Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine taught the U.S. military several important lessons, including the importance and value of secure battlefield communications and the growing threat of drones, the US military said this week. highest civilian official in the US military.
“We watch every day in real time what is happening in Ukraine, what we see with the Russian army, and try to learn as many lessons as possible for what we think it means for the army in the future. said Armed Forces Secretary Christine Wormuth during a virtual event hosted by the Atlantic Council on May 31.
Wormuth explained that long before the Russian invasion, the US military had embarked on a massive modernization effort, including improving its secure communications practices. The conflict, she said, has further validated the army’s modernization efforts.
An example is the importance of secure communication on the battlefield. Russian troops reportedly used unencrypted devices, including their personal cell phones. Ukrainian forces also used simpler and less secure communication devices to share information, exposing their locations and making them vulnerable.
This lack of secure communication, Wormuth said, makes it easier for an adversary to target them.
“When soldiers use unencrypted communications, it makes them targetable,” Wormuth said. “And I think we need to think about the importance of secure communications.”
As part of its modernization efforts, the military uses several networking tools, including radios and waveforms, to reduce an adversary’s ability to locate troops using the electromagnetic spectrum.
Wormuth also stressed that the military must consider the ubiquity of cellphones among American soldiers. “Certainly most of our young soldiers have their phones with them wherever they go. [and] we have to think about it,” she said.
Additionally, she explained that Ukrainian and Russian forces use drones to locate and attack adversaries, highlighting the growing threat of these weapons.
The U.S. military has had its eyes on emerging drone threats for years, and the military is leading the Department of Defense’s counter-drone efforts. In addition, air and missile defense is a top modernization priority for the military, Wormuth noted.
“Drones and other unmanned systems will pose significant challenges for us, again, which is part of why we are considering modernizing our air and missile defense system,” Wormuth said.