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This is a story where two militaries are intensely fighting on extremely mountainous terrain, but both of them has developed technologies that is capable of intercepting a great range of signals; from radio to infrared signals, and also identify their location. In order to maintain secrecy of their main bases' locations, they have to avoid using any wireless technology and keep total radio silence.

Because of this, the militaries are forced to revert back to the WW1 era strategy sending a man with a letter to communicate with each other.

The question is: Is this really something the militaries have to do? Or is there another technology that cannot be intercepted that does not involve someone walking to another base to deliver information?

And it is also worth mentioning that scouts from both sides are sent, and if they spot something suspicious, they would run back to the nearest base to report.

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    – L.Dutch
    Jan 7, 2023 at 21:33

11 Answers 11

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Actually there were radios in WWI. And, more importantly, telegraph and telephone.

Field telephones are somewhat getting out of fashion, but there should still be plenty in the depots unless one side or both sold them all as surplus. A more modern solution would be to use phone lines (or fiberoptics) for digital communications. In mountains, they might go for wireless laser communication, the only way to intercept those is to get between the transmitter and receiver.

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    $\begingroup$ Another option: some frequencies (iirc in the 20 GHz range) get a lot of atmospheric interference and consequently don't travel very far. They are handy for local area military networks because from a couple miles away there is no reception at all -- the atmosphere absorbs it all. Also this is the basis for cell phone 5G networks having small, local nodes meant for high traffic areas, without interfering with other 5G nodes: the nodes can't hear each other despite being relatively close together. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Jan 4, 2023 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ Also of note is directional radio. It is almost as hard to intercept as a laser, but much more forgiving to setup and maintain. It wont go out every time a plant grows up in front of it a little bit or rain/fog comes through. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 5, 2023 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ Judging by the old surplus field telephone on my shelf, western armies actually bought new one at least until the 1960's and probably started selling them off no earlier then the 90's, when encrypted radio communication became feasible on a mass scale and things like nuclear EMPs became less of an operational concern. So depending on when the story is set, there might be quite a few still around. $\endgroup$
    – mlk
    Jan 6, 2023 at 11:22
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Or is there another technology that cannot be intercepted

Why does interception matter? Tracking down the source is obviously bad, for the source, but unless you've somehow got some magical way to break all encryption (and yes, it would have to be magic) then intercepting a signal is of limited use.

Receiving a signal is obviously safe. So, in order to transmit a message, you can record it in some suitable form, encrypt it, and load it on to a trasmitter drone. The drone isn't remote controlled (because the control source would be detected) but instead flies on a predetermined course and broadcasts the message at an appropriate moment. It will be detected, but that doesn't matter, because the true origin of the message and the destination of the message remain undetected.

The drone can then be crashed, or self-destruct, or even fly back home if it were suitably stealthy and impractical to track and follow once transmission was complete. No need for pre-radio nonsense.

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    $\begingroup$ The encryption you need is a simple one-time pad (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad). You hand these to your units before deployment and from then one they can communicate back to base in a way that is mathematically proven to be impossible to decrypt. With modern storage media you can also make the pad big enough to allow practically unlimited communication for arbitrarily long. Once you have that the transmitting becomes simpler as well, you just broadcast in all directions to everyone. $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Jan 5, 2023 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ @quarague even without that, unless you've managed to demonstrate that P=NP (and there isn't an unreasonably large polynomial term) or solved the halting problem then you're basically left with quantum computing, and symmetric cryptography is already quite quantum resistant (Grover's algorithm can be beaten by larger key sizes) and there are various flavors of post-quantum asymmetric cryptographic algorithms on the way. $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2023 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ There are real logistical problems with one-time pads. That's why they aren't used at scale. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Ennis
    Jan 5, 2023 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @TonyEnnis But if beats sending a dude back and forth every time you want to send a message. Constraints can make difficult to use things a necessity. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @TonyEnnis OP's reasoning seems to be "send rider by horseback since over-the-air messages can be intercepted" and intercepted implies reading it. This answer and discussion are about encrypting over-the-air transmissions so it doesn't matter if the enemy receives them. You responded saying that this type of encryption is difficult to use at scale which was interpreted as "therefore would not be used at scale". I'm saying it doesn't matter how difficult it is to use at scale if it's still easier than sending a rider every time...at scale. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 21:54
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How to ruin radio communication

Many answers have said that you can't actually develop a technology to stop modern radio communications from being secure. I was one of them at first too, but having thought it over more, I realized that it is very much doable. So lets start off by explaining how technology that will overcome modern radio secrecy works.

