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Dr. Can KASAPOĞLU: “We have learned a lot from the Russia-Ukraine War in terms of the defense industry”

Issue 119 - December 2022

On day 2 of SAHA EXPO 2022 International Defense and Aerospace Exhibition, a panel discussion was held on the "Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on the Global Defense Industry. " Pavlo RIABIKIN, Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine, Cengiz KARAAĞAÇ, Director of Engineering and Consultancy at STM, Dr. Can KASAPOĞLU, Program Director of Security and Defense Studies at EDAM, Sine ÖZKARAŞAHİN, Security and Defense Analyst at EDAM, and Elisabeth Gosselin-MALO, Defense Reporter, participated in the panel moderated by Major General (Rtd) Tayyar SÜNGÜ.

Starting his speech on the impact of the systems employed in the Russia-Ukraine War on the battlefield and the lessons learned by the global industry, Dr. KASAPOĞLU first emphasized that there has been a paradigm shift in the modern battlefield within the framework of digital open-source intelligence. "We have learned a lot from the Russia-Ukraine War in terms of the defense industry, particularly with regard to strategic issues. First, we see that digital open-source intelligence is experiencing its golden age. For example, consider how could we have detected a weapon system deployed by the Soviet Union in Syria in the 1970s-80s, and how would we have evaluated the technical features of this weapon system. This would have necessitated a crucial human intelligence effort and likely included a high level of secrecy. However, we can now see that there is a distinction between the bureaucratic and practical expressions of the concept of top secret in the Ukrainian battlefield. We get information about Russian butterfly mines, the use of thermobaric weapons, the movements of large Russian maneuvering units from UCAV imagery, from commercial satellite imagery, from monitoring of social media apps like Telegram, Twitter by data harvesting. Over time, we have come to an understanding that this open-source intelligence is both an intellectual and an operational effort. For instance, utilizing Telegram data, the Ukrainian Armed Forces can respond immediately with fire support vehicles. Therefore, there is a paradigm change, similar to what happened to the dinosaurs. This is the first lesson about who will survive, who won't, who will stay in the previous paradigm and the annals of history, and who will adapt to the digital battlefield.”