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Revolution in Military Affairs

Info: 14851 words (59 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Oct 2021

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"The Ultimate Determinant in War is the Man on the Scene with the Gun.".

Rear Admiral J. C. Wylie, USN

The notion of military revolutions grew from Soviet writing of the 1970s and 1980s. Early studies talked of a “Military Technical Revolution” (MTR), which is the impact of a new technology on warfare, but this quickly evolved into the more holistic concept of “Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)”, which encompasses the subsequent transformation of operations and organization. Most analysts define a RMA as a “discontinuous increase in military capability and effectiveness” arising from simultaneous and mutually supportive change in technology, systems, operational methods, and military organizations”[1]. Another definition is, RMA “is a major change in the nature of warfare brought about by the innovative application of new technologies which, combined with dramatic changes in military doctrine, operational and organizational concepts, fundamentally alters the character and conduct of military operations”[2].

A revolution in military affairs involves big changes that occur relatively quickly and which tend to spread beyond the profession of arms into the realm of foreign policy. Historical examples include the onset of the telegraph and the rail-road in the last century, the changes surrounding in direct artillery fire, motor vehicles (including tanks), and aircraft in the first half of this century, and the advent of nuclear weapons nearly one half century ago. Now, the information revolution has paved the way for the present revolutionary transformations in warfare[3].

Famous futurists like Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler have quoted that, “a military revolution, in its fullest scene, occurs only, when an entire society transforms itself, forcing its armed forces to change at every level simultaneously from technology and culture to organization, strategy, tactics, training, doctrine and logistics”[4].

However a difficulty arises in understanding the current debate over the RMA because some use the term as referring to the revolutionary technology itself that is driving change, while others use the term as referring to revolutionary adaptations by military organizations that may be necessary to deal with the changes in technology or the geopolitical environment, and still others use the term to refer to the revolutionary impact of geopolitical or technological change on the outcome of military conflicts, with specific reference to the political and economic context of globalisation , regardless of the nature of the particular technology or the reaction of the participants to the technological change[5]. The difference in terms of reference leads to different suggested alternatives.

The first perspective focuses primarily upon changes in the nation-state and the role of an organised military in using force. This approach highlights the political, social, and economic factors worldwide, which might require a completely different type of military and organisational structure to apply force in the future. Authors such as RAND’s Sean J. A. Edwards (advocate of Battle Swarm tactics), Carl H. Builder and Lt. Col. Ralph Peters emphasized the decline of the nation-state, the nature of the emerging international order, and the different types of forces needed in the near future.

The second perspective most commonly assigned the term RMA highlights the evolution of weapons technology, information technology, military organization, and military doctrine among advanced powers. This “System of Systems” perspective on RMA has been ardently supported by Admiral William Owens[6], former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who identified three overlapping areas for force assets. These are intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command, control, communications and intelligence processing, and precision force to enable Dominant Battlefield Knowledge (DBK). Advanced versions of RMA incorporate other sophisticated technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology. Presently the RMA debate is focussed on “network-centric warfare” which is a doctrine that aims to connect all troops on the battlefield.

Finally, the third concept is that a “true” revolution in military affairs has not yet occurred or is unlikely to. Authors such as Michael O’Hanlon and Frederick Kagan, point to the fact much of the technology and weapon systems ascribed to the contemporary RMA were in development long before 1991 and the flashy Internet and information technology boom. Several critics point out that a “revolution” within the military ranks might carry detrimental consequences, produce severe economic strain, and ultimately prove counterproductive. Such authors tend to profess a much more gradual “evolution” in military affairs, as opposed a rapid revolution”.

Moreover there is also considerable disagreement over the causes[7], the conditions that are necessary for them to occur, their consequences for warfare and the international system more broadly and, of course, over whether a particular development does or does not qualify for the label. Where one draws the line for what counts as an RMA will depend on the restrictiveness or permissiveness of one’s definition of the concept.

Whatever the interpretation is, an RMA should fundamentally affect strategy and the role of the military in the international system, leading to a qualitative shift in what war is and how it is conducted. It should be a period of great acceleration of change that has far greater consequences than routine revolution, and which therefore demands specific attention.

But what is essential is that the ramifications of the RMA need to be understood not only by military officers but also by strategy planners, both military and civil. The military has to contend with information and space warfare, in addition to land, sea and air. The strategy planners, on the other hand, have to consider the economic, political, military and information aspects in their policy and decision making.


A few of the types of RMAs of importance in the yesteryears and presently in vogue today include “combined- system RMAs (a collection of military systems put together in new ways to achieve a revolutionary effect)”, “single-system RMA” (single technology, nuclear fission/ fusion, drove the revolution) and an” integrated-system RMA” (various systems, when joined with their accompanying operational and organizational concepts, will become integrated systems).

RMAs have risen from various sources, with many–but not all–of them technological. Societal change has also contributed to a military revolution during the wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, in which the levee en masse allowed for the creation of larger, national armies.

Statement of the Problem

To study the likely impact of embracing the ongoing information driven RMA on organizational structure, doctrinal precepts, tactical & technological developments and the changes necessitated for effective implementation of this RMA. The lessons learnt by the US Army in this regard will serve as a useful guide.


The description of the revolution in military affairs is neither definitive nor conclusive. The discussion is intended primarily to stimulate thinking in unique and more meaningful ways about how warfare in the twenty-first century may be fundamentally different than it is today and, of equal importance, evaluating what we should be doing now to prepare ourselves for that eventuality.

A number of changes must occur if any military is going to compete successfully on the battlefields of the future. There must be a change in outlook i.e. change in the way about preparing for the future. The military must nurture an attitude that supports free thinking and accepts honest mistakes, encourages experimentation, rewards risk takers, and makes provisions for starting over. As an organization, the military must break out of the box, consider alternative futures, think the unthinkable and let go of the conventional modes of operation.

Statement of Objectives

While all concepts proposed by RMA analysts may be relevant, the issue needs deliberation in a more professional manner. That includes even the US by their own admission. The understanding of the various ramifications of RMA by the strategy planners as well as military officers would lead to certain questions: –

(a) What does RMA mean in the Indian context and what are its practical implications?

(b) With RMA powered by the recent explosion in IT and keeping in mind our strength in this field how far ahead can we go and achieve the much-touted concepts of RMA?

(c) What national posture do we need to adopt & how should our national doctrine be formulated on RMA to include the three services, bureaucrats and other agencies responsible for national security?

(d) Is reorganisation of the armed forces essential so as to respond and adapt to the organisational challenge posed by the emergence of Information

Technology? Would it really meet the desired effect of flattening the organisation and shortening the various channels of command?

(e) What should the pace of conduct of customised training for the Indian Armed Forces in the field of information warfare and operations be?


The scope of this dissertation shall be limited to the impact of IT on RMA and changes required in view of the variance in views regarding RMA. The various implications on the Indian Armed Forces especially the army shall be analysed in detail to include various imperatives in the strategic, operational, tactical, administrative, organisational and training realms.


The present ongoing RMA has been ushered in by Information Technology. However there are varied views of analysists regarding the changes that would be necessitated for effectively embracing this RMA. This coupled with fixed mindsets has led to problems in effectively embracing the current RMA. In analyzing the changes required in the Indian context lessons can be drawn from the processes employed by the US Army, the first force to take steps in this direction.

Limitations of the Research

An in-depth research on the subject would need face-to-face interaction with the various authorities in charge of national security i.e. the Armed Forces, bureaucrats, police, paramilitary and intelligence agencies. Owing to constraints limited information has been gained through seminars and discussions. Compulsions of confidentiality have also limited the depth of research.

Methods of Data Collection

Most of the material has been collected primarily through secondary sources, i.e. various books, periodicals and magazines from the DSSC Library. Tertiary sources like various journals and reviews have also been referred to. Bibliography is attached as appendix. The other major source has been the Internet with the sites accessed listed at the end of bibliography.

Organisation of the Dissertation

This study has been organised into a number of chapters as under:-

(a) Chapter I – Introduction. In Chapter I, the importance of understanding the various connotations of RMA has been brought out.

(b) Chapter II – Methodology. It covers the Statement of the Problem, Scope and Methodology of carrying out research for the dissertation.

