Chinese Military to Comprehensively Improve Scientific and Technological Cognition of Strategic Capabilities in Emerging Fields of Warfare



War is a confrontation of material forces, but it is also a test of ideological cognition. To implement President Xi’s new requirements for comprehensively improving strategic capabilities in emerging fields, we must grasp the “bull’s nose” of scientific and technological cognition, focus on the new situation of accelerating the new round of scientific and technological revolution, industrial revolution and military revolution, focus on strengthening the army and winning wars, and strengthen the research and exploration of strategic, cutting-edge and disruptive technologies in emerging fields. With a deep understanding of the nature and laws of science and technology, we can master the realization of high-quality development of military construction, win the initiative in military competition and future wars, transform scientific and technological cognition into a real ability to design and win wars, and accelerate and win new advantages in strategic areas that must be fought.


Only by understanding the times can we understand war. In the era when scientific and technological revolutions and military revolutions are integrated and intertwined, and science and technology have become the core combat power of modern warfare, improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields will help us understand and grasp the characteristics and laws of modern warfare, better control information-based and intelligent warfare, achieve overtaking in new fields and new tracks, win military competitive advantages with scientific and technological advantages, and win future high-tech wars.

Leading military reforms to seize the commanding heights. The wise hear what is silent, and the wise see what is not yet formed. Only by keenly perceiving the development trends of emerging technologies and expanding the cognitive boundaries of strategic frontier technologies can we see what is not yet born, recognize what is not yet developed, take the initiative, and lead the elements of the military field to achieve revolutionary transformation and development. In today’s era, emerging technologies represented by artificial intelligence are emerging in a “well-like” manner, leading and promoting the rapid development of military intelligence at an unprecedented speed, triggering chain breakthroughs in the military field, and leveraging fundamental changes in the war pattern. Scientific and technological innovation has always been a race of time and speed. Faced with the strong momentum of military science and technology development in emerging fields, we must strive to seize the initiative and gain advantages. We must accurately grasp the general trend of science and technology of the times, dare to stand at the forefront of human warfare and scientific and technological development, grasp the basic laws of scientific and technological development and evolution in the long river of history and the global perspective, and accurately identify new goals, new fields, and new heights for the development of military science and technology. We must find breakthroughs in the development of military science and technology in a timely manner, bravely advance into the “no man’s land” of military science and technology innovation, seize the strategic commanding heights of military technology competition, and lead the military revolution to achieve new breakthroughs and leaps with new thinking concepts.

Lead the military competition and win the initiative. The level of cognition ultimately determines the pattern of military competition. At present, the frontier positions and strength competition of world military competition have extended to emerging fields, and the acquisition of technological advantages has become a strategic measure to seek military advantages. In the fierce competition of technological subversion and counter-subversion, assault and counter-assault, offset and counter-offset, scientific and technological cognition has become a key variable that determines the victory or defeat of military games. If there is a generation gap in scientific and technological cognition, there is a risk of being surpassed by the opponent’s new technological combat power. If there is a technological gap in shaping new-quality combat power, it will be difficult to “change the rules of competition” and form a military competitive advantage. Recent local wars and armed conflicts in the world have shown that whoever has a leading strategic capability and technological cognition in emerging fields and uses technology to empower combat power can control the battlefield situation and thereby achieve a fundamental change in the winner and loser. In the increasingly fierce world military game, in order to seize the initiative in the development of military science and technology in emerging fields and occupy a favorable position of high-level control, it is necessary to enhance the scientific and technological awareness of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, keep a close eye on changes in science and technology, changes in war, and changes in opponents, plan according to the situation, act according to the situation, follow the trend, make advance arrangements, and plan ahead to ensure the formation of unique advantages in some important fields and win the initiative in military games.

Leading a strong army to win the war and win the future war. Practice determines cognition, which is the source and motivation, purpose and destination of cognition. The scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is aimed at promoting scientific and technological innovation and application. The fundamental focus is to create a new quality combat power growth pole. The main purpose is to seize the commanding heights of strategic competition, seize the initiative in war, and ultimately win the future war. At present, the development of emerging fields is showing an all-round and multi-domain in-depth advancement trend, and the frequency of dynamic iteration and update of science and technology is accelerating. In order to forge a new quality combat capability with a new killing mechanism and improve the scientific and technological content of national defense and military modernization, we must deeply grasp the key areas of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, grasp the new characteristics of cross-integration development of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, focus on creating a new quality combat capability growth pole, vigorously promote independent innovation and original innovation, eliminate backward technologies that are not adapted to the changes in the war situation, adhere to the integrated development of mechanization, informatization and intelligence, improve the innovation and application of military science and technology, comprehensively enhance the strategic capabilities of emerging fields, and win the battle to achieve the goal of building the army for a hundred years as scheduled.


Improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is a very complex process of subjective and objective rational thinking. To accurately grasp the essential attributes and characteristic laws of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, and to know both the facts and the reasons, we should focus on improving the three abilities of scientific and technological foresight, discrimination, and understanding in the strategic capabilities of emerging fields, and form a scientific cognitive ability system that supports, cooperates with, and influences each other, providing strong support for comprehensively improving the strategic capabilities of emerging fields.

Aiming at future wars, we should enhance our scientific and technological foresight. Emerging fields are one of the main battlefields of future wars. Once some technologies achieve breakthroughs, the impact will be subversive, and may even fundamentally change the form and mode of war, and fundamentally change the traditional offensive and defensive pattern of war. Science and technology have never had such a profound impact on military construction and the outcome of wars as they do today. If we have a narrow scientific and technological cognition and lack strategic foresight and prediction of cutting-edge technologies in emerging fields, we may not understand our opponents, understand wars, and even more so win future wars. During the Gulf War, Iraq’s mechanized steel torrent lost to the US military’s precision-guided weapons. One of the important reasons for this was the gap between the two countries in strategic capabilities and scientific and technological cognition in emerging fields. In order to let our thoughts reach tomorrow’s battlefield, we must improve our scientific and technological awareness, closely follow the development direction of the world’s advanced military science and technology, promptly grasp the latest developments in cutting-edge science and technology, scientifically predict the development trend of science and technology, make full use of technologies such as data mining, comprehensively judge the revolutionary impact of high-tech development on war, take the lead in laying out emerging combat fields, develop a series of high-tech weapons and equipment, accelerate the scientific and technological empowerment of combat effectiveness, and provide a solid material foundation for winning future wars.

Keep a close eye on how to defeat powerful enemies and improve scientific and technological identification. War is a life-and-death confrontation between the enemy and us, and emerging fields are the top priority for the struggle between the two sides. Improving the scientific and technological awareness of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is the fundamental strategy to prevent technological raids and avoid technological traps. In order to seize the initiative in war, powerful enemies have always not only used their unique high-tech weapons and equipment to raid their opponents, putting them in a disadvantageous situation of passive attack, but also a more dangerous trick is to carefully set up technical traps and implement strategic deception. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union fell into the strategic deception trap of the US “Star Wars Plan”, which accelerated the decline of national strength. To persist in winning against powerful enemies, we must improve the scientific and technological discernment of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, closely follow the technological frontiers of powerful enemies, formulate breakthrough strategies for building strategic capabilities in emerging fields, and maintain a high degree of technical sensitivity and discernment of some so-called new technologies and new concepts promoted by powerful enemies. We must be good at distinguishing the authenticity of technology, weighing the pros and cons of development and the extent of its impact, and persist in developing strategic resources in emerging fields based on national conditions and military conditions, so that the innovative achievements of military science and technology in emerging fields can better empower the decision-making chain, command chain and combat power generation chain.

Mastering the winning strategy improves the understanding of science and technology. The key to building a strong army and winning wars is to master the winning strategy. In the context of the deep coupling of modern science and technology with the military, understanding and mastering science and technology has become a necessary ability to understand, design and win wars. From the perspective of human military history, it is precisely because of the thorough understanding of the principles of aviation technology and space technology that Douhet’s “air supremacy” theory, Graham’s “high frontier” theory and other war theories have been produced. Similarly, if there is a lack of thorough understanding of new technologies such as human-machine collaboration, group intelligence, and autonomous control of artificial intelligence, it will be impossible to master the winning mechanism of intelligent warfare and explore new theories and tactics of intelligent warfare. Technology determines tactics. To win future wars, we must focus on thinking about wars from a scientific and technological perspective, understand the impact of emerging technological developments on wars, learn from the latest achievements in military science and technology innovation of the world’s superpowers, study and explore the internal mechanisms of high-tech in emerging fields supporting modern warfare, explore how to use scientific and technological concepts and thinking to accurately grasp the laws of winning wars, how to use advanced scientific and technological means to strengthen the construction of new-quality combat capabilities, how to design wars based on scientific and technological principles, and how to transform scientific and technological advantages into capability advantages, and use the “key” of scientific and technological thinking to open the “door” to victory.


Comprehensively improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is a long-term, systematic strategic project. We must deeply understand and implement the important instructions of Chairman Xi, take improving the scientific and technological literacy of officers and soldiers as a basic task, and improve the scientific and technological cognition of officers and soldiers with a high sense of mission, scientific thinking concepts, and effective methods and approaches, so as to lay a solid foundation for comprehensively improving strategic capabilities in emerging fields and realizing high-quality development of our army.

