The original text in CyberWire: “After the war in Ukraine: Cyber revanchism.”
At some point in time, the war in Ukraine will end. How it will end is harder to forecast, but it will end.
Russia has taken a significant beating in the war; even if the Russian forces learned as the war progressed and partly mitigated the worst vulnerabilities, the war was not the intended success story it set out to be. The planned three days until the Ukrainian government collapsed and Ukraine could be absorbed into Russia never happened. Instead, it became a long war that made Russia look incapable, and less than a superpower.
The limited cyber exchanges during the conflict have surprised the cyber community as many expected far more cyber attacks and cyber campaigns to be executed at a time of war. So, will future peace be cyber peace as well? Probably not.
Continue reading My text in CyberWire: After the war in Ukraine: Cyber revanchism.
The change from a focus on counter-insurgency to near-peer and peer conflicts also introduce the likelihood, if there is a conflict, of a fight in colder and frigid conditions. The weather conditions in Korea and Eastern Europe are harsh in wintertime, with increasing challenges the further north the engagement is taking place. I have personal experience facing Arctic conditions as a former Swedish reserve officer and light infantry company commander.
In traditional war, theaters have the threat to your existence line up as enemy, logistics, and climate. In a polar climate, it is reversed – climate, logistics, and the enemy.
An enemy will engage you and seek to take you on different occasions meanwhile the climate will be ever-present. The battle for your physical survival in staying warm, eating, and seeking rest can create unit fatigue and lower the ability to fight within days, even for trained and able troops. The easiest way to envision how three feet of snow affects you is to think about your mobility walking in water up to your hip, so either you ski or use low-ground pressure and wide-tracked vehicles such as specialized Small Unit Support Vehicle (SUSV). The climate and the snow depth affect equipment. Lethality in your regular weapons is lowered. Gunfire accuracy decreases as charges burn slower in an arctic subzero-degree environment. Mortar rounds are less effective than under normal conditions when the snow captures shrapnel. Any heat from weapons, vehicles, or your body will melt the snow and then freeze to ice. If not cleaned, weapons will jam. In a near-peer or peer conflict, the time units are engaged longer, and the exposure to the climate can last months. I say this to set the stage. Arctic warfare occurs in an environment that often lacks roads, infrastructure, minimal logistics, and snow and ice blocking mobility.
The climate affects you and the enemy; once you are comfortable in this environment, you can work on the enemy’s discomfort.
Continue reading Cyber in Arctic Warfare