Document: Department of the Navy Unmanned Campaign Framework

March 16, 2021 12:00 PM

The following is the March 16, 2021, Department of the Navy Unmanned Campaign Framework.

From the report

The National Defense Strategy (NDS) defines “the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security as the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition” posed by Russia and China. It emphasizes that, “America’s military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield.” The developing abilities of nearpeer competitors drive the need for increased Naval capability distributed over a wider area. In order to meet the challenges of the future and align with strategic goals defined in the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy, the CNO’s Navigation Plan, and the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, the Navy and Marine Corps must innovate and accelerate delivery of credible and reliable unmanned systems in conjunction with increasingly capable manned platforms into the fleet.

Autonomous systems provide additional warfighting capability and capacity to augment our traditional combatant force, allowing the option to take on greater operational risk while maintaining a tactical and strategic advantage. The Navy and Marine Corps are already operating unmanned systems, and going forward will seek to achieve a seamlessly integrated manned-unmanned force across all domains. The question is not “if” the Naval force will prioritize and leverage unmanned platforms and systems, but how quickly and efficiently, in resource-constrained environments.

New technologies have changed society and the character of war. Many technological developments are sourced in the commercial sector which means competitors and non-state actors can access them. Maintaining the Department’s technological advantage will require deeper understanding of and integration with industry culture, better leveraging of unique investment sources, and enhanced protection across the National Security Innovation Base. In order for the Department to deliver unmanned capability at the speed of technology in an environment of competing budget priorities, the DoN has created an Unmanned Campaign Plan that will create a collaborative and actionable effort, focused on delivering and sustaining manned-unmanned teaming for the future maritime fight. This campaign plan is comprised of two elements, the framework which contains overall concepts and strategies, and the execution plan of action and milestones (POA&M) that ensures collaboration across Naval Forces to determine how unmanned systems will fit into the future fleet, and maximizes the value that they will provide for national security.

Unmanned systems will increase lethality, capacity, survivability, operational tempo, deterrence, and operational readiness. The Navy and Marine Corps must use tried and true measures of program development, such as the Navy’s AEGIS Program, where Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer, established a philosophy of “Build a Little, Test a Little, and Learn a Lot.” Through this philosophy the Department will move as quickly as technology allows, to develop and field proven capabilities to maintain a strategic and tactical advantage.

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