Network-centric military operations as the most advanced technology of warfare have a lot of names: "automated war", "network war", "central network war", "combat operations in a single information and communication space" and so on. This phenomenon is presented as the bright future of all the armies of the world and, in particular, of the Russian Armed Forces, and is destined to see it in action already in 2015 year. Is this really the case and do we really understand this phenomenon?
Ensuring the national security of the state is becoming more and more complex and complex measures involving the fight against international terrorism, the prevention of regional conflicts and much more. It is the complexity of modern threats that makes it difficult to solve problems using the old methods. In this regard, the all-round integration of combat formations and increasing their interaction through the implementation of the principles of the new "network-centric" concepts and the integration of control, communication, reconnaissance and destruction systems is becoming an increasingly relevant and priority direction for reforming the armed forces of most leading foreign countries.
The term “network-centricism” first appeared in the American computer industry and was the result of a breakthrough in information technologies that made it possible to organize interaction between computers, even despite the use of different operating systems in them.
It is only natural that the Americans also became the ideologists of the military application of this term: Vice-Admiral Arthur Tsebrovski and the US Department of Defense expert John Garstka, who meanwhile noted that their concept of “network-centric war” is not only the deployment of digital networks with the aim of vertical and horizontal integration of all participants in the operation. It is also a change in the tactics of action of promising formations with dispersed battle formations, optimization of the methods of reconnaissance activities, simplification of procedures for coordination and coordination of fire destruction, as well as some leveling of the distinction between means of command and control. Moreover, the increase in the combat capabilities of modern formations is a direct consequence of the improvement of information exchange and the increasing role of information itself, that is, the implementation of the principles of the new concept.
Having discovered what preferences the American approach gives, other countries have moved in the same direction. The real "network-centric" fever began. NATO is implementing the concept of "Integrated network capabilities" (NATO Network Enabled Capabilities), in France - "Information-centric war" (Guerre Infocentre), in Sweden - "Network Defense" (Network Based Defense), in China - "Command and control system , communications, computing, reconnaissance and fire destruction "(Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Recognizance & Kill), etc. It is in the" network centrism "that military experts of foreign countries see an innovative tool for increasing the combat capabilities of reduced armed forces and quite objectively expect to receive economic benefits.
In turn, the founders of the concept closely and fairly jealously follow similar initiatives of their foreign colleagues and opponents. For example, back in 2006, American experts! pointed out that the implementation of the “network-centric” concept in China causes them serious concern. “No matter how our network-centric war will copy and adapt our brand to their needs, it is important that they increase the investment in the development of promising means of exploration and high-precision weapons"- noted in the United States.
The result will definitely be a technological breakthrough that will provide the Chinese with the necessary level of situational awareness and understanding of the situation on the battlefield. That is, American groups will be opened, and this (with the availability of the necessary means of long-range precision weapons) is equivalent to their defeat.
For the past two years, the attention of military experts around the world has been focused on the Russian Armed Forces, which are in a state of large-scale reform and a transition to a new look. Evidence of this - a huge number of publications in the foreign press on the progress of reform. At least two works deserve attention - the large-scale work of Margaret Klein, a staff member at the German Institute for International Politics and Security, “Russia's military potential. Great Power Ambitions and Reality ”, as well as a review of“ Russian perspectives of a “network-centric” war: the key goal of the Serdyukov reform, ”authored by Roger McDermott, is an employee of the US Foreign Command Command and Training Department of the US Army Training and Research.
When did “network centrism” become “network centrism”?
Americans have long been experiencing an irresistible craving for various kinds of concepts, sometimes denoted by not quite understandable abbreviations - C2, C3, C4, C4 IFTW, C2 W. All these are concepts of integrating control systems, communications, intelligence and electronic warfare based on the computerization of the armed forces.
At the end of the 1970s of the last century, the concept of “Integration of control and communication systems” (C3 - Command, Control and Communications) appeared in the USA. Its main content consisted in the development of communication systems and tools, allowing to organize effective data exchange between different automated control systems. By implementing the concept, it was envisaged to achieve the required level of technical interfacing, to develop uniform standards for message formats, as well as to ensure the continuity and efficiency of management.
In the middle of 1980-ies, it was replaced by the new concept of “Integrated Control, Communication and Intelligence Systems” (C3 I - Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence), which covered not only the automated control system, but also a wide range of functional and operational areas a) ensure. In particular, the development of uniform forms and methods for the presentation, accumulation and display of intelligence information and the current situation, the creation of processing centers and logical analysis for the purpose of distributing generalized information to all controls in real time were carried out.
The beginning of 1990-ies was marked by the adoption of the concept of "Integration of control systems, computing, communications and intelligence" (C4 I - Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence). As part of its implementation, a single complex of information and computational networks with standard software and hardware was created, a high degree of automation was achieved in the process of locating, targeting and distributing information of various types, including via e-mail and teleconferencing. Expert systems, combat simulation tools, and high-performance computers were also introduced.
The first American concept of "network centrism" appeared only at the end of 90's and received the designation NCW - Network-centric Warfare. True, behind this abbreviation it is impossible to see the relationship with the processes of integrating control and intelligence systems and to determine when “network centrism” became “network centrism”. Therefore, you should consider other symbols found in foreign publications, for example, C5 ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). Here, to the standard American concept of C4 ISR, one more “C” element was added - combat systems (Combat Systems).
