Opinion and Editorial

UAE on the cutting 'Edge' of security

Bikram Vohra
Filed on November 6, 2019 | Last updated on November 6, 2019 at 09.02 pm

The concept of war will never be like the ones depicted in the movies for World War II.

The best way to avert a war is to ensure peace. And in that strategy the message is distinct: the strongest defence makes for the best offence.

Up until the turn of the century the call of battle was boots on the ground and the movement of manpower and supply lines ultimately ending in face-to-face combat. These parameters have changed drastically and the advent of technology and cyberspace options have made the old rules of war obsolete.

As Sun Tzu, the 12th century military and war expert, said, "The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim." Today, that resistance has to be created and managed and maintained by the application of cyber options that span long distances of terrain in microseconds.

Keeping that in mind the establishment of the Edge as the largest defence company in the country with the coming together of 25 entities, the UAE has shown great foresight. It has also set the standard for tomorrow for other countries in the region and the larger world and shown how the threats of the future will be neutralised.

The concept of war will never be like the ones depicted in the movies for World War II. Those might be reflected in internal skirmishes in the world's trouble spots in a limited fashion but for the most part the new enemies are not so much another country as the scourge of terrorism and organised crime. When a multiple discipline organisation like Edge is activated it need not only look at the military aspect but also at anything that threatens the security of a nation. Surveillance, the access to international databases of suspects, and the analyses of the information flow are all likely to be part of the picture.

Tracey German, from the Oxford University Defense Studies department, says, "The increasing complexity of the global security environment in the 21st century makes it difficult for states to plan for future wars. The sheer pace of change, accelerated by changes in technology and communications, as well as the growing interconnectedness of societies, has added to the complexity of the international environment. The ability of actors and individuals to produce their own digital content and communicate it across state boundaries instantly is unprecedented. The experiences of individual states foster different visions of future conflict and how states envisage military force being used, either by themselves or potential adversaries. This diversity stresses the fundamental difficulties of predicting the precise nature of the next war or future conflict. While states take different routes in attempting to manage this inherent unpredictability, they all seek to conduct a thorough analysis of conflicts both past and present to understand and predict how countries will fight wars in the future."

This assessment provides a clarity on why the need for creating a mechanism to respond to a host of 'new' dangers is an imperative.

Even Sun Tzu would have been impressed at this futuristic decision. Eight hundred years ago the man who wrote the book on the basics of modern warfare did not focus or promote physical force as the best means to win a battle. He was more skilled at and interested in using psychological and technical means to defeat his enemy.

In similar fashion the threat today comes from remote controlled devices that are set into motion and manipulated from vast distances. An initiative like Edge not only establishes an ongoing research and development platform but also tackles real issues like the use of drones, placement of robots in hazard situations, supremacy in the air through hypersonic craft, and the use of anti-magnetic blockers and system jammers among others. These are the weapons of tomorrow and they have to be defended against. Literally, the confrontation is at the push of a button, giving that phrase a new meaning.

The integral core of any defence is the emphasis on security and this security can be achieved by pre-empting scenarios that are in the mix and being aware that what does not exist today is not a figment of imagination but a reality tomorrow.

Edge is likely to awaken the world to a new realisation as the UAE charters a course towards moulding science and technology to guarantee peace and prosperity and protect, preserve and defend the sanctity of the nation and its people.


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