UncategorizedCommander’s Direction & Intent

Radio Free Ukraine in 2024

I’m Mike Robinson, the Director of Radio Free Ukraine.

Today, I wanted to talk about strategic imperatives needed to overcome the current positional warfare situation that many call a stalemate. I examined insights from Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, to help dissect the ongoing conflict dynamics and develop supporting  strategies necessary for success. In February 2022, Radio Free Ukraine responded to President Zelenskyy’s call to action, now we’re incorporating the Commanding General’s call to action, as volunteers with the 501c3 Radio Free Ukraine.

My personal experience with Russia began in 1979 when I enlisted in the Army, and then when I studied Russian language and history at Arizona State University. I met Russians in East Berlin in 1986 a few days before my men bled from a terrorist bombing at the Labelle Disco, ordered by Libyan dictator Muammar Khaddaffi.

I also had the experience of having the Minister of Defense of USSR and members of the Soviet General Staff visit my Special Forces detachment at Fort Bragg when they made a visit to the USA. I understand more than most Americans about Russia, Disinformation, Psychological operations, and Irregular and Unconventional Warfighting, and so this is a moral obligation for me, and I will continue until Ukraine’s victory and we hold Russians accountable for war crimes.  

Furthermore, I have an obligation to use strategic communications skills, as I have done for the USA during the Global War on Terror, also as a volunteer.

As General Zaluzhnyi says, in this global security crisis, the conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation triggered a major shift, leading to a positional form of warfare. It’s crucial to understand the nuances of this transition and its implications.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia marks an unprecedented global security crisis. This crisis surpasses anything seen since the end of the Second World War, highlighting the urgent need for strategic responses.

Transition to Positional Warfare

General Zaluzhnyi describes how the insufficiency of global regulatory mechanisms, like the UN and the OSCE, leaves Ukraine with no option but to restore its territorial integrity by military force. This necessity  led from a transition to a positional form of warfare, a challenge that we’re here to address.

Key Components of Positional Warfare

Let’s break down the critical areas shaping the conflict’s nature. These include the quest for air superiority, breaching mine barriers, enhancing counter-battery operations, creating and preparing reserves, and strengthening electronic warfare capabilities.

Analysis of Air Superiority

Gaining air superiority is key in conducting successful ground operations. Ukraine entered the conflict with limited air assets, but with support from partner nations, the Air Forces have seen a significant increase in their capabilities.

Breaching Mine Barriers

The widespread use of mine barriers by both parties created a challenging landscape. To overcome this, Ukraine is exploring the use of modern tools like LiDAR scanning sensors and Rosy smoke protection systems to breach mine barriers effectively.

Enhancing Counter-Battery Operations

Counter-battery operations are critical in the conflict, with nearly 60 to 80% of the total tasks executed by missile forces and artillery. Strategies such as increasing the use of reconnaissance equipment are being implemented to enhance the effectiveness of these operations.

Creation and Preparation of Reserves

Compared to the Russian Federation, Ukraine faces challenges in mobilizing and preparing reserves. The state’s limited capabilities to train reserves on its own territory have led to gaps in motivation and training. Ukraine is actively working on resolving these issues and Radio Free Ukraine supports this initiative via Warrior2Warrior Jedburgh led sessions to give Ukrainian warfighters more capability via the Ukrainian noncombatant Auxiliary and subject matter experts.

Improving Electronic Warfare

Both Ukraine and Russia invested significantly in electronic warfare capabilities. Efforts are ongoing to bolster Ukrainian electronic warfare assets, such as the “Pokrova” nationwide EW system, to counter the adversary effectively.

Strategies to Overcome Positional Nature

The General states that the need to avoid a protracted positional form of warfare necessitates the implementation of innovative strategies. Ukrainians are exploring several approaches, including mass use of electronic warfare assets, improved counter-battery operations, and smart logistical support.

Command and Control Importance

Effective command and control is paramount in implementing these strategies. Ukrainians are  utilizing modern information technology to ensure a unified information environment, facilitating faster decision-making.

Logistics Support Overview

Strategic logistics support is a significant factor in the conflict. Ukraine is exploring the development and capacity building of the Ukrainian defense industry and creating an asymmetric arsenal to optimize logistical support. So what are the Key Takeaways from General Zaluzhnyi’s assessment and how will we help him achieve his Commander’s intent?

The transition to a positional form of warfare poses risks but also offers opportunities for learning and strategic advancement. Our mission is to bridge the knowledge gap between American and Ukrainian warfighters for mutual learning and strategic enhancement.

General Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s insights provide a critical framework for success in the ongoing conflict. These lessons learned will not only bolster the capabilities of Ukrainian forces but also prepare American warfighters for future battles.

Radio Free Ukraine will therefore continue to focus on “how-to” help Ukrainian warfighters, 1st Responders and NGOs establish beneficial relationships for sharing best practices in both directions.

Americans need to listen, learn and prepare for the next battle based on lessons learned from Ukraine. Radio Free Ukraine aims to help accomplish that with our Cadet 2 Cadet, Warrior 2 Warrior, Responder 2 Responder, and finally the NGO 2 NGO collaborations led by Radio Free Ukraine’s vetted team of Jedburgh mentor – subject matter experts.

In the Spring of 2024 we will support the Ukrainian Irregular Warfare Lessons learned and Tech Expo taking place in Ukraine and a second phase in the USA. This is part of Ukrainian Infantry Reserve Sublieutenant Kateryna Koval’s USA Stands with Ukraine. The Global Security Project is a grassroots initiative that brings both young professionals and experienced experts together for professional development and mentor protégé relationships to share best practices. 

We are in the early planning stages now and we will invite more technology companies to join us in Ukraine and then in USA to showcase their technologies as well as best practices.

The Disabled American Veterans in the Cincinnati Ohio Metro area offered to host us, and we will invite Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, elected officials and veterans serving NGOs such as the one million member DAV, which I am a lifetime member myself. We will bring stakeholders together and share best practices on a global scale thanks to Sublieutenant Koval’s leadership and initiative, with the support of what she calls the “Dream team of Superhero’s.”  

This effort is done in honor of our fallen Brother, retired Army Special Forces Sergeant First Class Nick Maimer callsign Cimo, who was KIA fighting Wagner Group PMC in Bakhmut on may 15, 2023. His unit, the 135th Territorial Defense Battalion established a training center named in his honor. in October 2023 we held a productive Warrior 2 Warrior session on the Battle of Hostomel and to discuss needs and lessons learned from the battlefields across the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is a good example of how Radio Free Ukraine will continue to support the 135th TDF and other warfighters as well as civilian noncombatants. All at no cost via an all volunteer Army of people of Goodwill.

We look forward to victory and accountability in 2024.

God Bless America, and Slava Ukrayíni!

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