New Strategy Center was present at the Advanced Research Workshop “Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDTs) in Defence: Lessons from Ukraine”, being represented by Major General (Retired) Paul Hurmuz, Senior Associate Expert. The event was organised by the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) from Türkiye and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), being also supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.
MG (ret.) Hurmuz was a speaker for the Panel “Digitalization of the Battlefield & the Future Operating Environment (FOE)”. He stressed the fact that the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC), approved in 2021, along with the 2020 Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the 2019 NATO Military Strategy, contributes to the Alliance’s efforts to strengthen its deterrence and defence posture and offers a vision in support of maintaining and further developing NATO’s decisive military advantage, and continuously adapting the military instrument of power through to 2040.
General Hurmuz underlined that, according to NWCC, fundamental to the Alliance’s ability to shape, contest and fight is expanding knowledge and understanding, with a view to ultimately achieving cognitive superiority. This understanding shall be connected across all-domains, enabled by technology, in order to maximize commanders’ ability to anticipate, think, decide and act. Efforts to build better situational awareness and understanding with a view to achieving cognitive advantage over potential adversaries is a priority for the Alliance. The concept for a sixth domain of operations emerged at the beginning of 2020 and it was introduced as the first recommendation in the essay “Weaponization of neurosciences” written for the “Warfighting 2040” study ran by Allied Command Transformation (ACT).
Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) offer the potential for another inflexion point in delivering military transformation and advantage. Developing the right blend of human-machine teams – the effective integration of humans and machines into our war fighting systems – is the key; and we should not forget that we are in a race with our adversaries to unlock this advantage. Also, the ethical, moral and legal implications of human augmentation are complex and hard to foresee but engagement with these issues must be thoroughly considered. Human augmentation could signal the coming of a new era of strategic advantage with possible implications across the board. The requirement for AI is all the more pressing when considering the need to counter AI-enabled threats to national security. Malicious actors will undoubtedly seek to use AI to attack and it is likely that the most capable hostile state actors, which are not bound by an equivalent legal framework, are developing or have developed offensive AI-enabled capabilities.
In conclusion, MG (ret.) Hurmuz stressed the need to remember that any technology we have is likely to also be available to our adversaries and therefore longer-term mitigation of technological threats is likely to be more important than short term technological advantage.