Col AK Sharma (Retd)


Digitalisation is a global phenomenon transforming businesses, operations and the way we fight wars. Befittingly, DefExpo 2020 has adopted Digitalisation of Armed Forces as the main theme. Our Cover Story for this issue which happens to be the DefExpo Special Issue as well, thus, is on digitalising the armed forces. As a subject close to our heart, I presume this will continue to remain a major focus area of our editorial efforts throughout this Digital Decade.

Digitalisation is not a new concept for the Indian armed forces. Forays into digital technologies and systems commenced in early 90s with many projects taking off in all the three services. One of the major drivers of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) which has been acknowledged by armed forces of most of the nations is Communication and Digital technologies. The C4I2SR architectures, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) and Network Centric Warfare (NCW) which are the pillars of RMA as well as modernisation, hinge on the ability to implement digitalisation seamlessly.

While computers, communication, mobile technology and internet have been the key enablers for a digitalised world, disruptive technologies which will drive digitalisation in this decade would be Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Big Data and Neural Networks. A nation which is aspiring to be a regional power and an economic powerhouse must ensure that the armed forces keep pace with the digital revolution which is taking the world by a storm. It is not only strategy and operations which are going to be affected by digitalisation, but the whole ecosystem involving force structures, training, procurement and defence production which will have to adapt to the new ways of warfare.

In this issue, we have put the spotlight on Digitalisation and its impact on the Armed Forces. We have also introduced ‘Contours’, an editorial column, essentially dealing with RMA, non-contact warfare, and the impact of technologies on contact warfare. This issue highlights the focus areas which we intend to deal with in our forthcoming issues.

I also take this opportunity to wish all our readers and patrons a happy new year and a superb decade ahead.