By Navneet Bhushan
On 18 January 1977, L. Brezhnev, the Soviet Union President, addressed a conference in Tula where the unsustainability and ineffectiveness of nuclear war as an instrument of policy was established as consensual truth amongst the soviet military, academics and political leaders. It will bring a substantial change in Soviet Military doctrine. It was also perhaps the acknowledgement of the rise of precision convention strike capabilities of new NATO doctrine of striking deep and also the concepts of Follow-on-Forces-attack (FOFA). Whether that realization was one of the reasons for Afghanistan invasion is not clear.
Soviet military leaders, however, were clear about the ‘turning point in military science’. Rise of the new precision conventional weapons enabled new forms and methods of combat action, organizational structure of troops through command and control improvements, was considered a revolution. Making conventional weapons as effective as nuclear weapons in terms of combat effectiveness and characteristics was good strategy.
It avoided political complications and harmful (self-radiation of own forces) risks and also enabled destruction of pin-pointed targets rather than mass destruction of areas using nuclear weapons. In one estimate the precision technologies helped US to reduce its counter-force nuclear arsenal by 40 per cent. That indeed is considerable strategic value, given the amount of effort, resources and hard-cash Soviets have to spend to just keep them in the arms race with US.
By 1983, Soviet Union started developing the practice and theory by changing their doctrine under adversary’s use of precision combat complexes, new means of radio-electronic combat and automated systems of guiding weapons and guiding troops.
United States and NATO will demonstrate this new doctrine of deep strike called the Air-Land battle Doctrine in the 1991 Gulf-war against massively armed and modern Iraqi Army. The key target for the attack was a formidable Iraqi Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) named Kari. Its destruction was achieved within hours, yes hours. “So overwhelming was the weight of the initial attack, that the Iraqi IADS (integrated air defence system) collapsed in hours, never to regain anything approaching a semblance of functionality” [[i]].Series of Harm missiles with massive electronic warfare and suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) attacks will cripple the Kari. A stunning result.
West started calling the demolishing of Iraq in 1991 Gulf-war in 42 days, 39 of those were only air-based attacks and last 3 days were needed by ground forces to take Iraq, as demonstration of a ‘Revolution in Military affairs (RMA)’. It was indeed a comprehensive illustration and also announced to the world the emergence of Uni-polar world with USA as the new GloboCop.
Other nations, however, learnt a key lesson. The security of the nation requires every nation to keep on inventing new ways of warfare with newer or different technology by conceptualizing and continuously enhancing their military and national defence doctrine and operational concepts to achieve geo-political objectives defined by national interests.
How China responded
Greatest learning of US and allies’ victory over Iraq in Gulf War was by China. China has been working on its warfare doctrines, force structures as well as military technology as it has grown dramatically in last thirty years or so. Two Chinese military men wrote the war of the future – called ‘Unrestricted warfare’. It described the total elimination of any military front. Everything can be weaponized and all fronts can be utilized for national objectives achievement against the adversary. The scope of expanding the warfare also was in parallel with the transformation of PLA from mainly infantry-based military to mechanization and informationization of PLA. As per the 2019 Chinese Defence white paper, the mechanization will be completed with substantial informationization by 2020 [ [ii]]. By 2035 Chinese PLA will be fully informationized. The intelligent war if on the horizon now, as per the paper. By 2050, China will be the modern state of art military.
Combining the warfare, doctrine and technology, China has developed what a recent Rand report[ [iii]] describes as Systems Confrontation and Systems Destruction Warfare. In the Systems destruction warfare, “Under this theory, warfare is no longer centered on the annihilation of enemy forces on the battlefield. Rather, it is won by the belligerent that can disrupt, paralyze, or destroy the operational capability of the enemy’s operational system. This can be achieved through kinetic and non- kinetic strikes against key points and nodes while simultaneously employing a more robust, capable, and adaptable operational system of its own”.
