Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Paradox of Military Technology

THE NEW ATLANTIS SITE has a very interesting piece, The Paradox of Military Technology, by Max Boot, that looks at today's military milieu.
“With the possible exceptions of night-vision devices, Global Positioning Systems, and shoulder-fired missiles,” writes retired Major General Robert Scales, a former commander of the Army War College, “there is no appreciable technological advantage for an American infantryman when fighting the close battle against even the poorest, most primitive enemy.”
That's the Kalshnikov Scourge, folks. Going great guns in the Congo, these days.
"Information technology is central to American military dominance. Not all of the changes wrought by the information age are obvious at first glance, because the basic military systems of the early twenty-first century look roughly similar to their predecessors of the second industrial age—tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, missiles. "
That's IT and digital electronics data links and phased array radar and gun computer systems.

It may be the RFID that may be of future consideration:
The most important challenge for the U.S. armed forces and their allies in the post-9/11 world is to “leverage” their advantage in conventional weaponry to deal with today’s unconventional threats. Information technology can be an important part of this task. Embedded microchips can track the 18 million cargo containers moving around the world and help prevent terrorists from using them to smuggle weapons.

As well, P. W. Singer has an interesting take on robotics, with Military Robots and the Laws of War :
When U.S. forces went into Iraq, the original invasion had no robotic systems on the ground. By the end of 2004, there were 150 robots on the ground in Iraq; a year later there were 2,400; by the end of 2008, there were about 12,000 robots of nearly two dozen varieties operating on the ground in Iraq. As one retired Army officer put it, the “Army of the Grand Robotic” is taking shape.

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