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OP-ED: The near future direction of the armed forces

jaibi

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The near future direction of the armed forces

Note: following article is based on a recent conversation I had with a few officers of different armed forces
himalyas royalty free images.JPG

With the 21st century shaping new format of conflicts and warfare it is pertinent that we focus upon the direction it is headed and establish accordingly. Non-conventional warfare, integrated battle space, new frontiers and a focus upon holding rather than taking an area are quite clear. I must again highlight that this is a detached military science piece and I would not be speaking of politics nor taking a side; it does not serve any productive purpose here.

In all epochs of military development it is quite clear that the side that figures out the changing trends first is usually the one which is victorious. Holding onto untested traditions cannot just be costly but fatal for a side. We only have to see the Hellenistic forces fighting the Roman legions or the various foes that faced the unmatched speed and ruthlessness of the Mongols, the Byzantium facing against Ottoman cannons or the professional Europeans facing against levied natives in the Americas, South Asia and much of Africa and more recently, carriers facing battleships to know the point.

With that in our minds let us now focus on a few of the recent developments that have expounded on the armed forces of the 21st century:

Complex weaponry, traditional roles
pafpdf.JPG

Whether it is through drones or jets or an APC the main focus when it comes to controlling the battle space has remained much the same. Restrict or eliminate the enemy’s ability to strike back at you. It is an uphill battle because the other side is not focusing on the same rules as you and warfare is no longer exclusively the business of the professionals. In such an environment; it should be noted that any new system or upgrade has to be incorporated, trained upon, battle tested and communicated armed forces wide to be useful and inform both tactics (on field maneuvers) as well as strategy (overall aim) to be completely effective. That is easier said than done.

Let me explain this through an example; when the Pak Army faced the militants it relied on artillery but the topographical challenges often limited the accuracy of the batteries. Often what was best for the batteries in terms of elevation and upkeep, location wise, made it difficult to accurately support the infantry because their positions and geography made it difficult for the pinpoint accuracy of the firepower to reach the enemy’s position with ease. It took on ground learning by a generation of artillery and infantry officers to figure out how to get the best results because the enemy would always react to any change in the field. Most of the artilleries of the world are trained with the mindset that they would be used upon a flatter terrain; however, that learning experience needs to be converted into new doctrines, SOPs and training modules for the next generation. As this can increase the cost of warfare and lapses can collapse a military if it does not have a robust system backing it up.

Same goes for the air force; much of the focus was placed upon what can be called close air support but not in the traditional sense with slower aircrafts which can easily match the pace of the troops on the ground.

However as the technological angle cannot be ignored either; it has become a game of balancing out everything which is why instead of expertise the main focus has been shifting towards versatility.

Section change
pakistan swat.JPG

If one were to write about the 21st century conflicts a few centuries later it should be titled: the infantry strikes back! During the cold war that preceded and defined the 20th century most of the world followed the two superpowers with mixed results because, again, it is easier said than done. Yet, the focus was to shift back on the man on the ground. In the end it is he who is the pivot; any other system can be circumvented or checked in terms of non-conventional warfare but the man on the ground is the key here.

In that the operational planning shifted down to division level movements instead of the traditional corps level and in some areas even down to brigade level. The tactical situation reflects that as we saw sections (squads in American terminology) being trained and used on different lines. In many situations for the nations that have fought full scale wars with a non-conventional focus the AORs (area of responsibility) were no longer up to an entire platoon (usually of 30 men) but sections (usually 9-12 men) [Please, note that they vary highly between countries therefore it is a rough estimation]. An old retired Subedar once remarked, these days every soldier has to be little commando or die, sir. I see what he means; on ground situations rapidly change and back up is not the option because this enemy is focused upon maximizing damage instead of holding the area.

It is quite common for most armed forces of the world focusing on section/squad action which just a few decades ago would be more likely to have been seen as a role of the Special Forces or commando units rather than the traditional infantry.

