Military Review

The war of technology sometimes resembles a child's catch-up game.

The war of technology sometimes resembles a child's catch-up game.

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.
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  1. Firstvanguard
    Firstvanguard 8 October 2013 11: 43
    The whole point of the article is in the last paragraph. Forgotten one moment, everything said affects only the prospect of a symmetrical answer. But there is also an alternative concept, it is enough to disable the very "hub" (node, hub, communicator) and the whole network centrism collapses like a house of cards. soldier
    1. Evrepid
      Evrepid 8 October 2013 12: 09
      Well, for this there are "clouds" so that the destruction of the hub does not lead to the loss of the entire system.
      But in general:
      Hub or hub is a multi-port network repeater with auto-segmentation. All hub ports are peers. Having received a signal from one of the stations connected to it, the hub transmits it to all its active ports.

      Strictly for this reason, there are various things such as distributed processing, distributed in time / frequency of data transmission, and of the classics of the genre: Duplication of "directions" of data transmission, namely, techniques and methods of transmitting information from the receiver to transmission.
      transmission with acknowledgment or full duplication, cipher protection, encoding with the possibility of error correction.
      Etc. a very wide range of protection of transmitted information.
      1. Andreas
        Andreas 8 October 2013 18: 24
        Hub is an outdated centralized solution.
        An information network with hubs is only operational in a war with natives such as Iraqis or Afghans.

        Mesh is a promising distributed solution. It is also suitable for army operations with an adversary of equal technological level.
        See the memo of the Chief of the Main Staff of the RF Armed Forces
  2. parij777
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  3. Max_Bauder
    Max_Bauder 8 October 2013 15: 49
    Until this system is successfully tested in real combat operations, all this is an empty phrase.

    PySy. China is developing space technologies in order to eliminate the United States or Russia, or another enemy of the "God regime" in a war game by breaking satellites, then everyone will fight as in World War II, by pickups from scouts, not satellites, you can see from above
    For me, it’s better to develop intelligence robots (flies or spider bugs) that are invisible and can transmit information.
    1. cdrt
      cdrt 8 October 2013 16: 40
      Until this system is successfully tested in real combat operations, all this is an empty phrase.

      Iraq 2003, the ensuing war, Afghanistan are good examples.
      The presence of LRAS3 - used in each of the American wars - too.
  4. ruslan207
    ruslan207 8 October 2013 19: 56
  5. scientist
    scientist 8 October 2013 19: 58
    Network centrism, in our terminology, is called the decentralized management method. And this is the main control method during the battle, it was laid down in all Soviet-made ACSs back in the 80s.
    Synergetism is the usual concentration of forces and means on the target or direction of impact.
    The author of the article should update the information a little. It should be borne in mind that the US military-industrial complex is a master of knocking out budget funds. If our industry works this way, then the economy will simply collapse.
    At one time, I carefully studied American experience. When DARPA developed the C4I concept, the US armed forces faced one very unpleasant problem, and it was because the ACS of various types and types of troops could not organize interactions among themselves because of different exchange protocols.
    Once a French admiral told me. Joint NATO exercises were held in the Atlantic and two squadrons, French and American, met. It was necessary to exchange information in the ACS about plans for a joint operation and agree on goals. He and the American admiral stood for half a day on the bridge and looked at each other through binoculars, waiting for the information centers of France and the United States to digest information so that it could be exchanged. And for half a day, both admirals had one and the same thought in their heads "maybe we can help us with flags!"
    But if it is possible, relatively inexpensively, to bring data to a single protocol using converters and gateways, there is another serious problem - these are the platforms on which the application software was developed, different databases and different GIS were everywhere. Developing adapters for all these applications and connecting everything into a single system turned out to be more difficult than creating a new one with "0".
    It was this path that they began to follow in the USA in the beginning of 2000, when the Concept of Network-Centric Management was proposed. In fact, this is the standardization of basic platforms and secure communication protocols for the unification of automated control centers.
    Now Russian industry is trying to step on the same rake. It only saves that there are relatively few basic platforms for creating software products certified for security. But the standard data transfer protocols SSP-S and SSP-D are long outdated, so chaos is now in industry. Each time, to dock software from different developers, a new OCD is required.
  6. Andreas
    Andreas 8 October 2013 21: 41
    It would be interesting to read the work of Margaret Klein, an employee of the German Institute for International Politics and Security, “Russia's Military Potential. Great Power’s Ambitions and Reality ”, and a review of“ Russian Prospects for a Network-Centric War: A Key Goal for Serdyukov’s Reform, ”prepared by Roger McDermott, a member of the US Army’s Foreign and Military Research Directorate.

