Shockwave - A Global Transformation In Warfare

We are at the outset of an electronic revolution that like earlier industrial revolutions will substantially alter our society and change the way most people live. 

The revolution is taking place far quicker than previous revolutions and will significantly change our engagement with others. This substantial transformation will involve the intergration of digital, physical and biological electronics which, radically alters our individual, national and global connections, our jobs, personal life, electronic systems, politics and particularly warfare. 

This has been called a Cyber Innovation or Web 0.3, but is probably best described as the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Background 
The innovation process will alter everything from enhance human brain thinking to automated avionics and robotics and will disintegrate and remodel many types of jobs within the media, education, business, transportation, policing, the military, medical, legal, finance and government.

This revolution will quickly develop by employing emerging technologies such as cognitive electronics, advanced analysis, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and quantum computing.  The process will develop new methods of communication, inter-connection, commercial production, to specific focused data analysis and deepening into the realms of robotic bio-technology. 

The Internet is connecting billions of people more by using mobile devices, electronic connections, storage capability, information accessibility and processing power and it will substantially increase the size of the interconnected the world. 
From 2000 to 2015, the number of global Internet users rose from 394 million to 3.5 billion and today there are over one billion Google searches every day and two billion videos viewed daily on YouTube.

Social media technology is a massive technological and social phenomenon, but its power as a business tool is still being discovered. 

Never before has a communications medium been adopted as quickly or as widely as social media. It took commercial television 13 years to reach 50 million households and the initial Internet service providers just over three years to sign 50 million subscribers. However, it took Facebook just a year and Twitter just under 9 months to reach the same milestone.
Now we have the dangers that cyber-weapons pose domestically and internationally which is already becoming part of operational warfare and will be the new conventional electronic aspect of attack and battlefields.  

What is Cyber War? 
Cyber war is the use of technology to cause social, economic or even physical damage to a targeted country. And there is currently discussion and argument in a number of countries as to whether cyber is currently part of armed conflict and if the international laws on conflict can and should be applied to hacking attacks on the web. 

Cyber war is still an emerging concept, but many experts are concerned that it is likely to be a significant component of any future conflicts. As well as troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles, future wars will also be fought by hackers using computer code to attack an enemy's infrastructure.

At its core, cyber warfare, currently, is the use of digital attacks by one country or nation to disrupt the computer systems of another with the aim of create significant infrastructure damage, and potential assistance to more traditional military attack, this military strategy and tactics is similar to the beginning of aircraft use at the beginning of the 20th century when aircraft were only seen as having a visual intelligence use.

It can also range from propaganda or fake news campaigns, which we witnessed in the last few years of US and French and other elections, to the theft of national secrets or intellectual property

It can even escalate to the crippling of banks, telecommunications providers and media outlets, experienced by South Korea.
In its most brutal stage, a cyberwar could result in the crippling of power plants, airports, transit and thousands of businesses and a full cyberwar would likely lead to crippled power utilities, hospitals, transportation systems, retail outlets and more.

So far no terrorist group has capitalised on networked technology more than ISIS, both for recruitment messaging and commanding their fighters on the ground.

The Internet is their response to asymmetric disadvantage. Where they lack in infrastructure and resources of a state, they use the web to plan attacks, solicit money and reach out to potential members.

On the battlefield, physical has merged with digital. ISIS commanders in Iraq and Syria have maneuvered their ranks through urban combat in cities such as Mosul or Raqqa, giving orders and sharing intelligence using networked-devices like phones, tablets, laptops, and small commercial drones. 

They use disposable Twitter accounts to distribute timely operational commands to fighters following specific hashtags, and create Facebook groups or Telegram channels to relay crude combat intelligence in real time.

Current Situation
While recent headlines and news stories are focused on growing tensions between the US, Russia, China and North Korea, a much more insidious threat has been steadily growing and has the potential to cause as much havoc for the global community as traditional war. Researchers are building drones the size of insects that can be used for reconnaissance or strikes, and although it’s difficult to estimate when this kind of technology will be deployed on the battlefield, it’s a safe bet that they’re currently being tested. 

Once they’re ready for deployment, there will be no denying that we’ve reached a new military age.
The world has entered a dangerous new phase of warfare that can cause billions of dollars of damage and endanger lives.

Does Cyber Remove Traditional Military Strategy and Tactics?
In the short run, soldiers, pilots and sailors will still be essential components of any battle, military planners say. This will be particularly true in urban settings, where buildings, tunnels and people create confusing obstacles that no machine will be able to skirt for years to come.

But over time, experts largely agree, remote-sensing and piloting technologies will produce the biggest change in warfare in generations. 

It is a dream/nightmare long in the making that has been stunningly accelerated by the war in Afghanistan. 
There, several pilotless surveillance aircraft turned in unexpectedly strong performances, including the Air Force's Predator and its missile-toting cousin from the Central Intelligence Agency. They piped streaming video of Taliban and Qaeda movements to command posts in Saudi Arabia and the Pentagon, where commanders could then call almost immediate air strikes.

By 2025 or earlier, if the Pentagon and its many supporters in Congress and the White House have their way, pilotless planes and driverless buggies will direct remote-controlled bombers toward targets; pilotless helicopters will coordinate driverless convoys, and unmanned submarines will clear mines and launch cruise missiles. Advances in artificial intelligence, or AI, and a subset called machine learning are occurring much faster than expected. 

The range of coming advanced AI weapons include: robot assassins, superfast cyber-attack machines, driverless car bombs and swarms of small explosive kamikaze drones. 

AI will produce a revolution in both military and intelligence affairs comparable to the emergence of aircraft, noting that there were unsuccessful diplomatic efforts in 1899 to ban the use of aircraft for military purposes.

Entire regiments of unmanned tanks; drones that can spot an insurgent in a crowd of civilians; and weapons controlled by computerised "brains" that learn as they operate, are all among the "smart" tech being unleashed by an arms industry and some experts believe is now entering a 3rd Revolution in Warfare. 

Alfred Rolington Co-founder of Cyber Security Intelligence and a noted expert on Cyber Security and Intelligence matters

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