December 2018, we reported
that unit was encountering similar challenges as those cited in this report for the ICEWS
unit and the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion. Specifically, we reported that an
acceleration of the unit’s activation and deployment timelines by at least 8 months resulted
in several issues related to staffing and training the brigade and providing sufficient
enabling force to support the brigade’s mission. We did not make recommendations in the
report. See GAO, Security Force Assistance: U.S. Advising of Afghan National Army Has
Expanded since 2015, and the U.S. Army Has Deployed a New Advising Unit,
GAO-19-251R (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 19, 2018).




Page 21                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                       providing the needed capabilities. Moreover, these risk assessments
                       could provide vital lessons that could inform future Army decisions on the
                       development, activation, and fielding of other units focused on enhancing
                       the Army’s capability to conduct multi-domain operations.


                       The Army engaged with the Joint Staff and other services to develop its
The Army Engaged       Army Operating Concept and envisions opportunities for further
with the Joint Staff   coordination in the future. The Army’s overarching objective is to field a
                       multi-domain-capable force by 2028, and it considers further engagement
and Other Services     with the Joint Staff and other services as essential to accomplishing that
and Envisions          goal. According to Army plans, the Army needs to finalize the next version
                       of its Army Operating Concept by the fall of 2019 in order to incorporate
Opportunities for      multi-domain operations into all levels of Army leadership, training, and
Further Coordination   education by 2020. 42 The Army plans indicate that maintaining this
                       schedule is important to have a ready, lethal, and modern force for multi-
                       domain operations by 2028.

                       From the outset, the Army engaged with the Marine Corps to begin its
                       concept development. Together the Army and Marine Corps published a
                       white paper in January 2017 where they unveiled “Multi-Domain Battle”
                       as a new concept for combat operations against a sophisticated great-
                       power competitor. 43 This white paper highlighted the need for ground
                       forces to focus on all five warfighting domains and was intended as a first
                       step toward further multi-domain concept development, wargaming,
                       experimentation, and capability development.

                       Once the white paper was written, the Army engaged with the Joint Staff
                       and the other services in several ways to refine its concept:



                       42
                          Department of the Army, The Army Strategy (Washington, D.C.: 2018). The Army
                       Strategy articulates how the total Army achieves its objectives defined by the Army Vision,
                       namely: the Army of 2028 will be ready to deploy, fight, and win decisively against any
                       adversary, anytime and anywhere, in a joint, combined, multi-domain, high-intensity
                       conflict, while simultaneously deterring others and maintaining its ability to conduct
                       irregular warfare. The Army will do this through the employment of modern manned and
                       unmanned ground-combat vehicles, aircraft, sustainment systems, and weapons, coupled
                       with robust combined arms formations and tactics based on a modern warfighting
                       doctrine, and centered on exceptional leaders and soldiers of unmatched lethality.
                       43
                         United States Army-Marine Corps White Paper, Multi-Domain Battle: Combined Arms for
                       the 21st Century, (Jan. 18, 2017).




                       Page 22                                                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
•   Joint Staff collaboration. The Army engaged with the Joint Staff on
    an Army-led study of recent contingency operations and used the
    lessons to refine the Army Operating Concept’s description of the
    emerging operational environment. Based on that study, the Army
    also refined some solutions for addressing threats posed by great-
    power competitors. Joint Staff officials reported that the Army
    engaged with the Joint Staff through other collaborative events as
    well, including tabletop exercises that tested and refined multi-domain
    concept ideas.
•   Marine Corps collaboration. As the Army moved forward from the
    white paper, the Marine Corps’ input informed the concept’s
    development in various ways. This included changing the concept’s
    title from multi-domain battle to multi-domain operations in April 2018
    to better reflect the scope of competition and conflict, as well as the
    inherent joint nature of modern warfare. The Marine Corps also
    hosted a multi-domain symposium in April 2018 that was attended by
    the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Joint Staff.
•   Air Force collaboration. The Army initially collaborated with the Air
    Force Air Combat Command to inform concept-development efforts,
    and more recently began working with the Air Force Warfighting
    Integration Capability under Air Force headquarters. Also, the Army
    and Air Force collaborated on tabletop exercises focused on
    simulating multi-domain operations. Army officials told us that this
    helped them refine their thinking on how to enhance the
    maneuverability of its land forces by combining Army and Air Force
    capabilities across domains.
•   Navy collaboration. The Army and Navy principally collaborated by
    testing multi-domain capabilities during real-world exercises. For
    example, the Army joined the Navy’s 2018 Naval Rim of the Pacific
    exercise to demonstrate capabilities for multi-domain operations in a
    real world environment.
While the Army took steps to engage with the Joint Staff and the other
services, it made the decision to move forward with the latest version of
its Army Operating Concept in order to meet its overarching objective to
develop a multi-domain operations-capable force by 2028. Given this
urgency, Army officials told us that they may have missed opportunities to
further refine its Army Operating Concept in 2018 with the perspectives of
the Joint Staff and other military services. Joint Staff officials told us that
by not fully including the Joint Staff in some tabletop exercises, the Army
may have missed the Joint Staff’s perspective on key issues related to
multi-domain operations, such as joint command and control.



