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The “Western Way of War”

In this paper it is necessary to study the model of the “Western way of war” according to Geoffrey Parker, and learn why the feature of “armed forces of the West have always placed heavy reliance on superior technology”. The main claim of the paper is that the strongest influence on the war and its forms has the evolution of technological progress, that is the most important in promoting military success over the past centuries.

The history of development of armed struggle is a constant battle of the technical means of attack and remedies. In response to a better means of protection appeared more sophisticated means of attack. This struggle has been and is conducted with varying success, bringing the victory to one or other side, but an absolute success has not been achieved so far. That is, the strongest influence on the war and its forms conduct has the process of improving weapons, both offensive and defensive. Improvement of weapons is not only revolutionizing the way of war conduct , but also gives rise to a number of new types of wars. The use of high technology in modern military technology is the key to the successful conduct of hostilities, as it helps to increase autonomous use of military equipment, as well as its effectiveness.

World War II brought great changes in types of weapons, as well as methods of their use, tactics of fights, the general principle of warfare. During this period, all participating countries were engaged in producing weapon, its improvement and development of new types of weapons. After the World War II all countries paid great attention to missile and rocket weapons. Missiles, rocket systems and artillery are most important weapons in modern armies. Missiles became the main type of weapon of modern armies, occupying a leading place among other weapons. The advent of nuclear weapons that have enormous destructive force, made missiles very effective, as they are main means of delivering nuclear warhead to the target.

Speaking about further development of weapons and armed forces, it is necessary to say about the long Cold War period, during which the USA and the USSR (as the two largest and most powerful countries of that time) were engaged in “arms race” – a confrontation between countries for supremacy in the armed forces, during which each side produced great number of weapons, trying to establish parity with the enemy, or beat it. During the Cold War has been improved the traditional means of destruction:

  • Weapons of mass destruction;
  • Weapons of group destruction;
  • Weapons of personal destruction.

During the period of “armed race” were created new nuclear capabilities, missiles, supersonic fighters, intercontinental bombers and nuclear submarines. Along with the improvement and development of traditional means of destruction were developed and refined innovative means of warfare. Development of these tools within the current stage of military-technological revolution led to the creation of a new class of weapons – weapons of global destruction, which includes informational, non-lethal weapons, and environmental. Complex use of these weapons in the future will affect the environment theaters of war in the twenty-first century.

Non-lethal weapons in general is a set of tools developed to disrupt the processes of functioning of technologies, and (or) the failure of the economic infrastructure and technological facilities, equipment and materials.

Environmental weapons involves an impact on the following elements of the biosphere:

  • The near space and the atmosphere;
  • Hydrosphere and lithosphere;
  • Earth’s climate system;
  • Mineral resources (fuel and energy resources, metal ores, chemical raw materials, etc.) and biological resources (plant and animal resources of the world);
  • The relationship of man with vital elements of the biosphere.

Information weapon is a set of tools used for infringement (copying, distortion or destruction) of information resources on the stages of their creation, processing, dissemination and (or) storage, with the following main objects of its effects:

  • Software and information service;
  • Software and hardware, telecommunications and other media;
  • Channels of communication to ensure the circulation of information flow and integration of management systems;
  • Human intelligence and the mass consciousness.

It is known that information means of confrontation are now developing the most rapidly.
One of the important breakthroughs in technological progress in the last century was the use of outer space and spacecraft. In the late 20th century security and defense of Western countries directly depend on the condition and level of development of space forces, as well as the capabilities of strategic warning. Total dominance in space creates the prerequisites for achieving victory in any conflict or war. The concept of joint and interrelated in time and space use of air reconnaissance and destruction, integrated into a single system, is a qualitatively new stage in the development of high-precision systems of reconnaissance and destruction.

Thus, at the end of XX century the world has come to ensure that outer space has become a clash of national scope, including the military, the interests of different states. In fact, at the turn of the XXI century the world has entered a new phase of geopolitical confrontation – a phase of struggle to achieve strategic superiority in space. Continuing the idea of the development of technology and progress, as well as methods of warfare, it can be said that the predominant role of space in achieving the objectives of the armed struggle in the XXI century will be determined by the possibility of solving this problem as an active influence and military support from the space activities of armed forces. Air-space is the same area of hostilities as ground space, and is used for reconnaissance, surveillance over the battlefield, fire damage, maneuvers, troop transport, command and control of landings. The achievement and maintenance of control over the airspace will always affect the results of any war.

The fight with the enemy on the ground and in the air is a new and important phenomenon in the development of the armed forces in the 20th century.

 

References:

Bradford James C. (2006). International Encyclopedia of Military History. Routledge
Parker G. (2005). The Cambridge history of warfare. Cambridge University Press.
Gray, Colin S. (2006). Recognizing and Understanding Revolutionary Change in Warfare: The Sovereignty of Context. Carlisle Barracks PA: Strategic Studies Institute.