JOINT FORCE QUARTERLY 95
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PRISM Vol. 8, No. 2
The United States is starting to confront unprecedented challenges to the military and technological superiority that it has enjoyed in recent history. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is emerging as a powerhouse across a range of emerging technologies, and Chinese leaders recognize today’s technological revolution as a critical, even historic, opportunity to achieve strategic advantage. As Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Commander-in-Chief of the CMC Joint Operations Center, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping has highlighted the importance of military innovation to “keep pace with the times” (与时俱进) and adapt to the global revolution in military affairs.
This article examines the potential of artificial intelligence to improve joint electromagnetic spectrum operations along three lines of discussion. First, current doctrine and process limitations may impact a Joint Force commander’s ability to visualize and understand how Joint Forces are operating within the spectrum. Second, artificial intelligence and specific learning models can help understand how the electromagnetic spectrum connects military forces. And finally, the role of data can fuel machine learning despite the associated risks. Artificial intelligence can improve Joint Force understanding and visualization, say the authors, and help commanders make more accurate and timely decisions.
When a military organization undertakes a modernization program, it is intuitive to expect that existing capabilities are going to be replaced by superior capabilities. There is an implied suggestion that a necessary (though not sufficient) condition of this superiority is enhanced lethality; lethality surely constitutes a necessary condition of the strategic effectiveness of the military organization in question. At the risk of stating the obvious, military organizations around the world exist to protect the security of their respective countries: in peacetime, by deterring the adversaries of the country from waging war, and in wartime, by defeating these adversaries should they choose the war option. These two missions are not mutually exclusive: “The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one.” Nevertheless, it is possible to question the extent to which lethality subsequently connects to strategic effectiveness, which is understood here as the ability to win wars. In other words, while modernization ought to result in a military organization that is more lethal than before, this enhanced lethality does not guarantee strategic effectiveness.
Hybrid threats and hybrid warfare may occur at the same time, prosecuted by the same adversary, as part of an intense revisionist campaign or during war. For example, the current conflict in eastern Ukraine might be viewed as an example of hybrid warfare that is taking place within a wider Russian campaign of regional revisionism and global influence. Likewise, Iranian proxy militia fighting hybrid wars in Syria and Iraq, and against Israel, are part of a wider regional revisionist challenge. Alternatively, any future large-scale war is likely to involve hybrid warfare operations, in parallel with hybrid threats to the homeland. The challenge will be to fight both in parallel.
John P. Caves, Jr.
Robert M. Klein, Stefan Lundqvist, Ed Sumangil, and Ulrica Pettersson