Having looked at the Russian military’s cyber warfare modernization, the
United States rushed to develop similar capabilities that could be used in the
event of a “large force-on-force conflict in a place like Europe.”
On August 11, the US Army announced the creation of the Army Rapid
Capabilities Office to prevent “capability gaps” that have formed within the
American military in recent years.
“Our adversaries are modernizing at a rapid rate, and in some cases, our
capabilities are inadequate to keep up, to maintain our edge,” Maj. Gen.
Walter E. Piatt, who is in charge of the operations in the new office said in
a statement. "We need to … make sure that they are offset from us, not the
other way around.”
Doug Wiltsie, a director of the Rapid Capabilities Office, at the time said
that it will focus on “urgent, immediate or emerging threats” defined by the
commanders on the ground. Army Secretary Eric Fanning obscurely remarked that
the new establishment will work on new capabilities development rather than on
creating new equipment. According to Defense One citing a military analyst,
many military authorities have been shocked by the pace of innovations in
electronic warfare showcased in Russia’s Syrian campaign, which saw the use of
“new waveforms that can disrupt an adversary’s electronics and paint enemy
According to Fanning, “the combination of unmanned aerial systems and
offensive cyber and advanced electronic warfare capabilities … provided
Russian forces a new degree of sophistication.”
On Wednesday, he said that the new office will be accelerating development of
cyber, electronic warfare, and position-and-timing gear.
Army Rapid Capabilities Office will use “targeted investments to execute
strategic prototyping, concept evaluation and limited equipping — especially
in areas where technology progresses rapidly,” Katrina McFarland, the Army
acquisition executive said. Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine,
observed that the establishment of such an office would mean that the US has
shifted its focus from the Middle East, where it has participated in a row of
conflicts, to Europe.
“My guess is … that after 15 years of doing largely counter-insurgency
operations in the Middle East, the Army is now taking a look at how it would
do large force-on-force conflict in a place like Europe,” he said.