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TECHNOLOGY AND GLOBAL MILITARY :

REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIR (RMA)

MG SONNY E S PRASETYO,M.A

An introduction
Technology is constantly advancingparticularly in a world that is
systematically organized to conduct scientific and engineering
research on a large scale.
The armed forces of a country, such as the United States, that
depends heavily on technology must innovate constantly in order to
stay ahead.
The siren song of technology is that it will eliminate the fog and
friction of war.
The reality is that the military's application of technology has
usually created its own fog and friction.

Advances in technology expand the battlefield, transform the


relationship between time and space and create new demands
on command and control.
With the pace of scientific and technological innovation
constantly accelerating, military institutions face a perpetual
challenge of change, and the very nature of that challenge
becomes more problematic as weapon systems become more
complex.

The concept of a RMA

The technological developments that contributed to the idea of an


emerging RMA began during the Cold War.
The earliest signs of the RMA were found in PGMs and new battle
management technologies that were deployed as "force multipliers" in
Western Europe.
NATO attempted to match the numerical superiority of Warsaw Pact
forces, especially its battle tanks, with sophisticated "one shot, one
kill" munitions.

The genesis of the current thinking about a RMA began in Russia in


the early 1980s, when Soviet Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, wrote about
a "military technical revolution" that would dramatically improve the
lethality and capabilities of conventional weapons.
The historical roots of RMA thinking are tied to conventional
warfare between massed armies, the kind of confrontation once
found in Europe and still extent in Korea.

The first full demonstration of these technological developments


occurred in the Gulf War of 1991.

Iraq wars, in 1991 and 2003, can be considered stages or phases of


the RMA.

Each conflict displayed particular features of the RMA and U.S.


weapons development and each served as a demonstration, a"demo,"
to other nations, of the "state of the art" of military weaponry,
command and control and strategy.

Other countries throughout the world are confronted with the


question of whether to pursue similar approaches in their defense
policies, in order to remain credible as military powers, or whether
to abandon military competition and search for alternatives.

Assumptions

The belief that modern militaries are on the cusp of a RMA, driven in
particular by recent advances in information technologies (IT) has
long been an increasingly powerful and persuasive school of military
thought.

It has been fashionable to acknowledge the IT-led RMA when talking


about the future of warfare and warfighting.
That armed forces must be transformed along the lines of the ITled RMA.

What Do We Mean By the RMA?

The RMA is a sweeping if often ambiguous term used to describe an


ambitious efforta paradigm shiftto revamp the manner in which
militaries will conduct warfare in the future.
For most, the RMA is seen as a process of discontinuous,
disruptive, and revolutionary change.

Andrew Krepinevich,
A RMABoccurs when:
The application of new technologies into a significant number of
military systems combines with innovative operational concepts and
organizational adaptation in a way that fundamentally alters the
character and conduct of a conflict.
It does so by producing a dramatic increase in the combat potential
and military effectiveness of armed forces.

RAND Corporation
RAND Corporation defines an RMA as a fundamental alteration in the
nature and conduct of military operations which either renders
obsolete or irrelevant one or more core competencies in a dominant
player, or creates one or more core competencies in some dimension
of warfare, or both.

US Department of Defences Office of Force Transformation.

The RMA is a process that shapes the changing nature of military


competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts,
capabilities, people, and organizations that exploit our nations
advantages and protect against our asymmetric vulnerabilities to
sustain our strategic position, which helps under peace and stability in
the world.

Elements of the RMA


Great advances in computational power, decreases in the physical
size of computer components, and lower costs lead to dramatic
progress in military technologies.
Joint service commands and "data fusion.
Eliminating the "fog of war.
Agile, lower-cost weapons platforms deploying precision munitions.
Fast, deadly, smaller-unit force structures.

RMA Paradigms
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution in the United States
has identified four RMA "schools of thought," or paradigms.
( Technological Change and the Future of Warfare,2000)
The "system of systems.
The "dominant battle-space dominance.
The "global reach, global power" paradigm.
The "vulnerability.

