Sunday, March 17, 2019

Defence iQ: How will drones affect infantry tactics?

"How will drones affect infantry tactics?"

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
Defence iQ
14 March, 2019
Originally published:

With unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology developing rapidly, military leaders, analysts as well as defence industries around the world are coming up with new methods to both utilize them and combat them in the field

Indeed, UAV technology presents plenty of beneficial opportunities, but it is important that drones remain-value adding, and efforts are made not to increase the cognitive and physical burden on infantry that will have to carry them, use, and retrieve after a mission.

The US Military Goes Shopping

The US Army has ambitious plans regarding infantry use of drones. For example, in 2018 the US Army awarded a $2.6 million contract to FLIR Systems Inc. of Wilsonville, Oregon, for an undisclosed number of “Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System — a miniature helicopter with video cameras [which] enables infantry squads to see enemy units from the air.” The platform weighs about the same as a parakeet, and it can “can shoot live video with either a daylight imager or infrared, has a range of a little less than a mile and can fly for 25 minutes at a speed of 13 mph.” The contract is part of the Soldier Borne Sensor program.


Other companies are manufacturing light drones as well. For example, InstantEye Robotics reported in November 2018 that it had “secured a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in support of PMA-263, the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Program Office, to field 32 InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1 SUAS systems (64 aircraft).” Like the Black Hornet, InstantEye Robotics’ SUAS systems are light, for instance, the one sold to the US Marines has a weight of around 250 grams.

Counter drone systems 

Just as companies are developing lighter and more efficient drones, other companies are developing products to disable them. For example, IXI EW has developed the Drone Killer, which is available either as a rifle or as a system that can be attached to a rifle. Similarly, the Israeli company Smart Shooter has manufactured a fire control system called SMASH 2000 Plus that has a “drone mode.”

RECOMMENDED: The future of drone and counter-drone technology
Military and civilian agencies are trying to figure out how drones will affect the way infantry units operate. The advantages they provide, as well as the threat of enemy drone platforms, are still debated at the squad and battalion level. 
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and other agencies published a joint report, titled Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (CUAS) Capability for Battalion-and-Below Operations, in 2018, which has been widely read and quoted as it discusses precisely this issue. The report touches on issues including how to counter enemy drones, like for example jamming radio frequencies. (One problem is that new drones “can operate without radio frequency command-and-control links by using automated target recognition and tracking, obstacle avoidance, and other capabilities enabled by software.”)

Discussion: The infantryman and UAVs

There are several issues to keep in mind when discussing how UAVs (nano, or small) will fit within the US Army. Let's consider how this will affect a standard infantry squad of 9-14 members.

One obvious issue is weight. If a light infantry unit wants to bring such capabilities to the fight then troops must allocate space and weight to this kit. This will require additional manpower to carry the apparatus, no matter how light it is, which prompts an important question: if a soldier has to carry a  UAV kit (the platform itself, a control system, power supply and so on) then what part of a kit will a soldier leave behind? This is a difficult call for commanders given the various risk mitigation strategies required for successful operations.

The extra weight may impede on the ability to carry our traditional force activities. If we accept the average rifleman will carry around 100lbs of equipment including a rifle, backpack with ammo, rations, water, and body armour. The idea of adding more weight to will not be appealing, particularly for operations that can last multiple days. This is one of the core reasons propelling industry to focus on making drones lighter and smaller.

On the other side of the spectrum, how will forces deal with adversarial drones? There have already been several analyses on this issue, see for example “On Drones and Tactics: How Unmanned Platforms Will Change the Way the Infantry Fights,” by 1st Lt. Walker Mills for the Modern War Institute.
Even more, there have already been incidents in which unnamed aerial vehicles were utilized by insurgents and foreign combatants to strike at US and Coalition forces, and also for the purpose of testing their reactions to these probes.

As for anti-drone technologies, currently, they vary from weapon-sized devices, which means carrying an extra rifle (e.g. the full-sized version of the Drone Killer), to a smaller system that is attached to a standard rifle such as an M4 (like the Smash 2000 Plus). The question again comes back to the issue of weight.

What is worth taking into the field? Can the capability to neutralize enemy drones be accomplished through traditional methods or is anti-drone gear absolutely necessary for combating these devices? Lastly, as a US Army service person with combat experiences explained to the author, “will we even be aware of these devices prior to being engaged, and are they employed in such numbers that we still find it necessary to carry this gear to fend off secondary attacks?”