In the Chinese abbreviation of "network centrism" C4 ISRK, the means of destruction ("K" - Kill) became a new element. Thus, it can be argued that “network-centrism” is the result of the integration of combat systems on the battlefield, control networks, computing equipment, communications and reconnaissance, which by that time had passed a twenty-year period of evolution.
By restoring the chronology of events, we can be sure that the movement of Americans to "network-centrism" began more than 30 years ago. First, control and communication systems were combined, then ACS and computing equipment, then connection to the already formed network of technical means of reconnaissance and surveillance and, finally, combat systems on the battlefield (first of all, high-precision fire destruction equipment). As a result of a long evolutionary development, the task of building an innovative army and forming reconnaissance-strike systems on a global scale was solved.
Such systems are becoming an effective tool for modern warfare, about which specialists in future wars spoke of the sixth generation remote contactless war. I would like to clarify that such a war can only be contactless for a party with a multiple advantage in modern means of control, communications, reconnaissance and high-precision long-range weapons. For opponents, it will turn into either a real contact hell without the ability to strike back, or into a disastrous nuclear war for all.
Thus, all modern "network-centric" concepts, which appeared as a result of the evolution of military network architectures, provide for the mandatory deployment of three functional networks - control, reconnaissance and destruction. Will we be able to go through the remaining four years of the thirty-year period of transformation of the American networks? Given the generally recognized lag of Russia in such areas as microelectronics, communications and switching, it will be very difficult to do.
"Network Centrism" in examples
According to American experts, the principles of warfare, the construction of the armed forces and the management of military formations in the XX century were called "platform-centric". At that time, in their opinion, the success of operations and battles depended mainly on the individual capabilities of military equipment, and the integration of networks, although it was envisaged, did not allow for the effect that modern information technologies provide.
That is why throughout the second half of the last century, military experts from all over the world were engaged in the development of technical solutions related primarily to mobility, accuracy, and also firepower of means of warfare. At its core, this process was an increase in the potential capabilities of the formations (in fire, maneuver, command, survivability, etc.) or, in other words, combat potential, the basis of which is the technical equipment of the troops.
However, as practice has shown, the process of improving military equipment has certain limitations for further growth, moreover, it is very costly. At the same time, the high individual capabilities of various types of weapons with an outdated approach to their combat use are not fully realized. That is, the already costly process of increasing the combat potential of the armed forces with a “platform-centric” approach is also economically inefficient.
The concept of “network-centric warfare” considers combat formations as unique devices connected to a single network. Depending on the choice of network architecture and its type, such devices can be ships, airplanes, means of destruction, control, communications, reconnaissance and surveillance, a group of military personnel or individual soldiers, as well as a combination of both. In this case, the capabilities of combat formations are determined not so much by the individual tactical and technical characteristics of individual IWT samples, as by the capabilities of the entire group of networked assets as a whole.
Information processing - the essence and meaning of the work of the headquarters
Let's try to present all of the above with an example and figure out what is “platform-centrism” and what is “network-centrism”. In the era of "platform-centric" wars, when the success of operations and battles depended mainly on the individual capabilities of military equipment, for every 1000 tanks the enemy at our borders, we had to expose more, say, 1500. This is actually the law of the time, which was reflected in the endless "muscle building", that is, the arms race.
Now there is no such need. "Network centrism" allows you to get by with fewer, for example, 500 tanks, which already have the necessary potential.
But in order to sufficiently implement it (to achieve the required level of combat capabilities), the available funds need to be connected by a network and add a special “hub”, that is, a key node that connects all network users, without which the network itself cannot function or its capabilities will be significantly limited.
The “hub” is both a hub and a multiplier of the capabilities of individual funds connected to the network. Here, in fact, the effect of synergy manifests itself, when the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In the annex to military science, synergy is the effect of the joint action of networked means of warfare, which, by cumulative result, exceeds the sum of the effects of the use of the same means separately.
To further simplify the understanding of the phenomenon of "network centrism", consider the situation on a very obvious example from everyday civilian life. This is entirely appropriate, because by itself “network-centrism” came into the army from civilian life. Suppose that the two heads of families are faced with the task of paying for utilities. To do this, each of them has the same potential in the amount of 5000 rubles.
One task performs in the old manner, filling out receipts, going to the bank and defending the queue. Another, an advanced user of information technology, put his potential (5000 rubles) on a bank card and makes a payment at any convenient time, without leaving home, and most importantly - quickly. It turns out that both test subjects with the same potentials and all other things being equal ideal conditions perform the same task, but with different effectiveness, that is, with different degree of realization of potential possibilities. In this case, the second test subject also saves on interest for a commission.
On the one hand, someone may argue that this is a simple management of funds, but on the other hand, we also see the immediate fulfillment of the task of paying for utilities. So, extrapolating the results of the study of this phenomenon from the civilian to the military, we get the following results:
- “network centrism” does not affect the potential capabilities of a combat formation;
- "network centrism" allows you to more effectively carry out your combat mission;
- “network centrism” becomes a real tool for enhancing the combat capabilities of the formations of the “new look”;
- “network centrism” allows to achieve economic effect.
What is the result of the above arguments? As has happened more than once in the historical past of Russia, we are once again facing titanic moral, intellectual and, above all, physical efforts for an incredible leap forward by today's standards. Only now the political will alone is not enough, and the concentration of thought, economy and purposefulness must be at the highest level.