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Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
Topic: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War (Read 144171 times)
Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
November 01, 2006, 12:20:27 PM »
Guns and Better
Max Boot surveys five centuries' worth of military revolutions.
BY ROBERT H. SCALES
Tuesday, October 31, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
The subject of technology in modern warfare has been covered by many scholars and soldiers before. But Max Boot takes a refreshingly novel approach in "War Made New." He uses battles as metaphors to demonstrate that revolutions in military affairs, or RMAs, have a pedigree. Tracing the history of warfare from the French invasion of Italy in the late 15th century to Afghanistan and Iraq today, Mr. Boot contends that RMAs are the preserve of Western militaries or of non-Western militaries, like Japan's, clever enough to mimic the Western style of war. These RMAs, he says, have been decisive agents of both military success and geopolitical change.
Mr. Boot is an insightful observer of the profession of arms, a gifted amateur who has learned to know war without experiencing it. His last major work was the excellent "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" (2002). "War Made New" concentrates on four RMAs that occurred over five centuries. The first began with the rise of European states that alone possessed the bureaucratic and technological capacity to equip armies and navies with gunpowder weapons. The Industrial Revolution fueled the next two RMAs: one powered by steel and steam (World War I) and the other by electricity and oil (World War II). The fourth turning point that made war new, Mr. Boot says, is the contemporary rise of information technology.
Mr. Boot takes a daring--and successful--tack in approaching his subject; rather than attempt to be exhaustively comprehensive, he treats battles like lily pads, jumping from one to the next in quick succession across the pond of history. Thus the warfare we read about includes the British defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Prussian victory over the Austrians at the Battle of K?niggr?tz in 1866, the Japanese navy's vanquishing of the Russian fleet in the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, and the German invasion of France in 1940. Mr. Boot admits to selecting battles that reinforce his thesis. Thus to illustrate his point that the most determined enemy in the late 19th century could not stand against an army equipped with small-bore rifles and machine guns--gifts of the Industrial Revolution--the author chooses the butchering of the Mahdi Army at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 during the fight for British supremacy in the Sudan.
Mr. Boot exercises his skill as an editorialist to craft riffs, sort of cognitive connective tissue, that tie together his battlefield images. In three pages he gives a remarkably precise explanation of total war, as embodied by World War I, along with its social, political and economic repercussions. In five pages he distills the story of the U.S. Navy's creation of large-deck aircraft carrier materiel and doctrine. He succeeds in recounting the development of American armored doctrine during the interwar period in a single paragraph.
Despite the concision of the writing, a reader's attention might begin to fade--save for the fact that Mr. Boot also has a gift for knowing when to stir into the mix little-known, topically irrelevant tidbits about his key actors. For instance, he interjects to tell us that King Francis I of France, within three years of his launching the gunpowder revolution, died when he cracked his cranium against a door jamb in one of his palaces. Or that Gen. Curtis LeMay's reputation as a borderline sociopath was due in large measure to a perpetual scowl brought on by Bell's Palsy contracted in 1942. We learn that Col. Hector "Fighting Mac" McDonald, a popular British hero who achieved fame during the Battle of Omdurman, took his life so as not to suffer the consequences of a court-martial for pedophilia.
On the whole, Mr. Boot's argument for the decisiveness of the first three RMAs is persuasive, even if one is tempted to cite battles that undermine his thesis (yes, gunpowder mastery made all the difference at Obdurman, but only a year after that battle a few determined Afrikaners embarrassed the British Army with their home-grown use of Western weapons technology during the Boer War). Less convincing is Mr. Boot's argument for today's information-powered RMA.
Daily headlines keep getting in his way. Tomorrow's emerging war-winning technologies such as satellite sensors, laser weapons and cyber attacks seem to be less than compelling when juxtaposed with the reality that our challenges are now human, not technological. All the high-tech gear that Mr. Boot describes in his final chapters hasn't done much to make our soldiers and marines more culturally aware and adaptive or better able to shape the perceptions of our friends or break the will of our enemies.
The big news coming out of the information RMA may well be written by an adaptive enemy who has learned--after 500 years of trying--how to lessen the effectiveness of Western technology through the imaginative use of patience, ideological fanaticism and an enthusiasm for death. Contemporary experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon suggests that our enemies may be evolving their own revolution, this one in cultural, not technological, affairs.
Yet one can't help concluding that Mr. Boot believes tomorrow's RMAs will ultimately continue the Western tradition of winning against less technologically advanced enemies. Mr. Boot is a penetrating writer and thinker, and his opinions are influential in military circles. However understandable his confidence about the future might be, his seeming underestimation of the threat from our current enemies is the only drawback to an otherwise brilliantly crafted history.
Maj. Gen. Scales, who retired from active duty in 2000, is the president of Colgen Inc., a company specializing in defense consulting. You can buy "War Made New" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.
Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 11:07:35 PM by Crafty_Dog
US Space Supremacy
Reply #1 on:
November 02, 2006, 02:34:14 PM »
It's the goal of America's new space policy.
by Michael Goldfarb
11/02/2006 12:00:00 AM
ON OCTOBER 18, the Washington Post reported on "the first revision of U.S. space policy in nearly 10 years." The specifics of that revision remain largely classified; however, the government did post an unclassified overview of the new policy which can be read here.
According to that document, "the President authorized a new national space policy on August 31, 2006 that establishes overarching national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities." The document sets out a series of principles, goals, and guidelines that largely conform to the recommendations of the Commission to Assess United States National Security, Space Management, and Organization--otherwise known as the Rumsfeld Commission. That commission, which presented its recommendations in January of 2001, was authorized by a coalition of Republican senators who were concerned by the fact that "annual [Defense] budgets repeatedly short-change space programs," and was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, who had become the nominee for Secretary of Defense by the time the commission's recommendations were delivered.
The ultimate goal of this new policy, as recommended by the commission more than five years ago, is to assure that the United States is able to "develop and deploy the means to deter and defend against hostile acts directed at U.S. space assets and against the uses of space hostile to U.S. interests." As General Lance W. Lord, the former commander of Air Force Space Command, told an Air Force conference in September of 2005, "Space supremacy is our vision for the future."
And space supremacy is now the official policy of the United States government. Among the principles set forth in the new document is that the United States "rejects any limitations on the fundamental right of the United States to operate in and acquire data from space;" furthermore, "the United States will view purposeful interference with its space systems as an infringement on its rights." It goes on to assert that the United States will "preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space . . . and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests." In an outright rejection of the sovereignty of the international community in space, the new policy also states that the United States "will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space."
THIS WAS BIG NEWS in the foreign press, where headlines characterized the policy as a new imperialism. The Independent blared "America intends to claim a new empire," and the Times of London proclaimed "America wants it all--life, the Universe and everything." The administration's domestic critics have blasted the policy as unilateral and unnecessary. Both points were made by the American Prospect's Matthew Yglesias, who wrote that,
having failed to kill Osama bin Laden, or stabilize Iraq, or resolve issues relating to Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, the administration is preparing to tackle the pressing issue of Martian invaders. That, and also the extremely hypothetical chance that someday in the future some other country--Russia or China or India, one assumes--will find itself engaged in a struggle for space supremacy with the United States. . . . If we're worried about space at all, the thing to do is strengthen agreements among the major powers to avoid an arms race--that will make everyone happy.
The only problem is that this "extremely hypothetical" scenario is already reality. Earlier this month the Pentagon confirmed that China had tested a ground-based anti-satellite laser and had disabled a U.S. satellite in the process. There has long been speculation about China's research into high-energy laser weapons for the purpose of disrupting satellite communications, but this was the first hard proof that the Chinese were capable of deploying such a system.
(This was not, howevever, the first attempt by a foreign government to interfere with American military satellites. As General Lord pointed out in an interview with Harrison Donnelly in the journal Military Aerospace Technology, "during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Saddam Hussein tried to take away our precision strike capability by jamming our GPS satellites. Then-Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche stated, 'The war in space has begun.' And I'd add: 'We didn't start it.'")
Mind you, China's recent test was probably not its first experiment with asymmetric methods of countering America's current space superiority. Last summer the Department of Defense submitted a report to Congress on the state of the Chinese military and concluded that "China is working on, and plans to field, ASAT [anti-satellite weapons] systems." Even before then, Larry M. Wortzel, former director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, was at the Heritage Foundation pointing to "ample evidence from Chinese scientific and military journals that the PRC is developing maneuvering micro-satellites that can attach themselves to enemy satellites and destroy or jam them, or could be used to collide with and destroy enemy satellites."
Wortzel, now chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said he took "the reports [of a Chinese ASAT test] at face value." "Space is absolutely militarized," Wortzel said, "Chinese armed forces and military planners believe space is just another domain" for military operations. "There's no doubt the Chinese will put weapons into space" with the aim of "destroying command and control and communications satellites." Wortzel also expressed concern that while the United States and the Soviet Union had long ago resolved to avoid "interfering" with each other's satellites--as such interference would likely be interpreted as a prelude to attack--it's not clear that the Chinese have "thought through the implications" of such actions.
But space supremacy isn't only about the emerging military threat from China. The apparent stalemate that has developed between the United States and North Korea--or between the United States and Iran for that matter--is more than anything, the result of a paucity of options. Air strikes present tremendous risks to American interests and offer only the possibility, significant as it may be, of retarding those programs. Wortzel says space-based weapons systems like the rods from god or Brilliant Pebbles might "give us increased options" when dealing with rogue states. Space supremacy could become the big stick that allows American policymakers to walk more softly on the international stage.
Is there a diplomatic alternative to space supremacy? Probably not. As Wortzel explains, the difficulties of verifying compliance with any negotiated prohibition are likely to be insurmountable. But even if verification were possible, it's not at all clear that a diplomatic alternative would be preferable. Much like the English navy once secured the world's sea lanes, so too might the America Air Force secure space for 21st century commerce. As Everett Dolman, a professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, told the Kansas City Star, "While the rest of the world will condemn us for it, within five years of having a domain in place it will be seen as a public good."
Of course, nothing is foreordained. As Pavel Podvig, an expert on Soviet ASAT systems, explains, the Soviets started down the path toward space supremacy more than 40 years ago--only to abandon their efforts after a cost-benefit analysis. Podvig says there is an "institutional inertia" driving many of these programs as the aerospace industry positions itself to gain access to the billions of federal dollars that would be authorized for any space-based system. He'd be surprised if any of the proposed systems "survive the reality-check" of the appropriations process given their enormous price-tags and uncertain potential.
But those are political decisions for the American people to make. With its new space policy, the Bush administration has offered its vision for the future.
Michael Goldfarb is deputy online editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Re: Military Science
Reply #2 on:
November 04, 2006, 01:30:20 PM »
U.S. trains Iraqis in river warfare tactics
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
November 4, 2006
Hoping to restrict the smuggling of weapons and fighters along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the U.S. Navy has brought Iraqi security forces to America for training on river warfare tactics.
On Thursday, 16 members of the Iraqi Riverine Police Force finished a six-week course at a Navy training facility in Mississippi to prepare them to patrol the wide waterways that have served as smuggling corridors and danger zones for centuries.
The Navy routinely trains foreign military forces in such tactics. For the Iraqis, the training emphasized the possibility of combat.
"We know the likelihood of them getting shot at is very high," said Navy Cmdr. Lance Bach. "We practiced on how to return fire and how to get out of the kill zone."
Navy officials hope the 16 will teach other Iraqi security personnel techniques for guiding small boats, inspecting suspicious vessels, and landing or evacuating "friendlies" on the shore.
Additional Iraqis are likely to take the course given at the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The school is part of the Naval Special Warfare Center, based in Coronado, Calif..
Assisted by four interpreters, Navy instructors taught the group techniques for patrolling in 25-foot boats armed with M60 machine guns. Much of the training was on how to react to ambush attacks.
"We pushed 'em hard," said Navy Chief Petty Officer Rob Rheaume.
Historians suggest the lawlessness of Ramadi, now an insurgent hotspot, derives from its long involvement with smuggling rings using the Euphrates. Some smuggling is to avoid taxation on consumer goods. In other cases, smuggling aids the insurgency.
"In the absence of police or security forces, smugglers, using canoes and diesel-powered boats, move freely along these rivers," said the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman, referring to the Tigris, Euphrates and the Shatt al Arab waterway in southern Iraq.
The Shatt al Arab, which divides Iran and Iraq, is an important smuggling route for oil being illegally exported from Iraq. The 16 Iraqis who graduated on Thursday will be deployed along the Tigris River, which runs through Baghdad.
One of them, who used the name Abu Ali, said he and his comrades learned "how to fight and fight hard." Along with the training, there was also time to see some Americana, including museums and a four-hour trip to Wal-Mart.
"It's a beautiful thing," Abu Ali said of Wal-Mart. "You need a whole day to spend there."
Re: Military Science
Reply #3 on:
November 09, 2006, 08:14:19 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Rumsfeld's Legacy
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday after the Democrats succeeded in securing a majority hold on the U.S. House of Representatives in midterm elections.
Rumsfeld is perhaps among the most visionary defense secretaries who have served in the U.S. government, but that hardly has made him an effective one -- and it certainly has not stopped him from being a political liability.
Rumsfeld's primary goal, and the reason that U.S. President George W. Bush brought him into the government in the first place, was to bring about a seminal shift in the shape of the U.S. military. He sought to skip over an entire generation of military hardware -- such as the F-22, which is only now entering the military's toolkit -- and instead focus on the development of fundamentally new technologies, so that 20 years from now the United States would be fielding technology two generations ahead of any potential foes.
Part and parcel of this change would be a massive reduction in the size of the military, with the army suffering the largest cuts in manpower and resources. There would be a corresponding emphasis on light, highly mobile forces with high-tech capabilities such as long-range hypersonic cruise missiles, smart drones and the ability to insert small forces anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.
