Disruptive Technologies & Virtual War

<p><em>&ldquo;How will Defence adapt to the challenges presented by disruptive technologies and embrace the opportunities they offer?&rdquo; Major General Copinger-Symes</em></p><p>Adoption of disruptive technologies is nothing new for Defence, IT is just the latest technology in a long line of disruptive technologies adopted by the Military over centuries.&nbsp;This upgrade should be even easier, as commercial organisations have been successfully using these same disruptive technologies for years to process, exploit and dominate opportunities in their markets.&nbsp;Global industry and commerce has been able to embrace, adapt and even thrive using these disruptive technologies. If we are to prepare for the next war(s), the&nbsp;<strong><u>Cyber-Enabled Information Wars</u></strong>&nbsp;of the 2020s, below are listed some of the disruptive technologies a military might consider adopting and details of the opportunities they could bring?&nbsp;</p><p>Many of these technologies are already being used to compete in a similar (<em>but less lethal</em>) commercial competition for the mind of consumers but on similar battleground to the Information Wars of the 2020s. All of these technologies are Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS), available, affordable and could be easily adapted to the modern warfare environment. As part of a model to effect Information Superiority in this same Battlespace, these technologies could be used as a short-list of the information-centric technologies that might give the General the disruptive effects he seeks.</p><p>Whilst many in Defense seem ossified by this challenge, General Copinger-Symes<em>&nbsp;</em>wants to face the challenge head-on, seeking to embrace it as an opportunity rather than a threat.&nbsp; And he is not alone, the question posed by him comes just months after the Prime Minister promised to deliver a &ldquo;<em>huge technological upgrade of security forces to keep Britain safe and strengthen NATO</em>&rdquo; and a call by General Nick Carter (chief of the UK Defense Staff) for Defence to &ldquo;<em>&hellip;embrace information-centric technologies, recognising that it will be the application of the combination of these technologies that will achieve the disruptive effect we need</em>&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Application of Information-Centre Technologies to effect Information Superiority</strong></p><p><em>Figure&nbsp;1 Converging technologies to effect Information Superiority</em></p><p>The model above illustrates how these technologies could then be grouped and combined with data and command, to deliver that disruptive effect. This process could enable the collection and processing of the huge amounts of data (including enemy data) from a modern battlespace to deliver and effect Information Superiority over an enemy.&nbsp;Similar to obtaining Air Superiority in past conflicts, Information Superiority in the Information War could then deliver physical superiority in the three physical domains.</p><p><strong><u>Top 10 Information-Centre Technologies for the next war</u></strong></p><p><strong><u>Compute Technologies</u></strong></p><ol><li><strong> HYPER-CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE (HCI): </strong>Fundamental to any organisations power is its&rsquo; ability to process information. Modular HCI nodes stack like Lego&trade; to give computing power thousands of times more powerful than current battlefield ICT. The back-office, off-line processing of historic data flows from allied and enemy data feeds has always taken place days/weeks after the event. This can now be executed in real-time and at the &lsquo;edge&rsquo; of the battlefield, giving commanders at all levels the current, accurate and relevant information they need to make decisions.&nbsp;</li></ol><p>HCI clusters are man-portable, about the size of a suitcase, yet can power machine learning, sentiment analysis and AI applications.&nbsp;They can enable real-time video analytics, enemy ICT traffic decryption and bulk intelligence processing &hellip; in real-time, in a mobile deployed HQ at the front line.&nbsp;</p><ol start="2"><li><strong> FLASH STORAGE ARRAYS/STORAGE CLASS MEMORY (SCM):</strong>Linking high-speed computing with high-speed memory arrays allows for data processing capabilities approaching near quantum levels of performance.&nbsp;The time to crunch billions of data items is now measured in nanoseconds.</li></ol><p>Previously finding and providing intelligence from real-time processing of data feeds and large, complex data sets was impossible.&nbsp;With the exponential explosion in CPU power integrated with high-speed SCM, machine learning, AI and real-time analytics applications can now output information and intelligence instantaneously.&nbsp;More importantly, this can be pushed forward to the edge of any battlefield.