Russian Military Thought on the Changing Character of War: Harnessing Technology in the Information Age

Executive Summary

Russia’s General Staff has long-established interests in the analysis of developments in the means and methods of military conflict. In the early Soviet era, military theory, far from being purely academic, proved decisive in shaping the successful defense and survival of the Soviet Union from the onslaught of the invading Nazi German Wehrmacht. In latter decades, several Soviet military theorists advanced ideas that became known as the revolution in military affairs (RMA). Since the reform and modernization of Russia’s conventional military forces in late 2008, an explosion of discussion and ideas has emerged around the themes of future warfare, how the character of war is changing, and the roles played by high technology in the information age.

Unlike Western militaries, Russian military thought never abandoned its interest in large-scale inter-state warfare, which also features as part of the war types rehearsed and trained for in Russia’s annual strategic military exercises. This focus on the potential for large-scale inter-state conventional military conflict equally translates into Russian military thinking about the wars of the future.

Much of the advances in Russia’s modern military capabilities are influenced by military thought originating from Soviet military theorists. This continues a tradition that stresses the role of military science in defense planning, and it encourages thinking about future warfare, developing strategic foresight, and constantly revising and endeavoring to forecast the likely wars of the future.

The senior leadership of Russia’s General Staff has actively encouraged these themes, which has in turn fed into and influenced the further development of Russia’s conventional military capabilities. Many of these ideas by Russia’s leading military theorists see the growing role of technology in shaping the future battlespace, ranging from information systems, to artificial intelligence and robotics. Russia’s political-military leadership links its national analyses of future warfare to procurement and force structure, with the development of hard conventional power at its heart.

While many of the ideas produced by Russian military theorists about future warfare stress the increasing role of high technology, there is a clear line of thought in terms of those thinking in terms of “generations of warfare” to include sixth-generation warfare with its highest form as “non-contact,” and present-day advocates who wish to remind the political leadership that in the future “war will remain war,” meaning that hard power will prove to be its mainstay.

Forward-thinking Russian theorists, such as the late General Vladimir Slipchenko, argued that sixth-generation warfare exploiting information systems and high-precision strike weapons would lessen the role of nuclear weapons. These ideas permeate Russia’s military operations in Syria and demonstrate the fruition of such military thought. Slipchenko also argued that seventh-generation warfare would be achieved by 2050, based on elevating information systems to the level of a combat arm, rather than playing only a combat-support role. Moscow appears to be working toward this.

While much Western focus on Russia’s modern military capabilities concentrates on areas such as “cyber,” “information warfare,” “gray zone” or “special operations,” the military modernization has instead focused primarily on building credible conventional hard-power capabilities. This process has been trialed and tested in Russia’s experience of combat operations in Ukraine and extensively in Syria. Long-term strengthening of Russia’s conventional military power will include electronic warfare, high-precision strike, reconnaissance-strike and reconnaissance-fire systems, drone strikes, hypersonic weapons and low-yield nuclear warheads, with continued emphasis on building capabilities for deterrence and operations against a high-technology peer adversary.

Russia’s Armed Forces have long struggled to locate and fix enemy targets and follow up with precision strikes. After reshaping Soviet-era concepts through technology to close the time gap between reconnaissance and precision strikes or fires, Moscow has implemented a network-centric approach to combat and operations. This has been realized in the creation of an integrated Reconnaissance-Fire System (ROS), which was trialed and tested in military exercises and during operations in Ukraine and Syria.

During the past 20 years since 9/11, the leading Western militaries have focused on low-intensity conflicts and countering global terrorism. In this same period, Russia’s political-military leadership has not lost sight of the possibility of large-scale inter-state conflict, and has adapted its conventional Armed Forces to prepare for such contingencies. In this area, Moscow is likely to remain ahead of the game for a while, as it will take time to educate a new generation of political leaders within Western governments that the era of inter-state conflict may not have disappeared, with the reemergence of great power competition in the 21st century.

 

Introduction

Russia has a well-established tradition of producing advances in military theory, not simply as an abstract or narrow academic exercise, but in formulating highly important and usable ideas that were developed during periods in Russian and Soviet history when the State faced dangerous crises.[1] This paper examines the role of high technology in modern Russian military thought, traces its Soviet origins, and follows the intrinsic linkages with analyses and perceptions of the changing character of warfare. The subject matter involved in any analysis of Russian military theory, including its historical and cultural contexts, is understandably vast. This study focuses on the leading military theorists writing on how wars will be fought in the future.[2] At the outset, it is important to note that unlike Western militaries, Russian military thought has never abandoned its interest in large-scale inter-state warfare, which also features as part of the war types rehearsed and trained for in the annual strategic military exercises. This focus on the potential for large-scale inter-state conventional military conflict equally translates into Russian military thinking about the wars of the future.

Russia’s military culture is encapsulated, in terms of military thought, in its national defense interest in military science (voyennaya nauka). That is to say, the science of war, and its potential for theoretical and practical input into the whole complexity of future warfare, is bound up within the idea of Russia’s military science. In Russian military parlance, this is best defined as:

A system of knowledge about the laws, military strategy, the nature of war, ways to prevent it, construction and preparation of the Armed Forces and the country for war, laws, principles and methods of warfare. War as a complex social and political phenomenon is studied by many societies, cultures and sciences. The main subject is armed conflict and it explores the problems of war and peace, taking into account the dependence of its course and outcome on the ratio of economic, moral-political, scientific-technical and military capabilities of the belligerents, its forms, methods of training and strategy, operational and tactical in large-scale, regional, local wars and armed conflicts; composition, organization, technical, equipment; problems of military training and education, preparation of the population and mobilization, resources for war; the content, forms and methods of command and control (leadership) of troops (forces) in peacetime and in war.[3]

Moreover, military science is the essential building bloc in the formulation of operational art and military strategy. In an article in November 2005 in the General Staff journal Voyennaya Mysl’, its authors, Vice Admiral Yu. P. Gladyshev and Captain 1st Rank G.V. Ivanov, characterize military science as a tool for analyzing and solving challenges stemming from the organizational development, training and role of the Armed Forces, and note the need to examine the character of war. At the time of writing, the authors believed that Russian military science was not in good shape and had largely lost its predictive elements:

Currently, it becomes increasingly obvious that we should look for fundamentally new approaches to the understanding of problems of national, regional and global security. We should also rethink the role and capacities of military force in solving contradictions arising in international relations, and create a generally accepted, efficient scientific tool for probing the problems involved in the organizational development, preparation and employment of the Armed Forces to defend this country’s national interests and assure its security.

Military science is supposed to be this tool, it being an integral and non-contradictory system of knowledge on ways and methods of preventing wars and military conflicts; on the possible character of war, the laws and regularities of warfare; on the armed forces, their organizational development, preparation and peacetime and wartime employment. The contiguous areas of knowledge that help to achieve goals assigned to military science are of importance as well.[4]

Military theory was an area in which the Soviet Union clearly excelled, yielding works and contributions to military science of international and lasting significance. Two examples illustrate this point: from the 1920s–1930s and the 1980s. In the 1920s and 1930s, a small minority of elite Soviet military theorists developed the doctrine of the “deep operation.” They accurately forecast the coming war with Germany, and in some cases advocated new approaches to national territorial defense. And in the 1980s, Soviet theorists discussed what later became known as the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). Deep operation was championed by among others, Mikhail Tukhachevskii, Vladimir Triandafilov and Georgii Isserson, concentrating on the need to strike deep behind enemy lines to destroy the enemy’s ability to defend its own front. In turn, deep operation doctrine also yielded ideas about combined-arms operations and introduced an operational level between the strategic and tactical.[5]

The impact of this on Soviet military thought was profound; it marked a transition from a focus on tactics to a new paradigm based upon operational art. Ultimately, it is this positive contribution that led to the costly Soviet victory against the Wehrmacht. In the 1980s, some of the leading Soviet military theorists and top brass were discussing the RMA based on their assessments of developments in Western computer technology and precision weaponry.[6] As the debate on the RMA took hold in the United States, there was clear linkage to the Soviet discussions on this theme. Andrew Marshall, at the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) in the Department of Defense, began to circulate ideas within the US military that he had borrowed directly from his readings of Soviet military theory in publications such as Voyennaya Mysl’ (Military Thought), the official journal of Russia’s General Staff.[7]

A critical theme in Soviet and Russian military thought is the scientific and analytical tasks associated with forecasting the changing character of war, drawing upon the military intellectual tradition that began with Carl Von Clausewitz (1780–1831), or developing likely models of how wars would be fought in the future. This tied into the fact that many of these Soviet officers shared a common background in the imperial Russian military, with Russia’s General Staff model finding its origins in Prussia’s General Staff system. The problem of forecasting future warfare is critical to understand in order to assess how these theorists were thinking about this issue beyond mere speculation. What is the scientific basis of the work of Soviet or Russian theorists in this modeling of future warfare? To what extent is Russia’s contemporary political-military leadership interested in the area of future warfare, and does this feed into defense planning and procurement?[8]

These complex issues pertaining to Russian military thought, future warfare, and the adoption of high technology are intrinsically linked to the role played by Moscow’s strategic threat perceptions. As the late Jacob W. Kipp, then an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas, identified in 2014, Russia’s strategic culture is driven mainly by considerations of the information capabilities of its potential adversaries as well as the extent to which advanced information technology has been applied to conventional war-fighting capabilities by the United and many of its allies:

The core of Russian strategic culture by the second decade of the 21st century focused on two threats: (1) information warfare (informatsionnoe protivoborstvo), which embraced information operations designed to destabilize the Russian state, society, and its allies; and (2) the application of advanced information technology to conventional war-fighting in the form of precision-strikes and fires, and C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] as the keystone for network-centric warfare. In this regard, Russia is back into a model that Peter the Great, Dmitri Miliutin and Joseph Stalin would have recognized: catching up with the military innovations that transpired outside Russia in open societies where the exploitation of information across societies is the norm. In the past, Russia’s rulers have sought to have the West’s transformations without accepting a Western sociopolitical or economic model.[9]

It is clear that the political-military leadership in Moscow has considerable interest in the changing character of war as part of strategic planning, judging from the persistent appeals to the military scientific community to support and develop “strategic foresight,” a theme that constantly appears in the speeches of the chief of the General Staff, Army-General Valery Gerasimov.[10] According to an official definition in 1983, military foresight is the “process of cognition regarding possible changes in military affairs, the determination of the perspectives of its future development. The basis of the science of foresight is knowledge of the objective laws of war, the dialectical-materialist analysis of events transpiring in a given concrete-historical context.”[11] Numerous Soviet and Russian military theorists, however, understood the inherent complexity and challenges of pursuing military foresight. The late Army General Makhmut Gareev (1923–2019) described this process as “a labor of Sisyphus,” since it necessitates continuous assessment of the various issues and processes.[12] Nonetheless, despite the enormous challenges presented in the pursuit of military foresight, as Army General I. E. Shavrov and Colonel M. I. Galkin observed in 1977, “In its essence, military science is the science of future war.”[13]

Conceptually, military systemology (voyennaya sistemologiya) plays a conceptual role in Russia’s General Staff efforts, as well as within the wider community of Russian military scientists in forecasting future warfare.[14] In June 1997, Jacob W. Kipp identified the increasingly important role played by military systemology within the Russian military scientific community: “Military systemology, a new discipline relying on modeling and cybernetics to establish a ‘theory of combat systems,’ and other forecasting techniques have their place, but expert opinion and experience are vital to military forecasting. However, this is not a ‘hind-bound’ view that sees no changes afoot in military art. Evaluation of past combat experience is necessary but insufficient, and foresight is necessary but extremely difficult to develop.”[15] Military systemology is essentially a military meta-science, which is formed at the junction of the methodological foundations of general systems theory, the theory of military art, cybernetics, philosophy, operations research, systems engineering, and other fundamental and applied sciences.[16]

As Kipp observed, the rise of Russian military systemology in the 1990s was an important element in the search for ways and methods of military forecasting: “Military systemology has become more important as older approaches to techniques have lost their ability to forecast the outcomes of modern combat and operations. The experience of local wars revealed this problem and provided a significant push for applying military systemology to the more dynamic and complex reality of combat. In systemology, the forecaster searches for ways combat systems and subsystems can maintain effectiveness and how enemy combat systems can be disrupted by targeting critical subsystems for destruction, disruption or neutralization.”[17] The promotion of this discipline was on the initiative of Captain 1st Rank (ret.) Edvard Shevelev, a doctor of military sciences and a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences (Akademii Voyennykh Nauk—AVN). Shevelev worked in the Department of National Security in the Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and collaborated with the Academy of the General Staff.[18] In 2016, on the orders of General Gerasimov, Russian military scientists at military universities and research centers in the defense ministry collaborated to issue a teaching aid distributed to all relevant organizations and institutions.[19] In 2016, Sergei Chvarkov, another doctor of military sciences and AVN professor, edited this collection on military forecasting: Osnovy sistemnogo analiza, analiticheskoy raboty i voyennogo prognozirovaniya (The Basics of Systems Analysis, Analytical Work and Military Forecasting).[20] The systems analysis aspect in the title clearly implies a linkage to systemology.

