Associate Prof. Dr. Sait Y?lmaz Director, Beykent University Stra

Issue 23 - November 2010

Information technologies have changed the concept of war
In the new century, it isn’t the command hiearachy but the “net” setup that has come to the fore. In order to minimize one problem appearing in the chain of command, it is foreseen that the formations that will take on duties in military systems will be connected to one another through a net. In the United States, providing each soldier with a laptop computer and placing it among his or her personal inventory is the most important development within the last fifty years of land wars and even possibly since the industrial revolution. With technologies like global target indentification systems, laser scanners, digital communications and on-board computers that minimize human error to a large extent, has reduced firing with a field gun without ways of seeing, from eight minutes to three minutes. In the 21st century, the most important developments that will take place in military technology will be, in particular, in the target acquisition equipment, data processing and directed energy areas utilizing micro electronics. As a result of these developments, significant changes will take place in military doctrines and in the force structure. The target of the force structure of the future is to dominate and control information that will strengthen force and to win the war on information.

With the use of information systems, friend and enemy alike can now be seen whenever, wherever and what they are doing at every level, making battle fronts a thing of the past and wars in terms of time, location and vehicles used multidimensionally. Aside from communications, with the use of electromagnetic waves in technologies such as radar, sonar, laser, GPS and INS , revolutionary changes have taken place in reconnaissance and detection equipment, and guided weapons (missiles) and warheads have appeared. The invention of transistors, microelectronics, computers, fiber optic cables and super conductors has provided significant contributions to electronic technologies, in particular in satellite communications and imagery intelligence. With the development in detection and distance strike technologies, the use of smart weapons in point targets that reduces civilian casualties has increased. While the use of smart weapons during the Gulf War was 10%, it was 30% in the Kosova Operation and has increased to 70-80% in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. The Iraq and Balkan wars, aside from a transition to a complete professional army among Western powers also dictated the possession of the following capabilities in becoming a global power: Intelligence, strength projection, strategic transport capability and C4ISR.

The key to the Third World War will be biotechnology
The First World War was for chemists, the Second World War was for physicians and the Third World War will be for biotechnology experts. Biotechnology appeared with the application of chemistry, physics, engineering and other sciences to various living beings. Biotechnology is applied in nine areas: Individualized medicine; universal contagious diseases; vaccines, bio-nano technology; bio-shield; bio-defence; agriculture; bio-fuels and clonning. Universal contagious viruses such as bird influenza (H5N1) are in front of us as an important threat. These types of viruses have also the potential to be used as a biological weapon, and all countries in order to be prepared for this must develop a strategy and adopt other necessary measures (surveillance, detection, treatment etc.). Bio-defence is developing the necessary measures against bio-terrorism (The use of toxins and other poisonous materials for terrorism purposes against humans, animals and vegetation ). Production of ethanol from corn among bio-fuels was the first notable work in this area. This production has reached about 5% of the petroleum market in the United States. Clonning simply stated, entails the re-production of a gene, cell or organism. Even though activities in this area are subject to ethical debate, they are directed at the present time to productive cow and milk production, while other concepts will no doubt appear in the future.

A remedy for fossil fuels: alternative energy technologies
Energy is not just to make life simplier for humans but is also important for industrial bases, national security and defence and technological developments. While the world, in general, is trying to find a solution to the energy problem through nuclear reactors, the United States is after producing fuel (ethanol) from agricultural produce. On the other hand, work on ‘fusion energy’ gives hope for a cheaper, cleaner and an abundant energy source. The work conducted on fusion energy by the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) established by the U.S., Japan, China, EU, Russia, India and South Korea and located in France, aims to merge the hydrogen nucleus light (tritium and deuterium) and produce a substantial quantity of energy. Aside from the developments in petroleum and petro-chemical products, with the replacement of steel and aluminum alloys by composite, titanium, plastics etc., the range of war platforms have increased and have become lighter and able to carry more weapons. The destruction capacity of nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons, launch vehicles and range have greatly expanded.

Aerospace technology has brought about the threat of arming space
Remote sensing, communications, navigation, metereology, guided systems, missile defence and similar topics increases the use of space, and beyond air dominance, space dominance has gained importance. Unmanned airborne vehicles take on the role of aircraft and unmanned vehicles (robots) are also being developed for land and sea platforms. Out of the anuual 50 billion dollars in global expenses incurred on space activities, 38 billion dollars is spent by the United States alone. Even though the United States’ rivals are China and Russia, the EU is also targeting the development of a space capability in the long run. China and India are increasing their investments in space. Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and Colombia have established their own space agencies. Between 2007 and 2016 about 960 satellites will be launched into space and in particular communications satellites (voice and video) are in the forefront. The anti-satellite weapon tested by China in January 2007 was perceived by the United States as a threat to herself and this has brought about the threat of arming space.
The century that we live in is a period where quality is preferred to quantity, where war is computerized and where commerical technologies have increased their role for defence. We are at an age where armies have technological superiority, equipped with appropriate weapons and vehicles, integrated within a system and are well trained. The importance given by Westerners to weapon technology after the Cold War has led to thorough changes in the art of war starting with the Guld War. Despite this, a complete definition of the concept for these changes has not be undertaken as of now. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, Admiral William Owens, has introduced the definition ‘the system of systems.’ By integrating long-range, on-target weapon systems with intensive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance vehicles and using developed capabilities to process and distribute information, it is believed that even if the United States’ enemy was 200 miles below earth the U.S. would find and destroy it. Nevertheless, the Kosova operation in 1999 did not confirm this on the expectations involving the Serbs. The testing place for these expectations will only be if China, for example, that can compete with the United States, are faced in a power projection.