How Message/Locational Secrecy is Maintained Today

The question of how to hide radio communications in a warzone was solved decades ago. Ever wonder how an F-22 can be undetectable and still have the full benefits of radar and radio communications? The answer is satellites and directional transmitters (both directional radio and laser are options).

Troops trying to stay hidden send directional communications to a satellite which cant be intercepted because it does not broadcast in all directions, then the satellite does all the actual broadcasting and recon. Yes, everyone knows where every satellite is, but actually destroying something that high up is very challenging. Also, once the satellite receives a message, it knows where it came from, so it can also send directional communications back. So, yes you know the recon satellite is a recon satellite, but there is no tactical information to intercept without getting directly between the satellite and the ground target... which you cant do if you don't know where the ground target is.

Even if you could, it is encrypted. The kind of math behind encryption technology makes decryption technology advance exponentially slower than encryption. So, handwaving that some future tech makes breaking encryption more possible is actually very silly since all foreseeable advances in technology will only harden the relative effectiveness of encryption.

Another common means of communications is point-to-point. This could be wires or direct communication between ground based directional transmitters. By networking together a number of point-to-point connections, you can establish undetectable communications across a theater of operation.

How to Break the Modern Chain of Secrecy

The weak link in satellite communications is the satellite itself. In a properly working military communications satellite, a message is encrypted on the ground, routed through the satellite, and then decrypted at its destination... but the satellite itself could be an agent for a Man-in-the-middle attack. Many military R&D projects these days involve multiple countries working together; so, if two countries are working on a shared satellite network, then it would behoove them to both try to sneak backdoors into the system to make sure that the other countries can't just lock them out.

The way a MitM attack works is you take a communication node between two points and instead of forwarding an encrypted message between the two, you establish separate encrypted connections with each party and decrypt the information from one, read it, then encrypt it again to send it on so that it just looks like end-to-end encryption, but really is not.

So, with both countries having backdoors and compromised encryption chains, when the fighting breaks out, both sides exploit their backdoors to read the other nations' communications. These back doors are built into the satellite's hardware; so, simply locking each other out proves much more impossible than either side expected... so, they are both stuck with insecure satellite networks... at least until they can develop and launch their own satellites, and update all their hardware to use the new networks.

Barring this, there is also the possibility of simply shooting down enemy satellites depriving them of communications all together.

What about point-to-point? This is in some ways even less secure than satellites. The number of options a hacker has when he gains physical access to a network goes up exponentially. Your point-to-point transmitters and wires are on the ground which means they are much easier to tamper with; so, while they may be secure "out-of-the-box", there are only so many good places to put them, especially in mountainous areas. The enemy only needs physical access to one transmitter to modify it with malicious intent. Once they take over 1 relay or tap into 1 line, they are inside your communications network and able to perform not just packet sniffing, but full cyber attacks against the whole network, and physically identify the location of other relays in your network.

How to securely communicate with satellites and point-to-point compromised.

Mission-type Tactics

First of all, every modern military needs a communications blackout plan. So before you even consider the technological part of the question, you should consider the military doctrine aspect. Mission-type tactics is a military doctrine widely used by westernized militaries that puts the job of assigning objectives in the hands of upper leadership, but leaves it to lesser field commanders to actually decide how to achieve those objectives. This means that even when communication becomes limited, that local units can continue to make important tactical choices in real time.

In contrast, militaries with a more authoritarian, centralized leadership model rely much more on constant communication for mission approval and orders.

So, by focusing on a Mission-Type Tactics military doctrine. A unit could receive orders by letter and have no problem figuring out everything they need to do for the next week before the next letter arrives because they are already trained to operate with minimal oversight.