The "system of systems" approach

A comprehensive hierarchy of command structures and technologies, across all


services and including civilian command authorities, as well as an integration
of force delivery systems on all platforms and among all military units.
The skeleton and muscles of "jointness," or the integration of all military forces
and command.
Dramatic progress in the technologies of command, computers, control,
communication and intelligence processing, or what the military calls C4I.

The military practiced a virtual "real-time" war of command and


control through all levels of command, from the small unit at the
forward edge of the battle to higher Headquarter.
Commanders rely on "data fusion" from a wide range of information
inputs including soldiers, aircraft, drones, sensors, satellites, and
increasingly sophisticated radars and photoreconnaissance
technologies.
Once enemy movement or an enemy presence is detected and
confirmed, force delivery can be mobilized very quickly and the
enemy's interdiction can be monitored throughout a militarys
command structure.

Components of the "System of Systems"


Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ITR).
Radar monitoring.
Satellite surveillance and reconnaissance,
Unmanned aircraft (the Predator).
Airborne and Land-based Sensors.
The Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System.
Computers, Control, Communications, Intelligence Processing.
Secure communications and computer processing.
Global Positioning Satellite system.

Precision force
Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from ships and aircraft.
Smart" bombs such as the GBU-12 laser-guided bomb or bombs guided
by GPS.
A wide range of guided missiles, such as the Hellfire laser-guided, Air to
ground antitank missile.
Man-portable missile systems such as the Javelin, a 28-kilogram weapons
package that fires a "fire and forget" antitank missile.
Smart capabilities using one or more technologies such as laserguidance, GPS, anti-radiation, heat seeking, and terrain-mapping.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as a Predator, armed with


Hellfire missiles that can be targeted using radar or video cameras
onboard the drone.

Stealth technologies.
Reduced radar signatures.
The B-2 Bomber and the F117-A Nighthawk Stealth.

Used for night operations only.


Stealth technologies for low-observable aircraft are expected to be
included in most future combat aircraft.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Lightweight, lower-cost, agile weapons platforms.


The ability of smaller platforms to deploy increasingly lethal PGMs and
ITR technologies is combining with technological advances in armor and
logistics to lower the weight, size and cost of many weapons platforms.
Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle.
Sky Warrior UAV.
The Tomahawk.

Most militaries in the Western alliances are aiming new platform development
at cheaper, multi-use vehicles that can be configured with specific equipment
for different missions.

Information warfare.

Cover many different activities, including computer attacks,


computer defense, misinformation campaigns, propaganda, psychological
operations and both attacks on and defense of communications networks.

Inexpensive computers and mobile telephones has given information


warfare new significance and new targets, because a RMA-type military is
increasingly dependent on information technologies and systems, which
become new points of vulnerability.
The 1991 Gulf War was said to be the "first war of information."
Information warfare takes on the central function of changing the enemy's
mind, rather than serving as a tactical adjunct to more conventional
military operations.

"Operations Other Than War"


It includes peacekeeping, civil affairs, humanitarian aid, special operations,
hostage rescue, anti-terrorist actions, policing, and a range of activities
associated with the controversial mission of "nationbuilding."
The military may even become involved in information campaigns
designed to shape public opinion in its area of operation.

The "dominant battlespace knowledge"


The development of a complete global surveillance system using
combinations of space-based reconnaissance, aircraft, ground sensors and
unmanned drones will allow future military commanders complete
knowledge of "anything of consequence that moves upon or is located on
the face of the Earth.
Future battles will be made transparent by technology.
Battles will remain confusing and chaotic, and enemy forces will develop
either technological countermeasures or other techniques to avoid being
detected.
Radar and communications jammers, digital encryption codes, decoys, and
the simple use of human-to-human communication have all been used to
defeat high-tech surveillance-systems.

