Military Embedded Systems

Looking toward 7th and 8th generation warfare


July 07, 2015

Ray Alderman

VITA Standards Organization

WARFARE EVOLUTION BLOG: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” wrote Sun Tzu in his book "The Art of War."If you can convince your enemy that his military efforts will all be in vain, then you can win without fighting, which is where 7th and 8th generation warfare (7GW and 8GW) will lead us.

Recently Russian leader Vladimir Putin wisely said that he does not want a war with NATO and the U.S. over Ukraine. Russian Generals Vladimir Slipshenko and Makhmut Gareev said in their book “Future War”, after the U.S. victory in Iraq against Saddam Hussein, any country would be stupid to fight against the Americans with 3GW techniques. Chinese Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui in their book "Unrestricted Warfare”, said that China could not defeat the U.S. in an all-out war and should explore other strategies. Those statements confirm that our 5GW and 6GW concepts and weapons are superior and devastating to our primary enemy’s -- Russia, China, and Iran -- existing 3GW capabilities.

To read Warfare Evolution Blog Part 1 click here, for Part 2 here, here for Part 3, for part 4 click here, for part 5 click here, and for part 6 click here.

7th generation warfare

Seventh Generation Warfare is totally automated warfare. First, we will shut down the enemy's commercial and military communications systems, their power grid, and their water utilities with advanced electronic warfare (EW) systems and cyberweapons, or even localized EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapons. That will consequently disable their economy and their banking system. Think that is futuristic? On 31 March 2015, Iranian military hackers shut-down the power grid to 44 of the 81 provinces in Turkey in retaliation after Turkey’s President Erdogan made statements supporting the Saudi bombings of the Houthi rebels in Yemen (who are supported by Iran). FYI, Iran and Houthi are Shia, while Turkey and Saudi Arabia are Sunni.

Next, our enemy's airspace will be controlled by swarms of our flying autonomous weapons platforms, neutralizing their air force. We do that now with manned fighters, creating no-fly zones. Their ports and seacoast will be controlled by swarms of autonomous naval surface vessels, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) such as smart torpedoes, and upward falling platforms (UFPs), thereby eliminating their naval forces. If their ground forces move toward their borders to attack, other swarms of aerial and ground-based weapons platforms will neutralize them.

Our satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intelligence gathering systems will feed enemy movements and actions to our autonomous weapons platforms from office buildings and small trailers full of electronics on American soil, in Nevada and Florida and Washington, DC. Not a single American boot will ever touch enemy soil. We may lose a few of these advanced platforms in the process, but not a single body bag will be shipped back home to America. The objective of automated warfare is to “subdue the enemy without fighting”, by eliminating his ability to fight, thereby destroying his will to fight.

Finally, Sun Tzu’s "supreme art of war” will evolve to the point of shortening or eliminating war as we know it. Yes, there will be casualties on the enemy’s side in this scenario, but is it really a war when only our enemy fills body bags?

8th generation warfare

Simple logic would take this one step further, and we'd have 8GW, where no one dies on either side of the conflict. That suggests that we need the capability to temporarily incapacitate our enemy’s forces and their population, similar to the effects of a Star Trek phaser set on stun. Our troops would move in after the enemy is zapped, collect their weapons, and destroy their weapons-making capabilities. That could take some time, if the zapped area is quite large. When the enemy wakes-up, they will be totally defenseless and groggy with a headache. This could work nicely though, on smaller localized areas of enemy concentration.

Unfortunately, we are barely on the cusp of 7GW, and 8GW is a pipe dream. Our present 5GW and 6GW weapons platforms, while amazing to us now, are very primitive. We need to integrate our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)-platforms into our intelligence-analysis platforms. Then, we need to integrate that advanced intelligence gathering-and--analysis platform into our weapons platforms to make them totally autonomous. In other words, we need to take the humans out of the warfare loop and let the machines do their jobs unimpeded.

Today, it takes about 2 to 5 seconds for a command from a Predator or Reaper UAV pilot in an electronic trailer in Nevada, going through the ground and satellite communications systems, to fire a Hellfire Missile at an identified and verified target in Iraq. In the best case, it takes about 45 minutes, through the military-political bureaucracy, to get permission to fire the Hellfire missile at that target. The speed of light is the limitation on the latency of commands to UAVs halfway around the world, and can only be improved by a second or two with even the most advanced electronics and optics.

The only true improvements in the “Kill Chain” must be in the approval segment. If we can drop that from 45 minutes, to 2 to 5 seconds, we will then enter 7GW. With the integration of intelligence gathering and analysis systems inside the weapon platform, along with the platform’s autonomous authority to fire, the entire kill chain can be reduced to a total of about 5 seconds, maybe less. Are there some technical, legal, and ethical problems to consider in this scenario? Yes, a few, and they must be solved before we can enter 7GW.

Other than H. G. Wells “War of the Worlds” and some other science fiction works, not much is written about potential real-world applications of 7GW techniques. Futurist Ray Kurzweil says that humans think linearly while technology moves exponentially. Maybe that’s why we don’t see much said about 7GW. Or maybe we are well on the research and development path, but the developing concepts are all top secret.

Think about holograms for a moment, and how they might be used in PSYOPS (Psychological Operations) in 7GW and 8GW. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the 1,500 year-old Budda statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan because they considered them false idols in their Muslim world. The statues were huge, 115 and 175 feet tall, carved into the side of a mountain, in alcoves in the rock. On 6 and 7 June of this year, a millionaire couple from China scanned pictures of the larger 175 foot statue and recreated it as a 3D hologram with computer-controlled lasers, in the alcove where it once stood. Think of the effects of hordes of blood-curdling gigantic monsters projected in the sky, coming down on our enemy’s land or a giant image of the enemy’s political or religious leader from horizon to horizon, chastising his people for their actions from high up in the clouds.

7GW will be a mix of some previous-generation weapons and techniques, along with some new things like holograms and high-energy laser weapons and autonomous integrated intelligence-analysis-weapons platforms as the anchors. But the primary feature of 7GW will be that the humans are out of the loop, and the machines will do the fighting. Only when we get to 8GW can large-scale warfare come near to an end on this planet. That doesn’t mean that we won’t have 4GW protracted low-intensity terrorist warfare going on, like we have now, but 7GW weapons and intelligence systems will hopefully limit and localize the effects better than today. If Sun Tzu was correct in his statement above, then by extension, the art of war is to put an end to war.

However, this is not the end of the Next Generation Warfare series, if my evil masters see fit to let me write more here. There are a number of military anomalies that have occurred in recent times that need exploration and explanation. There’s also a bit more history that needs to be recounted here, like the U.S. Air Force’s “Big Safari” programs. There’s “Operation Aphrodite” in World War II and the “Jasons," a group of warfare scientists put together in 1966. There’s “Task Force Alpha” and the electronic fence they built in VietNam, and the sound surveillance system (SOSUS) in the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a lot more to consider, both about the past and the future when it comes to warfare. Maybe I’ll do a bibliography for those of you who want to dig deeper into this topic as I have done. If you read this stuff (yes, my masters track how many times these pieces are read on the website), they will let me write more of it.


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