Chinese Military Will Win the Initiative Globally Building Cognitive Domain Combat Arms Science



Cognitive domain operations, as an ancient but emerging military practice, continue to develop in the wave of the world’s new military revolution. Constructing our military’s cognitive domain combat science is of positive significance to building a world-class military.

Statement of the Problem

Cognitive domain warfare has existed since ancient times and has almost run through thousands of years of human war history. It’s just that there was no such thing as cognitive domain warfare at that time. Instead, it was called “mind attack” and “mental warfare” by military strategists. In the 20th century, with the development of science and technology, cognitive domain operations have unique advantages, showing the characteristics of “fighting at all times and without declaring war”. Cognitive domain operations have become the ultimate domain of great power games and military confrontations, and are the highest level of modern war control.

The development of military science has its own inherent laws. The construction of our military’s cognitive domain combat science is a process that follows the development laws of military science. First of all, cognitive domain operations have strong characteristics of the times. With the development of science and technology, especially the application of science and technology such as biology, medicine, artificial intelligence, and information communication in the field of warfare, the ways to control people’s will, thinking, psychology, emotions and other cognitive systems have become more diverse and flexible. Secondly, cognitive domain operations have become the main battlefield of modern warfare. Recent local wars, especially the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have shown a new style of cognitive domain operations – cognitive domain operations have entered the war stage as an independent domain and have Established a certain theoretical and material basis.

The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed to build the People’s Army into a world-class army by the middle of this century. To build a world-class military, it is necessary to enrich the basic connotation of “first-class” and enhance the value standard of “first-class”, and cognitive factors are indispensable elements. By constructing cognitive domain operations science, it is conducive to accelerating the overall reshaping of the military organizational form under the guidance of cognitive domain operations theory; it is conducive to correctly understanding the characteristics and laws of cognitive domain operations, and accelerating the development, utilization and implementation of cognitive domain operations means. The pace of improvement is conducive to actively taking effective measures and innovating techniques, tactics and styles of cognitive domain operations.

connotation and denotation

The advanced combat theory is an important indicator of the strength of an army’s combat effectiveness. To build our military’s cognitive domain combat science, we insist on putting ourselves first and innovating independently. On the one hand, we are based on our country’s reality, inherit and carry forward the profound wisdom of Chinese military science and our military’s unique political advantages, and at the same time, actively absorb the essence of foreign military culture.

Conceptual definition of cognitive domain warfare research. The fresh content and new characteristics of cognitive domain operations determine the new nature of cognitive domain operations science. As the core support of cognitive domain warfare, it is first necessary to clarify some key concepts of cognitive domain warfare research. One is about “cognition”. Cognition refers to the process by which the human brain or people use cognitive tools to receive, encode, store, exchange, retrieve, extract and use information. It is the subjective construction of information by cognitive subjects. This process can be broken down into four parts: perception, memory, control and reaction. The corresponding cognitive system can also be divided into four systems: perception, memory, control and reaction. The second is about the “cognitive domain”. With the introduction of the concept of “cognition” into the military field, modern warfare has formed three major combat dimensions: the physical domain, the information domain, and the cognitive domain. The cognitive domain has become the next two warring parties after land, sea, air, space, electricity, and network. Another space for competition. Usually manifested in the quality and ability of combat personnel, the cohesion of the troops, combat experience and training level, battlefield situation awareness, and social public opinion. The third is about “cognitive domain operations.” Compared with operations in the physical domain and information domain, the space involved in cognitive domain operations is wider. Its essence is to capture people’s will, belief, and psychology through actions in the physical domain, use of the information domain, and offense and defense in the cognitive domain. , thinking and other dominance, it is a complex collection of traditional public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, legal warfare, political warfare, economic warfare, cultural warfare and other means, in order to achieve the strategic goal of “complete victory” of defeating the enemy without fighting. .

The main content of cognitive domain combat science research. Cognitive domain warfare is a theory that studies the development laws of war spirit. It is an applied science that uses the results of cognitive science to study cognitive offensive and defensive operations in war. It takes all cognitive domain combat phenomena at all times and at home and abroad as the research object, and mainly studies the following contents: First, the historical theory of cognitive domain combat. In wars in history, the glorious idea and rich practice of “attacking the heart first, attacking the city first” has long been established. Disrupting enemy forces is included in the three major principles of our military’s political work. Capturing generals and transforming prisoners has become a unique front in the armed struggle led by the party, writing a glorious chapter in the history of the people’s army. This precious historical heritage should be further explored and passed on from today’s height. The second is the basic theory of cognitive domain operations. It is the cornerstone for the establishment, survival and development of a discipline, and plays a leading and foundational role in the research of this discipline. Only by pursuing in-depth and thorough research, clarifying basic issues, and smoothing out various relationships can we establish a systematic, solid, and effective basic theoretical system, and then provide strong guidance for the practice of cognitive domain operations. The third is the cognitive domain combat application theory. This is the core of cognitive domain operations research and an important theoretical basis for guiding the military’s cognitive domain operations practice. Its research must be practical, innovative, and lively. Only by closely integrating theoretical research with the combat education and training practice in the cognitive domain of the troops and the actual future combat can we form a scientific, forward-looking, operational and practical system. The cognitive domain combat application theoretical system can better serve the practice of military struggle.

