Nov 24, 2020
Volodymyr Gorbulin, former secretary of Ukraine’s RNBO, has written a book How to Defeat Russia in a Future War, which may prove to have real consequences for his country. He has authored the following short summary.
First step. The realization by the military-political leadership of the state of the fact that contemporary war is different in essence – very unlike the one for which the General Staff is preparing .
In September 2019, after the use of only a dozen drones filled with explosives led to the halving of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production, and a massive attack by Turkish attack drones in Syria at the end of February 2020 led to the destruction of the Syrian air defense, it became clear that the world had just witnessed a new technological leap forward. The well-known innovator Musk immediately stated that in the wars of the future, fighters, even the modern American F-35s, have no chance to resist combat drones equipped with an artificial intelligence system. The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia only confirmed the previously drawn conclusions – the size of the army and tanks is decisively not important in modern warfare. The Bayraktar TB2 operational-tactical attack drones, which Baku purchased from Ankara in advance, allowed the Azerbaijani Armed Forces to dominate the battlefield.
All this directly concerns Ukraine, which has been resisting Russian aggression for the seventh year in a row. It cannot be said that Ukraine has not taken steps towards new technologies. However, technological growth is proceeding too slowly, not systematically and without the participation of state management. That is, without political will.
So, the global availability of technologies with intelligent programs, automation, robotization and the introduction of artificial intelligence will become the basis of the latest rearmament, which, in the end, will nullify even the idea of nuclear deterrence. These processes have already begun and cannot be stopped. We are witnessing not just a wave of development of armies through active robotization of the armed forces – we are witnessing a true technological tsunami.
In addition, modern warfare presupposes the absence of a clear front line: combined models of influence are increasingly used to fight and achieve political goals and any advantage.
Step two. Clear identification of the enemy. Search for its weak points against the background of polishing the national idea of universal resistance .
Ukraine should not become a hostage to defense planning. The adoption of the National Security Strategy is the first positive step, which realistically reflects our position in the coordinate system.
The military security strategy, or, in other words, the new military doctrine, must clearly state: Russia is our enemy, and we will fight it this way and that.
A positive shift has already taken place. At the end of May 2020, the Ministry of Defense announced that for the first time in the Strategy of Military Security of Ukraine, the principle of comprehensive or total defense of the state will be applied. That is, not only the defense forces will be involved in the defense of the country, but the entire Ukrainian society and all state authorities will resist the enemy throughout Ukraine, using all forms and methods of struggle in compliance with the principles and norms of international law. This is a very important step towards creating an asymmetric confrontation.
As for the Russian Federation, we are witnessing its technological and in places political weakening. Only 2020 showed the crises of the Russian programs – Su-57 (new fighter), PAK DA (promising long-range aviation complex), Il-112 (new military transport aircraft), T-14 Armata tank, etc. The Russian Federation demonstrates the inability to create its own strike unmanned aerial vehicles – projects “Okhotnik”, “Altius-U” and “Orion”.
All these trends are clearly visible in the wars in Syria and in Nagorno-Karabakh. And they need to be strengthened as follows:
A) Formation of a bloc of active allies of Ukraine and the creation of prerequisites for an anti-Putin coalition.
B) Ousting the Russian Federation from the markets and blocking its receipt of new technologies.
C) Active information policy.
D) Formation of its asymmetric potential.
Step three. Determination of your asymmetric capabilities to counter the aggressor.
The military security strategy should form a clear course for the formation of an effective system of asymmetric counteraction.
This is a combined asymmetrical shield, based on a number of new elements.
First, these are the possibilities of non-violent counteraction. The deployment of information countermeasures, including the conduct of information and psychological operations and cyber attacks, as well as work in social networks and media organizations to mobilize not only the development of counterintelligence, intelligence and special information structures, but also the involvement of many civil institutions and public organizations in interaction.
Second, a developed system of territorial defense.
Third, a professional army armed with modern high-tech weapons, that has a large number of special purpose units.
