Military Review

The concept of sixth generation wars in the context of international security

Preface. This article was published on 22 in January 2014 of the year under the heading “Russia and the World” on the Russian Bastion website. What is the relevance of this article and the views of its author now, except for the scientific perspective? It is thought that in today's concrete examples, which the author prudently spoke about. After all, at the time of the publication of the article, the civil war in Ukraine did not start and Russia did not start the counter-terrorist operation in Syria, where the elements of the new generation of war described in the article show with amazing accuracy.

The article is devoted to the study of the revolutionary changes in military affairs that are currently taking place. An approach to the evolution of wars is suggested, which involves their division into six generations. The central issue of the article is the influence of the concept of wars of the sixth generation on the modern system of international security. The position of the author is that, despite significant changes in military theory, the concept of sixth generation wars has not yet produced revolutionary changes in the international security system. In the final part of the article, the author sets out his view on the prospects for the modernization of the Russian Army in the spirit of the concept of wars of the sixth generation and justifies the need to choose just such a development path for the Russian Armed Forces.
The war is a complex socio-political phenomenon, the most famous of its definition suggested K.Klauzevits: "War is an act of violence, with the aim of forcing the enemy to fulfill our will" [5]. The well-known French researcher R. Aaron suggests a different interpretation of the concept of war: “War is a specific social phenomenon that probably arose at some specific moment of human stories: they mean the organization of violent actions, opposing communities ”[1. C. 409]. Over 5,5 thousands of years of human civilization, more than 15 thousands of armed conflicts have occurred on earth, “in which approximately 3,5 billion people died” [4. C. 354].

During the evolution of human society, both the means of warfare and the methods of conducting military actions changed. Such changes in military science, which had a fateful character for the whole history of mankind, are usually called “revolution in military affairs”. Domestic researcher, professor of military sciences V.Slipchenko in his book “Wars of the sixth generation: weapon and the military art of the future "gives the following definition of this phenomenon:" The revolution in military affairs is such fundamental and qualitative changes that occur under the influence of scientific and technological progress in the means of warfare, which also radically change the construction and training of the armed forces, methods of military action and war in general ”[8. C. 55]. This thesis looks particularly relevant in view of the fact that the military-political doctrines of modern states are built on a “technocratic” paradigm that assigns the key role of military-industrial technologies in maintaining or changing the status of a country in the international arena [7. C. 25-26]. It is another qualitative breakthrough in the art of warfare, as well as potential changes in the international security system associated with it, are proposed for consideration in this article.

So, introducing the term “revolution in military affairs” into circulation, it seems necessary to answer the question about the number of such revolutions in the history of mankind. Russian researchers V.I. Slipchenko and I.M. Kapitan consider that there were six of them. In accordance with the six military revolutions, these authors distinguish six generations of wars (see table 1 [8. C. 27]).

The sixth generation war, which this article is devoted to, is, for the most part, a 21st century war. It can be defined as a contactless nuclear-free war of strategic scale. The main goal of the opposing sides is to destroy the economic potential of the enemy, as well as to change his political system.

If the concept of wars of the fifth generation was based on the massive use of nuclear missiles, the concept of wars of the sixth generation is based on the principle of large-scale use of high-precision weapons (hereinafter WTO), the selectivity and accuracy of destruction are its main combat characteristics.

The most complete definition of precision weapons, in our opinion, is given in the book of the Admiral fleet I. Kapitanets “A strong fleet - a strong Russia”: “High-precision weapons are such a type of conventional conventional weapons that the probability of hitting small targets from the first launch is close to one, even if the target is at an intercontinental range, in any situation” [ 4. C. 367]. The bet on the massive use of the WTO is a revolutionary component in the art of war, thanks to which the sixth generation wars are different from previous types of armed conflicts.

The fundamental differences between the wars of the sixth generation, in addition to the massive use of the WTO, also include:
First, the creation of a single information field, within which the entire military group of the opposing side operates. That is, combat operations are conducted in real time with the constant exchange of information between formations, units, subunits, individual units of equipment, and even (possibly) between individual servicemen.

The concept of sixth generation wars in the context of international security

The formation of such an information field is laid down in the principles of building a “network army” and conducting a “network-centric warfare” (“Network-centric warfare”). Consequently, in the wars of the future, not only the weapons system, but also the conditions for waging war, conceptually change. The essence of changes in the conditions of warfare is the "fundamental shift from what we call the platform-centric war to what we call the network-centric war" [9. C. 216].

