Academic journal article Military Review

The Value of Science Is in the Foresight

Academic journal article Military Review

The Value of Science Is in the Foresight

Article excerpt

Originally published in Military-Industrial Kurier, 27 February 2013.1 Translated from Russian 21 June 2014 by Robert Coalson, editor, Central News, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This article is provided to acquaint our readers with the perspectives of senior Russian military leaders on the subject of future war and should not be construed as an effort to promote their views.

In the twenty-first century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template.

The experience of military conflicts-including those connected with the so-called color revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East-confirm that a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war.2

The Lessons of the Arab Spring

Of course, it would be easiest of all to say that the events of the "Arab Spring" are not war, and so there are no lessons for us-military men-to learn. But maybe the opposite is true-that precisely these events are typical of warfare in the twenty-first century.

In terms of the scale of the casualties and destruction, the catastrophic social, economic, and political consequences, such new-type conflicts are comparable with the consequences of any real war.

The very "rules of war" have changed. The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness [see figure 1].

The focus of applied methods of conflict has altered in the direction of the broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures-applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population.

All this is supplemented by military means of a concealed character, including carrying out actions of informational conflict and the actions of special operations forces. The open use of forces-often under the guise of peacekeeping and crisis regulation-is resorted to only at a certain stage, primarily for the achievement of final success in the conflict.

From this proceed logical questions: What is modern war? What should the army be prepared for? How should it be armed? Only after answering these questions can we determine the directions of the construction and development of the armed forces over the long term. To do this, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the forms and methods of the application of force.

These days, together with traditional devices, nonstandard ones are being developed. The role of mobile, mixed-type groups of forces, acting in a single intelligence-information space because of the use of the new possibilities of command-and-control systems, has been strengthened. Military actions are becoming more dynamic, active, and fruitful. Tactical and operational pauses that the enemy could exploit are disappearing. New information technologies have enabled significant reductions in the spatial, temporal, and informational gaps between forces and control organs. Frontal engagements of large formations of forces at the strategic and operational level are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Long-distance, contactless actions against the enemy are becoming the main means of achieving combat and operational goals. The defeat of the enemy's objects [objectives] is conducted throughout the entire depth of his territory. The differences between strategic, operational, and tactical levels, as well as between offensive and defensive operations, are being erased. The application of high-precision weaponry is taking on a mass character. Weapons based on new physical principles and automatized systems are being actively incorporated into military activity. …

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