Alternative High Tech Methods

Even though modern militaries makes heavy use of satellite and point-to-point communications, there are also redundant systems in place just in case. Perhaps the most secure redundant system is underground fiber optics. Fiber optic cables are made from materials that can not be detected with metal detectors; so, when you bury them, they are virtually impossible to find; so, the only point of vulnerability are the actual military outposts themselves.

A normal communications network is made of many relay points that automatically switch traffic from one node to the next, but in a setting where networks are being compromised on a large scale, you can limit risk by air gapping communications. This means that each base is connected only to adjacent bases, and it is up to a human operator to receive and forward a message. While this slows down communication, it makes hacking an entire network from one seized base impossible.

Air-gapped fiber optic networks wont be the most efficient form of communications, but it will be way more efficient than sending people by vehicle to deliver messages and is incredibly resilient compared to other methods. So, instead of spending hours or days sending a letter 1000s of miles to communicate a change in orders, you could spend minutes bouncing a communication from station to station delivering it to (or at least near-to) the front-line.

You also need to consider civilian communications networks. Even if you compromise an enemy's military channels does not mean there are not also extensive civilian communications options. Cell phones don't have a very long range. So, the only place to detect cellphone traffic is if you are very close, and even if you are close, you could be in a country with a hundred million civilians communicating over dozens of independently secured apps and just a few thousand total combatants. Isolating civilian traffic would become an intractable problem... in fact what civilians have to say itself could even have military value. Russia learned this the hard way when invading Ukraine. A lot of the reason Ukrainian forces were able to out maneuver Russia in the early parts of the conflict was that civilians with cellphones where reporting Russian troop movements directly to the military. No fancy radar stations or recon teams, just lots of guys with eyes and internet access.

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    $\begingroup$ But what if the satellite communication is encrypted and signed? $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2023 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki: "Going UWB would just shorten how far the signal would travel" Spread spectrum does no such thing. The advantage of using directionality and ultra-wide spread spectrum would be that it would prevent detection from enemies in the same general direction as the intended receiver (realizing that antenna patterns are based on angle, so the longer range, the greater area is illuminated by even a "directional" signal) $\endgroup$
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 5, 2023 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki You don't need access to a 3rd party CA to verify certificates. You can pre-load it on the equipment before the squads move apart to do their jobs. Barring you breaking RSA, you would have to actually physically get your hands on the equipment. Besides, from reading the question it sounds like they are worried about TRIANGULATING the signals. Encrypting wireless communication signals doesn't affect the ability to triangulate them. $\endgroup$
    – Unknown
    Jan 6, 2023 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ The part about the possibility of MitM attacks from a hacked satellite is largely irrelevant, as we have solid (and relatively simple) methods to protect against MitM attacks and every widely used secure communications protocol is resistant to MitM, so a compromised satellite with a back-door can make communications suddenly unavailable in the worst possible moment, but not read or alter the messages. $\endgroup$
    – Peteris
    Jan 6, 2023 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ You don't need any fancy tricks. Drone, broadcast encrypted message. Done. Also the satellites don't decrypt the messages - that would be ridiculous - they just forward them. You don't even have to sign the messages (but you can). The fact that you can decrypt it with the key means it came from who you think it did. And you don't need special satellites or lasers or anything like that (but they can be useful). Just regular radio. As has been pointed out, you don't have to send the message from your hidden location. $\endgroup$
    – Vectorjohn
    Jan 7, 2023 at 6:28
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Seismic communication

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seismic_communication

Elephants

In the late 1990s, Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell first argued that elephants communicate over long distances using low-pitched rumbles that are barely audible to humans... Further pioneering research in elephant infrasound communication was done by Katy Payne of the Elephant Listening Project[46] and detailed in her book Silent Thunder. This research is helping our understanding of behaviours such as how elephants can find distant potential mates and how social groups are able to coordinate their movements over extensive ranges. Elephants possess several adaptations suited for vibratory communication. The cushion pads of the feet contain cartilaginous nodes and have similarities to the acoustic fat (melon) found in marine mammals like toothed whales and sirenians. In addition, the annular muscle surrounding the ear canal can constrict the passageway, thereby dampening acoustic signals and allowing the animal to hear more seismic signals.[23]

Elephants appear to use vibrational communication for a number of purposes. An elephant running or mock charging can create seismic signals that can be heard at great distances.[6] Vibrational waveforms produced by locomotion appear to travel at distances of up to 32 km (20 mi) while those from vocalizations travel 16 km (9.9 mi).