When waging a platform-centric warfare, information about the enemy comes from “platforms” (military vehicles, ships, aircraft, satellites, reconnaissance groups, observation posts), and commanders of different levels have their own access limits to information. During the network-centric warfare, the limits of the information environment expand not only for commanders, but also for each individual combat unit [9. C. 216-217] (that is, a commander of any level, the crew tank or aircraft has access to the general information field). The creation of such an information field at any theater of war anywhere in the world is available only to a country with a powerful satellite constellation and its own global satellite positioning system, such as American GPS, Russian GLONASS and European Galileo.

Secondly, the list of environments in which military operations are conducted expands. Due to the increased role of satellite constellations, it is likely that the armed opposition will be transferred to the space environment. Moreover, these hostilities will most likely consist not only in the destruction of satellites; It is quite possible that near-earth space will become the location for the placement of carriers of high-precision weapons, as well as weapons based on new physical principles (primarily laser and electromagnetic). The main zone of confrontation in space will be the zone in the 100-500 range of kilometers, as it has very significant advantages, namely: “high efficiency of the earth survey due to the smallest period of orbital means circulation; the relative ease of detecting, intercepting and destroying launch vehicles and their payloads (intercontinental ballistic missiles, warheads, orbital objects); high efficiency of destruction by non-tracking means from space for ground targets; low required radio emission power for energy-information warfare ”[9. C. 298].

In the wars of the new generation, the values ​​of supremacy in the aerospace space sharply increase. The combat capability of the country's air force and military space forces, as well as of aerospace defense, will be the determining factor necessary for victory in the 21st century war. Probably, aerospace defense will include “air and space early warning systems about the take-off and flight of air carriers of high-precision cruise missiles (hereinafter CD) of a potential enemy, ultra-long air interceptors of air and sea carriers to the launch line of their missiles, as well as special anti-aircraft rocket complexes of ultra-long-distance non-radar detection, high-speed interception of air carriers of the Kyrgyz Republic ”[8. C. 365].

The value of war at sea will also increase. Ship groupings in the sixth generation wars will become a place of concentration of precision weapons and their carriers (deck aviation, surface and submarine ships), included in a single information field, such compounds will be able to deliver strikes of enormous power over the territory of a hostile state, its naval forces and economic facilities. This can be confirmed by two recent armed conflicts - the NATO forces operation against Yugoslavia (1999), as well as the invasion of the United States and its allies in Iraq (2003). In both cases, ship groupings were used. According to I.M. Kapitanets, during the war in Iraq (2003), the US Navy included 5 multi-purpose aircraft carriers with 160 carrier-based strike aircraft; 15 carriers of sea-based cruise missiles, of which 5 are nuclear submarines, as well as 10 cruisers and destroyers of URO with 430 missiles on board. In the course of a military company, about 2000 KRs were released across Iraq [4. C. 378].
The nature of ground operations will change. In close cooperation with the air force, the ground forces will widely use precision weapons, while protecting themselves from the enemy’s precision weapons. Ground battle will turn into ground-air.

Finally, electronic warfare is of paramount importance. The destruction of a single information field of the enemy, as well as the successful defense of its own information field can be crucial in the wars of the sixth generation.
Thirdly, in armed conflicts of a new type, the role of information-psychological struggle will increase significantly. As an example, here should be given the data presented in the book of M.P.Trebin “Wars of the XXI century”: for 38 days of the air company of coalition forces against Iraq, during operation “Desert Storm”, the loss of the Iraqi armed forces in aviation amounted to all 10 %, in armored vehicles - 18%, in artillery - 20%, and as a result of propaganda, the morale of the Iraqi army decreased by 40-60% [9. C. 215].

These are the main features of armed conflicts of the sixth generation. Now we should turn to the central issue of this article, namely, to consider the possible consequences of the next revolution in military affairs for the modern system of international security. Today, the strategic balance between nuclear powers is ensured by their mutual nuclear deterrence. That is, in the event of an armed conflict between the member countries of the “nuclear club”, the warring parties will cause each other unacceptable damage, which, in modern conditions, can not arrange any of the developed industrialized countries. Mutual deterrence between nuclear powers and other states is carried out, firstly, at the expense of the rule of non-use of nuclear weapons and, secondly, also at the expense of a certain guarantee of causing unacceptable damage. The latter means that even a militarily strong state in a fourth-generation conflict, albeit with a weaker adversary, can suffer significant losses, which is likely to lead to a complication of the socio-political and economic situation in the country (quite indicative examples: Vietnam for the USA and Afghanistan for the USSR). "Now, no civilized state with a developed economic base and infrastructure can survive even the fourth-generation past war using conventional means of destruction, and even less nuclear ones" [8. C. 365]. The same principle is absolutely valid for the system of mutual deterrence between ordinary members of the world community - medium and small states. Of course, security guarantees for medium and small states are also provided by the great powers, into whose zones of influence they belong. In addition, the existing system of international security is provided by various international institutions, as well as an extensive system of international law.

