By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing hosted a roadshow on the new 13O Multi-domain Command and Control career field Jan. 30.
Representatives from the Pentagon were on hand to inform officers in their seven through 12th year of service about the opportunity to join a deliberate development track Air Force officials are calling critical to the success of future conflicts.
“This effort is to pioneer the Air Force’s multi-domain effort to maturity,” said Maj. Brian Eno, 50th Operations Support Squadron director of operations. “They want to take people with experience in operational career fields and develop them for the rest of their careers in a track that makes you a multi-domain warfare officer. You specialize in integrating effects across the spectrum of war.”
In his remarks during the 2018 Air Force Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference in National Harber, Maryland, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein explained the importance of multi-domain command and control in executing the nation’s next fight.
In this fight, Goldfein said the Air Force must master MDC2 to empower commanders to dominate the air, space, and cyber domains.
Brig. Gen. Chance Saltzman, Headquarters Air Force director of operations, is leading the effort. Saltzman oversaw the MDC2 Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team, which includes a cross-section of command and control space, cyber and air operator experts.
“As we quickly learned, multi-domain command and control got very complicated, very fast,” Saltzman said. “But, at its core, we determined commanders must employ the right operational concepts for multi-domain operations. They must leverage advanced technologies to increase their lethality, accuracy, and decision speed, and their units must be manned with properly trained experts in multi-domain command and control.”
Eno said the military must adapt faster than the enemy in order to create solutions at the operational level of war.
“We’re asking the questions, ‘how do you integrate cyber, space, and our traditional focus on air superiority to overwhelm the enemy,”’ he said. “All those things have to be done with a very deliberate development in mind.”
Three lines of effort make up the framework for MDC2: operational concepts, advanced technologies, and training and education.
Command and Control Operational Concepts
Operational concepts inform the way the Air Force fights, and they include everything from tactics, techniques and procedures, to command relationships, authorities and doctrine.
A team from the Air Education and Training Command is leading the effort to refine and update current operational concepts while also exploring new concepts for multi-domain operations. To help inform their efforts, a sequence of MDC2 table-top assessments, coined The Doolittle Series, are taking place.
“These war games will help us to identify the right C2 structures that will allow us to effectively prosecute multi-domain operations,” Saltzman said.
MDC2 objectives will also be folded into current exercises, war games and training events with the intent to improve commanders’ abilities to effectively use their resources in all domains.
“Does it connect? Can it share?” Describing his guide, Goldfein asks these questions when describing his guidelines for how the Air Force should adapt new technology. The CSAF’s vision acknowledges success will require great improvements in the current network and data architecture. Aircraft, spacecraft and cyber nodes must all be able to seamlessly share and connect data in a way that increases a commander’s ability to command and control the fight while complicating an enemy’s ability to defend himself. Teams at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, are working to make this level of interconnectivity a reality.
Successful efforts at Hanscom AFB, Nellis AFB and other locations will be adopted and integrated into Air Force operations.
“This is going to be an ongoing process where we continue to learn, and the goal is that we’re able to learn as fast as possible,” Saltzman said.
MDC2 Training and Education
The fact that the institutional knowledge required to effectively operate MDC2 often has a short lifespan was a key finding of the MDC2 ECCT. Exposure to C2 often comes randomly to Airmen’s careers through deployments or other temporary assignments. The result, the team found, was C2 was often played as a “pick-up game” where Airmen gather C2 skills and then return to their primary career fields.
“As it is now, we’re very platform-specific,” the director said. “I was a space operator; I was trained to operate satellites for 12-to-15 years of my career. Same with flyers — you have to have that tactical depth of knowledge in our weapon systems, so we spend a tremendous amount of time and energy training our operators to do that.”
To address this, the Air Force will incorporate multi-domain operations into its military education and training courses.
“Building our capability for multi-domain operations, whether you’re talking training and education, adapting advanced technologies, or creating new operational concepts, it’s a big animal, but we intend to eat it one bite at a time,” Saltzman said.
Eno said space officers are uniquely primed to take advantage of this new opportunity.
“Integration is already happening at Schriever,” he said. “We are already doing some multi-domain integration of effects. I think what the 13O community would say is we want to take what’s already happening at Schriever and other places and develop officers deliberately.”
Current plans are for 13O officers to work in an Air Operations Center to effectively leverage multi-domain warfare.
At the Air Force level, the first crossflow opportunity happened in January. A board convened and selected 25 people, but officials project the fully matured career field to have in excess of 500 Airmen.
Interested officers may find more information and apply via MyPers.
“This career field will draw people who are motivated to excel,” Eno said. “I think a really important distinction they should make is what they want to achieve in their career. Right now as a 13S, you can serve one assignment in an AOC and then come back to space operations. This is a deliberate change of direction. You’re going to take that space experience and become something different in a new age of multi-domain warfare.”
Editor’s note: Maj. Justin Reynolds contributed to this article.