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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future Part IV: Combined Maneuver and the Theory of the “Aetherwarenet”

Dark Frontiers of War in the Future
By Tim Krenz
June 4, 2018
For Hometown Gazette

Part IV: Combined Maneuver and the Theory of the “Aetherwarenet”

In the preceding three parts of this series, we examined how the evolution of science and technology might change, or already have changed, the methods and weapons for waging war in the present and the near future. In the Next Frontier of Warfare model, we reviewed the sets of Informed Command, Smart Base, and Stealth Fires for understanding this historical and unfinished evolution to its next logical outcome. In this last installment, this series concludes with the discussion of Combined Maneuver, and how this particular application of warfighting arrived at its present threshold for its own, very logical, next step.

Continuing to accept that the fundamentals and principles of war remain the same through the study of human history (e.g. “unity of command,” “maintain the offensive,” “economy of force,” “concentration of force,”), a brief survey of the importance and use of maneuver in warfare will assist our further understanding of the possible “Aetherwarenet” as another dark frontier of conflict. The creation and use of Aetherwarenets, if they become reality, will significantly impact the future of armed conflict and deliver a moment of choice.

Again, this part of the series will use the same criteria heretofore used to examine all the darker aspects of the New Frontiers of Warfare model. What does the dark frontier hold? How well does it compare with old methods? What counter-measures can stop the Aetherwarenets or limit their effectiveness? And how does the entire dark frontier of war affect civilians.

Maneuver in the annals and theories of warfare mean more than just mobility, or the ability to get from one place to another. Combined Maneuver to gain an advantage over the opponent happened in history, and still happens, on foot, by animal transport, by internal combustion vehicles—on the ground, at sea, or in aerospace above the earth's surface. Combined Maneuver using all aspects of military power and reasoning also occurs now in cyberspace, something of great importance to the theory of Aetherwarenets.

The history of maneuver in warfare stretches far back into history. Alexander the Great confronted King Darius III at the Battle of Arbela, in present-day northern Iraq, in the 4th Century B.C. Alexander used his Macedonian phalanx formed in infantry battalions and his cavalry and other auxiliary troops to first stretch and open the Persian line before striking decisively and directly toward the Persian king. With the enemy commanders driven from the field, the Persian army collapsed. Using the combination of brute physical power and a critical factoring of morale, Alexander won his empire.

Maneuver can happen on a global level, that of transnational policy. In 1990-1991, the United States and many of the coalition partners moved massive amounts of armed forces, equipment, and supplies from two continents (North America and Europe) to a third continent (Asia) in order to defend Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. The coalition then evicted the Iraqi army from Kuwait in the winter of that year. In its offensive, Desert Storm, the coalition used maneuver to aerial bomb and then go above and around the main Iraqi defenses. Also, maneuver can take place inside a single theater of war, at the strategic level. In 1940-41, Hitler ordered the German armed forces secretly moved from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, to launch a surprise attack against Stalin's Soviet Union in June of 1941.

Maneuver definitely happens at the tactical level of combat. When combined with other strategic maneuver, tactical maneuver in history has some brilliant examples. In 1757, Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia, marched in two opposite directions between widely separated enemies, the French at Rossbach in November and the Austrians in December at Leuthen. He won both battles with a similar tactical maneuver, one made possible due to his highly efficient and extremely well-trained and disciplined army. In the “oblique attack,” as he often tried to do, Frederick marched his army across the front of his enemy's formation to fall on a vulnerable flank, rolling up an opponent's line of battle who's inferior troops could not maneuver to counter the Prussian army's devastating blow.

Maneuver also may occur on the level between the strategic and the tactical, the area of armed conflict the Germans and Soviets labeled the “operational level of war.” On September 15, 1950, United Nations Forces under General MacArthur landed the U.S. 1st Marine and 7th Infantry divisions at a critical point on the west coast of the Korean peninsula at Inchon. As a result of this maneuver, named “Operation Chromite,” North Korean army forces further south disintegrated, breaking their siege of the U.N. Forces defending the perimeter around the port of Pusan. The North Koreans, cut off from supplies and in danger of losing a line of retreat, fled northward and across the 38th parallel. Also in this war two months after Inchon, the Chinese People's Liberation Army successfully and secretly infiltrated large numbers of field army units southward into North Korea. They surprised the U.N. Forces, operating near China's border, and dealt American and allied forces heavy blows by the use of operational maneuver. This surprise maneuver, which exceeded U.N. Intelligence estimates, changed the entire complexion of the war into a stalemate and the war ended with a cease-fire in place in July 1953.

