The year 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the National Security Act of 1947. To commemorate the landmark legislation that powerfully shaped the American national security enterprise, over 60 prominent scholars, practitioners, and national security experts gathered at the United States Military Academy over the course of two years to consider national security reform in the modern era. In April 2016, the group examined how the world has changed since the end of the Second World War and, building upon those discussions in April 2017, endeavored to develop specific, actionable recommendations for reforming our national security institutions and processes.
Over the past two decades the use of the word domain has attained wide acceptance in the military lexicon. Vague when described in doctrine, it exerts a strong influence by establishing the most basic boundaries of military functional identities. Despite the unquestioned usage of domain-centric terminology, the exact meaning of domain remains largely undefined without consideration of etymological origins. However, the word contains some built-in assumptions regarding how we view warfare that can limit our thinking. An ambiguous categorization of separate operating domains in warfare could actually pose an intractable conceptual threat to an integrated joint force, which is ironically the stated purpose of multi-domain battle.
While the U.S. remains the single most powerful actor on the international stage, its influence and ability to react to the growing threat that transcends its own internal artificial boundaries and planning processes is not keeping pace with the evolution of the environment. With the rise of global near-peer competitors and regional powers with transnational reach, the U.S. military must become more flexible and adaptable at crossing multiple boundaries simultaneously if it seeks to maintain its competitive advantage. The only way to achieve this is to transform our current command and control structures to allow us to be a global power that actually acts and thinks globally.