The birth of contactless wars
The greatest success in a contactless war in recent years has been achieved during the Desert Storm campaign in 1991. There was a triple effect. At the tactical level, military personnel avoided direct participation in hostilities (except for pilots aviation, which attacked the sites of Saddam Hussein), which, of course, was in the hands of politicians behind the levers of war. Secondly, for the first time, military operations were shown live: according to CNN, in this way they showed the US military power to the whole world and worked out online information manipulation technologies. It was the first invasion of Iraq that led to the emergence of a term such as "television war." And thirdly, the high-precision was also first applied weapon - the so-called smart bombs and missiles, satellite navigation was used (for the first time, GPS technology was used to support the armed forces), which opened up new opportunities for the US military-industrial complex.
After the victory, American strategists and the military began a broad discussion about the beginning of a new era of war in the specialized press and academia. The continued involvement of the US military in conflicts in Yugoslavia, Somalia and other countries pushed them to the conclusion that radical reforms in the armed forces were necessary in order to make an organizational and technological leap, leaving their potential competitors far behind.
The architect of the air operation called Instant Lightning, which was the main component of Desert Storm, was Colonel of the USAF John Warden. He developed a systematic approach to hostilities, calling it “Operation Based on Effects” (SPE), which later became one of the cores of the strategy of network-centric wars. The concept of the colonel was based on a unique model of the modern state, which is a structure of five concentric rings. The central ring, or the circle that represented the national leaders, the most important element in military terminology, was surrounded and defended by the other four. The second ring was production, including various factories, power plants, oil refineries, etc., which are vital for national power during hostilities. State infrastructure - highways, railways, energy lines - was the third ring. The fourth ring was the population. And the last, fifth, outer ring was the armed forces. It was possible to avoid a collision with the outer ring and with the help of new technologies "Stealth", precision guidance systems and night vision immediately hit the inner ring. This scheme is called the "war from the inside to the outside."
Later, Warden continued to develop his theory of five rings, which was published in a specialized publication of the US Air Force called Enemy as a System. Based on comparisons and historical examples, he came up with a convincing and logical concept, which in addition to the ring structure used the term "strategic paralysis". “At the strategic level, we will achieve our goals by causing changes in one or more parts of the enemy's physical system, so that he will be forced to adapt to our goals, or we will not physically allow him to oppose us. We will call this “strategic paralysis,” the author noted. So, you just need to calculate the centers of gravity in the enemy's system and inflict pinpoint strikes on them. Each state has its own unique vulnerabilities, so the success of the operation will depend on a careful and accurate choice. You don't have to start a war and mobilize. You can use the contradictions of the target state with its neighbors or establish an economic blockade (as in the case of Cuba or Iran), raise a fuss in the UN and international structures, launch a duck in the media, which will create the corresponding mood in society (as was the case with Yugoslavia in 1999). Otherwise, call for the protection of human rights or engage patriotic hackers to punish the intractable government of a third country.
General David Deptula expanded the views of Worden on new-type operations, from their use exclusively in the US military to all national levels, including diplomatic, informational and economic. Most importantly, he called for an emphasis on understanding the enemy as a system and believed that non-military actions are an integral part of the new theory of conflict. It is no coincidence that in the USA special groups were set up to work in Iraq and Afghanistan, which included sociologists, ethnographers, linguists, and other narrow specialists. Human Terrain teams communicated with the local population, created a favorable image of the occupying forces and purposefully engaged in penetrating the enemy’s consciousness by sending reports to the center, which described in detail the habits, behavior, hierarchical structure, strengths and strengths of a particular ethnic and religious group. The old dogma of the struggle for hearts and souls was also effective in the 21st century.
It is necessary to make a reservation that the new concept of war was preceded by several important conclusions drawn from the lessons of previous conflicts. First about the need to avoid contact with the enemy in the modern era spoke a British officer Liddell Garth in his work "The strategy of indirect action." The horrors of World War II, the doctrine of total war and the strategy of attrition brought their results. The United States and Britain, focusing on the Air Force, realized the benefits of air superiority. From here comes the beginning of the transformation of sea power into air power as the basis of the Anglo-Saxon military geo-strategy. The Star Wars project, which was actively promoted under Ronald Reagan, is a logical continuation of the US idea of achieving total domination. However, judging by the works of George Friedman from Stratfor, combat space platforms are a matter of the future, they will be possible thanks to the joint efforts of the US military-industrial complex and the Pentagon.
