Cyberspace at the Operational Level: Warfighting In All Five Domains
Joint Military Operations Department Newport United States
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Human beings have made the world a much smaller place, but mankinds propensity for violence and the nature of war have not changed. As the global population swells and resources diminish, competition between nations grows on land, on the seas, in the air, and in space. What connects all four of these domains to the people on our planet Cyberspace, the fifth domain of warfare, is now so ubiquitous and that any military commander who ignores its potential voluntarily cedes the advantage to his enemy. This blunder may be recoverable at the tactical level, but it is catastrophic at the operational level. Potential enemies will strive to use cyberspace to deny command and control, block sustainment efforts, render fires platforms useless, falsify intelligence, deny positional awareness, and bypass force protection measures. This exploitation of cyberspace occurs with near-instantaneous speed and low risk to the initiator. Cyberspace operations can magnify effects in the other four domains and can allow an attacker to gain the initiative. Joint Force Commanders JFCs and operational planners are at a crossroads. They can continue to leave the cyberspace domain to the subject matter experts, or they can foster an innovative joint force capable of planning and executing operations synchronized across all five domains in time and purpose. The clear choice is to leverage the fifth domain of warfare along with strengths in the other four domains to achieve operational objectives.