Nevertheless, some researchers, for example, VI Slipchenko, believe that a power possessing an army built on the network principle and large stocks of high-precision weapons will be able to inflict unacceptable damage on its opponents, and those, in turn, with nuclear weapons weapons, do not dare to use it, fearing a retaliatory nuclear strike. Speaking of the conflict of such a power with a country that does not have nuclear weapons, the illusion of impunity arises to an even greater degree. Based on this opinion, it can be concluded that the existing system of international security must undergo serious changes, to be objective, it must be practically destroyed. Following this logic, it can be stated that any developed country that has sufficient potential to wage wars of the sixth generation can, with impunity, change the political regime in another country (not so successful in building a “network army”), bring its natural resources under control, building industry. It can also be argued that nuclear deterrence goes into oblivion, and it is being replaced by strategic deterrence based on the accumulation by the great powers of large stocks of high-precision weapons for inflicting unacceptable damage to an equilibrium adversary.

However, in our opinion, there are many serious factors hindering the implementation of such scenarios. First of all, speaking of the symmetric conflict of two states possessing nuclear weapons, with significant dominance in the field of high-precision weapons of one of them, it is not quite true to say that a country that has been defeated in a high-tech confrontation will not use nuclear weapons. Referring to the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation from 2010 year. There is literally a direct answer to this question: “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in the case of aggression against the Russian Federation using conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is at risk ”[2]. To speak of the lack of political will to make a decision on a nuclear strike, in our opinion, is inappropriate, since this issue is more likely related to the sphere of political psychology. In any case, the presence or absence of political will from the leadership of a state can be predicted, making political portraits of their leaders, but such predictions do not give an absolute guarantee that the nuclear button will not be pressed, and in the absence of such a guarantee to attack the country -A member of a nuclear club is an unacceptable risk. Concluding these arguments, in our opinion, it is necessary to quote A. Malygina, one of the authors of the collection Problems of Security and Military Security Policy in International Relations: “The idea of ​​nuclear deterrence, if not at the level of the world community, then at the level of national military the doctrines are still perceived as quite rational ”[6. C. 90]. In her opinion, the countries-members of the nuclear club will abandon their nuclear arsenals only in the case of inventing a more efficient and sophisticated type of weapon [7. C. 26-27] (today there is no such development - note auth.). This view seems the most rational.

The second important factor that does not allow today to talk about the revolutionary changes in the system of international security is the phenomenon of asymmetric conflicts. Such a conflict implies the opposition of the regular army with scattered sabotage and terrorist groups using various methods of guerrilla warfare, and the regular army does not always come out the winner from such clashes. The following examples of asymmetric conflicts can be cited, where the use of elements of a network-centric war by one of the belligerents did not produce the desired results: the operations of the US and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq (it’s too early to talk about their completion, but also to achieve the objectives in both cases, it can be argued that the coalition forces were in a rather difficult situation); Israeli army’s operation against the Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006 (the objectives of the operation were not achieved, and the Israeli armed forces suffered sensitive losses).

However, the tactics of asymmetric warfare can also be applied to a militarily weak state that has been attacked by a stronger enemy using the concept of sixth generation wars. Subversive detachments and camouflaged weapons storage sites can be prepared in advance and take effect after the completion of the aerospace-naval strike operation, when the ground forces of the aggressor enter the territory of the country. These troops are awaited by the so-called “myatozhevoynoy”, the concept of which was developed by the colonel of the Russian Imperial Army, E.E. Messner, in his book “Mutiny - the name of the third world”. “In a“ mutatish war ”, they will fight not on the line, but on the entire surface of the territory of both opponents, because behind the arms front there will be political, social, economic fronts; they will fight not on a two-dimensional surface, as of old, not in three-dimensional space, as it was from the moment of the appearance of military aviation, but in four-dimensional, where the psyche of the warring nations is the fourth dimension ”[9. C. 511].