Cooperation
modwafare.png

After having a truckload of paperwork, a screaming session by your boss in which he questions your very existence, usual bustle of life and still a few precious hours of sleep, imagine standing at the break of dawn with a grizzly old man screaming at you to assemble, load, aim and fire then change your stance and fire again a multitude of guns each a world of its own which makes you appreciate physics and hate engineers at the same time. Welcome to weapon’s training 101; a few piercing words sliced through me during the day I mentioned and asked you to imagine: Dushman ke liaye, ap main se koi doctor, pilot, teacher, supplier ya infantarian nahi hai, sir! Ap saab wardi walien hain! Us ne koi farq nahi rakhna. Ap sab sipha-salaar hain, fire be weyse hi karien! (To the enemy it doesn’t make a difference whether any of you are doctors, pilots, teachers, suppliers or infantrymen. All of you are uniformed and therefore it makes no difference to him. All of you are battlefield leaders therefore fire like one!).

We have seen that time and time again; there is no difference much less amongst uniformed personnel but to our pain even little children as we saw in APS Peshawar. There is no mercy. Therefore, to those who defend everyone must train like they are the ones in the midst of a battle along with other roles. This is why it is important for organizations to train and cooperate in order to make the learning curve as easy as possible. The fruits of these can be seen in the recent stock market attack in Karachi where well trained policemen were able to keep a handle on the situation before there was too much carnage inflicted. If any of you focused on their uniforms they had a badge on them which showed they were trained in anti-terrorism or counterinsurgency. Such small changes to the training earlier rather than later (the course is relatively short compared to many others) makes a big difference later on.

Synthesis

With all of these it makes quite clear that before any revolutionary changes such as a completely mechanized military is to take root we have to focus on the immediate focus. That is on the following lines:

- High stress on inter-services cooperation: each officer should have a working knowledge of other services operations and working. That is best done with rotations before command level positions and promotion

- Increased cooperation: each force would learn differently from every encounter. A heavily contented clearing the mountains would be a completely different experience for an infantryman and a ground defense airman. This is because each of them has a different focus; they can learn heavily from each other’s experience and trickle their learning into life-saving sound operational learning tactics for their respective forces

- Increased communication: building upon that it is necessary for these learning experiences to be communicated effectively within the organizations as well as to sister organizations

- Wider cooperation: at the same level, it is important to increase that learning and operational experience to civilian departments that are often in similar situations because they are often first responders and can be ready made support systems for the armed forces

- Networked communications and feeds: (suggested by @The Eagle), a singular network for communications within and amongst armed forces services for rapid exchange of information and monitoring key spaces of potential or active conflict.
 
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YeBeWarned

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I will definitely read it but after dinner time, but i must say the first Picture in OP ( which place is that? ) ... :man_in_love: its breath taking ..
 

jaibi

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niaz

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I am not a military professional hence my comments may appear to be amateurish and too bookish to the military professionals. However for whatever its worth, here is what comes to my mind.

Von Clausewitz, the famous Austrian military philosopher & a veteran of the Napoleonic wars had defined war as a tool employed in the pursuit of political or policy objectives. This has not changed except that the political/policy objectives of some countries now include dominance not only over the land & sea but also in space.

Wars have also become highly complex requiring the use of advanced technology and the scope of war has also increased. Currently a strong country needs to be able to fight the “Asymmetric & hybrid war”, Conventional war which may or may not involve nuclear weapons and the unconventional war.

I would define asymmetric war where military capabilities of the opposing forces are significantly unequal and also different, such as guerrilla warfare and terrorist activities like suicide bombing, kidnapping & hijacking, etc. The hybrid war would be cyber/informational warfare.

Conventional war is normally an armed conflict between states/nations involving organized military units aiming to seize control of territory, inhabitants, and resources from the enemy. Non-conventional war in my view includes a broad range of military /paramilitary operations conducted through indigenous /surrogate forces directly or indirectly supported by an external force.

It is the near-impossible task for a country to train, equip & educate her armed forces to fight all of the above kinds of war successfully. But, based on the evidence over the last couple of decades, except for a very few, the majority of the future wars are likely to be of asymmetrical, hybrid, and /or of the non-conventional nature.

These days nations/countries usually train their soldiers to fight a 3-dimensional conventional war; that is the combination of land, air & sea-borne operations. Hence the stress is on improving physical fitness & proficiency in the use of their hardware assets for the ranks and on the tactical/strategic planning for the officer corps. Primarily because that’s how the soldiers & the officers have been trained for hundreds of years. But this does not teach them to successfully fight asymmetric and other kinds of wars where the enemy is either hard to locate and identify or even altogether unknown.