While a detailed discussion and evaluation of the contemporary role of military systemology in Russian military thought lies beyond the scope of this paper, it suffices to note that its existence forms part of a much wider effort to engage in institutionalized analytical thinking about the likely nature of future wars and how they will be fought.[21] These complex processes related to forecasting future warfare require much more than the deep understanding and analysis of past conflicts, or identifying critical emerging trends. It is an extremely difficult task that demands constant and ongoing work to sketch out the most likely courses in the development of future warfare. Moreover, Makmut Gareev as the founder of the AVN in Moscow, understood that the process relies above all on the vibrancy of ideas and discussion among military and civilian defense specialists, and one of the purposes of the AVN is to widen such discussions to include civilian input from beyond the governmental and military structures.[22]

Finally, the following paper offers a consensus-based sketch of Russian military theorists’ perspectives on future warfare. Ultimately, the key link in Russian military thought concerning future warfare gives pride of place to the role of modern technology, without advocating technological determinism. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore the interconnections and antecedents between Russian military thought as well as its influences and origins, views on the changing character of war, and its implications for the role and adoption of high technology to shape the future battlespace.[23]

 

The Continued Influence of Soviet Military Thought

One of the most outstanding Soviet military theorists was Aleksandr Svechin, and it should be noted that his key thoughts on warfare and strategy resonate today with the top brass. Svechin’s key ideas or quotes frequently appear in speeches by the chief of the General Staff, Army-General Valery Gerasimov. Svechin’s key works include, Strategiya (Strategy), Evolyutsiya voyennogo iskusstva (Evolution of Military Art) and Istoriya voyennogo iskusstva (A History of Military Art). Svechin, however, tended to focus on the strategy of smashing and the strategy of attrition, neither of which took hold in Soviet military art and planning.[24] Like other senior Soviet senior officers in this period, Svechin was subject to Stalin’s purges of the officer corps.

During the inter-war period, the most far-sighted Soviet theorists in the area of future warfare were M.V. Frunze, B.M. Shaposhnikov, V.K. Triandafilov, I.I. Vatsetis, A.M. Zayonchkovsky, A.M. Vol’pe, and A.N. Lapchinsky. For example, Frunze wrote in his paper “Front i tyl v voyne budushchego” (“The Front and the Rear in Future Warfare”), “War will assume the nature of a lengthy and cruel contest putting to the test every economic and political basis of the warring parties.” I.I. Vatsetis in his 1923 work O voyennoy doktrine budushchego (On the Military Doctrine of the Future) said that new military equipment (aircraft, submarines, radio) unfettered the traditional strategy and expanded to infinity the limits of theaters of war. A.M. Zayonchkovsky arrived at a similar conclusion, seeing future warfare as a coalition in nature involving vast spaces, and “uncompromising in terms of action.”[25] Many of these officers fell afoul of Stalin’s paranoia. Or their conclusions—namely, regarding the development of defensive military planning for what they accurately forecast as the coming war with Germany—contradicted the Soviet elites’ prejudices. Nonetheless, their thoughts on the changing character of war were undoubtedly ahead of their time.

Following the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945), many Soviet works on military theory were issued. These included: Kharakter sovremennoy voyny i yeyo problemy (The Nature of Modern Warfare and Its Problems, 1953); Sovremennaya voyennaya nauka (Contemporary Military Science, 1959); Sovremennaya voyna (Modern Warfare ,1960); Voyennaya strategiya (Military Strategy, 1961); Nachalniy period voyny (The Initial Stage of War, 1964); Strategicheskaya operatsiya na teatre voyennykh deystviy (The Strategic Operation at the Theater of War, 1966); and Voyna i voyennoye iskusstvo (War and Military Art, 1972). In 1980, the fundamental handbook was issued: Osnovy strategicheskikh operatsiy (Basics of Strategic Operations). In 1966, the M.V. Frunze Military Academy published works in military theory titled Obshchevoyskovoy boy (Combined-Arms Battle) and Taktika (Tactics).[26]

Although Soviet military theory was outstanding in many aspects and forward looking, it was also hampered by the limits of state ideology. As Vorobyov and Kiselyov noted in Voyennaya Mysl’ in 2013:

After World War II and until the early 1990s, Russian domestic military theory traveled a complex, fruitful and fairly controversial path in its development. It had known ups and downs, achievements and setbacks. On the whole it developed by leaps and bounds, with a maximum stress on the latest achievements in science and technology. Tremendous breakthroughs in nuclear physics, space and electronic technology, followed by fundamentally new capabilities of armed struggle of enormous destructive potential based on those achievements, produced a veritable revolution in the views on war and methods of conducting it. Within a mere 40-odd years, the Soviet Union saw three to five generations of conventional arms and military hardware replace one another, and as a result operations and combat activity assumed a qualitatively new image. Research began into laser, beam (neutron), microwave, infrasound and kinetic weapons.[27]

 

Modern Russian Military Thought on Future Warfare

One of the greatest modern Russian military theorists was Army General Makhmut Gareev, the long serving president of the Academy of Military Sciences, who passed away in 2019. Gareev wrote extensively on the theme of future warfare, though he was widely known as a conservative in his views, as his thinking on war was largely shaped by his experience of the Great Patriotic War.[28]

One of the most important English-language contributions to understanding modern Russian military theory appeared in an article in 2011 in the Journal of Strategic Studies, in which its author, the Norwegian Russia-Ukraine expert Tor Bukkvoll, examines the relationship between Russian theorists and military modernization. Bukkvoll divides modern Russian military theorists into three camps: traditionalists, modernists and revolutionaries. Most importantly Bukkvoll explains,

It should also be mentioned here that while some Russian military theorists are familiar with, and do refer to current Western or other foreign works, a clear majority do not. This is probably first of all the result of lacking English skills, but it possibly also stems from an idea that the Russian military-theoretical tradition is so rich that it can do without foreign input. Either way, the main point here is that large parts of the Russian debate become very in-house, with all the dangers that this represents for “group think” and reproduction of misperceptions. In particular, that seems to be the case for many of the traditionalists.[29]

Bukkvoll’s observation is critical, as he highlights the fact that most Russian military theorists across the spectrum of traditionalists, modernists and revolutionaries are singularly steeped in their own military culture. Thus, the reference to Russian and Soviet military theory and its development is of the utmost value in understanding that the majority of the sources on future warfare are drawn from Russian publications, with the exceptions of work on hybrid or network-centric warfare, where it seems the Russian theorists draw largely on the scholarship of foreign military experts.[30]

A noteworthy recent source for contemporary Russian military theorists writing about future warfare relates to the late Major General Vladimir Slipchenko (1935–2005). In Slipchenko’s writings examining future warfare, he uses the idea of sixth-generation warfare.

 

Table 1. Slipchenko’s Generations of Warfare

Generation The Character of War The Purpose of War
First Generation:

500 BC to 900 AD

Hand-to-hand combat with primitive arms Destruction of the enemy and takeover of his weapons
Second Generation:

900 to 1700

Firearms, battle at some distance, and sea battles in the littoral Destruction of the enemy and submission of his territory
Third Generation:

1700 to 1800

Increased firepower and precision, trench warfare and battles on the world oceans Destruction of the enemy, his economy and political system
Fourth Generation:

1800 to 1945

Automatic weapons, battle tanks and air battles Destruction of the enemy’s military forces, his economy and political system
Fifth Generation:

1945 to 1990

Nuclear weapons and the balance of terror Political goals unachievable by the use of nuclear weapons
Sixth Generation:

1990 →

Precision weapons and defense against these, information warfare and electronic warfare Destruction of the enemy’s economy with the help of long-distance no-contact warfare

(Source: Vladimir Slipchenko, Voiny Novogo Pokolenia – Distantsionnye i Bezkontaktnye (Moscow: Olma-Press, 2004), pp. 32–34.

 

As Bukkvoll notes, Slipchenko ties the idea of sixth-generation warfare to a concept of non-contact or contactless warfare. He conveys the idea that future war between modern states will take place without direct contact. This is rooted in the use of high-precision weapons (Vysokotochnoye Oruzhiye—VTO). Yet as seen in the lower right side of Table 1, above, Slipchenko assumes that high-precision strike systems will come into play mostly against civilian targets to destroy the enemy’s economy.[31]

Many of the conclusions reached in the various works by Slipchenko permeate contemporary discussions among Russian theorists considering the wars of the future. These are briefly outlined as follows:

  • The role and importance attached to nuclear weapons will gradually decline;
  • Conventional long-range high-precision strike weapons will grow in importance, as, unlike nuclear weapons, they will be more likely to be used;
  • Wars will be shorter than in the past;
  • Advanced militaries will restructure their forces from the traditional army, navy and air force to strategic attack forces and strategic defense forces;
  • Twenty-first-century warfare will be marked by conflict at sea, meaning that naval platforms will be used to launch high-precision strike weapons;
  • The tactical level of warfare will decline in importance and the strategic level will become the main emphasis in future warfare;
  • The main role for land forces in the future will be to support the air force.[32]

 

Slipchenko on Information Confrontation and ‘Seventh-Generation Warfare’

Like Georgii Isserson (1898–1976) writing in the 1930s, who emerged later as one of the architects of the concept of the “deep operation” that proved so crucial in the Soviet victory over the Wehrmacht in defense of the Soviet Union, it appears that General Slipchenko is one of the leading thinkers on “non-contact” and “sixth-generation” warfare, whose influence is vividly present in more recent studies by Lieutenant General (ret.) Sergei Bogdanov and Colonel (reserve) Sergei Chekinov.[33] However, Slipchenko also worked on the concept of a future “seventh generation” of warfare, which he forecast could emerge in the 2050s among the most advanced military powers. His work in this area remained unpublished after his death in 2005; but later, in 2013, a version began to circulate among members of the AVN. Numerous aspects of this work, especially in relation to the exponential growth in the importance of information in modern and future warfare are percolating in contemporary Russian defense circles and are strikingly similar to the work of other Russian military specialists. Slipchenko’s Informatsionnyi resurs i informatsionnoe protivoborstv (Information Resource and Information Confrontation), which appeared in October 2013, advances that,

Future warfare will undoubtedly include information confrontation as a most important element. Information assets will be one of the components of the state’s strategic strike and defense forces. Intelligence will also acquire significant development. From a traditional type of support for military operations in past generations of warfare, it will turn into a dynamic and active branch and become one of the strike components of precision means of destruction and defense.[34]

In this regard, Slipchenko placed high value on the idea of “information confrontation,” rather than “information warfare,” as a critical distinction. He linked this to the development of global information networks based on advances in modern information technology: “One of the most important mechanisms of the formation of contemporary views on the conduct of combat operations is the information scientific and technological revolution, which is now going through the stage of formation of information systems on a planetary scale.”[35] Slipchenko readily admitted that other generations of warfare co-exist, but noted that a “sudden leap” in the efforts to informationize command and control (C2) through automated systems for military forces would result eventually in another progression to result in information assets involved in the information confrontation becoming a combat category:

Subsequently, after the transitional period is over, information confrontation will gradually go beyond the bounds of a support category and become a combat category, that is, it will acquire an independent nature among the many other forms and methods of struggle. As distinguished from precision-strike weapons, however, which hit a concrete, specifically selected important objective or its critical point, information weapons will be system-destructive, i.e., they will disable whole combat, economic, or social systems. Superiority over an enemy will be achieved through an advantage in the acquisition of various types of information, mobility, and rapidity of reaction; and in precise fire and information effects in real time against numerous structures of his economy, military objectives with the minimum possible risk for one’s own forces and means. It is completely obvious that to prepare for conducting non-contact warfare, a sovereign state must shift from an industrial to an information society.[36]

Slipchenko, identifies the centrality of information in modern and future warfare, forecasting that its utility would eventually move beyond a combat support role and into the area of essentially a combat arm. Slipchenko undoubtedly drew upon earlier Soviet and Russian analyses on information warfare (IW) as having component elements: information-technological and information-psychological, with the target or objective of IW being the information struggle or “confrontation.”[37] Some Russian theorists writing in the 1990s argued that electronic and computer-support systems needed to be factored into operational planning and the adjustment of the correlation of forces and means (COFM) model. It seems clear that Slipchenko understood that the General Staff’s COFM could not apply in the information era of modern warfare. Others feared that information “weapons” could in the future become as destructive as weapons of mass destruction. By the mid-1990s, Russian military specialists in this area were discussing the impact of the effort to informationize critical systems, including C2, which would result in the electromagnetic sphere becoming a warfare domain.[38] Similarly, professional Russian electronic warfare (EW) specialists argue that in future this will emerge as a combat arm of service.

Thus, for Slipchenko, information superiority is the key to gaining superiority in non-contact warfare based on the following:

  • Domination in the information domain of space systems as well as reconnaissance, warning, navigation, meteorological, command and control, and communications assets;
  • An advantage in the number of precision missiles and reconnaissance-strike combat systems with elements of ground, sea, air, and space basing, and the ability to continuously maneuver these forces and means, and their fire;
  • Speed in introducing combat programs into variously based precision missiles;
  • The capability of mass and lengthy (with respect to time) employment of variously based precision weapons;
  • All-round material and technical support of reconnaissance-strike combat systems;
  • Reliable information protection of precision-strike and defensive forces and means on land, in the air, in space, and at sea.[39]

Slipchenko criticized Russian military specialists for their confusion over the ideas of “information warfare” and “information confrontation,” arguing that the latter demands continuous exploitation:

Western sources are trying to state that it will be “information warfare” and not “information confrontation” that will be waged. The concept of “warfare” is, in general, not appropriate in this context, because it refers to a more complex socio-political phenomenon. War is a particular condition of society associated with a sharp change in relations between states, nations and/or social groups, conditioned by the employment of armed force to achieve political, economic, and other goals.[40]

It is important to identify that in this regard not only was Slipchenko ahead of his time in highlighting information confrontation as a set of tools ultimately including cyber along with the growing role of information in shaping the future battlespace, but that he also forecast this area emerging as a combat arm: which still lies some way off. Slipchenko adds that a new “seventh-generation” warfare could appear in the 2050s:

The next-generation warfare will undoubtedly leave the operational and even strategic levels and immediately acquire a planetary scale. Using information networks and assets, a planetary aggressor can provoke technogenic catastrophes in large economic regions and sections of the world. It is possible that after 2050, ecological weapons may also be developed for directed effects against countries’ mineral and biological resources, local areas of a biosphere (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere), and climate resources in local areas of the Earth. It is important to mention that in next-generation warfare, starting with the sixth, man will not be the main target of a strike. He will be defeated indirectly, through other structures and systems associated with his life support.

