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Mosaic Warfare - US Doctrine

Kirkhill

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https://www.theepochtimes.com/pentagon-working-on-radical-new-fighting-style-mosaic-warfare_3210312.html

A ship is not a ship and a plane is not a plane.  They are providers of various sensors and effectors to force packages.  Deficiencies in one platform can be made up from other force elements.

So far so good.

The official term is Mosaic Warfare, but some strategists liken it to Lego.

Again, so far so good.

With Mosaic warfare, instead of a limited number of the latest high-tech toys, military commanders would have the strategic equivalent of countless building blocks. Some would be unmanned.

Everything in the military toolkit—such as radar, radar sensing, jamming, missile launching or cyber capabilities—would be separated into these blocks, ready to be stuck together.

These can be assembled at will to fit each scenario, creating unique plays for each situation.

“Like the ceramic tiles in Mosaics, these individual warfighting platforms are put together to make a larger picture, or in this case, a force package,” says a statement on the DARPA website.

Still smiling.  Continuation of Distributed Ops and Multi-Domain Ops.

DARPA’s Mosaic goes a step further than the Navy’s Distributed Operations and the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations concepts. Rather than just trying to side-step the anti-access problem, it also negates the Systems Destruction strategy of adversaries.

Systems Destruction refers to targeting the systems underlining a military capability or process, says Robert Bunker of the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.

“The German practice of blitzkrieg—maneuver warfare in World War II—was essentially targeting the Command and Control system of the opposing force which paralyzed its decision making and battlefield response capacity,” Bunker told The Epoch Times.

But then this

Smaller and Cheaper

And this

“Like Lego blocks that nearly universally fit together, Mosaic forces can be composed together in a way to create packages that can effectively target an adversary’s system with just-enough overmatch to succeed,” says a Mitchell Institute study (pdf), released in September.

Danger, Will Robinson!

MacNamara's bean counters are back.

Just enough means no contingency funding, no contingency plan, no reserves.  It is beloved of accountants seeking 99% efficiency (assuming she isn't one of the irrational ones targeting 100%) and is constantly at odds with operational reality where achieving a 70% result is a good day.
 

daftandbarmy

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Isn't this just another term for 'plug and play' warfare espoused by the US military which, as we saw in Iraq, worked so well (not) :)
 

Colin Parkinson

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People who draw up these plans should have to spend time in the smaller FOB's and platoon houses so they can live the motto "Just enough" and "just on time"
 

tomahawk6

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This from DARPA about mosaic warfare. By the by are you Canadians still using WW2 tactics ? I doubt it. I had a ring side seat to some of the Iraw strategy and tactics. It wasn't a total failure because we won IMO, despite the interference from Iran. Some of the tactics originated in theater responding to enemy tactics.

https://www.darpa.mil/work-with-us/darpa-tiles-together-a-vision-of-mosiac-warfare
 

a_majoor

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I suspect the idea of "just-enough overmatch to succeed" does not mean no contingency reserves, but rather you only take out enough "Lego blocks" from the bin to do the job. If you under estimate, you (hastily) grab another handful of pieces, while if you overestimate, you (grudgingly) return the extra pieces to the box.

This approach requires much more information about the theater, enemy, military and political goals to be incorporated in the staff work prior to deployment, as well as a pretty robust and flexible logistics backbone to move the pieces around efficiently, or even divert them (for example you have your "Lego kit" being assembled in Latvia, when you suddenly need another kit built in Poland). This is quite the opposite of announcing you will send a 650 man "Peacekeeping force" to Africa without any idea of what they are supposed to do - what if you only need 250 men, or encounter lots of issues and need 1000 men?

The Lego analogy is a bit misleading for younger people - most Lego kits are now designed and packaged to have exactly enough pieces to build the thing illustrated on the box. Back when the earth was cooling, Lego blocks were often sold in boxes of mixed pieces with no "kit" or end result in mind (deluxe boxes were rather large, with hundreds of pieces). What is needed for this sort of thinking is an old style box of assorted parts that can be built into whatever is needed.

