The term “multi-domain warrior” typically refers to a military concept in which members are trained and equipped to operate effectively across multiple domains of warfare, including land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. A multi-domain warrior is therefore a highly trained and adaptable warrior who can operate in a range of environments and contexts, and who has a deep understanding of the complex interconnectedness of modern warfare.
As for the term “multi-domain leader,” this refers to a leader who has experience and expertise in a range of different domains or areas, and who is able to operate effectively across multiple domains of knowledge or practice. In a business context, for example, a multi-domain leader might be someone who has experience in finance, marketing, operations, and other key areas of the organization, and who is able to integrate these different perspectives to make effective strategic decisions. In a military context, a multi-domain leaders a leader with experience and expertise across multiple areas of warfare, who is able to coordinate and integrate operations across different domains to achieve strategic objectives.
NEAR-FUTURE CONFLICT and MCA
The modern military landscape is characterized by complex, interconnected challenges that require a new kind of leadership. Military leaders must coordinate and integrate operations across different domains to achieve strategic objectives, and they must also be able to address super wicked problems that are urgent, uncertain, and high stakes.
In the US Air Force we continue to talk about the concept of Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA). MCA is a personnel development approach that aims to enhance the flexibility and responsiveness of the Air Force by equipping airmen with a wider range of skills and competencies.
Under the MCA concept, airmen are trained to be proficient in multiple functional areas, rather than being narrowly focused on a single specialty. This enables them to be more adaptable and agile in responding to a variety of operational scenarios and mission requirements.
The MCA concept recognizes that modern military operations are complex and dynamic, and that traditional personnel development approaches may not be sufficient to meet the evolving demands of the Air Force. By developing multi-capable airmen, the Air Force seeks to enhance its operational agility and effectiveness, while also providing airmen with greater opportunities for professional growth and development.
To implement the MCA concept, the Air Force has developed a variety of training and education programs that provide airmen with cross-functional training in areas such as logistics, security, and communications. In addition, the Air Force has implemented new personnel policies and career paths that enable airmen to pursue a broader range of professional opportunities.
MCA intends to create a more flexible and adaptive Air Force that is better equipped to respond to the challenges of modern military operations. I am not sure we have addressed the culture change or the leadership required with such a concept.
LEADING TOMORROW’S MULTI-CAPABLE AIRMEN:
For leaders charged with the actual leading of these new airmen–have we actually thought through what the might entail? How might we education such leaders, what skills to these warrior require and how might the DoD provide for such?
Developing such leaders might sound as simple as developing a new policy stating— make it so. It is not so simple and again the culture has to adjust as does the education system and incentives.
Educating military leaders who can coordinate and integrate operations across different domains to achieve strategic objectives is definitely a complex task requiring a combination of academic and practical education. Some key steps that could be taken to educate such leaders:
- Provide a solid foundation in military theory and strategy: Leaders must have a deep understanding of the principles and concepts that underpin military operations across different domains. This could involve studying military history, tactics, and doctrine, as well as learning about the latest trends and developments in military technology and strategy.
- Develop cross-domain expertise: Leaders must have expertise in a range of different domains, including land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. This could involve specialized training in each of these areas, as well as exposure to real-world operations in each domain.
- Foster collaboration and teamwork: Military leaders must be able to work effectively with colleagues from different domains and with different areas of expertise. This could involve team-building exercises, simulations, and other activities that encourage collaboration and communication across domains.
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Military leaders must be able to analyze complex situations, identify key challenges and opportunities, and develop effective strategies for achieving their objectives. This could involve training in analytical methods, decision-making processes, and scenario planning.
- Provide opportunities for practical experience: Military leaders must have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world operations. This could involve participation in exercises, simulations, and other training events, as well as deployment to actual operational environments.
Educating military leaders who can coordinate and integrate operations across different domains requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach combining academic study with practical experience and hands-on training. By providing leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to operate effectively across different domains, it is possible to achieve strategic objectives and ensure the safety and security of military personnel and civilians alike, but it will require a deliberate plan spanning years.
THE FORGOTTEN DISCIPLINES: Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology
Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology can play an important role in educating military leaders who can coordinate and integrate operations across different domains to achieve strategic objectives.
Philosophy helps military leaders to develop critical thinking skills and ethical reasoning, which are essential for making complex decisions in uncertain and rapidly changing environments. By studying philosophy, military leaders can learn to think critically about their own assumptions, beliefs, and values, and to apply these insights to the challenges they face in different domains.
Sociology can help military leaders in understanding the social and cultural contexts in which they operate, and to develop strategies for working effectively with diverse groups of people. By studying sociology, military leaders can learn about the social dynamics of different domains and the ways in which these dynamics can influence military operations.
Psychology can help military leaders in developing an understanding of human behavior and motivation, which can be critical in developing effective leadership strategies. By studying psychology, military leaders can learn how to motivate and inspire their teams, build trust and rapport, and manage stress and uncertainty in high-pressure situations.
Overall, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology provide military leaders with important insights and perspectives that can help them to operate effectively across different domains and achieve strategic objectives. By integrating these disciplines into current education programs, military organizations can help to develop leaders who are not only skilled in the technical aspects of warfare but also equipped with the critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and interpersonal skills needed to lead effectively in complex and dynamic environments.
SUPER WICKED PROBLEM SOLVING
A Multi-Domain Leader must be able to combine all of the above to enhance super wicked problem solving.
“Super wicked problems” refer to complex, interconnected challenges that are characterized by urgency, uncertainty, and high stakes, and for which there are no easy solutions. These problems are often systemic in nature, involving multiple stakeholders, domains, and scales, and are difficult to define, measure, and evaluate.
Super wicked problem-solving requires a different approach than traditional problem-solving methods. Below are some key steps taken to address super wicked problems:
- Embrace complexity: Super wicked problems are by their very nature complex and require a systems thinking approach. This means that it is essential to recognize the interconnectedness of different domains, stakeholders, and scales, and to embrace the complexity of the problem.
- Engage multiple stakeholders: Super wicked problems require the engagement of multiple stakeholders from different domains and sectors. This could involve community members, experts from different fields, policymakers, and others who have a stake in the outcome.
- Foster collaboration and co-creation: Super wicked problems require collaboration and co-creation among stakeholders. This means that it is essential to build trust, establish shared goals, and work together to develop solutions that are inclusive, equitable, and sustainable.
- Test and iterate: Super wicked problems are often characterized by uncertainty, and it is important to test and iterate solutions as they are developed. This could involve piloting solutions, gathering feedback from stakeholders, and refining solutions based on what works and what doesn’t.
- Continuously learn and adapt: Super wicked problems are ongoing and require continuous learning and adaptation. This means that it is important to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and make adjustments as needed to ensure that solutions are effective and sustainable.
Super wicked problem-solving requires a collaborative, adaptive, and systemic approach that engages multiple stakeholders and embraces complexity.
Educating military leaders who can operate effectively in a modern military landscape requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach that combines academic study with practical experience and hands-on training. By providing military leaders with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to operate effectively across different domains and address super wicked problems, it is possible to achieve strategic objectives and ensure the safety and security of military personnel and civilians alike.