The great interest in information confrontation in future warfare is not by chance, because this is associated with the fact that information is becoming a weapon, just like missiles, bombs, torpedoes, etc., It is already clear now that information confrontation is becoming the factor that will substantially influence future warfare itself—its beginning, course, and outcome.

Possession of information assets in future warfare is becoming as indispensable an attribute as possession for forces and means, arms, munitions, transport, etc. was in past wars. Winning an information confrontation in future non-contact warfare will, in fact, result in the achievement of the strategic and political goals of wars, which will be enough to defeat an enemy’s armed forces, capture his territory, destroy his economic potential, and overthrow his political system.[41]

Slipchenko’s thinking on future warfare ties sixth and seventh generations together in their avoidance of directly targeting enemy manpower, and instead focusing the fight on the adversary’s systems using modern and advanced capabilities including the exploitation of information assets. This conflict capability, in his estimation, will transform warfare beyond the strategic level to reach truly global scales. He identified information as a future weapon in war similar to the destructive effect of kinetic systems, and suggested that this would influence war in its entirety from beginning to conflict termination. It is clear that the reform and modernization of the Armed Forces that the political leadership ordered in late 2008 utilizes many of the concepts encapsulated in Slipchenko’s military thinking, to include sixth-generation and non-contact warfare as its highest form. Moreover, Slipchenko’s influence still finds expression in the influential studies of leading Russian General Staff military theorists such as Bogdanov and Chekinov.

 

Gerasimov on Modern Russian Military Science

Since Russia’s political leadership ordered the reform and modernization of the country’s Armed Forces in late 2008, the General Staff has persistently appealed to the military scientific community to meet the challenges stemming from these complex processes. An essential ingredient in this public discussion is the focus on future warfare as part of national defense strategy to encourage greater attention to strategic foresight. Chief of the General Staff Gerasimov has pressed this issue heavily in his public speeches and articles since his appointment in November 2012. This is especially the case in his annual speeches to the AVN. In March 2019, Gerasimov outlined a new approach of limited actions that conceptualizes Russia’s approaches to warfare in its interests beyond its borders—as witnessed in its actions especially in Syria.[42] Gerasimov also raised the issue of future warfare. These views offer insights into how Russian defense specialists see future warfare and consequently some of the driving factors in Moscow’s strategic posture.

General Gerasimov characterizes responding to the potential threat posed to the Russian Federation by the United States, referring to the “preemptive neutralization of threats.” Gerasimov declared,

The basis of “our response” is the “strategy of active defense,” which, with consideration of the defensive nature of the Russian Military Doctrine, envisages a set of measures for preemptive neutralization of threats to national security. It is the substantiation of measures being developed that must comprise the scientific activity of military scientists. This is one of the priority directions for ensuring national security. We must preempt the enemy in the development of military strategy and be “a step ahead.”[43]

The Russian chief of the General Staff also noted the urgency to upgrade nuclear and non-nuclear systems. In particular he highlighted VTO capability and a number of these high-precision strike systems currently under development: “serial production of new models of armaments and outfitting of the Armed Forces with them have begun. The Avangard [hypersonic glide reentry vehicle], Sarmat [intercontinental ballistic missile], and the newest Peresvet [laser cannon] and Kinzhal [air-launched hypersonic missile] weapons have shown their high effectiveness, and the Poseidon [autonomous, nuclear-armed torpedo] and Burevestnik [nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile] complexes are going through successful tests. Scheduled work is proceeding on the creation of the Tsirkon hypersonic sea-launched [cruise] missile.”[44]

On the theme of a strategy of limited actions, Gerasimov outlined some of its areas for development. The first is integration of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance—C4ISR. This is aimed at the “detection, issue of target designation, and delivery of selective strikes against critically important targets in near-real time by strategic and operational-tactical non-nuclear weapons. Subsequently, military science needs to develop and substantiate a system for comprehensive engagement of the enemy.” Another priority is to exploit robotic complexes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as developing a system to counter UAVs and VTO. Gerasimov stressed the importance of a number of issues for military science to develop “digital technologies, robotics, unmanned systems, and electronic warfare.”[45] The centrality of the technologically centered theme should be noted.

Gerasimov’s addresses and appeals to Russia’s military science community build upon the speeches of his predecessor, Nikolai Makarov, and further draw on the works and ideas of various leading Russian and Soviet military theorists. In his much-misunderstood address to the AVN in February 2013, which led some commentators to allege it formed the basis of a “Gerasimov doctrine,” he appealed to the country’s leading military scientists to aid the General Staff in developing strategic foresight, part of which was to remain open to new ideas and deeper understanding of identifiable trends in modern warfare. Indeed, his entire speech to the AVN in February 2013 was permeated with the theme of the changing character of war. In many of Gerasimov’s subsequent speeches and articles, he cited one of the most outstanding Soviet military theorists, for example, Aleksandr Svechin (1878–1938). Likewise, in 2013, he reminded the AVN of Svechin’s well-known dictum: “The situation of war […] is extremely difficult to foresee. For each war, it is necessary to develop a special line of strategic behavior, each war is a special case that requires the establishment of its own special logic, and not the application of any template.” Highlighting the uniqueness of each armed conflict or war, Gerasimov called for military science to provide insight into the likely shape of future warfare, or risk becoming irrelevant to the state.[46]

Gerasimov also appealed to military science to learn from the example of Georgii Isserson (1898–1976), who was able in the pre-war era in the 1930s to forecast the likely contours of the coming conflict. Gerasimov referred to Isserson’s 1940 work Novye Formy Bor’by: Opyt Issledovaniia Sovremennykh Voin (New Forms of Combat: An Essay Researching Modern Wars). Isserson had predicted mobilization and concentration of forces occurring imperceptibly and conflict commencing with pre-deployed forces. Isserson had also warned about the need to monitor the buildup of forces on a shared border to avoid becoming a victim of strategic surprise (strategicheskaia vnezapnost’).[47]

Similarly, in his address to the AVN in March 2017, Gerasimov again appealed to the legacy of Aleksandr Svechin and other leading Soviet military theorists who had made important contributions to military science. He referred to a supporter of Svechin, Andrei Snesarev (1865–1937), who not only helped develop the science of war but was one of the country’s leading Asia scholars. On Snesarev and Svechin, Gerasimov noted that the main themes of their research were the key trends in warfare resulting from political, economic and social factors.[48]

Gerasimov told his audience that modern warfare is characterized by the Armed Forces directing both military and non-military means of waging war. He also noted the continued importance of achieving surprise: “By acting quickly, we must preempt the enemy by our preventive measures, identify his vulnerable places in a timely manner, and create threats of inflicting unacceptable damage on him. This ensures seizure and maintenance of the strategic initiative.” He followed this with a reference to Russian military leader Aleksandr Suvorov (1730–1800)—“Theory without practice is dead”—which, according to Gerasimov, means, “It is impossible to imagine practical activity of military strategy without its scientific substantiation.”[49]

It is equally worth tracing and noting other references to Soviet military theorists in the speeches by Gerasimov. In November 2018, Colonel General (ret.) Leonty Shevtsov authored a review article in Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, examining a book by Major General (ret.) Aleksandr Vladimirov. The second edition of Vladimirov’s book Osnovy obshchey teorii voyny (The Basics of the General Theory of War) was examined in detail. In one section of the review, Vladimirov’s use of Soviet and Russian military theorists was outlined, many of whom are frequently referred to in Gerasimov’s speeches. In particular, Vladimirov based much of his thinking about modern warfare on Aleksandr Svechin, Andrei Snesarev and Yevgeny Messner. He refers to Snesarev, “The solution to the question of the future of war—positive or negative—remains a matter of faith, not a scientifically proven fact.” He also noted that Messner had forecast, “We must stop thinking that war is when people fight, and peace when they are not fighting. You can be in war without fighting.”[50]

It is also notable that the Soviet theorists cited by Gerasimov fell afoul of the regime: they were executed or internally exiled, or their views were underestimated by the political-military leadership. While Gerasimov uses this to frame his appeals to contemporary military scientists and to provide strategic insight for the benefit of the General Staff, significantly he admits the comparison with the pre-war military theorists does not reflect well on modern experts. Thus, in his 2013 AVN speech, he asserted, “The state of Russian military science today cannot be compared with the flowering of military-theoretical thought in our country on the eve of World War II.”[51]

Despite the constant appeals from the General Staff to the wider community of Russia’s military scientists to meet the challenges of developing strategic foresight and offer concrete ideas to feed into policy planning for future warfare, Gerasimov reaches a damning, if rather obvious conclusion by reminding his audience that they are a pale shadow of the intellectual depth and foresight available in the pre–World War II period. In February 2020, Sergei Chvarkov, a doctor of military sciences and a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, published “Nauka o voyne—neobkhodimost’ ili dan’ mode?” (“The Science of War: A Necessity or a Fashion?”) in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye. The article examined the role of the science of war (nauki o voyne) and sought to determine its contemporary value. Chvarkov noted that since the Kremlin initiated the reform and modernization of Russia’s Armed Forces in late 2008, the defense ministry and General Staff set specific tasks for the military scientific community. These are as follows: efforts to integrate the existing body of knowledge about war; analysis of the key trends in the development of military thought around the world; trends in global development and in Russia’s development; and assessment of the national interests of the Russian Federation and its allies and how this geopolitical context impacts on the evolution of the science of war.[52]

The author follows Russian elite security thinking, as he presents the case that the international security system has been degrading since the end of the Cold War and the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s. Chvarkov then argues on this basis,

It must be developed as the theory and practice of a special period in the life of the state, society, people, international community, taking into account the laws and principles of the international struggle, on which the historical fate of Russia and its people depend. However, such an approach requires everyday study and generalization of advanced military, political, economic, and sociological thought, since this is precisely what can provide an answer to the question of concern to the layman: “Are we ready for the wars of the future?” Modern military thought is based on three pillars of the strategy of world-military relations:

  • Timely and reliably identify the enemy, evaluate his combat power, military, economic and industrial potential, quickly reveal the growth of threats and assess the possibility of their development in danger, if possible, prevent this, and even more so aggression;

  • Organize an adequate preparation of the country and the armed forces for possible conflicts, while not missing the initiative to promptly address the growing threats, regardless of the scope of their occurrence and application, to find ways and possibilities of an asymmetric response to forces and means, but adequate and sufficient in effect;

  • Form as friendly a coalition as possible, ensuring sustainable coordination and interaction between allied states, and above all between military and civilian institutions within the state.[53]

On the role of military science, Chvarkov states,

In addition, it should be borne in mind that the variability of the image of war as a socio-political phenomenon has now acquired an extremely dynamic character. As a result, this requires a detailed approach to determining the logic of the development of conflicts and evaluating their genesis, goals and means of future warfare, opening new or modifying existing laws and principles of war. It should be remembered that science explains phenomena and processes, but it does not give ready-made recipes for victories. Science provides an understanding of the role and significance of the properties of all components that, to one degree or another, determine the growing threat of war.[54]

Chvarkov also refers to works by the leading Soviet or imperial Russian military theorists to advance the assertion that there is no commonly agreed definition of “war,” as such. It is worth noting that among the theorists he refers to, most of them feature directly or indirectly in the annual address to the AVN by General Gerasimov. Chvarkov notes,

Unfortunately, the philosophy of this problem is as the basis of the theory of war after the works of N.V. Medem [1796–1870] (founder of the national military strategy), A.A. Svechin [1878–1938], A.E. Snesarev [1865–1937], N.N. Golovin [1875–1944], [and] E.I. Messner [1891–1974] in domestic theory and practice has not received proper development. In addition, neither in international nor in domestic science is there sufficient practical knowledge required by practice regarding the wars of the future and the genesis of their development.[55]

He links the study of past wars to the concept of forecasting future warfare but states categorically that “war in the future will not resemble the wars of the past.”[56]

In 2016, on the orders of General Gerasimov, military scientists at military universities and research centers of the Russian defense ministry pooled their efforts to issue a teaching aid sent to relevant organizations and institutions.[57] In 2016, Sergei Chvarkov edited this collection on military forecasting, referred to by Kruglov and Yakupov: Osnovy sistemnogo analiza, analiticheskoy raboty i voyennogo prognozirovaniya (The Basics of Systems Analysis, Analytical Work and Military Forecasting).[58] One critical element in Chvarkov’s article worth highlighting is his overview of where the defense leadership takes its views on future warfare from: “the Academy of Military Sciences, the Institute of Military History, the Department of Strategy and the Center for Military Strategic Studies of the General Staff Military Academy,” then adding “which have been conducting mostly initiative research for several years, [while] the problems of future wars after the war remain in the shadow zone.”

Chvarkov eschews technological determinism in forecasting the likely contours of future warfare, arguing that modern war is a complex socio-political-economic phenomenon requiring

Passion for only technological aspects, such as forms, methods, techniques, [and] methods of using troops and weapons, the development of highly effective weapons systems, [as well as] systems and means of reconnaissance, command and support, will only help build up the combat power of the armed forces and the state and the military budget. However, this will not lead to the leveling of the problem of war; since ancient times, the appearance of a new sword has led to the development of a more advanced shield and vice versa. Today, it is quite difficult to say which weapon system is defensive and which one is offensive. One way or another, it depends on the situation, conditions, goals and consequences of its application. In this regard, the most obvious task of science is to equip the military-political leadership of the state with a complex of tools to level threats, and not only relying on military and non-military measures to deter and repel aggression. First of all, [it must develop] technologies and signs of anticipatory opening of these threats in various conditions, fields and environments.[59]

Although Chvarkov suggests that military science must equip the “military-political leadership” with the set of tools to deal with threats, he does not seek to outline or specify the nature of these.[60] However, Chvarkov and other Russian military specialists thinking about and analyzing the changing character of war form part of a wider and diverse military scientific community.

