It is crucial for India to embrace multi-domain operations

Source– The post is based on the article “It is crucial for India to embrace multi-domain operations” published in The Hindu on 4th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Security

News–  The article explains the concept of multi-domain operations and its relevance for India. It also explains the steps needed to embrace the concept of MDO.

What is the concept of Multi Domain Operations?

It is not just actions on land, in sea, air, cyber, space and in the electromagnetic spectrum. It comprises operations conducted across multiple domains and contested spaces.

It needs convergence of capabilities to overcome an adversary’s strengths. This means having a common operating picture across all domains which forms the basis of any decision.

It is the best positioned and capable operator of any service using its capabilities across any domain. Thus, an Army coastal missile battery could be tasked to strike an enemy naval vessel detected by the radar of an Air Force aircraft.

What are the requirements for MDO?

It requires the technical complexity and the command, control and communication (C3) structure.

It would have inputs from all sensors for optimum engagement solution using artificial intelligence.

This demands three things. First, all sensors must be capable of being hosted on the MDO architecture.

Second, all executors must be able to receive inputs and instructions from the C3 structure and carry them out.

Third, if the link to the main structure is not available, the distributed control of mission command should ensure that operations continue.

Should India embrace the concept of MDO?

This is a complicated process. It requires pioneering technologies. Only nations with a developed scientific base and financial standing can afford it. It would require a complete relook at doctrine, planning, acquisition, staffing and training.

But, China is attempting to match U.S. military power. It has technologies and finances for Multi Domain Operations. India should acquire this capability for deterring China

Russia-Ukraine conflict has shown the utility of MDO. The West is helping Ukrainians to utilise the power of MDO to  to strike Russian targets.

What is the way forward to embrace the concept of MDO?

A four-pronged strategy is suggested. First, in the short-term, traditional physical domains must be stabilised. The critical deficiencies of the services should be plugged.

Second, Command, Control and Communication networks need to be protected against cyber threats. They need to be linked and synchronised so that seamless exchange of data is ensured.

Third, for the long term, a pilot project must be started now so that challenges in the creation of an MDO environment can be understood. The pilot project would identify the technologies and financial requirements.

Finally, it is vital to train and educate personnel starting now. There is a need to inculcate critical thinking and problem solving skills at the operational level of war amongst Joint All Domain Specialists.

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