Overcoming Institutional Inertia in the Pacific

The current and future security environment require each service to exert influence in non-traditional domains, US Pacific Command boss Adm. Harry Harris said Tuesday. “Now I believe that world events are underscoring the urgency to develop this cross-domain capability, especially here in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” Harris said while speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference via Skype. “In order to stay ahead of these challenges, we can’t allow institutional inertia to stand in our way to achieve cross-domain operations.” As an example, he said the Army has to be able to sink ships, neutralize satellites, shoot down missiles, and hack or jam the enemy’s ability to command and control its forces. Harris said PACOM’s area of responsibility is a multi-domain theater due to growing populations and growing militaries with high-end capabilities. He noted Russia and China are investing in anti-access, area-denial capabilities with long-range missiles backed by networked ships, submarine, and aircraft and that North Korea is the only country to test nuclear weapons this century. An integrated joint force will be able to deter “rising powers by denying them the domains in which they seek to operate,” he said. “We must be able to execute joint operations across far more domains than planners accounted for in the past. We need a degree of jointness, in my opinion, at which no one military service dominates and no domain has a fixed boundary. A combatant commander must be able to create effects from any single domain to targets in every domain in order to fight tonight and win.” (See also: Airmen Ready to Fight Tonight, Across the Pacific.)