Returning to the theme of interstate conflict as a centrifugal force in Russian military thought on future warfare, the chief of the Academy of the General Staff, Colonel General Vladimir Zarudnitskiy, explored a number of related elements in the General Staff approaches to contemporary and future military conflicts. Zarudnitskiy’s article was published in the August 2021 issue of Voyennaya Mysl’, “Faktory dostizheniya pobedy v voyennykh konfliktakh budushchego,” (“Victory Factors in Future Military Conflicts”).[61] His article touched upon a number of interconnected themes that dominate contemporary Russian military discourse on modern warfare: these included high-precision weapons and their growing role in deterrence and potential military operations, exploitation of UAV technology, electronic warfare, artificial intelligence (AI) and military robotics. Zarudnitskiy focused on the theoretical aspects of gaining and maintaining superiority over an adversary in modern and future wars. “Undoubtedly, accurately predicting the nature and content of future wars is difficult, but it is also difficult to define theoretical approaches to achieving superiority over the enemy, which is quite possible and necessary now in the interests of high-quality preparation for the use of the Armed Forces in the interests of ensuring military security of the Russian Federation.”[62] Zarudnitskiy encapsulated the key features in this complex process of gaining superiority over an adversary, and as seen below (Figure 1), this is predicated upon military forecasting.

 

Figure 1: General Approach to Gaining Superiority Over the Enemy[63]

 

In Zarudnitskiy’s graphic, military forecasting is placed as central in the overall paradigm. The forecast elements divide into four. The development of VTO; forecasting dangers and threats both external and internal; forecasting military conflicts involving the Russian Federation; forecasting the likely force groupings of the potential adversary and their operational actions. Zarudnitskiy sees the effort to gain and maintain superiority over the enemy as being inter-linked with achieving this in the areas of theory, technology and combat capabilities. The author also details a number of factors in the preparation of gaining superiority and then divides the domains of military conflict into information, ground (land), aerospace (air and space), and naval (maritime), while describing as “environments” of military conflict,” cognitive, biology and electromagnetic.[64]

Similarly, other researchers in the Academy of the General Staff see future warfare involving a reduction in the spatial, temporal and information gaps in C2 due to advances in information technologies, increased non-contact methods exploiting robotics and AI, and the gradual blurring of the distinctions between strategic, operational and tactical levels of warfare, as well as in offensive or defensive operations.[65]

 

Modern Russian Military Theorists on Future Warfare

Another Western Russia specialist who has written extensively on Russian perspectives on future warfare is US Colonel (ret.) Timothy L. Thomas. His contributions in this area are simply outstanding. In order to frame this study and move from a Western perspective on the future of warfare to a more grounded Russian view, it is useful for the reader to see a glimpse of Thomas outlining the theorists working on this field. He sketches their articles to gain some sense of what is available in the Russian literature. Thomas groups the Russian theorists on future warfare and presents some of their writings as follows:

The specific individuals (officers in important official positions and well-respected theoretical writers) behind the concepts associated with the development of future war theory and changing nature of warfare differ in experience, creativity, and authority. They are divided into four groups in the paper.

Group one includes three individuals, General of the Army Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev, President of the Academy of Military Science, creator of the operational maneuver group concept, and veteran of World War II; General Valeriy V. Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff; and Colonel General A. V. Kartapolov, the former head of the Main Operations Directorate and now head of the Western Military District. [Now deputy defense minister of the Russian Federation—chief of the Main Directorate for Political-Military Affairs of the Russian Armed Forces.] They are listed here for their experience and official positions.[66]

Group two includes two people, Colonel S. G. Chekinov and Lieutenant General (retired) S. A. Bogdanov (there is also one entry for Bogdanov and V. N. Gorbunov). They are recognized for their focus on two issues in particular, strategy and future war. They have contributed several important discussions regarding future war and its components over the past six years.[67]

Group three also is composed of two people, V. A. Kiselov and I. N. Vorobyev, who write on a variety of topics. While much of their focus is at the tactical and operational level of conflict, they also write on war’s changing nature, to include the concepts of network-centric operations, indirect actions, cyberspace, and deception, among other topics. Only future war references are considered here.[68]

Finally, group four basically includes everyone else, and there are many authors who discuss directly the topic of future war or issues related to it. In all, 45 articles were considered and some summarized.[69]

Thomas, based on these articles, observes the following:

Several of the articles in Military Thought were the first article in the edition, indicating their importance, and the others were either close to the top or put alone in the middle of an edition so that they stood out. Thus, the importance of these concepts was obvious to all in Russia, but perhaps not to foreign analysts. Few focused on nonmilitary, indirect and asymmetric operations over the past decade as the Russians have. This is understandable, since each nation has its own set of analysts and experts who see things from their own perspective and terms (hybrid, gray, etc.).[70]

Prior to articulating alternative approaches to defining the identity and influence of Russian officers working on future warfare, it is worth sketching the areas of interest in the above Russian articles as outlined by Colonel Thomas:

Lessons drawn from the Great Patriotic War; the specific nature and context of each and every conflict; the need to develop strategic foresight; new forms of confrontation including indirect contact; lessons drawn from Russia’s more recent experience of military conflict; network-centric warfare; asymmetrical warfare; new generation warfare; information warfare; cyber warfare, hybrid warfare, the initial period of war; military futurology; brigades and the development of maneuver; non-military measures; countering color revolutions.[71]

Casting the net still wider and further into Russian military publications across the past 20 years, the following feature heavily: Vladimir Andreyev, Dmitriy Borisov, Vladimir Chebakov, I. Chernishev, Ivan Chichikov, Makhmut Gareev, A. Kondratyev, I. G. Korotchenko, Vladimir Kozhemyakin, V. V. Kruglov, S. Leonenko, Yevgeniy Lisanov, D. A. Lovtsov, N. E. Makarov, Gennadiy Miranovich, Sergei Modestov, P. Peresvet, Nikolay Poroskov, A. A. Proxhozhev, Mikhail Rastopshin, V. D. Ryabchuk, Vladimir Shenk, I. D. Sergeev, N. A. Sergeev, N. I. Turko.[72] These authors cover a broad range of future warfare-linked themes:

Military science and military forecasting; the character of future conflict; rooting future warfare in the lessons of the past; strategic deterrence and strategic foresight; network-centric warfare; war in space; deep defense in information warfare; asymmetric warfare; psychotronic weapons; climate weapons; reflexive control; and nanotechnologies.[73]

As noted, the annual speech to the AVN by the chief of the General Staff witnesses a wider appeal to the Academy to produce useful ideas for the General Staff, especially in the areas of strategic foresight and future warfare. In addition to these sources of organizational support and credibility in this search for ideas on future warfare, there are the aforementioned military educational establishments and research centers; all play a role in formulating such ideas, but pride of place and influence seems to lie in the hands of the Center for Military-Strategic Research Under the General Staff (Tsentr Voyenno-Strategicheskikh Issledovaniy Generalnogo Shtaba Vooruzhennykh Sil’ Rossiyskoy Federatsii—TsSVI GSh). Lieutenant General (ret.) Sergei Bogdanov is professor and chief researcher at the TsVSI, and his colleague at the center Colonel (reserve) Sergei Chekinov is a professor and leading Researcher as well as serves on the editorial board of Voyennaya Mysl’. According to the author’s Russian interlocutors, these among other TsVSI researchers are at the top of the pecking order of influence, to include retired staffers such as Lieutenant General (ret.) Vladimir Ostankov.[74]

Chekinov and Bodgdanov, in their 2015 article in Voyennaya Mysl’: “Razvitiye sovremennogo voyennogo iskusstva s tochki zreniya voyennoy sistemologii” (“The Development of Modern Military Art in Terms of Military Systemology”), examine the evolution of military art in the early years of the 21st century and make projections about the kind of military threats likely to rise 30–50 years ahead, changes in the substance of future wars and in the principles of military art, as well as new tasks facing military science.[75]

On the likely shape of future wars, the authors assert,

Forecasts of the possible content of future warfare involving the use of arms suggest that it will be conducted with the use of unconventional arms causing earthquakes, typhoons, [and] sustained heavy downpours, leading to erosion of the economies and intensification of sociopsychological tensions in the warring countries. These unconventional arms will certainly set off development of new forms and methods of conduct of military operations [and] changes in the pattern of military operations at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Beyond a doubt, new weapons and military hardware have always produced a strong effect on what fighting was all about. In future wars, their nature and substance will be impacted by weapons designed on new physical principles. The nature and substance of future wars will be changed radically by space-based attack weapons, orbiting battle space stations (platforms), new weapons of improved destructive power, range, accuracy, and rate of fire, greater capabilities of reconnaissance and robot-controlled assets, automated weapons control, communication, and information warfare systems.

Naturally enough, a forecast of future warfare drives us to the conclusion that wars will be resolved by a skillful combination of military, nonmilitary, and special nonviolent measures that will be put through by a variety of methods and forms and a blend of political, economic, informational, technological, and environmental measures, primarily by taking advantage of information superiority. Information warfare in the new conditions will be the starting point of every action now called the new type of warfare (a hybrid war) in which broad use will be made of the mass media and, where feasible, the global computer networks (blogs, various social networks, and other resources).

Looking ahead to the course and outcome of future wars, we can assume that the new information techniques based on new technologies as components of information weapons will be capable of paralyzing the barely protected computer systems used to control troops and weapons and depriving the enemy of information transmission functions. It is not an exaggeration at all, either, to say that the computer will turn into a strategic weapon in future wars.[76]

Chekinov and Bogdanov argue here that warfare in the future will see the use of “unconventional arms” to cause climactic disasters and, thus, break the will of the enemy to fight. In turn, this technological breakthrough will again change the means and methods of conducting warfare and gradually erode the distinction between strategic, operational and tactical levels. Like other authors dealing with future warfare, they assume the development of new weapons “designed on new physical principles.” These will also carry warfare into space, with the development of space-based attack systems and orbiting battle-platforms. Weapons will be designed with greater destructive power and robotics, and information systems will feature as component parts of warfare. The authors argue that the use of military and non-military means will be further refined in the future to exploit information superiority, finally resulting in a stage where the computer becomes a de facto strategic weapon. Chekinov and Bogdanov then lay out a short summary of future warfare:

In their forecast of what future wars will be centered around, these authors want to make the point that future wars will begin with an operation that will be launched by electronic warfare forces and will blend with a strategic operation to be set off by the Armed Forces and an aerospace operation that is a part of it. The Armed Forces’ and aerospace operations must be augmented by a massive launch of cruise missiles from all realms—space, air, land, and sea, and space-based strike weapons—and reconnaissance outfits capable of delivering strikes and fires at targets they detect, and by remotely guided and piloted vehicles and robots. The armed forces involved in this operation will be assigned the primary task of winning overwhelming superiority in all realms—in the aerospace, on land, at sea, and in the information environment.[77]

Clearly, the authors see a significant role to be played by the use of EW and high-precision strike systems. They continue with a more detailed series of insights:

We have found, through our forecasts, that there will be evolution of forms and methods of employment of joint task forces in operations and engagements. The adversary will be defeated and destroyed by massive fire strikes by high-precision weapons (HPW) on the basis of new technologies, by aerospace systems, EW forces, electromagnetic, informational, and infrasonic weapons against his retaliation forces, his economic facilities, government and military control systems, and energy generation centers through the full depth of the adversary’s country. The combat command and information management systems of the global and regional level will serve as centers for strike-capable combat reconnaissance systems to be built around. There will no longer be any need to mount varying scale operations to overrun the adversary’s territory devoid of economic facilities, and his political system pushed into the corner will collapse under its own weight.

Prediction of what future wars will be in substance gives us an insight into adjustments likely to be made in the laws and rules of warfare, and in the substance of the behavioral patterns of joint task forces in the theaters of operations (strategic areas). The main distinctions of future wars are listed briefly below:

  • weapons designed on new technological principles—high-precision weapons based on several platform varieties, aerospace attack weapons, strike-and fire-capable reconnaissance systems, remote-controlled and piloted aerial vehicles, and robot-controlled weapons—will have an overwhelming superiority;

  • nuclear weapons will have their significance reduced where strategic and political objectives will have to be attained and their functions taken over by conventional high-precision weapons, weapons on new physical principle, and other types of conventional weapons;

  • strategic operations by armed forces will become the principal form of strategic task fulfillment; and

  • a unified system will be deployed to collect and process information by integrating space, aerial, and ground reconnaissance capabilities for target allocation and designation in real time.[78]

Entirely consistent with Slipchenko’s writings, Chekinov and Bogdanov believe that future warfare will witness the erosion of the deterrence value of nuclear weapons, and that there will be further development and exploitation of C4ISR approaches to combat. The authors conclude:

Forecasting is a way to gain an insight into a situation in which employment of weapons based on new physical properties, new weapons having greater destructive power, longer range, higher accuracy and rate of fire, broader capabilities of reconnaissance and robot-controlled assets, automated weapons control, communication, and information warfare, and closer integration of space-based, aerial, and ground reconnaissance systems in target designation and acquisition in real time will have a significant impact on the fast pace of future wars. It can be expected, therefore, that future wars will each consist of an opening and a closing period.

The opening period of a future war will last for approximately a month. The length of this period will depend on the strength and combat power of the armed forces of the country that comes under attack, the strength or weakness of its economy, its technological development, its size and geographic position, and several other less significant contributing factors.

