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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Creating the 7 Dimensional Soldier - Challenges for Defence Education

Cranfield University and Hindustan University are organizing the DEFED 2012

My paper was accepted for inclusion in the conference book to be released on 23rd November 2012 at the Conference. Part of the paper reproduced below!


On one side of spectrum the hi-tech future wars are going to be anywhere any-time wars.  The fronts (battle, theatre and war) will vanish and will be replaced by whole five dimensional expanses of our existence i.e., the space, air, land, sea surface and under water, and interestingly two man made dimensions of WMD and Cyberwar.  This seven dimensional war (the 7D war) will have operations in each dimension and will have trans-dimensional impacts due to remarkable jointedness between the war making elements.  The clarity of goals will make the necessity of elimination of enemy obsolete.  The attrition warfare of the yesteryears is replaced by the disruption warfare, where the intent is to control information flow and create information edge.  The other side of spectrum the conflicts of future are most likely to be conflicts which will be messy, irregular and revolving around the rise of highly networked non-state actors, whose principal targets may, in many cases, be states. 

Evolution of Lethality - Lethality the fundamental war making capability is seeing a marked shift. From “piecemeal lethality” to “massed lethality” and “stealth lethality” we have seen the evolution of lethality in the age of industrial revolution and a machine based world. In the information based world “remote lethality”, “virtual lethality” and “non-lethal lethality” are emerging new capabilities.

Lean Lethality - War making requires ability to inflict disruption, damage, and destruction of enemy capabilities and resources. This reflects in the primary capability of war making systems, instruments and arms, i.e., their lethality. The lethality should be protected from enemy’s lethality – hence every weapon system needs a self-protection capability – a defensive capability. Further, many weapon systems need to operate together to achieve an effective lethality hence a weapon system requires integration capability that become more pronounced in the information age with systems such as C4ISR attaining same importance if not more than combat systems. Further, lethality needs to operate and be operable in multiple heterogeneous environments. Hence weapon systems need operability in multiple environments without impacting their main function – that is their lethality. The de-massification of destruction is achieved by advanced technologies for surgical, pin-point attacks on high value targets instead of using the earlier method of massed attacks on large area in the fond hope that the target will be made in-effective.  This is possible nowadays with the advent of ‘Smart’ and ‘Brilliant’ weapons and capabilities coming up in the form of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs).

Remote, Virtual and Non-Lethal Lethality - Besides these the recent capability in the “cyber warfare” dimension demonstrated by the sole superpower against Iran in the form of Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame is an indication of shift to “virtual and non-lethal lethality”.  The unmanned systems are becoming more and more capable and with the advent of unmanned combat systems – we are entering an age of what we can call “remote, virtual and non-lethal lethality”.

Non-Linear Battlefields The new and future battlefields will be highly non-linear. The old concept of sequential battle front has been replaced by Follow-on-Forces Attacks (FOFA), Strike Deep Strike Hard (SDSH) and Air land battle doctrines. In new battlefields, battle front is considered not only the immediate engagement area, but whole space and all those elements in that space which support enemy’s forward deployed forces. These war execution ways calls for hitting deep inside enemy territory - way behind the immediate fronts where the actual combat between regular forces is taking place. It involves, hitting enemy Command and Control centers, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, Logistics Support System and  Strategic Units, etc. In Future battlefields, there will not be a clear enemy in the traditional sense of combat troops, reserves, armored division etc. Instead, enemy military force will be based on small, independent, highly mobile and highly integrated fighting units. It will be imperative for the attackers to destroy not only the fighter units but also the integration links. The basis of this integration will be the Command Control Communication Computers Intelligence Interpretability Surveillance Reconnaissance (C4I2SR) system, Space and Electronic Warfare (SEW) system and Integrated Logistics System (ILS). Therefore, a shift from linear to highly non-linear battlefields will reshape the future warfare.

Joint Operations It is in the area of joint operations that the future wars will depict a radical departure from traditional old fashioned wars.  The trend of joint operations which started with Air Land Battle doctrine will be further improved and implemented.  The benefits of joint operations are discernible from the fact that better effectiveness will be achieved by fewer resources.  However these resources must be trained, bound, and integrated within the intellectual fabric of a joint military doctrine.  This Joint Force Doctrine (JFD) combining all dimensions - Air, Land, Sea Underwater, Space and Time, of warfare will be the key to the future of warfare.   Future commanders should be trained and educated to visualize and achieve the ‘best fit’ of available forces needed to produce the immediate effects and achieve the desired results.  Indian forces are not trained to operate in joint operations. They continue to fight individual battles in the wars of future.  A major pre requisite in this system of systems operating in joint operations is the need to provide logistics which are timely and good enough to support the higher tempo of battles.

Modeling, Evaluation and Evolution of Combat Systems

One of the most complex problems is to model a combat between military forces. This is further impacted by the increasing influences of technology and new-age combat systems that are emerging continuously. The combat systems were modeled to include four key capabilities for example in defining weapon power scores. These capabilities are- lethality, self-protection, operability and integration of combat systems with other systems. However, with the law of increasing intelligence of technical systems, these combat systems are embedding more and more intelligence to become increasingly capable, agile, autonomous and collectively synergistic.  In the new network-centric warfare scenarios, the weapon power will have three more capabilities – information processing, decision-making and learning. The intelligent weapon power score (iwps) needs to model these three new capabilities along with the four key capabilities of the weapon power scores. 

Creating Future 7D Soldier

Today’s world structures are based on Knowledge. Be it the geo-political system, economic system or social system. This same trend can be seen in warfare of future. Due to the remarkable advances being made in the technology, the future military forces will be composed of highly interconnected units with greater autonomy and firepower. The future battlefields will have increased tempo, lethality and uncertainty. Therefore, a doctrine based on interconnecting technologies to take care of unanticipated, unknown and multiple threats is needed.

The Soldier of the future force need to work in an environment of

1.       Operating in Continuous change
2.       Able to operate and work with increasingly intelligent combat systems
3.       Ability to operate in joint operations
4.       Ability to operate in integrated teams
5.       Highly networked combat and combat support systems
6.       Virtual, Remote and Lean Lethality requires – precision decision-making ability
7.       Extreme Innovation to adapt, design and evolve military operations

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