Consequently, less powerful forces have managed to overcome/frustrate far more powerful adversaries such as Mujahedeen against Russia in Afghanistan, the Vietcong against USA in Vietnam & the Taliban against the USA in Afghanistan.

Since most non-conventional /asymmetric & hybrid wars last a long time, before anything else, a strong economy with the ability to continuously replace military hardware & personnel is a must in any modern and future war.

A 21st-century war, in any form or manner, would require the use of sophisticated weaponry & advanced technology. This means that a country should not only be able to produce/acquire state of the art weaponry, its soldiers and officers must also be able to make use of the sophisticated gadgetry to its full potential. In other words, the future war would require highly educated officers, non-commissioned officers as well as ordinary soldiers. Additionally, personnel at each level of command would need to be innovative and be able to adapt to changing situations quickly.

In my humble opinion, no army can provide such comprehensive training to every soldier. The only option is to be highly selective in recruitment at all levels, even if it means fewer numbers. Also, the officer promotion needs to be based upon a combination of merit & seniority (with stress on merit) instead of on seniority alone.

For a country like Pakistan, in addition to making the economy strong, improving the overall standard of the education of the ordinary soldier is extremely important. Since to improve the education level of the whole nation would take a long time; officers and ranks of all of the armed services should be encouraged to ‘Self educate’ and a manpower development program inculcating the ability to think on one’s feet should become an important part of the daily routine.
 

Zarvan

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The near future direction of the armed forces

Note: following article is based on a recent conversation I had with a few officers of different armed forces
View attachment 655960
With the 21st century shaping new format of conflicts and warfare it is pertinent that we focus upon the direction it is headed and establish accordingly. Non-conventional warfare, integrated battle space, new frontiers and a focus upon holding rather than taking an area are quite clear. I must again highlight that this is a detached military science piece and I would not be speaking of politics nor taking a side; it does not serve any productive purpose here.

In all epochs of military development it is quite clear that the side that figures out the changing trends first is usually the one which is victorious. Holding onto untested traditions cannot just be costly but fatal for a side. We only have to see the Hellenistic forces fighting the Roman legions or the various foes that faced the unmatched speed and ruthlessness of the Mongols, the Byzantium facing against Ottoman cannons or the professional Europeans facing against levied natives in the Americas, South Asia and much of Africa and more recently, carriers facing battleships to know the point.

With that in our minds let us now focus on a few of the recent developments that have expounded on the armed forces of the 21st century:

Complex weaponry, traditional roles
View attachment 655966
Whether it is through drones or jets or an APC the main focus when it comes to controlling the battle space has remained much the same. Restrict or eliminate the enemy’s ability to strike back at you. It is an uphill battle because the other side is not focusing on the same rules as you and warfare is no longer exclusively the business of the professionals. In such an environment; it should be noted that any new system or upgrade has to be incorporated, trained upon, battle tested and communicated armed forces wide to be useful and inform both tactics (on field maneuvers) as well as strategy (overall aim) to be completely effective. That is easier said than done.

Let me explain this through an example; when the Pak Army faced the militants it relied on artillery but the topographical challenges often limited the accuracy of the batteries. Often what was best for the batteries in terms of elevation and upkeep, location wise, made it difficult to accurately support the infantry because their positions and geography made it difficult for the pinpoint accuracy of the firepower to reach the enemy’s position with ease. It took on ground learning by a generation of artillery and infantry officers to figure out how to get the best results because the enemy would always react to any change in the field. Most of the artilleries of the world are trained with the mindset that they would be used upon a flatter terrain; however, that learning experience needs to be converted into new doctrines, SOPs and training modules for the next generation. As this can increase the cost of warfare and lapses can collapse a military if it does not have a robust system backing it up.

Same goes for the air force; much of the focus was placed upon what can be called close air support but not in the traditional sense with slower aircrafts which can easily match the pace of the troops on the ground.

However as the technological angle cannot be ignored either; it has become a game of balancing out everything which is why instead of expertise the main focus has been shifting towards versatility.

Section change
View attachment 655962
If one were to write about the 21st century conflicts a few centuries later it should be titled: the infantry strikes back! During the cold war that preceded and defined the 20th century most of the world followed the two superpowers with mixed results because, again, it is easier said than done. Yet, the focus was to shift back on the man on the ground. In the end it is he who is the pivot; any other system can be circumvented or checked in terms of non-conventional warfare but the man on the ground is the key here.