Moreover, there is the question of how will UAV and anti-UAV technology affect the composition of infantry squads themselves. Will there be a sole “droneman” that carries the unit’s UAVs, as well as anti-UAV gear like a Drone Killer rifle or Smash Plus system? It will be interesting to monitor whether the US Army revisits the composition of an infantry squad in itself to adapt to this new technology.

The US Marine Corps is reportedly testing new squad compositions. “The sizes being considered were 11-, 12-, or 14-man arrangements, and some considered having the squad systems operator carry the M4 carbine to reduce the load, as it is a smaller, lighter weapon,” explained a December 2018 article in the Marine Corps Times, for example.

Lastly, squad leaders will have to decide whether UAVs and anti-UAV technology adds value, especially when considering changes in unit dynamics and the additional burden on the supply chain and logistical tail. The cost of replacing and maintaining these assets may be very high. However, that opens the doors for other up and coming solutions such as additive manufacturing and 3D printing.  

The proliferation of this technology is also something to consider. If these assets become more numerous, the likelihood of them getting lost account or captured is high. What data will be aboard these systems and will how can it be leveraged by adversaries? 

Final Thoughts

Recent analyses are increasingly focusing on understanding how this technology will affect the infantry, as small drones and nano-drones are beginning to be integrated into units. Indeed, the era of UAV military technology is in full swing and we are just beginning to grasp how it will affect the future of warfare, especially in the areas of logistics, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, and offensive support. Under the right condition set, there is no question that small UAVs can be employed to suppress and disrupt small enemy units. 

About the Authors:
Wilder Alejandro Sanchez is an analyst who focuses on geopolitical, military and cybersecurity issues.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not reflect those of any institutions with which the author are associated.
The author would like to thank the US military personnel interviewed for this analysis and who wish to remain anonymous.

International Policy Digest: The AIFC’s International Arbitration Centre: Objectives and Reality

"The AIFC’s International Arbitration Centre: Objectives and Reality"

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez and Lucia Scripcari
International Policy Digest
17 March, 2019
Originally published:

The Astana International Exchange (AIX), an entity within the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), held its first trading session in mid-November, a memorable occasion which included the partial privatization of the state-owned Kazatomprom, the world’s biggest producer of uranium. Similarly, there is another AIFC entity which should be monitored closely for what it could accomplish in the coming years regarding commercial arbitration in Kazakhstan and the rest of Central Asia: the International Arbitration Centre (IAC).

The IAC at a Glance
The International Arbitration Centre aims to present itself to potential clients as a 21st-century international standard arbitration and alternative dispute resolution entity. Hence, it comes as no surprise that its new headquarters will be located in what was once the Expo 2017 centre in Astana. In an interview with the authors, the Registrar and Chief Executive of the IAC, Mr. Christopher Campbell-Holt, explained that the Centre’s brand new headquarters will cover nine thousand square metres of space, with 15 or more meeting rooms, in addition to private conference rooms, as well as state-of-the-art technology including video conferences so that IAC arbitrators and staff can easily communicate with clients around the world.

The AIFC is intended to assist Kazakhstan to become the “hub” for business in Central Asia, in addition to attracting business from European and Asian markets. Any geographical challenge for businesses in dispute from distant markets will be overcome by the IAC’s state-of-the-art technology, including an eJustice Project which was launched in late February 2019. This is “an online portal that enables parties to file cases at the AIFC Court and IAC electronically from anywhere around the world without having to be physically present in Astana. It can assist with the management of full end-to-end electronic processing of legal documents and administration in cases.”

The IAC’s chairman, Barbara Dohmann QC, is an internationally renowned arbitrator and commercial litigator with professional experience at the ICSID, LCIA, the London Metal Exchange (where she is a member of the Arbitration and Arbitration Appeals Panel), the Paris International Chamber of Commerce, and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.

As for the arbitrators themselves, they consist of more than 30 professionals from across the world. Mr. Campbell-Holt explained that this is a multinational team of legal professionals by design, as the IAC wants to send a clear message that its services are available to both a Central Asian and extra-regional clientèle. Thus, it is important that the IAC’s arbitrators have different cultural backgrounds and languages so they will be more in tune with the customs and traditions of the IAC’s clients. Moreover, the multinational composition of the IAC’s arbitrators sends a message to potential clients that this is an arbitration centre that will serve all parties impartially and neutrally independent of the Kazakhstani state.

