Mitchel Institute Releases New Research Study
Restoring America’s Military Competitiveness: Mosaic Warfare

ARLINGTON, VA (September 11, 2019) —The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the release of its latest research study, Restoring America’s Military Competitiveness: Mosaic Warfare by Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), and Heather Penney with Maj Gen Lawrence Stutzriem, USAF (Ret.), and Mark Gunzinger.

The fall of the Soviet Union and post-9/11 conflicts have transformed the U.S. military away from one that was optimized for high-end peer conflict to one designed to address limited regional hostilities. While the United States focused on counterinsurgency operations, nations like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea aggressively advanced their military capabilities. The resultant increase in threats capable of challenging the United States demands a robust, strategic approach from the Department of Defense.

However, the U.S. military finds itself poorly aligned to meet these new challenges from an ends-ways-means perspective. Taking the Air Force as an example, the service has endured nearly 30 years of resource cuts that have reduced key force structure elements by more than half. Air Force force structure is the smallest and the oldest in the service’s history. High operational tempo has worn both equipment and people. The bottom-line effect is that the nation is now ill-prepared to face the challenges posed by sophisticated nation-state threats.

Over the past few decades, global competitors studied how the U.S. military fights as a system, and they have responded smartly. Their strategy, operational concepts, and associated weapons are aligned to counter American military strengths. For the first time since the Cold War, the nation finds itself having to rethink its approach to warfare. The U.S. defense enterprise must unify around a future of U.S. warfighting strategy and a commensurate new force design. The approach cannot simply be a better status quo.

This study explores how the mosaic warfare formulation put forth by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is designed to meet these aims. It is a future force design that leverages the dynamic relationship between force structure and operational concepts to gain offensive initiative against any enemy while being highly adaptable across the spectrum of military operations. The objective of the mosaic force design is to exploit information networks to create a highly disaggregated kill web that minimizes targetable U.S. nodes while ensuring that the U.S. military enterprise remains effective in contested environments.

The United States faces a crucial decision point. Without change, the public warnings of many in the defense community—that the nation risks losing its next conflict—may come true.

The Mitchell Institute’s research studies serve as an authoritative avenue for innovative, in-depth, insightful, and effective ideas and solutions for strengthening and enhancing aerospace power. For more information on Mitchell’s studies, and inquiries about submissions, contact Mitchell’s Director of Publications Marc V. Schanz at 
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