In that the operational planning shifted down to division level movements instead of the traditional corps level and in some areas even down to brigade level. The tactical situation reflects that as we saw sections (squads in American terminology) being trained and used on different lines. In many situations for the nations that have fought full scale wars with a non-conventional focus the AORs (area of responsibility) were no longer up to an entire platoon (usually of 30 men) but sections (usually 9-12 men) [Please, note that they vary highly between countries therefore it is a rough estimation]. An old retired Subedar once remarked, these days every soldier has to be little commando or die, sir. I see what he means; on ground situations rapidly change and back up is not the option because this enemy is focused upon maximizing damage instead of holding the area.

It is quite common for most armed forces of the world focusing on section/squad action which just a few decades ago would be more likely to have been seen as a role of the Special Forces or commando units rather than the traditional infantry.

Cooperation
View attachment 655964
After having a truckload of paperwork, a screaming session by your boss in which he questions your very existence, usual bustle of life and still a few precious hours of sleep, imagine standing at the break of dawn with a grizzly old man screaming at you to assemble, load, aim and fire then change your stance and fire again a multitude of guns each a world of its own which makes you appreciate physics and hate engineers at the same time. Welcome to weapon’s training 101; a few piercing words sliced through me during the day I mentioned and asked you to imagine: Dushman ke liaye, ap main se koi doctor, pilot, teacher, supplier ya infantarian nahi hai, sir! Ap saab wardi walien hain! Us ne koi farq nahi rakhna. Ap sab sipha-salaar hain, fire be weyse hi karien! (To the enemy it doesn’t make a difference whether any of you are doctors, pilots, teachers, suppliers or infantrymen. All of you are uniformed and therefore it makes no difference to him. All of you are battlefield leaders therefore fire like one!).

We have seen that time and time again; there is no difference much less amongst uniformed personnel but to our pain even little children as we saw in APS Peshawar. There is no mercy. Therefore, to those who defend everyone must train like they are the ones in the midst of a battle along with other roles. This is why it is important for organizations to train and cooperate in order to make the learning curve as easy as possible. The fruits of these can be seen in the recent stock market attack in Karachi where well trained policemen were able to keep a handle on the situation before there was too much carnage inflicted. If any of you focused on their uniforms they had a badge on them which showed they were trained in anti-terrorism or counterinsurgency. Such small changes to the training earlier rather than later (the course is relatively short compared to many others) makes a big difference later on.

Synthesis

With all of these it makes quite clear that before any revolutionary changes such as a completely mechanized military is to take root we have to focus on the immediate focus. That is on the following lines:

- High stress on inter-services cooperation: each officer should have a working knowledge of other services operations and working. That is best done with rotations before command level positions and promotion

- Increased cooperation: each force would learn differently from every encounter. A heavily contented clearing the mountains would be a completely different experience for an infantryman and a ground defense airman. This is because each of them has a different focus; they can learn heavily from each other’s experience and trickle their learning into life-saving sound operational learning tactics for their respective forces

- Increased communication: building upon that it is necessary for these learning experiences to be communicated effectively within the organizations as well as to sister organizations

- Wider cooperation: at the same level, it is important to increase that learning and operational experience to civilian departments that are often in similar situations because they are often first responders and can be ready made support systems for the armed forces

- Networked communications and feeds: (suggested by @The Eagle), a singular network for communications within and amongst armed forces services for rapid exchange of information and monitoring key spaces of potential or active conflict.


@jaibi As usual great job Sir and here are my two cents. I am not expert but I have learnt few things from great people like you so I am going to share my view here.

