View Full Version : War 2.0

02-23-2007, 08:07 PM
February issue of the Hoover Institution's Policy Review - War 2.0 (http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/5956806.html) by Thomas Rid.

Inventions can cast a seductive spell. Promising communication technologies in particular may mesmerize even serious men: “Space will be, to all practical purposes of information, completely annihilated,” enthused a House Commerce Committee report published on April 6, 1838. Its authors were enthralled by Samuel Morse’s recent invention, the telegraph.

One hundred and sixty years later, the internet similarly inflated expectations in politics and commerce. After the bubble burst in 2001, many disappointed entrepreneurs and investors recognized that the “new,” transformed economy had been overrated and overheated. Just as the markets overestimated the World Wide Web’s seemingly unlimited economic potential, the U.S. defense establishment also was lured by a techno siren song, that of network-centric operations. Widespread enthusiasm about the new, “transformed” army’s seemingly unlimited military potential grew. But just as many businesses in that digitalized age could not deliver profit, the computerized force could not deliver victory. The Pentagon used its technology-driven “transformation” project in a non-social way, to link “sensors to shooters” in order to minimize reaction time. Its very ideal seemed to have been to minimize the role of fallible humans. Only now, as American soldiers are stuck in two mostly low-tech protracted guerrilla campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the military’s high-tech bubble beginning to burst...

Worth the read...

The local insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, as well as global militant jihadis, rely on tacit and trusted social networks, not on attackable fiber-optic networks. As a consequence, the burgeoning but introspective debate about transformation in today’s most advanced armies has largely been replaced by a more down-to-earth debate about counterinsurgency warfare. In December 2006, the Army announced plans to cut its Future Combat System by $3.3 billion and to scrap the transformational Land Warrior program. In the same month, for the first time in more than two decades, a joint Army-Marine Corps publication on counterinsurgency was issued; its lead author now commands America’s troops in Iraq.