Rumsfeld's biggest failing was not his plan, or even his execution of it. It was that reality intervened, in the form of the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war, and he refused to shift course in midstream. Rumsfeld was designing a military that could defeat state power by the precise applications of force while minimizing the exposure of U.S. forces; but the U.S.-jihadist war brought to the table a foe that thrived in chaotic regions where state control was weak or nonexistent. Rumsfeld's plan could overturn the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's government, but it could not muster the manpower necessary to impose order on the resulting chaos. Without sufficient "boots on the ground," the United States has proven unable to deny militants the environment in which they thrive.
The nature of the war the United States found itself fighting changed, and Rumsfeld demonstrated over and over that he lacked the ability to change with it.
His replacement, former CIA director Robert Gates, is in theory being brought in specifically to implement the very changes that Rumsfeld for the longest time refused to admit were necessary. Gates is part of the Iraq Study Group, a cadre of senior statesmen who have been out of government for over a decade -- he left government in 1993 -- recently tasked to come up with alternatives to the current Iraq strategy.
Their recommendations will be interesting to read, and Gates' efforts to implement them will be fascinating to watch. Congressional confirmation for Gates should come very easily and quickly -- he has no great political ambitions and is on the team that is supposed to come up with non-ideological recommendations for the way forward.
But what he will not be doing is prepping the United States for the next threat. Gates is a placeholder -- a competent placeholder for sure, but a placeholder nonetheless. Facing a hostile Congress, the Bush administration has sharp limitations on its actions and we will be seeing no revolutionary proposals from a defense secretary who will be in his job a maximum of two years.
The irony is that, instead of leaping ahead by a generation, U.S. forces have now been saddled with the worst of both worlds: an exhausted military that will take years to repair, and limited progress in the modernization that they will likely need a generation from now.
Re: Military Science
Reply #4 on:
November 18, 2006, 12:54:52 PM »
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.
The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.
It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants, it said. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a "bionic man" and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers.
The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth.
"The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons," Peres said.
The 34-day war in Lebanon ended with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in mid-August. The war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, he said.
? Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Re: Military Science
Reply #5 on:
November 19, 2006, 07:59:13 AM »
Weird-- The NY Times calls for a bigger military:
The Army We Need
Published: November 19, 2006
One welcome dividend of Donald Rumsfeld?s departure from the Pentagon is that the United States will now have a chance to rebuild the Army he spent most of his tenure running down.
Mr. Rumsfeld didn?t like the lessons the Army drew from Vietnam ? that politicians should not send American troops to fight a war of choice unless they went in with overwhelming force, a clearly defined purpose and strong domestic backing. He didn?t like the Clintonian notion of using the United States military to secure and rebuild broken states.
And when circumstances in Afghanistan and Iraq called for just the things Mr. Rumsfeld didn?t like, he refused to adapt, letting the Army, and American interests, pay the price for his arrogance.
So one of the first challenges for the next defense secretary and the next Congress is to repair, rebuild and reshape the nation?s ground forces. They need to renew the morale and confidence of America?s serving men and women and restore the appeal of career military service for the brightest young officers.
That will require building a force large enough to end more than three years of unsustainably rapid rotations of units back into battle, misuse of the National Guard, overuse of the Reserves and conscription of veterans back into active service.
Congress also needs to work harder at rebuilding the links between the battlefront and the home front that a healthy democracy needs. That does not require reinstating the draft ? a bad idea for military as well as political reasons. It requires a Congress willing to resume its proper constitutional role in debating and deciding essential questions of war and peace. If Congress continues to shirk that role, expanding the ground forces would invite some future administration to commit American forces recklessly to dubious wars of choice.
But keeping the Army in its present straitjacket would bring bigger and more immediate problems. Even assuming an early exit from Iraq, the Army?s overall authorized strength needs to be increased some 75,000 to 100,000 troops more than Mr. Rumsfeld had in mind for the next few years.
A force totaling 575,000 would permit the creation of two new divisions for peacekeeping and stabilization missions, a doubling of special operations forces and the addition of 10,000 to the military police to train and supplement local police forces. The Marine Corps, currently 175,000, needs to be expanded to at least 180,000 and shifted from long-term occupation duties toward its real vocation as a tactical assault force ready for rapid deployment.
That big an increase cannot be achieved overnight. It will take many months, and many billions of dollars, to recruit, train and equip these men and women. Every 10,000 added will cost roughly $1.5 billion in annual upkeep, plus tens of billions in one-time recruitment and equipment expenses.
But all the needed money can be found by reordering priorities within the defense budget. Thanks to six years of hefty budget increases, there is no shortage of defense dollars. They just need to go where the actual wars are. Contrary to pre-9/11 predictions, the early 21st century did not turn out to be an era of futuristic stealthy combat in the skies and high seas. Instead, American forces have been slogging it out in a succession of unconventional ground wars and nation-building operations.
If the new Pentagon leaders and the new Congress are prepared to take on the military contracting lobbies, they could take as much as $60 billion now going to Air Force fighters, Navy destroyers and Army systems designed for the conventional battlefield and shift it to training and equipping more soldiers for unconventional warfare. America cannot afford to dribble away money on corporate subsidies disguised as military necessities.
Congress also needs to hold the executive branch accountable for the use of American troops abroad. Administration officials must be pressed to explain intelligence claims and offer plausible strategies. Pentagon leaders should be instructed to stop using National Guard units for overseas combat instead of homeland security. And uniformed commanders should be pushed for candid assessments about conditions on the ground and the realistic choices available to policy makers.
Rebuilding the Army and Marine Corps is an overdue necessity. But it is only the first step toward repairing the damage done to America?s military capacities and credibility over the past six years.
Re: Military Science
Reply #6 on:
November 21, 2006, 03:58:33 PM »
A Fresh Look at the Draft
By George Friedman
New York Democrat Charles Rangel, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has called for the reinstatement of the draft. This is not new for him; he has argued for it for several years. Nor does Rangel -- or anyone else -- expect a proposal for conscription to pass. However, whether this is political posturing or a sincere attempt to start a conversation about America's military, Rangel is making an important point that should be considered. This is doubly true at a time when future strategies are being considered in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the available force is being strained to its limits.
The United States has practiced conscription in all major wars since the Civil War. During the Cold War, the United States practiced conscription continually, using it to fight both the Korean and Vietnam wars, but also to maintain the peacetime army. Conscription ended in 1973 as the U.S. role in Vietnam declined and as political opposition to the draft surged. From that point on, the United States shifted to a volunteer force.
Rangel's core criticism of the volunteer force is social. He argues that the burden of manning the military and fighting the war has fallen, both during Vietnam War conscription and in the volunteer army, for different reasons, on the lower and middle-lower classes. Apart from other arguments -- such as the view that if the rich were being drafted, the Vietnam and Iraq wars would have ended sooner -- Rangel's essential point is that the way the United States has manned the military since World War II is inherently unjust. It puts the lower classes at risk in fighting wars, leaving the upper classes free to pursue their lives and careers.
The problem with this argument is not the moral point, which is that the burden of national defense should be borne by all classes, but rather the argument that a draft would be more equitable. Rangel's view of the military and the draft was shaped by Vietnam -- and during Vietnam, there was conscription. But it was an inherently inequitable conscription, in the sense that during most of the war, deferments were given for students. That deferment, earlier in the war, extended to graduate school. As a result, by definition, the less-educated were more vulnerable to conscription than the more-educated. There were a host of deferments, including medical deferments, and the sophisticated could game the system easily. A draft, by itself, does not in any way guarantee equity.
During the final years of the Vietnam-era draft, the deferment system was replaced by a lottery. This was intended to (and, to some extent, did) reduce the inequities of the system, although sophisticated college students with low numbers continued to find ways to avoid conscription using the complex rules of the Selective Service system -- ways that the less-educated still couldn't use. The lottery system was an improvement, but in the end, it still meant that some would go into harm's way while others would stay home and carry on their lives. Basing the draft on a lottery might have mitigated social injustice, but basing life-and-death matters such as going to war on the luck of the draw still strikes us as inappropriate.
The switch from deferments to the lottery points out one of the key problems of conscription. The United States does not need, and cannot afford, a military that would consist of all of the men (and now, we assume, women) aged 19-21. That would create a force far too large and far too inexperienced. The lottery was designed to deal with a reality in which the United States needed conscription, but could not cope with universal conscription. Some method had to be found to determine who would and would not serve -- and any such method would be either unfair or arbitrary.
Americans remember World War II as, in many ways, the morally perfect war: the right enemy, the right spirit and the right military. But World War II was unique in that the United States had to field an enormous military. While some had to man truly essential industries, and some were medically disqualified, World War II was a case in which universal conscription was absolutely needed because the size of the force had to be equal to the size of the total pool of available and qualified manpower, minus essential workers. Unless it suited the needs of the military, no one was deferred. Married men with children, brilliant graduate students, the children of the rich and famous -- all went. There were still inequities in the kinds of assignments people got and the pull that was sometimes used. But what made the World War II conscription system work well was that everyone was needed and everyone was called.
Not everyone is needed in today's military. You might make the case for universal service -- people helping teachers and cleaning playgrounds. But there is a fundamental difference between these jobs and, at least in principle, the military. In the military, you might be called on to risk your life and die. For the most part, that isn't expected from teacher's aides. Thus, even if there were universal service, you would still be left with the dilemma of who gets to teach arts and crafts and who goes on patrol in Baghdad. Universal conscription does not solve the problem inherent in military conscription.
And there is an even more fundamental issue. During World War II, conscription, for just about everyone, meant service until the end of the war. During the Cold War, there was no clear end in sight. Since not everyone was conscripted, having conscripts serve until the end of the war could mean a lifetime of service. The decision was made that draftees would serve for two years and remain part of the reserve for a period of time thereafter.
Training during World War II took weeks for most combat specialties, with further training undertaken with soldiers' units or through combat. In World War II, the United States had a mass-produced army with plenty of time to mature after training. During Vietnam, conscripts went through basic training and advanced training, leaving a year for deployment in Vietnam and some months left over after the tour of duty. Jobs that required more complex training, from Special Forces to pilots to computer programmers, were handled by volunteers who served at least three years and, in many cases, longer. The draftee was used to provide the mass. The complexities of the war were still handled by a volunteer force.
The Battle of the Bulge took place 62 years ago. The Tet Offensive was nearly 39 years ago. The 90-day-wonder officers served well in World War II, and the draftee riflemen were valiant in Vietnam, but military requirements have changed dramatically. Now the military depends on highly trained specialists and groups of specialists, whose specialties -- from rifleman to warehouse worker -- have become more and more complex and sophisticated. On the whole, the contemporary Army, which historically has absorbed most draftees, needs more than two years in order to train draftees in their specialties, integrate them with their units and deploy them to combat.
Today, a two-year draft would be impractical because, on the whole, it would result in spending huge amounts of money on training, with very little time in actual service to show for it. Conscription could, of course, be extended to a three- or even four-year term, but with only selective service -- meaning that only a fraction of those eligible would be called -- that extension would only intensify the unfairness. Some would spend three or four years in the military, while others would be moving ahead with schools and careers. In effect, it would be a huge tax on the draftees for years of earnings lost.
A new U.S. draft might force the children of the wealthy into the military, but only at the price of creating other inequities and a highly inefficient Army. The training cycle and retention rate of a two-year draft would swamp the Army. In Iraq, the Army needs Special Forces, Civil Affairs specialists, linguists, intelligence analysts, unmanned aerial vehicle operators and so on. You can draft for that, we suppose, but it is hard to imagine building a force that way.
A volunteer force is a much more efficient way to field an Army. There is more time for training, there is a higher probability of retention and there are far fewer morale problems. Rangel is wrong in comparing the social base of this Army with that of Vietnam. But the basic point he is trying to make is true: The makeup of the U.S. Army is skewed toward the middle and lower-middle class. But then, so are many professions. Few children of the wealthy get jobs in the Social Security Administration or become professional boxers. The fact that the Army does not reflect the full social spectrum of the country doesn't mean very much. Hardly anything reflects that well.
Still, Rangel is making an important point, even if his argument for the draft does not work. War is a special activity of society. It is one of the few in which the citizen is expected -- at least in principle -- to fight and, if necessary, die for his country. It is more than a career. It is an existential commitment, a willingness to place oneself at risk for one's country. The fact that children of the upper classes, on the whole, do not make that existential commitment represents a tremendous weakness in American society. When those who benefit most from a society feel no obligation to defend it, there is a deep and significant malaise in that society.
However, we have been speaking consistently here about the children of the rich, and not of the rich themselves. Combat used to be for the young. It required stamina and strength. That is still needed. However, there are two points to be made. First, many -- perhaps most -- jobs in today's military that do not require the stamina of youth, as proven by all the contractors doing essentially military work in Iraq. Second, 18- to 22-year-olds are far from the most physically robust age group. Given modern diet and health regimens, there are people who are substantially older who have the stamina and strength for combat duty. If you can play tennis as well as you claim to for as long as you say, you can patrol a village in the Sunni Triangle.
We do not expect to be taken seriously on this proposal, but we will make it anyway: There is no inherent reason why enlistment -- or conscription -- should be targeted toward those in late adolescence. And there is no reason why the rich themselves, rather than the children of the rich, should not go to war. Or, for that matter, why older people with established skills should not be drawn into the military. That happened in World War II, and it could happen now. The military's stove-pipe approach to military careers, and the fact that it allows almost no lateral movement into service for 40- to 60-year-olds, is irrational. Even if we exclude combat arms, other specialties could be well-served by such a method -- which also would reduce the need for viciously expensive contractors.