  • First of all those days are long gone where there was very less coordination or joint planning between three main forces of any country that is Army and Air Force and Navy. Modern warfare is all about these three components of your military might being well integrated with each other. They plan entire war together prepare for your enemy together and have single command. You can't afford a war planning where there is no coordination among them and they are fighting their own wars without other one knowing what other component is doing.
  • Secondly as today's world is about cyber space it's about artificial Intelligence. These things are not only important and in fact essential not just in modern civilian life but they are indispensable part of modern warfare. This also includes strong SIGINT and COMINT and ISTAR capability. While you need planes like DA 20 and other jamming planes and SIGNIT and COMINT planes through which you can have communication with your own forces and also keeping them secure from enemy attacks whether physical or technological like cyber and or jamming. You also have to make sure that you destroy your enemies leadership and its Armed Forces mechanism of communicating with each other. Basically keep your communication lines open and totally destroying your enemies, hence leaving your enemy totally blind and dumbfounded in battle field.
  • Use of drones will have to increase along with other unmanned systems. Knowing where your enemy is where it is moving what are their plans before enemies implement them will be key for your ability to win wars in future. You simply have to strike before your enemy does and it has to be precision strikes on its main communication systems and its most important military installations and soldiers.
  • Finally you have to invest in your soldiers get them new gadgets and guns and equipment. You should have your own future soldier program where your infantry and special forces are trained and equipped with small drones modern communication systems along with night vision sights and day time sights. They will be key to bring victory to you.
  • Last but still the most important part no matter How much technologically advance you are, if you don't have the will and guts to give everything for your cause including your life and sacrifice your loved ones for your cause than you are never ever going to win the war. In other words you can't beat some ones sheer will of not giving up and not being subjugated with your technological advancements. Technology helps a lot no doubt but still and in fact for all times to come your will to fight until the end is what will get you to the victory.
These pictures below are for reference purpose.
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IBCS-NGC-graphic.jpg

images - 2020-07-28T062850.484.jpeg

Raytheon-Multi-INT-Special-Mission-Aircraft.jpg

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5NHdukVLMF07546Nz8YyRk3J0SBljXn-lWiZe9VuRiV-41BV77nYNcJ1gXf5dAtVkZmiMzZORI7PeAzIhR0B4IS5c4jCXpDz4aTkQtZJ4_pNSFPeXqZbGR_-DTupBaGV5cCc

meg0zQyrvvHF6O5rj-MTQb09pd_7EYlvmpFvH5pYHVYPvopzd1-e9Wg0Pnsrn3k8i4M9YE8hF1NODohf6WZq-TPI42jZRPqwe_t_CeNDrLmyahNlJeMqgRDbC50

bvp9jKTDMlBEiwwpu9SMJsIF9lpvYnfl2g0AVJAyO4-U0A6knnDBSMDyXL8L4dnaJAnDqfRGo29R-pznnilBByIuCmZr28w7ao1GDCJEJsre2ls6baRo2HS4YNE

uhlan1.jpg

@Horus @jaibi @PanzerKiel @The Eagle @HRK @Sulman Badshah @Tipu7 @Arsalan @waz @AUz
 
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Joe Shearer

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The post by @jaibi compelled some personal reflections; I find myself much in the position of @niaz Sahib, with lesser intellect to ameliorate the distance between the defence-services experience possessed and the need for direct military experience, knowledge and involvement.

These reflections are based to some extent on the practical tutorials on the higher management of military force provided by @PanzerKiel, who forced home the understanding that between the textbook and bullets fired in anger there is a lot to be learnt and reflected back in our working for the defence of our respective nations. However, the speculative element, the element that @Nilgiri reflects in his rather strange humour as the ‘C’mon, man!’ moment, is entirely the responsibility of this individual.

INTRODUCTION: WARS ARE WON – AND LOST – BY SOCIETIES, AND BY POLITICAL ORIENTATION, NOT BY THE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE OR THE MARINES

1) Political leadership and a unified country are key. A divisive leadership, that leads an active campaign of hate against sections of its countrymen will not last long. The outstanding doctrinal developments of the Wehrmacht in WWII were considerably weakened by the internal fissures and rifts that made the regime kill one of its outstanding military leaders, holding the highest military rank, and distinguished by an extraordinary record in warfare, by suggesting that he should kill himself as an insurance against the persecution of his surviving family illustrates the point. There were nearly a dozen others.

2) The political and military leadership must be on the same page. It is disconcerting to find that, after decades of proclaiming loudly and clearly that it was not intended for counter-insurgency operations, a major South Asian army was compelled to accept supersession of two candidates for the position of Chief of Staff on the grounds that the successful candidate was a counter-insurgency expert. The whole point of the AFSPA was to insulate the Army, and other services, from the compromises needed in military behaviour in fighting the country’s own citizens.

a) Other countries in the region that have taken up counter-insurgency duties with an almost missionary zeal – the adjective was deliberately chosen – will find the chickens coming home to roost in future.

b) The consequences will be felt in the regard and honour paid to the military by citizens, or the regard and honour that is withheld.

c) Examples abound of other such compromises. Most respectfully, a very valid point, the use of artillery mentioned by @jaibi, becomes less significant when the use of artillery in the counter-insurgency context is considered. It will find its uses in future warfare in such terrain, and it will prove a factor that brings an edge to that military and its adaptability, but the context has a price that will be paid elsewhere.