Page 23                                                GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
              As the Army continues to revise its Army Operating Concept, the Army
              recognizes the need to continue to engage with the Joint Staff and other
              services. Joint Staff officials told us that the Joint Staff has initiated its
              own plans to engage with the services to refine key ideas of multi-domain
              operations in joint concepts, including logistics, intelligence, and
              command and control. Army officials told us that they recognize the
              importance of not getting too far ahead of these efforts, or the efforts of
              other services related to multi-domain operations. Army officials told us
              that the mechanisms built into the Joint concept-development framework
              would provide opportunities to engage the services and Joint Staff as the
              Army revises its own concept. Army officials added that beginning in the
              fall of 2019 the Army will participate with the Joint Staff in a wargame
              designed, in part, to analyze how the Army Operating Concept works with
              the other military service operating concepts. As a result, the current
              concepts are likely to evolve in the future as the Army synchronizes its
              efforts with those of the Joint Staff and other services.


              Rising threats posed by great-power competitors, particularly China and
Conclusions   Russia, prompted the Army to initiate a profound and fundamental
              transformation to the way it plans to fight. The refinement of the Army’s
              Operating Concept is beginning to drive changes across the Army. The
              Army is making near-term changes by incorporating multi-domain
              operations into its doctrine, organizations, and training, which includes the
              accelerated creation of new cyber and electronic warfare units. However,
              these units are short of both people and equipment. While Army
              leadership believes that the urgency to confront threats justifies its
              decision to accelerate the development of those units, the Army did not
              assess the risks associated with staffing, equipping, and training its
              existing ICEWS unit prior to activation to determine whether it is
              affordable, supportable, and sustainable, and officials said it was
              uncertain when a more comprehensive assessment would take place.
              The Army plans to incorporate this unit into the first Multi-Domain Task
              Force by the end of Fiscal Year 2020, but in the meantime the unit could
              be deployed if needed. The Army did prepare a preliminary risk
              assessment for the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion prior to
              activation, but it is unclear whether the Army will perform a more
              comprehensive risk assessment as the unit matures and nears full
              operational capability. For the units already activated, a risk assessment
              could benefit the Army by providing insights about the ability to deploy
              and sustain the units. It is important for the Army to assess its efforts
              before committing resources to activate new units. By formally assessing
              the risk of all new units activated in an accelerated manner, the Army will


              Page 24                                                GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
                      have the key information its leaders need for making decisions related to
                      the activation of those units and other related units going forward.


                      We are making the following three recommendations to the Secretary of
Recommendations for   the Army.
Executive Action
                      The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Deputy Chief of Staff,
                      G-3/5/7 assess the risk associated with staffing, equipping, and training
                      the existing ICEWS unit prior to its incorporation into the first Multi-
                      Domain Task Force in fiscal year 2020. (Recommendation 1)

                      The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Deputy Chief of Staff,
                      G-3/5/7 conduct a comprehensive risk assessment associated with
                      staffing, equipping, and training the 915th Cyber Warfare Support
                      Battalion prior to approving the expansion of the unit to its full operational
                      capability. (Recommendation 2)

                      The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Deputy Chief of Staff,
                      G-3/5/7 assess the risk associated with staffing, equipping, and training of
                      new units that it plans to activate in an accelerated manner for the
                      purposes of conducting multi-domain operations, taking into consideration
                      the assessments performed on the first activated ICEWS battalion and
                      the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion. (Recommendation 3)


                      We provided a draft of this report to DOD for review and comment. In its
Agency Comments       written comments, reproduced in appendix I, the Army partially concurred
and Our Evaluation    with the first two recommendations and concurred with the third
                      recommendation.