Your soldiers communicate using seismic communication. Transmission is done using a large metal stake planted deeply in the ground and played with a bow or sometimes struck with a rock. Reception of acoustic signals is done using drumlike receivers (below) as were tested in the linked Mythbusters episode. Persons at headquarters have very large receivers and transmitters because soldiers at the front have smaller versions of each. The rocky terrain in this area is well suited to transmit vibrations. Messages are of course coded. The origins are hard to locate.

mythbusters drum receiver

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0768465/

If this was ever done in real life I cannot find it. I invented it as something interesting for your story.

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    $\begingroup$ Modern militaries already able to use seismographs to identify and triangulate enemy tunnels, explosions, and even low altitude aircraft. Even if the enemy is not purposefully looking for seismic communication, they will probably notice and track it just as easily as omnidirectional radio traffic. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 4, 2023 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ "The origins are hard to locate." Why? Seismometers are a thing and are used to detect earthquake epicenters. Having them tuned to this kind of communication shouldn't be a problem. $\endgroup$
    – gre_gor
    Jan 7, 2023 at 18:35
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Let me post a link for corroboration:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

"MC02" was a war game exercise simulating a war between the United States, and an Iran/Iraq-like Persian Gulf nation. In it, Gen. Paul Riper played the role of the Persian Gulf state, and he used motorbike couriers to send messages so that these could not be intercepted by the sophisticated electronic warfare systems of his opponent.

His tactics were sufficient to locate the entire fleet, and to coordinate a massive cruise missile strike that sunk 16 warships including an nuclear aircraft carrier. Shortly after (I assume this was minutes/hours, but can't find the details), using speedboats and other small boats, suicide attackers downed even more warships.

The defeat was so humiliating/off-script, that the people in charge of the war game decided to "refloat" the fleet and continue on as if nothing had happened. Riper was ordered to not use those tactics for the remainder of the game.

Though it has never been sufficiently acknowledged, there is an undercurrent of sentiment that the US military relies too heavily on technology, and that our inability to master older tactics could turn out to be an Achilles heel someday (the whole "boots on the ground" thing).

Sending men with letters can sink nuclear aircraft carriers. Think about that.

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    $\begingroup$ One important aspect of this wargame that should not be overlooked was that red team exploited the unrealistic setup of the simulation. The fleet could not be positioned at stand-off distance without interfering with shipping, no no-fly zone was established, and the fleet's automated targeting and defense systems were disabled so as not to engage the many civilian targets in the area. They refloated the fleet because the success of the sneak attack itself was honestly deemed a result of simulation constrains. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 4, 2023 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ Even the use of motorbikes is questionable, because in a real war zone, very little traffic moves into the area under threat, and that which does tends to be monitored closely. So, red team was able to use many aspects of peace time to hide what would normally go noticed. The real controversy was not the reset, but the overwhelmingly retarded constraints they put on Red team after the reset. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 4, 2023 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not saying primitive communication can't be very effective in a real war zone, just that MC02 is a poor example of it. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 4, 2023 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ There were no real cruise missiles. The auto-targeting/defense didn't need to be online, the simulation just needed to simulate it against the cruise missile attack. And it's beyond asinine to think that "in a real war they could be wherever they want, real traffic couldn't get in the way". During a war, there are always more constraints, not fewer. Red Team might have managed to monitor the motorbikes and guess what was coming... but they didn't. MC02 is a good example of this imo. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Jan 4, 2023 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnO And that showed the flaw in everybody's planning. The assumption was that likely threats like Iran have no weapons but have a ton of smart people. That turned out not to be the case when it came to Russia in Ukraine: they had some weapons on paper, but little training and poor morale. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Jan 5, 2023 at 18:09
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One common way this was done during WWII (and, I assume also during WWI) was light signals. This is basically just a special case of the directional signals that others have suggested.