(c) Chapter III – Current RMA & Its Impact. This chapter covers the facets on which the current RMA is premised.

(d) Chapter IV – An Overview of Enablers Required for Initiating/ Implementing RMA. This chapter covers the imperatives for implementing RMA.

(e) Chapter V – Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required in Organisational Structure.

(f) Chapter V I- Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required in Technological, Tactical & Doctrinal Aspects.

(g) Chapter VII- Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required in Training Aspects.

(h) Chapter VIII- Case Study on Implementation of Current RMA by US.

(j) Chapter IX- Relevance to India.

(k) Chapter X- Conclusion

(l) Bibliography.


The current RMA includes the new tools and processes of waging war like Information Warfare (IW), Network Centric Warfare (NCW), Integrated Command and Control (C4ISR), System of Systems, all powered by IT[8]. The status of information has been raised from being raw material for intelligence to a level where it is now accepted as a tool, or even a new medium for war fighting. Information superiority has led to attainment of decision superiority. The lethality of information power is like any other power. Op Iraqi Freedom launched on 19 March 2003 was a major success essentially due to receipt of information in a short time frame. Establishing information dominance over one’s adversary will become a major focus of the operational art[9] in the future.

The United States has led and maintains a significant advantage in the development of information- based technologies. This advantage is well grounded in U.S. military capabilities[10]. The roots of the U.S. military’s information-based RMA have been decades in the making. As information-based technologies and capabilities continue to mature, they have become much less expensive, and by their very nature, can be rapidly incorporated by other military forces to enhance their capabilities.

Information superiority consists of the integration of offensive and defensive information operations. Improved intelligence collection and assessment, as well as modern information processing and command and control capabilities, are at the heart of the current RMA[11]. With such enhanced capabilities nations will be able to respond rapidly to any conflict. Forces will achieve a state of information superiority, in near real-time, which will be pervasive across the full spectrum of military operations, enabling the force commander to dominate any situation. Velocity of battles would be speeded up causing a collapse of enemy’s command and control structures causing a rout essentially due to shortening of own OODA loop[12].

The capabilities of the present RMA have yielded transformation of weapon systems, military organizations and operations through the integration of Information Technologies. When information technologies are integrated into a coherent system that includes modern weapon systems operated by highly trained personnel, they provide force multipliers to military formations[13], allowing them to perform more complex manoeuvres, to fire accurately at longer range and to experience a higher degree of situational awareness compared to their opponents. Information warfare can be anything from striking headquarters or communications systems with conventional weapons, hacking computer systems, conducting propaganda and psychological operations, or even to committing atrocities to instill panic in the enemy’s population.

Dynamics of the Current RMA.

The current RMA is driven by three primary factors[14] i.e. rapid technological advance compelling a shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, the end of the Cold War and a decline in defence budgets. The transition is forcing a change in the way the military services are organized, how they are supplied, how they procure weapons and how they are managed, and, most importantly, how they think and fight. The extent to which the U S Armed Forces have accepted these changes, however, has been remarkable, particularly given that the draw downs, relocations, reorganizations and other fundamental alterations to the way they operate began immediately following a victory of immense proportions in the Gulf War; a victory which confirmed the tremendous progress made in rebuilding the services, especially the Army, after the Vietnam War. The Army is not only restructuring as it downsizes, it also is changing the very way it thinks about war.

The development of computers, satellites, and imagery has been occurring at an astounding rate, and there is no indication that this will slow down in the foreseeable future. The inference is that the future military will expand the ability to collect, evaluate and disseminate information relevant to the battlefield at a rate far greater than now. According to Libicki, future precision strike capabilities will mean that, “to be seen on the battlefield is to be killed”.

Gen Shalikashral of the US Army realising the current RMA’s importance gave the concept of “Joint Force 2010”[15]. This concept is basically aimed at giving a frame work for the application of RMA by US forces by 2010 to achieve “Full Spectrum Dominance” or total dominance. This concept is based on four pillars:-

(a) Dominant Manoeuvre. It implies an operation from various dispersed points all focusing on one target. Dominating manoeuvre will deploy the right forces at the right time and place to cause the enemy’s psychological collapse and complete capitulation.

(b) Precision Engagement. This means the engagement of the target with extreme precision by PGMs from land or sea platforms. For this accurate data collection about the target is very important to make the engagement effective.

(c) Full Dimensional Protection. This is the ability to protect the forces including plans from any damage. This enhances the scope of what has to be protected.

(d) Focussed Logistics. It means reducing the logistic load to only the essential requirement in shortest possible time, at the fastest speed and in the correct quantity. The RMA also enables to calculate precisely what is required, how much is required and where required.

The current rate of change suggests that state of the art in any technological context will be an extremely short-lived phenomenon[16], particularly with respect to the technologies that were key to the success of Desert Storm including space systems, telecommunications systems, computer architectures, global information distribution networks, and navigation systems. Future revolutions will occur much more rapidly, offering far less time for adaptation to new methods of warfare. The growing imperative in the business world for rapid response to changing conditions in order to survive in an intensely competitive environment is surely instructive for military affairs. Corporations repeatedly have to make major changes in strategy to accommodate the full implications of technologies, which have already existed many years.

Exploiting the Information Age. The armed forces must develop the essential competences in personnel to exploit new technologies and systems to the full and to ensure that leaders have the right skills to deliver and integrate information projects successfully. To help meet these requirements, there is a need to develop information age skills for everyone joining the armed forces. Efforts should also be made to increase opportunities [17] for personnel already serving besides increasing IT awareness training during initial training.

Many analysts agree on one important fact that the current revolution in military affairs seems to have at least two stages[18]. In the drive to limit military casualties, stand-off platforms, stealth, precision, information dominance, and missile defence are the first stage. The second may be robotics, nonlethality, pyschotechnology, and elaborate cyber defence. The revolution in military affairs may see the transition from concern with centres of gravity to a less mechanistic and more sophisticated notion of interlinked systems.

The armed forces no longer have to request scientists to develop a specific technology for possible military use. Quite likely, it will be the scientists who would be chasing military planners prodding them to use technologies that can now be converted to weapons much quicker than before through computer simulation, cutting development and production cycles dramatically[19].

An Overview of Enablers Required for INITIATING/ Implementing RMA

An analysis gives rise to the three dimensions of the RMA required for a nation to effectively implement it. First is the conscious decision on the part of a state to acquire all or portions of what might be termed an RMA complex. Second is the ability to acquire or develop the systems that constitute RMA-type technologies. Last, and perhaps most important, is the ability, organizationally and operationally, to adapt technologies in ways that bring into being the full military potential of an RMA.

Even though the revolution in military affairs has attracted some brilliant thinkers, systematic strategic discourse remains rare. Except for Andrew Krepinevich[20] and Jeffrey Cooper, few writers have attempted to place the current RMA in its broader theoretic and historic context. Moreover, the fact of change may be most dramatically manifested in combat, but historically the most profound RMAs are peacetime phenomena. Militaries are driven to innovate during peacetime by the need to make more efficient use of shrinking resources, by reacting to major changes in the security environment[21].

Both the Tofflers, who identify only two historical military revolutions, and Krepinevich, who distinguishes ten since the 14th century, are suggestive of implementing RMA through “major” and “minor” revolutions in military affairs as under:-

(a) Minor Revolutions. “Minor” revolutions in military affairs tend to be initiated by individual technological or social changes, occur in relatively short periods (less than a decade), and have their greatest direct impact on the battlefield. “Minor” revolutions in military affairs can be deliberately shaped and controlled. A “minor” revolution in military affairs driven by military applications of silicon-chip technology is already underway and the next “minor” revolution will be driven by robotics and psycho technology.

(b) Major Revolutions[22]. “Major” revolutions in military affairs are the result of combined multiple technological, economic, social, cultural and/or military changes, usually occur over relatively long periods (greater that a decade), and have direct impact on strategy. “Major” revolutions cannot be deliberately shaped and controlled. The world is potentially at the beginning of one.