                      The Army partially concurred with the first recommendation for it to
                      conduct a risk assessment, such as a force integration functional area
                      analysis, for the first activated ICEWS unit. The Army stated in its
                      comments that it does not perform force integration functional area
                      analyses for experimental or pilot organizations, and that because the first
                      ICEWS was activated as a pilot, no such assessment was performed.
                      The Army added that it would conduct a risk assessment at the
                      conclusion of the pilot if and when the Army decides to establish such a
                      unit. We met with Army officials to discuss their comments, during which
                      they provided additional information and clarification regarding how they
                      were assessing risks for the unit. Based on this information, we modified
                      the report to reflect the Army’s position that a risk assessment was


                      Page 25                                                GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
unnecessary prior to activating the unit because the Army plans on using
the pilot period to determine the staffing, equipping, and training
requirements for the unit. We also incorporated additional information on
the status of the ICEWS unit. As a result, we clarified our
recommendation to state that the Army should assess the risk associated
with staffing, equipping, and training the existing ICEWS unit prior to its
incorporation into the first Multi-Domain Task Force in fiscal year 2020.
Army officials generally agreed with the revised recommendation. Moving
forward, it will be important for the Army to implement this
recommendation to ensure the ICEWS unit, which is active and eligible to
be deployed, will be prepared to carry out its mission effectively.

The Army partially concurred with the second recommendation for it to
conduct a risk assessment, such as a force integration functional area
analysis, for the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion. The Army stated
in its comments that it does not perform force integration functional area
analyses for force generating units such as the 915th Cyber Warfare
Support Battalion. Instead, it develops a concept plan, which applies rigor
and analysis to determine the most efficient and effective way of fielding a
new unit. We met with Army officials to discuss their comments, during
which they provided additional information related to assessing risks for
the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion. Specifically, Army officials
said that prior to activating the battalion, leadership approved the
battalion’s concept plan, which included an initial risk assessment. We
reviewed the concept plan for the battalion and found that the
assessment only addressed the risk of not having the unit’s capabilities
activated and in the field for operations. We incorporated this additional
information on this initial risk assessment for the 915th Cyber Warfare
Support Battalion into the report. As a result of this additional information,
we clarified our recommendation to state that the Army should conduct a
comprehensive risk assessment associated with staffing, equipping, and
training the 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion prior to approving the
expansion of the unit to its full operational capability. Army officials
generally agreed with this. It will be important for the Army to implement
the revised recommendation to ensure the 915th Cyber Warfare Support
Battalion, which is active and performing operations, will be prepared to
carry out its mission effectively.

The Army concurred with the third recommendation for it to ensure that a
risk assessment is conducted before activating any new organizations it
plans to field in an accelerated manner for the purposes of conducting
multi-domain operations. The Army added that any lessons learned from
the activation of the first ICEWS unit and the 915th Cyber Warfare


Page 26                                               GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Support Battalion will be taken into consideration when assessing the risk
before the activation of these new organizations. It will be important for
the Army to implement the recommendation to ensure that any new
organizations are prepared to carry out their missions, while potentially
avoiding some of the challenges that the ICEWS and 915th Cyber
Warfare Support Battalion have experienced.

Lastly, the Army also recommended that we change the title of our report;
however, we did not accept the title offered by the Army. We believe the
title accurately reflects the issues and recommendations highlighted in the
report.


We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional
committees and to the Secretary of Defense; the Acting Under Secretary
of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff; the Acting Secretaries of the Departments of the Air Force
and the Army; the Secretary of the Navy; and the Chief of Staff of the
Army. In addition, the report is available at no charge on the GAO website
at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-3489 or pendletonj@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. Staff members making key contributions to
this report are listed in appendix II.




John H. Pendleton, Director
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 27                                              GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
List of Committees

The Honorable James M. Inhofe
Chairman
The Honorable Jack Reed
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
The Honorable Richard Durbin
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Adam Smith
Chairman
The Honorable Mac Thornberry
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

The Honorable Pete Visclosky
Chairman
The Honorable Ken Calvert
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




Page 28                         GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Appendix I: Comments from the Department
             Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
             the Army



of the Army




             Page 29                                       GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
the Army




Page 30                                       GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Appendix I: Comments from the Department of
the Army




Page 31                                       GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments


                  John H. Pendleton, (202) 512-3489 or pendletonj@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, Kevin O’Neill (Assistant Director),
Staff             Matt Spiers (Analyst-in-Charge), Tracy Barnes, Shannon Finnegan,
Acknowledgments   Christopher Gezon, Ruben Gzirian, J. Kristopher Keener, Alberto Leff,
                  Joshua Leiling, Amie Lesser, Jon Ludwigson, Ned Malone, and Clarice
                  Ransom made key contributions to this report.




(102419)
                  Page 32                                             GAO-19-570 Future Warfare
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