Monday, 05 April 2021 17:24

The Impact of Air Power in Global Cyber and Hybrid Warfare

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It is a fact that even criminals imprisoned for ordinary crimes in Ukraine and Syria are prepared and put on the field by the administrations. We know a similar practice from the use of prisoners in prisons against Saddam in the US invasion of Iraq. To put it without hesitation, the "Gezi Events" were also an attempt by global imperialism to ignite low-intensity hybrid warfare. So, they could neutralize power and bring it to its knees or take it down completely. Today, the strategy of “carrying the war into the enemy's land” is not only a tactic applied by terrorist organizations, but has been adopted as a policy by hegemonic states, just like in examples such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is well known that the security dynamics of the international system changed after the end of the Cold War. In the new era, no state wants to actively use nuclear weapons. We would not be mistaken if we say that states acquiring nuclear weapons to promote their influence as a deterrent and room for negotiation. During this period, cyber weapons have taken a decisive position militarily, politically and economically as the most effective dynamic force.

Perhaps in the current geopolitical conjuncture and for the future, it is necessary to define a new "Cold War". Because at the point of use of cyber weapons, showdowns continue on a global basis that goes beyond the states. The cyber threat has evolved into a more decisive and obvious dominant force. (Julian Assange is an important example in this regard) In addition, the emergence of non-state actors, in other words "nuclear terrorism", maintains its current status as a bigger and more risky threat than the threat of states to each other. In this respect, when we look at it with a broad projection, all states are faced with many threats, risks and competitions related to global existence.

The first time the cyber world was perceived and recognized as a threat was after the Russian troops entered Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in December 1994. The Russian-initiated operation, thought to be short in terms of time, faced serious Chechen resistance. The planned military strategy did not match the realities on the ground, and moreover, after the Cold War, an armed conflict was moved to the internet for the first time. This was actually the first harbinger of cyber warfare. Because it was not a science fiction work designed and animated instead of the real world but served to the whole world as “Augmented Reality” reflected on the screen from the field of conflict itself. The Chechens using the Information War extremely effectively, first of all gained psychological superiority by using all media opportunities. For example, pictures of dead Russian soldiers that Chechens uploaded to the Internet prompted Russian mothers to take action to save their children. Although the Russians were late in perceiving this cyber warfare that occurred outside of the traditional war, they soon tried to respond to the attacks by establishing alternative websites. To remind, this event pioneered the first cold conflict in cyberspace. At the same time, the transfer of the conflict to the internet environment opened a new field for psychological operations tactics and evolved into a field of conflict where it is very difficult for the opponents to control. Thus, the internet became not only a media tool, but also a force field that would attack the opponent and at the same time damage infrastructure systems and mental mechanisms.

The whole world witnessed the “Hybrid War”, a crossbreed war in which traditional war, unconventional warfare and cyber warfare are intertwined by a Russia that changed its tactics and strategies by taking lessons from the past in the last Ukrainian crisis. This new war model has turned into a model that has been put into practice on a global scale until it reaches both non-state armed organizations and the super-mind structures that support these subcontracted organizations, and the states that want to maintain its hegemony in geostrategic regions.

Hybrid warfare, which can also be defined as mixed warfare; It gained a dimension until the use of weapons of mass destruction by criminal organizations, accompanied by conventional force and operational methods and information operations. It is even worth noting that it is a fact that even criminals imprisoned for ordinary crimes in Ukraine and Syria are prepared and put on the field by the administrations. We know a similar practice from the use of prisoners in prisons against Saddam in the US invasion of Iraq. To put it without hesitation, the "Gezi Events" were also an attempt by global imperialism to ignite low-intensity hybrid warfare. So, they could neutralize power and bring it to its knees or take it down completely.

Today, the strategy of “carrying the war into the enemy's land” is not only a tactic applied by terrorist organizations, but has been adopted as a policy by hegemonic states, just like in examples such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the new century, the US and NATO-affiliated Western states seem determined to use all optional instruments until the end of hybrid warfare as a new model, that is, with a result-oriented approach. As a matter of fact, last March, Russia's Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko criticized the Supreme Commander of NATO's European Allied Forces, General Philip Breedlove from the USA, accusing Russia of implementing a hybrid warfare strategy in Ukraine, and said that NATO also uses hybrid warfare methods. Emphasizing that this strategy is used by NATO, Grushko reminded that NATO forces resorted to this strategy in Yugoslavia formerly and Iraq and Libya.

To mention "air power", which is a complementary element of traditional warfare; in this sense, it has become the main dynamic and decisive military power of mixed (hybrid) warfare. Air power has become the most important power in geopolitics. Depending on the area of use, it is in the "soft power" position with areas such as humanitarian aid, deterrence, patient and injured transport and transfer, etc. In fact, we should also state that the impact and capacity of air power depends on the effective use of space power. At the point of reconnaissance, intelligence and analysis, space power has literally become a cyber power. In this respect, today NATO has also changed its concept to the concept of "new air power". Speaking at the International Air and Space Power Conference (ICAP'2015) held at the Air War Academy in Istanbul in April 2015, where I was a participant, Chief of Air Staff General Akın Öztürk confirmed this and said: “Air force has been used as the first weapon of choice, or even the only military option, in many operations carried out by NATO and Coalition forces.” At the same conference, Retired Lieutenant General David Deptula (USAF), one of the commanders of Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War; “If the air force had not intervened against ISIS, the deadlock in Tikrit could not have been overcome. At certain points, everyone makes tactical assessments, but if your goals are clear, the practice is clear. This was also the same in the operation against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Also, for ISIS. But after that, it is necessary to take different steps...” He emphasized that NATO has now moved to the stage of using air power more effectively as a result-taking actor against non-state global terrorism.

It was seen once again in the Libyan operation that air intervention in hybrid warfare strategies made the advantages of air power more visible. And thus, it was understood that air power is the most important paradigm determining the outcome of the use of military force.

All these developments reveal the importance of the basic strategic parameters ranging from microchip production for software and defense industry as more and more important with each passing day. Therefore, the need for intellectual intelligence and memory is increasing day by day, and the fact that analysis skills are strengthened with this mental infrastructure before tactics and strategy is seen as a kind of situational awareness. Those who do not understand and criticize why national military investments are prioritized and should be prioritized in the conventional sense should not forget that air power also means brain power.

The most important argument that will create difference and awareness among countries and at the same time gain sustainable competitive advantage in a process where globalization is moving to a different dimension is undoubtedly the intellectual capital based on orchestration. Of course, besides this, the most basic thematic approach is to exhibit domestic technology and innovative approaches with global originality. Good governance, political stability and economic power are essential for all these to be carried out in a healthy way.

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