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Pentagon leaders have made it clear that, as they see it, the digital battlefield is the battlefield of the future. In spite of this leading opinion, military exercises are still mostly focused on physical capabilities and traditional warfare means.
In 21st century conflict, digital warfighting is king, according to breakingdefense.com. Automation software, statistical modeling tools, and AI algorithms provide an opportunity to orient ourselves faster, respond more precisely, and predict outcomes further out than our adversaries. Our adversaries know this and have already begun their own heavy investments in these capabilities. And if software is a key to success in future conflict, the military’s exercises and preparations must adjust to reflect this reality.
Military exercises should increasingly reflect the pace and tempo of a rapid software lifecycle and should focus on solving digital friction points like data access, data preparation, software tool testing, and AI model refinement. Training operations should continue to focus on traditional warfighting skills and scenarios while incorporating digital tool training as much as possible.
CENTCOM has adopted this model in full force.
At headquarters, CENTCOM is running recurring software- and data-centric exercises throughout the year (named the CENTCOM “Digital Falcon” exercise series), focused on increasing the speed and precision of its operations by leveraging digital. At the CENTCOM components, innovation cells are driving testing and adoption of digital tools that complement the headquarters series. In between events, CENTCOM is investing in data labeling and digital literacy training that will fuel effective software tools and promote their widespread adoption.
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