The authors are certain that the opening period of future wars will really be the principal and decisive stretch that will begin with an EW operation that will merge cohesively with the armed forces’ strategic operation that will include an aerospace operation and massive launches of cruise missiles from various platforms. These operations will be supported and reinforced by operations of strike-and fire-capable reconnaissance units, and remote-controlled and piloted aerial vehicles to the full depth of the country under attack to deny the defender the ability to check the aggression.

The closing period of future wars must be as short as possible. Its length will depend on the combat power of the surviving forces, the morale of the losing country’s military and political leaders, and their readiness to capitulate.

It can be assumed, then, that the transformation of views on the nature of threats to the country’s military security, changes in the principles of conduct of wars in the future and in the laws of warfare, in the forms and methods of conduct of war by joint interagency and cross-service task forces, and new areas of military art development will raise the need for changes to be made in the substance of tasks that will face military science and for new tasks to crop up.

Above all, military science will be hard-pressed to explore changes in the substance of future wars and in their principles and in the principles of military art. The results of the exploration findings must be used to probe for new forms and methods of conduct of military operations in the future, to effectively counter new threats and challenges, and to identify points where modifications will have to be made in the fundamental documents and strategies related to controversial aspects of the country’s national security maintenance and its Military Doctrine, to keep the peace.[79]

It is worth noting here the emphasis the authors place upon the initial period of war and the closing period, with heavy stress on the use of EW, high-precision strike systems and further evolution of C4ISR.[80] It seems that these researchers are more representative of the modernist or revolutionary schools of thought in Russian military theory; and given the current emphasis placed by the political-military leadership on EW, cyber and information warfare, C4ISR, and high-precision strike systems, these views apparently carry weight in defense-policy planning and are set to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

It is also worth noting, despite the high-level interest in the exploitation of non-military assets in the hard/soft power mixture of modern Russian military capability that Chekinov and Bogdanov see future war as remaining, by definition, war: “Despite the assertions of some military scientists about the need for a fundamental review of the essence and content of the war and the loss of priority in it by military force, it is the mandatory use of armed forces that is the main criterion that distinguishes the war as a special period of interstate confrontation. The war of the future will still remain a war.”[81]

Indeed, other Russian military theorists place high value on the potential for domestic military science to yield long-term strategic results. For example, typical of this approach, Captain 1st Rank (ret.) Lennor Olshtynsky, a professor and full member of the AVN and a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, encapsulated this in an article in Voyennaya Mysl’ in April 2020: “The development of domestic military science urgently requires the use of all theoretical principles to study not only the centuries-old combat experience, but above all the achievements of the Soviet military science, which historically proved its superiority over the Western one.”[82] Olshytynsky, referencing the history of recent military conflicts in the 20th and early 21st centuries, echoes the ideas of Chekinov and Bogdanov that, essentially, wars of the future will remain “wars,” categorizing warfare types as subordinate to the overall use of armed force:

It is inappropriate to use such definitions as “economic war,” “psychological warfare,” “guerrilla war,” “cyber war,” “information war,” and the like. These are areas of the struggle, which do not stop in peacetime and become even more intense in wartime. War, as a whole, includes the armed struggle as its main content, as well as the struggle in other spheres of social life, which were used both in preparation for war and in its conduct. Nonmilitary types of struggle can include economic struggle, foreign policy struggle and organization of active forms of internal political struggle of the opposition forces in the opposing state (“color revolutions”), subversive activities of “agents of influence” and direct agents against the opposing state. The arsenal of nonmilitary types of struggle should include informational, ideological, and psychological struggle, intelligence and counterintelligence and dissemination of false information, electronic struggle in electronic control systems and communication systems, acts of sabotage, and political terror. All these types of struggle, combined with the use of armed forces, are what Americans call “network warfare.” It is, therefore, important to use the concept of, and the term “war” only in conjunction with an armed struggle of the appropriate scale and purpose.[83]

Olshtynsky is cautious in latching on “new” types of warfare as providing necessary insight into the wars of the future, and sees such sub-categories as elements or features of modern and future military conflicts. Moreover, in a seminal work published in Moscow in 2018, Major General (ret.) Stepan Tyushkevich assesses the historical developments of the laws of war in the context of military theory and methodology, arguing the laws of war vary in each historical epoch. In 2018, Tyushkevich, as a veteran of the Great Patriotic War and already 100 years old, was also the leading researcher in the Institute of Military History at the General Staff Academy in Moscow. Tyushkevich’s book, O zakonakh voyny: Voprosy voyennoy teoriyi i metodologiyi (The Laws of War: Issues of Military Theory and Methodology), attracted a great deal of attention in Russian military scientific circles.[84]

Tyushkevich argues that Russian military science must pay more attention to the importance of technological and scientific revolution and its role in determining the success or failure of states in future wars: “Against the background of social changes, the scientific and technological revolution, the transformation of science into an important factor of social progress and its increasingly deep penetration into all spheres of social life—ensuring the superiority in scientific potential becomes extremely important for determining the outcome of war.”[85] Tyushkevich conceives of the “laws of war” as playing a primary role in achieving success in the modern battlespace: “The laws of war, the laws of armed struggle are a system of essential dependencies to which war is subordinated. […] The scientific and practical significance of the laws of war is enormous. Correctly learned, they allow a better understanding of the ways to achieve victory and the means to prevent failures and defeats.”[86]

 

Conclusion

The elements of Soviet military thought influencing Russia’s contemporary military transformation have also been highlighted by Dmitry Adamsky, a professor in the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya, in Israel. Adamsky’s analysis of Russian information-technological warfare argues that this finds it roots firmly in Soviet military thought. He traces these origins to three specific aspects of Soviet military theoretical research focuses: the first is the Soviet RMA thinking, which stressed the disruption of the adversary’s decision-making systems by targeting its C4ISR, the second stems from maskirovka (measures to deceive, disinform or conceal, aimed at influencing the enemy’s understanding of the battlespace), and finally the third source is Soviet cybernetics.[87] Likewise, although there are no specific Russian military specialist theorists focusing exclusively on the theme of future warfare, the General Staff’s continued interest in this area draws upon a diverse and large body of military scientific knowledge, which provides a pool from which defense planners are able to formulate modernization priorities. This area has been purposefully encouraged and expanded in recent years by the General Staff leadership.

As noted, recent Russian military thought concerning the changing character of warfare over the past 20 years has highlighted numerous areas to include: the lessons drawn from the Great Patriotic War; the specific nature and context of each and every conflict; the need to develop strategic foresight; new forms of confrontation including indirect contact; lessons drawn from Russia’s more recent experience of military conflict; network-centric warfare; asymmetrical warfare; new generation warfare; information warfare; cyber warfare; hybrid warfare; the initial period of war; military futurology; brigades and the development of maneuver; non-military measures; and countering color revolutions.[88] Also, Russian military science has considered the following in this wider context: military science and military forecasting; the character of future conflict; rooting future warfare in the lessons of the past; strategic deterrence and strategic foresight; war in space; deep defense in information warfare; psychotronic weapons; climate weapons; nanotechnologies.[89]

Some Russian civilians are also working on future warfare, such as Andrei Kokoshin or Alexei Arbatov, although this is not the exclusive focus of their work. Kokoshin may be Russia’s greatest civilian military theorist, who most consistently has written about future war, as the titles of a selection of his most prominent publications indicate: O Politicheskom Smysle Pobedy v Sovremennoi Voine (On the Political Understanding of Victory in Current War, 2004), Politilogia i Sotsiologia Voennoi Strategii (Political Science and Sociology in Military Strategy, 2005), O Revoliutsii v Voennom Dele v Proshlom i Nastoiashchem (On the Revolution in Military Affairs in History and Today, 2006), and Innovatsionnye Vooruzhennye Sily i Revoliutsia v Voennom Dele (Innovative Military Forces and the Revolution in Military Affairs, 2008).[90]

Kokoshin has argued strongly in favor of Russia’s military adopting C4ISR capabilities rooted in network-centric approaches toward modern and future warfare. Like Chvarkov, however, Kokoshin has warned against technological determinism as part of this transformation in military capabilities.[91] Kokoshin also recognizes that the adoption of C4ISR places new and challenging demands on military personnel, including recruitment, training and education, while also highlighting the potential cultural stumbling block in relation to the reluctance of the Russian officer corps to delegate authority to the lower ranks.[92] Equally, the corollary of this observation lies in the need to allow officers operating at the tactical level to access information at operational and strategic levels.[93]

In essence, therefore, there is strong evidence of continuity in contemporary Russian military thought, planning, force structure and its linkages into the adoption of C4ISR and the transformation of the country’s military rooted in its transition to the information age. Of course, areas of divergence and innovation exist. However, a unifying factor in these complex processes is an underlying need to harness high-technology in order to successfully modernize Russia’s Armed forces to meet the state’s potential security challenges in the 21st century. In conceptual terms, as the intellectual beneficiaries of Ogarkov and the Soviet RMA theory, Russian military theorists such as General Vladimir Slipchenko conceptualized these advances in capability in terms of the generations of warfare.[94] In this regard, Russia has come later into the sphere of sixth-generation warfare, and it still maintains and relies upon fifth-generation (nuclear) means for strategic deterrence—while also adding conventional “pre-nuclear” deterrence into this mixture. It visibly tested elements of its sixth-generation and non-contact warfare capabilities during its military operations in Syria.[95] And Russia’s continued conventional military modernization and transformation lies deeply intertwined with the adoption of network-centric warfare capability; though it appears aimed at offering warfighting means and methods principally against a high-technology peer adversary. Slipchenko’s far-sighted analysis of the potential to develop a new seventh-generation warfare capability may be closer in timescale than he envisaged in the early 2000s.[96]

The origins of network-centric approaches to modern and future warfare are rooted in the RMA, championed by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov in the 1980s. As he predicted, modern and future inter-state warfare will be short and sharp, no longer envisaging a period of mobilization or “follow-on” forces. Russia’s contemporary General Staff understands that the key to securing political-military objectives in such a scenario depends on gaining the advantage in the information space and utilizing its speed of decision-making through improved automated command and control. As such, Russian military strategists and policymakers have consciously sought to move away from the country’s traditional reliance upon mass mobilization to forming leaner and more capable forces. After many years of analysis, discussion and planning, the Russian military is now well on the path toward the fuller formation of a network-centric capability that will present challenges for any potential adversary. Thus, Russia’s Armed Forces, together with their numerous technological advances, are confidently entering the high-tech battlespace.[97]

Over the past decade, Moscow has prioritized harnessing high technology to transform military decision-making. This has involved reforming and simplifying command and control, introducing new structures in order to ingrate C2, digitizing the technologies involved in facilitating decision-making, and designing and procuring modern automated C2 systems.[98] These developments in advancing Russia’s conventional military capabilities are closely tied to its pursuit of network-centric approaches to modern and future warfare, adopting command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance—C4ISR—rooted in harnessing high technology to achieve these aims. In the area of military decision-making, a revolution has occurred, making the new system in place barely recognizable compared to the C2 apparatus it has displaced.

While considerable interest among Western analysts of Russia’s military modernization has focused on the speeches and published articles of the chief of the General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, his comments on the role of the military in operations in Syria since September 2015 are replete with an emphasis on the “limited” application of hard power, culminating in articulating this as an emerging “strategy of limited actions” in such conflicts. Gerasimov has also referred to “non-contact” warfare and the employment of high-precision weapons systems. Moscow has tried and tested this nascent “non-contact” warfare capability in its operations in Syria, it did so in ways to support ongoing complex operations as well as to test and refine the use of these systems.[99]

Many of the elements in Gerasimov’s thinking on future warfare are naturally reflected in the writings of the chief of the Academy of the General Staff, Colonel General Vladimir Zarudnitskiy. For example, in Zarudnitskiy’s article in Voyennaya Mysl’ in January 2021, Kharakter i soderzhaniye voyennykh konfliktov v sovremennykh usloviyakh i obozrimoy perspektive (The Nature and Content of Military Conflicts in Present-day Conditions and in the Foreseeable Future), which examines the likely contours of future wars, he draws heavily upon ideas contained in public speeches by Gerasimov, such as the “strategy of active defense,” and measures for the “preemptive neutralization of threats” to state security. Moreover, Zarudnitskiy identifies 18 trends in military-technical development influencing long-term planning and thinking about future warfare. Military and special equipment (voyennoy i spetsial’noy tekhniki—VVST) will evolve around the following trends:

  • Accelerated creation of the newest UAVs, with a broadening of their executable functions and of the air means of destruction;
  • Increase in missile flight speed to hypersonic;
  • Reduction of the conspicuousness of VVST models;
  • Improvement of automated systems of C2 carriers and weapons;
  • Increase in the range of target detection and destruction (without entry into the enemy’s air defense zone);
  • Development of space-based reconnaissance and C2 systems;
  • Formation of a unified information and C2 domain, with the help of space resources;
  • Robotic space systems will conduct anti-satellite struggles and service space systems; weapons based on new physical principles will be created for space defense. This will shift space operations from support to combat;
  • Robotization of all spheres of armed struggle;
  • Development of AI for robotic systems, broadening the spectrum of their executable tasks and ability to operate autonomously;
  • Shift from the principle of “command and control of a robot” to the principle of “assigning tasks to a robot:”
  • Introduction of technologies for employing robotic military systems in groups;
  • Improvement of various precision, control, and self-homing means of destruction and intelligence, targeting, radio-electronic warfare, air defense systems, and systems for the struggle against cruise missiles and UAVs;
  • Increase in the level of automation of VVST;
  • Shift from fire destruction of an enemy to the use of comprehensive effects against opponents;
  • Equipping combat ships with long-range “ship-to-shore” and “ship-to-ship” precision weapons;
  • Creation of underwater robotic military systems, including strategic systems and systems for situational awareness;
  • Introduction of AI units capable of self-learning and analysis of large amounts of information for employment in various fields—from reconnaissance and C2 of weapons to strategic forecasting and decision-making.[100]

