The Cyber Era`s Character of War


  • Maija Turunen -



Cyber warfare, Russia, NATO, Artificial Intelligence


The nature of war is often considered unchanged, although in the cyber era the concept of war, weapon, and fighter have become blurred. Instead, the character of war is constantly changing and is always unique. The character of war is not similar at different battle domains or levels of warfare, which complicates the course of war. A serious deviation from a strategic-level perception of war character in relation to an operational or tactical level perception character of war can result in defeat.

The fog of war has intensified, although the situational awareness of conventional battlefields has clarified due to advances in technology. Technology is a key factor in shaping the war character of the cyber era, depending on the point of view, in 4th or 5th generation warfare. The nature of the next generation warfare and the formation of the character of war may be determined by the Artificial Intelligence or other Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, which itself develops and uses technology or some other technology, not yet known to us.

This paper seeks to find factors that influence the formation of the cyber era`s war character and its transformation in Western and Russian military thinking. The aim is to describe the opportunities and challenges associated with the use of advanced technology in the military purpose. This review is based on the NATO`s and the Russia`s strategy papers. Theoreticallly, this paper draws on the theory of the character of war, which is applied to the question under study through the theory of strategic culture. An integrative literature analysis has been used as the research method.

The key findings of the paper are that Russia and the West share the view that a war-like battle is already under way in the cyberspace. That requires an faster and better capacity to utilize advanced technologies as part of or in support of weapons systems. Russia and the West are struggling with the moral, legal, and technical problems associated with the use of advanced technology, but are aware of its necessity in the cyber warfare.