&nbsp;Advance Persistent Threat (APT) forecasting, digital doubles, targeting prediction and combat gamification are only a few of the relatively mature solutions used today in business that could easily be adapted to provide simultaneous cogitative support to the battlefield commander at all levels.&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Networking Technologies</u></strong></p><ol start="3"><li><strong> MOBILE AD HOC NETWORKS (MANET): </strong>A private, secure, and man-portable cell phone network. Like a personal mobile phone network, each cell forms part of a lattice that provides a self-organizing and self-healing WiFi-style mesh network over many square kilometres. These networks provide &lsquo;always on&rsquo;, high capacity data connections to soldiers, sensors, drones and tactical vehicles across the battlefield.&nbsp;&nbsp;This provides a fast and secure method of distributing vital information, real-time imagery, voice and data from 1000s of sensors securely around the battlefield.&nbsp;</li><li><strong> PASSIVE OPTICAL LOCAL AREA NETWORK (POL): </strong>This provides a structured cabling system to flood wire a temporary campus deployment quickly. It replaces expensive copper-based cables, 240v powered hubs/switching and complex networking routers meaning there is no need for wiring cabinets, mains power and air-conditioning infrastructure.&nbsp;POL cables are smaller, lighter, cheaper, and currently support speeds of up to 40 Gpbs.&nbsp;As it is based on using raw fibre-optics, the solution is future proof and only requires basic training for installers.&nbsp;The solution enables high bandwidth connectivity out to about 20km eg around an airfield, remote CCTV in guard towers, distributed buildings or military assets.&nbsp;</li><li><strong> INTEND BASED NETWORKING SYSTEMS (IBNS):&nbsp; </strong>An AI-based technology that intuitively controls network routing based on network traffic type, intelligently predicting usage patterns and balancing configuration.&nbsp;This provides optimum routing and reduces latency to nanoseconds.&nbsp;IBNS software allows network planners to specify the desired business outcomes for different network traffic/ locations and this software makes this happen.&nbsp;It provides optimum bandwidth utilisation, network agility and fortifies security with advanced automation.&nbsp;In practice it calculates the bandwidth available then prioritises operational video and voice (so there is no judder) and deprioritises staff email/Sharepoint so the commander receives clear voice calls, ops get clear video, but staff users wait an extra &frac12; second for their email.</li><li><strong> NARROWBAND-IoT: </strong>This new Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology was specifically developed for distributed Internet of Things (IoT) devices.&nbsp;It is designed to support sensors that use tiny amounts of data, consume little power and thus operate for months, even years.&nbsp;It is designed for inter-device/machine signalling traffic over a very wide area (many Sq Kms). The signalling units are tiny, the network traffic is low, which allows for 1000s of devices to be connected.&nbsp;Commercial applications include smoke detectors on a large university campus, weather sensors or environmental monitoring.&nbsp;Military applications could include the global tracking of individual assets into and around a theatre, 1000s of distributed movement sensors and blue force tracking.</li><li><strong> LIGHT FIDELITY (Li-Fi): </strong>Similar to Wi-Fi but using special LED bulbs (operating at 440-770THz) instead of a radio frequency.&nbsp;LiFi is more focused, secure and faster than WiFi (~1Gbps today rising to 220Gbps). It is absorbed by walls (or a canvas tents) thus there is no residual RF scatter.&nbsp;Using different LEDs can provide different security levels or geofencing.&nbsp;It can be used in high-security HQs or lasers to UAVs as there is no RF signature.&nbsp;</li></ol><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>Application</u></strong><u>&nbsp;<strong>Technologies</strong></u></p><ol start="8"><li><strong> HIGH-DEFINITION SOFTWARE-DEFINED CAMERAS (HD SD CAMERAS):&nbsp;</strong>Using inbuilt computing power, these cameras instantaneously recognise faces, animals, vehicles numbers and shapes eg weapons.&nbsp;Dependant on the bandwidth they can send a burst of metadata or the full HD video.&nbsp;This technology provides the opportunity to replace many physical sentries.&nbsp;A watchtower or FOB can be equipped with 100s of these cameras, each processing content on the camera itself as well as feeding data into a local HCI node at the edge of the network.&nbsp;Only the required/relevant metadata such as vehicle registration numbers or personnel identification, or other pre-determined trigger signals need to be actioned.&nbsp;Secondary processing of metadata from the cameras can also be used to help understand patterns of activity to help turn the raw data into real-time intelligence.&nbsp;Using AI applications, operational wisdom and intuition, pre-cognitive command decisions can pre-empt potential enemy action.