However, some researchers argue that the ground part of the operation is not necessary, but in our opinion this is not quite true. In the war of the sixth generation, as in the armed conflicts of the previous types, it is hardly possible to accomplish the goals set without a ground operation. Given that the 21st century will be the century of “wars for resources” [3], establishing control over the territory of the enemy will be an indispensable goal of armed conflicts. But it is impossible to establish control over a territory until a soldier’s foot sets on it, which, in turn, reduces to no the illusion of impunity for a contactless war — a ground operation implies a loss. Thus, it is possible to draw an intermediate conclusion that the emergence of the concept of sixth generation wars, although it led to qualitative changes in the nature of warfare, did not lead to revolutionary changes in the modern international security system, at least for now.

Today there are a small number of the most militarily developed countries ready for the gradual modernization of their armed forces in line with the concept of sixth generation wars.

The undisputed leader here is the United States, which has developed a comprehensive program for the modernization of the armed forces and tested its innovations in conflicts in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq [8. C. 59].

Despite the significant lag behind Washington due to the crisis of the military-industrial complex and the army in the 1990-s, the Russian Federation is making significant efforts to modernize the army to conduct contactless nuclear-free wars.

China is also seeking to adapt its army to participate in the armed conflicts of the new generation [10].

Some countries of the European Union, primarily the United Kingdom and France, have their own programs in the development of precision weapons and the modernization of the armed forces.

Some countries are introducing in their armed forces certain elements of the “network armies” of the new generation. These countries should include Israel, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, India.

In the current situation, Russia needs to adhere to a policy of nuclear deterrence with the countries possessing nuclear weapons, with a gradual addition of nuclear deterrence to strategic deterrence. Despite the fact that, in our opinion, as noted above, an attack on a nuclear power even with the use of high-precision weapons is an unacceptable risk, one can hypothetically imagine a situation in which one of the great powers will accumulate such large stocks of high-precision weapons with such high tactics technical characteristics that will be able to completely disable the nuclear arsenal of their opponents. In this case, the modern system of international security will indeed change radically and the emergence of such a situation is unacceptable for Russia. Consequently, it is necessary to continue the improvement of all components of the nuclear triad in order to ensure their ability to cause unacceptable damage to any enemy. You should also create an effective and difficult to overcome defense system against high-precision weapons around the locations and starting positions of Russian nuclear forces. At the same time, it is necessary to accumulate own reserves of high-precision weapons with high tactical and technical characteristics to ensure the ability of the Armed Forces of Russia to cause unacceptable damage to any enemy, not only with nuclear weapons, but also with high-precision weapons.

Despite the fact that, today, the concept of wars of the sixth generation did not lead to revolutionary changes in the international security system, it raised the art of warfare to a new level. As for the changes in the international security system, it is quite likely that in time they will come and strategic deterrence will become an equally important factor in the relations of states in the international arena than nuclear deterrence. However, the most important reason why Russia should modernize its armed forces, adhering to the concept of wars of the sixth generation, is the fact that the use of this concept (or at least its elements) will allow the Russian army to conduct military operations most efficiently and with fewer losses at any point the globe, in any conditions, with any adversary. This means defending and realizing long-term national interests, protecting the sovereignty and integrity of Russia, and reliably ensuring the safety of its citizens.

Used Books
1. Aron R. Peace and war between nations. M .: ed. Nota Bene, 2000 g., 879 with.
2. Military doctrine of the Russian Federation from April 21 2010 / Official website of the President of the Russian Federation //
3. Interview V.S. Yagyi to the newspaper St. Petersburg statements from 18 May 2007 of the year / Rabkovsky A. Priorities of Smolensk Square //
4. Captain I.M. A strong fleet - a strong Russia. M .: ed. Veche, 2006 g., 544 with.
5. Clausewitz K. About the war. M .: ed. Gosvoyenzdat, 1934 g. //
6. Malygina A.A. The role of nuclear weapons in the politics of the XXI century / Problems of security and military-power politics in international relations. Ed. CM. Vinogradova, V.N. Konysheva, N.S. Niyazov. S-Pb .: ed. St. Petersburg State University, 2007
7. Malygina A.A. The phenomenon of nuclear weapons in the modern world and the prospects for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Abstract of dissertation for the degree of candidate of political sciences. S-Pb .: ed. St. Petersburg State University, 2007
8. Slipchenko V.I. Wars of the sixth generation: weapons and military art of the future. M .: ed. Veche, 2002 g., 384 with.
9. Trebin MP Wars of the XXI century. M .: ed. AST, 2005 g., 608 with.
10. Marquand R. Chinese XC-XMUM / 17
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  1. Maki Avellevich
    Maki Avellevich 10 February 2018 08: 18
    In this situation, Russia needs to adhere to a nuclear deterrence policy with countries possessing nuclear weapons with a gradual addition of strategic deterrence to nuclear deterrence.