Enablers for revolutions in military affairs appear to follow a cyclical pattern with initial stasis followed by initiation, critical mass, consolidation, response, and return to stasis. Revolutions in military affairs can be initiated by one breakthrough power or by a group. In the modern security system, revolutions in military affairs are usually inspired by outright defeat or by a perception of inferiority or decline versus a peer or niche opponent. Revolutions in military affairs have a point of critical mass when changes in concepts, organizations, and technology meld. Once recognized, every revolutionary breakthrough generates responses. Responses to revolutions in military affairs can be symmetric or asymmetric; asymmetric responses may be more difficult to counter.

The greatest advantage for the breakthrough power lies in the period immediately following critical mass; thus, there may be a temptation to initiate conflict before responses can be effective. All revolutions in military affairs have a culminating point [23], at which innovation and change slow or stop, determined by the interaction between the revolutionary breakthrough and the responses, followed by a consolidation phase This may occur when leaders become satisfied with the military balance and will no longer risk radical change. It may also occur when costs of change are thought to outweigh the benefits of further expenditure. During the consolidation phase, superior training and leadership may be the only ways to achieve superior relative combat effectiveness against symmetric responses.

At times, a single state can initiate revolution by recognizing how to effectively combine various evolutionary developments, new ideas, and technology. Napoleonic France and the Mongols of Genghis Khan were examples of single state breakthroughs. At other times, there can be a collective breakthrough as when the European powers of the mid-19th to early 20th centuries combined industrialization, railroads, improved metallurgy and explosives, the telegraph, barbed wire, concrete, improved methods of government funding, nationalism, breech loading, rifled artillery and small arms, steam-driven, armoured ships, internal combustion engines, radio, increased literacy and public health, improved explosives, and the machine gun.

Always, though, the essence of the revolution is not the invention of new technology, but discovery of innovative ways to organize, operate, and employ new technology. Revolutions in military affairs begin when the potential latent in technological, conceptual, political, economic, social, and organizational changes that have occurred or are occurring is recognized and converted to augment combat effectiveness. In pre-modern, heterogeneous security systems, revolution was often initiated by states outside the system or on its periphery. Sometimes their advantage accrued from superior morale, training, organization, leadership, strategy, or tactics.

In the modern, communications-intensive security system, revolutions in military affairs have most frequently been initiated by a state within the system[24].

This is because fundamental change of any kind is difficult, even frightening; those who unleash revolution never know exactly where it will take them. Uncertainty as to the eventual outcome means that political and military leaders satisfied with their state’s security situation will seldom run the risks of revolution. Usually, then, only real or imagined danger can provide the spark.

Initiation of a revolution requires revolutionaries. RMAs are led by armed forces that tolerate and, at the appropriate time, empower visionaries. The decision to do this is a vital juncture in military revolutions. In the past, only a peer competitor could offer enough of a threat to empower military visionaries and dispel the miasma of inertia and petrified thinking. This may be changing. The military role in implementing innovative ideas is crucial. As one observer noted, “many important wartime technical innovations such as the tank, proximity fuse, and microwave radar, and organizational innovations such as new doctrines for submarine warfare and strategic targeting functions for American bombers, were pursued at the initiative of military officers or with their vigorous support.” What may be key to “winning the innovation battle” is a professional military climate, which fosters thinking in unconstrained fashion about future war. The other critical requirement is the ability and willingness of relatively junior officers who are now out in the field and fleet to think about the future. They are likely to be in closer touch with new and emerging technologies, which have potential military application. As operators, they are aware of the operational and organizational problems that they must deal with daily and hence are prime clients for possible solutions[25]. Further, an offensive concept is vital for the implementation of RMA.

The most successful revolutionary states turn military advantage into economic and political dominance, but the transition is difficult. Being the first to understand or implement a RMA does not guarantee even military victory. A breakthrough state or coalition which clearly understands the RMA but which fails to develop an appropriate, balanced, strategy can-and usually will-lose to a state or coalition, which lags in understanding but possesses superior strategic prowess[26]. History is littered with breakthrough military states which ultimately failed, whether those of Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, or Imperial and Nazi Germany.

The course of the current RMA is not preordained. Key policy decisions made now will both affect the pace of revolution and the shape of the 21st century force that emerges from it. Perhaps the most fundamental choice of all concerns the enthusiasm with which developed nations should pursue the current “minor” RMA and the extent to which it should shape force development. Often this is not even considered due to the traditional approach to technology.

Technology is respected, almost deified. There are sound historical reasons for this. During its formative period, many nations suffered from chronic shortages of skilled labour, thus forcing reliance on labour-saving technology. Eli Whitney, Robert Fulton, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and thousands of other entrepreneurs and inventors harnessed technology in the name of efficiency. Reflecting this legacy, many nations have often evinced an unreflective trust in the ultimate benefit of technology. However, a reasonable case can be made that too vigorous pursuit of the current “minor” RMA is undesirable or dangerous, that the costs and risks outweigh the expected benefits. Budget constraints and the changing nature of global presence provide the broad context within which redesign of any military will unfold. However, it is to the technological factor, in the present era that basic judgments about force structure changes are attributed to[27].

The utility of the current RMA[28], with its stress on precision, standoff strikes, falls off dramatically toward the poles of the military/technology spectrum. Opponents at the low end of the spectrum tend to operate in widely dispersed fashion and emit a limited electronic signature, thus complicating targeting. Their organization is often cellular, making decapitation difficult. If they are insurgents, they intermingle with the population. It is also important for successful implementation of RMA, the organizational enabler i.e. all important commanders, must be ingrained in military doctrine and practice failing which the RMA is not guaranteed to take hold throughout today’s defense organizations. Second, unless the rational basis for the strategy is translated into an overarching vision, the RMA faces obstacles in the form of powerful, change-resistant bureaucratic forces[29].

Enablers for RMA [30] need to be constantly viewed under the effect of the following:-

(a) The political context. This is the breeding ground of war, and hence warfare.

(b) The strategic context. The strategic context expresses the relationship between political demand and military supply, keyed to the particular tasks specific to a conflict.

(c) The social-cultural context. Social-cultural trends are likely to prove more revealing at an early stage of the prospects for revolutionary change in warfare than missile tests, defense contracts, military maneuvers, or even, possibly, and some limited demonstration of a novel prowess in combat.

(d) The economic context. Though wars are rarely waged for economic reasons, warfare is economic behaviour, interalia, just as it is, and has to be, logistical behaviour also.

(e) The technological context. Warfare always has a technological context, but that context is not always the principal fuel for revolutionary change.

(f) The geographical context. Military revolution keyed to the emerging exploitation of a new geographical environment has beckoned both the visionary theorist and the bold military professional.

Imperatives for Effective Implementation of RMA[31]

14. Certain desirable features for implementation of RMA are:-

(a) Design of a RMA force structure that would effectively use technology.

(b) Technological developments to include the following:-

(i) Automatic Target Recognition.

(ii) Automatic Language Translation.

(iii) Real Time Combat Identification.

(iv) Cross Sensor Guidance.

(v) Integrated Target Tracking.

(vi) Adaptive Information Compression.

(vii) Deployable Fibre Optic Cable.

(viii) Automatic Nodal Analysis.

(ix) Asymmetric Networking for Mobile Users.

(x) Cross Sensor Terminal Guidance.

(c) Jointmanship.

(d) Interoperability between multinational forces.

(e) Build strategic alliances.

(f) Integration of Research & Development with strategic and operational planning.

(g) Planning for upto 50 years life cycle for major weapon systems.

(h) Enhancement of decision making capability.

RMA Life Cycle[32]

A suggested nine step theory for enabling effective implementation of RMA is as under:-

(a) Preparation. A preparatory phase of work needs to exist, which though may not be intended for RMA. Serendipity may rule.

(b) Recognition of Challenge. The reason to implement RMA may well lie in the desire of people to rise and meet a challenge.

(c) Parentage. RMA requires conception and nurture by particular human agents, even if they do not intend to effect revolution.

(d) Enabling Spark. The advent of a new period occurs after a long and arduous preparatory work, which requires an enabling spark to trigger.

(e) Strategic Moment. RMAs reveal their prowess in a flash of strategic consciousness.

(f) Institutional Agency. RMAs need agencies and agents for implementation. These include appropriate military organizations with suitable military cultures, innovative operational concepts and hard training in the practice of these concepts.