Traditionally, the draft has fallen on those who were barely adults, who had not yet had a chance to live, who were the least equipped to fight a complex war. Other age groups were safe. Rangel is talking about drafting the children of the rich. It would be much more interesting, if the United States were to introduce the draft, to impose it in a different way, on entirely different age groups. Let the young get on with starting their lives. Let those who have really benefited from society, who have already lived, ante up.
Modern war does not require the service of 19-year-olds. In the field, you need the strong, agile and smart, but we know several graying types who still could hack that. And in the offices that proliferate in the military, experienced businesspeople would do even better at modernizing the system. If they were drafted, and went into harm's way, they would know exactly what they were fighting for and why -- something we hardly think most 19-year-olds really know yet.
Obviously, no one is going to adopt this crackpot proposal, even though we are quite serious about it. But we ask that you take seriously two points. Rangel is correct in saying that the upper classes in American society are not pulling their weight. But if the parents haven't served, we cannot reasonably expect the children to do so. If Americans are serious about dealing with the crisis of lack of service among the wealthiest, then they should look to the wealthiest first, rather than their children.
Send questions or comments on this
Re: Military Science
Reply #7 on:
November 21, 2006, 05:44:34 PM »
How would the public opinion in the US react towards a draft?
"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
Re: Military Science
Reply #8 on:
November 21, 2006, 07:13:39 PM »
No one is taking Rangel seriously. He is a long-time rabble rouser who enjoys posturing for TV cameras. Due to his seniority in Congress he is in a position to start investigations and be a pain-in-the-butt. That said, there has been a goodly amount of corrupt looking practices by the Bush Administration that do deserve investigation. Of course Rangel will try to take it further than that.
The Stratfor piece preceding your post has a pretty sound analysis IMHO. The military doesn't want it, the people don't want it. Its going nowhere.
Re: Military Science
Reply #9 on:
November 23, 2006, 07:49:56 AM »
Top Marine: Troops under too much strain
November 22, 2006
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The new Marine Corps commandant said Wednesday that the longer than anticipated pace of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is putting an unacceptable strain on his troops.
Gen. James Conway said the service is unable to meet its goal of giving Marines twice as much time at home as in a war zone.
He said unless the demand on the corps eases, he may have to propose increasing the size of the force.
The Marine Corps is the smallest of the Pentagon's military services. The Coast Guard, which is even smaller, is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Currently there are 180,000 Marines on active duty and about 40,000 in the active reserves. Marine units serve seven-month deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Conway, who led Marine units into Iraq in 2003 and served on the Pentagon's joint staff, said his troops should get 14 months of relief before they are sent back.
Typically, however, they get only seven or eight months home before being returned to combat, he said.
Assuming the Marines' top job little more than a week ago, Conway told reporters at a Pentagon roundtable discussion that he sees two ways to alleviate stress on troops.
"One is reducing the requirement [of a set deployment time]. The other is potentially growing the force for what we call the long war," Conway said.
Some units are serving their fourth tours in Iraq, and the strain on their families has raised concern that Marines will start leaving the service when their enlistments are up.
"There is stress on the individual Marines that is increasing, and there is stress on the institution to do what we are required to do, pretty much by law, for the nation," he was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.
The current rotation of troops to Iraq is also limiting training, he said.
"We're not sending battalions like we used to for the mountain warfare training, the jungle training," he told reporters. "We're not doing combined arms exercises that we used to do for the far maneuver-type activities we have to be prepared to do."
Conway said he doesn't know whether an expected adjustment in strategy in Iraq will result in the need for more Marines, so he's holding off on making any formal recommendations.
Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
Re: Military Science
Reply #10 on:
November 29, 2006, 01:43:04 AM »
Release Date: 10/19/2006
War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today
by Max Boot
The United States spends more on developing and testing new weapons each year than any other nation spends on its entire defense. Given what military history teaches us, says Max Boot, that might be $70 billion well spent. Over the past 500 years, after all, war?s victors have been distinguished not so much by their wealth or size as by their ability to exploit new combat technologies. The empires that first mastered gunpowder weapons gave way to the nations that were quickest to harness steam power and steel. In the years leading up to World War II, the Soviet Union grabbed the advantage in tank warfare while the United States mastered in bombers and aircraft carriers. A fourth military revolution?the Information Revolution?finds the U.S. with no obvious battlefield rival, Boot says. But history also tells us that no technological advantage ever lasts.
Boot is a ?fantastic writer,? said Phillip Carter in Slate.com. Despite the grand sweep of War Made New, the book unfolds as a string of dramatic vignettes, from ?the drubbing of the Spanish Armada in 1588? to ?Japan?s smashing of the Russian fleet in 1905? and beyond. All the while, Boot seems determined to prove that new technology has provided a meaningful advantage only for nations that already excelled at an ?institutional, almost bureaucratic? approach to raising armies and deploying them wisely. But Boot suddenly abandons this mitigating idea when he arrives at America?s 1991 war in the Persian Gulf. Smart bombs and similar gadgetry bedazzle him, and he loses sight of the fact that none of our technological advantages will do America much good if our enemies decide to completely avoid conventional warfare.
Boot does acknowledge that the military?s industrial-era organizational structure may now be an albatross, said Frank Hoffman in Armed Forces Journal. He hints that forces that are able to decentralize decision-making may hold the edge in the future. Even so, Boot?s ?brilliantly crafted history? leaves you wondering if he isn?t utterly mistaken about the current revolution, said Robert H. Scales in The Wall Street Journal. Maybe technology?s long reign is over and ?the big news? of the current century will be ?written by an adaptive enemy who has learned?after 500 years of trying?how to lessen the effectiveness of Western technology through the imaginative use of patience, ideological fanaticism, and an enthusiasm for death.?
The Paradox of Military Technology
While various setbacks in the war on terror underscore the limits of American power, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture: we live in the age of American supremacy. Part of the explanation for U.S. dominance surely lies in America?s economic strength. But Europe and Japan are similarly wealthy, yet their global sway lags far behind. What they lack is America?s superior military capabilities. In the words of Gregg Easterbrook: ?The American military is now the strongest the world has ever known, both in absolute terms and relative to other nations; stronger than the Wehrmacht in 1940, stronger than the legions at the height of Roman power.? Although the dominance of U.S. forces can still be challenged when they come into close contact with the enemy on his home turf, they are undisputed masters of the ?commons? (sea, air, and space), which allows them to project power anywhere in the world at short notice.
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. Military analyst Michael O?Hanlon notes that ?basic propulsion systems and designs for aircraft, ships, and internal-combustion vehicles are changing much more gradually than in the early twentieth-century, when two of those three technologies had only recently been invented.? The average speed of a U.S. Navy destroyer has not increased in the past 100 years. The U.S. Air Force continues to rely on B-52H bombers last built in 1962. And the Marine Corps still uses helicopters that flew in the Vietnam War. But since the mid-1970s, the communications, targeting, surveillance, and ordnance technologies that make such ?legacy? systems considerably more potent have been changing with great rapidity?and to America?s great advantage.
Yet in this period of American hegemony, Americans continue to feel vulnerable. As we learned on September 11, and continue learning on the battlefields of Iraq, the most advanced weapons systems and most sophisticated information technology are hardly a perfect shield against other kinds of destructive power. The paradox of our age is that modern technology is both the great separator and the great equalizer in military affairs: Technological supremacy separates America from the rest of the world, and yet modern technology leaves America vulnerable to vicious groups and gangs armed with AK47s, car bombs, or portable WMDs. To understand the future of warfare, we need to understand both sides of this paradox: specifically, how information technology has increased America?s conventional military supremacy (in land, sea, air, and space), and how this military edge may be subverted by determined radicals armed with new technologies of death.
Advanced armies are still structured, as they have been since the 1940s, around armored forces complemented by light infantry troops who move by vehicle, truck, and aircraft. The best tank in the world is probably the American Abrams (of which the U.S. has 9,000) but the British Challenger II, the German Leopard II, the Israeli Merkava Mk. 4, and the Russian T-80 and T-90 come within striking distance. All modern tanks have stabilized turrets, night-vision capabilities, laser range-finders, and targeting computers that allow them to fight in conditions?on the move or in the dark?that would have stymied earlier models. In addition, composite or reactive armor offers far more protection than in years past, and main guns firing depleted-uranium rounds have far more penetrating power.
While armored vehicles have improved over the years, so have anti-armor weapons. These range from heavy missiles fired from vehicles or aircraft (such as the U.S. Hellfire and Russian Ataka-V) to hand-held versions (such as the U.S. Javelin, the Franco-German Milan, and the Russian Kornet). In addition, even the most advanced tanks can be disabled by other tanks, massive mines, aerial bombs, or artillery shells. The full impact of advances in anti-armor technology has not yet become apparent because most of the forces that have fought modern tanks in recent years?Iraqis, Palestinians, Chechens?have not possessed the latest defensive weapons. But the U.S. success in wiping out Iraqi tanks from stand-off ranges suggests that, in the constant struggle between offense and defense, the advantage may have shifted against heavy armor. The Israelis got a taste of what the modern era has in store when, in August 2006, their tanks and troops ran into a blizzard of advanced anti-tank rockets during their attacks on Hezbollah?s strongholds in southern Lebanon.
The U.S. Army is responding to these changes by budgeting at least $124 billion?and possibly a great deal more?to develop a Future Combat System that will replace much of its current armored force with a family of lighter vehicles, manned and unmanned, with stealth designs that will make them harder to detect and hybrid-electric engines that will lessen their fuel requirements. (One of the chief disadvantages of the gas-guzzling Abrams is its heavy dependence on vulnerable supply lines.) Future vehicles will feature advanced composite armor designed to deliver more protection than current models for the same amount of weight, but they will rely for protection less on armor and more on locating and destroying the enemy before they are attacked. Critics believe this places too much faith in ?perfect situational awareness,? and that these vehicles will not be of much use against guerrillas who can strike with no warning.
As usual, the infantryman?s tools have changed least of all. A modern soldier has better protection than his forefathers if he wears Kevlar body armor, but his firepower?which comes primarily from a handheld assault rifle like the M-16 or AK-47 and from a variety of crew-served mortars and machine guns?does not vary significantly from that of a G.I. or Tommy in World War II. Electronic guns that are capable of spitting out a million rounds a minute have been developed, and might permit a soldier to stop an incoming rocket-propelled grenade with a solid wall of lead. But such weapons are years away from being fielded.
Unfortunately for Western soldiers, the proliferation of small arms can put even the most primitive foes on an almost equal footing with the representatives of the most advanced militaries. There are 250 million military and police small arms knocking around the world, and more are being manufactured all the time by at least 1,249 suppliers in 90 countries.
The salvation of information age infantry, at least when they are conducting conventional operations, is their ability to use a wireless communications device to call in supporting fire on exact coordinates. It is doubtful that any military force will again enjoy the preponderance of power of General H. H. Kitchener at Omdurman, but Americans dropping Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) on Afghan tribesmen armed with Kalashnikovs?or even on Iraqi soldiers with outdated T-72 tanks?came close. The American edge decreases considerably, however, when its troops have to deploy for peacekeeping or counterinsurgency operations which leave them exposed to low-tech ambushes. ?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.?
Reply #11 on:
November 29, 2006, 01:44:37 AM »
Navies remain divided, as they have been since the dawn of the second industrial age, into aircraft carriers, submarines, and surface ships. The major difference is that blue-water naval competition has disappeared after more than 500 years. No one even tries to challenge the U.S. Navy anymore on the high seas. Virtually every other navy in the world is little more than a coastal patrol force.
The U.S. has 12 aircraft carriers, nine of them Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarriers that can carry more than 70 high-performance aircraft such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet. A tenth supercarrier is in the works. No one else has a single one. France has the world?s only other nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, but it is half the size of the Nimitz. Russia has one aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, that rarely leaves port, and it has sold another one, the Admiral Gorshkov, to India. Britain has three small Invincible-class aircraft carriers that are used only for helicopters and vertical-takeoff Harrier jets. France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and South Korea have similar helicopter carriers in the works. These ships are comparable to the U.S. Navy?s 12 amphibious assault ships, which transport helicopters, jump jets, and Marines.
Whenever they leave port, U.S. capital ships are surrounded by surface and submarine escorts. Twenty-four Ticonderoga-class cruisers and 45 (and counting) Arleigh Burke-class destroyers come equipped with Aegis phased-array radar which can track up to 900 targets in a 300-mile radius. These surface combatants can also operate on their own or in conjunction with smaller vessels such as frigates and minesweepers.
In World War II, ships that didn?t carry aircraft were limited to firing torpedoes or heavy guns with a range of less than 30 miles. Starting in the 1960s some submarines were equipped with intercontinental range ballistic missiles, but their targeting was so imprecise that it made no sense to equip them with conventional warheads. Ballistic-missile subs became a mainstay of nuclear deterrence. The development of accurate cruise missiles starting in the 1970s allowed submarines and surface combatants to hit land targets hundreds of miles away with conventional ordnance. Improvements in torpedo design, including the development of rocket-propelled supercavitating torpedoes, also allow submarines to do more damage in their traditional anti-ship role.
The U.S. has the world?s largest fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines (54) and nuclear-powered ballistic-missile subs (16). Russia comes in second with 37 attack submarines and 14 ballistic missile subs. Britain has 15 nuclear-powered submarines, followed by France with 10, and China with six. Not only are U.S. submarines more numerous, they are also more advanced. The most sophisticated are three 1990s-vintage Seawolfs described by one defense analyst as ?the fastest, quietest, and most heavily armed undersea vessels ever built.?