The "dominant battlespace knowledge"

The "global reach, global power"

Assuming that the military can identify any target anywhere on earth in close
to real-time, the logical next step would be to deploy weapons systems that
can destroy that target, or any combination of targets, no matter where they
are on the planet.
The use of space-based weapons.
The trans-atmospheric vehicle, a space plane derived from the U.S.
experience with the Space Shuttle, capable of delivering munitions to earth
targets.

Directed energy and "mass-to-target" or kinetic energy weapons.


Space bomber that can carry a payload of about 12,000 pounds and
hit any target on earth, from a continental takeoff.
Encounter resistance from other countries.
The Army to increase their rapid-response capabilities and to
decrease their heavy-lift requirements by lightening vehicles,
reducing the size of forces, and deploying forward logistical support
bases around the world.

The "vulnerability" paradigm


As information technology costs drop and weapons based on such
technologies get cheaper, they fall within the reach of a greater number of
agents, governments, terrorist groups or other potentially threatening
forces.
Stinger ground-to-air missiles

As the lethality of these weapons increases, the vulnerability of large


expensive assets that can only be deployed by wealthy countries increases
as well.
The acceptance of a greater and greater degree of complexity and dependence
on technological systems will make modern militaries peculiarly vulnerable to
systemic attacks against assets that can be unreliable or untrustworthy, like
computer or communication networks.

Dramatically increasing the importance of the "system of systems"


network infrastructureits central nervous system, so to speakthe
RMA philosophy increases the risk of the whole military force.
The "system of systems" concept (the control of centralized command)
The German concept of Auftragstaktik (mission-oriented command.)

If communication lines are disrupted or if military computers are


successfully attacked, the highly complex mix of forces in a joint
command could be at risk or even thrown into chaos.

Technological premises:
Improvements in computers and electronics will make possible major
advances in weapons and warfaremost notably in areas such as information
processing and information networks but also in communications, robotics
advanced munitions, and other technologies.
Sensors will become radically more capable, in effect making the battlefield
transparent.
Land vehicles, ships, rockets, and aircraft will become drastically lighter,
more fuel efficient, faster, and more stealthy, making combat forces far
more rapidly deployable and lethal once deployed.
New types of weaponrysuch as space weapons, directed energy beams,
and advanced biological agentswill be developed and widely deployed.

RMA and military dotrine and tactics


The RMA implies dramatic changes in the way war is to be fought,
managed, and organized.
Whereas RMAs are generally inspired by technological innovations
gunpowder, railroads, the internal combustion engine, radio, the
integrated circuit, etc.an actual RMA only occurs when these
breakthroughs are married with concomitant innovations in
doctrine, tactics, and organization.

An RMA, therefore, both enables and demands considerable:


1. structural,
2. institutional, and
3. conceptual changes in how militaries prepare for war.

The Global Military practice.

The USs practice.

The US Department of Defence (DoD) under Secretary Donald


Rumsfeld from 2001 to 2006. Under his stewardship, the RMAor
defence transformation, as it was later rebrandedbecame the
guiding principle of the US military.
Terms such as information superiority, situational awareness,
network-centric warfare, precision-strike, deployability, flexibility,
and jointness were given increasing credence in Rumsfelds Defense
Department, and belief in the power of RMA to bring about a
dramatic expansion in the capabilities and effectiveness of the US
military became almost an article of faith.

The US emphazised acquiring the following capabilities:


1. A
highly
networked
organism
of
command,
control,
communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, weapons, and platforms;
2. Improved, shared situational awareness, both of the immediate
battlespace and beyond;
3. More accurate, stand-off engagement capacity;
4. Greater speed, agility, rapid deployability, and flexibility;
5. Jointness and interoperability.

They point out that the process by which military technologies


diffuse is anything but deterministic and, instead, is highly
susceptible to local conditions.
Emily O. Goldman and Leslie C. Eliason (eds), The Diffusion of
Military Technology and Ideas (Stanford, CA: Stanford University
Press, 2003)

The West Europeans experience.