WRT "smaller and cheaper", this is a trend already in place. At the small tactical end, UAV's and loitering munitions have attributes that include reconnaissance or surveillance, as well as the effects of small mortars and ATGMs. Swarms of UAVs, UGVs and even UUVs can augment force packages (depending on what you want to do) at much less cost than a fighter squadron, armoured regiment, submarine or surface warship, and I actually see this technology will be probably much more useful for logistics (convoys of robot vehicles bringing supplies and automated techniques to identify and anticipate needs ahead of time).

So while there is indeed the possibility that "bean counters" will have their say, and perhaps we are already close to the ideal solution with combat teams and battlegroups, I don't think we should just handwave this as an impractical idea.
 

FJAG

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I think that we've always had versions of this concept going back millennia when your basic building block was the legion and commanders added auxiliaries of cavalry or archers or slingers or extra engineers as needed for specific missions. The same in WW2 when brigades were the basic combat building block but division and corps added extra resources like artillery or anti-tank or bridging etc etc as needed.

The only difference here is that we have a whole herd of new sensor and weapon platforms and a new jointness aspect to the Multi-Domain battle looking for a home in the doctrine.

Unfortunately the article is behind a pay wall so it's a bit hard to see where it is leading. For me the hard question isn't so much what buzz word we use but at what level do we make these Lego pieces available and where do we concentrate the control and decision making processes to create a system that can use them all rapidly and efficiently. It was hard enough for a manoeuvre commander to understand air defence within his AOR in the days of just jets and helicopters (mostly they just let the experts make it happen around them). Now we're dealing with massively more complex matters. - Let's face it there were legion commanders who didn't know how to employ their archers and cavalry properly either. :giggle:

🍻
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I think that we've always had versions of this concept going back millennia when your basic building block was the legion and commanders added auxiliaries of cavalry or archers or slingers or extra engineers as needed for specific missions. The same in WW2 when brigades were the basic combat building block but division and corps added extra resources like artillery or anti-tank or bridging etc etc as needed.

The only difference here is that we have a whole herd of new sensor and weapon platforms and a new jointness aspect to the Multi-Domain battle looking for a home in the doctrine.

Unfortunately the article is behind a pay wall so it's a bit hard to see where it is leading. For me the hard question isn't so much what buzz word we use but at what level do we make these Lego pieces available and where do we concentrate the control and decision making processes to create a system that can use them all rapidly and efficiently. It was hard enough for a manoeuvre commander to understand air defence within his AOR in the days of just jets and helicopters (mostly they just let the experts make it happen around them). Now we're dealing with massively more complex matters. - Let's face it there were legion commanders who didn't know how to employ their archers and cavalry properly either. :giggle:

🍻
You bring up an interesting point FJAG and one that I think isn't given enough appreciation by military planners: our ability to actually effectively manage and employ all of these sensors and weapons.

If you have too much variety and choice, you actually overload a person's ability to make decisions in a timely and effective manner. This is known as analysis paralysis. You see this regularly in many areas of life, not just the military.

I feel like these strategies often ignore the most important aspects of warfare: mass and momentum. When employed appropriately and with a well thought out and coherent strategy, mass and momentum are decisive.

It doesn't require complex equipment or capabilities either. There are ample examples of poorly equipped forces using mass and momentum to achieve decisive results over superior equipped forces.

ISIS 2014 Iraq Offensive was 3 weeks long and they overran multiple divisions equipped with the full gambit of modern military equipment. They also captured and were able to hold a large swath of territory. This was all accomplished by an Armed Forces equipped with pick up trucks, small arms and some strong self-belief.

Yes, they were subsequently defeated after the entire World coalesced against them but the blitz they launched was impressive.

China's invasion of Korea during the Korean War was also similarly impressive. They possessed none of the fancy equipment UN Forces possessed but simply relied on mass, momentum and simple but effective tactics. Chinese PVA Divisions were never equipped with weapons much heavier than light machine guns and mortars, while UN Forces had tanks, attack aircraft, heavy artillery, etc.

The Chinese would always attack at night and were adept night fighters. They were also experts at patrolling and would infiltrate UN positions, surround them and attack from all sides to give the appearance that there were more of them than their actually were.
 
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