    Yes. restraining co-factors will also need to be restrained

    "The domestic researcher, professor of military sciences V. I. Slipchenko, in his book" Sixth Generation Wars: Weapons and Military Art of the Future "gives the following definition of this phenomenon:" A revolution in military affairs is such fundamental and qualitative changes that occur under the influence of scientific and technical progress in the means of armed struggle, which also fundamentally changes the construction and training of the armed forces, the methods of warfare and war in general. ”

    "Yes, gentlemen. Do you know what a ditch is? A ditch is a recess dug up by a considerable number of workers. Yes. Ditches are dug with picks. Do you know what a pick is?"

    Colonel Friedrich Kraus von Zillergut.
    I. Hasek
  2. Razvedka_Boem
    Razvedka_Boem 10 February 2018 08: 35
    "The use of modern means of destruction, primarily high-precision weapons, and the actions of sabotage groups may become the most likely scenario for a possible military conflict with Russia, while the use of weapons of mass destruction is unlikely," the Emergencies Ministry published a scientific and methodological work.
    "the department, taking into account modern views on the conduct of wars, proposes to abandon the practice of mass evacuation of the population in wartime.
    According to rescuers, it should be carried out only from hazardous zones of exposure to secondary damaging factors - radioactive and chemical infections, catastrophic flooding, fires and so on. "
    "When forecasting the situation, it is taken as a starting point that targeted attacks on the destruction of the civilian population of the Russian Federation are not delivered by a potential adversary," the document says. "
    Sixth generation war ..
    1. dSK
      dSK 10 February 2018 11: 19
      Quote: Razvedka_Boem
      “targeted attacks on the destruction of the civilian population of the Russian Federation by a potential adversary are not delivered”,
      In all recent wars civilian casualties exceeded sun losses.
  3. antivirus
    antivirus 10 February 2018 11: 13
    the sixth generation is based on the principle of the large-scale use of high-precision weapons (hereinafter referred to as the WTO), selectivity and accuracy of destruction are its main combat characteristics.

    DECISION VALUES GETS - GOS-VA DOMESTIC POLICY-- ENTIRE ALL HAYEN WILL BE ONLY "MOTIVED PEOPLE-NATION" (and not in a hurry, "but when it is necessary - it will be dragged out and pulled out")
  4. shinobi
    shinobi 10 February 2018 11: 31
    Conclusion: Wars will become less ambitious, but extremely expensive. And all these arts of world powers will take place on the territory of buffer countries. Actually, in this regard, little has changed since primitive times.
  5. Mamka pula
    Mamka pula 10 February 2018 12: 55
    But this is interesting
    Author well done
  6. Cheburator
    Cheburator 10 February 2018 20: 24
    Really nice article
    Putting something in place
  7. 82т11
    82т11 10 February 2018 20: 30
    An interesting article, but the author does not take into account the fact that nuclear weapons are a deterrent until methods for cleaning up territories subject to radioactive contamination are developed.
    But when such a technology is received, then we will find out what the wars of the future are.
    And what is happening now is not a war but the absorption of the resources of weak countries by the strong
    1. dauria
      dauria 10 February 2018 23: 37
      until methods for cleaning up territories subject to radioactive contamination are developed.

      Mdya ... Rains and chemists will wash away the dirt if anyone lives. But to make up for the loss of 130 million US lives plus the same amount in the former USSR - this kept and will continue to keep everyone sane. The Korean visually confirmed this thesis. While there is no 100% guarantee that he will not bullet, no one will stick to him with any network-centric high-precision toys.
      1. 82т11
        82т11 11 February 2018 20: 29
        Oh do not tell my slippers) when it was the main thing for corporations and large officials worried how many people die in their wars?
        Nuclear weapons are dangerous precisely due to radioactive contamination of territories, and here the leadership of all countries is worried that they will not have time to reach the bunkers.
        But if they come up with chemistry that protects the body from radiation, then these hundreds of millions will become acceptable losses.