We are now in a repolarizing world where dominant powers are asserting their power and influence through a challenge that has emerged in the form of Xi’s China against the existing unipolar world power, the USA. Couple to this there a new way of producing economic value through newer technologies that are ushering the world to a new wave of innovation. We are in the creative-destruction phase of the economic system transformation [[iv]]. National security in such a scenario of heightened complexity is a wicked problem [[v]]
India’s National Security through 2025 – Factors Impacting
Since late 1990’s, author has been developing a model of set of factors impacting the security of a nation. The model has evolved and has currently seven Key factors and their evolution on which the security of a nation depends. For any specific period, the specific sub-factors within the main factors or criteria may vary in fact definitely varies. The factors are World Power Dynamics (P), Eco-Commercial Dynamics (E), Technology (T), Environmental factors (N), Nature and Character of Warfare (W), Political/Social factors (S) and the existing and emerging organization forms (O).
The model uses a methodology called the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) which invites inputs from experts in a pairwise and qualitative manner to rank order these factors with respect to their impact on national security, as described in the article here [[vi]]. In January 2019, the author was invited to conduct a one-day workshop of research scholars of national security and international relations. The workshop details are yet to be disclosed. Present below are the seven factors for India’s security through 2025.
The model includes three prioritization rankings – (a) How much relative impact each of these factors will have on India’s National Security? (b) What is the relative potential you think India has to its national security by actions, plans and strategies in each of these seven factors? And finally, (c) What is our readiness and feasibility of creating initiatives to minimize the impact of dynamics in each of these dimensions on our national security through 2025?
The results are as shown below in the table.
As one can see, Political/Social factors (S) will have highest relative impact of 34.2 per cent as per the collective assessment by all the respondents. On number two is World Power Dynamics (P) with 21.2 per cent. Technology (T) will have a 16.4 per cent relative impact on our national security and eco-commercial dynamics (E) will have 12.2 per cent impact on national security is the opinion of the experts.
The next two columns however are more interesting. In what we should do strengthen our national security 35.6 per cent points goes to solving political/social problems that plague India, 24.2 per cent points goes to Eco-commercial dynamics (E) and 18.4 per cent goes to Technology (T). The considered opinion of respondents on what is the most feasible and ready dimension or factor for India to improve national security is the eco-commercial dynamics (34.2 per cent). Interestingly, the next two factors Political/Social factors (S) and Technology (T) are almost same with 22.6 per cent and 20.3 per cent.
If we combine these factors in the final rating as shown in the last column, it can be seen that Political/Social factors (S) should definitely be our focus in next five years or so for national security. Second factor is eco-commercial dynamics (E ) and interestingly third high level factor comes out to be Technology (T) again. The respondents feel that if India can somehow avoid or can play a detached role in the superpower world dynamics it may be better off. This is an interesting point.
When these numbers were plotted in what can be called the national security map for India through 2025 with x-axis having the readiness and feasibility rating, y-axis having the relative impact of these factors on national security and the bubble size indicating the potential to improve national security by acting in specified dimension. The national security map 2025 for India is as shown below.
It can be seen from the map that India need to solve and focus on its political-social problems and develop and participate in eco-commercial dynamics of the world for national security. We need to work at all levels to mend our political and social fissures and unify the nation on a vision to develop through eco-commercial upliftment. However, the feasibility of doing those initiatives we need to work on.
Interestingly, technology comes in the center of factors in the map. Also, the strategy of minimizing India’s involvement in super power dynamics, keeping our national interests, sovereignty and conflict with these powers at the minimum may be in the best interest for the security of the nation through 2025.
Key finding: Technology for national security is essential for India!
In the next article we will discuss how to develop the new technology for national security.
NatSecTech (National Security Technology) is a fortnightly column covering Futures, Analysis, Architecture, Innovation, Design and Assessment (FAAIDA) of technologies involved in national security.
NavneetBhushan (Navneet) worked as a Defence Scientist from 1990-2000. He is founder director of CRAFITTI CONSULTING (www.crafitti.com) – a Strategy, Technology, Innovation and Intellectual Property Consulting firm focused on co-crafting solutions for global problems. He regularly writes on defence and security. He is the principal author of Strategic Decision Making- Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process published by Springer-Verlag, UK, as part of the Decision Engineering Series. Navneet Blogs at http://innovationcrafting.blogspot.com.He can be contacted at navneet(dot)bhushan(at) crafitti(dot)com