War of the future: Russia and China are fighting for strategic superiority

For Russia and China, dominance in the decision-making of future wars is at the heart of their modernization efforts. The ISW shows that both countries are pursuing strategies to improve their military performance, although with different approaches.

Russia has highlighted “management superiority” as a central concept of its military strategy, emphasizing the importance of the information domain. It’s about making better decisions faster than the opponent while influencing the opponent within a Russian decision-making framework. Although Russia has drawn some innovative approaches from its war experiences in Syria, the fighting in Ukraine has exposed weaknesses in Russian military planning. This, as the ISW points out, highlights Russia’s ongoing challenges in adapting to modern warfare standards.

China’s triple path: technology, training and transformation

China, on the other hand, is pursuing a three-pronged approach to achieving decision-making dominance. This includes doctrinal transformations, the use of advanced technologies and improved training methods. The ISW emphasizes that China has placed its emphasis on “informatization” and “intelligentization” in recent decades. This involves integrating technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons to increase the speed and complexity of warfare. Despite this progress, there are concerns that China may struggle to effectively implement its strategies due to its lack of real-world war experience.

Another important point that the ISW highlights is the ideological approach of both countries. While Russia focuses on the concept of hybrid war, in which information campaigns are combined with conventional military actions, China emphasizes the role of the Communist Party and the influence of the political commissar in the chain of command of its armed forces.

USA at a crossroads: Do China’s tech advances outweigh Russia’s field experience?

The United States is therefore faced with the challenge of evaluating the strategies and modernization efforts of these two countries. The ISW notes that China’s extensive modernization efforts could potentially pose a greater threat, particularly as they focus on advanced technologies and the integration of civilian expertise. While Russia has valuable experience from its recent military engagements, this may be limited by systemic weaknesses in training and leadership.

Trump cards of the USA: adaptability and modernization

In conclusion, the ISW demonstrates that the United States must capitalize on its own strengths, such as superior military training and a decentralized command structure, and exploit its adversaries’ weaknesses to succeed in long-term military competition with Russia and China. It is clear that at a time of growing geopolitical tensions and changes in the way wars are fought, the ability to quickly adapt and modernize will be critical.

Jean Harris

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