    Domestic assessment of network centrism
  7. Max_Bauder
    Max_Bauder 9 October 2013 09: 19
    Quote: cdrt
    Until this system is successfully tested in real combat operations, all this is an empty phrase.

    Iraq 2003, the ensuing war, Afghanistan are good examples.
    The presence of LRAS3 - used in each of the American wars - too.

    Dude! Americans defeated Iraqis not at all because of these systems = D
  8. Altona
    Altona 9 October 2013 19: 11
    Many technical terms, incomprehensible words ... The Germans, when they developed the blitzkrieg tactics based on maneuverable warfare, with the wide use of communications and air reconnaissance data, accurate maps and wide operational interaction with limited resources - what kind of war was it? The second military operation initially involves some kind of a single scenario with various development options, for which fallback options are being developed - is it now canceled? All this electronic colossus involves more efficient interaction with limited resources for breaking weak points of defense by collective efforts, and if there are inconsistencies in systems, then what is the use of all this if the speed of response to the situation is lost? And when the enemy will widely use electronic warfare and paralyze the transmission of data, at what level control passes? On flag and light semaphore and paper cards, wired connection?
    1. Andreas
      Andreas 10 October 2013 00: 12
      The combat control system in the "Blitzkrieg" technology was built in the form of a hierarchical pyramid - the advanced units reported to the higher headquarters, which sent orders to the fire support units (1941: 4,3 million troops of the German-Romanian-Hungarian-Finnish coalition against 3,1 , XNUMX million Soviet military personnel).

      The "Network Centric Warfire" combat control system is built in the form of a flat network - advanced units send requests directly to the fire support units. The higher headquarters only exercises control and re-targeting of forward subunits in the event of a change in the tactical situation. The result is the achievement of victory with fewer forces (2003: 5 divisions of the American-British coalition against 23 Iraqi divisions).
    2. Evrepid
      Evrepid 11 October 2013 20: 31
      That's it on the flag.
      You see, the enemy can turn on white noise at all frequencies available / known to him, but at the same time we must not forget about the other side of the coin: "The enemy cannot transmit any information, but you also cannot transmit any information."
      To avoid this, there are transmission and encryption methods distributed in time and frequency ranges.
      Secondly, to create a very powerful noise effect of electronic warfare, you will need a tremendous amount of energy that will not be at the forefront, plus you should not forget about the laws of physics that the signal power drops in the cube, plus the relief (remember as an example of a Zadornov’s joke with a tossed mobile phone), which creates zones that are closed from the enemy signal, and, therefore, we can work / transmit our information in these zones.
      And remembering physics, namely the principle of super positions, we understand that. focusing on a direction of transmission of a very powerful transmitter, we can transmit a signal in which the signal-to-noise ratio is sufficient. so that on the receiver side get a stable signal with the ability to decrypt.
      And let's not forget about everything that I said above about duplication of channels / directions, encryption methods / methods, noise immunity, duplication, transitions from channel to channel and direction to direction, etc.
      In the end, after all, we have not only a radio channel! There is a laser data channel, cable channel, etc.

      Well, in the end, we will record information on the carrier, leave the electronic warfare coverage area and transmit it.

      Well, something like this :)
      1. Andreas
        Andreas 12 October 2013 14: 07
        It’s even simpler - when switching to a centimeter range of radio waves and placing base stations on an UAV, the spatial separation of their transceivers / repeaters (controlled territory) and enemy sources of radio interference (enemy territory) is automatically achieved.

        Accordingly, the phased array of transceivers / transponders ignores radio emission from radio interference sources, regardless of its power.

        Plus, enemy radio interference sources will be clogged by all transceivers / repeaters in its own territory.

        Plus, enemy radio interference sources are an excellent target for shells / missiles / bombs with a simplified radio guidance system.