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Ukraine Has Digitized Its Fighting Forces on a Shoestring

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Ukrainian troops operated a telescopic tower with a remote camera on a Soviet car that was recast to observe and correct fire on the front line near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Christmas Day.

Credit: Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Ukraine has digitally networked its fighting forces, intelligence, and weapons on the cheap through satellite communications and custom software.

Veterans of U.S. and allied digitization projects see Ukraine's patchwork command-and-control system as embodying the need to experiment and involve nonmilitary experts.

Ukraine's domestic technology-outsourcing industry and hacker community have proven invaluable by repurposing commercial technologies for the insurgency.

Examples include consumer drones modified to drop grenades, software to automate payroll on the front lines, and real-time battlefield intelligence relayed to local commanders from drones and spotters.

Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said on Twitter last week, “The enemy has been preparing for full-fledged [technology] war for 20 years. We made a technological leap in 10 months.”

From The Wall Street Journal
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