32. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the 2nd Nagorno-Karabakh War

Episode 32 April 01, 2021 01:00:33
32. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the 2nd Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
32. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the 2nd Nagorno-Karabakh War
/

Show Notes

COL John Antal served 30 years in the Army and has commanded combat units from platoon through regiment and served on division, corps, and multinational staffs. He also served at the National Training Center and has extensive ex­perience in Korea, serving multiple tours on the DMZ.  After retiring from the Army, COL Antal was selected by Mi­crosoft Games Studio to help develop an interactive enter­tainment company in Texas. He then became the Executive Director for Gearbox Software with studios in Texas and Can­ada. He led teams to develop multiple AAA+ video games and is an innovator in the interactive gaming and learning industry.  As an author, COL Antal has published 16 books and hundreds of magazine articles. He has served as Editor of the Armchair General magazine, and appeared on TV and the radio to discuss leadership, historical, and national security issues. He is a freelance correspondent for Euro-based Military Tech­nology (Mönch Publishing Group) and Mittler Report Verlag.

In today’s podcast, COL Antal discusses the implications of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, the psychological effects of drone warfare, and the future of maneuver. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him:

Ten lessons learned from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are:

  1. Know Yourself, Know your Enemies.  The Azeris had reviewed the underlying causes of their previous defeat at hands of the Armenian armed forces, meticulously studied their current capabilities, and adapted/incorporated new ways of warfare, enabling them to decisively win this conflict in 44 days.  Better equipment, organization, training, preparation, and leadership are key.
  2. Set the Conditions for Success before you Fight.  The Azeris had cultivated strategic relationships with both Turkey and Israel — providing them with access to sophisticated ISR and strike UAS and loitering munitions.  They also induced hesitation with Armenia’s sponsor, Russia, causing them to equivocate whether the defense of the Nagorno-Karabakh region fell within the scope of the Armenian-Russian mutual defense agreement.

  3. Strike First. The innovative use of obsolete, remotely piloted air assets to probe and force Armenian air defense radars to “light up” enabled the Azeris to then fix, target, and destroy the Armenian layered air defenses using precision weapons, granting them first mover advantage.

  4. Dominate across all Domains. While the Maritime domain did not factor significantly in this conflict (Nagorno-Karabakh being landlocked), the Azeris dominated all other domains, successfully synchronizing actions across the Air, Land, Cyber, and even the Space domains — with their Turkish-supplied Bayraktar TB2 ISR and strike UAS leveraging Turkish satellites for communications links.

  5. The Battlefield is Becoming Increasingly Transparent. Despite camouflage, Armenian command posts and air defense assets were easily targeted and destroyed.  If you are sensed, you are targeted; and if targeted, you are destroyed or rendered inop. Sensors are more important than shooters, enabling shooters to now execute with greater precision than ever before. High definition full motion real-time videos from UAS and loitering munitions not only allowed the Azeris to target and destroy Armenian systems and personnel, but provided intelligence, battle damage assessment, and video content used to win the information war.  There is nowhere to hide.

  6. Masking is Essential to Survive in the Future Battlespace. Masking is a full spectrum effort engaging all active and passive measures to make systems and personnel hard to target. Camouflage is no longer enough. We must define, study, and promote the concept of masking as a key element of war — possibly elevating it as a separate principle of war. Our mantra must be “Mask or Die.”

  7. Top Attack is Becoming the Decisive Method of War.  Azeris’ UAVs and loitering munitions provided them with a relatively inexpensive substitute for conventional air power.  Any state (or non-state actor) with the resources to purchase top attack systems on the global market has the potential to achieve air supremacy.

  8. Long Range Precision Fires will Dominate Future Fights.  Azeris use of both dumb and smart artillery fires, in conjunction with UAS and brilliant loitering munitions, enabled them to win decisively in just 44 days.  There was no decisive close combat fight.  We need to develop our own standoff strike capabilities, while simultaneously denying our adversaries the use of theirs.

  9. Active Protection Systems and Air Defense. Active defense systems are needed to survive in the new battlespace.  Armenian ground forces had about seven seconds to react to incoming strikes by UAS and loitering munitions, resulting in devastating crises in their Soldiers’ morale and will to fight.  Layered, multi-capable, air defense against top attack munitions, missiles, aircraft, and low-speed and high-speed threats, is vital. We need an “Iron Dome-like” top attack protection capability for our combat, command and control, combat support, and combat service support elements.

  10. Warfare is Accelerated. Roboticization and automation mean battles will be increasingly executed faster than ever before. This trend will turn the existing “kill chain” into a “kill web,” where artificial intelligence (AI) will prioritize and synchronize weapons engaging targets across multiple domains.   This synchronization will be AI-led, with humans-in or on-the-loop, then executed with humans-out-of-the-loop at hyperspeed.

Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with the Undersecretary of the Navy, the Honorable James “Hondo” Geurts and Dr. Zachary Davis, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, discussing how to think radically about the future, capitalize on talent, and unleash technological convergences to out-compete our adversaries, and when necessary, defeat them decisively in conflict, on 15 April 2021.

Other Episodes

Episode 25

December 17, 2020 00:35:42
Episode Cover

25. Reading and Leading in the Future with Joe Byerly

In this episode of “The Convergence,” we discuss reading and its implications on leadership and forecasting, the future of command selection, and cultivating effective communicators and thinkers in the future force with LTC Joe Byerly, an active duty armor officer in the U.S. Army who has served in both conventional military and Joint assignments. In 2013, LTC Byerly started From the Green Notebook to share this thoughts on self-development — “I’m passionate about leader development and want to help others to lead with the best version of themselves. I created this site to provide a platform for leaders to help each other by sharing lessons learned. Lessons that come from our own green notebooks.” The following bullet points highlight key insights on leadership and reading from our interview with LTC Byerly: Leaders can learn and prepare for the future by reading and understanding how we got to where we are, studying economics and the social sciences, and focusing on what the classics tell us about human behavior. Reading science fiction as part of our personal study program serves as a mental laboratory to push our thought and help us break from linear projection (now) into the future. To understand the possibilities of the future, you have to connect disparate things and bring them together. Reading broadly and connecting these dots improves strategic thinking. Ideal Soldiers in the future will love to learn, demonstrate empathy, and have the ability to fight and win. Communication is a key skill for the future to describe vision and intent. A favorite quote – “If the people can’t see your vision, then it is a hallucination.” Talking to future Soldiers, we must convince them to own their personal development. The ...

Listen

Episode 44

October 14, 2021 00:52:04
Episode Cover

44. Cultural Intelligence: More Than Materiel with Terry Young

Terry Young is the Founder and CEO of sparks & honey, “a cultural intelligence consultancy helping organizations understand explosive and immediate cultural shifts, as well as cultural tastes that develop over time.” By leveraging the power of culture, sparks & honey seeks to open minds and create possibilities in the now, next, and future.  Mr. Young is a frequent speaker and writer on the largest shifts that will shape the future, most recently addressing such topics as precision consumer 2030, the rise of Generation Z, new semantics, open business, diversity OS, and the future of giving.  His deep understanding of consumer behavior and digital and technology platforms allowed him to architect the sparks & honey model and cultural intelligence platform, QTM. In our interview with Mr. Young, we discuss the future of workplaces, the meaning of true diversity and how to achieve and measure it, and how to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build cultural intelligence across a wide spectrum of future topics. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Cultural intelligence can help us understand why humans make the decisions that they make and how we can translate that information into opportunities. At scale, it can identify weak signals and emerging threats and help organizations anticipate change. sparks & honey leverages AI and man-machine teaming to identify the impacts of cultural trends. QTM — their AI cultural analysis system — uses natural language processing to analyze and map cultural trends at scale by scouring myriad sources — social media, patents, blogs, influencers, policy changes, academic papers, scientific discoveries — and then building a taxonomy of culture to categorize, cluster, and ...

Listen

Episode 14

July 09, 2020 00:28:44
Episode Cover

14. The Next Iteration of Warfare with Lisa Kaplan

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Lisa Kaplan, who founded Alethea Group to help organizations navigate the new digital reality and protect themselves against disinformation. Ms. Kaplan served as digital director for Senator Angus King’s 2018 campaign, where she designed and executed a strategy to identify, understand, and respond to disinformation. She is one of the few people who has firsthand experience combating disinformation on the campaign trail. Ms. Kaplan has also briefed US, NATO, EU, and G-7 policy makers and officials on disinformation. Previously, she consulted with PwC for the U.S. State Department, and served as a U.S. Senate aide. In this episode, we talk with Ms. Kaplan about weaponized information as a national security problem, algorithmic silos created by social media, and disinformation as the next iteration of warfare. Some of the highlights from our interview include the following: Disinformation is a national security problem manifesting itself in politics. Open source information can be leveraged to create effective digital strategies to counter this rapidly-proliferating threat. Social media algorithms create algorithmic silos: personal echo chambers that create individual realities for users. This method of platform retention is creating more polarized information spaces. Algorithms will continue to get stronger over time, increasing the impact of this problem. Disinformation will become the next iteration of warfare, as it is comparatively inexpensive and easy to use. Bad actors can leverage algorithmic silos to target their disinformation to vulnerable populations. As a result, the government should identify vulnerable populations and develop support plans. The proliferation of fringe and conspiracy media outlets will make it difficult to know which information to trust. We should begin examining the long term impacts for ...

Listen