Because of the growing power of each of its vessels and the lack of competitors, the U.S. Navy has consolidated its high seas hegemony even while its fleet has shrunk from almost 500 ships in the 1980s to fewer than 300 in the early years of the twenty-first century. The potency of U.S. naval vessels is increased by linking together sensors and weapons systems with a tactical computer network known as FORCEnet.
While the U.S. Navy probably will remain unchallenged in blue waters, it faces greater threats as it gets closer to shore. Here water currents, thermal layers, and various obstacles can interfere with even the most advanced sensors, and a variety of defensive weapons systems lurk in wait.
More than 75,000 anti-ship missiles are owned by 70 countries. A few are ballistic, but most are of the cruise-missile variety. Their potency was proved in 1987 when French-made Exocets fired by an Iraqi aircraft crippled the frigate USS Stark, killing 37 sailors. Earlier, Argentina used Exocets to sink two British ships during the 1982 Falklands War. Newer anti-ship cruise missiles such as the Russian-made Yakhont, Sunburn, and Uran are even deadlier because they have faster speeds, greater stealth capabilities, and more accurate, GPS-enhanced targeting. Russia is selling these missiles to customers abroad and some nations like China are developing their own versions. Israel suffered the consequences during its recent Lebanon war when an Iranian-provided C-802 cruise missile crippled one of its warships off the coast of Lebanon.
U.S. warships have sophisticated defensive systems to guard against air attack: Incoming missiles can be deflected by electronic countermeasures, flares, or chaff, or destroyed by naval aircraft, sea-to-air Standard missiles, or, as a last resort, by rapid-fire, radar-guided Phalanx guns. But, like the Stark, a warship could be caught by surprise or overwhelmed by a flurry of missiles coming from different directions.
Even more worrisome from an American viewpoint is the fact that transport ships and fuel tankers which have to replenish a fleet at sea have no protection when they are outside the defensive range of a battle group. They are as vulnerable as supply convoys on the roads of Iraq. Because a supercarrier has only about a three-day stockpile of JP-5 jet fuel (6,500 barrels a day are needed during combat operations), the most powerful warship in history could be rendered useless if its fuel tankers were sunk.
The threat to shipping, civil and military, is increased by diesel submarines. The latest diesel submarines have ultra-quiet electric engines that make them hard to detect with sonar, and they are much cheaper to buy or produce than a nuclear-powered submarine. Russia has exported Kilo-class diesel-electric subs to China, India, Iran, and Algeria, among others. China is producing its own Song-class diesel submarines in a bid to challenge U.S. naval hegemony using the same strategy that Germany, with its U-boats, once used to challenge British dominion of the waves. U.S. antisubmarine defenses are quite sophisticated, especially in open waters, but even American sensors can have trouble tracking quiet diesel subs in noisy coastal waters.
Mines, which can be scattered by submarines or other vessels, represent another major threat to shipping. More than 300 different varieties are available on the world market. They can be triggered by changes in magnetic fields, acoustic levels, seismic pressure, or other factors. Some come equipped with microelectronics that allow them to distinguish between different types of ships, while others have small motors that allow them to move around. This makes it difficult to certify that a shipping channel is free of mines?it may have been safe an hour ago, but not any more. Demining technology has lagged behind; the U.S. Navy, for one, has never placed much emphasis on lowly minesweepers. It has paid a price for this neglect. In 1987, during operations to prevent Iran from closing the Persian Gulf, an Iranian mine of World War I design nearly sank the frigate USS Samuel Roberts. Four years later, in the Gulf War, the cruiser USS Princeton and the amphibious landing ship USS Tripoli were nearly blasted apart by Iraqi mines. And even a cheap motorboat packed with explosives can pose a significant threat to a modern warship. The USS Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was badly damaged in such a terrorist attack in 2000.
All of these threats could be largely negated if U.S. fleets were to stay far out at sea, but they have to approach fairly close to land to launch aircraft or missiles with operational ranges of only a few hundred miles. Moreover, the places where the U.S. Navy is likely to fight in the future are dangerously narrow. The Persian Gulf is only 30 miles wide at its narrowest point, the Taiwan Strait only 100 miles wide.
To maintain its dominance, the U.S. Navy regularly updates the electronics and weapons aboard its warships even as the hulls and propulsion systems remain unchanged. It also plans to build a variety of unmanned vessels along with a CVN-21 aircraft carrier to replace the Nimitz-class, a Zumwalt-class DD(X) destroyer to replace Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates and Spruance-class destroyers, a CG(X) cruiser to replace the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and a smaller and speedier Littoral Combat Ship with no direct parallel in today?s fleet that would focus on clearing mines, hunting submarines, and fighting terrorists in coastal waters. All of these new vessels will have improved defenses and information-processing tools as well as ?plug and play? capacity that will allow them to be quickly reconfigured for different missions. They will also incorporate composite materials, stealthier designs, and electric propulsion to make them harder to detect, though an aircraft carrier with a 4.5-acre flight deck can never exactly hide.
Whether all of these warships are truly needed, given the U.S. Navy?s already substantial lead over all competitors, remains an open question. A program to develop giant sea bases?perhaps akin to offshore oil-platforms?that would allow American ground and air forces to operate overseas might be of greater use, given the growing difficulty the U.S. has had in gaining basing and overflight rights from other countries. But what seems clear, on sea as on land, is that the development of new weapons systems will continue to augment American supremacy while leaving American military forces vulnerable to various ?low-tech? attacks.
Fighters such as the American F-15 and the Russian MiG-29 were designed in the 1970s for air-to-air combat, but this has become almost as rare as ship-to-ship actions. Since the Israelis destroyed much of the Syrian air force in 1982, and the U.S. and its allies made similarly quick work of the Iraqi air force in 1991, few if any aircraft have been willing to challenge top-of-the-line Western militaries. (The U.S. Air Force hasn?t produced an ace?an airman with at least five aerial kills?since 1972.) That may change with the sale to China of the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30, whose performance characteristics are said to exceed those of the F-15C, but the F/A-22 Raptor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the Eurofighter should restore the Western edge. The odds of future aerial dogfights, however, still remain slim.
Modern surface-to-air missiles pose a more immediate danger, because they are cheaper and easier to operate. The U.S. and its allies have developed effective methods of neutralizing most existing air defenses. In addition to jammers, radar-seeking missiles, and decoys, the U.S. employs stealth technology, first used on the F-117 Nighthawk, then on the B-2 Spirit, and now on the F/A-22 and F-35. Future aircraft may be designed with ?visual stealth? technology to make them almost invisible even in daylight. No other nation has deployed any stealth aircraft. But advanced sensor networks may now be able to detect first-generation stealth planes. The Serbs actually managed to shoot down an F-117 in 1999.
None of the most sophisticated surface-to-air missiles, such as Russia?s double-digit SAMs (SA-10, SA-15, SA-20), was available to Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, or other states that the U.S. has fought in recent years, but they are being sold to other customers, including China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Greece, and Cyprus. So are shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles such as the American FIM-92 Stinger, British Starstreak, French Mistral, Chinese Qianwei-2, and the Russian SA-7 Grail, SA-14 Gremlin, SA-16 Gimlet, and SA-18 Grouse. There are at least 100,000 such systems in the arsenals of over 100 states and at least 13 non-state groups such as Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the Tamil Tigers. The best models have a range of 23,000 feet.
The potential of hand-carried missiles was demonstrated in the 1980s when Stingers took a significant toll on Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan. The threat is sufficient for the U.S. to rely increasingly on unmanned drones for high-risk missions and to mandate that manned aircraft in war zones stay above 15,000 or 20,000 feet. SAMs pose an especially great threat to helicopters, which don?t have the option of flying that high, and for airplanes taking off or landing. Three cargo aircraft leaving Baghdad International Airport have been seriously damaged by missiles, and, while all of them survived, several U.S. helicopters hit with SAMs in Iraq and Afghanistan did not. An Israeli jetliner was almost shot down in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 by al Qaeda operatives firing an SA-7. Only the terrorists? targeting error prevented the deaths of 271 passengers and crew. Other civilian airliners are sure to be less lucky.
Assuming that warplanes can reach their destination, the growing precision of bombs and missiles has made it possible to take out targets with fewer and smaller munitions than ever before. (The U.S. Air Force?s latest bomb carries only 50 pounds of explosives.) Weapons are getting smarter all the time. The U.S. Sensor-Fuzed Weapon, first employed in the current Iraq War, disperses 40 ?skeet? anti-armor warheads that use infrared and laser sensors to find and destroy armored vehicles within a 30-acre area. The Tactical Tomahawk, which entered production in 2004, can loiter up to three hours while searching for targets and receiving in-flight retargeting instructions.
The U.S. preponderance in smart bombs and missiles helps to compensate for the relatively small size of its manned bomber force. As of 2005, the U.S. Air Force had only 157 long-range bombers (B-52s, B-1s, B-2s), a considerable fall not only from World War II (when the U.S. had 34,780) but also from the end of the Cold War (360). While few in number, each B-2 can perform the work of thousands of B-29s by ?servicing? 80 ?aim points? per sortie.
Tankers such as the KC-10 and KC-135 vastly extend the range and effectiveness of combat aircraft. Cargo-lifters like the U.S. C-5, C-17, and C-130 and the Russian An-70 and An-225 also perform an invaluable, if unglamorous, role in projecting military power around the world. The U.S. owns 740 tanker aircraft and 1,200 cargo aircraft?far more than any other country. A lack of such support aircraft makes it difficult for even the relatively sophisticated European militaries to move their forces very far.
A host of other aircraft, ranging from JSTARS and AWACS to Rivet Joint and Global Hawk, perform surveillance and electronic-warfare missions in support of combat forces. Their numbers have been growing: While there were only two JSTARS in the Gulf War, in the Iraq War there were 15. But commanders have become so reliant on these systems that there never seem to be enough to go around?the so-called LD/HD problem (Low Density/High Demand). These, too, are vital U.S. assets that few other nations have.
Reply #12 on:
November 29, 2006, 01:46:19 AM »
A growing amount of surveillance, communications, and intelligence work is being performed by unmanned aircraft and satellites. In 2001 the U.S. had an estimated 100 military satellites and 150 commercial satellites in orbit, as much as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. spends more than $15 billion a year on military space, perhaps 90 percent of the global total. The most advanced U.S. surveillance satellites can reportedly pick out a six-inch object from 150 miles above. (This is an estimate for Keyhole imaging satellites which can work day or night but cannot penetrate cloud cover. Lacrosse or Onyx systems that use radar imaging can work in all kinds of weather. They can reportedly distinguish objects 3 to 9 feet across. Satellite capabilities are strictly classified; these are only informed guesses.) A new generation of satellites uses stealth technology so that other countries will not be able to track the satellites? movement and thus know when to hide equipment from American eyes.
Yet the advantage the U.S. military derives from mastery of space is slowly eroding. GPS, a system developed by the Defense Department, is now widely available for countless commercial applications that have spawned a $30-billion-a-year industry. A potential enemy could use GPS signals to locate targets in the U.S. the same way the U.S. military uses it to locate targets in Iraq or Afghanistan. The U.S. could jam or degrade GPS signals in wartime, but it would have to do so very selectively for fear of imposing a severe toll on the economy, because GPS devices are now essential for civil aviation, shipping, and other functions. In addition, the European Union in cooperation with China is launching its own GPS constellation, known as Galileo, that would be outside of direct U.S. control.
More and more countries?at least forty to date?are lofting their own satellites. In addition, various multinational organizations such as the Asia Satellite Corp., Arab Satellite Communications Organization, International Telecom Satellite Organization, and European Space Agency have launched their own satellites. But getting access to space no longer requires having your own satellite. A growing number of private firms such as Google, DigitalGlobe, and Space Imaging sell or give away high-resolution satellite photos via the Internet. The best of these offer imagery of sufficient quality to identify objects one and a half feet wide. The Israeli-owned ImageSat International offers customers the opportunity to redirect its EROS-A imaging satellite (launched in 2000 aboard a Russian rocket) and download its data in total secrecy with few if any restrictions. Its CEO boasts: ?Our customers, in effect, acquire their own reconnaissance satellite ... at a fraction of the cost that it would take to build their own.? The private satellite industry is becoming so pervasive that the U.S. military now relies upon it to provide some of its own imaging (typically low-resolution pictures used for mapping) and much of its communications needs.
Targets identified from space could be attacked either with terrorist (or commando) missions or with the growing number of missiles spreading around the world. More than two dozen nations have ballistic missiles and by 2015 at least a dozen will have land-attack cruise missiles. Either type of projectile could be topped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. Eight or nine countries already have nuclear weapons and more are trying to get them, in part to offset the tremendous U.S. advantage in conventional weaponry.
In response, the U.S. is working on a variety of missile defenses. The most advanced are the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 and the sea-based Standard Missile 3, which have been deployed already to protect U.S. troops overseas. The deployment of a long-heralded system designed to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range missiles began in 2004 with the installation of interceptors in Alaska. Eventually, the U.S. plans to field a multi-layered defense using a variety of sensors and weapons on land, sea, air, and space. Also in the works are systems designed to defeat low-flying cruise missiles, which are hard to distinguish from ground clutter. But whether these systems will protect Americans against the most likely or most deadly types of attacks remains an open question.
The falling size and cost of electronics has made it possible to decrease the number of people needed to operate major weapons systems or, in some instances, eliminated the need for human operators altogether. Maintaining the engines aboard a ship used to require dozens of sailors to work for extended periods in noisy, grimy, cramped quarters. The new DD(X) destroyer will have an engine room controlled entirely by remote sensors and cameras. Or, to take another example, consider the evolution of the long-range bomber from the B-29, which had a crew of 11, to the B-2 which can hit many more targets but has a crew of just two, who spend much of their time supervising the autopilot functions.