3) The military leadership of a country must take that country’s demographic profile into account, and must think of the consequences of various characteristics of development that exist. How a citizenry is treated, in terms of health care, and the consequent health of the available volunteers, their mental abilities, founded on a minimum degree of nourishment, their physical capabilities, and the very tricky selection of weaponry keeping in view the widely differing physique of soldier candidates, are two factors that may be cited straightaway. However, other factors are equally important. An unlettered, uneducated citizenry will retard the growth of a 21st century military service, at land, sea or in the air. It will also spend a lot of time trying to figure out if they are fighting the right wars.

a) The Wehrmacht of WWII was not sprung from dragon’s teeth; those soldiers were the products of a sophisticated educational system, not just in Prussia but prominently in the Rhineland, in Bavaria, in Saxony and in other components of the German Empire.

b) So, too, the quite ferocious war-fighting ability and the technical excellence of the American soldier was honed in conditions within the USA; they were not injected in boot camp.

c) The Red Armies that crushed the Wehrmacht are a contrast. Their political leadership possessed enough compulsive power to mandate massed attacks by infantry with one weapon for every six or seven soldiers; it also possessed enough industrial power to produce very ordinary pieces of equipment in the bulk, in numbers that allowed their armour, for instance, to overwhelm perhaps more sophisticated German equipment; that allowed the development of aircraft that would lose every engagement with the Luftwaffe, but was present in sufficient numbers to offer realistic ground support to Red forces on the ground, even to develop doctrine and technologies that allowed effective use of what was ultimately very ordinary equipment.

i) One major army in the South Asian region faces such an opponent in one front, and hence these reminders are important.

4) A 21st century Army may actually lose any war it fights in the 21st century. The harsh truth that is emerging is that it is technology from the latter half of the 21st century, and technology that anticipates developments even further ahead in the 22nd century, that will prevail; a sine qua non is the absorption of technology from existing and projected technical developments by jawans.

5) This points both to the need to sharply accelerate technical innovation within a national industrial environment, and to introduce these innovations to military use on a real-time, today, here-and-now basis.

6) Such developments will destroy current military formations. The two-hundred year old concepts that were innovative in their time that saw a squad forming components of a section, that forming parts of a platoon, right through companies, battalions, brigades, divisions and Corps, on through armies and army groups, are outdated. The army that discards these most rapidly is the army that will win.

7) Unfortunately, these changes also affect the relations between services. The harsh lessons imparted by the recent exploration of the conflict between India and Pakistan in 1965 were reminders of the need for various services, in this case, the Army and the Air Force, to work closely together. That means working in the field, in a manner that is reflected in results; headline management, of the sort that the air leadership conducted with his gullible defence minister, does not count in battle.

8) Old roles are changing rapidly. Those armed forces that adapt to it most quickly, and stop fighting the last war that they had fought, will prevail.

a) The Army, as it exists today in South Asia, will have to change; originally that was phrased as ‘....will cease to exist....’ but the hidebound Galapagos-tortoise like characteristics of the military here, that is sadly a derivative of the outcome of the military revolution that took place in Europe centuries ago, make it clear that change will be incremental. Those who change fastest, and absorb the lessons of such changes before going into battle, will win.

b) The Air Force is already clearly outdated. Its division into strategic, front-shaped and tactical is already clear, and it is only a question of waiting for the screaming to subside.

c) The Navy is a victim in some countries of looking at what Big Brother does and trying to imitate it, or using a variant of past themes that have been popular against past Big Brothers.

i) The region is famous for being a-historical in character (referring to a majority cultural segment within it, without any intention of transferring that unflattering estimation to all other countries in the region). Otherwise it would have recognised and imbibed in full the lessons from Classical Greece, where Athens, faced with an invincible Spartan army, took to the sea. This focus on the sea happened a generation before, when they abandoned their city to the Persians, and took to the waters, and smashed their enemy at Salamis. What Themistocles honed into a sharp weapon was wielded by Pericles to devastating effect within a few decades of that transformation.