Maneuver in war aims to throw the enemy off balance, both physically and psychologically, at critical points and at critical times—from the global level of policy to the local patrols. As required, maneuver involves agility of both force and mind, of the body or of the command, all in order to defeat the enemy and his plans. In short, maneuver uses friendly skill and strength where it will hurt the other guy most, eventually to destroy him and make him quit. It still involves killing to destroy that enemy's resistance, but maneuver aims to lessen the risk and destruction to one's side all in order to achieve one thing: Victory!

In the Next Frontier model, Combined Maneuver uses all the aspects so far discussed in the previous articles—Informed Command, Smart Base, and Stealth Fires—to drive the other guy to quit or destroy him if he refuses to do his opponent's willful desires. The Next Frontier sees the so-called Aetherwarenets as the most dangerous of all the dark frontiers discussed (in order of appearance: Cyber-Bionics, Orbital Dominance, and Nanotechnology).

How does one define and describe Aetherwarenets? In the poetic sense, “aether” took form in the ancient world as the air breathed the Greek gods high on the mountain of Olympus. In early modern history, alchemist theory believed in aether as the mysterious substance which upheld the stars in the sky and allowed electromagnetic waves to travel and it made gravity work.

In the Next Frontier model, the Aetherwarenets takes its name for an imprecise definition of powers neither seen, nor felt, physically or emotionally. They remain hidden and unobtrusive in a normal time until the weapons of this new system of systems reveals themselves as a great shocking surprise. In the evolution of Combined Maneuver, Aetherwarenets arrive in the form of networks of related data-mining systems, near or actual Artificial Intelligence (AI) as predicted by scientist, and the continuous waves of communications devices (in particular, microwave emitters) that overlap most of the globe from the sea to low-Earth orbit. If these hardware and software processes get combined into real military systems, much activity on the planet will become subject to these nets and their political-social /military influence.

Whether simple things like cell phone towers, the aforesaid microwave transmitters, GPS devices, the developing “internet of things”—all of these give a commander the opportunity for near exact “geo-personal” targeting intelligence for instant action with the desired level of force to destroy or neutralize the enemy. It sounds fantastic. Science fiction, even. But in reality, the parts exist for some person or group to bring all of this together into the combat-efficient Aetherwarenet combat system of systems.

How do the nets affect combatants and civilians alike? The highly pure form of targeting intelligence can have algorithms to assess friendly or unfriendly behavior of the party of interest. The command could require further investigation or order near-instant assault, as from a armed drone or nearby unit—destroying or neutralizing the real or perceived threat. With the wider built system of these systems, dispersed combat or “neutralizing” units no longer need to concentrate in one area as much, or they could concentrate friendly units quicker. The systems would see a target and take action before the enemy could concentrate his forces or maneuver them effectively. This saves costs by making the use of dispersed systems more efficient. Less in this sense becomes more in savings.

Depending on the density and penetration of Aetherwarenets, an armed and organized force can shoot down a missile if it detects a launch, and do so automatically without the need for human decision-making. AI makes this a very real and possible scenario. In the now advanced combat arena of cyberspace, the use of AI when it arrives even in basic form becomes a critical battleground, in which the maneuver of hardware and software (i.e. akin to physical and mental force, respectively, in the model) becomes the crisis point in deciding victory or defeat.

The best counter-measures to Aetherwarenets would arise AI-carnivore worms that seek out and destroy the opponents Aetherwarenets, in both the physical and programming realms. Like computers that learn chess by playing each other, the Combined Maneuver of these systems and counter-measures becomes a highly calculated and nervous deterrence that outperforms even the most complex human decision-making in game theory. It all depends on one thing: working all of the systems absolutely perfectly all of the time. The effects on people if these systems fail or get used by political leaders to oppress their populations would reach an irretrievable mass, in the wrong direction and against individual freedom. This much we would have to accept as obvious.

As with all of the sets of the Next Frontier of Warfare model, these effects on the present and future of conflict between people and groups come logically and naturally. Like every age that developed something new to help people, the technology often gets used to conduct war, to kill brothers and sisters in humanity. They come naturally, not as accidents, but as deliberate results of policies of human leaders at all levels of conflict and in all stages of history. Where humanity's fear and greed have interposed themselves to create conflict, destruction and very real suffering happens. Whether one person or a group decides on policies, force and coercion will eventually bring the world to a stark brink, where choices become mandatory between some type od near-extinction or survival. It behooves everyone to think, and to act, to not turn on the switch, to calm down, and stay quiet for a few minutes, and start to build solutions in peace, not in war.