In this particular Warfighter exercise, the division observed that the terrain limited options for ground maneuver. A single penetration, though conservative and often effective, would not achieve the commander’s intent. The penetration presents the enemy with one problem—a problem that other units have presented repeatedly. Dilemmas are not the same as problems. A problem is a situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful that must be dealt with and overcome.
A dilemma, by contrast, is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones. To present the enemy with multiple dilemmas across multiple domains and in multiple locations, the division combined penetrations with audacious turning movements and tactical deceptions, complemented and reinforced with nonlethal effects.
The turning movements were achieved by conducting air assaults across the coordinated fire line and up to the fire support coordination line. To avoid enemy air defenses, these air assaults were often offset by several kilometers and at least a major terrain feature away from their intended target.
The targets were often key points of overwatch for particular underground facilities suspected of housing long-range artillery, or points of domination that could cover major avenues of approach. Timely execution of these air assaults forced the enemy to divert resources and attention from the advance of our armored formations along heavily defended avenues of approach and thereby dislocated the main enemy defenses.
In the cases where we were successful, the division forced the enemy to react to our operations and enter the fight on our terms. More importantly, we were able to achieve tempo not just through the sustained geographical advance of the forward line of troops,
But by persistently presenting complementary dilemmas to the enemy in unexpected ways to diminish adversaries decision space and disrupted their understanding of its own plan. By the time the enemy observed and oriented on one dilemma, the division sought to present another, thereby causing the enemy to not render a decision on the initial dilemma.