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trend paper the connectivity challenge

October 11, 2021

Trend Paper: ‘The connectivity challenge – a new revolution in military affairs’


A new “revolution in military affairs” is driving land force transformations worldwide. Like the precision guidance revolution of the 1970’s, today’s digital revolution demands new ways of thinking, equipping and operating modern armies.

In the 1970’s, Army General Donn Starry saw the precision guidance revolution take shape in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Surveying the outcome of the conflict, he explained the revolution that was already underway:

“On the modern battlefield, anything that can be seen, can be hit – and anything that can be hit, can be killed.”

GEN Starry’s straightforward observation drove the Army’s transformation to Air-Land Battle and re-shaped Army acquisition, force development and training.

Today, the outlines of a new revolution are emerging, driven this time by a confluence of three digital technologies – ubiquitous full-spectrum sensing, 5G networks, and artificial intelligence. These technologies invite an update of General Starry’s insight, to guide future Army modernization:

“In the modern battlespace, anything that can be known will be known, and anything that is known can be acted upon.”

[…] Gaining military advantages from the digital revolution is the “Connectivity Challenge” facing commanders and Ministries of Defense. […] Just as the precision guidance revolution required commanders to think about the battlefield in new ways, the digital revolution and the rise of ubiquitous sensors, high-speed networks and artificial intelligence demand new ways of thinking about equipping and operating land forces. The armies that succeed in adopting three innovation practices seem most likely to realize the greatest advantage from the 21st century digital revolution in military affairs. […]

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Read the Trend Paper entitled ‘The Connectivity Challenge – A New Revolution in Military Affairs’, published on October 11, 2021, at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C. (web news).

Contents include:

  • Ubiquitous sensors – Anything that can be known…
  • 5G networks – Connecting commanders to knowledge
  • Artificial intelligence – Anything known can be acted upon
  • Innovation Practice 1 – Optimize decision processes, not individual devices
  • Innovation Practice 2 – Design the soldier experience
  • Innovation Practice 3 – Make small bets as fast as possible