In addition to the IAC Chairman who is a woman, out of the 28 arbitrators at the IAC, 23 are men and five are women. Mr. Campbell-Holt explained that the arbitrators were chosen because they are all professionals that can offer world-class service, and there are plans to expand this list in the near future. He also highlighted that its staff includes six Kazakhstani citizens, five of whom are female.

A Modern and Efficient Arbitration Centre
It is important to stress that with the establishment of the AIFC’s IAC, Kazakhstan has created a unique centre for dispute resolution in Central Asia, given how this new entity provides a more efficient forum for dispute resolution than anything else the region currently possesses. This is best demonstrated by the fact that the IAC’s arbitration regulations are based, among others, on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) with some influence from the English Arbitration Act. The combination of these two models creates a predictable legal framework that can provide confidence to parties considering arbitration as to the efficiency of the proceedings, should they choose to utilize the IAC’s services. Moreover, Kazakhstan acceded to the New York Convention on 20 November 1995.

Furthermore, the IAC offers parties flexibility in choosing the rules and procedures which they wish to utilize to resolve their disputes. For example, parties may agree that the IAC will administer their arbitration according to the IAC’s own Arbitration and Mediation Rules (2018). These rules include procedures for the resolution of investment treaty disputes and expedited arbitrations for disputes with amounts of less than $5 million and amounts of lower value at the discretion of the parties, according to Mr. Campbell-Holt.
Additionally, while only a limited number of arbitration rules (such as the ICC, the ICSID, the ICDR, and the SCC Rules) deal with the parties’ need to obtain urgent protective measures before the constitution of the tribunal, the AIFC’s international arbitration rules have adopted rules concerning Interim Relief through Emergency Arbitration, along with other up-to-date rules and procedures.

The enforcement of arbitral awards as well as of interim relief once ratified by the AIFC Court, an independent entity headed by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Woolf CH, a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and staffed by former English common law judges and lawyers, will be subject to a writ of execution order issued by the Court itself. The decisions of the AIFC Court are to be enforced in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the same way and on the same terms as decisions made by other courts in Kazakhstan. Additionally, the jurisdiction of the Court will extend to civil and commercial matters. Again, this makes the AIFC, as a whole, as something unique to the region, as we are not talking about just an arbitration centre, but a conglomerate of complementary entities that can help each other to resolve disputes impartially and expeditiously at minimum cost.

While it is true that Kazakhstan is a unitary state and its sovereignty extends to its entire territory, an amendment dated March 2017, subsection 3-1, stipulates that a special legal order relating to financial matters (e.g. the AIFC) may be established within the territory of Astana in accordance with constitutional law. The constitutional amendment ensures the highest international standards of legal procedure, thus providing certainty, predictability, and efficiency.

Astana Is Betting (Heavily) on the IAC
The AIFC enjoys significant support from the Kazakhstan government. It is expected that the IAC will in time be very busy given how Astana is focused on attracting international investors – case in point, the aforementioned partial privatization of Kazatomprom and the planned privatization of several subsidiaries of Kazakhstan Engineering. Hence, the diversity and experience of the IAC’s arbitrators will be a critical factor to ensure that potential clients regard this entity as neutral and professional.

A final factor that will influence the success of the IAC beyond Kazakhstan’s borders has to do with the country’s foreign policy. Astana enjoys good relations with other Central Asian states – including Uzbekistan. Kazakhastani foreign policy will, ideally, contribute to a greater IAC involvement in arbitration cases in neighboring states.

Final Thoughts
The AIFC’s IAC’s goal is straightforward: to become the arbitration system of choice not only for Kazakhstan, but for all of Central Asia, and maybe beyond. We have highlighted the major areas of interest relating to the IAC: it aims to be as flexible as possible in order to adapt to the needs of its clients, this includes the e-filing of cases; the AIFC has adopted English Common Law although the parties may agree to apply any law, civil or common, at the IAC; and it has a multinational list of arbitrators. As this is a new international arbitration centre, potential clients must be reassured that they will receive just and professional treatment.

As the AIFC commences its second year of operations, it will be important to monitor how potential clients look at this new Central Asian financial hub, and the confidence they have on its many entities and interests, including the International Arbitration Centre.

W. Alex Sánchez is an analyst who focuses on international security and geopolitics.
Lucia Scripcari is a Moldovan student finishing her degree in Law at Istanbul Sehir University (Turkey).

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the authors are associated.