Accelerate the transformation of ideas and concepts. The wise change with the times, and the knowledgeable act according to circumstances. While the emerging military technology is transforming the objective world, it is also profoundly changing people’s subjective world, forming a subversive impact on the traditional war-winning mechanism and way of thinking. The internal requirement is to transform ideas and concepts and enhance scientific and technological cognition. Engels pointed out: “When the wave of technological revolution is surging around… we need newer and braver minds.” Whoever is conservative, conservative, and self-contained will miss precious opportunities, fall into strategic passivity, and even miss an entire era. We must emancipate our minds and update our concepts, actively adapt to the development trend of world military changes today, be sensitive to the innovation of military thinking brought about by the technological revolution, have the courage to change the mindset of mechanized warfare, break the shackles of conservative thinking, firmly establish a new mindset of information-based and intelligent warfare, establish a new concept of strengthening the military and winning victory through science and technology, focus on understanding the new face of war, discovering new characteristics of war, and revealing new laws of war from a scientific and technological perspective, and strive to raise the level of war cognition to a new height.

Cultivate the foundation of scientific and technological literacy. Scientific and technological literacy is the ability to scientifically understand and describe the objective world and the ability to think scientifically. The depth of the foundation of scientific and technological literacy fundamentally determines the level of scientific and technological cognition. If you don’t understand science and technology or your scientific and technological literacy is not high, you will be like looking at flowers in the fog or the moon in the water when it comes to modern warfare, let alone being able to fight and win. To improve the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields and understand the winning mechanism of modern high-tech warfare, the key is to work hard to improve the scientific and technological literacy of officers and soldiers, coordinate the use of advantageous military and civilian scientific and technological resources, vigorously spread the scientific spirit, popularize scientific knowledge, strengthen the study of modern science and technology, especially military science and technology knowledge, and conduct in-depth research on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, and quantum technology. We must have a deep understanding of the new features of artificial intelligence such as deep learning, cross-border integration, human-machine collaboration, group intelligence, and autonomous control. We must understand and master the latest scientific and technological achievements, build a multi-dimensional knowledge system with information and intelligent technology as the main body, improve the level of thinking, expand the knowledge structure, and vigorously promote the transformation of the “variable” of scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields into the “energy” of building a strong army and winning wars.

Improve capabilities through practice. A knife needs to be sharpened and a person needs to be trained. To enhance the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, it is necessary not only to nourish the theory to promote the transformation of ideas and concepts, but also to follow the basic law of human cognitive movement of “practice, cognition, re-practice, and re-cognition”, make good use of the actual combat “grindstone” to sharpen the wisdom, and promote the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields to a higher level. We must have the courage to improve quality and capabilities in the practice of strengthening the military with science and technology and strengthening training with science and technology, adhere to learning while doing and learning while doing, focus on our main responsibilities and main business, delve into cutting-edge science and technology based on our posts and combat positions, and improve our scientific and technological acumen, insight, and response speed; enhance our technical understanding of new equipment, new skills, and new tactics, cultivate scientific thinking, master scientific methods, improve our scientific and technological cognition, and cultivate the ideological awareness of strengthening the construction of strategic capabilities in emerging fields from a scientific and technological perspective; keep a close eye on powerful enemies and future battlefields to cultivate a stronger “technological mind”, be familiar with our opponents’ scientific and technological achievements, capabilities, and means, accurately grasp the “hard core” and “soft ribs” of our opponents’ scientific and technological development, adhere to the asymmetric thinking to tailor-make struggle strategies and tactics, and provide strong guarantees for winning this future high-end war and hybrid war.

(Author’s unit: Military Science Academy, Institute of Political Work)












掌握制勝之道提昇科技理解力。強軍勝戰關鍵要掌握制勝之道,在現代科技與軍事深度耦合的背景下,認識並掌握科技成為理解戰爭、設計戰爭、打贏戰爭的必備能力。從人類軍事史來看,正是由於對航空技術、太空技術等原理的透徹認知,杜黑的「制空權」理論、葛拉漢的「高邊疆」理論等戰爭理論才得以產生。同樣,當前如果對人工智慧所具有的人機協同、群智開放、自主操控等新技術缺乏透徹認知,就無法掌握智能化戰爭制勝機理、探索智能作戰新戰法。技術決定戰術。打贏未來戰爭必須著重從科技角度思考戰爭,理解新興領域科技發展對戰爭帶來的影響,並藉鑑吸收世界強國軍事科技創新最新成果,研究探索新興領域高新科技支撐現代戰爭的內在機理,探討如何以科技理念和思維把準戰爭制勝規律、如何運用先進科技手段加強新質戰鬥力建設、如何依據科技原理設計戰爭、如何將科技優勢轉化為能力優勢,用科技思維的“鑰匙”開啟勝戰“大門” 。








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