These missives that identify "new" forms of warfare would do well to begin with the opening that "War is more than a true chameleon..." lest we forget the enduring nature of war and the trinity that underpins it. But the conclusion is wrong. The nature of warfare is not changing. The character may be but not the nature.
This essay does use the Latvian Defence Academy's analysis of Russian's new generation warfare. But again at the risk of beating a dead horse this is unconventional warfare and political warfare that was defined by George Kennan in 1948. What is old is new again.
I had some hopes for this article because it has a section of what the US should do. However, it focuses on technology and equipment (e.g., the Osprey, the F-35, THAAD/Patriots, Iron Dome and modular, scalable forces) and not really on strategy (though it does touch on information operations and psychological operations).
These weapons systems are nice but unless we are able to develop real strategies focusing on countering unconventional and
political warfare we are not going to be able to prevail in this so-called 21st Century Warfare (and I am going to have to add that to my lists of "warfares")
PREVAILING IN 21ST CENTURY WARFARE: THE UKRAINIAN CASE
The Attack on Ukraine as 21st Century Warfare
The Crimean campaign has been an impressive demonstration of strategic communication, one which shares many similarities with their intervention in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, while at the same time being essentially different, since it reflects the operational realization of the new military guidelines to be implemented by 2020.Its success can be measured by the fact that in just three weeks, and without a shot being fired, the morale of the Ukrainian military was broken and all of their 190 bases had surrendered. Instead of relying on a mass deployment of tanks and artillery, the Crimean campaign deployed less than 10,000 assault troops – mostly naval infantry, already stationed in Crimea, backed by a few battalions of airborne troops and Spetsnaz commandos – against 16,000 Ukrainian military personnel.In addition, the heaviest vehicle used was the wheeled BTR-80 armored personal carrier. After blocking Ukrainian troops in their bases, the Russians started the second operational phase, consisting of psychological warfare, intimidation, bribery, and internet/media propaganda to undermine resistance, thus avoiding the use of firepower.The operation was also characterized by the great discipline of the Russian troops, the display of new personnel equipment, body armor, and light wheeled armored vehicles. The result was a clear military victory on the battlefield by the operationalization of a well-orchestrated campaign of strategic communication, using clear political, psychological, and information strategies and the fully operationalization of what Russian military thinkers call “New Generation Warfare”…..Thus, the Russian view of modern warfare is based on the idea that the main battlespace is the mind and, as a result, new-generation wars are to be dominated by information and psychological warfare, in order to achieve superiority in troops and weapons control, morally and psychologically depressing the enemy’s armed forces personnel and civil population.The main objective is to reduce the necessity for deploying hard military power to the minimum necessary, making the opponent’s military and civil population support the attacker to the detriment of their own government and country.
What Can the United States Do?
Emerging Capabilities to Reinforce the Approach
I sort of think of it like a game of chess….. If you have ever played chess it sometimes take a while to engage your opponent.We now have the ability to move a knight, bishop, or rook off of this same chessboard and attack 180 degrees towards the rear of our enemy.We can go directly after the king.Yes, it’s not really fair, but I like that fact.