During the Pacific theater of the war, giving away the position of your fleets was potentially very, very bad news for either side. Thus, when they didn't want to transmit radio signals (which would immediately give away their position,) the ships within a fleet sent messages to each other by flashing signal lamps at each other. Either flashes could have certain sequences for certain meanings or the flashes could encode something like Morse Code to send arbitrary messages.

The radio communications most commonly used back then could be detected from a hundred miles away or more (often much more, sometimes thousands.) Light signals, on the other hand, are only visible to the horizon (perhaps a dozen miles away) and only in the direction that the signal lamp is aimed.

A modulated laser is a more modern variation of this which is more directional and which supports much higher data rates.

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  • $\begingroup$ @TitaniumSteel Only if they were in visual line of sight between the communicating parties (at which point they would probably see them anyway if they were decent at scouting.) In the case of the navies in WWII, this would mean that the scout would have to be inside the formation, in which case they would definitely have noticed the enormous warships - especially due to the large naval guns that would likely be firing at them by that point. The light beams were highly directional even then, but could be made even more so nowadays with lasers. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 5, 2023 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ OP mentions elimination of infrared signals which by proxy rules out directional radio, light, and lasers. However, like other parts of the OP's question, this is not believable. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen Infrared emissions from a signal lamp, especially one using LEDs, should be quite minimal. Of course, it's easily detectible if you're in the line of transmission, but otherwise, not really, either in infrared or any other part of the e-m spectrum. If it's a particularly large concern, you can always add shielding (both thermal and e-m) in every direction except the direction of transmission. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I am referring to how the OP has already specified that all infrared transmissions have also been magically intercepted, which while being completely implausible and is large part of why it is a bad question, eliminates the validity of your answer. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen Hmm... I guess we're reading the question differently. I just read it to say that they are capable of detecting infrared (which is both plausible and easy,) not that they can detect infrared sources that aren't emitting photons in the direction of the sensors (which is impossible.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:41
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To answer your actual question: No, This Is Not Realistic.

There is quite a lot of spectrum. Jamming a small part of it is relatively easy, but you can still play games with using a lot more redundancy or power to punch through anyway (example: "GPS" as used by most people is just the quick-and-dirty signal used to bootstrap into the real GPS system. It is hard to jam real GPS, even for nation-states).

Jamming the full spectrum is ridiculously high-power, and you will not manage it. You could have it happen naturally from solar activity, because the sun is ridiculously powerful and unpredictable, but that's about as unlikely as having an earthquake coincidentally open a chasm between two opposing forces.

Here's the other thing about jammers: they are emitting a nice, noisy signal. And if they're big enough to matter, they're expensive enough to matter. Which makes them very attractive to something like a HARM missile.

However, your scenario gets a lot more plausible if it's asymmetrical. If your guys are the underdog, they may be relying on walmart radios (which are very jammable), and may indeed have to worry about big ears in the sky listening for any signal.

You may also need to answer why they are fighting on the mountainous terrain in the first place. What is there that anyone wants, and why isn't one side or the other simply going around the mountains to get to whatever they actually care about?

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  • $\begingroup$ OP is better off just saying long term solar activity is mucking everything up. But even that won't stop infrared signals, light, or lasers, or directional antennas....unless everyone on the ground is going blind due to said solar activity. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ Jamming is not the same as intercepting. There are a plethora of interception techniques that having nothing to do with jamming. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 5, 2023 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed with Nosajimiki. Jamming and interception are completely different and generally unrelated topics. Detecting signals in a wide range of spectrum is not only plausible, but actually quite normal. Jamming the entire spectrum is a different matter entirely (and would give your own position away.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki I consider it a frame challenge. OP seems more concerned with making all wireless comms unfeasible rather than interception specifically. In that case, still unfeasible though it may be, jamming everything is still much more feasible than intercepting everything. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 5, 2023 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen something something lasers weren't EMI-tested and blew up. But yes, it's still very handwave-y. $\endgroup$
    – fectin
    Jan 5, 2023 at 18:25
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If I'm understanding correctly, you want a plot justification for a military needing to use couriers to deliver messages.