Technique of network-centric warfare
Now specifically about how to lead the battle according to the new concept of war. In 1996, Admiral William Owens published an article titled “The Emergence of the US Systems System,” in which he pointed out exactly how new battles should be fought. “The merging of growing capabilities to continuously gather information in any weather in real time with an increasing ability to process and understand this voluminous data creates superiority on the battlefield,” he wrote. “Thanks to new technologies, we can automatically recognize targets and receive information about the enemy’s operational plans.”
Another author who influenced the transformation of the US armed forces is Vice Admiral Arthur Sebrovsky, who, in conjunction with United States military analyst John Garstka, published an article entitled “Network-centric War: Its Origin and Future” in 1998. The work had the effect of a bombshell in the military and scientific circles of the United States. Since the third period of globalization and the transition from the industrial to the information era affect mainly developing countries, the authors noted, information is the most effective weapon. And since the predominant type of human behavior in the information age is network behavior, the network-centric warfare fits perfectly. According to the Pentagon Doctrine, the core of such a war is at the intersection of the social, physical, informational, and cognitive areas. If information is still associated with a specific infrastructure, then the cognitive sphere is the least material of all four areas, because it exists in the human mind. It is associated with learning, experience, public opinion, beliefs, values and understanding of the situation. But most importantly, the cognitive sphere is the area where decisions are made, and it is directly related to intellectual capabilities. As Sebrovski said, all wins and losses first occur in our brain ...
Dr. David Alberts, who works for the American defense industry and investigates the phenomena of network wars, agrees with his colleagues: in his opinion, the goal of a network war is human intelligence.
The future war itself, as Alberts wrote (that is, what is happening now), consists of three main types of actions. First, it is the perfection of the traditional battle. Secondly, this is the evolution of what has been called non-traditional missions, i.e. a fairly diverse set of actions, including humanitarian assistance, special operations and low-intensity conflicts, peacekeeping operations and actions aimed at preventing the proliferation of weapons. And third, the birth of a unique form of war for the information age.
National states or combinations of national states are not the only possible players in such conflicts. Non-state actors (including political, ethnic and religious groups, organized crime, international and transnational organizations, and even individuals equipped with information technology) are able to organize information attacks and build information strategies to achieve their desired goals.
This is done as follows. In an ideal form, network war actors are networks of small, diverse types of associations resembling cells. They are dispersed, but interrelated. The network should be amorphous - without heart and head, although not all nodes of the network should be equivalent to each other. The best tactics of combat in the literal and figurative sense - swarming. Like a swarm of bees, groups of people united by a common idea simultaneously begin to attack a target, be it a state or a transnational corporation. The target, superior in strength and potential of its opponents, is nevertheless forced to react to every smallest “bite”, and if the attackers possess a certain technique and are tempted in the conflict, then the outcome is almost predetermined. In other words, against one Goliath, not only David goes to battle, but many.
The sphere of cyberspace is very interesting and beneficial for offensive purposes, since digital war has, in essence, similar characteristics that military planners aspire to. These include low cost, precision, distance and cunning, which cannot be achieved in the real world.
Network war in Syria
A vivid example of a network war is the situation in Syria. In addition to the network-centric tactics used by terrorists (seeping in small groups, organizing terrorist attacks and sabotage at various industrial sites), coordination is carried out through communications received from Western countries. Tactical network-centric radio stations have long been adopted by the US Army, and now American instructors are training militants to interact in real time and obtain information about the location and location of the enemy using similar network sensors and sensors. Since the Syrian army does not have the experience of counter-terrorism operations and opposing the militants' network activity, they have to use the same tactics used in Grozny during the Chechen conflict - to use heavy equipment and often remove civilians and cover with firepower the areas where the alleged action movies.