(g) Instrument. Through the agency of organization, concepts, doctrines and training the military instrument of an RMA is forged.

(h) Execution & Evolving Maturity. The only test that really tests the effectiveness of implementing RMA is the examination of consequences.

(j) Feedback & Adjustment. This does not imply any process of action & reaction. It is practically empirical as a subject of research.


Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required

The Armed Forces have signed on for a revolutionary change in warfare. It is vital that they should recognize and understand just what it is that transformation implies. As the Army moves down the path of revolutionary change for transformative effect, hopefully adaptively, the nonmilitary contexts that give meaning to and indeed, enable, the whole endeavour, assume ever-greater significance. The full complexity of the contexts and dimensions of warfare are felt by armies to a far greater extent than by navies or air forces, which must operate in uninhabited, indeed uninhabitable, geographies.

The force structure of the military organization will undergo major changes to accommodate new units equipped with the new devices and systems, operating according to the new doctrine capable of greater flexibility. This entails multi tiered structuring for specific operational roles, equipment profiling and state of readiness. The new military in all likelihood will tend to rest on voluntary service, favouring quality over quantity and having scholar warriors than mere soldiers. It will also increasingly become a joint force and not purely a service-oriented force. Orgnisationally, the ground forces are likely to be constituted into much smaller units of all arms[33]. The combat soldier will have to a master of a number of trades. His principal weapon will combine anti personal, anti tank and anti tank capability. Downsizing/Rightsizing will be an imperative.

Quasi-services will emerge with specialists in missiles, space, electronics, information and robotics, to name a few. It will have the capability to function in a joint, multinational, and interagency environment - including nongovernmental organizations and private voluntary organizations - both in war and operations other than war (OOTW). The concept of tailorability and modularity will also set in, which involves designing forces to use only the numbers essential and as modular as logic allows, meeting each contingency. To implement coherent operations will require capabilities for command of simultaneous operations to be increased.

The need to shorten the critical time-constants for decision and action will require decentralization of command authority[34] and a concomitant relaxation of control from the higher levels. Therefore, the traditional focus, functions, and roles of the commanders in the existing hierarchical structure will also be modified so that the nature and character of the decisions and actions correspond to the new paradigm. High tolerance for ambiguity would be required. Unnecessary parallel or horizontal decision making structures should be avoided. However network type organisations may not be very profitable for a traditional military like ours.

Some theorists today believe that the RMA is really of less significance than a Revolution in Attitudes towards the Military[35], or RAM. The future of war, singular or plural, will be shaped by the social and cultural context, which defines the bounds of acceptable military behavior, as well as by the military-technical opportunities that beckon because of the exploitation of information technology. Two issues merit attention. First, it is noticeable that in the current discourse on defence policy, recognition of the relevance of “culture” has become a part of the necessary canon of right beliefs. The second caveat is to remind the Army that it commands warriors, not cultural anthropologists. It is thoroughly impractical to expect more than a small number of military specialists to acquire a deep knowledge of the relevant local societies with their values, beliefs, languages, and histories. Our soldiers have to be expert at fighting; cultural skills, though important, are secondary.

An analysis of Desert Storm's air campaign suggests, however, the rational strategies outlined in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the National Defense Panel (NDP)[36] do not foreordain the progress of the RMA. One observer, contending that focusing on procurement funding misses the key issue, wrote that “the major limits on exploiting long-available technologies are not inadequate research and development and procurement, but rigid and parochial organizational systems within and among the military services.” Enunciating a policy in the QDR is one thing; translating the goals into actionable capabilities is another altogether. The NDP suggested giving RMA programs better visibility by creating a Joint Forces Command that would be the locus of joint innovation and experimentation. Further, it advocated giving the joint forces commander budget authority to ensure that the experimentation program was fully supported. This organizational mechanism proved successful when deficiencies were perceived in special operations forces in the 1980s, so the NDP recommendation seems to reflect an attempt at organizational learning.

Overcoming the inertia of continuing to modernize existing forces even in the face of a recognized need to invest in new technology is an ongoing organizational challenge. The organizational lens reveals both barriers and the enablers for the RMA[37]. Organizations are responsible for its lack of visibility in the budgeting process, absence of ownership and advocacy by any one segment of the defence establishment, and an acquisition process that can increase the cost of innovation by focusing on procurement rather than prototyping. Organizational changes including involvement of senior officers in promoting technology development, and routines now exist to bring advanced technology and the institutions that nurture them into the organization. Still, it remains to be seen whether these organizational changes can overcome barriers to real innovation. The success or failure of RMA efforts may turn, not solely on organizational factors, but also on the characteristics of governmental politics.

RMA postulates a high rate of sustained tempo of ground operations by small mobile combat units. Ground forces would require high number of manoeuvre units for replacement. Units would be task specific and rely more on non organic support[38]. Force structuring would necessitate integration of intelligence apparatus, promotion of reserve & territorial forces, assimilation of dual use infrastructure, dependence on quality soldierly to compensate for technological constraints, career management and automation of menial work load[39].

In the Indian context, the planning process must take into consideration the need for structure to ideally meet the operational plans and also determine the degree to which the force capability should be active, or in the reserve, or they need to be reconstituted. Theatre approach ,large requirement of logistics, move of men & equipment, will call for specialised training and different operational plans[40]. Despite mounting pressures to reduce defence structures as military threats are reducing due to economic and weapons cost factor, there is a need to continue to build a “broad force structure” with “special operation forces” as an in built part to offer crisis response, or to undertake mission of highly strategic or tactical nature.


Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required


Reforms have started in terms of strategic doctrine, force construction, operation training, technology equipment, organization and so on. The international security situation has changed very much. With the emerging of high technology form of war, quality of military force has become the key factor dominating the wars going.

The high technology used in warfare initiates the need to shift training form from the conventional training to one featuring new technology. With the development of military forces in land, sea and air, joint services operation becomes the dominating form of high technology warfare.

We have to see that whether war has been affected by RMA or not[41]. To evaluate the impact of technology on war, we have to see how technology has affected the objective, efficiency, effectiveness, magnitude and duration of war. The objectives of war are the same. There is no change. The objective of war was and is the subjugation of nations and occupation of territory to take care of one's own interest. Second efficiency and effectiveness; there is no revolutionary affect, the war is as efficient and effective as it was previously. Third is the duration of war, which has been considerably reduced but sometimes also becomes irrelevant as in case of Afghan and Vietnam War. Last is the magnitude of war which has definitely been affected. Previously it was 70 to 80% of a country's population which used to take part (to be involved directly by) in war but now it is only 3 to 4%, though the population has also increased.

Technology is not the primary determinant, but it is the concept that leads to victories or failures e.g. Mujahideen's successful effort in Afghanistan was a result of concept. Every new technology was neutralized by its antidote but the mind of the person using the technology that is the concept or strategy is more important. The example of BLITZKREIG which decreased the importance of the weapon system (a product of technology) and concentrated on the better use of it is a standing one. This gave rise to the R & D to find ways and means to use these hardware's in better way to defeat the adversary. In the last 20 years there is a merger in the field of Armour, Artillery, Infantry, Logistic, Ships etc. The only change is in the capability of information gathering and processing.

An interesting thing to note is that when one side has an advantage, RMA is revolutionary and helps to make the strategic environment in favour[42]. On the other hand technology becomes irrelevant in certain geographic environments. GPS may not be much effective in fighting in built up area against an enemy who does not have GPS but knows the surrounding. GPS will pay its dividend in desert. Thus it means that it is the environment which makes the RMA advantageous.

If both parties have equal capabilities in RMA then it offsets the advantages of each other; that is the ability to remain hidden. Hence, one who enjoys sole advantage in RMA will enjoy the “full Spectrum Dominance”.The sole purpose of technological progress should be the advancement of society in general or, in the case of military technology, the strengthening of total military effectiveness. Therefore, the design of technological innovations must not be merely aimed at the enhancement of technological performance, but also to produce a desired overall outcome in the Army and the nation when combined with social, political, and economic factors[43].

It takes more than technology to become a full participant in the RMA[44]. The technological barriers to full participation are themselves significant, and only a handful of countries have the necessary advanced data-processing systems, space-based sensors, and access to usable technologies-to name a few required basics. Not many nations possess the right combination of culture, wealth, and access to technologies. Moreover, military cultures may be more resistant to change than the societies, which support them.

Advances in information management and distribution would provide horizontal integration of battlefield functions and help commanders to tailor and arrange their forces. Traditional hierarchical command structures would be replaced by flatter internetted structures[45].

Tactical & Doctrinal Issues

When we effect a revolutionary change in the way we fight, we must do so adaptably and flexibly. The aim should be to increase our focus towards the diversity and complexity of future warfare, widen our spectrum of strategic and military contexts, recognize and understand all varieties of radical change in warfare. The endeavour is to respond effectively to them.

Intelligent enemies would blunt the adversary, by attacking not necessarily soldiers, but rather the style in warfare. For example, casualty creation will have obvious grand strategic and hence political attraction[46].

Another lesson we can derive from the pre-Desert Storm period is that the inability to realistically rehearse new doctrine can leave contentious issues unaddressed and logical flaws undiscovered. The issue can be addressed by supporting efforts such as the battlelab[47] concept. Battlelabs are an attempt to put creative thinkers in an environment where they can experiment with and quickly incorporate new operational and logistic concepts by spanning the spectrum of technological, organizational, and functional innovation. Battlelabs, together with war-fighting experiments, joint exercises, and simulations, represent organizational routines aimed at developing what sociologists call organizational intelligence.

As sociologists Barbara Levitt and James G. March point out, however, there are several obstacles to learning from experience. First, it will be difficult for the battlelab experiments to remain relevant in the face of rapidly changing technology and threat uncertainties. Second, during the process of experimentation, the battlelabs may develop routines that themselves may become barriers to innovation. Finally, the lessons learned from experimentation may be ambiguous since the causal factors may be complex. According to Levitt and March, learning can be counterproductive in terms of organizational intelligence if it leads to erroneous inferences. Thus, although the battlelab experimentation program[48] is an impressive indicator of organizational commitment towards changes in doctrine, it is not a guarantee that the RMA will succeed.


Impact of RMA, Problems Caused & Changes Required

What a society gets in its armed services is exactly what it asks for, no more and no less. What it asks for tends to be a reflection of what it is.

The core competency of a military force is the ability to apply sufficient violence that the polity's enemies lose the will and, if need be, the ability, to resist further. In a long period of peace when they cannot test their prowess, military establishments tend to forget that war is their business and that fighting is their distinctive contribution to that institution.

While the relevance of RMA in the Indian context has been recognised by the Kargil Review Committee Report and the doctrines of the Services, an integrated plan to harness its potential is still in the making. Similarly, the debate and write-ups on RMA in India have so far been confined to understanding the dynamics of RMA, rather than suggesting ways to take its advantage. One of the fields that holds abundant potential to leverage the emerging RMA is training of the armed forces[49].

Drivers for Change in Training System

The current RMA is based upon the following:-

(a) Strategic Security Environment. The Indian armed forces will have to be prepared for a wide spectrum of operations including nuclear war, conventional war, limited war and counter insurgency/terrorist operations by carefully managing the balance between training requirements to meet all scenarios[50].

(b) Short Notice Deployment. Operation PARAKRAM highlighted the requirement for versatile, adaptable and rapidly deployable forces. This generates demanding individual training requirements for the Services.

(c) Skills for Joint Operations. Future operations will be increasingly joint and progressively integrated between space, air, maritime and ground elements. The need is for a more integrated approach to war fighting between the Services and working with other civilian agencies whose contribution may be equally critical to strategic success.

(d) Increased Responsibility of Junior Leaders and Individual Soldiers. Junior commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers will have key roles to play especially in the wake of increased fluidity, intensity of swift engagements, sensor-to-shooter technologies, direct communication interface to lowest level commanders/individual soldiers and reduced time for decision making. This will require training in leadership skills and education to develop the required mental agility.

(e) Technological Challenge. Future operational success will depend on the ability to exploit and integrate new digital systems. However, learning via technology, which offers exciting opportunities to improve training, is a mainly individual activity, which may impair some inter-personal skills. Many individuals, while confident about working in the Information Age, may be less physically fit and robust. A balance needs to be struck.

(f) Changed Socio-Economic Values. Technology has not only affected the armed forces in the last two decades but the entire country as such and raised the living standards immensely. Training and education will continue to play a major role in instilling the core values essential to meet the physical and mental challenges of the future battle space.

(g) Enhanced Importance of Specialisation and Continuity. Due to increased induction of high end technology into the Services, need for specialists will increase. More graduates may join the Services in the technical specialisations. Imperatives of career progression, particularly for officers, are already putting increased pressure on both training and personnel management.

Recommended Changes in the Training System

Appraisal of the Present Training System and Policy Objectives

The armed forces need to modernise their training system to meet the challenges being thrown up by the emerging RMA. Emphasis should gradually shift to joint and integrated training while ensuring individual training. Training should, where appropriate, be offered to industry and civil institutions, reflecting the joint approach.

Training Needs to be Better Focused to Meet the Operational Needs. Improvements are required to reflect the changed operational environment and the modus operandi of operating within it. The training of senior officers at operational and strategic levels needs greater emphasis. Young officers and senior commanders need to be sensitized towards Operational Research and Statistical Analysis[51], absorb lessons from operations and to respond to changes in educational priorities to meet the increasing complexity of operations.

There is also a requirement of a more comprehensive and consistent overall approach to education to focus on fostering creativity and innovativeness. Development of skills could be achieved by developing e learning. The armed forces must ensure that the training system is cost-effective, while maintaining or enhancing operational capability. Common training facilities in the armed forces should be used and duplication eliminated. Commercial training arrangements should be exploited.

Measures to Integrate Training in the Armed Forces Training

Recognition of the importance of joint activity must first be introduced at the tactical level, within a predominantly single Service environment. Young officers need to be encouraged to adopt an open-minded approach towards their own and the other Services, and begin to appreciate the wider defence environment, including the increased joint focus by exposure to short common modules on defence and joint awareness training commencing from Young Officers' Course.

The joint phase of the Defence Services Staff Course should be increased appropriately. Operational staff should be trained to work on a two tier system i.e. one set of staff dealing with the current system and a second set focusing on the battle atleast 72 hrs ahead.

To meet the training requirements for commanders of joint operations, a Joint Operations Wing should be established to train officers of the rank of Brigadier and above of all the three services and senior bureaucrats posted in the Ministry of Defence through a mixture of very short modular courses with interactive war-gaming. The Wing could be located at any of the institutions conducting the Higher Command Course for single Services like the Army War College, Naval War College or the College of Air Warfare, depending upon the feasibility of developing the infrastructure.

Enlargement of Scope of Joint Exercises and War-games. At present, a truly joint exercise is conducted only in terms of the training for the amphibious component with participation at a very low level. The scope and level of joint exercises should be enlarged. Similarly, participation in the war games at division level and above should include officers of all the Services and not restricted to the commander of the Tactical Air Centre etc.

Joint Institutes for Common Training Aspects. Each Service has a training base that is large, unaffordable and does not support the concept of integration of the Services. A leaner training base to ensure cost effective training & education will bring recurring savings in overall support costs, and release land for disposal, thereby making more capital available for modernisation. Areas of joint training could be addressed by establishing Defence Training Institutes in the fields of communication and information systems, logistics, computer literacy, engineering, aeronautical engineering, and common missile systems/weapons.

Enlarging Role of Integrated Defence Staff. It has been experienced that because training and education is generally provided on a single Service basis, it lacks overall coherence and direction from the MoD perspective. In particular, there is no central focus to provide an overall policy perspective and no overarching strategy to promote best practices. To address these deficiencies, the training branch in the Integrated Defence Staff needs to be strengthened and given the mandate to coordinate these aspects. This will maximise the benefits of training rationalisation by implementing the proposals outlined above and ensuring that there is no duplication.

National Defence University

While the proposal to establish a National Defence University (NDU) has been accepted in principle, the project has not progressed in right earnest. The NDU should act as a centre of national and international excellence, providing military and civilian personnel with high quality education, primarily at the postgraduate level, conducting research in fields related to defence and ensure interaction, coordination and synergy between various training institutions of the Services. Other institutions like the National Defence College, Defence Services Staff College, and Joint Operations Wing should be affiliated to it.

Value of War Games and Exercises[52]

War games and exercises are conducted at present in a stereotype manner which stifles any innovative and new ideas about doctrine, concepts and

weapon systems. The value of exercises lies in their planning and post action analysis. They must aim at understanding rather than validating already existing plans, concepts and doctrine. Computer war gaming is a major facilitator for IT enculturation and must have a fast forward replay capability that can be exploited for the summing up of the exercise and to graphically highlight the lessons learnt.

Establishment of a Leadership Academy

To achieve better coordination of leadership training and development, a Leadership Academy to design an overarching policy framework and strategies for leadership development needs to be created. The Academy will provide a more focused and coherent approach to leadership training throughout an individual's career, undertake research, establish links with relevant organisations, public and private, set standards and provide a reservoir of knowledge on leadership, including training and development opportunities.

New Methods of Training [53]

Achieving information age skills will also facilitate new methods of training. There should be a major shift towards e-learning to reap benefits by providing better support to deployed units, particularly in terms of refresher and more efficient training to enhance operational effectiveness. The non-formal education system, like distant education based on electronic media, needs to develop faster.

Use of new technologies, communication systems and simulators should be increased to exploit virtual training more fully at the individual level of training. Integrated computer war-gaming needs to be developed for higher levels as well to include operational and strategic aspects, for all the three Services.

Development of Asymmetric IW Capability and Training. The armed forces must take advantage of the country's strong IT base and develop an asymmetrical IW capability in relation to our adversaries.

Evolve a Long Term Digitisation Training Policy. There is need for training by providing digital sustainment training, to acquire the skills to manage the infrastructure that ties together the battlefield functional areas making up the Command Information and Decision Support System.

Institutionalising Experimentation and Innovation. New ideas in tactics and concepts can evolve only when the actual perception of the full combat elements in a unit/formation is experienced during training and experimentation. There is thus an urgent need to create a modern facility where at least the ground and air components can train together. Such facilities could be created next to major field firing ranges for more realistic joint exercises.


Investment in enhanced network infrastructure accompanied by changes in strategy, doctrine & tactics has enabled the US military to leap ahead of potential adversaries and guard against asymmetric threats[54]. The Army is changing from a forward deployed and Industrial Age army to an Information Age, power projection army[55]. The Army is drawing on the past and the present to make this transition. Historically, the Army has a tradition as a power projection force dating from the Spanish American War, the birth of the American Empire and during the Cold War. However what is different today is the rapidity with which forces must be deployed, where they may be sent, and the reasons for going there.

According to the National Military Strategy of 1995, "The existence of a credible power projection capability complements our overseas presence acting as a deterrent to potential adversaries." The Army is drawing on the Military Technical Revolution as it structures, equips, and trains an RMA force that will make this concept a reality.The transformation of the Army into Force XXI [56], a power projection army for the Information Age, will be achieved by implementing a vision built on five modernization objectives:-

(a) The first is to reorganize and restructure the Army into the kind of force that can be deployed rapidly and then sustained in the theatre. As a part of the Army's Force XXI initiative, it is studying the way battalions, brigades, divisions, and corps should be organized as these entities evolve into the size and composition needed to succeed on Information Age battlefields. An experimental Force XXI brigade, designated EXFOR XXI, was in place early this spring at Ft. Hood, Texas. At present, the Army has evolved to stand up EXFOR XXI at the division level.

(b) Second, Force XXI must be able to survive on the Information Age battlefield against any foe, whether that may be a peer competitor capable of fighting in the digitized arena or an Agrarian Age or Industrial Age force, opponents which historically have proven most troublesome. Survival and sustainment will be as much elements of operational power in the future as they were in the past. Force XXI must be considered in relation to the capabilities needed across a spectrum which may also include relief operations, peacekeeping, and humanitarian interventions.

(c) Third, the Army must be modernized to win the information war. In information warfare, the objective is to deny the enemy critical knowledge while achieving and retaining the decisive advantage of battlefield awareness. The actual weapons used by Force XXI, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery pieces, rocket launchers, helicopters, command and control vans, and support vehicles will look a lot like the Industrial Age weapons of today. But they will be much smarter, deriving their intelligence from computers and advanced technologies joined in a digitally-integrated force that, taken as an entity, will be qualitatively superior to the Army that won a decisive victory in the Gulf War.

(d) Fourth, the Army of the 21st century—Force XXI—must be capable of precision strike. Precision strike will blind, immobilize, and maintain the enemy at a distance while critical targets are identified, struck and destroyed. Strike has to be considered in terms of the degree of coercive capability necessary to support the execution of a given mission. "Decisive victory" will be defined in terms of the objective, which may be anything from the destruction of an enemy force to the stabilization of a local situation brought about by natural disaster or ethnic and tribal conflict, curbing the excesses of intrastate conflict, or countering the more traditional forms of interstate aggression.

(e) Finally, the modernized Information Age Army, Force XXI, must be capable of dominating and winning the manoeuvre battle. Through dominating manoeuvre, the right forces will be gotten to the right place at the right time to affect the enemy's operational and strategic collapse. The key to winning on the fluid and multidimensional battlefield of the 21st century will be simultaneity; the simultaneous employment of overwhelming combat power throughout the breadth and depth of the operational area to paralyze the enemy. With measures adopted the result will be a smaller, highly sophisticated force, yet one able to overwhelm and defeat a foe superior in numbers.

Digitization is one key to unlocking the capabilities of Force XXI, and the digitized battlefield is becoming a reality. By integrating advanced technologies into already existing systems, the Army is upgrading its intelligence gathering and processing capabilities along with its command and control mechanisms, tanks, and fighting vehicles. As Andrew Krepinevich put it, "Establishing information dominance could well be the sin qua non for effective military operations in future conflicts."

The concept of integration of capabilities[57] to achieve tactical, operational and strategic objectives was amply tested in the Gulf War. For instance, the first blow was struck by nine Army Apache AH-64 attack helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) led by three U.S. Air Force MH-53J Pave Low helicopters from the 1st Special Operations Wing. Just before H-Hour, the helicopters, organized as Task Force Normandy, flew a long, earth-hugging mission to blast two early warning radar sites deep inside Iraq using night-and-low-light vision devices and precise navigational capability resulting from space-based systems. What indicates an RMA is the operational integration that brings together the technologies available to Air Force and Army helicopters and employs them to pave the way for what was predominantly an Air Force and army air campaign.

General Gordon Sullivan, until recently Army Chief of Staff, was one of the main proponents of carefully examining how the Army should move away from a Cold War orientation and doctrine by consistently fostering an approach to the future that deliberately avoided prematurely setting fixed doctrine or acquisition goals until a clearer picture of the future Army was available. According to Sullivan, the next step, Force XXI, would encompass the reconceptualization and redesign of the Army at all echelons from combat to the industrial base.

How the Department of Defence and military services are attempting to deal with long term planning is important because many of the changes highlighted by the debate over the RMA are likely to occur in the relatively distant future. The Department of Defence has conducted an RMA Initiative, focusing upon examining future technology, organizations and doctrines needed to deal with revolutionary change. At present, the Army is farthest along in creating institutions to integrate potentially revolutionary technology, assessing the consequences of an RMA, and attempting to incorporate necessary changes into Army doctrine and organization. Through Spacecast 2020, Air Force 2025, and the Air Force Revolutionary Planning Process, the Air Force is attempting to undertake very long range planning. The prowess of air power was adequately demonstrated in the Gulf War. The Navy and Marine Corps are just beginning this process [58] through their ‘Sea Dragon” system.

The argument in USA presently is over retaining a force structure to be able to win two simultaneous wars. Two ideas being floated which may have the possibility of operationalisation are,” Pop up Warfare” and “Fire-Ant Warfare”[59].


"No civilisation was so little equipped to cope with the outside world; no country was so easily raided and plundered, and learned so little from its disasters."

VS Naipaul - "India - A Wounded Civilisation"

Air Commodore A K Tiwary

Suggestions for Exploiting RMA[60]

A review of the past must enable us to select a correct mix of doctrine and strategy and appropriate force structure for the future. To exploit RMA we will have to address all the three components of the RMA. That is, doctrinally we must decide to use our Armed Forces in an optimum mix of defence and offence, so as to guard against likely threat in addition to sufficient offensive capability to deter war and win when forced into one keeping in mind our economic capabilities.

Technologically, we need to master all the disciplines to contemporary cutting edge standards using brainpower and R&D. We need to select & adapt to the technologies which will be essential in tomorrow's wars and that we are good in. This would require a national effort. Good tactics can only evolve from realistic training. We need to move away from the tactics of attrition warfare to tactics with least attrition and yet enabling military objectives.

As we march into the millennium, India is well placed to harness the three components of RMA to realise its dream of great power status. Its translation into reality shall depend squarely on the shoulders of our leadership at all levels. In view of the complexity of modern day technology, training under realistic conditions for optimal employment of technology is important. It must, however, be acknowledged that technological advances are reducing the gap between simulation and reality.

Doctrine means our beliefs about how we use the armed forces: purely defensively; purely offensively, or in a mix of defence and offence. Various doctrinal factors including jointmanship, coordination with instruments of national power and willing support of our citizens therefore, need to be kept in mind when we examine the Indian experience in RMA. Training to derive tactics for war is a challenge facing military commanders everywhere.

Doctrinal changes [61]

Joint Doctrine. The RMA is bringing about an increasingly integrated battlefield, because technology is achieving the synergy and objectives of combined arms operations and joint operations. The army, navy and the air force will be able to work more closely together despite their usual turf driven differences which prevent them from achieving the requisite jointness/integration. “Jointness” refers to increased operational integration among the various components of the armed forces, whereas “combined” operations involve the military services of various countries working together. This trend towards joint and combined operations will necessitate interoperability.

Some of the naval aspects in doctrine include littoral warfare, project force “from the sea,” directly ashore, use of land-attack cruise missiles to strike tactical targets ashore and shift from platform-centric to network-centric warfare. Land warfare aspects include the ability to respond quickly to almost any situation necessitating highly mobile, flexible and lethal ground forces with enhanced reconnaissance and surveillance systems integrated through communications to weapon systems with precision-guided munitions.

The transformation of the Indian army will involve a change from industrial age army, trained, equipped, and postured to undertake conventional offensive and defensive operations to an information age army capable of simultaneously fighting high intensity conflicts together with insurgencies and terrorism. Simultaneously it will have to guard against cyber attacks, bio agents and media manipulation and other forms of irregular warfare. Hence, organisations will have to be flexible to adapt themselves to the required situation which will demand greater skills from the officer cadre and the soldier at all levels. Smaller combat formations with ability to quickly react, respond flexibly with precision and accuracy would confer greater warfighting capabilities thus eliminating the need for large troop build-up in the conflict area.

With the advent of precision guided munitions combined with accurate reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition systems and GPS aided navigation systems; modern technology has given airpower the capability of destroying targets with single digit CEP and with least amount of collateral damage. Air power will shape the battlespace such that the main role of land forces would now be to secure a victory, rather than achieve it. The present military revolution is witnessing the militarization of space, with warfare occurring in space as well as on land, at sea and in the air. Future threats to satellite systems could include satellites armed with lasers, as well as electronic jamming devices and viruses that could shut down the flow of information.

Organisational Reforms [62]

Successful conduct of war requires responsive, well-trained and well-led units and formations whose organisation is designed to defeat the opponent based on the new technologies, new weapon systems and new command and control architecture. Today's organisational transformation requires that with the shift from “mass destruction” to precision warfare” comes a parallel shift from mass armies to smaller, more highly educated, and capital-intensive professional armed forces whose units are commanded by a more decentralized decision-making structure and can be specifically tailored to the task at hand.

A major shift in the organisational structure will be at the decision making levels. So far we have been used to the bureaucratic organisation which has dominated the industrial age. This has to give way to decentralized decision making of the information age. The army for instance may have to de-layer itself by removing certain headquarters; say for instance the division headquarters. The Corps can directly command Brigade Groups which are smaller in size and self sufficient in all respects and have equal if not greater amount of fire power due to networking of all entities. The division headquarters can be retained for peace time coordination, administration and training.

Technology [63]

Indian armed forces are facing an entirely new technology era, generated through advancements in the field of miniaturisation, digitization, material science, biotechnology, sensor technology, stealth, communications and information technology. India needs to integrate new technologies as warfighting systems for which the requirement is to simultaneously evolve a new joint warfighting doctrine and concepts of joint warfighting and then decide upon the weapons and other systems to suit the former. We need to take advantage of our new found friendship with western world to acquire hardware and technologies from abroad if our own scientists cannot develop them. Changes in perceptions at the policy level can open up new opportunities for innovation[64].

Budgetary Constraints. RMA is however an expensive exercise. Notwithstanding the geo strategic compulsions, budgetary constraints will govern the extent RMA can be applied. It restrains the impacting of RMA on the Indian threat response to a conservative matrix. Hence it is pragmatic to engineer the threat response to the formulations of the geo strategic compulsions of friendly nations to the extent politically feasible and merge the requirement within that umbrella[65].

Response of the Indian Armed Forces

So what is the status of Indian armed forces as far as this present IT generated RMA is concerned? Are we close to achieving the desired capabilities or is it only on our wish list currently? The fact remains that the Indian armed forces are neither integrated nor do they possess these capabilities, regardless of some “stand alone” capabilities existing within each service. Our desire to acquire NCW capabilities, in the first stage, is laudable, but if we wish to move along the path of an Indian RMA, our promises must be backed by agencies and agents for implementation,, seamless communication networks and above all an attitudinal change on part of the leadership to accommodate the new RMA.

We are continuing to develop and plan exclusively (single service planning), still aspiring to induct high technology systems of the future from Russia, France, USA, Israel or UK in the “stand alone” mode in each service without seriously examining their interoperability and suitability as network platforms and without proper fusion of systems both inter and intra-service into a system of systems so as to derive full benefits of the synergy so acquired. This needs deliberation to effectively arrest the present trend and move synergetically towards jointmanship.

“... forgive a child who fears the dark.The real tragedy... is when adults are afraid of the light”. - plato


RMA and Conduct of Warfare

RMA is already bringing about profound changes in the conduct of warfare. The salient aspects are summarised below:-

(a) As the means of observation and surveillance improve, time available for orientation, decision making and action reduces. The battle space, however, has expanded enormously. The use of outer space will have a major effect on the conduct of warfare in the coming years.

(b) The use of new precision weapons and command and control systems has added a force multiplier effect, unknown earlier, to the combat potential. Individual combat platforms are being linked into a network and will all be equipped with increasing amounts of electronic information equipment.
(c) In coming years soldiers apart from weapons will also use small, lightweight, multimedia electronic information equipment. Situational awareness of information-intensified soldiers will improve immensely.
(d) Information Warfare will be the most complex type of warfare in the 21st century, and it will decide who will win and who will lose the wars. Digitisation of the existing equipment by retrofitting or inserting new technology will improve the command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems.
(e) Media has already affected the conduct of military operations worldwide in a profound manner and its intrusive role is likely to increase further. In the coming years the military will be forced to have its own facilities to feed the electronic media channels.
(f) The human factor will be more prominent in high-technology warfare. Making the most of the combat effectiveness of high technology weapons and application of correct strategy and tactics will depend on the calibre of military personnel necessitating higher education and technical skills.
(g) The services need to be integrated institutionally, organisationally, intellectually and technically to fight future wars, necessitating jointmanship.

Warfare is changing, perhaps more rapidly and fundamentally today than at any point in history. To take advantage of the ongoing RMA, India will need to reform the way it plans, thinks, procures, trains, and fights by synergy between technology, organisation and doctrine. It is imperative that the armed forces commence restructuring of the training base and methodologies to be ready to acquit themselves creditably in the next war.

