Do you think this is about us? Not guess. This is a quote from a recent article by John Murray, who heads the US Army Futures Command (AFC). The new command of the future was created in the middle of last year. AFC creation, according to the Pentagon leadership, is the largest structural reform of the army since 1973.
The task of the new structure is simple. To ensure the undisputed advantage of the US Army in future wars. “Today, our country is engaged in long-term strategic competition with determined opponents. War nature is changing. Perhaps by 2030, our Army will face serious problems as a result of summing up a number of factors. Advances in low-cost sensors, precision strike technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, directed energy, biology, quantum computing, and information technology will fundamentally affect how we fight today.”
The command of the future, among other things, will integrate combat operations and technological experiments into a single process, being responsible both for creating working prototypes of systems and for working out innovative concepts for their application. “To outmaneuver the enemy in a period of rapid technological change, we need to develop a new approach that will take into account experimental failures, as the private sector did, offering us smartphones, robotics, and many other advanced technologies-and they are determine today the speed and accuracy of modern life today. AFC will not produce the best tools from yesterday if we need other tools already,” the AFC management is convinced.
In the race for new technologies and solutions, the United States, China, and Russia are not alone in dividing the world in a new way. There is already a massive chain reaction of changes. Using the potential of civilian solutions for accelerated transformation of armies, artificial intelligence, working with large amounts of data, adaptive production, quantum computing, and more.
Where is the bridge between new technologies and our Armed Forces? Through some officials, through what structures, for which Command of the future?
We still have iron pressing on our brains. We talk about platforms and missiles with more gusto than about trying to find new forms and uses in which we beat the enemy. Although for us, the development of effective forms of counteraction and their practical implementation is more relevant than for America with their “Vision 2030”. For us, this is a question of survival and development. Even on a formal basis. By 2020, the Russian Army is reaching the peak of its combat capabilities. At idle, such a machine is too expensive for our enemy. And she’ll have to let out a couple. Against this background, the logic of our General Staff is clear. We are increasing our forces and resources. The General Staff always plans its operations based on available resources, and you should not expect anything else from it. But it is dangerous for us to get involved in a linear arms race with the Soviet type. We don’t need to become Goliath. We can’t do it in terms of money or time. We need a variety of asymmetric responses across sectors of the Russian economy. For one – there is a solution. But for many – still need to think.
In 2019, we are going to form new State programs for the development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Program for Weapons and Military Hardware Development. These two documents, as well as the State Program for the Development of the Military-Industrial Complex are in the zone of turbulence after the adoption of the Law on National Security. But the production and reproduction of individual weapons is no longer enough. These documents should impact the transformation of the way troops operate based on advanced technologies, and not reproduce the previous templates and patterns. Otherwise, we will hang between the unnecessary and the impossible. Quantity does not transform into quality.
Creative military thought must go ahead of the production of “iron”. We need to find a different coordinate system to assess our power and the vector of further movement. We need to look beyond the horizon. With own eyes. Taking into account own brains, own capabilities, own creativity. We need to start a high-quality, profile discussion about the future face of our Army. And our Defense Industry. The society already has a request for this.
It is hardly possible to carry out such work only within the framework of the Ministry of Defense. It is necessary to create and test the integrated “chips”, where new stable neural connections will be built with the involvement of specialists from the business environment, science, industry, information technology, social psychology, etc. Good solutions are always at the interface. But this requires personal ” idea generators “and” guides ” that can, without going beyond the limits of adequacy, create and maintain an atmosphere of need for revolutionary innovations. But so far there is no working model, everything written is rather a sense of necessity. Therefore, it is extremely necessary:
- based on our own experience and expertise in the number of disparate facts, we need to find solutions that are adequate to our capabilities;
- support our businesses, companies and people who are already catalysts for new ideas and solutions – both technical and organizational, resistant to aggressive environments – both internal and external;
- keep a close eye on the enemy, consider the enemy as a smart opponent at all levels of military confrontation. At the same time, it refers to certain advantages of the enemy with the understanding that war is not only a weapon;
- maintain criticality in the estimates and conclusions;
- use different ways and forms of communicating information and knowledge. Only understood and learned knowledge leads to changes. This is what we will strive for.