Zarudnitskiy on this basis offers a vision of future warfare that incorporates many of the themes in Russia’s contemporary military modernization, with its emphasis on the automation of C4ISR, UAV development, hypersonic missile technology and the further development and exploitation of AI. However, his comments concerning the development of space-based assets to be elevated to a combat function rather than restricted to combat support, combined with the idea of AI to extend into self-learning systems and contribute to military decision-making and into the sphere of “strategic forecasting,” is potentially revolutionary if the state adopts the necessary measures to implement such ideas. Indeed, this would transcend the arguments as to how much continuity and change persists in Russian military thought, as these measures would swing the pendulum toward innovation with less tangible origins in Soviet military thought.[101]

Moreover, by successfully deploying and exploiting such high-precision strikes in a conflict, the political leadership was further persuaded of the need for additional and consistent state investment in these capabilities. Those added investments include the development of hypersonic cruise missiles in the State Armaments Program to 2027, reportedly capable of overcoming any adversary’s air defenses. Equally, these precision weapons play a pivotal role in the conventional hard-power dimension of the 2014 Military Doctrine—the commitment to developing “non-nuclear” or “pre-nuclear” deterrence. Thus, Russia’s dedication to diversifying and deepening the role of high-precision strike weapons in its military inventory is assured a long-term place in Moscow’s defense planning and procurement priorities.[102]

Russia’s Armed Forces have long struggled to locate and fix enemy targets and follow up with precision strikes. After reshaping Soviet-era concepts through technology to close the time gap between reconnaissance and precision strikes or fires, Moscow has implemented a network-centric approach to combat and operations. This has been realized in the creation of an integrated Reconnaissance-Fire System and was trialed and tested in military exercises and during operations in Ukraine and Syria. The new Reconnaissance-Fire System allows combat units to conduct operations in real time and greatly increases the speed and accuracy of Russian fires on the future battlefield. This process has already made significant progress, with its future development earmarked as a high priority in Moscow’s defense planning. The ROS is a network-centric capability offering vastly enhanced target acquisition and strikes across the range of Russian systems capable of targeting ground targets, and especially benefits artillery systems.[103]

Contemporary Russian military thought on the changing character of war and implications for future warfare contains features that appear “futuristic,” but the political-military leadership supported by mainstream Russian military theorists’ work on future warfare envisages the modernization of the hard-power elements of conventional military capability to form the core of that long-term vision. This will involve maintaining elements of fourth-generation capability, modernizing its fifth generation (nuclear) assets, as well as consolidating and continuing development of sixth-generation capabilities, while moving toward a new, seventh generation. Moreover, Moscow’s continued exploitation of advanced technology in pursuit of its military modernization extends into further developing EW, UAV strike and reconnaissance systems, and hypersonic strike capability, as well as low-yield nuclear warheads. In short, Russian military thought on the changing character of war, drawing on its Soviet heritage, has come of age and, with the support and investment of the political leadership, has entered the sixth-generation warfare era to exploit high technology to shape the future battlespace.

 

Notes

[1] Dima Adamsky, The Culture of Military Innovation, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010; Makhmut Gareev, “Itogi Desiatiletnosti Akademii Voennykh Nauk 2001–2005 i Osnovnye Zadachii Akademii,” Voyennaya Mysl, No. 2, 2006.

[2] Makhmut Gareev,”Problemy Strategicheskogo Sderzhivania V Sovremennykh Usloviakh,” in Bezopasnost Rossii – 2010, ed. R.M. Timoshev, Moskva: Triumfalnaia Arka, 2009; Boris Cheltsov, Sergei Volkov, ‘Setevye Voiny Xx Veka,’ Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, 41, No. 4, 2008.

[3] Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’, https://encyclopedia.mil.ru/encyclopedia/dictionary/[email protected], Accessed, July 6, 2021; O. Ragozin, (ed.), Voyna i mir v terminakh i opredeleniyakh. Voyenno-politicheskiy slovar’, Moscow: Veche, 2017, pp. 111. See: Charles K. Bartles, ‘Defining Russian Military Science,’ NATO Defense College: Rome, Russian Studies Series 3:21, https://www.ndc.nato.int/research/research.php?icode=705, July 2021. For a discussion of key Russian military terms, interpretations of concepts and how these may relate to one another, as well as how they are subject to change over time, see: Michael Kofman, Anya Fink, Dmitry Gorenburg, Mary Chesnut, Jeffrey Edmonds, and Julian Waller, Russian Military Strategy: Core Tenets and Operational Concepts, https://www.cna.org/CNA_files/pdf/Russian-Military-Strategy-Core-Tenets-and-Operational-Concepts.pdf, Research Memorandum, CNA: Arlington, VA, August 2021.

[4] Author’s emphasis. Gladyshev Yu. P, Ivanov G.V, “Voyennaya nauka i voyennaya sistemologiya,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, 2005.

[5] Author’s emphasis.

[6] Shimon Naveh, In Pursuit of Military Excellence – the Evolution of Operational Theory, Ed. Gabriel Gorodetsky, The Cummings Center Series, London: Frank Cass, 1997, p. 164; See: Azar Gat, A History of Military Thought, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 632–639, Andrei Kokoshin, Soviet Strategic Thought 1917–91, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1998) pp. 19-40.

[7] Stephen Peter Rosen, “The Impact of the Office of Net Assessment on the American Military in the Matter of the Revolution in Military Affairs,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, Volume 33, Issue 4, 2010, pp. 469–482. Charles Bartles stresses the role of this professional journal: Voyennaya Mysl’ (Military Thought) is the Russian Armed Forces’ oldest and most venerated journal on military theory, intended for senior officers, specialists in Russian Ministry of Defense institutes, faculty and students of military academies, universities and institutes, and the defense industry. The journal’s articles are usually authored by senior officers and military academics. Past authors have included leaders and senior officers of the Ministry of Defense, General Staff, Military Districts, Fleets, and Branches of the Armed Forces (Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces, Navy, Airborne Troops, Strategic Rocket Forces), and academics and scientists from military academies and research institutions. Bartles, “Defining Russian Military Science,” Op. Cit.

[8] V.I. Korchmit-Matyushov, ‘Teoriya voyn,’ M.:BFRGTZ, Slovo, 2001; S.A. Parshin, Yu.Ye. Gorbachov, Yu.A. Kozhanov, ‘Sovremennyye tendentsii razvitiya teorii i praktiki upravleniya v vooruzhonnykh silakh SSHA,’ M.: Lenand, 2009; “Khochesh’ mira, pobedi myatezhevoynu! Tvorcheskoye naslediye,” Ye.E. Messnera, Russkiy voyennyy sbornik, No.21, 2005; V. I. Slipchenko, “Voyny novogo pokoleniya: distantsionnyye i beskontaktnyye,” Moscow, OLMA-PRESS obrazovaniye, 2004; M.A.Gareyev, V.I. Slipchenko, Budushchaya voyna, Moscow, OGI, 2005; “Setetsentricheskaya voyna. Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI,” – Moscow: VAGSH VS RF, 2010.

[9] Jacob W. Kipp, “ ‘Smart’ Defense From New Threats: Future War From a Russian Perspective: Back to the Future After the War on Terror,” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 27, No.1, 2014, p. 61.

[10] Author’s emphasis. See: Steven J. Main, “You Cannot Generate Ideas by Orders: The Continuing Importance of Studying Soviet Military History—G. S. Isserson and Russia’s Current Geo-Political Stance,” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1 (2016), pp. 48–72; Valery Gerasimov, “Tsennost’ nauki v predvidenii,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, http://vpk-news.ru/articles/14632, February 26, 2013.

[11] Voyennyy entsiklopedicheskiy slovar’, Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1983, p. 585.

[12] See: Jacob W. Kipp, “The Labor of Sisyphus: Forecasting the Revolution in Military Affairs During Russia’s Time of Troubles,” in Thierry Gongora and Harold von Riekhoff, eds., Toward a Revolution in Military Affairs?, Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 2000, pp. 87–104. Gareev’s reference to Sisyphus draws on Greek mythology. Sisyphus, as founder and king of Ephyra, was punished for twice cheating death by rolling an enormous boulder uphill; it rolled downhill every time he neared the top. The modern usage of the “labors of Sisyphus” refers to futile or laborious tasks. Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology: Sisyphus, www.mythweb.com, accessed, June 2, 2021.

[13] I. E. Shavrov and M. I. Galkin, eds., Metodologiya voyenno-nauchnogo poznaniya, Moscow: Voyenizdat, 1977, p. 64.

[14] Nikolay Tyutyunnikov, Voyennaya mysl’ v terminakh i opredeleniyakh: v trekh tomakh (Military Thought in Terms and Definitions: In Three Volumes), Vols. 1, 2, 3, Pero, 2018.

[15] Jacob W. Kipp, “Confronting the RMA in Russia,” FMSO: June, 1997.

[16] Shevelev E.G, Vvedeniye v voyennuyu sistemologiyu, Moscow: VA GSH, 1993.

[17] Kipp, “Confronting the RMA in Russia,” Op.Cit.

[18] Author’s interview with Russian military specialists, Moscow, September 23, 2021. E. G. Shevelev, “Sistemologiya natsional’noy bezopasnosti na rubezhe vekov: sostoyaniye i perspektivy razvitiya,” Vestnik Samarskogo gosudarstvennogo aerokosmicheskogo universiteta, No. 2, 2004, pp. 47–64.

[19] V.V. Krugulov and V.I. Yakupov, “Methodology of Prognosticating Armed Struggle,” Voyennaya Mysl’, April 2017.

[20] Osnovy sistemnogo analiza, analiticheskoy raboty i voyennogo prognozirovaniya (The Basics of Systems Analysis, Analytical Work and Military Forecasting), Ed. S.V. Chvarkov, the Military Academy of the RF AF General Staff Press, Moscow, 2016.

[21] V.I. Yesin, “Primeneniye sistemologii k obespecheniyu strategicheskoy yadernoy bezopasnosti posle okonchaniya kholodnoy voyny,” Bezopasnost’ Yevrazii, No.4, 2003; E.G. Shevelev, “Vliyaniye metasistem na natsional’nuyu bezopasnost’ i voyny budushchego: (voyennaya sistemologiya),” Bezopasnost’ Yevrazii, No.4, 2003; V.D. Ryabchuk, Sistemologiya i sinergetika v taktike upravleniya boyem,” Bezopasnost’ Yevrazii, No. 4, 2003.

[22] V. D. Ryabchuk, “Problemy Voennoy Hauki I Voennogo Prognozirovaniya v Usloviyakh Intellektual’no-informatsionnogo Protivoborstva (Problems of Military Science and Military Forecasting under Conditions of an Intellectual-Information Confrontation),” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 5, 2008, pp. 68–69; N. E. Makarov, “Kharakter Vooruzhennoy Bor’by Budushchego, Aktual’nye Problemy Stroitel’stva i Boevogo Primeneniya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF v Sovremennykh Usloviyakh (The Character of Future Armed Conflict, Actual Problems of the Development and Deployment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Today),” Vestnik, No. 2, 2010, p. 19; Makhmut A. Gareev, If War Comes Tomorrow, Frank Cass, London 1998, pp. 52–53.

[23] For a detailed study of the Russian perspectives on network-centric warfare at an early stage in the reform of Russia’s Armed Forces, see Roger N. McDermott, Russian Perspective on Network-Centric Warfare, (Foreign Military Studies Office), 2010.

[24] Istoriya voyennoy strategiyi Rossiyi, Op. Cit.

[25] I.I. Vatsetis, O voyennoy doktrine budushchego (On the Military Doctrine of the Future) Moscow, 1923, p. 72; A.M. Zayonchkovsky, Lektsiyi po strategiyi (Lectures on Strategy), Moscow, 1923; B.M. Shaposhnikov, Vospominaniya. Voyenno-nauchniye trudy (Reminiscences. Works on Military Theory), Moscow, 1982, p. 435.

[26] Istoriya voyennogo iskusstva (A History of Military Art), Voyenizdat Publishers, Moscow, 2006, p. 6.

[27] I.N. Vorobyev, V.A. Kiselyov, ‘Russian Military Theory: Past and Present,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 4 2013.

[28] M.A. Gareyev, Srazheniya na voyenno-istoricheskomfronte (Battles on the Military History Front), INSAN Publishers, Moscow, 2010.

[29] Tor Bukkvoll, “Iron Cannot Fight—The Role of Technology in Current Russian Military Theory,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Volume 34, Issue 5, 2011, pp. 618–706.

[30] Bukkvoll divides Russian military theorists into three camps: “Contemporary Russian military theory is dominated by three schools of thought: the ‘traditionalists,’ the ‘modernists’ and the ‘revolutionaries.’ On the role of technology in future warfare, the traditionalists do not recognize budget constraints and therefore argue for both high tech and massive forces at the same time. The modernists are ready to trade manpower for technology, whereas the revolutionaries give technology full priority. Both the traditionalists and the modernists think that Russia, because of the country`s technological lag and limited resources, should respond asymmetrically to the Western technology challenge. The revolutionaries, on the other hand, think Russia must respond in kind. If not, the country will no longer be able to defend its sovereignty. The currently ongoing radical reform of the Russian military is a partial victory for the modernists.” See: Bukkvoll, “Iron Cannot Fight,” 2011, Op.Cit.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Vladimir Slipchenko, “K Kakoi Voine Dolzhny Gotovitsia Vooruzyennye Sily,” Otechestvennye Zapisky, No. 8, 2002. p. 4; Gareev, Makhmut and Slipchenko, Vladimir, Budushchaia Voina, Moscow: Politru O.G.I, 2005.

