Hellenic Land Force 2030: Maneuver & Network-Centric Warfare at the Multi-Domain Operating Environment Maj. Gen (ret) Polychronis Nalmpantis, PhD – Mphil Hellenic Army (Armor) Institute of International Relations


Hellenic Army Inspector General, General Nomikos.

Institute of International Relations’ Director, Professor       Papasotiriou.

Distinguished Guests.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Hellenic Land Force 2030 Slides

It is a great honor to be here, in the 3rd Land Forces Conference, by the Hellenic Army General Staff in cooperation with Institute of International Relations.

Thank you for inviting me in your significant international conference, which has been instituted by General Alkiviadis Stefanis, as Chief of HAGS, in 2017.

My speech revolves around the maneuver concept and the Hellenic Land Force 2030.

It is always difficult for defense planners to determine the assumptions with certainty, but I think, according to the analyses from the previous distinguished Speakers, we should try to at least agree on the nature of the future challenges, we will probably face.

The Global Trends 2030 Report, “Alternative Worlds”, by the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC), forecasts an increasing diffusion of power to regional competitor states and non-state actors. Turkey, neighbor and allied country, acts as a revisionist competitor state in our periphery, which violates the international order and international treaties. Also, the constant armament programs of the states, innovating modernization of combat platforms, cyber-threats, robotic and artificial intelligence are the new future challenges for the Land Forces.

The operating environment, moving to 2035, will be characterized by extremely high dynamic and complexity, and the “the nature of warfare” is broadening beyond traditional physical domains (as land, sea and air).

The environment will continue to change in four fundamental and interrelated ways: adversaries challenge the global order in all domains (as, land, sea, air, space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum); the battlespace is becoming more lethal, operational complexity is increasing globally, and deterring aggressive acts is becoming more challenging. Warfare today is characterized by a persistent full-spectrum competition, whilst the freedom of military forces to operate in the time and space of our choosing is increasingly challenged by the increase of integrated land, maritime, air and space systems, which is operating at ranges measured sometimes in the thousands of kilometers.

Military strategists have been writing on the principles and characteristics of warfare for more than two thousand years. Although the specific principles differ over time and in relation to particular strategists, the principle of maneuver has been an important concept and has been a determining factor in warfare since some of the earliest recorded battles.

The concept of maneuver involves the employment of forces in the operational area (OA) through movement in combination with fires to achieve a position of advantage in respect to the enemy.

Elements of maneuver warfare theory first appeared in the writings of Sun Tzu and were practiced at the Battle of Leuctra in ancient Greece. In the 17th and 18th century, we saw the rise of operational maneuver as Napoleon’s Grand Army swept through Europe in 1805. While Napoleon recognized and utilized operational maneuver, it was not until the battles of the American Civil War, that it truly became institutionalized as a formal part of doctrine. So, more sophisticated applications of maneuver warfare principles generated successes for Napoléon and Confederate, General Stonewall Jackson. During World War Two, the German’s use of Blitzkrieg ushered in another evolutionary step in maneuver shifting from attrition to maneuver warfare.

The Israel Defense Forces in their wars of 1967 and 1973 demonstrated their adaptation and mastery of Blitzkrieg resulting in deep maneuver with the aim of winning quickly, while transferring the fight onto Arab territory. Maneuver warfare resulted in decisive victories for the Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Five years later, the United States Department of Defence initially issued a document for the vision of future joint operations, which is called Joint Vision (JV) 2010 in 1996, and it is followed by the Joint Vision 2020, released on May, 2000.  These documents aimed to achieve dominance across the full range of military operations, through the application of new operational concepts, which are: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection, and focused logistics.

Dominant maneuver uses “decisive speed and overwhelming operational tempo” and is to be applied across the “full range of military operations”, and the pivotal characteristic of precision engagement is the linking of sensors, delivery systems, and effects. According to JV 2020, dominant maneuver will be the multi-dimensional application of information, engagement and mobility capabilities to position and employ widely dispersed joint, land, air, sea, and space forces to accomplish the assigned operational tasks.

Indeed, the 2003 Iraq War, it is observed that, in the main, the Iraqi forces were beaten quickly, spectacularly and comprehensively by a joint force using what were, on balance, mostly first generation network-centric technologies and concepts.

Networking will allow the sharing of a common and current relevant picture of the operational environment across all components of the joint force. This will, in turn, improve a force’s situational awareness, coordination, and importantly, decision-making ability. The joint force will exploit this as it is able to prepare for and conduct operations more smoothly and quickly.

While at that time, the American military thought presented the new operational concepts on the battlefield, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) practiced a different operational approach regarding the land maneuver, which is called “maneuver reluctant”.

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, it has been presented the difficulty by the decision-makers to take decision for the launching land offensive maneuver by the IDF. Moreover, military operations in Gaza strip, (such as Operations Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge), planned and carried out in order to achieve the strategic goal by using only counter stand-off fire, without endangering forces, so that, it would appeared to be the better alternative solution.

The general tendency, from the viewpoint of the Israeli General Staff, was to invest only the essential minimum in land forces; suddenly seemed to have an internal logic. A debate regarding the required balance between land maneuver on the one hand and airstrikes on the other had been underway in the IDF for years. “Maneuver reluctance” was a concept that has been quite common in the discourse among senior military army officers.

Actually, the military, strategic, technological and social circumstances of those decades had led the IDF into a process that had pushed land maneuver out off the center stage from the military and strategic concepts.

In May 2014, Major General Guy Tzur, Israel Ground Forces Commander, concluded that the next wars and the challenges posed by the enemy against the Israel state and in order to achieve the objective within a reasonable time, must be capable to provide a more complete response, based on all the tools available to the Israel Defence Forces, including land forces maneuver. He made the decision for a broad strategic learning process, which is called “Land Ahead”, in the spring of 2014.

