'Must transform personnel into scholar warriors': IAF chief

Strategic understanding can help tide over the fog of war

vivekram_chaudhari IAF chief Vivek Ram Chaudhari | Twitter @ANI

With the June 24 Wagner PMC ‘mutiny’ in Russia generating enough food for thought for military strategists, it is but a truism that the ‘fog of war’ and information warfare are fast becoming buzzwords in modern warfare. The challenges of separating fact from fiction are growing for modern militaries.

Thucydides, the fifth century BC Greek historian and military strategist, had said: “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.”

On Wednesday, the Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari almost toed the Greek philosopher’s line, although not completely in words, when he underlined the importance of strategic thought in today’s technology-infused world of modern warfare.

Pointing out that the complexities of modern warfare with several unknowns and characterised by fog and fiction can be circumvented by knowledge, experience and good planning, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief said: “We may need to reeducate entire generation of officers in the next few years, to bring everyone up the speed with the unprecedented acceleration of technology infusion.”

“The path of transformation is not just aircraft, weapons and equipment but we have to transform our thinking also. As IAF surges ahead into its centenary decade, we must transform our personnel into scholar warriors capable of winning the next war.”

“The elite military thinkers among us have to be nurtured and valued. It has been seen that military leaders who have invested in continuous learning are more capable of assimilating technology into their strategic plans.”

The IAF chief was the keynote speaker at the culmination of IAF’s second “Warfare & Aerospace Strategy Program (WASP)” that was jointly conducted by the College of Air Warfare and Centre for Air Power Studies.

The IAF’s WASP aims to nurture scholar warriors or strategic thinkers who can blend cross-domain knowledge to generate policy-driving ideas at the strategic level.

“Today, we need rigorous scholarly and analytical tools to identify, measure, and evaluate changes in the character of war to make sense of this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world,” ACM Chaudhari said.

“While the focus of a military strategist must remain war-fighting, a larger understanding of interconnected aspects will facilitate a more effective orchestration of operational plans.”

WASP is a strategic education programme of 15 weeks duration which was started in 2022 and is structured to provide the participants with a deep understanding of strategy.


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