If the Navy wants to improve the speed at which it fights wars in the future, it needs to change its focus from procuring physical platforms to procuring capabilities, according to a key admiral.
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems Rear Adm. Michael Manazir said Friday the service’s platforms are optimized to work in the physical environment. He provided the F-35, submarines and high-end ships as examples. But warfare in the future will be waged with information, Manazir said, and the ability to move information around the battle space will be key to success.
“Crossing those physical boundaries, going from platform-based thinking to capabilities-based thinking and investing in what we need to make that trade happen is our key operational challenge,” Manazir said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington.
One concept Manazir raised was in distributed fleet operations. How does the Navy, he asked, have one or two strike groups centered around high-end capabilities create one effect in a geographic area while two other strike groups create a different effect in another area to confuse an adversary.
Improving how the Pentagon moves in a variety of ways was a common theme at CSIS during a daylong event focused on the Defense Department’s third offset initiative: the development of seamless interaction between humans and machines on the battlefield.. Panelists agreed that DoD needs to move faster in the way it makes battle space decisions, procures weapons and pursues new technologies.
Manazir said future warfare will be waged at a speed faster than humans are able to think. Decisions will be made asymmetrically.
“Success in the future battle space is going to be able to bring many asymmetric effects at the same time on the adversary,” Manazir said.