The greatest advances in robotics have been made in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), with the U.S. in the lead, Israel following close behind, and at least 40 other countries trying to catch up. By the time of the Iraq War in 2003, the U.S. had fielded six major UAVs: the Air Force?s Predator and Global Hawk, the Army?s Hunter and Shadow, and the Marines? Pioneer and Dragon Eye. These ranged in size from the 27,000-pound Global Hawk (comparable to a Lear jet) to the five-pound Dragon Eye (more like a model airplane). What they had in common was that they were all designed as surveillance systems. But in a pattern that echoes the history of manned flight, UAVs such as the Predator were soon put to work attacking enemy positions.
Soon to be deployed are drones built especially for combat?Boeing?s X-45 and Northrop Grumman?s X-47. In Matthew Brzezinski?s fanciful description, the former is ?flat as a pancake, with jagged 34-foot batwings, no tail and a triangular, bulbous nose? that give it the appearance of ?a set piece from the television program Battlestar Galactica,? while the latter is a ?a sleek kite-shaped craft with internal weapons bays for stealth and curved air intakes like the gills of a stingray.? Both are designed to be almost invisible to radar and to perform especially dangerous missions like suppressing enemy air defenses. The major difference is that the X-45 is supposed to take off from land like the F-15, while the X-47 is to operate off aircraft carriers like the F-18. Also in development is the Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft which is designed to perform the functions of an attack helicopter like the Apache. An unmanned helicopter, known as Fire Scout, is already being bought by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Unlike the Predator, most of these new UAVs do not require constant control by a human operator; newer UAVs can be programmed to fly themselves and even drop munitions without direct human intervention.
Further into the future may be projects such as a nuclear-powered UAV that could fly at 70,000 feet and stay on station for months or even years at a time; a UAV ?tender? that could serve as a mother ship for launching and recovering smaller UAVs; UAV tankers that could refuel other UAVs in flight; and vertical-takeoff UAV cargo-carriers that could supply troops in a combat zone. Many of these UAVs could use smart munitions with their own target-recognition systems, thus introducing another layer of robotics into the process. An existing example is the Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System, a 100-pound bomb with fins and a small turbojet engine that allow it to loiter over an area for up to 30 minutes, using a laser-radar sensor to search for high-priority targets based on programmed algorithms. Once it picks out a target, it can configure its multi-mode warhead into the most appropriate form?fragmentation explosives for unprotected soldiers or an armor-piercing projectile for tanks?prior to impact.
The most revolutionary UAVs are the smallest. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on aerial vehicles the size of an insect or a hummingbird that could hover undetected and perch on a telephone pole or a window ledge. Some models have no wings at all; others use flapping, bird-style wings. They are designed to be cheap enough that they could saturate a battlefield with sensors.
Unmanned ground vehicles are not as advanced as UAVs, but they are starting to play a growing role as well. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have used robots with names like PackBot, Matilda, Andros, and Swords to search tunnels, caves, and buildings for enemy fighters and explosives. ?Some are as big as a backhoe. Others can be attached to a backpack frame and carried by a soldier,? writes the trade industry publication Defense News. ?They move on treads or wheels, climb over obstacles with the aid of flippers, mount stairs, peep through windows and peer into caves with cameras and infrared sensors, sniff for chemical agents, and even operate a small ground-penetrating radar.?
As this description indicates, ground-based robots, like their aerial counterparts, are still used mainly for reconnaissance. But weapons are beginning to be mounted on them, too. The Talon, a two-foot-six-inch robot which looks like a miniature tank and was designed for bomb disposal, was sent to Iraq equipped with grenade and rocket launchers as well as a .50-caliber machine gun. It is controlled remotely by a soldier using a video screen and joystick.
Developing more sophisticated unmanned ground vehicles will be tougher than developing better UAVs because there are so many more obstacles that can impede movement on the ground. But progress is rapidly being made. In 2004, DARPA sponsored a race in the Mojave Desert to see if an autonomous robotic vehicle could complete a 132-mile course. That year, the furthest any competitor got was 7.4 miles, but in 2005 four vehicles finished the entire course, with the winner (a souped-up Volkswagen Touareg) claiming the $2 million prize. Buoyed by these results, the Pentagon is pushing ahead with plans for new ground robots such as the MULE (Multifunction Logistics and Equipment Vehicle), a two-and-a-half-ton truck that could carry supplies into battle or wounded soldiers out of it; the Armed Robotic Vehicle, a five-ton mini-tank that could be equipped with missiles or a .30mm chain gun; and the Soldier Unmanned Ground Vehicle, a 30-pound, man-portable scout that comes equipped with weapons and sensors. These are all integral elements of the Army?s Future Combat System.
Scientists are also trying to create a self-powered robotic suit?an exoskeleton?that could enable soldiers to carry far heavier loads, move much faster, and conceivably even leap short buildings in a single bound. A prototype developed at the University of California, Berkeley, allows a soldier to carry 180 pounds as if it were less than five pounds.
The U.S. Navy is exploring robotic technology for a variety of its own missions. In addition to carrier-based UAVs (both fixed-wing and rotary), the navy is developing Unmanned Surface Vehicles and Unmanned Undersea Vehicles. Most of these drones would swim but some might crawl along the ocean floor like crabs. They could perform such difficult missions as antisubmarine warfare, mine clearance, undersea mapping, and surveillance in coastal waters.
All drones, whether operating on soil, sea, or sky, offer major advantages over traditional manned vehicles. They can be deployed for longer periods because robots don?t need to eat or sleep; they can undertake maneuvers that might put too much stress on the human frame; they can be made much smaller and cheaper because they don?t need all sorts of expensive redundancies and life-support systems (no oxygen tanks! no ejection seats!); and they can be much more readily sent on high-risk missions because, should anything go wrong, nobody has to worry about notifying the next of kin. These advantages have persuaded Congress to ratchet up spending on unmanned programs. Lawmakers have mandated that one-third of all U.S. deep-strike aircraft be unmanned by 2010 and that one-third of all ground combat vehicles be unmanned by 2015.
There are two chief limitations on the use of robots at the moment. First, computers and sensors are not yet smart enough to deliver anything close to the ?situational awareness? of a human being. Second, a shortage of bandwidth limits the number of drones that can be remotely controlled at any one time. Both problems will become less acute with improvements in computer and communications technology, but there is still little reason to think that robots will be alone on the battlefield of the future. It is doubtful that machines will ever be smart enough to do all of the fighting, even if they can perform some of the dullest, dirtiest, or most dangerous work.
The Limits of Technological Supremacy
Taken together, the changes in military power wrought by the information revolution are still in their early stages, and they still have serious limitations. Even the best surveillance systems can be stymied by simple countermeasures like camouflage, smoke, and decoys, by bad weather, or by terrain like the deep sea, mountains, or jungles. Sensors have limited ability to penetrate solid objects, so that they cannot tell what is happening in underground bunkers such as those that North Korea and Iran likely use to hide their nuclear weapons programs. Urban areas present a particularly difficult challenge: There are far more things to track (individuals) and far more obstructions (buildings, vehicles, trees, signs) than at sea or in the sky. Figuring out whether a person is a civilian or an insurgent is a lot harder than figuring out whether an unidentified aircraft is a civilian airliner or an enemy fighter. It is harder still to figure out how many enemy soldiers will resist or what stratagems they will employ. No machine has yet been invented that can penetrate human thought processes. Even with the best equipment in the world, U.S. forces frequently have been surprised by their adversaries.
Some strategists expect that advances in information technology will greatly diminish if not altogether obliterate some of these difficulties. The Pentagon is creating a Global Information Grid that will pool data from all U.S. assets, whether an infantryman on the ground or a satellite in space. The ultimate goal: to provide a perfect operational picture?a ?God?s-eye view? of the battlespace.
This ambitious objective could be furthered by the development of better microwave radars that could see through walls, foliage, or soil; cheaper, more pervasive sensors that could provide 24/7 coverage of the battlefield; better data compression and transmission techniques that could allow more bytes to be sent much faster; and more powerful computers that might make it possible to create, for example, a real-time, three-dimensional model of a city showing all the people who reside in it.
Yet no matter how far information technology advances, it is doubtful that the Pentagon will ever succeed, as some utopians dream, in ?lifting the fog of war.? The fallibility of American soldiers and the cunning of their enemies will surely continue to frustrate the best-laid plans. Moreover, America?s growing reliance on high-tech systems creates new vulnerabilities of its own: Future enemies have strong incentives to attack U.S. computer and communication nodes. Strikes on military information networks could blind or paralyze the armed forces, while strikes on civilian infrastructure, such as banking or air control systems, could cause chaos on the home front. Adversaries will almost certainly figure out ways to blunt the U.S. informational advantage. From Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan to numerous misadventures in Iraq, they already have. Whether fighting in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan or in the alleys of Ramadi and Fallujah, U.S. soldiers have been ambushed by insurgents who managed to elude their sensor networks through such simple expedients as communicating via messengers, not cell phones.
Reply #13 on:
November 29, 2006, 01:48:45 AM »
Given the size and scope of America?s military advantage, it is doubtful that any country will mount a full-spectrum challenge to U.S. military capabilities in the foreseeable future. The entry barriers are simply too high, especially for air, sea, and space systems. Virginia-class nuclear submarines cost $2.4 billion, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go for $6 billion, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will cost at least $245 billion. The U.S. spends around $500 billion a year on its military, almost as much as the rest of the world combined. In fact, the U.S. spends more simply on the research, development, testing, and evaluation of new weapons?$71 billion in 2006?than any other country spends on its entire armed forces. (By way of comparison, the top three spenders after the U.S. are Russia, whose defense budget in 2003 was estimated at $65 billion; China, at $56 billion; France, at $45 billion; and Japan and the United Kingdom, at $42 billion. These are only estimates; the figures for Russia and China may be considerably higher.)
It is not only U.S. hardware that?s hard to replicate; so is the all-volunteer force that makes it work. Operating high-tech military equipment requires long-service professionals, not short-term conscripts. Countries as diverse as Vietnam, China, Germany, and Russia are emulating the Anglo-American model by downsizing their forces and relying less on draftees; many other nations have abolished the draft altogether. The U.S. military?s edge lies not simply in recruiting high-quality personnel but in its methods for training and organizing them. Initiatives undertaken in earlier decades, such as setting up realistic training centers to simulate combat conditions and forcing the services to work more closely together (the Goldwater-Nichols Act), continue to bear fruit. Few other armed forces have made comparable reforms.
But a potential adversary does not need to duplicate the U.S. force structure in order to challenge it. The United States faces a growing ?asymmetric? threat both from other states and from sub-state groups. As the National Intelligence Council concluded in its recent report ?Mapping the Global Future?: ?While no single country looks within striking distance of rivaling U.S. military power by 2020, more countries will be in a position to make the United States pay a heavy price for any military action they oppose.? As we have seen, a variety of off-the-shelf missiles can threaten U.S. tanks, surface ships, and aircraft, especially when they get close to hostile territory. The power of smart munitions is outstripping the protection afforded by speed or armor. After 2010, write defense analysts Michael Vickers and Robert Martinage, ?the survivability of aircraft carriers, high-structure surface combatants [e.g., tanks], and non-stealthy aircraft of all types could increasingly be called into question as maritime, over-the-horizon ?area denial? capabilities and extended-range air defense systems continue to mature.? In a similar vein, George and Meredith Friedman contend that ?the ability of conventional weapons platforms?tanks and aircraft carriers?to survive in a world of precision-guided munitions is dubious.?
Also vulnerable are the ports, airfields, and bases which the U.S. uses to project its power overseas. Imagine how much damage Saddam Hussein could have done in 2003 if he had been able to annihilate the one port in Kuwait that was being used to disembark coalition troops or the large desert bases in Kuwait where over 100,000 British and American troops gathered prior to the invasion of Iraq. The Pentagon?s 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review warned that ?future adversaries could have the means to render ineffective much of our current ability to project military power overseas.?
If the U.S. armed forces could not count on safe, assured access to overseas bases they would need to change radically the way they do business. It would no longer be practical to rely on large land armies or lots of short-range combat aircraft operating out of vulnerable forward bases supplied by equally vulnerable cargo ships, trucks, and aircraft. The U.S. Army might be forced to rely on small numbers of commandos supported by long-range aircraft and missiles?as it did in Afghanistan. The Navy might have to depend more on submarines and the Air Force on stealth aircraft. All the services might have to make greater use of unmanned vehicles. The battlefield, which has been becoming less crowded for centuries, might empty out even further as small units try to conceal themselves from ubiquitous sensor networks, emerging only briefly to launch lightning strikes before they go back into hiding.
This has become known as the ?swarming? scenario, and it has attracted support from the likes of military historian Alexander Bevin. ?Large concentrations of troops and weapons are targets for destruction, not marks of power,? he writes, ?and [in the future] they no longer will exist.... Military units, to survive, must not only be small, but highly mobile, self-contained, and autonomous.? Even if these predictions are accurate, however, it isn?t clear when they would become reality, and timing matters tremendously. The key to winning future wars is knowing when to move from one form of military to another: A premature decision to change (such as the U.S. Army?s flawed Pentomic design in the 1950s) can leave one unprepared to fight and win the wars that actually occur, Vietnam being the classic example.
In any case, it is doubtful that a complete switchover to ?swarming? will ever occur. Winning wars, as opposed to winning battles, will continue to require controlling territory, which in turn will require a substantial presence of ground troops, as the U.S. has learned in Afghanistan and Iraq. No wonder-weapon will alter this fundamental reality, which means even the most high-tech military force will always remain vulnerable to the less sophisticated but still deadly technology of its adversaries on the ground.
