During the Land Power in the Pacific (LANPAC) military conference in Honolulu, hosted annually by the Association of the US Army’s Institute of Land Warfare, Adm. Harry Harris said that Japanese ground forces would be firing a shore-based missile during RIMPAC as well.
Harris said that the exercises were a vital factor in USPACOM honing its “multi-domain battle concept” for possible battles in the future.
The admiral explained, "Simply put, this concept provides us a way to ensure access to the global commons in the run-up to war and [to] fight in those same commons should war come," according to Stars and Stripes. "Components must increase their agility and provide support to each other across the war-fighting domains."
Military officials speaking at the conference noted that, as rival nations become more advanced in their military technology, the US has been steadily losing its advantage in cyber, space, sea, land and air warfare.
Battling on multiple fronts helps Washington gain back some of that ground by providing additional options for firing and joint maneuvering, while confusing adversaries with changing situations.
This concept was first introduced by Harris at the 2016 LANPAC conference, while this year’s conference focused on multi-domain engagements and how the US military can best use its land-based assets in a mostly ocean theater.
"(I would) like to see the Army’s land forces sink a ship, shoot down a missile, and shoot down the aircraft that fired that missile — near simultaneously — in a complex environment where our joint and combined forces are operating in each other’s domains," Harris said.
However, the lack of interoperability of weapon and sensor systems used by different branches of the US military and partner forces make this plan difficult, as some of them are not connected.
He explained that getting "our alphabet soup of sensors and shooters talking to one another," was a top priority.
"Service-specific systems must be able to talk to one another if any of this is going to achieve the effects that we’re looking for," he said. "Ideally we’ll get to a point where we see the joint force as a network of sensors and shooters allowing the best capability from any single service to provide cross-domain fires."
LANPAC took place from May 23 to May 25. The conference "is a world-class, international event highlighting the role of land forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater and their contributions to the Joint Force in peace and war. The strategic location of Hawaii brings together government and industry representatives from our allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater," according to the event’s website.