The old adage “Keep up or get left behind” rings true in every situation in life; more so when it alludes to the very security fabric insulating the nation from the scourge of evolving hi tech threat today. The only difference between the role of security forces and their civilian counterparts is that there is no option or scope to get “left behind” as the stakes are literally life and death.
Conflict between belligerent states has been categorized into “Generations of Warfare”. The online encyclopedia ‘Wikipedia’ outlines the same; and I quote
“The concept of four "generations" in the history of modern warfare was created by a team of United States analysts, including William S. Lind, for the purpose of an argument for "the changing face of war" entering into a "fourth generation".First-generation warfare refers to Ancient and Post-classical battles fought with massed manpower, using line and column tactics with uniformed soldiers governed by the state.Second-generation warfare is the early modern tactics used after the invention of the rifled musket and breech-loading weapons and continuing through the development of the machine gun and indirect fire. The term second generation warfare was created by the U.S. military in 1989.Third-generation warfare focuses on using late modern technology-derived tactics of leveraging speed, stealth and surprise to bypass the enemy's lines and collapse their forces from the rear. Essentially, this was the end of linear warfare on a tactical level, with units seeking not simply to meet each other face to face but to outmaneuver each other to gain the greatest advantage.Fourth-generation warfare as presented by Lind et al. is characterized by "Post-modern" a return to decentralized forms of warfare, blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians due to nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces, returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times.”
It is the very blurred lines of evolving threat coupled with hi tech know how that could blindside our security forces today by challenging the SunTzu-ian concept of “Knowing your Enemy” and it is this very challenge that needs addressing at the very earliest. A logical step in this direction is by arming trainee cadets who are the future leaders of our security apparatus with the ‘tactical and technical’ tools of the trade. While traditionally our training regimen has kept up and ahead with the ‘tactical’ demands of evolving warfare; our ‘technical’ edge of the blade needed a whetstone. In this regard, it was heartening to read a recent article by MrRajatPandit in the Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/armed-forces-want-officers-to-be-hi-tech-warriors-after-b-tech-degrees/articleshow/59583674.cms) about the decision to arm Air Force cadets of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla with engineering know-how and award B Tech instead of the traditional BSc degree. The Naval cadets had already taken the plunge in 2016 and it is expected that the Army too would soon consider ‘High-tech Scholar Warriors’ to match their sister services step for step.
It is imperative to realize that in war there are no runners-up and with the fifth generation of warfare almost upon us it requires a technical mind amalgamated with tactical acumen to master the battlefield. That being said, India has already taken the technological leap from ‘weapon to weapon system’ and by training technically sound warriors at the grass-root level, we can ensure our security insulation to remain intact in the challenging days ahead.  ---------------------   

Col Toms/

(Training faculty Cavalier India)

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