Even as strategists look to the future, armed forces must not lose sight of the threats of the moment, and they do not come for the most part from traditional militaries. They come largely from terrorist groups?some with state sponsorship, others without?that use the fruits of modern military technology to their perverse advantage.
?Irregular? attacks carried out by tribes, clans, or other non-state actors are as old as warfare itself; they long predate the development of modern armed forces and the nation-state. The religious fanaticism which animates so many of today?s terrorists and guerrillas is equally ancient. But technological advances have made such attacks far more potent than in the distant past. The progeny of the second industrial revolution?assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers, landmines, explosives?long ago spread to the remotest corners of the globe. Fighters who a century ago might have made do with swords and muskets now have access to cheap and reliable weapons such as the AK-47 capable of spewing out 100 bullets a minute. More advanced technologies, from handheld missiles to chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, give even a small group of insurgents the ability or potential ability to mete out far more destruction than entire armies could unleash just a century ago. And thanks to modern transportation and communications infrastructure?such as jumbo jets, the Internet, and cell phones?insurgents have the capability to carry out their attacks virtually anywhere in the world.
September 11 showed the terrifying possibilities of such unconventional warfare. It is easy to imagine that in the future super-terrorists will be able to kill hundreds of thousands, even millions, with effective weapons of mass destruction. All of the materials, as well as the know-how needed to craft such devices, are all too readily available.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons has the greatest ability to trump U.S. military hegemony. The atomic bomb is more than sixty years old. It belongs to an age of rotary-dial telephones and fin-winged cars. It is a miracle that it has not been used by maniac dictators or political radicals since 1945, but that streak won?t last forever. And while information age technology offers a reasonable chance of stopping a nuclear-tipped missile, there is much less probability of stopping a terrorist with a nuclear suitcase. There is little in theory to prevent al Qaeda from carrying out its oft-expressed desire to create an ?American Hiroshima.? In the words of Eugene Habiger, a retired four-star general who once ran antinuclear terror programs for the Department of Energy, ?it is not a matter of if; it?s a matter of when.?
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. Computerized cameras scanning a crowd may be able to pick out a terrorist based on facial recognition patterns. Dog-like sniffing machines may be able to recognize suspects by their body odor. Powerful computers utilizing artificial intelligence programs can sift vast reams of Internet data to pick out information about terrorist plots?if concerns about violating the privacy of innocent people do not get in the way. A variety of unobtrusive sensors can detect the presence of explosives or chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Handheld computer translating devices such as the Phraselator, already in use by U.S. troops, can bridge some of the language gap between Western operatives and the regions where they operate.
But in the final analysis, having the best technology is not enough to defeat the most committed terrorists armed with the deadliest weapons. Some of the most expensive weapons systems being purchased by the United States and its allies are irrelevant to fighting and winning the war against terrorism. And the combination of moral restraint and bureaucratic sluggishness that defines America?s military culture may leave the U.S. at a comparative disadvantage against nimble, networked, nihilistic enemies like al Qaeda, who will deploy whatever weapons they have with urgent brutality. To deal with the essential paradox of the information age?that the march of advanced technology may decrease our security in some areas while increasing it in others?we need not just better machines but also the right organizations, training, and leadership to take advantage of them. That?s where the U.S. has lagged badly behind; its industrial-age military bureaucracy remains configured primarily for fighting other conventional militaries, rather than the terrorist foes we increasingly confront. Changing the culture and structure of our armed forces?to say nothing of the CIA or State Department?is a far more daunting task than simply figuring out which weapons systems to buy. Yet even if we rise to that bureaucratic and political challenge, there will likely be times, tragically, when our military supremacy is no match for the technology-enhanced savagery of our inferior enemies.
Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard. This article is adapted from his new book War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of Modern History, 1500 to Today, published by Gotham Books (October 2006).
Re: Military Science
Reply #14 on:
December 02, 2006, 01:32:40 AM »
A B-1 Bomber lands wheels up.
Re: Military Science
Reply #15 on:
December 14, 2006, 07:57:31 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Maintaining U.S. Space Dominance
Robert Joseph, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, publicly insisted on Wednesday that the United States opposes any ban on the weaponization of space. He was careful, however, to say that the United States will continue to abide "scrupulously" by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the placement of nuclear weapons in space.
This comes as no surprise as it has been the position of the U.S. military for years. In 1957, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas D. White forecast that, "Whereas those who have the capacity to control the air control the land and sea beneath it, so in the future it is likely that those who have the capability to control space will likewise control the Earth's surface." The 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations doctrine lays out the "five Ds" of targeting an adversary's space system: deception, disruption, denial, degradation and destruction.
Maintaining the high ground has always been the foundational principle of military strategy. Space is the ultimate high ground. The U.S. military advantage rests heavily on space -- from navigation and communication to intelligence (including MASINT) and the detection of a nuclear attack. Space assets guide the most accurate munitions in the inventory and allow bombing missions to be re-tasked mid-flight. The importance of space to the U.S. military's overwhelming advantage cannot be overstated.
As such, official U.S. policy states in no uncertain terms that, "Purposeful interference with U.S. space systems will be viewed as an infringement on our sovereign rights" and could warrant a retaliatory use of force.
In the coming years, U.S. dominance of space will be challenged, and the United States intends to maintain its advantage. During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Russian-built jamming systems attempted to locally disrupt the United States' global positioning system (GPS). They failed -- and were destroyed by GPS-guided bombs. This was one of the earliest attempts to challenge the United States in space warfare.
The Chinese reportedly have tried to blind or disable U.S. satellites with ground-based lasers. The United States has not officially recognized any Chinese attempt to interfere with its satellites in orbit. But, while targeting a fast-moving satellite and hitting it with a focused laser beam through the varying layers of the atmosphere is a difficult proposition to say the least, even the prospect of such an incident has not gone unnoticed.
The U.S. Air Force -- which controls the majority of U.S. space assets -- takes these potential threats seriously and views them as an indication of things to come. The Air Force has already adjusted the design architecture of its next-generation satellites in an attempt to counter such interference.
There is no doubt that the United States will vigorously defend its advantage in space -- and it will not hesitate for even a moment to use offensive force against an adversary's space assets.
Re: Military Science
Reply #16 on:
December 15, 2006, 09:27:09 AM »
A Pentagon Agency
Is Looking at Brains --
And Raising Eyebrows
December 15, 2006; Page B1
In a request issued in October, a government agency asked researchers for "innovative" ways to monitor the brain as it learns and acquires skills, such as by tracking when brain waves flip from those characteristic of novices to those of experts, and noninvasive ways to speed up the process.
In February, the agency said it was interested in ways to use EEGs to detect when a brain had found what it was looking for in a photograph, such as a familiar face in a crowd.
As part of the same program, the agency awarded Lockheed Martin $650,000 in August to develop technology to monitor a brain's cognitive activity in real time and, if the device senses overload, make changes such as slowing the flow of data the brain is receiving.
In a progress report to the agency's "Augmented Cognition" program, a company said in September that it had completed development of a portable, wearable system of sensors that assess cognitive function, producing a readout showing how a brain's pattern of thought-related activity deviates "from that of the normal population."
The requests came from, and the report went to, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Established in 1958, Darpa is best known for inventing the forerunner of the Internet. For decades it lavished most of its support on physics. But lately, as part of its mission to maintain U.S. military superiority "by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research," the agency has expanded into neuroscience.
Can the folks who brought you the Internet also bring you ways to look into brains -- and do you want them to?
Darpa has good reason to fund neuroscience. Discoveries and new technologies such as noninvasive imaging to detect what the mind is doing might help analysts, pilots and grunts process and react better to barrages of data, and allow real-time assessment of head injuries on the battlefield. Brain-computer interfaces in which thoughts are electronically translated into signals that operate a computer or prosthetic limb might improve rehab for soldiers suffering grievous injuries.
As with other "dual use" technologies, however, the findings and gizmos born of Darpa's brain research may well find their way into civilian life, and in ways that trouble some ethicists. Darpa's interest in neuroscience is "extensive and growing," says Jonathan Moreno of the University of Virginia, a former adviser on biodefense to the Department of Homeland Security. "There are reasons to be concerned about what uses these discoveries might be put to."
The Augmented Cognition program, for instance, seeks technologies that will "measure and track a subject's cognitive state in real time." The agency is partway there. One prototype helmet monitors brain states, which may include those associated with anger, aggression, anxiety, fatigue, deception -- in principle, any mental state -- and transmit the data wirelessly to a command center.
In battle, that would let commanders redeploy soldiers who are in no state to fight or carry out certain missions; you might not want a soldier who is boiling over with rage to search civilians. How an office supervisor, airport screener or job interviewer might make use of the technology is left to the reader's imagination.
A Darpa project using fMRI imaging of brain activity applies the discovery that recognizing a face or place you've seen before triggers a characteristic pattern of cortical activity. Do you recognize this terrorist training camp? This terrorist? The benefits could be huge. As with polygraphs and fingerprint analysis, however, technologies can be widely deployed without a solid scientific foundation about their rate of false positives, with the result that they send the innocent to prison.
In a new book, "Mind Wars," Prof. Moreno describes a Darpa project on a drug called CX717, which enables sleep-deprived people to maintain memory and cognitive function. In a world where students take Ritalin to give them a boost on the SAT and Provigil to pull all-nighters, there is no reason to think CX717, if it passes more tests, will be confined to military pilots on long-haul flights. If the drug doesn't succeed in keeping a sleep-deprived brain sharp, maybe Darpa-funded research on neurostimulation -- little zaps of electricity to improve cognitive performance -- will.
Presumably, workers and students will have the legal right to reject such "enhancements," Prof. Moreno says. Soldiers might not. Should they? Will employers or others pressure people to accept better thinking through technology? Will the use of such "augmented cognition" by business competitors have the same effect as steroids in baseball, where the perception that everyone is using them exerts pressure to do the same, to keep the playing field level? There has been virtually no debate on the ethical questions raised by the brave new brain technologies.
Ever since the atomic bomb, physicists have known that their work has potential military uses, and have spoken up about it. But on the morality of sending orders directly to the brain (of a soldier, employee, child, prisoner ...), or of devices that read thoughts and intentions from afar, neuroscientists have been strangely silent. The time to speak up is before the genie is out of the bottle.
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Re: Military Science
Reply #17 on:
December 21, 2006, 12:58:35 AM »
GETTING COUNTERINSURGENCY RIGHT
By RALPH PETERS
December 20, 2006 -- IF a prize were awarded for the most-improved government publication of the decade, we could choose the winner now: "Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency" (MCWP 3-33.5 for the Marine Corps). Rising above abysmal earlier drafts, the Army and Marines have come through with doctrine that will truly help our troops.
Doctrine matters. It doesn't provide leaders with a detailed blueprint, but offers a common foundation on which to build strategies and refine tactics. Start with a weak foundation, and the wartime house can easily collapse.
This new field manual is a solid base. Earlier drafts were dominated by theorists locked into 20th-century thinking - approaches that failed us so dismally in Iraq. But the final document offers a far greater sense of an insurgency's reality.
It doesn't have all the answers. No doctrine does. But it provides our battlefield leaders with a genuinely useful tool to help them understand insurgencies.
Yes, there's still a little too much "peace, love and understanding" silliness, but it's counterbalanced with blunt honesty that acknowledges that not all of our enemies can be persuaded to adore us. While non-lethal techniques and non-military means certainly have roles to play, the manual now states clearly that there are some foes - primarily religious or ethnic fanatics - who need to be killed.
This is a huge step forward for the Army, whose senior leadership has suffered from a Clinton-era hangover in the political-correctness department (many of the manual's tough-minded changes were made to satisfy the Marines - the Corps never lost its grip on warfare's fundamentals).
This embrace of unpleasant realities is a step that the rest of our government needs to take. Our politicians need to read "Counterinsurgency."
Earlier drafts cautiously ignored faith-fueled insurgencies and even the phenomenon of the suicide bomber; now both topics get intelligent treatment. The academic theorists continue to fight a rear-guard action (there's still too much emphasis on Maoist models), but the acceptance that there's more to many insurgencies than political ideology was a great leap forward (if not a cultural revolution).
The absolutes of the draft versions are tempered in the final product, leaving room for the complexity of conflict. There's a genuine acceptance that counterinsurgency warfare has no silver bullets - such conflicts are just plain tough and attempts to simplify them lead to failure.
We owe a debt of thanks to the officers (most of them Iraq or Afghanistan veterans) involved in the revision of this manual - which involved a lot of long hours, exasperation and soul-searching.
Coming up fast from behind (as one hopes we'll be able to do in Iraq), the doctrine writers shook off much of the spell of the last century's bogus theorizing and began to come to grips with the real enemies we face today and will continue to face in various guises for decades to come.
I wrote "began" because, while this document reflects valuable progress in our thinking about the dominant form of conflict in our time, it's nonetheless an interim manual for a military in transition between the failed "wisdom" of the past and the tactics and techniques demanded by a new century. As "Counterinsurgency" is revised based on our experience of conflict, the next set of drafters will need to face critical issues neither the Army nor the Marines have gotten to yet.
In the spirit of constructive criticism, here are a few of the gaps remaining:
While the sometimes-you-just-have-to-fight realists are in the ascendant at last, the military's academic side still has too much influence. You see it plainly in the illustrative vignettes chosen to accompany the text: They emphasize soft power (doesn't work - sorry) over the need to kill implacable murderers to provide security for the innocent.
The bias in the case-study selection still favors the hand-holding efforts that helped create the current mess in Iraq (military academics, like all academics, won't give up on their theses just because mere facts contradict them). The drafters cite the anomalous example of Malaya (while downplaying that campaign's violence), but ignore the same-decade example of the Mau-Mau revolt, in which the British won a complete victory - thanks to concentration camps, hanging courts and aggressive military operations.
