Mitchell Institute Releases New Policy Paper: “Interdependent Warfare: Combined Effects Power in the 21st Century”

ARLINGTON, Va (March 23, 2018) —The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the latest installment in its Mitchell Institute Policy Papers series, “Interdependent Warfare: Combined Effects Power in the 21st Century,” by Mitchell’s Dean, Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.).

Expanding on strategies and concepts Deptula has testified on before Congress, this latest analysis explores how the US and its allies must mature and rethink how they field modern military capabilities. The US has to evolve past the practices and constructs that define modern interoperable combined arms warfare and embrace “interdependent warfare.”

Today, around the world, the US and its allies face a number of threats and potential adversaries that are modernizing their militaries with tools designed to thwart the combat advantages the US has honed since the end of Operation Desert Storm—rapid global power projection, low observability, precision strike, and a globe-spanning intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and command and control network. It would be “foolhardy to assume US forces will be afforded freedom of action in future engagements,” Deptula writes, and thus the strategies of the US and its allies must adapt.

With information as the dominant factor in future conflict, whichever side maintains the greatest connectivity with data and situational awareness has the edge in prevailing, he adds, and with the presence of modern missiles, anti-satellite weapons, remote piloted aircraft, and other weapons, “highly contested combat environments will be the norm, not the exception, creating very different conditions from today.” US strategies, acquisition efforts, planning, and training need to adjust to respond to the growing capability of potential adversaries. Tenets such as agility, initiative, depth, and synchronization were all attributes of the AirLand Battle concept 40 years ago, he notes, but in order to modernize the US must transition military operations from being “merely synchronized to being fully interdependent to maximize joint force effectiveness.” If the US is to prevail in future wars, it must move beyond the notion of combined arms warfare and embrace “combined effects power,” he adds—to achieve the right effect, at the right place, at the right time.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series of occasional papers that presents new thinking and proposals that respond to emerging security and aerospace power challenges in the 21st century. These papers are aimed at lawmakers and their staff, policy professionals, business and industry representatives, academics, journalists, and the informed public. The series aims to provide in-depth policy insights and perspectives to help illuminate potential solutions, based on the experiences and expertise of the authors, paired with studious supporting research.

For more information on the series, and inquiries about submissions, contact Mitchell’s Director of Publications Marc V. Schanz at or visit our website, at

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