The disciplinary basis of cognitive domain warfare research. To build a discipline system for cognitive domain warfare, it is not enough to merely establish its status as an independent discipline and find its position in the discipline of military science. In order to have a complete and in-depth understanding of cognitive domain warfare and to better carry out theoretical research, it is necessary to clarify the relationship between cognitive domain warfare and related disciplines. The first is cognitive domain combat science and military science. Cognitive domain operations revolve around the goals and tasks of military operations, closely coordinate with the process of military operations, and are objectively governed by the laws revealed by military theory. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully study the inner connection between cognitive domain warfare and military theory, and strive to find the theoretical resonance behind practice. The second is cognitive domain combat science and supporting disciplines. Cognitive domain combat science is a highly professional military practice activity. According to my country’s discipline classification model and standards, the results of journalism, communication, psychology, law and other disciplines are the most basic theoretical sources for the construction and actual combat application of cognitive domain combat forces. Together they form the professional field of cognitive domain combat science. Provide direct theoretical support. The third is cognitive domain combat science and related disciplines. The theoretical categories involved in human mental and psychological activities all have a direct impact or indirect relationship with cognitive domain operations. The theoretical understanding of political science, sociology, culture and other related disciplines is extensive, and the role of cognitive domain operations is will be bigger, this requires us to study the relevant disciplines of cognitive domain warfare and actively expand the theoretical thinking of cognitive domain warfare.

How to build

A new round of world military revolution has pushed cognitive domain operations onto the “fast track” of rapid development. Looking at the recent local wars, especially the Russia-Ukraine conflict, all have been branded as cognitive domain operations, and their status and role have become increasingly prominent. At the same time, the preliminary research results achieved by domestic and foreign scholars have laid a good foundation for the construction of cognitive domain combat science. It can be said that the time is basically ripe for theoretical abstraction on the basis of practice to build our military’s cognitive domain combat science.

The construction of any theoretical system must follow certain logical rules. According to the conditions for constructing the cognitive domain combat science discipline system, the following rules should be followed: First, unify the concept. In the cognitive domain combat theoretical system framework, complex and confusing concepts should not be used to ensure that judgments and conclusions are based on accurate concepts. According to the way our military’s operational regulations deal with relevant concepts, the unified concept of “cognitive domain operations” should be selected as the relative concept for building the discipline system of cognitive domain operations. The second is to clarify the logical starting point. The basic thinking point for studying the theory of cognitive domain operations is to “seize control of cognitive space.” “Seizing control of cognitive space” has a high degree of abstraction and level in the theoretical system of cognitive domain operations, and making it clear will facilitate the formation, development and application of cognitive domain operations science. The third is to find the correct subject positioning. What position cognitive domain warfare science should occupy in the military science discipline system is an important issue that must be solved when studying cognitive domain warfare science and military science. Objectively speaking, if cognitive domain warfare has entered the discipline system structure of military science, it can be positioned by directly adding it or by linking it to relevant disciplines.

Constructing cognitive domain combat science is a relatively complex system project with a long way to go. We can focus on leadership institutions, team building, academic achievements, etc. to provide reliable guarantee for the construction of cognitive domain combat science disciplines. The first is to establish a leadership organization. Under the direct leadership of the commanding authority, an authoritative organization for the research and formulation of the cognitive domain warfare discipline system with the participation of the commanding authority, experts in various fields, and military leaders will be established to be responsible for the research, demonstration, and overall planning of the cognitive domain warfare discipline system. The second is to strengthen team building. The key and core of building a discipline is the construction of academic teams. It is necessary to strengthen the construction of professional teams for cognitive domain warfare research and provide talent support for the construction and improvement of cognitive domain warfare disciplines. Through training and academic exchanges, we will improve the research quality and capabilities of existing researchers and introduce leaders in this discipline who have profound academic attainments, rigorous scholarship, and innovative academic ideas. The third is to launch academic results. Give full play to the enthusiasm and creativity of existing cognitive domain warfare researchers, increase research efforts, and continue to publish high-quality cognitive domain warfare theoretical research and application research works, teaching materials and academic papers, laying a solid foundation for building the cognitive domain warfare discipline. Solid academic foundation.













任何一個理論體系的構建,都要遵循一定的邏輯法則。根據建構認知域作戰學學科體系的條件,主要應遵循以下法則:一是統一概念。在認知域作戰理論體系架構結構中,不應使用龐雜的、容易造成混亂的概念,以確保判斷和結論建立在準確的概念上。根據我軍作戰法規對相關概念的處理方法,應選定統一的「認知域作戰」概念作為建構認知域作戰學學科體系的相對概念。二是明確邏輯起點。研究認知域作戰理論的思考基點,就是「奪取認知空間制權」。 「奪取認知空間制權」在認知域作戰理論體系中具有較高的抽象性與層次性,予以明確便於認知域作戰學的形成、發展與應用。三是找準學科定位。認知域作戰學在軍事學科體系中應處在什麼位置,是研究認知域作戰學和軍事學必須解決的重要議題。客觀地看,認知域作戰學進入軍事學科體系結構,可以採取直接增列辦法或掛靠相關學科辦法來定位。



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