I think you might be able to do this by positing an unexpected leap in quantum computing. The basic concept is, as I understand it, that the quantum world is capable of trying zillions of possible combinations in fractions of a second, and if you can harness that you can use it to break encryption with brute force. Currently it is expected that it will be years before we get to that point; but you're writing fiction, and you could have some genius who comes up with a brilliant short cut and suddenly decryption of everything is possible.

Since the armies haven't had a chance to update field communication systems to quantum-computing-proof tech, they have to fall back to human runners.

I'm not an expert in this stuff, you should definitely do more research on this, but this would be an avenue to explore.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you've got this backwards. OP has asserted that all combatants have specific interception capabilities, and wants to confirm whether a specific solution is the only viable one. OP is asking whether there are additional solutions to the problem that are better than the one solution they've posted. Presumably, OP has already worked out a plot justification for why all combatants have these capabilities, and if we propose a novel solution that OP accepts, they'll simply assert that one side or the other has invented it. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Jan 6, 2023 at 4:36
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In order to locate the source of a radio signal you have to triangulate it. That takes time and effort. You can foil attempts at triangulation by making your base mobile.

Or if you really want to be nasty and stealthy, the base connects to radio stations at faraway locations. Pinpointing the radio source does not pinpoint the base.

Finally, use decoys. The US Navy is able to deploy swarms of drones that can each individually mimic the radar signature of practically any other aircraft (a system known as NEMESIS, or "Netted Emulation of Multi-Element Signatures against Integrated Sensors), making it very hard for enemy forces to figure out where any aircraft actually is during combat. You could take a page from this and make similar things for mobile bases.

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Quantum mechanics to the rescue!

A classic Sci-Fi thing that currently seems to be missing among the answers is the communication based on quantum mechanics. While it is typically used as a faster-than-light gizmo, one important property of a quantmech communicator (which we may or may not call ansible) is that nobody can intercept a communication with it. Such communication breaks, if intercepted.

I think that a classical "tangled particles" quantmech is not trackable, but it might be with the advances in physics. So, later in the story, the fact that people communicate over quantmech might be found out, but not the content of the communication.

This state is then ironically similar to the present state of the modern-world crypto. It should be impossible (at least as far as we publicly know) to decrypt modern encryption in reasonable time and resource usage. But it is quite easy to obtain meta-data; the fact that those two parties communicated in an encrypted manner, even if it is hard to figure out the content of the messages.

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  • $\begingroup$ Without the right receiver key, you can't even tell that ultrawideband communications are taking place, let alone determine who is communicating or where they are. The power spectral density of a UWB transmission is far below the noise floor. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 5, 2023 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ It is worth mentioning that physicists universally agree that quantum entanglement cannot be used to transmit information. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Jan 6, 2023 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom you can't use quantum entanglement to transmit information, but you can use it to create identical keys on both sides (which noone else knows). $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2023 at 23:50
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Both sides have developed technologies that is capable of intercepting a great range of signals; from radio to infrared signals, and also identify their location. - slightly edited from the OP

I see no fundamental problem here, only tactical requirements.

If both sides can detect most/all transmissions, then you have two options: radio silence or flooding the zone with noise

Radio silence is easy, he who doesn't transmit, isn't detected.

However, if you really need to transmit vital information, set up many transmitters in randomly selected otherwise empty locations and transmit you message. Thus, triangulation reveals a lot and at the same time nothing of value. The problem of being overheard needs to be tackled by some sort of code, otherwise wireless comms would be limited to sounding alarms only.

An alternative to having many transmitters to avoid having bases located, would be to use only a single transmitter and follow the shoot-and-scoot tactic from the artillery. In order to avoid taking counter-battery fire, mobile artillery units will leave their firing position after sending a few salvos towards the target, since the ballistic trajectory of artillery shells reveals the location of the battery.

Furthermore, radio silence only applies until the first shots have been fired. Once the shooting starts, there is no more need to concealment of the active units, hence they can blast away on the radio spectrum, since they already revealed themselves to the opponent.

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