Fourth, the active use of paramilitary groups with private military campaigns and autonomous sabotage and reconnaissance structures, saturated with modern weapons or their elements.
Step four. Creation of a non-force reaction system.
This is the basis of Ukrainian asymmetry. Such means are designed to prevent the information terror launched by Moscow, the conduct of information and psychological operations using cyber attacks, social networks and the media. And, perhaps even more important, to prevent a series of killings that the Russian special services organize to intimidate citizens of their country and foreign states, including Ukraine. This is a surprisingly ramified and extremely complex range of tasks, which forces us to concentrate on the development of counterintelligence, intelligence and special information structures. Realizing that Russia’s war against Ukraine has demonstrated the absence of a clear front line, we must create a multi-level containment system on the basis of existing structures. Which, among other things, will be ready to respond to anticipation.
Step five. Creation and development of territorial defense.
The war will be non-linear to the extent that it may well lack an identifiable battlefield and front line. The distinction between “civilians” and “military” is likely to disappear.
Therefore, in a broad sense, Ukrainian-style territorial defense should become the formation of such a hostile environment for Russia, in which its troops will not be able to operate effectively. At the same time, new principles of territorial defense should be introduced: a high level of autonomy of subunits, a high level of technology (with the implementation of the active phase of rearmament), and close communication with the Armed Forces in matters of preparation and practice of actions using modern light weapons. By solving this ingenious equation, a well-adjusted territorial defense structure is able to maintain balance between itself and the army – creating an amazingly capacious reservoir for the mobilization of resources and at the same time allowing a reasonable reduction in the Armed Forces, making them truly high-tech.
Step six. A radical transformation of the army.
Today it is impossible to approach the creation and development of an army according to the old criteria. And the changed nature of threats, and changes in the forms and methods of warfare, and the development of new technologies – all this requires a change in approaches to military organizational development. The armed forces of any state cease to be an independent organization – they become the core of the defense forces, performing the main function, but, nevertheless, they are integrated into the general structure of the state’s military potential. To implement a new military strategy, first of all, technological superiority is necessary, especially, as already mentioned, in command and control. Essentially, a transition to a unified battlefield is needed. The next conclusion is the conviction that such a war requires a prepared warrior who clearly knows his place in the battle formation.
As a result, Ukraine must create a modern compact army based on fundamental rearmament with high-tech systems.
Step seven. Achieving a technological advantage.
Technological advantages are becoming the cornerstone of Ukraine’s entire defense system. Our future security will depend on our ability to understand, adapt, and implement technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous control and hypersonic systems.
This requires the transformation of the defense industry. The inflexible ossified defense industry complex should be transformed into a number of independent holdings, to which private enterprises can also be attracted to fulfill certain tasks. For certain tasks (programs), public-private consortia can be created.
Unfortunately, our belligerent state absolutely lacks the resources to implement such a plan, on a large scale. And all this against the background of the technological depletion of the defense forces, and first of all, the army. This forces us to rely on certain criteria when assessing domestic developments.
Firstly, prioritize those technologies that are capable of responding today or tomorrow to key, I would say, vital threats to the state.
Secondly, focus on technologies that can form the basis of an asymmetric shield; that is, technologies of non-linear action.
Thirdly, give preference to those technologies that will ensure relatively short production cycles of weapons and military equipment after they are adopted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
It is imperative for Ukraine to start preparing for the coming wars as the wars of the future. And this preparation, in my opinion, should be transformed into the following priority state rearmament programs:
The first state program is to improve the control system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and individual weapons.
The second state program is to develop modern electronic intelligence (RER) and electronic warfare (EW) systems.
The third state program is to develop the state air defense system.
The fourth state program is to develop high-precision weapons.
The fifth state program is to develop unmanned platforms and percussion robotics.
The coming decade will become the most dangerous and unpredictable for Ukraine in the modern history of the state. Therefore, one of the key tasks in the development of defense potential is the transformation of a future war into a senseless and unsuccessful one for the aggressor.