Gat, Azar. A History of Military Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001; V. Slipchenko, Voiny Novogo Pokolenia – Distantsionnye I Bezkontaktnye. Moscow: Olma-Press, 2004, p. 51.

[33] See: Richard W. Harrison, Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson, MacFarland: 2010, pp. 411.

[34] Author’s emphasis. V.V. Slipchenko, “Informatsionnyi resurs i informatsionnoe protivoborstvo,” Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 10, 2013, pp. 52–57.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Author’s emphasis. Ibid.

[37] See: Joe Cheravitch, The Role of Russia’s Military in Information Confrontation, CNA: Arlington, Virginia, June 2021, https://www.cna.org/CNA_files/PDF/The-Role-of-Russias-Military-in-Information-Confrontation.pdf.

[38] A.N. Lukashkin and A.I. Yefimov, “Problema bezopasnosti komp’yuternoy infosfery strategicheskikh oboronnykh sistem,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 5, 1995, pp. 48–52.

[39] Slipchenko, “Informatsionnyi resurs i informatsionnoe protivoborstvo,” Op.Cit.

[40] Author’s emphasis. Ibid.

[41] Author’s emphasis. Ibid.

[42] Valery Gerasimov, ‘Vektory razvitiya voyennoy strategii,’ Krasnaya Zvezda, March 4, 2019, http://redstar.ru/vektory-razvitiya-voennoj-strategii/.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Valery Gerasimov, “Tsennost’ nauki v predvidenii,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, February 26, 2013, http://vpk-news.ru/articles/14632.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Valery Gerasimov, “Mir na granyakh voyny,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, March 13, 2017, https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/35591.

[49] Valery Gerasimov, “Vektory razvitiya voyennoy strategii,” Krasnaya Zvezda, March 4, 2019, http://redstar.ru/vektory-razvitiya-voennoj-strategii/.

[50] Leonty Shevtsov, “Novyy vzglyad na national’nuyu voyennuyu strategiyu,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/46263, November 28, 2018.

[51] Gerasimov, “Tsennost’ nauki v predvidenii,” Op.Cit.

[52] Sergei V. Chvarkov, ‘Nauka o voyne – neobkhodimost’ ili dan’ mode?’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2020-02-20/1_1082_war.html, February 20, 2020.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] V.V. Krugulov and V.I. Yakupov, “Methodology of Prognosticating Armed Struggle,” Voyennaya Mysl’, April 2017.

[58] Osnovy sistemnogo analiza, analiticheskoy raboty i voyennogo prognozirovaniya (The Basics of Systems Analysis, Analytical Work and Military Forecasting), Ed. S.V. Chvarkov, the Military Academy of the RF AF General Staff Press, Moscow, 2016.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid; V.V. Ivanov, G.G. Malinetsky, Rossiya: XXI vek. Strategiya proryva: Tekhnologiyi. Obrazovaniye. Nauka, LENAND Publishers, Moscow, 2016; I.N. Vorobyev, V.V. Kruglov, A.I. Suptelya, Voyennaya futurologiya, RF MOD Press, Moscow, 2000; V.V. Kruglov, “Voyennoye prognozirovaniye: sostoyaniye, vozmozhnosti i realizatsiya rezul’tatov,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 4, 2016, pp. 80–86.

[61] V.B. Zarudnitskiy, “Faktory dostizheniya pobedy v voyennykh konfliktakh budushchego,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 8, 2021, pp, 34-47.

[62] Ibid, p.35.

[63] V.B. Zarudnitskiy, “Faktory dostizheniya pobedy v voyennykh konfliktakh budushchego,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 8, 2021, pp, 34-47.

[64] Ibid.

[65] V.I. Ostankov, “Kharakter sovremennykh voyennykh konfliktov i yego vliyaniye na voyennuyu strategiyu,” Vestnik, No. 2, 2019. At the time of the article’s publication, Lieutenant General Vladimir Ostankov was the leading researcher in the Academy of the General Staff. He had also served in the elite General Staff think tank the Center for Military-Strategic Research (Tsentr Voyenno-Strategicheskikh Issledovaniy Generalnogo Shtaba Vooruzhennykh Sil’ Rossiyskoy Federatsii—TsSVI GSh).

[66] Thomas lists these as follows: ‘Group one: “On Several Characteristic Aspects of Future War,” Military Thought, 6/2003, pp. 52–59, M. A. Gareev; “Strategic Deterrence: Problems and Solutions,” Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), No. 183, 8 October 2008, p. 8, M. A. Gareev, Eastview.com download, 17 March, 2010; “Lessons and Conclusions Drawn From the Experience of the Great Patriotic War for Building Up and Training the Armed Forces,” Military Thought, 5/2010, pp. 10–25, M. A. Gareev; “Anticipate Changes in the Nature of War: Every Era Has its Own Kind of Military Conflict, its Own Constraints, and its Own Special Biases,” Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer Online (Military-Industrial Courier Online), 5 June 2013, M. A. Gareev; “How Does One Develop a Modern Army?” Krasnaya Zvezda Online, 11 March 2016, unattributed report summarizing Gareev’s speech; “The Value of Science is in Foresight: New Challenges Demand Rethinking the Forms and Methods of Carrying Out Combat Operations,” Military-Industrial Courier, 26 February 2013, V. V. Gerasimov; “The Role of the General Staff in the Organization of the Country’s Defense in Accordance with the New Statute on the General Staff,” Bulletin of the Academy of Military Science, 1/2014, pp. 14–22, V. V. Gerasimov; “New Forms of Confrontation Employed by Western Countries Will Be Considered when Developing Russia’s Defense Plan,” Army Journal, No. 3, 2015, no page numbers (introductory comments), V. V. Gerasimov; “The Syrian Experience. Hybrid Warfare Requires High-Tech Weapons and Scientific Substantiation,” Military Industrial Courier Online, 9–15 March 2016, V. V. Gerasimov; “Lessons of Military Conflicts and Prospects for the Development of Means and Methods of Conducting Them, Direct and Indirect Actions in Contemporary International Conflicts,” Bulletin of the Academy of Military Science, 2/2015, pp. 26–36, A. V. Kartapolov.

[67] Listed as: ‘Group two: “On the Character of Armed Confrontation in the Twenty-First Century,” Military Thought, 3/2009, pp. 2–14, S. A. Bogdanov and V. N. Gorbunov; “Asymmetrical Actions to Maintain Russia’s Military Security,” Military Thought, 3/2010, pp. 13–22, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “Strategy of the Indirect Approach: Its Impact on Modern Warfare,” Military Thought, 6/2011, pp. 3–13, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “The Initial Period of War and its Influence on the Preparation of the Country for Future Wars,” Military Thought, 11/2012, pp. 14–27, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “The Nature and Content of a New-Generation War,” Military Thought, 10/2013, pp. 13–24, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “Military Futurology: Its Origin, Development, Role, and Place within Military Science,” Military Thought, 8/2014, pp. 19–29, S. G. Chekinov and S. A.Bogdanov; “The Art of War in the Early 21st Century: Issues and Opinions,” Military Thought, 1/2015, pp. 32–43, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “Forecasting the Nature and Content of Future Wars: Problems and Opinions,” Military Thought, 10/2015, pp. 41–49, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov; “Modern Military Art in the Context of Military Systematology,” Military Thought, 11/2015, pp. 23–33, S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov.

[68] Listed as: ‘Group three: “The New Strategy of the Indirect Approach,” Military Thought, 9/2006, pp. 2–5, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Transition of the Ground forces to a Brigade Structure as a Phase in the Development of their Maneuver Capabilities,” Military Thought, 2/2010, pp. 18–24, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Russian Military Schools,” Military Thought, 3/2010, pp. 43–49, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Light Armed Formations in the System of Modern Combined Arms Operations (Battle),” Military Thought, 5/2010, pp. 26–34, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “The Role of Military Science in the Formation of a New Version of Russia’s Armed Forces, Military Thought, 2/2011, pp. 40–48, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Commentary on the Article ‘Warfare Today and in the Future,’” Military Thought, 5/2011, pp. 54–58, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “From Modern Tactics to the Tactics of Network-Centric Actions,” Military Thought, 8/2011, pp. 19–27, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “The Present Stage of Military Theory in Russia,” Military Thought, 9/2011, pp. 74–78, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Cybernetics in the System of Network-Centric Actions,” Military Thought, 4/2012, pp 17–25, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “New Trends in the Development of Tactical Reconnaissance,” Military Thought, 5/2013, pp. 54–63, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Russian Military Theory: History and Today,” Military Thought, 8/2013, pp., 28–42, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Strategies of Destruction and Attrition: A New View,” Military Thought, 3/2014, pp. 45–57, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Trends in the Development of Network-Centric Actions,” Military Thought, 5/2014, pp. 10–17, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Indirect Warfare in Cyberspace,” Military Thought, 12/2014, pp. 21–28, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev; “Hybrid Operations as a New Form of Military Confrontation,” Military Thought, 5/2015, pp. 41–48, I. N. Vorobyov and V. A. Kiselev.

[69] And listed as: ‘Group four: “The Probable Character of Future Warfare,” Bulletin of the Academy of Military Science, 2/2005, pp. 126–129, P. A. Dul’nev and E. A. Bryuzgin; “Development and Use of Nonmilitary Measures to Reinforce the Military Security of the Russian Federation,” Military Thought, 5/2009, pp. 2–12, V. I. Lutovinov; “Warfare Today and in the Future,” Military Thought, 2/2011, pp. 3-12, E. O. Novozhilova; “Technosphere Warfare,” Military Thought, 7/2012, pp. 22–31, V. V. Bukharin and S. S. Semonov; “Tendencies in the Changing Character of Armed Struggles in Military Conflicts in the First Half of the 21st Century,” Military Thought, 11/2012, pp. 40–46, S. V. Kuralenko; “The Future is being Laid Today: Armed Forces Structure Theory Must Correspond to the Nature of Future Wars to the Maximum Extent Possible,” Military-Industrial Courier, March 2013, Oleg Falichev; “Information Resource and Information Confrontation: their Evolution, Role, and Place in Future War,” Armeyskiy Sbornik (Army Journal), No. 10 2013, pp. 52–57, Vladimir Slipchenko; “A War of the Future,” Russia in Global Affairs, 4/2013, p. 131, Andrei Baklanov; “Information is the Best Defense. Scientists Call for Sixth Technological Generation to Be Adopted into the Armory,” Military-Industrial Courier, June 2014, Konstantin Sivkov; “Political Engineering of Color Revolutions: Ways to Keep Them in Check,” Military Thought, 9/2014, pp. 3–11, A. N. Belsky and O. V. Klimenko; “Principal Changes in the Nature of Armed Struggle in the First Third of the 21st Century,” Bulletin of the Academy of Military Science, 1/2015, pp. 44–51, P. A. Dul’nev and V. I. Orlyanskiy.

[70] See: Timothy L. Thomas, “Thinking Like a Russian Officer: Basic Factors and Contemporary Thinking on the Nature of War,” FMSO, Kansas, April 2016.

[71] Ibid.

[72] V. D. Ryabchuk, ‘Problemy Voennoy Hauki I Voennogo Prognozirovaniya v Usloviyakh Intellektual’no-informatsionnogo Protivoborstva (Problems of Military Science and Military Forecasting under Conditions of an Intellectual-Information Confrontation),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 5, 2008, pp. 68-69; N. E. Makarov, ‘Kharakter Vooruzhennoy Bor’by Budushchego, Aktual’nye Problemy Stroitel’stva i Boevogo Primeneniya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF v Sovremennykh Usloviyakh (The Character of Future Armed Conflict, Actual Problems of the Development and Deployment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Today), Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 2, 2010, p. 19; Makhmut Gareev, ‘Concepts: The Experience of the Victors in the Great War Cannot Become Obsolete. We Need to Find the Roots of Future Victories in the Past,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, March 12, 2010; Makhmut A. Gareev, If War Comes Tomorrow, Frank Cass, London 1998, pp. 52-53; M. A. Gareev, ‘Strategicheskoe Sderzhivanie: Problemy i Resheniya (Strategic Deterrence: Problems and Solutions),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, October 8, 2008; Sergei Modestov, ‘Prostranstvo Budushchey Voyny (The Space of Future War),’ Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 2, 2003, p. 65; Sergei Modestov, ‘Strategicheskoe Sderzhivanie Na Teatre Informatsionnogo Protivoborstva (Strategic Deterrence in the Theater of Information Warfare),’ Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 1, 2009, p. 35; Sergei Modestov, ‘Kontseptsiya Glubokoy Oborony v Informatsionnom Protivoborstve (A Concept for Deep Defense in Information Warfare),’ Informatsionnaya Bezopasnost’ Rossii (Information Security of Russia), Moscow 1998; I. G. Korotchenko, ‘Tendentsii razvitiya sovremennogo operativnogo iskusstva (Tendencies in the Modern Development of Military Art),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 1999, p. 11; I. D. Sergeev, ‘Osnovnyi Faktory, Opredelyayushchie Voenno-Tekhnicheskuyu Politiku Rossii Nakanune XXI Veka (The Main Factors which Determine Russia’s Military-Technical Policy on the Eve of the 21 st Century),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, No. 259, 9 December, 1999; Mikhail Mikhaylovich Rastopshin, ‘V Labirinte Asimmetrichnykh Otvetov (In the Labyrinth of Asymmetric Responses),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 17, June 1, 2007.