ii) It is important to remember the parallel lessons from our own history, from the Cholas, for instance, or from the outstanding achievements of the Marakkars in the 16th century and the Angres in the 18th century. Both those families successfully fought the naval hegemons of the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese (and, to some extent, the Dutch) in the 16th century, and the British in the 18th century.

iii) Unfortunately, the thinking about naval power and military power, and the relationship between the two, has been inherited by New Delhi from the thinking of the British colonists, who operated on land with the full backing and support of the Royal Navy, but with no control whatsoever over naval doctrine, strategy or deployment. We therefore continue to labour under the burden of the Jang-i-Lat, and there is not much time for the Navy, or any budget either.

9) This is the current situation from the perspective of one of the major nations of South Asia.

Commenting on the detailed transformation of the military, the air force and the navy is logically determined by the boundaries set down above.

@jaibi

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fatman17

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The post by @jaibi compelled some personal reflections; I find myself much in the position of @niaz Sahib, with lesser intellect to ameliorate the distance between the defence-services experience possessed and the need for direct military experience, knowledge and involvement.

These reflections are based to some extent on the practical tutorials on the higher management of military force provided by @PanzerKiel, who forced home the understanding that between the textbook and bullets fired in anger there is a lot to be learnt and reflected back in our working for the defence of our respective nations. However, the speculative element, the element that @Nilgiri reflects in his rather strange humour as the ‘C’mon, man!’ moment, is entirely the responsibility of this individual.

INTRODUCTION: WARS ARE WON – AND LOST – BY SOCIETIES, AND BY POLITICAL ORIENTATION, NOT BY THE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE OR THE MARINES

1) Political leadership and a unified country are key. A divisive leadership, that leads an active campaign of hate against sections of its countrymen will not last long. The outstanding doctrinal developments of the Wehrmacht in WWII were considerably weakened by the internal fissures and rifts that made the regime kill one of its outstanding military leaders, holding the highest military rank, and distinguished by an extraordinary record in warfare, by suggesting that he should kill himself as an insurance against the persecution of his surviving family illustrates the point. There were nearly a dozen others.

2) The political and military leadership must be on the same page. It is disconcerting to find that, after decades of proclaiming loudly and clearly that it was not intended for counter-insurgency operations, a major South Asian army was compelled to accept supersession of two candidates for the position of Chief of Staff on the grounds that the successful candidate was a counter-insurgency expert. The whole point of the AFSPA was to insulate the Army, and other services, from the compromises needed in military behaviour in fighting the country’s own citizens.

a) Other countries in the region that have taken up counter-insurgency duties with an almost missionary zeal – the adjective was deliberately chosen – will find the chickens coming home to roost in future.

b) The consequences will be felt in the regard and honour paid to the military by citizens, or the regard and honour that is withheld.

c) Examples abound of other such compromises. Most respectfully, a very valid point, the use of artillery mentioned by @jaibi, becomes less significant when the use of artillery in the counter-insurgency context is considered. It will find its uses in future warfare in such terrain, and it will prove a factor that brings an edge to that military and its adaptability, but the context has a price that will be paid elsewhere.

3) The military leadership of a country must take that country’s demographic profile into account, and must think of the consequences of various characteristics of development that exist. How a citizenry is treated, in terms of health care, and the consequent health of the available volunteers, their mental abilities, founded on a minimum degree of nourishment, their physical capabilities, and the very tricky selection of weaponry keeping in view the widely differing physique of soldier candidates, are two factors that may be cited straightaway. However, other factors are equally important. An unlettered, uneducated citizenry will retard the growth of a 21st century military service, at land, sea or in the air. It will also spend a lot of time trying to figure out if they are fighting the right wars.

a) The Wehrmacht of WWII was not sprung from dragon’s teeth; those soldiers were the products of a sophisticated educational system, not just in Prussia but prominently in the Rhineland, in Bavaria, in Saxony and in other components of the German Empire.

b) So, too, the quite ferocious war-fighting ability and the technical excellence of the American soldier was honed in conditions within the USA; they were not injected in boot camp.

c) The Red Armies that crushed the Wehrmacht are a contrast. Their political leadership possessed enough compulsive power to mandate massed attacks by infantry with one weapon for every six or seven soldiers; it also possessed enough industrial power to produce very ordinary pieces of equipment in the bulk, in numbers that allowed their armour, for instance, to overwhelm perhaps more sophisticated German equipment; that allowed the development of aircraft that would lose every engagement with the Luftwaffe, but was present in sufficient numbers to offer realistic ground support to Red forces on the ground, even to develop doctrine and technologies that allowed effective use of what was ultimately very ordinary equipment.

i) One major army in the South Asian region faces such an opponent in one front, and hence these reminders are important.