The West Europeans tend to view the IT-RMA through the prism of
transatlantic defence cooperation.
That said, however, both European governments and European defence
companies are acutely conscious of the competitive pressures exerted by US
defence suppliers across the full spectrum of European defence business.
US technological and resource strengths in the area of the RMA only
compound this problem.
Consequently, while transatlantic arms collaboration is necessary and critical
to the future of European defense capabilities, a strengthened European
defense technological and industrial base is the optimal way to ensure that
such cooperation is balanced and in European interests.

Small European countries are assessing specialized niche roles in military


alliances instead of trying to field a full range of military forces.

Australias practice.

Australia, a close follower of US military innovation, has embraced


NCW thinking while apparently being more agnostic about some of
the more far-reaching visions of the RMA proponents.
NCW in Australian lexicon and practice is fundamentally about
improving the integration and connectivity of the Australian Defense
Force, and it is conceived as a dynamically evolving but not as a
revolutionary military instrument.

Chinas experience.

Chinas pursuit of an RMA with Chinese characteristics underscores the


importance of strategic competition in the diffusion of IT-RMA capabilities
among both military users and their suppliers.
China is modernizing its military by abandoning its long-held commitment to
an immense standing army, because Chinese military leaders have
apparently concluded that the RMA is real and that to remain a military
power, China must become a modern force.

China
is modernizing its military by abandoning its long-held
commitment to an immense standing army, because Chinese
military leaders have apparently concluded that the RMA is real and
that to remain a military power, China must become a modern
force.

The implications of transformed military.

A transformed military would have important implications for those


industrial sectors that will supply the armed forces with the means
it needs to carry out its missions.
RMA proponents, in fact, have often argued that the defence
industrial bases around the world will have to undergo their own
revolutions.

The affect of the RMA and defence transformation


defence industry.

Shifting defense work from suppliers of legacy systems to


suppliers of transformational systems.
Shifting defense work in favour of firms that undertake large
scale systems integration work on behalf of the military.
Shifting defence work
specialized suppliers.

from

large

megafirms

to

smaller,

Opening up more defense work to specialized foreign firms.


Shifting defense work toward suppliers of dual-use commercial
systems.

Summary
Technology will be used across the spectrum of combat but will seldom
prove equally effective across that spectrum. A determined foe can
work around technology to disrupt or destroy it by attacking its critical
system nodes.
Technology can be a strong element of military might, but it is only an
element, and the principles of military art still apply.
A professional military culture and a clear vision of future war are at
the very heart of military foresight and can reduce, but not eliminate,
war's fog and friction.

Q&A
THANK YOU

Question to be discussed

To what extent did the Russian military experience the RMA?

The IT led RMA raiseses questions for the future of the global defence
industrial base.
1. How will the RMA, if it does come about, impact the global defence industry, which is
supposed to provide the wherewithal for implementing an RMA?
2. How will it function in an environment that calls for sweeping changes in military
structure, doctrine and strategy, and which will likely give greater criticality to certain,
perhaps novel, military capabilities the detriment of other, perhaps more traditional,
capabilities?
3.

What new technologies and systems is the defence industry expected to provide to
transformed militaries, and how would it supply these?

4. How will traditional defence industries fare in the brave new world of network-centric
warfare?
5. What might be the role of commercial dual-use enterprisesparticularly those in the
IT sectorin delivering the required technologies to the RMA? Will new suppliers
necessarily arise, while old ones necessarily fall? In other words, will the global
military-industrial complexforged in the Second World War and set during the Cold
Warhave to transform itself as well, and, if so, can it?

Implementing the RMA:


Implications for Defence
Industry
The RMA implies more than a simple overlay of new technologies
and new hardware over existing force structures;
It requires fundamental changes in military doctrine, operations,
and organization.
Hardware and technology are obviously crucial and primary
components when it comes to transformationthey are
fundamental building blocks in a modern IT-based RMA centred
on network-centric warfare and reconnaissance-strike
complexes.