30 Jun 2021

Strategic Command Multi Domain Integration Industry Day – techUK Summary

techUK summarises the key points from Strategic Command’s MDI Industry Day

What is Multi Domain Integration (MDI)?

  • MDI is the posturing of military capabilities with other instruments of national power, allies, and partners; configured to sense, understand, and orchestrate effects at the optimal tempo, across the operational domains and levels of warfare.

There are four core tenets behind the MDI Concept:

  • Information Advantage;
  • Strategically Postured;
  • Configured for the Environments;
  • Creating and Exploiting Synergy;

MDI Introduction

  • Pursue integration to better compete across the Maritime, Land, Air, Cyber and Space operating domains and levels of warfare;
  • MDI also means integrations with industry, allies, and partners across government;
  • MDI is the primary operational change programme for the Ministry of Defence (MOD);
  • MDI requires better engagement with suppliers and industry, encompassing:


    • Strategic Necessity;
    • Operational independence;
    • Value for money;
    • Global competition;


  • From an MDI perspective, the Armed forces need to drive change to target those three areas that are key, which are:


    • Unified ways of working between all parts of Defence, which uses every capability in concert to support a desired outcome;
    • Using modern technology to enable this to happen more quickly, more efficiently, and more often;
    • Changing the mindset across Defence to embrace MDI, given it affects all parts of the enterprise;


  • To enable all of the above, industry intelligence is required;
  • MDI will be an ongoing journey over the long-term, requiring close collaboration with industrial partners to succeed;

What does MDI mean to Operational Commander now and in the future?

  • MDI offers Defence integration across the operational domains, across government and with allies below the threshold of armed conflict;
  • MDI has maximized opportunities for land, air, or sea and with MDI it can choose how best to deliver the aspects of joint domain;
  • Traditional geographic boundaries do not apply to MDI;
  • The services need to employ strategic patience and a degree of understanding;
  • MDI offers Defence the chance to embrace innovation and understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and other behaviours;

Overview of MDI Change Programme:

Benefits of MDI include:

  • Persistent national strategic advantage;
  • Integration by instinct;
  • Modernised force structures and capabilities;
  • Faster and better decision making for operators;

The overall construct of the MDI programme is based on:

  • People and skills;
  • New capabilities;
  • Force development and experimentation;
  • Process and governance;
  • Digitisation;

The MDI Change Programme will operate through 5 roles:

  • Cohere
  • Prioritise
  • Promote
  • Exploit
  • Direct

The programme will achieve MDI through 5 key elements:

  • Integrating capabilities;
  • Orchestrating activity & effects;
  • Improving understanding;
  • Creating agility at all levels;
  • Enhancing global reach;

Focused MDI Interventions:

  • North Atlantic Use Case – Maritime centric to Multi Domain approach;
  • Baltic Compete – Land centric to Multi Domain approach;
  • Dark Star – Concept demonstrator;
  • Special Forces Operational Trial Period – Progress delivery of special operations concept;

Priorities from Integrated Review – Front Line Command Perspectives  

Key principles for Royal Navy:

  • Expand capabilities and ship building increased by 65%;
  • Protecting critical national infrastructure;
  • Exploring new technologies to deliver effect;
  • Integration with other FLCs;
  • Future commando force – fighting alongside special forces;
  • Working across allies and industry partners to achieve MDI;

Key principles for the British Army:

  • People are the main focus;
  • Soldiers are the sensors and bearers of messages;
  • Land MDI poses challenges:
    • Integrating the soldier as a sensor and bearer;
    • Geographical challenges of moving increasing large amounts of data;

These challenges will be met through integration of the following areas:

  • Evolved digital backbone;
  • Long range ISTAR;
  • Long range fires;
  • Air and UAS defence;
  • Next gen aviation systems;
  • Next gen combat vehicles;
  • Human optimization and automation;
  • Synthetic training environment;

Key principles for the RAF:

  • Digitised into joint and coalition battlespace
  • Air / Defence experimentation
  • Air / Defence synthetics
  • AI – enabled DM

Key principles for Space Command:

  • Space capabilities essential for daily life;
  • Information age underpinned by Space-based capabilities;
  • Space-based capabilities are a common enabler for FLC operating domains;
  • As an enabler, Space-based capabilities are already a key aspect of MDI;
  • Space Command helps connect, interact, and operate with multiple domains
  • Able to move across and between different theatres of war

Key principles for Strategic Command:

MDI encompasses the breadth of Strategic Command capability development, including:

  • Digital backbone
  • Cyber & Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digital transformation
  • Cloud computing
  • Synthetics

DE&S Future Capability Group – Accelerating MDI into capabilities

  • 100 FTE’s ‘cross functional’ teams;
  • Circa 15 programmes, 1-3 years, £150-£300m of funding;
  • New capability areas – requiring novel tech and approaches;
  • Focus capability acceleration, not on research;
  • Establishment of new capability centres of excellence (e.g., digital battlespace CoE);