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Multidomain Operations: A Subtle but Significant Transition in Military Thought

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Air Force Research Institute Maxwell AFB United States

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On 17 November 2011, Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs ofStaff, asked the Military Education Coordination Council the prophetic question,Whats after joint After more than four years, that question remains ostensibly unanswered. The answer, however, may reside in the notion of multidomain operations. General Dempseys inquiry was spurred by the fact that historical approaches to achieving superiority in the air, land, and sea domains may no longer be valid. The principal factor driving this phenomenon is a global proliferation of advanced information technology. Although the United States has undergone dramatic changes in technology in the past, we are in only the nascent stages of understanding this eras monumental impact on future military operations. The worldwide flood of powerful, inexpensive, and readily available commercial technology is mandating a much more sophisticated approach to military affairs. The primary catalyst for this revolution has been the miniaturization of the transistor. In 1965 Gordon Moore observed that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doublesapproximately every two years. Transistors control the flow of electricity in a circuit, and the miniaturization of the transistor has enabled 20 billion of them to be emplaced on single wafer-thin computer chips no bigger than a fingernail. Consequently,computer processing power has been doubling every two years and is expected to continue to the year 2020. The exponential growth associated with Moores Law has created a security environment where the pace of cyber, directed energy, nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology advancements is far beyond the normal capacity to predict their effects. Advanced information technology is also changing our perspectives of multidomain interdependence.

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Journal Article

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Air and Space Power Journal , 01 Jan 0001, 01 Jan 0001,




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