Ukrainian Asymmetric Warfare Technologies

This project was performed by the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS) and the News Agency “Military-Industrial Courier” (MIC), edited by Valentyn Badrak and Dmytro Kozlov.

CACDS and “MIC” express the special gratitude to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Security Studies Institute (ISSI), first Vice-President of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Volodymyr Gorbulin, Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS), member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Security Studies Institute (USSI) Olexander Lytvynenko, the Head of the Central Research Institute of Weapons and Military Hardware of Armed Forces of Ukraine Igor Chepkov, and member of the Board of the Ukrainian Security Studies Institute (ISSI), Director of Information and Consulting Company Defense Express Serhiy Zgurets for their cooperation in this project and also for submitted materials and assessments. This study would not have been possible without the participation and support of these specialists.

Among other things, the publication of this collection has become an effective practical example of public-private partnership in the field of information support for the development of national defense and dual-use technologies.


“New Technologies for Defense – What will Make Ukraine Strong” – Volodymyr Gorbulin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Security Research Institute, first Vice-President of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, academician.

The modern world is characterized by dynamic changes, almost instantaneous introduction of the latest achievements of science into practical life. Among other things, this has become such a significant impact factor on global and regional geopolitical landscapes that no constructed structure of international or national security can be considered reliable.

It is as a result of the creation and spread of new technologies that new risks are rapidly emerging, requiring a response to a complex and uncertain world in which threats become more diverse and interconnected. In order to effectively counteract modern challenges, Ukraine should demonstrate greater flexibility, be more innovative and sustainable.

Several factors force Ukraine to focus on new technologies. The first and main one is the lack of resources for symmetrical opposition to the challenges of its independence, including in the form of direct aggression. The second is associated with the ability of new technologies to the formation of asymmetric possibilities of resistance. Finally, the third is the unquestionably high human potential of the Ukrainian nation, the historical and even genetic ability to produce the latest solutions, to solve modern problems in the field of science and technology. In other words, a quantum technological jump is possible for Ukraine.

There are many arguments for this approach. Resource-rich States have already entered a new technological phase. For example, they began to develop a variety of anti-satellite weapons as a means of influencing the military effectiveness of any country in the world. On the other hand, the commercialization of space allows even private individuals to purchase space vehicles, which until now was the prerogative of only superpowers.

Kiber-exposure mechanisns are also became available for ordinary people or groups. Therefore, cyber threats can undermine public confidence in State institutions, cause incomparable economic losses, and damage critical infrastructure due to successful use.

New technologies such as artificial intelligence, global automation, and high-performance computer systems increase the functionality of various equipment and provide significant economic benefits. However, these advances in science and technology lead to increased military capabilities in unfriendly countries. Similarly, the development of nanotechnology and biotechnologies both increases the potential for medicine and creates significant security threats.

In the purely military field, the development of communication systems and the spread of data transfer technologies provides an opportunity to use exponentially growing data volumes on an unprecedented scale and at incommensurable speeds than it has been so far. This abundance of information creates significant opportunities for information impacts and content-psychological attacks performing.

Consequently, the scope, forms, and methods of likely use of military force by the outside have changed significantly. Moreover, the modern world has already entered the era of confrontation, when all means are good, through Russia’s scrapping of the existing system of international security. It is interesting that even presented in January 2019, the updated Strategy of National Intelligence is among the most tasks of the intelligence community of the State determined to achieve technological advantages and creating conditions for the development of new technologies.

If we return to Ukrainian realities, it becomes obvious that the danger of military scenarios is growing. From simultaneous actions in several operational areas with the application of advanced strikes with precision weapons on important targets throughout the depth of our territory in the implementation of the impact on critical infrastructure, the Armed Forces, authorities and the population in the format of the conflict of so-called “gray zone” – with the use of non-strategic means of destruction (such as cyber attacks, electronic intelligence systems and combat, information impact and interference). A detailed analysis of these scenarios shows that, regardless of the extent and methods of use of force by the enemy, among its priority goals will be those that affect the ability of state authorities and the military leadership of Ukraine to manage the country’s Defense, Armed Forces and Military units.

We must recognize that prior to this, Ukraine has been implementing measures related to an extensive way of increasing the combat potential of the army and the country’s Defense capabilities. In most areas, resuscitation of Soviet approaches to the combat use of forces and means took place. The bet was made on a cheap and mass human resource. Approaches to the procurement of arms was primarily concerned with and relate to military platforms. However, this path, according to a number of analytical structures, including the Ukrainian Security Studies Institute, is associated with significant financial costs and limited consequences for improving the effectiveness of the combat use of our troops on the battlefield, which has been significantly transformed. We are talking about leveling the confrontation borders in the geographical and other multi-spheric dimensions, where fighting occurs simultaneously – both in kinetic and non-kinetic digital or electromagnetic manifestations.

Of course, it is considered that those who have more tanks are stronger. But there is also a non-linear evaluation approach. For example, today it is not so much assets that compete in business as management models. And the key role belongs to two components: information and time. This is also true for armies and units on the battlefield. Time and information are intangible assets and combat capabilities. As a result, the more persistent is the one who has more information, processes it faster, makes a decision faster and strikes at the most vulnerable place of the enemy.

Ukraine’s adequate response to modern threats is to accelerate the introduction of various new technologies into the security sphere, primarily information technologies that increase the ability to detect and defeat or block enemy weapons. Development of new models that should guarantee the stability of command and control of troops and weapons – taking into account all possible scenarios of counteraction from the enemy. From mass rocket attacks on control points to non-kinetic impacts on communication networks and command posts.

Despite the low level of state funding for basic research and digital development, including for defense purposes, Ukraine has managed to maintain a number of national schools for the development of technologies that are traditionally considered critical and sensitive. Sometimes schools were even developed at the expense of foreign customers. Over the past five years, the war has significantly motivated the private sector of the Defense industry, which has demonstrated outstanding flexibility and the ability to progress.

On the other hand, it is the State that should determine the tasks in the field of creating new technologies and strengthening the Defense potential. The State is able to bring the expectations of the militaries, the potential of domestic science and the opportunities of private business into a single plane. It is the acceleration of research and development work, including through private and foreign investment, that can significantly strengthen the State’s ability to respond to military and security challenges. And the design of the State system for the development of defense technologies can turn into the most significant national project, which can not only create an asymmetric deterrent weapon, but also ensure overall technological growth and the rooting of technological advantages.