4) A 21st century Army may actually lose any war it fights in the 21st century. The harsh truth that is emerging is that it is technology from the latter half of the 21st century, and technology that anticipates developments even further ahead in the 22nd century, that will prevail; a sine qua non is the absorption of technology from existing and projected technical developments by jawans.

5) This points both to the need to sharply accelerate technical innovation within a national industrial environment, and to introduce these innovations to military use on a real-time, today, here-and-now basis.

6) Such developments will destroy current military formations. The two-hundred year old concepts that were innovative in their time that saw a squad forming components of a section, that forming parts of a platoon, right through companies, battalions, brigades, divisions and Corps, on through armies and army groups, are outdated. The army that discards these most rapidly is the army that will win.

7) Unfortunately, these changes also affect the relations between services. The harsh lessons imparted by the recent exploration of the conflict between India and Pakistan in 1965 were reminders of the need for various services, in this case, the Army and the Air Force, to work closely together. That means working in the field, in a manner that is reflected in results; headline management, of the sort that the air leadership conducted with his gullible defence minister, does not count in battle.

8) Old roles are changing rapidly. Those armed forces that adapt to it most quickly, and stop fighting the last war that they had fought, will prevail.

a) The Army, as it exists today in South Asia, will have to change; originally that was phrased as ‘....will cease to exist....’ but the hidebound Galapagos-tortoise like characteristics of the military here, that is sadly a derivative of the outcome of the military revolution that took place in Europe centuries ago, make it clear that change will be incremental. Those who change fastest, and absorb the lessons of such changes before going into battle, will win.

b) The Air Force is already clearly outdated. Its division into strategic, front-shaped and tactical is already clear, and it is only a question of waiting for the screaming to subside.

c) The Navy is a victim in some countries of looking at what Big Brother does and trying to imitate it, or using a variant of past themes that have been popular against past Big Brothers.

i) The region is famous for being a-historical in character (referring to a majority cultural segment within it, without any intention of transferring that unflattering estimation to all other countries in the region). Otherwise it would have recognised and imbibed in full the lessons from Classical Greece, where Athens, faced with an invincible Spartan army, took to the sea. This focus on the sea happened a generation before, when they abandoned their city to the Persians, and took to the waters, and smashed their enemy at Salamis. What Themistocles honed into a sharp weapon was wielded by Pericles to devastating effect within a few decades of that transformation.

ii) It is important to remember the parallel lessons from our own history, from the Cholas, for instance, or from the outstanding achievements of the Marakkars in the 16th century and the Angres in the 18th century. Both those families successfully fought the naval hegemons of the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese (and, to some extent, the Dutch) in the 16th century, and the British in the 18th century.

iii) Unfortunately, the thinking about naval power and military power, and the relationship between the two, has been inherited by New Delhi from the thinking of the British colonists, who operated on land with the full backing and support of the Royal Navy, but with no control whatsoever over naval doctrine, strategy or deployment. We therefore continue to labour under the burden of the Jang-i-Lat, and there is not much time for the Navy, or any budget either.

9) This is the current situation from the perspective of one of the major nations of South Asia.

Commenting on the detailed transformation of the military, the air force and the navy is logically determined by the boundaries set down above.

@jaibi

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Wow, that was a lot to digest so early in the morning. Lol. l have a completely different viewpoint. kindly wait for it while I put my thoughts together.
 

Joe Shearer

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Wow, that was a lot to digest so early in the morning. Lol. l have a completely different viewpoint. kindly wait for it while I put my thoughts together.

You had better take cover or start digging a foxhole; that was just the introduction.

That's what happens when people like me are not banished to old-age homes and told to work in the garden. Candide refers.

Wow, that was a lot to digest so early in the morning. Lol. l have a completely different viewpoint. kindly wait for it while I put my thoughts together.

Really looking forward to your reply.

As I am ill (once again), and lying in bed, I have all the time in the world.
 

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