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Institutionalizing the Human Domain: Achieving Cross Domain Synergy for Every Day Missions

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Technical Report

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Air War College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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Establishing an additional doctrinal domain, the Human Domain, will enhance Joint Doctrine, place socio-cultural factors within the operational environment at the forefront of military planning, and will ameliorate limitations within current doctrine. While much was written on the topic, the Department of Defense has yet to codify this concept into Joint Doctrine. However, in 2015 the U.S. Special Operations Command published Operating in the Human Domain which sought to establish a new doctrinal domain alongside the traditional domains of air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace. As a result, the Joint Staff is currently drafting the Joint Concept for Human Aspects of Military Operations. This paper reviews the future operating environment to establish the importance of socio-cultural factors to success in future military operations. Then, weaknesses within current Joint Doctrine are assessed to demonstrate the need for doctrine that will elevate the human domain within military planning. Next the paper reviews efforts by the U.S. and the U.K. to adapt current doctrine to codify lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. A brief review detailing how cyber became a domain provides insight into the practicality and necessity of adding the human domain. This paper also seeks to demonstrate that the Department of Defense must ensure the Joint Force retains the capabilities to operate within the human domain. Finally, the paper concludes with recommendations that will ensure socio-cultural factors are codified in doctrine thereby enabling the U.S. military to successfully plan for and operate in future conflicts.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

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