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Net-centric warfare

>> Friday, September 03, 2004

The reason the media doesn't understand the military (besides rarely hiring former servicemembers) is because the military is usually on the forefront of new ideas and technology. Jeeps, night-vision, GPS, Gore-TEX, digital communications, the Internet (DARPA and a bunch of others), wireless internet and even leadership stuff like "bottom-up reviews", and leadership training all come from the military.


Net-Centric Warfare Is Changing the Battlefield Environment
The next stage in modern warfare is the use of digital communication between all members on the battlefield. Each fighting vehicle, each plane, each leader from squad leader to CINC has the ability to "see" exactly what neighboring units "see". Commanders can click and drag to order their units to pin-point locations. Enemy sightings are immediately reported and targeted by commanders.

This was just starting when I left the Army in 1996. I thought it made perfect sense, but didn't see the hardware as being ready. Well, we've come a long way baby. We live in the information age, now our soldiers fight on the information battlefield. Soldiers are usually the last to know what's going on during battle. Combat is a confusing place, made more so by an enemy that's doing it's best to kill you. A squad leader being able to see the battlefield give him an immense advantage against his opponent. Taking and giving orders via the radio is time consuming and prone to errors. Time consuming because you have to repeat the important stuff back so that everyone knows you wrote down the correct grid coordinates, etc. Also, by seeing the entire battlefield, the squad leader can make decisions on the ground much more effectively. He knows where his supporting units are and where the enemy has been spotted.

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt have an excellent analysis on the application of this technology.

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