1. Characteristics of Mounted Battle Space
Battle space is a construct, a way to think about fightinga visualization by commanders at every level of the entire battlefield and all phases of the campaign and operation. While a new and important label, battle space is an old construct. Historically, the seasoned and successful leader reports a new level of awareness of the battlefieldbefore, during, and after battle. The leader reports an ability to see success and, more importantly, recognize critical points were he can fail. His intent is clear, concise, and focused. He understands where, when, and why he wants to meet and defeat the enemy. He also does not have to use his radio very often. The leader must arrive on the battlefield with a seasoned understanding of battlefield dynamics. Training commanders in understanding the battle space construct is becoming much more important.
"Battle space is both an art (honed by intellect curiosity and, most of all, by experience) and a science (in that much can be taught and learned)." Proper use of this construct prevents our combat, combat support, and service support units from becoming surprised or paralyzed by unexpected enemy actions. From the introduction of our forces, we dominate the battlefield by dominating maneuver.
The construct demands the leader understand the time and space limits, not necessarily constrained by terrain, where his force can detect, acquire, and engage the enemy. It also involves the leader mentally combining his experiences, the effect of friendly and enemy information, and weapon systems with time and space parameters. The result is an ability by the leader to visualize, in three dimensions, the cause and effect of action and counteraction by both his and his opponents forces. Use of the construct produces actions necessary to be taken by the leader designed to dominate maneuver.
Application of battle space involves the leader and battle command in a complex equation involving terrain, the enemy, mobility and agility, force protection, and weapons. We need to understand the role and potential effect of technology on each component.
(1) Battle Command
(a) As the glue that bonds the battle space construct, battle command involves the creation of reliable and redundant command, control, and communication. The leader fights with all systems and units horizontally integrated. His task is to use battle command supported by battle space to optimize each units contribution to the fight. Battle Command and Battle space are identical twins, a lot alike, but yet distinctly different. The leader must be able to maneuver forces, rapidly apply overwhelming firepower, and see the enemy throughout the depths of the battlefield. His lean but functional battle command system must provide intelligence and a prism for the leader to use in shaping his vision.
(b) Emerging technologies will allow a leaner command (and staff) apparatus enabling us to plan and act more quickly than the enemy keeping him off balance. New communication technologies (assuming they are compatible) will reduce time required and available for our troop-leading procedures and execution of maneuver. We can disseminate critical information, issue FRAGOs, and exploit opportunities far more rapidly than can our potential enemies. Reliable, secure, long range communications and position locating devices will permit us to disperse our forces and reduce our vulnerabilities while enabling us to rapidly mass assets to seize any advantage our intelligence capabilities uncover.
(c) The commanders ability to see the battlefield will be changing in a fundamental way. The spectrum of intelligence gathering tools, from global to tactical assets, will provide a clearer picture of the battlefield than ever before. Knowledge of the enemys positions, intentions, and capabilities will give us significant advantages on the battlefield. The challenge is to develop technology and procedures which ensure that the ground commander will be provided with analyzed and timely intelligence. The commander must then have the ability to rapidly collapse and shape this information into a format which fighters need to destroy or neutralize the enemy.
(d) The commander will need to develop an advanced awareness of the need for timing, mass, and security, Given this "post-graduate" level of understanding of battlefield dynamics, he will be able to control his battlefield through a well-timed application of mass, a consideration of the time required to exploit mass, and an awareness of the exact conditions of security. The battlefield commander will blend time, mass, and security to control both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the battlefield. He must be able to visualize the relationship between these dynamics, and he must strive for simplicity of plans.
(2) Terrain and Weather
(a) Skilled commanders understand how contours of the land and the disposition of forces lend themselves to decisive battle. They use terrain, including natural and man-made obstacles, to the best possible advantage. Obstacles are integrated into the maneuver plan and synchronized with the terrain and weather to support decisive operations at the best time and place. Weather is used to leverage advantage in the favor of friendly forces. Our ability to operate in limited visibility conditions or over weather effected terrain often gives advantages to our forces.
(b) While technology will have little effect on the actual terrain, we can anticipate new terrain-enhancing tools to more rapidly understand line of sight relationships, trafficability, and terrain-shaping maneuvers. As we bring digitization to our equipment, we will be able to find new applications for these terrain enhancing tools. Weather has always played a major role in determining the outcome of battle. In the future, the effect of weather will offer us more advantage. As we continue to condition and equip our forces to operate in marginal weather, we will extend our leverage. Technology can continue to help.
(3) Mobility and Agility
(a) As the key to dominating maneuver, mobility is first a state of mind possessed by good commanders. Closely related to terrain is a leaders understanding of his requirement for mobility and agility and the need to use them to gain advantage over his enemy. If you believe the enemy has an advantage, commanders must find a way to neutralize it. This dynamic relationship is the hinge on which the door of victory swings. Mobility and agility are the tool of innovation used by the commander to provide momentum to control his opponent.
(b) In the future, gaining early, critical information on the enemy will define more precisely the Commanders battle space. A by-product of this process will be the ability to maintain a range advantage. Extending the range at which task forces commence combat actions will achieve three distinct advantages over the enemy.
Enhance our agility by destroying enemy forces before they can effectively engage us and throughout the depth of the battlefield.
Reduce the vulnerability of our forces by using unmanned sensors to increase the acquisition ranges, destroy his forces, and cause premature deployment (while increasing the dispersion of the friendly force). This will enhance agility and mobility.
Increase our ability to maneuver by improving our control, communications, and base of fire. As a direct result of this improvement we will increase our mobility and agility.
(4) Force Protection
(a) Force protection currently involves some special technologies, but more importantly formations, maneuvers, and procedures designed to keep the force safe. These tactical measures remain necessary for the leader. Commanders continue to need redundancy and depth in planning for force protection. The bulwark of such protection will remain formations; however, given the value our nation places on protecting its soldiers, we must enhance protection.
(b) We are entering a new era in force protection. Special armor, reactive armor, composite material, and protection packages will allow us to field lighter, more capable vehicles. Active and passive protection such as decoys, electronic countermeasures, stealth technology, and vehicle-integrated defense systems will raise vehicle survivability to new levels. Networking combat systems with digital communications technology will allow the integration of each element of the combined arms team as it has never before been integrated. The resulting synergism will markedly increase collective protection. Efforts to counter smart and brilliant munitions will cause us to adjust how we use our weapons as well as the physical measures we take to provide higher levels of protection.
(a) Our arsenal of weapons remains the core of our ability to control the battlefield. They provide the hammer we use to shape the battlefield metal. While over the past 15 years we have witnessed an exponential increase in both the effect and strength of our arsenal, recently, we have experienced an ability to increase the distance between systems and yet maintain the effect of mass. This enables us to control more terrain with less force.
(b) By increasing ranges at which we detect, acquire, identify, engage, and destroy or neutralize our adversary in the close fight, we will continue to own several distinct advantages over the enemy so we can increasingly mass effects and not forces. First, we begin the destruction of his force with direct and indirect fires before he can effectively engage us with his direct fire systems, and often before he can detect us. This allows us to increase our lethality and seize and maintain the initiative. Second, we can reduce the vulnerability of our forces by using the increased ranges of our systems in the direct fire fight, allowing us to cover broader frontages with fewer forces. Third, we enhance our ability to maneuver by improving our base of fire and enhance the flexibility of our force. These advantages contribute to maintaining the initiative, disrupting the enemy commanders ability to move, and imposing our will upon the enemy.