This week Foreign Policy posted a new article by Navy Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla, in which he discusses the how “swarm” tactics employed by the Russians caused the failure of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion.
Arquilla is a prolific author who regularly writes about swarms and “net-centric” operations. In the above piece he cites successful maritime employment of swarm tactics such as German submarine “wolf-packs” in the Second World War and the Sri Lankan Navy’s fight against maritime elements of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or “Tamil Tigers”) earlier this decade.
It is unclear how Arquilla’s example of the Russian defeat of Napoleon is applicable to a broad range of operations at sea, however. When swarms are discussed in terms of maritime operations, it is generally in the context of an asymmetric fight within a constrained body of water, such as Iranian plans to use swarms of small boats or the Chinese Type 22 Houbei fast attack craft. Napoleon’s Grand Armee was vulnerable to Russian swarm attacks on the march back from Moscow because of its extended supply lines. In contrast, one of the primary advantages of sea power is that it provides the space for strategic maneuver and the ability to avoid such exposure to swarms. Swarms and Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) weapons and tactics could still threaten naval forces within specific areas in which the ability to maneuver is restricted, or are within the range of weapons on land, but they do not take away one of the main advantages of sea power, the ability for a state to choose where to best deploy its forces.
Lieutenant Commander Mark Munson is a Naval Intelligence Officer and currently serves on the OPNAV staff. He has previously served at Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR, the Office of Naval Intelligence and onboard USS ESSEX (LHD 2). The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official viewpoints or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
Poland’s presence in the ESA will simplify cooperation within international projects that have already started, e.g. the satellite defense agreement with Italy and participation in Multinational Space-based Imaging System for Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Observation (MUSIS).
The latest news (in Polish) says delivery of the first 12 Naval Strike Missiles (NSM), for the coastal defense battery called NDR (Nadbrzezny Dywizjon Rakietowy), is expected to take place at the end of the month. Further deliveries will continue until 2015, based on the contract valued at 924M PLN ($280M).
In the background is a series of political meetings. On November 12th, the Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Defence from Poland and Sweden held talks about military cooperation and regional security. As an official MoD newsletter says, it was an “historic first”. The meeting also highlighted the dual role of navies in war and peacetime, as the Polish Navy plays a role in international cooperation focused on maritime security that is equally a matter of defence and foreign affairs. In another series of bilateral meetings with the German Minister of Defence, the importance of the Navy was directly raised.
During the meeting the Ministers talked about bilateral military cooperation and international affairs. Modernization of the Armed Forces, including modernisation of the Navy, was among the topics as well.
“Besides air defence and missile defence, modernising the Polish Navy is very important for us. We carefully observe Germany and its solutions for modernisation of mine-hunters,” Minister Siemoniak said.
Another source (also in Polish) gives a handful of details about the fruits of these engagements, and mentions that specific directives have been issued for the Chiefs of Polish and German Navies, including joint patrolling in the Baltic. Cooperation with Germany on the industrial level is also highly probable as the Polish Navy prefers austenitic steel for construction of its new mine-hunters and such technology is offered by Luerssen only.
However, intentions remains just intentions without correct financing. The good news is that project of the 2013 military spending is 6.74% higher compared to 2012, and 12% higher in the case of equipment modernization. After joining NATO, the Polish navy significantly increased its participation in multinational exercises. Operational tempo grew, but this was not seen as important tool of diplomacy. Only recent shift in government interest promise that old and worn out navy platforms will be replaced and properly recognized for the diplomatic role they play.
Przemek Krajewski alias Viribus Unitisis a blogger In Poland. His area of interest is broad context of purpose and structure of Navy and promoting discussions on these subjects In his country
Earlier this month the Federation of American Scientists held its annual Symposium on Catastrophic Threats and Awards Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The date – November 9th – was chosen to coincide with the November U.S. presidential election and provide a forum for policy recommendations to a newly elected administration. The symposium provided a wonderful venue for the discussion of the most-pressing threats facing the U.S. Panelists called for steps to prevent catastrophic events, and increase response planning and preparation to those possible dangers. These recommendations were published in a booklet, available electronically.
Because science plays such a critical role in underlying U.S. policies, from disaster preparation to farm subsidies, leaders must be armed with a science-based knowledge of the risks and opportunities policy choices present. To this end, the symposium featured moderated discussions of four-to-five distinguished experts, grouped into related threat-areas: Nuclear Weapons; Biological, Chemical, Conventional, and Cyber Threats; and Energy and Infrastructure.
The session devoted to nuclear threats reiterated the group’s long-held goals of stockpile reduction and eventual total disarmament. Senior FAS Fellow Charles Blair emphasized that the U.S. must start differentiating violent non-state actors in terms of their ability to pose a bona fide radiological or nuclear (R/N) threat, rather than treating all threats as possessing equal capabilities. Proper identification of the threat will allow targeted policies and avoid wasteful expenditures of time and resources on groups that do not pose significant R/N threats. Another FAS Fellow, Dr. Robert Norris, proposed that a fundamental alteration of Cold-War era nuclear doctrine is a prerequisite for arms reduction, with a minimal deterrence mission the only necessary use for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Lengthy discussions of biological-, chemical-, and conventional-weapons threats highlighted the need for increased accountability and controls, which are scarcer outside the United States. Perhaps the most significant threat in the chemical and biological weapons fields stems from the fact that there is a growing dearth of technical experts in the former Soviet Union to handle existing stockpiles of agents. Without the incentives of prestige and financial rewards available during the years of the thriving Soviet weapons programs, even fewer personnel with the requisite training will be available to handle and safeguard stockpiles in the future.
