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The Art Of Spectrum Warfare: Essays On Our Current Military Revolution, Vol. I
An annotated link post
We are alive during the spectrum revolution in military affairs. Almost everyone who fights in a war today is connected somehow, in some way, by radio and radar technology. On a simple casualty basis, it is already the deadliest technology in the history of humankind.
As a nation of islands, Indonesia is a very different communication environment from Poland or the Russian pale. Radio and radio telephony were essential to the events of the 1 October coup, the defeat of that coup during the first day, the propagandizing incitement and coordination of militia networks to commit mass murders, the passage of orders regarding genocidal mass arrests and disappearances of prisoners, and then the movement of remaining prisoners from island to island.
During the famous July Crisis, radio acted as a lubricant on the slippery slope to war. Signals were intercepted, spurring other signals, which were intercepted in turn, spurring further signals in a feedback loop of decision. If we were to write the First World War as a streaming cable series, the episode in which the war breaks out would be a radio play.
Ukraine benefits most from help doing the things they can’t do for themselves — like airborne early warning, command and control, loitering operations, and so on — that America and their Atlantic alliance partners are very good at. Radio energy is a supreme force multiplier that leaves no physical trace evidence to empower Russian escalations.
Although this has been a decentralized, amateur effort, the signal interference and broadcast propaganda work on Russian forces because they are still using more or less the same tactical radio technology that Stalin put into the T-34 tank. Underlining just how backwards and feeble Russian tactical comms have become, Ukrainian armed forces are winning with a (relatively cheap) combination of western military tech and commercial smart phones to operate safely within the thicket of resistance.
The North Korean invasion had been a surprise. The Chinese invasion was not a surprise, but its strength was surprising. In each case, the keystone American policy-maker’s key information filter reflected and amplified his biases.
Within a week of the invasion, AFSA had identified a military network of 30 outstations and their sub-networks. It was the principle command net of the NKPA. By this means, AFSA identified the entire NKPA order of battle and the G-2 (intelligence section) at Eighth Army headquarters in Korea could track the movements of every unit in the attacking army down to their logistical timetables.
This is an electronic warfare version of the cope cage. I confidently predict it will not achieve any purpose, serving only as target practice for Ukrainian gunners. Nothing Ukrainians might use, or have used already against that bridge, uses radar for guidance. If that was their intention, then Russia is trying to win an electronic battle that no one else is fighting.
Radio waves do not go zoom, or boom, or pew-pew-pew. They simply make the entire system of systems of systems of subsystems that is a modern military work, or cause complex enemy systems that use radio waves to not work — for example, by jamming the Shahid’s guidance system, or the control signals.
Systems like TLS-BCT exist to solve the energy density problem of jamming somebody’s radio set at a distance. That is much harder to do with a manpack system, but its potential force-multiplier effect is magnified by networking with heavier, more capable systems.
A new, electromagnetic aircraft carrier is taking shape. This is probably not its final form, however. This is just a testbed for the changes that are coming to naval warfare as the full potential of the electromagnetic military revolution gets realized at last.
Deconfliction of the spectrum is a key challenge for modern military staff. Cognitive AI and other emerging technologies will help the people managing electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) in the future, but the need for people trained to the task will not change.
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