So then, “Land Ahead” proposed the goal: “Framing a realistic vision of an effective and vigorous land maneuver – a maneuver that embodies the potential, in combination with the other strengths of the IDF, for a decisive defeat”. “Decisive defeat” would be the outcome of building a complete and synchronized IDF system – a precise and tighter connection of land, air and intelligence forces.

The concept “Land Ahead” is designed to produce genuine combined arms maneuver in which the intelligence, aerial, information, communications, and technology (ICT) domains, together with the presence of land forces inside enemy territory, and with appropriate logistical support, create synergies, making it very difficult for the enemy to adapt to the speed of their operations. Lastly, “Land Ahead,” improved the ability of the IDF to execute deep maneuver, as has been dictated by IDF military strategy, and used advanced networked capabilities.

The evolution of maneuver is stressed in the United States Army-Marines Corps White Paper “Multi-Domain Battle: Combined Arms for the 21st Century,” which has been published by Army Training and Doctrine Command, in December 2017. Multi-Domain Battle requires the ability to maneuver in deep areas and deliver effects across all domains in order to develop and exploit battlefield opportunities across a much larger operational framework.

In this way, maneuver (physically, virtually, and/or cognitively), executed simultaneously across the expanded battlespace, seeks to attack critical vulnerabilities in the adversary’s systems and campaign plans in different ways to create multiple dilemmas for the enemy.

Future adversaries will attack Land forces not only on the land domain, but on all domains of land, air, maritime, space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum. Such enemy forces will use new or maturing technologies, including Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Enemy’s forces will fight in environments disadvantageous to our Forces or Allied forces, such as dense urban environments, subterranean environments, or the cyberspace domain.

Therefore, the core doctrine for the most advanced military powers in the 21st century will be the concept of Multi-Domain Dominant Maneuver, as a central operational tenet.

Multi-Domain Dominant Maneuver (MDDM) seeks to negate the adversary’s strategy and destroy its vulnerabilities through decisive operations at all domains by Joint Task Force or Allied Forces, whilst these shall operate at Deep Maneuver Area and Deep Fires Area, supported by Network Centric Warfare.

This tenet, of course, applies to the traditional domains of conflict via land, sea and air, as well as, the newer domains such as cyber and space. Integral to all of these conflict domains is the principle of the “Indirect Approach”, which was forcefully articulated by Basil Liddell Hart, which morphed into the modern concept of “Maneuver Warfare”.

Regarding Greece’s defence, the Hellenic Army – indeed all elements of Defense – of the future, must be remain ready for war. I mean, the Hellenic Army will need to improve its military capabilities that are likely to be needed and probably to be used in the future not only to deter and confront the Turkish threat in the Aegean sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, but also to be relevant to our Allies, and bring the kind of capabilities they need.

The Hellenic Ministry of National Defence (MoND) published its Strategic Defence Review (SDR 2001), in September 2001. The Defence Review suggested changes on force structure, command and control in the direction of jointnes, smaller in size, modern and flexible joint forces, creation of a two-level army, professional and conscriptive, cost-effective in defence spending and use of new technology.

In 2012, it was issued the “GUIDELINES” (For the route of Hellenic Armed Forces in a Challenging Era)” by General Mikhail Kostarakos, Chief of HNDGS, focusing on “Dominance at the Joint Battlespace”, which emphasized on mobility, maneuver and power projection in all domains, instead of attrition conflict and also the enhance country’s defence and counter-offensive military capabilities.

Recently, Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, speaking at the Parliament’s members of Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, emphasized that the Hellenic Armed Forces should reorganize their force structure, focusing on technological superiority and the utilization of modern information systems, command and control systems, as well as on cyber security.

Therefore, the Hellenic Land Force 2030 is required to have increased speed, mobility, agility, lethality, precision strike, intelligence superiority, integrated force protection and focused logistics to carry out multi-domain battle throughout multi-domain dominant maneuver and network-centric operations at future operating environment of Greece – Cyprus, also at joint operations with Allies. It is estimated that the Hellenic General Staffs must plan and take decisions in order for these new operational concepts to be incorporated into the military strategy and doctrine of the Hellenic Armed Forces.

To Conclude,

Land forces in the future will fight in more lethal battlefields in degraded conditions, as enemy adaptations and procurement of advanced technologies will allow successful disruption and denial of our advantages. We must be capable of effective power projection, beyond land, operating into all domains with multi-domain dominant maneuver.

I consider that Hellenic Land Force 2030 needs to develop creative approaches in order to achieve winning operational results in a multi-domain environment. We know that warfare after all is a human endeavour. While the concept of multi-domain dominant maneuver may require new technologies, the most amazing consequence will be the way in which Greek professional officers will develop their military organization and will use the military doctrine and technology to win in future conflict.

Hellenic Army is at a crossroads. The evolution of “multi-domain battle” and “multi-domain dominant maneuver” from new concept to operational doctrine demands the understanding, the creativity and the feedback.

Last but not least,

Studying and analyzing the Hellenic military thought and doctrine, since 1830 to present, the Hellenic Army did not achieve successful deep maneuver during the state’s wars.

This was as the result of current military doctrine per period, the non-motorization and non-mechanization of the Army and the inadequate logistics and technology support. Frontal attack with heavy casualties and artillery supporting fire was the applied model of conflict. However, there were timely visioner Greek officers, with a prominent military thought, who supported the operational maneuver and maneuver warfare in their writings.

Dear Cadets and Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thank you for your attention.