In many cases, it turns out that direct combat contact with the enemy does not exist. The attacks of terrorists alternate with the return fire of government troops. Then everything repeats. As a result, civilians are the main victims of such a conflict. However, the civilian side of the Syrian war is also fully involved, and at the international level. Countless pro-Western non-governmental organizations with headquarters from Istanbul and Doha to London and Washington form public opinion not in favor of the Assad government. The ethno-religious factor is also actively exploited. In addition to radical Islam, whose representatives in the face of Wahhabis and al-Qaeda are conducting attacks on Christians, manipulations are being carried out with various ethnic groups, from Caucasian Circassians to Kurds and Armenians. The case of the Turkmen of Syria, which Turkey began to patronize before the conflict, is quite indicative. Now three organizations are actively functioning there - the Syrian Turkmen Bloc, the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement and the Syrian Turkmen Platform, with the latter officially promised the support of the Turkish government.
And, of course, social networks, where armed and more moderate opposition spreads their appeals and misinformation, are an important element of this war.
Drones and combat robots
As already mentioned, network-centric warfare is based on superiority in logistics and adequate feedback. But in addition to communication channels, databases and their processing, one element of this area is most effective and has been used for many years. These are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the use of which led to numerous casualties and subsequent international scandals.
The first known case of the use of a UAV as a fighter belongs to November 2001 of the year, when one of Al Qaeda’s military commanders in Afghanistan, Mohammed Atef, was killed with the help of the Predator drone. The idea of creating UAVs for use against specific people or groups appeared in the 2000 year, when the Pentagon decided to place the Hellfire anti-tank weapon on the Predator reconnaissance drone.
Remarkable is the fact that Sen. Lindsay Graham in his speech in February 2013, said that the number of persons killed by American UAVs is 4700 people, which is about 1 thousand people more than in the report of the Council on Foreign Relations dedicated to UAV, which was released a month earlier. According to experts, there is a strong lobby in the US Congress that pushes through all kinds of UAV programs, i.e. formally compels the federal authorities to buy them for various purposes, even if this is not necessary.
Because of this, the US government officially announced that in the future it is counting on the widespread use of drones for various military tasks and considers the UAV program to be one of the foundations of the revolutionary transformation for future wars. Drone lobbyists say that drones are beneficial because there are no casualties among contingents during missions. On the other hand, the unambiguous use of such systems leads to a violation of territorial sovereignty, there is no transparency and accountability, there is a further weakening of political restrictions associated with the war. In the opinion of Richard Falk, President of the American Nuclear Energy Peace Fund, unregulated dispersion of weapons in the public and private sectors with a likely strategic role may occur, leading to undermining traditional international restrictive laws on warfare and public order or the emergence of a non-proliferation regime for unmanned aerial vehicles. that will allow all states to own and use unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in a sovereign space, and some countries will Rent drones selectively for attacking targets anywhere until a specific set of rules is agreed.
True, there have already been cases of hacking UAVs. In Iraq, the rebels managed to intercept radio signals from drones and send them to false targets, while the Iranians put an American reconnaissance drone without damage and examined it. On the other hand, UAVs are constantly being improved. Insect-sized drones have already been created, there are underwater and land robots capable of performing a variety of tasks, from shooting and cargo delivery to research of objects and territories. Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) ground robots are actively used in both Afghanistan and Iraq for detecting mines and bombs and for fighting, for example 3 SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Remote Direct-Action System), armed with M249 machine guns. The Future Combat Systems program was launched in the US as early as 2003, but it was frozen in 2009 due to lack of funds. Nevertheless, the budget for the production of combat UAVs in the United States from year to year increases, which corresponds to the Anglo-Saxon logic of air power. Each drone has its own special functions: some are created solely for tracking a certain territory and transmitting information (for example, balloon probes), others are more mobile and capable of maneuvering in the air. These include the relatively small Raven UAV and the large Global Hawk, one of which oversees North Korea’s nuclear program, while the Predator and Reaper are combat fighter drone capable of carrying missiles and bombs.
Although traditional martial art began to deteriorate in the era of the First World War, which the German philosopher Ernst Jünger noted with regret, the war will remain a constant component of human civilization. And modern technology is designed to replace people in their conflicts and interests. However, it is hardly possible that sometime the two sides will put exclusively robots on the battlefield against each other, and then, based on the results of the battle, sign a surrender agreement, because politics is a lot of society, not technology. And the new military gadgets and inventions will be sent exclusively to conquer or destroy manpower. At least, industrialized countries are counting on it, although their leaders hide behind a screen of democracy and humanistic values.