Military planners are starting to include logistics command and control in the Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE) series, a top commander said on Sept. 11.
U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is working with the Pentagon Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) office “to ensure that the systems are compatible, and we’re doing exercises like the GIDE exercise where we’re starting to include logistics flow in that, which is very good,” Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, the head of USTRANSCOM, told reporters at the Air and Space Forces Association Air, Space and Cyber conference in National Harbor, Md.
For the last several years, GIDE exercises have examined how DoD will be able to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to accelerate information provision at the tactical and strategic levels against two near-peer competitors through features, such as AI-enabled cross-combatant command decision aids and rapid Course Of Action (COA) development.
“I want to enable the joint force commander to have multiple options,” Van Ovost said on Sept. 11 as part of her answer on lessons USTRANSCOM is gleaning from its support of Ukraine. “As they [joint force commanders] look at their branch planner or Course of Action [COA] development, I want to be able to show them that, if they take this course of action, this is what is needed and this is our ability—munitions, fuel, whatever it is—to meet that requirement. As they go through that, I want to give them planning tools and support them so that they can quickly say, ‘You know what? I probably can’t take that branch plan because it’s not gonna work completely for the logistics side.’”
“We’ve got support for this because we’re integrated into GIDE,” she said. “As we do more and more exercises, I think what you’ll find is we’re no longer ‘fairy dusting’ logistics, or making it an add-on, but integrating it, which can be hard for those not used to looking at that as part of COA development.”
“We talked about asset secure connectivity for our ground nodes forward, our seaports and airports, and survivability on the platforms themselves, whether it be an ability for electronic warfare or how are we gonna integrate with fires,” Van Ovost said. “Do we really need a two ship of F-15s to watch every tanker, or is there gonna be some CCA [collaborative combat aircraft] capability we’re gonna have, or an NGAS [Next Generation Air Refueling System] idea of built in capabilities whether on the airplane or outside the airplane.”
The United States and NATO allies have provided fighters to help secure NATO’s eastern flank against Russia, and, as a result, Van Ovost said, “our logistics are pretty safe moving throughout Europe and across the Atlantic.”
“That may not be the case in other areas so I have to think about what it would be like if I was being contested beyond cyber or space in our ability to maneuver around the globe,” she said. “We’ve also known that as we move stuff to Ukraine and pass it off to them, you can’t aggregate in one location. You have to be able to shoot and scoot. You have to be able to maneuver your logistics and not keep it all in one bunker somewhere. We’re also learning about decoys. We’re learning a lot about drones, and how that could affect our logistics warehouses and what kind of range and what we need to defeat those drones. It’s quite the battlefield that we’re learning from there, and I think just about all of it is applicable to any new fight in this kind of contested environment.”