A year on from the start, the war in Ukraine continues to bring into sharp focus what it means to conduct successful military operations both in attack and defense. By virtue of its length, the conflict demonstrates that achieving – and continually reinforcing – superiority in the field is elusive with advantage constantly oscillating between participants.
It’s a subject that has been covered extensively in the latest edition of NITECH, which is available to read here.
Fog of war
As part of the publication, I wrote a piece that focuses on intelligence. Specifically, its increasing value and ability to act as a differentiator in military operations. This is because it is a beacon of light through the fog of war with information coming thick and fast from a huge array of sources such as the internet, cloud computing, other coalition members and troops on the ground.
Not all information is perfect. Some are wrong. But what is required is the ability to understand, assess and make the best decision as quickly as possible and then disseminate this across a battlefield which can be massively dispersed and multidimensional incorporating land, sea, air and digital channels.
Distance dehumanising delivery
We’re seeing examples of the speed of change across the battlefield on an almost weekly basis. For example, drone advances in Ukraine have accelerated a long-anticipated technology trend that could soon bring the world’s first fully autonomous fighting robots to the battlefield, inaugurating a new age of warfare. Something that the author of this piece likens to ‘a revolution in military technology as profound as the introduction of the machine gun.’
Delta, too, is worth mentioning. It is a software package developed by Ukrainian programmers to give their armed forces an advantage in a contest of which side can see the battlefield more clearly and therefore predict the enemy forces’ moves and strike them faster and more accurately.
Advances in technology were global news recently after Prince Harry made his claim around military kills during his time serving in Afghanistan several years ago. While roundly criticised for making the claim, the statement itself reveals how much “gamification” of warfare could become part of the military mindset because advancements in technology have allowed warfare to become more remote and operators more distant from their targets. The distance dehumanising delivery.
Change is required
It is because of advancements such as these that my piece also focuses on the changes required in Europe and with NATO to keep pace.
Today NATO operates as a singular command system but one that must also federate individual member countries and other contributing forces. In essence, it is required to play two mutually exclusive roles, simultaneously. As a coalition it must integrate multiple forces but ensure national separation. It means that operations are carried out under a framework with one nation leading an operation and other coalition members connecting up to the lead naton’s system.
But modernisation is required to ensure communication and information sharing within the armed forces does not remain static and is constantly ahead of any adversary. A change of model is required that encourages innovative projects in each of the national MODs that can be kept private and sovereign, but that also allows for the sharing of tools, ideas, resources and intelligence where privacy and secrecy is not paramount. New technologies – particularly multicloud – can enable this. Being able to safely share knowledge is the route to speeding up modernisation and improving cost effectiveness.
Adopting future technology, today
This is a point my colleague and our CTO, Joe Bagley, also reinforces in this issue. In a Q&A about adopting future technology today, he outlines why a multi-cloud platform for all apps is fundamental to creating an operating model that works across, and can take advantage of, all clouds without compromising security or creating silos. Something that is, or should be, front of mind of all military operations right now.
He cites an example from our partner, Dell, which has developed a server capable of powering remote C2 centers. It enables operation remotely and at the very edge – even on the battlefield – as data centers. With this combination, everything is simplified, because it is the same. Friction-free, real-time information flow, anytime and anyplace. This is the objective for tomorrow’s armed forces.
There’s much more covered in the magazine which you can read here. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the latest technological developments for the military then please get in touch. You can reach me on email@example.com