The energy and infrastructure panel spoke in favor of nuclear energy with reminders that natural gas does not eliminate greenhouse gas production. They also reminded attendees that the U.S. will likely import oil from Canada long after it frees itself of overseas imports. Dr. Steven Koonin, of NYU, called for increased funding for alternative energy research and a reorganization of the Department of Energy to enable better understanding of markets and business policies. Notably absent from the discussion was an in-depth assessment of the impact that the Fukushima Daiichi incident will generally have on nuclear power endeavors in the future, and in Japan specifically.
One subject that stood out for immediate attention is developing a framework for rules and definitions in cyber security and warfare. The United States is ill-prepared to respond to a major denial of service attack aimed at critical infrastructure, especially in the cyber realm. Dr. Kennette Benedict, from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, explained that the field lacks clarity on responsibilities and acceptable scope for security. Increasingly sophisticated attacks on private and public networks demand a robust effort to ensure reliability and freedom from interference. While the private sector has tremendous incentives to shore up defenses against intrusion and would benefit from federal support in defending network architecture, transparency and trust are in short supply at this time.
As an illustration, were a major electrical grid or other critical infrastructure component attacked, resulting in losses of life and industrial output, how would the United States respond? Would this be defined an act of terror an act of war? Would the response be treated like a natural disaster? No clearly defined roles have been established for preventing and/or prosecuting major acts of cybercrime. No public forum exists to discuss the norms associated with cyber warfare, define acceptable measures that may be taken against individual or state-sponsored actors, or set limits to intrusion that occurs under the guise of security.
Not only will clarifying these issues benefit the private sector, but transparency will also pay major dividends in foreign policy negotiations. As with any new weapon, uncertainty will lead to mistrust and fear, which often precipitate wasteful arms races. U.S. leaders must come to the table with candor in order to develop policies that promote security with minimal interference for all. A massive blackout or disruption of services would be devastating for everyone; CIMSEC could be the group that suggests a way forward.
More information about the event can be found at the Federation of American Scientists’ website: www.fas.org
LT Drew Hamblen is a naval aviator in the U.S. Navy and graduate of Georgetown University. The opinions and views expressed in this post are his alone and are presented in his personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy.
In my current capacity as a military student, one of my requirements is to complete a master’s thesis focused on future warfare. This year I have decided to write on the implications of future neuroscience developments and the impact on naval warfare, (up to ~15 years out). Below is my thesis proposal, which I submit to your view in the hopes of starting a conversation. I look forward to your comments and further discourse.
Proposed Research Question: How will advances in neuroscience improve naval capabilities?
Proposed Thesis: Future advances in neuroscience research and development will improve naval capabilities in both the cognitive executive functions of decision makers and enhanced situational awareness through a melding of neurotechnology with biological sensory.
Discussion: Many discussions on the fog and friction of war relate to the common denominator of the human mind. Despite advances in unmanned and autonomous technology, the basis of all military strategy and campaigns is the ultimate execution by military personnel, reliant on cogent decision-making.
The field of neuroscience has seen drastic growth in the last decade. Exceeding its biological origins the field has exploded, infusing research with psychics, psychology, medicine, and computer science – to name a few. Through studies of the nervous system at numerous levels (functional, cellular, sensory), future neural research is gaining interest beyond traditional scientific communities and the implications for military development should be explored.
The continued research into genetic and environmental aspects of neural systems and decision-making explore the processes of the human nervous system and interaction with cognitive executive function. Through future neuroscience development, naval forces may be able to apply new technology and biological understanding to effectively screen young military leaders to categorize individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The ability to place these leaders in appropriate career positions may improve naval warfare communities that continually operate in high-risk environments. Furthermore, the ability to track cognitive weaknesses provides the opportunity for the naval training organization to produce brain fitness programs to improve these areas.
With the future development of cognitive screening, naval forces could develop programs (such as DARPA’s Enabling Stress Resistance program) to mitigate stress through behavioral and pharmacological interventions. The increase in this screening, combined with advances in neuropharmacology, will allow naval forces to complement battlefield simulators with individual-oriented stimulants, to increase the stressors on combat decision-makers while in a safe environment and approach a real-time fog of war.
Neurotechnology may also provide enhanced human intelligence analysis, through the development of brain-signal processing linked to visual intelligence as it occurs. This capability may increase the speed and accuracy of image analysis and improve operational assessments.
In addition to cognitive development, the field of neuroscience may provide enhanced manpower recovery options to deployed expeditionary forces. Advances in clinical and evolutionary neuroscience are improving current naval medical corps’ ability to identify, diagnose, and treat PTSD. Continued research could produce an expeditionary force capable of preparing forces not only upcoming combat stressors, but follow-on operations that require increased time on station. The ability to prevent PTSD and keep military personnel on the battlefield will provide an advantage in future protracted conflicts. Future developments in prosthetic limbs, linked with effective neural links, will advance an operational force commander’s ability to limit his reserve force, assuming his naval ships have the capacity to treat injured personnel afloat.
Lastly, the possibility of employing non-kinetic neuro-weapons, developed in the field of cellular neuroscience, to make the enemy to believe that operations have occurred (pseudo-feint) may provide naval forces an advantage when planning major operations. The enemy’s belief that the war is lost may be enough for the friendly forces to declare victory – or further tactical/operational goals in the interim. The capacity to develop and employ such a weapon is worthy of further research and discussion.
A.J. “Squared-Away” is a husband, father, and U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer. He has deployed on patrol boats, destroyers, and aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and aboard Iraqi oil terminals. He is currently a student at an advanced military warfighting school. The opinions and views expressed in this post are his alone and are presented in his personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy.