The Evolution of Warfare

Foreword:  I am far from being an expert in battle science, as I suspect many of my readers would be, so consider this an exploratory foray into the landscape of battle - from quests with swords to calculated insurgencies to futuristic technologies that look almost magical.

This post is a curation from various sources to help me begin to make sense of the chaos in our (mostly) digital world and why we feel so untethered. 

Warfare used to be brutally simple ... combatants with weapons would meet at a time and place designated by one or both parties and fight it out until one side was subjugated to the winner's satisfaction.

World War IV will NOT be fought with sticks and stones because WWIII is being fought under new rules of such stealth and infiltration that many countries and their citizens don't even realise they are under attack. 

Military needs often drive the evolution of technology. The arrival of, and access to the internet may not be as god-sent as it might first appear. It is a sneaky tool of intentionalised 'divide and conquer' strategies that has us as individuals feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmed, and more confused than ever about what can be considered true.

World Leaders are either clueless puppets or Master Chess Players in their own right. Putin is the latter. Russia is a land of past and present mysteries. Do not make the great mistake of defining it solely on its recent savage communist episode. There is so much more going on than the majority of people realise.

There are a lot of new technical terms out there defining the kind of warfare that we are under attack from ...
  • Hybrid Warfare
  • Nonlinear Warfare
  • Fourth Generation (4G) Warfare aka:-
    • COIN (COunterINsurgency)
    • 3 Block War (simultaneously and variously acting as peacekeepers, humanitarian aid providers, and active combatants over a small territory, ie. 3 blocks)
    • War amongst the people
  • Assymetric Warfare
  • Full Spectrum Warfare
And in case you were wondering, Spiritual Warfare can indeed be fought at all these levels.

The Generations of Warfare

[Source: Wikipedia]
The concept of four "generations" in the history of modern warfare was created by a team of United States analysts, including William S. Lind, for the purpose of an argument for "the changing face of war" entering into a "fourth generation".

First-generation warfare refers to Ancient and Post-classical battles fought with massed manpower, using phalanx, line and column tactics with uniformed soldiers governed by the state.

Second-generation warfare is the Early modern tactics used after the invention of the rifled musket and breech-loading weapons and continuing through the development of the machine gun and indirect fire. The term second generation warfare was created by the U.S. military in 1989.

Third-generation warfare focuses on using Late modern technology-derived tactics of leveraging speed, stealth and surprise to bypass the enemy's lines and collapse their forces from the rear. Essentially, this was the end of linear warfare on a tactical level, with units seeking not simply to meet each other face to face but to outmaneuver each other to gain the greatest advantage.

Fourth-generation warfare as presented by Lind et al. is characterized by a "post-modern" return to decentralized forms of warfare, blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians due to nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces, returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times.

Fourth generation warfare is defined as conflicts which involve the following elements:
  • Are complex and long term
  • Terrorism (tactic)
  • A non-national or transnational base – highly decentralized
  • A direct attack on the enemy's core ideals
  • Highly sophisticated psychological warfare, especially through media manipulation and lawfare
  • All available pressures are used – political, economic, social and military
  • Occurs in low intensity conflict, involving actors from all networks
  • Non-combatants are tactical dilemmas
  • Lack of hierarchy
  • Small in size, spread out network of communication and financial support
  • Use of insurgency and guerrilla tactics

Now ... what about fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth generation warfare?

5th Generation Warfare

PDF Document Downloads: 

FIFTH GENERATION WARFARE: The Brave New World - The Changing Shape of the Fifth Generation Mission   [Backup Copy]


Fifth-generation warfare (5GW) is the battle of perceptions and information. 5GW is also a cultural and moral war, which distorts the perception of the masses to give a manipulated view of the world and politics. 

“We are no longer fighting a defined adversary in a defined
battlespace for a defined period of time. Instead the 5th
generation mission space is a continuous global battle of
narratives that will play out over both virtual and physical space
and encompass a range of violent and non-violent actions and
Backup link in case this video is removed by youtube.

6th Generation Warfare

Messing with the minds and resources of enemy combatants. 
"...understand that in 6GW, we are getting inside our enemy’s OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act). Once inside, we can control what they see and hear, what they think, what they decide, and what they do, all to our advantage"

There are some astounding examples on this all-round fascinating website,

7th Generation Warfare

Seventh Generation Warfare is totally automated warfare. First, we will shut down the enemy's commercial and military communications systems, their power grid, and their water utilities with advanced electronic warfare (EW) systems and cyberweapons, or even localized EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapons. That will consequently disable their economy and their banking system.

Next, our enemy's airspace will be controlled by swarms of our flying autonomous weapons platforms, neutralizing their air force. We do that now with manned fighters, creating no-fly zones. Their ports and seacoast will be controlled by swarms of autonomous naval surface vessels, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) such as smart torpedoes, and upward falling platforms (UFPs), thereby eliminating their naval forces. If their ground forces move toward their borders to attack, other swarms of aerial and ground-based weapons platforms will neutralize them.

Our satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intelligence gathering systems will feed enemy movements and actions to our autonomous weapons platforms from office buildings and small trailers full of electronics on American soil, in Nevada and Florida and Washington, DC. Not a single American boot will ever touch enemy soil. We may lose a few of these advanced platforms in the process, but not a single body bag will be shipped back home to America. The objective of automated warfare is to “subdue the enemy without fighting”, by eliminating his ability to fight, thereby destroying his will to fight.

Finally, Sun Tzu’s "supreme art of war” will evolve to the point of shortening or eliminating war as we know it. Yes, there will be casualties on the enemy’s side in this scenario, but is it really a war when only our enemy fills body bags?

8th Generation Warfare

Simple logic would take this one step further, and we'd have 8GW, where no one dies on either side of the conflict. That suggests that we need the capability to temporarily incapacitate our enemy’s forces and their population, similar to the effects of a Star Trek phaser set on stun. Our troops would move in after the enemy is zapped, collect their weapons, and destroy their weapons-making capabilities. That could take some time, if the zapped area is quite large. When the enemy wakes-up, they will be totally defenseless and groggy with a headache. This could work nicely though, on smaller localized areas of enemy concentration.

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