Warfare moving toward 'fires over maneuver,' Rainey says

By Dan Schere / May 7, 2024 at 1:01 PM

Army Futures Command Commanding Gen. James Rainey envisions warfare being more data-centric in the future and told attendees today at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security in Washington that he sees a "re-ascendance of fires over maneuver."

“It’s gone back and forth in history. But for the Army, maneuvering to position fires in support of the joint force would drive some major changes in both how we build our formations, and the balance between say, fire brigades, air defense brigades and maneuver brigades,” he said.

Rainey has previously said the force must merge offensive and defensive fires beyond 2030 and noted at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL earlier this year that he wants this to be done for systems such as Patriot, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and Army Tactical Missile System.

Rainey said Tuesday that the decade from 2030 to 2040 will be “really disruptive” when it comes to technology on the battlefield, but it’s also a time when the service will be able to make some “really dramatic transitions or transformations.”

“Everything going on right now is great, and I applaud things like [Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control]. But the real opportunity to move to data-centric warfare, software over hardware, where you don’t have to go out looking for the data. It’s in a place where it’s usable and accessible. Then you can really bring the power of things like AI and machine learning to bear,” he said.

Rainey also reiterated Tuesday the need for the Army to move to “capability-based” requirements documents, which he thinks will be helpful to industry.

“The less words, the better response we get out of industry,” he said.