&nbsp;</li><li><strong> CLOUDIFICATION, ZERO CLIENT AND CONTAINERISATION</strong>:&nbsp;The term refers to the migration of software applications from a local device to being processed on the network.&nbsp;Many applications are now executed on public cloud networks such as Amazon, Azure or Google, but private clouds will keep the data within a secure private network.&nbsp;Cloud-based applications usually required a stable network connection but new solution allow for tiny bandwidth and burst transmissions.&nbsp;Soldiers and commanders at the front line can access the full power of centralised computing services in HQs or at forwarding data centres using minimal bandwidth.&nbsp;All participants on the battlefield can have access to the HQ style information on the battlefield using cheap, disposable handheld devices.</li><li><strong> COGNITIVE CYBER DEFENCE:</strong>The application of AI in cyber-warfare has already begun.&nbsp;94% of viruses /malware is polymorphic software (autonomously morphs itself depending on target).&nbsp;On the defence side, AI is also being used to provide edge-based prediction and prevention to detect and robotically block malicious code/users/attempts at access.&nbsp;Using Hadoop Big Data processing engines, middleware and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) detection will be essential in the Info-War.&nbsp;</li></ol><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><u>The Convergence of Information-Centric Technologies</u></strong></p><p>The combination, convergence and fusion of several specific information-centric technologies are about to have an exceptionally disruptive effect on the IT that we will be using in the next war.</p><p><strong>5G, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, THE INTERNET OF THINGS AND ANALYTICS:&nbsp;</strong>5G networks have better coverage, a higher data rate (&gt;1Gbps), are highly secure, are more energy-efficient and have excellent spectral efficiency.&nbsp;These networks are designed to transfer data from billions of devices such as phones, vehicles or drones at data speeds and latency that today can only be imagined.&nbsp;Humans can't analyse this quality of data.&nbsp;To understand and utilise this data will require the application of AI technologies.</p><p>Each of these technologies will have a huge impact in their own right, but their convergence is now poised to create radical change in future military operations.&nbsp;The next war will see an exponential increase in the quantity of data that a deployed headquarters, CP and FOB will be expected to process.&nbsp;Commercial organisations already use the technologies above to process, exploit and dominate their data bow-wave.&nbsp;In the Info-War, Defence will face a similar dilemma.&nbsp;It is essential that military planner&rsquo;s prototype, train and exercise using these commercial information platforms and learn how they can be adapted to the Info-War.&nbsp;New doctrine will need to be developed from hard learnt experience in using them, soldier training programmes will need to be written and leadership in this environment needs to be practised. There is a lot to do.&nbsp;</p><p><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;Digital is fundamental to how defence needs to respond to the disruptive world; it will be at the heart of the wider transformation strategy of defence&rdquo;. Ministry of Defence CIO Charles Forte (Dec 19)</em></p><p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p><p>It is correct to acknowledge that there is a neophile fascination with some technology innovations in defence that are &lsquo;<em>more influenced by science fiction than empirical design&rsquo;</em>.&nbsp;It is correct to trial these, then fail them fast if they provide no utility.&nbsp;But most new technologies are neutral, the problem is that we are fumbling about trying to find ways to use them, thinking <em>with yesterday&rsquo;s logic</em>&nbsp;and &lsquo;<em>we are bad at imagining new ways of doing better things</em>.&nbsp;</p><p>These information technologies are not &lsquo;<em>presentist nonsense&rsquo;</em>; these are the solutions used today by the rest of the world to &lsquo;<em>achieve the disruptive effect we [also] need&rsquo;.&nbsp;</em>&nbsp;As the General says<em> "We should &lsquo;embrace the opportunities they offer", </em>engage in creative thinking, imagining a future where these amazing technologies could be used to deliver capability, advantage and relevancy in the next conflict.&nbsp;&nbsp;Relying on archaic systems due to an irrational fear of the unknown will ossify a military.&nbsp;All historical military experiences advocate a bold step forward to meet and engage these challenges head-on.&nbsp;As with previous new technology, its successful adoption will rely on motivated and well-trained personnel, led by courageous, resolute and visionary adopters.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Martin Crilly

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