The vignettes concentrate on ideological insurgencies (the easy stuff), neglecting 3,000 years of ferocious religious and ethnic revolts.
On the first page of the introduction, we get the solemn statement that "The tactics used to successfully defeat [insurgencies] are likewise similar in most cases." That's true, but not in the way the drafters intended. They were referring to the hearts-and-minds efforts that defused a minuscule number of insurgencies over the past six decades - while the "similar tactics" that historically worked with remarkable consistency were uncompromising military responses.
A huge gap remaining in the doctrine is that, except for a few careful mentions, it ignores the role of the media. Generals have told me frankly that it was just too loaded an issue - any suggestion that the media are complicit in shaping outcomes excites punitive media outrage.
To be fair, the generals are right. Had the manual described the media's irresponsible, partisan and too-often-destructive roles, it would have ignited a firestorm. Yet, in an age when media lies and partisan spin can overturn the verdict of the battlefield, embolden our enemies and decide the outcome of an entire war, pretending the media aren't active participants in a conflict cripples any efforts that we make.
The media are now combatants - even if we're not allowed to shoot back. Our enemies are explicit in describing the importance of winning through the media. Without factoring in media effects, any counterinsurgency plan will go forward at a limp.
Finally, the new manual fails to ask a question that no one in our military or government has yet had the common sense to ask about insurgencies: What if they just don't want what we want? That, indeed, has become the crucial question in Iraq.
Despite these criticisms, our latest cut at shaping a counterinsurgency doctrine looks like a noteworthy success. It's overwhelmingly honest, honorable and useful.
Now we need to put that doctrine to use.
Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit The Fight."
Re: Military Science
Reply #18 on:
January 04, 2007, 07:46:34 PM »
Since the start of the Iraq war, tens of thousands of heavily-armed military contractors have been roaming the country -- without any law, or any court to control them. That may be about to change, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow P.W. Singer notes in a Defense Tech exclusive. Five words, slipped into a Pentagon budget bill, could make all the difference. With them, "contractors 'get out of jail free' cards may have been torn to shreds," he writes. They're now subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the same set of laws that governs soldiers. But here's the catch: embedded reporters are now under those regulations, too.
Over the last few years, tales of private military contractors run amuck in Iraq -- from the CACI interrogators at Abu Ghraib to the Aegis company's Elvis-themed internet "trophy video" —- have continually popped up in the headlines. Unfortunately, when it came to actually doing something about these episodes of Outsourcing Gone Wild, Hollywood took more action than Washington. The TV series Law and Order punished fictional contractor crimes, while our courts ignored the actual ones. Leonardo Dicaprio acted in a movie featuring the private military industry, while our government enacted no actual policy on it. But those carefree days of military contractors romping across the hills and dales of the Iraqi countryside, without legal status or accountability, may be over. The Congress has struck back.
Amidst all the add-ins, pork spending, and excitement of the budget process, it has now come out that a tiny clause was slipped into the Pentagon's fiscal year 2007 budget legislation. The one sentence section (number 552 of a total 3510 sections) states that "Paragraph (10) of section 802(a) of title 10, United States Code (article 2(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended by striking `war' and inserting `declared war or a contingency operation'." The measure passed without much notice or any debate. And then, as they might sing on School House Rock, that bill became a law (P.L.109-364).
The addition of five little words to a massive US legal code that fills entire shelves at law libraries wouldn't normally matter for much. But with this change, contractors' 'get out of jail free' card may have been torn to shreds. Previously, contractors would only fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, better known as the court martial system, if Congress declared war. This is something that has not happened in over 65 years and out of sorts with the most likely operations in the 21st century. The result is that whenever our military officers came across episodes of suspected contractor crimes in missions like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, or Afghanistan, they had no tools to resolve them. As long as Congress had not formally declared war, civilians -- even those working for the US armed forces, carrying out military missions in a conflict zone -- fell outside their jurisdiction. The military's relationship with the contractor was, well, merely contractual. At most, the local officer in charge could request to the employing firm that the individual be demoted or fired. If he thought a felony occurred, the officer might be able to report them on to civilian authorities.
Getting tattled on to the boss is certainly fine for some incidents. But, clearly, it's not how one deals with suspected crimes. And it's nowhere near the proper response to the amazing, awful stories that have made the headlines (the most recent being the contractors who sprung a former Iraqi government minister, imprisoned on corruption charges, from a Green Zone jail).
And for every story that has been deemed newsworthy, there are dozens that never see the spotlight. One US army officer recently told me of an incident he witnessed, where a contractor shot a young Iraqi who got too close to his vehicle while in line at the Green Zone entrance. The boy was waiting there to apply for a job. Not merely a tragedy, but one more nail in the coffin for any US effort at winning hearts and minds.
But when such incidents happen, officers like him have had no recourse other than to file reports that are supposed to be sent on either to the local government or the US Department of Justice, neither of which had traditionally done much. The local government is often failed or too weak to act - the very reason we are still in Iraq. And our Department of Justice has treated contractor crimes in a more Shakespearean than Hollywood way, as in Much Ado About Nothing. Last month, DOJ reported to Congress that it has sat on over 20 investigations of suspected contractor crimes without action in the last year.
The problem is not merely one of a lack of political will on the part of the Administration to deal with such crimes. Contractors have also fallen through a gap in the law. The roles and numbers of military contractors are far greater than in the past, but the legal system hasn't caught up. Even in situations when US civilian law could potentially have been applied to contractor crimes (through the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act), it wasn't. Underlying the previous laws like MEJA was the assumption that civilian prosecutors back in the US would be able to make determinations of what is proper and improper behavior in conflicts, go gather evidence, carry out depositions in the middle of warzones, and then be willing and able to prosecute them to juries back home. The reality is that no US Attorney likes to waste limited budgets on such messy, complex cases 9,000 miles outside their district, even if they were fortunate enough to have the evidence at hand. The only time MEJA has been successfully applied was against the wife of a soldier, who stabbed him during a domestic dispute at a US base in Turkey. Not one contractor of the entire military industry in Iraq has been charged with any crime over the last 3 and a half years, let alone prosecuted or punished. Given the raw numbers of contractors, let alone the incidents we know about, it boggles the mind.
The situation perhaps hit its low-point this fall, when the Under Secretary of the Army testified to Congress that the Army had never authorized Halliburton or any of its subcontractors (essentially the entire industry) to carry weapons or guard convoys. He even denied the US had firms handling these jobs. Never mind the thousands of newspaper, magazine, and TV news stories about the industry. Never mind Google's 1,350,000 web mentions. Never mind the official report from U.S. Central Command that there were over 100,000 contractors in Iraq carrying out these and other military roles. In a sense, the Bush Administration was using a cop-out that all but the worst Hollywood script writers avoid. Just like the end of the TV series Dallas, Congress was somehow supposed to accept that the private military industry in Iraq and all that had happened with it was somehow 'just a dream.'
But Congress didn't bite, it now seems. With the addition of just five words in the law, contractors now can fall under the purview of the military justice system. This means that if contractors violate the rules of engagement in a warzone or commit crimes during a contingency operation like Iraq, they can now be court-martialed (as in, Corporate Warriors, meet A Few Good Men). On face value, this appears to be a step forward for realistic accountability. Military contractor conduct can now be checked by the military investigation and court system, which unlike civilian courts, is actually ready and able both to understand the peculiarities of life and work in a warzone and kick into action when things go wrong.
The amazing thing is that the change in the legal code is so succinct and easy to miss (one sentence in a 439-page bill, sandwiched between a discussion on timely notice of deployments and a section ordering that the next of kin of medal of honor winners get flags) that it has so far gone completely unnoticed in the few weeks since it became the law of the land. Not only has the media not yet reported on it. Neither have military officers or even the lobbyists paid by the military industry to stay on top of these things.
So what happens next? In all likelihood, many firms, who have so far thrived in the unregulated marketplace, will now lobby hard to try to strike down the change. We will perhaps even soon enjoy the sight of CEOs of military firms, preening about their loss of rights and how the new definition of warzone will keep them from rescuing kittens caught in trees.
But, ironically, the contractual nature of the military industry serves as an effective mechanism to prevent loss of rights. The legal change only applies to the section in the existing law dealing with those civilians "serving with or accompanying an armed force in the field," i.e. only those contractors on operations in conflict zones like Iraq or Afghanistan. It would apply not to the broader public in the US, not to local civilians, and not even to military contractors working in places where civilian law is stood up. Indeed, it even wouldn't apply to our foes, upholding recent rulings on the scope of military law and the detainees at Gitmo.
In many ways, the new law is the 21st century business version of the rights contract: If a private individual wants to travel to a warzone and do military jobs for profit, on behalf of the US government, then that individual agrees to fall under the same codes of law and consequence that American soldiers, in the same zones, doing the same sorts of jobs, have to live and work by. If a contractor doesn't agree to these regulations, that's fine, don't contract. Unlike soldiers, they are still civilians with no obligation to serve. The new regulation also seems to pass the fairness test. That is, a lance corporal or a specialist earns less than $20,000 a year for service in Iraq, while a contractor can earn upwards of $100,000-200,000 a year (tax free) for doing the same job and can quit whenever they want. It doesn't seem that unreasonable then to expect the contractor to abide by the same laws as their military counterpart while in the combat theatre.
Given that the vast majority of private military employees are upstanding men and women -- and mostly former soldiers, to boot -- living under the new system will not mean much change at all. All it does is now give military investigators a way finally to stop the bad apples from filling the headlines and getting away free.
The change in the law is long overdue. But in being so brief, it needs clarity on exactly how it will be realized. For example, how will it be applied to ongoing contracts and operations? Given that the firm executives and their lobbyists back in DC have completely dropped the ball, someone ought to tell the contractors in Iraq that they can now be court martialed.
Likewise, the scope of the new law could made more clear; it could be either too limited or too wide, depending on the interpretation. While it is apparent that any military contractor working directly or indirectly for the US military falls under the change, it is unclear whether those doing similar jobs for other US government agencies in the same warzone would fall under it as well (recalling that the contractors at Abu Ghraib were technically employed by the US Department of Interior, sublet out to DOD).
On the opposite side, what about civilians who have agreed to be embedded, but not contracted? The Iraq war is the first that journalists could formally embed in units, so there is not much experience with its legal side in contingency operations. The lack of any legal precedent, combined with the new law, could mean that an overly aggressive
interpretation might now also include journalists who have embedded.
Given that journalists are not armed, not contracted (so not paid directly or indirectly from public monies) and most important, not there to serve the mission objectives, this would probably be too extensive an interpretation. It would also likely mean less embeds. But given the current lack of satisfaction with the embed program in the media, any effect here may be a tempest in a tea pot. As of Fall 2006, there were only nine embedded reporters in all of Iraq. Of the nine, four were from military media (three from Stars and Stripes, one from Armed Forces Network), two not even with US units (one Polish radio reporter with Polish troops, one Italian reporter with Italian troops), and one was an American writing a book. Moreover, we should remember that embeds already make a rights tradeoff when they agree to the military's reporting rules. That is, they have already given up some of their 1st Amendment protections (something at the heart of their professional ethic) in exchange for access, so agreeing to potentially fall under UCMJ when deployed may not be a deal breaker.
The ultimate point is that the change gives the military and the civilians courts a new tool to use in better managing and overseeing contractors, but leaves it to the Pentagon and DOJ to decide when and where to use it. Given their recent track record on legal issues in the context of Iraq and the war on terror, many won't be that reassured.
Congress is to be applauded for finally taking action to reign in the industry and aid military officers in their duties, but the job is not done. While there may be an inclination to let such questions of scope and implementation be figured out through test cases in the courts, our elected public representatives should request DoD to answer the questions above in a report to Congress. Moreover, while the change may help close one accountability loophole, in no way should it be read as a panacea for the rest of the private military industry's ills. The new Congress still has much to deal with when it comes to the still unregulated industry, including getting enough eyes and ears to actually oversee and manage our contracts effectively, create reporting structures, and forcing the Pentagon to develop better fiscal controls and market sanctions, to actually save money than spend it out.
A change of a few words in a legislative bill certainly isn't the stuff of a blockbuster movie. So don't expect to see Angelina Jolie starring in "Paragraph (10) of Section 802(a)" in a theatre near you anytime soon. But the legal changes in it are a sign that Congress is finally catching up to Hollywood on the private military industry. And that is the stuff of good governance.
-- P.W. Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at The Brookings Institution. He is the author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press) and the upcoming book Wired for War (Houghton Mifflin).
January 3, 2007 05:37 PM
Re: Military Science
Reply #19 on:
January 07, 2007, 01:00:13 PM »
Additional info here:
China, Israel Get B-2 Secrets
A former Northrop Grumman B-2 engineer arrested in October 2005 for spying is now under indictment for passing secrets to as many as eight countries—including China and Israel.
According to the primary allegations revealed in an indictment unsealed in November, Noshir S. Gowadia, a US citizen and resident of Hawaii, regularly transmitted data and documents filled with classified information to foreigners. He also went overseas to teach courses on stealth technology such as that used to hide aircraft exhausts from infrared seekers.
Gowadia did it for money, not political reasons, according to the FBI.
Earlier last year, prosecutors indicated the charges would expand in another indictment against Gowadia that details his sharing of information with Chinese officials and business sources in Israel. The identities of the Israelis have not been disclosed, nor has it been revealed whether they were private individuals or representatives of companies.
The indictment reveals that Gowadia received approximately $2 million from China for his services.
