Finding and destroying the enemy has always been the main priority of Militaries worldwide. Good intelligence and sophisticated weapons has traditionally been a recipe for success. Today, traditional “Hard Kill” responses are becoming increasingly less desirable and DoD is moving away from “symmetric” responses (you build something big and bad and we build something bigger and badder). This old style approach is too expensive and exposes the US to political and international risks.
With the rise of global social media and proliferation of instantly available video from all corners, 24×7, military actions are immediately recorded and presented for international approval. Last month when an Israeli missile killed Palestinian women and children in an attempt to take down a top Hamas militant, the distressing video of pulling small bodies from the wreckage was instantly available for viewing online. It influenced the global response; it impacted how the military could operate.
As DoD ponders how to assure access in regions of the world where our presence is important, there will be increased emphasis on “soft kill” weapons with scalable lethality. Having the ability to “dissuade” the adversary without blowing things up on TV has never been more important.
Top on this list of needed capabilities are significant improvements in the Information Operations of DoD. This includes both electronic warfare and computer network operations. Key enablers to defeat anti-access area-denial (A2AD) systems will be:
• Weapons with scalable lethality.
• Abilities that improve stealth and increase the chance of undetected operations.
• Electromagnetic spectrum tools that help to search, intercept and identify sources of electromagnetic radiation.
• Tools that will use that information to disrupt the decision makers by confusing and misleading them.
• Computer network attack/exploitation and deception tools.
Electronic protection is currently obtained via hardware based analog systems with very little automation. Detailed analysis requires that specialized crew and equipment be embedded for the mission. The future military units will need to be fully capable of providing electronic support and will have an inherent information operations capability without additional personnel and gear.
Fine-tuning this asymmetric response will provide a distinct advantage to DoD. The main goal is to put the adversary on alert and cause him to spend all his resources (personnel, funding, training, etc.) trying to counter a threat he cannot see. Assured access to our war fighting domains will be a direct function of how well we accomplish that.
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