Soldiers prepare an inflatable satellite communications system, one of the elements involved in the U.S. Army's "Project Convergence," an exercise to unite modern warfighting methods underway at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army's "Project Convergence" is underway in Arizona to integrate its various fighting capabilities into a unified force, its chief said on Friday.
The exercise seeks to ensure that the Army can rapidly use all its domains -- air, land, maritime, space and cyberspace -- to contend with adversaries. It is part of a plan to bring together all weapons and capabilities into the Army's new Multidomain Operations warfighting concept.
The exercise, which began in August at the U.S. Army Yuma Desert Proving Ground, will conclude next week.
Project Convergence centers on delivering data and cloud technologies to tactical commands and includes an overarching requirement to reduce time in combat decision-cycles. Complete MDO capability is expected by 2035.
"When you look at the individual efforts of the Cross-Functional Teams and the labs and centers, it's impressive how far we have come in the past two years," Gen. John Murray, commander of the Army Futures Command said in a statement, "but unless all of those systems can talk and work together, it's going to limit our ability to effectively integrate into joint and allied systems."
"We couldn't afford to wait any longer. Understanding now where to focus our efforts, we're bringing all of these capabilities along together the right way," Murray said.
The exercises are the culmination of the Army's use of six modernization priorities, called Cross-Functional Teams.
The effort has led to development of Long-Range Precision Fires, the Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Air and Missile Defense, Future Vertical Lift, Army Network, Air and Missile Defense, and Soldier Lethality. Additional CFTs will include Synthetic Training Environments and Assured Position, Navigation, and Timing.
The Army cites three key phases of the MDO: penetrating and neutralizing enemy long-range systems from operational and strategic distances; disintegrating enemy anti-access and area denial systems by taking out enemy long- and short-range systems; and exploiting freedom to maneuver to defeat enemy objectives and forces.
"Convergence is one of the tenets," Murray told Defense News. "The ability to converge effects across all five warfighting domains -- we're really taking that tenet and putting it together in the dirt, live and bringing multiple things together. The key thing here is being able to act faster than any opponent in the future."
While structured experiments of the MDO have occurred regularly through 2020, the capstone event is in Yuma, bringing together all elements of the operation.
Murray compared the Yuma exercises to the "Louisiana Maneuvers," a series of mock battles during World War II to determine how available Army technology could effectively fight against Germany's use of aircraft, tanks and radios.
"It was a combination of those three technologies and how the Germans put it together to execute what we call Blitzkrieg," he said, a reference to Germany's fast-moving mechanized warfare technique.