[73] Gennadiy Miranovich, ‘Voennaya Reforma: Problemy i suzhdeniya. Geopolitika i bezopasnost’ Rossii (Military Reform: Problems and Judgment. Geopolitics and Russian Security),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, July 31 1999; V. V. Kruglov, ‘O Vooruzhennoy Bor’be Budushchego (On Future Armed Conflict),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, September-October 1998, No. 5, pp. 54-58; N. A. Sergeyev and D. A. Lovtsov, ‘O probleme ‘organizatsionnogo oruzhiya’ (On the Problem of the ‘Organization Weapon’),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 1999, p. 34; I. Chernishev, ‘Polychat li poveliteli ‘zombi’ blast’ nad mirom (Can a Ruler Make ‘Zombies’ Out of the World),’ Orientir, February 1997, pp. 58-62; Vladimir Grigoryevich Andreyev, ‘Novye Tendentsii Razvitiya Sredstv Protivoborstva: Netraditsionnoe Oruzhie Mozhet Okazat’ Reshayushchee Vliyanie na Iskhod ‘Voyny Budushchego’ (New Trends in the Development of Weapons: Non-traditional Weapons May Have a Decisive Influence on the Outcome of the ‘War of the Future’),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, 26 February-4 March 1999; Dmitry Borisov and Vitaliy Koreshkov, ‘Voyny Menyayut Oblik: v Sposobakh Vedeniya Boevykh Deystviy Vozrastaet Rol’ Nesmertel’nogo Oruzhiya,’ (Wars are Changing their Look: The Growing Role of Non-lethal Weapons in Methods of Combat Operations),” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, 26 February-4 March 1999; S. Leonenko, ‘O Refleksivnoe upravlenie protivnikom (On Reflexive Control of the Enemy),’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 8, 1995, p. 28; A. A. Proxhozhev and N. I. Turko, ‘Osnovy Informatsionnoy Voyny (The Basics of Information Warfare),’ in Analiz Sistem na Poroge XXI Veka: Teoriya i Praktika: Tom Chetvertyy (Systems Analysis on the Threshold of the 21 st Century: Theory and Practice: Volume Four), Moscow February 1996; N. I. Turko and S. A. Modestov, ‘Refleksivnoe Upravlenie Razvitiem Strategicheskikh Sil Gosudarstva Kak Mekhanizm Sovremennoy Geopolitiki (Reflexive Control in the Development of Strategic Forces of States as a Mechanism of Geopolitics),’ in Analiz Sistem na Poroge XXI Veka: Teoriya I Praktika: Tom Chetvertyy (Systems Analysis on the Threshold of the 21 st Century: Theory and Practice: Volume Four), Moscow February 1996; Vladimir Chebakov, ‘Kto Tut ‘Shmel’? Leninskuyu Premiyu Emu… (Who’s the Shmel Here? Give Him the Lenin Prize),’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 3, 2003; Yevgeniy Lisanov, ‘Proyti Nad Propast’yu i Ne Svalit’sya (Pass Over the Abyss without Falling In),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, June 4, 2008; Yevgeny Lisanov, ‘Predvidenie Uchenykh—Voennomu Delu (Foresight of Scientists—Military Affairs),’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, No. 193, 10 September 2008; Kondratyev, A, Shchukin, M, ‘Razvedyvatel’noe obespechenie boevykh deistvii sukhoputnyhk voisk SShA v gorodskikh usloviiakh,’ (Intelligence Support for the Military Operations of US Ground Troops), Zarubezhnoe Voennoe Obozrenie, No. 9, September, 2008; Kondratyev, A, ‘Obshchaia kharakteristika setevykh arkhitectur, primwniaemykh pri realizatsii perspectivnykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptsii vedushykh zarubezhnykh stran,’ (General Characteristics of the Web Architecture, Used in the Process of Applying the Perspective of Network-Centric Concepts of Leading Foreign Countries), Voyennaya Mysl, No. 12, December 2008.

[74] Author researcher interviews, via VTS, Moscow, June 7–8, 2021.

[75] S.G. Chekinov and S.A. Bodgdanov, “Razvitiye sovremennogo voyennogo iskusstva s tochki zreniya voyennoy sistemologii” (“The development of modern military art in terms of military systemology”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2015.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Some of these views are even echoed in a recent publication from Gareev, recognizing, for instance, the increased role played in modern warfare by the use of non-military measures, as well as the growing role played by high-precision strike systems. M. A. Gareev, E. A. Derbin, N. I. Turko, “Diskurs: Metodologiya I Praktika Sovershenstvovaniya Strategicheskogo Rukovodstva Oboronoy Strany s Uchetom Kharaktera Budushchikh Voyn i Vooruzhennykh Konfliktov,” Vestnik, No. 1, 66, 2019.

[81] Author’s emphasis. S. Chekinov and S. Bagdanov, “Evolyutsiya sushchnosti i soderzhaniya ponyatiya ‘voyna,’ v XXI stoletii,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 2017, p. 42.

[82] Lennor Olshtynsky, “Nauka o voyne: preyemstvennost’ i sovremennoye razvitiye,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 4, 2020, pp. 115–123.

[83] Olshtynsky, “Nauka o voyne: preyemstvennost’ i sovremennoye razvitiye,” Voyennaya Mysl’, Op. Cit. Emphasis in the original.

[84] Stepan A. Tyushkevich, O zakonakh voyny: Voprosy voyennoy teoriyi i metodologiyi (The Laws of War. Issues of Military Theory and Methodology), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 2018, pp. 352.

[85] Emphasis in the original. Tyushkevich, O zakonakh voyny: Voprosy voyennoy teoriyi i metodologiyi, Op.Cit, p. 65.

[86] Ibid, p. 75.

[87] See: Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, “Cross-Domain Coercion: The Current Russian Art of Strategy,” Proliferation Papers, No. 54, November 2015. See also: Dima Adamsky, “Through the Looking Glass: The Soviet Military-Technical Revolution and the American Revolution in Military Affairs,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2008, pp. 257–294; Dima Adamsky, The Culture of Military Innovation: The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Revolution in Military Affairs in Russia, the USA, and Israel, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010; Dima Adamsky, “From Moscow with coercion: Russian deterrence theory and strategic culture,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 41, No. 1–2, 2018, pp. 33–60.

[88] Thomas, “Thinking Like a Russian Officer: Basic Factors and Contemporary Thinking on the Nature of War,” Op.Cit.

[89] Borisov and Koreshkov, “Voyny Menyayut Oblik: v Sposobakh Vedeniya Boevykh Deystviy Vozrastaet Rol’ Nesmertel’nogo Oruzhiya,” Op.Cit; Leonenko, “O Refleksivnoe upravlenie protivnikom,” Op.Cit; Lisanov, “Predvidenie Uchenykh—Voennomu Delu,” Op.Cit; Kondratyev, “Razvedyvatel’noe obespechenie boevykh deistvii sukhoputnyhk voisk SShA v gorodskikh usloviiakh,” Op.Cit; Kondratyev, “Obshchaia kharakteristika setevykh arkhitectur, primwniaemykh pri realizatsii perspectivnykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptsii vedushykh zarubezhnykh stran,” Op.Cit; Shenk, “Stikhiey—po Vragu: Klimaticheskoe Oruzhie Voydet v Arsenal Sovremennykh Armiy,” Op.Cit; Chichikov, “Nanovoina: Masshtab Ugrozy,” Op.Cit.

[90] Andrei Kokoshin, O Politicheskom Smysle Pobedy V Sovremennoi Voine, Moscow: URSS, 2004; Andrei Kokoshin, Politilogia i Sotsiologia Voennoi Strategii, Moscow: URSS, 2005; Andrei Kokoshin, O Revoliutsii v Voennom Dele v Proshlom i Nastoiashchem, Moscow: URSS, 2006; Andrei Kokoshin, Innovatsionnye Vooruzhennye Sily i Revoliutsia v Voennom Dele, Moscow: URSS, 2008.

[91] Andrei Kokoshin, Innovatsionnye Vooruzhennye Sily i Revoliutsia v Voennom Dele. p. 5;

Alexandr Kondratyev, Borba Za Informatsiu Na Osnove Informatsii,” Nezavisimoe Voennoye Obozrenie, October 24, 2008.

[92] Jacob W. Kipp traces and assesses the influences of Soviet and Russian military theorists on the thinking and analyses of Kokoshin to include: Aleksandr Svechin, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Vasily Sokolovsky, Nikolai Ogarkov, Sergei Akhromeyev, and Makhmut Gareev; Jacob W. Kipp, “Forecasting Future War: Andrei Kokoshin and the Military-Political Debate in Contemporary Russia Andrei Kokoshin: Scholar and Bureaucrat,” Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, https://fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/990100-kokoshin.html, January 1999.

[93] Andrei Kokoshin, Innovatsionnye Vooruzhennye Sily i Revoliutsia v Voennom Dele, pp. 198–199;

See: A.E Kondratev, “Problemnye Voprosy Issledovania Novykh Setetsentricheskikh Konseptsii Vooruzhennykh Sil Vedushchikh Zarubezhnykh Stran,” Voyennaya mysl’, No. 11, 2009, p. 63.

[94] Slipchenko, Voiny Novogo Pokolenia – Distantsionnye i Bezkontaktnye, Op.Cit; Slipchenko, “K Kakoi Voine Dolzhny Gotovitsia Vooruzjennye Sily,” Op.Cit.

[95] M. Y. Shepovalenko, Siriyskiy Rubezh, Moscow: Tsentr Analiza Strategiy i Tekhnologiy (CAST), 2016, pp.112–113; Igor Semenchenko, “Ni razu ne promazali Na siriyskom TVD poluchen unikal’nyy opyt,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/40474, December 19, 2017; Alexei Ramm, “Shestnadtsat’ udarnykh dney Kratkiye itogi deystviy rossiyskoy voyennoy aviatsii,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/27621, October 20, 2015; Konstantin Bogdanov, “Rossiyskaya operatsiya v Sirii: voyennyye i politicheskiye aspekty,” Natsional’naya Oborona, https://oborona.ru/includes/periodics/geopolitics/2017/1221/144623069/detail.shtm, No.11, 2020; Ivan Safronov, “Khronika pikiruyushchikh bombardirovshchikov,” Kommersant, https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3094571, September 26, 2016,

[96] Slipchenko, “Informatsionnyi resurs i informatsionnoe protivoborstvo,” Op.Cit.

[97] N. Tyutyunnikov, Voyennaya mysl’ v terminakh i opredeleniyakh: v trekh (Vol. 3), Moscow, Russia: Pero, 2018, p. 160; V. Burenok, “Bazis setecentricheskih voyn – operezhenie, intellect, innovacii” (“Basis for Network-Centric Wars: Anticipation, Intellect, Innovations”), Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 2, 2010; V. Burenok, A. Kravchenko and S. Smirnov, “Kurs – na stetsentrcheskuiu sistemu vooruzheniia,’ Vozdushno Kosmicheskaia Oborona, May 2009; A. V. Kopylov, “K voprosu o kritike kontseptsii setetsentricheskikh voyn (operatsiy) v amerikanskikh SMI,” http://www.milresource.ru/Kop—NCW.html, July 8, 2013; O. V. Belenkov, “Realizatsiya tekhnologii setetseitricheskogo upravleniya v ASU voyskami i oruzhiyem na baze GIS Karta-2011,” http://www.gisinfo.ru/item/91.htm, July 8, 2013; V. M. Burenok, A. Yu. Kravchenko, S.S. Smirnov, “Budushcheye za setetsentricheskoy sistemoy vooruzheniy,” Poslezavtra: internet-gazeta, http://poslezavtra.com.ua/budushee-za-setecentricheskoj-sistemoj-vooruzhenij/, November 21, 2009; V. M. Burenok, A. A. Ivlev, V. Yu. Korchak, “Razvitiye voyennykh tekhnologiy XXI veka: problemy, planirovaniye, realizatsiya,” Tver’: Izdatel’stvo OOO KUPOL, 2009.

[98] Sergei Batyushkin, Podgotovka i vedeniye boyevykh deystviy v lokal’nykh voynakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh Podgotovka i vedenie boevykh deistvii v lokalnikh voinakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh, (Preparation and Conduct of Military Actions in Local Wars and Armed Conflicts), Moscow: KnoRus, 2017, pp. 438; Yu. Bobkov and N. Tyutyunnikov, Kontseptual’nyye Osnovy Postroyeniya ASU Sukhoputnymi Voyskami VS RF, Moscow: Paleotip, 2014; Dmitry Kandaurov, “Komp’yuteru davno pora priyti na smenu karandashu v rukakh shtabnogo ofitsera,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, http://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2010-11-12/10_computer.html, November 12, 2010; Dmitry Kandaurov, “Glavnyye resursy v rasporyazhenii ASUV – informatsiya i vremya,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2010-10-08/6_asuv.html, October 8, 2010.

[99] Valery V. Gerasimov, “Razvitie voennoi strategii v sovremennykh usloviiakh. Zadachi voennoi nauki,” Vestnik 67, No. 2, 2019, pp. 6–11; Valery V. Gerasimov, “Vliianie sovremennogo kharaktera vooruzhennoi bor’by na napravlennost’ stroitel’stva i razvitiia Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiiskoi Federatsii. Prioritetnye zadachi voennoi nauki v obespechenii oborony strany,” Vestnik, 62, No. 2, 2018, pp.16–22.

[100] Cited in: Timothy Thomas, Harold Orenstein, “Russia Discusses the Nature of Future Conflict: Is This an Opening Discussion of Russia’s New Military Doctrine?” Mitre: McLean: Va, May 2021, pp. 6–7. The original article: V.B. Zarudnitskiy, “Kharakter i soderzhaniye voyennykh konfliktov v sovremennykh usloviyakh i obozrimoy perspektive,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 2021, pp. 34–44.

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