As was hypothesized that understanding RMA is difficult due to the various views of strategist thinkers; the same appears to be a amalgamation of all thought processes prevalent and is not restricted to one definition alone. RMA will affect a whole range of areas of military capability, strategic, doctrinal operational and organizational. Countries with advanced capabilities will have the potential to adapt to these changes more quickly than others. Research & Development will acquire even more salience and will need to be integrated with strategic and operational planning. National capabilities will need to modify and adapt these, to suit the country's requirements[66].

Hence keeping financial constraints in mind, planning should proceed to create a military posture of India, which is inherently and mutually both defensive and offensive in nature, not likely to trigger an arms race and be able to persist in a strategic environment which will be complicated by domestic disorders, regional rivalries and belligerent neighbours[67]. The answers lie in building up the indigenous industry and an institutionalized system of pragmatic funding; leaving the yet unabridged grey area to be covered up with application of statesmanship.

Military affairs are but functions of national aspirations and must suitably undergo the process of redefinition. The objective is to “revolutionize the entire gamut of “Military Affairs”.

[1] Steven Metz & James Kievit. Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs: From Theory to Policy, June 27, 1995.Pg 5.

[2] Andrew Marshall. Revolution in Military Affairs: A Primer.' Chapter 3. US DOD's Office of Net Assessment ‘at .Pg 10.

Andrew F Kreplnevlch. Cavalry to Computer: The Pattern of Military Revolutions In The National Interest (Fall 1994), p 30.

[3] Steven Metz. op cit. Pg 6.

[4] Alvin and Heidi Toffler. War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993, p. 32.

[5] "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_in_Military_Affairs.

[6] "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_in_Military_Affairs.op cit.

Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee. Combat Journal. ‘Revolution in Military Affairs'. Aug 1997.Pg 67.

[7] Rudra Chaudhuri. Dynamics of US Force Transformation. ‘Observer Research Foundation (ORF) paper No 5'. Dec 2006.Pg 14.

[8] Kapil Kak. ‘Impact of Information Technology on Warfare'. Paper presented at a Seminar on Command and Staff Challenges in the 21st Century at Defence Services Staff College Wellington, 15 April 1998.

[9] James R. Fitz Simonds and J an M. V antol. Revolutions in Military Affairs U.S. Navy.

[10] Andrew Marshall & William S. Cohen. Revolution in Military Affairs: JOINT VISION 2010.'Chapter 10. US DoD's Office of Net Assessment' at .Pg 77

[11] Ibid. Pg78.

[12] Rear Admiral K R Menon, Pinnacle.'RMA & Indian Armed Forces'. Sep 2002, Pg 7.

[13] Mr. Lothar Ibrügger (Germany). The Revolution in Military Affairs :Special Report, General Rapporteur November 1998 ,Pg12

[14] Earl H. Tilford, Jr. The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions June 23, 1995,page 8

[15] www.google.com SHARJEEL RIZWAN.' Revolution in Military Affairs'. James R. Fitz.op cit.

[16] A. K. Cebrowski Director, Office of Force Transformation Office of the Secretary of Defense

The Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare, Pg77.

[17] Shitanshu Mishra. Strategic Analysis .'Network Centric Warfare in the Context of ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom', Vol. 27, No. 4, Oct-Dec 2003,© Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

S.K. Saini. Journal of Defence Studies.' Revamping the Military Training System'. Summer 2008

Vol. 2 No. 1, Pg 74.

[18] Steven Metz. Op cit. ,Pg 6

[19] Maj General Dipankar Banerjee, VSM .op cit. Pg 68.

[20] Andrew F. Krepinevich .The National Interest. ‘Cavalry to Computer: The Pattern of Military Revolutions'. No. 37, Fall 1994, p. 30.

[21] James R. Fitz .op cit.

[22] Steven Metz, . op cit. Pg 10.

[23] Ibid.Pg 17.

[24] Ibid Pg 14.

[25] James R. Fitz .op cit.

[26] Steven Metz, t. op cit. Pg 17.

[27] Robbin F. Laird and Holger H. Mey. The Revolution in Military Affairs", Allied Perspectives, INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAl. STRATEGIC STUDIES NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY Washington, DC,Pg 14.

[28] Steven Metz . op cit.Pg 19.

Peter Donbrourki & Eugen Gholz. Buying Military Transformation.' Technological Innovation & The Defence Industry'. Pg 10.

[29] Lt Col Kathleen M. Conley, USAF . Airpower Journal.' Campaigning for Change Organizational Processes, Governmental Politics, and the Revolution in Military Affairs'. Fall 1998.

[30] Colin S. Gray, Recognizing and Understanding Revolutionary Change in Warfare: The Sovereignty of Context. Pg 16.

[31] V. K. Kapoor. JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES, ‘RMA and India's Military Transformation'. Winter 2008 Volume:2 Issue:2.

[32] Colin S Gray. Strategy for Chaos. Pg 75.

[33] Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee, VSM. op sit.

[34] Brig Vinod Anand. Pinnacle. October 2004,Pg 77, 81.

[35] Brig G D Bakshi. Combat Journal. ‘Revolution in Military Affairs'. September 2002, Pg 33.

[36] Theodor W. Galdi. Revolution in Military Affairs? Competing Concepts, Organizational Responses, Outstanding Issues. Specialist in International Security Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

[37] General R . L. Brownlee, United States Army Acting Secretary of the Army

2004 Army Transformation Roadmap

[38] James R Blaker. Understanding The Revolution in Military Affairs. Progressive Policy Institute, Pg 30.

[39] Brig Gautam Banerjee,YSM. Pinnacle. ‘RMA: Global Trends-Indian Context'. Sep 2002,Pg 55.

[40] H K Srivastava. Journal of Strategic Studies .'RMA and Approaches to our Defence Policy and Conventional Force Structure: A Strategic Debate'.

[41] SHARJEEL RIZWAN.' Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)'.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Kip P. Nygren.' Emerging Technologies and Exponential Change: Implications for Army Transformation'.

[44] Earl H. Tilford, Jr. op cit. Pg 16.

[45] Theodor W. Galdi .op cit.

[46] Andrew Marshall. Revolution in Military Affairs: A Primer. ‘Chapter 3. US DoD's Office of Net Assessment ‘at .

[47] Ibid. Chapter 10.

[48] JOHNSTON, PAUL .Doctrine is not Enough: The Effect of Doctrine on the Behavior of Armies. September 22, 2000.

[49] S.K. Saini. Journal of Defence Studies. ‘Revamping the Military Training System'. Summer 2008 Vol. 2 No. 1,Pg 66.

[50] Ministry of Defence, UK, “Modernising Defence Training,” Report of the Defence Training Review (http://www.mod.uk/issues/training/dtr.htm).

[51] Brig G D Bakshi. Combat Journal.' RMA'. Sep 2002.Pg 37.

[52] MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray. The Dynamics of Military Revolution 1300-2050. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 193. Brig G D Bakshi.op cit. 34.

[53] ibid.

S K Saini.op cit. 77.

[54] Peter Donbrourke.op cit.

[55] Andrew Marshall.op cit. Chapter 10.

[56] Elizabeth A. Stanley. Evolutionary Technology in the Current Revolution in Military Affairs: The Army Tactical Command and Control System.

[57] The U S Airforce Transformation Flight Plan, HQ USAF,Future Concepts & Traansformation Division.

[58] Theodor W. Galdi .op cit.

[59] Steven Metz, James Kievit. Op cit.Pg 7.

Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee. op cit. Pg 69.

[60] Air Commodore A K Tiwari., BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR.' Revolution in Military Affairs'. Volume 6(1) Jul-Aug 2003, Thursday, 12 October 2006,Pg 15.

[61] V. K. Kapoor. JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES.' RMA and India's Military Transformation'. Winter 2008 Volume:2 Issue:2

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Girish Luthra, Strategic Analysis .'Military Innovation: Hurdles, Bumps and Jumps'. Vol. 27, No.4, Oct-Dec 2003.

[65] Brig S K Raychaudhuri,VSM (retd). Pinnacle .'India's Quest for RMA'. Sep 2002.Pg 24.

[66] Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee.op cit. Pg 71.

[67] H K Srivastava.op cit.Pg 28.

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