'Father' of the B-2
A just-released affidavit provides some insight into the mind of an admitted spy living on Maui
» 'Father' of the B-2
» Excerpt from the affidavit
» Maui man was up for DOD contract
» How to build B-2 is secret
» Rural Maui site of FBI search
By Mary Vorsino
As far back as 1999, when he moved to Maui from New Mexico, Noshir S. Gowadia was marketing himself to foreign countries as the "father" of the classified technology that helps protect B-2 stealth bombers from heat-seeking missiles, according to an affidavit unsealed yesterday.
"I wanted to help this (sic) countries to further their self aircraft protection systems. My personal gain would be business," Gowadia said in a statement given to the FBI on Oct. 14, in which he admitted to knowingly disclosing top-secret information. "At that time, I knew it was wrong and I did it for the money."
In all, the 61-year-old Haiku resident -- who helped design the stealth bomber as a defense contractor for Northrop Corp. for 18 years -- is accused of disclosing the stealth's infrared-suppression secrets to representatives from eight foreign governments.
He told the FBI that he shared classified information "both verbally and in papers, computer presentations, letters and other methods ... to establish the technological credibility with the potential customers for future business."
Gowadia was charged Wednesday with one count of willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, which falls under federal espionage statutes. He is in federal custody in Honolulu and is set to make an appearance at a detention hearing today in federal court.
According to prosecutors, Gowadia faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Officials said he could face more charges in the future.
At a news conference yesterday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Goodwin read from a written statement and declined to answer questions on the investigation. "This is a very sensitive, ongoing investigation," he said.
Neither the affidavit nor Goodwin revealed which countries Gowadia allegedly sold secrets to, or whether they were allied or enemy nations. Goodwin did say that Gowadia was born in India and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Gowadia's wife, Cheryl, declined comment yesterday at the couple's home in Haiku.
The FBI searched Gowadia's home on Oct. 13, finding several classified documents from the engineer's days at Northrop and when he was a contract engineer in the 1990s at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
During the search, according to the affidavit, Gowadia denied having any classified material and "displayed a full understanding of his responsibilities with respect to the maintenance" of military secrets.
But a day later, when asked about the documents marked classified that were allegedly taken from his home, Gowadia submitted a written statement to the FBI in which he admitted to selling or disclosing classified information.
The FBI alleges that:
» On Oct. 23, 2002, Gowadia faxed a proposal to develop infrared-suppression technology on military aircraft to a representative in an unspecified foreign country. The information included in the document was classified at the "top secret" level and made specific mention of the classified defense system in the United States.
» In December 1999, Gowadia taught a course to foreigners in a second unspecified country, including information deemed "secret" that he had access to while working for Northrop and as a subcontractor for Los Alamos. Northrop representatives declined comment yesterday.
» On several other occasions, Gowadia provided "extensive amounts of classified information" to individuals in a third unspecified country while teaching a course on "low observable technology."
The affidavit did not say how classified information was allegedly disclosed to representatives from five other foreign countries. And it is unclear if Gowadia's course material for classes at U.S. universities was drawn from classified resources.
As recently as this spring, Gowadia co-taught a course at Purdue University as a visiting professor. He has also taught at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
The FBI said in the affidavit that it used documents and computers taken from Gowadia's home, along with electronic surveillance, to piece together the extent of the engineer's alleged criminal activity.
Gowadia "has marketed and disclosed United States military technology secrets related to the B-2 to foreign governments in order to 'assist' them in obtaining a higher level of military technology," wrote FBI Special Agent Thatcher Mohajerin in the affidavit.
The investigation "has also revealed that Gowadia has been rewarded financially for his efforts."
Gowadia's engineering contract business, N.S. Gowadia Inc., took in nearly $750,000 in gross receipts between 1999 and 2003. But prosecutors believe Gowadia's actual income was much higher. The investigation, according to the affidavit, showed Gowadia "likely" maintains several offshore bank accounts.
Defense analysts say the allegations against Gowadia are serious, but they cautioned against rushing to conclusions, given the government's problematic record in prosecuting these kinds of national security cases.
Philip Coyle, a senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information and a former assistant secretary of defense, cited the Wen Ho Lee case at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1999. Lee was accused of stealing military secrets from the lab and funneling them to China.
But the government ended up dropping 59 felony counts of espionage against Lee, who pleaded guilty to a single count of improperly handling restricted data.
"He (Wen Ho Lee) did a stupid thing," Coyle said, "but it turns out what he actually did was nowhere near what the government first asserted."
There is also the high-profile case of Katrina Leung.
The California woman was accused of spying for China, but a federal judge dropped all charges against her in December after prosecutors admitted to illegally blocking a primary defense witness.
For years, Leung had gathered intelligence on the Chinese government for the FBI.
Gowadia, meanwhile, appeared to be open about the technology he is accused of peddling. A 2004 article in Jane's International Defense Review identified Gowadia as developing a system that would make military and civilian aircraft "virtually invulnerable to attack" from infrared-guided air defense systems.
Publicity like that could have turned the government on to him, said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a private defense policy group. But it also raises the question about why he was not caught sooner, he said.
Noshir Sheriarji Gowadia
Background: Gowadia helped develop the B-2 stealth bomber while he was an engineer at Northrop Corp., and was instrumental in the creation of a defense system for heat-seeking missiles. After 18 years at Northrop, he went on to become a contract engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Accusation: One count of "willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it," which falls under federal espionage statutes.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 793(c)
An excerpt from the affidavit released yesterday, quoting the federal law Noshir S. Gowadia is accused of breaking:
"(W)hoever, having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."
Re: Military Science
Reply #20 on:
January 11, 2007, 01:16:38 PM »
Pentagon Warns Contractors About 'Canadian' Spy Coins
Thursday, January 11, 2007
This photo released by the Central Intelligence Agency shows a hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower silver dollar.
WASHINGTON — Money talks, but can it also follow your movements?
In a U.S. government warning high on the creepiness scale, the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.
The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.
Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.
The U.S. report doesn't suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn't describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them.
Further details were secret, according to the U.S. Defense Security Service, which issued the warning to the Pentagon's classified contractors. The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.
(Story continues below)
"What's in the report is true," said Martha Deutscher, a spokeswoman for the security service. "This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions."
Top suspects, according to outside experts: China, Russia or even France — all said to actively run espionage operations inside Canada with enough sophistication to produce such technology.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it knew nothing about the coins.
"This issue has just come to our attention," CSIS spokeswoman Barbara Campion said. "At this point, we don't know of any basis for these claims."
She said Canada's intelligence service works closely with its U.S. counterparts and will seek more information if necessary.
Experts were astonished about the disclosure and the novel tracking technique, but they rejected suggestions Canada's government might be spying on American contractors. The intelligence services of the two countries are extraordinarily close and routinely share sensitive secrets.
"It would seem unthinkable," said David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. "I wouldn't expect to see any offensive operation against the Americans."
Harris said likely candidates include foreign spies who targeted Americans abroad or businesses engaged in corporate espionage.
"There are certainly a lot of mysterious aspects to this," Harris said.
Experts said such tiny transmitters would almost certainly have limited range to communicate with sensors no more than a few feet away, such as ones hidden inside a doorway. The metal in the coins also could interfere with any signals emitted.
"I'm not aware of any [transmitter] that would fit inside a coin and broadcast for kilometers," said Katherine Albrecht, an activist who believes such technology — known as radio-frequency identification, and in common usage as "no-swipe" credit cards and gas-station key fobs — carries serious privacy risks. "Whoever did this obviously has access to some pretty advanced technology."
Experts said hiding tracking technology inside coins is fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it buying coffee or a newspaper. They agreed, however, that a coin with a hidden tracking device might not arouse suspicion if it were discovered in a pocket or briefcase.
"It wouldn't seem to be the best place to put something like that; you'd want to put it in something that wouldn't be left behind or spent," said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense."
Canada's largest coins include its $2 "Toonie," which is more than 1 inch across and thick enough to hide a tiny transmitter. The CIA has acknowledged its own spies have used hollow, U.S. silver-dollar coins to hide messages and film.
The government's 29-page report was filled with other espionage warnings. It described unrelated hacker attacks, eavesdropping with miniature pen recorders and the case of a female foreign spy who seduced her American boyfriend to steal his computer passwords.
In another case, a film processing company called the FBI after it developed pictures for a contractor that contained classified images of U.S. satellites and their blueprints. The photo was taken from an adjoining office window.
USS Stennis' deployment
Reply #21 on:
January 31, 2007, 08:33:04 PM »
U.S. Navy: What the USS John C. Stennis' Deployment Does Not Mean
January 31, 2007 23 28 GMT
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis departed San Diego on Jan. 20 after joining up with its carrier air wing in preparation for its deployment in the Persian Gulf. The timing of the deployment has led to speculation that the United States is putting the carrier and its strike group in the Gulf with the USS Eisenhower, which is currently deployed to the region, in order to increase pressure on Iran. However, this deployment is business as usual for the U.S. Navy as it moves the strike group in to support various military operations in the Middle East.
The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis left San Diego on Jan. 20 for its scheduled cruise in the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. This deployment has received attention from the media, which say the deployment is meant to increase pressure on Iran. However, the Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered Stennis' main purpose will be to replace the USS Eisenhower when it concludes its cruise in April 2007. The Stennis' deployment is nothing unusual.
The process culminating in the Stennis' deployment to the Middle East began when the carrier arrived in its home port of Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 8, 2005. Soon after that, she went into dry-docked planned incremental availability (DPIA), an 11-month overhaul and recertification process at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Usually after completing a cruise, a U.S. aircraft carrier will return to its homeport and restart the maintenance and operations cycles. In the Stennis' case, however, it went into DPIA before restarting the operations cycle.
(click to enlarge)
After the DPIA was complete in December 2005, the Stennis underwent three months of routine sea trials in the East Pacific, followed by an inspection survey in April to certify the carrier's suitability for operations. Since the inspection's completion in May, the Stennis has been on a typical operations cycle for the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
The length of any operation or cruise is limited not by the ship, but by the crew's endurance. The high tempo of operations on a carrier takes a toll on the crew; cruises end when the crew has been deployed for six months with continuous 24-hour operations. When the cruise ends, the ship is checked over and any necessary repairs and refitting will be done. This gives the crew the chance to go on leave before returning to the ship at port and working routine maintenance, attending training schools or being reassigned. During this period, follow-on exercises and sustainment training will keep the carrier employable for an 18-month period until it is actually deployed. This is what the USS Ronald Reagan is doing from its home base of San Diego.
The carrier will then take part in several two- to three-week exercises that allow the crew to practice mission areas and integrate skill sets, essentially maintaining their qualifications. Before being deployed again, the carrier typically goes through a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) followed by a joint task force exercise (JTFEX). The JTFEX serves primarily as a method of validation and can be cut short or eliminated if the carrier is rushed into deployment. The Stennis completed its COMPTUEX in mid-October 2006 and its JTFEX in the following month. During these exercises, the carrier's air wing is assigned and its personnel participate in training and certification for carrier operation in preparation for deployment.
Normally, a carrier is deployed for six months and then in home port for 18 months, during which it participates in any number of short operations. The one notable exception to this standard occurred when U.S. President Jimmy Carter kept the USS Nimitz on deployment for 11 months straight, going from one hot spot to another.
For decades, a U.S. carrier has generally been on station in the Persian Gulf or the 5th Fleet area of operations. In 2003 the Navy adopted the Fleet Response Plan (FRP), which favors having multiple carriers in a general state of readiness instead of maintaining a single carrier in the Gulf. Though six-month deployments to the Middle East are still common -- and require a great deal of planning and preparation -- the FRP has changed the carrier fleet's overall readiness posture. The FRP was designed to make the Navy more responsive to Washington's maritime needs. And with the massive strike capability a carrier air wing brings to bear, a carrier deployment is often more of a political weapon than a military one.
The FRP calls for six carriers out of the total fleet of 12 to be "surge capable" -- able to be under way in 30 days or fewer, with a follow-on surge of two more carriers within 90 days -- at any time. Thus, instead of using the deployment date to schedule training, proficiency training begins as soon as a carrier emerges from its maintenance cycles. Less than six months after coming out of dry dock -- and as soon as three months in an emergency -- a carrier should be employable, or surge ready.
However, in the case of the 5th Fleet's current operations, developments in Somalia and the Eisenhower's shift in that direction are reminders of the military purpose of the current carrier rotations through the Gulf -- continued support of operations in Iraq, including regular close air support sorties, and potential support for African Union peacekeeping operations in Somalia.
The Stennis will likely arrive in the Persian Gulf region in mid- to late February. This will give it about a two-month overlap with the Eisenhower which, since its arrival in the region in late October, has been moving between the Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The Stennis' deployment to the Persian Gulf has been scheduled for months, so its movement there is not in response to anything Iran has recently done. The timing just happens to coincide with the recent U.S. decision to increase its force in Iraq and with statements from U.S. diplomats about increasing pressure on Tehran.
If the United States does decide to surge its naval capacity in the region and intensify its military pressure on Iran, the Eisenhower could remain in the Gulf past April. Meanwhile, the USS Harry S. Truman, which recently finished a round of flight deck certifications in the Atlantic in preparation for its 2007 deployment, could deploy as early as April. This could put the Truman in the Persian Gulf with the Stennis and the Eisenhower, should it stay over, placing three U.S. carrier strike groups in the region.
Even if the Eisenhower returns and the Truman moves into the region, the United States would demonstrate its ability to maintain two carriers in one place for an extended period of time. However, if this potential surge goes beyond three carrier strike groups, the USS Nimitz and the USS Roosevelt -- like the Reagan -- are at stages in their operational cycles at which they could be deployed on relatively short notice if needed.
The United States could have six carriers deployed to the Persian Gulf relatively quickly if it wanted to. If that were to occur, Tehran would certainly have reason to be concerned. In times of heightened geopolitical tension, the normal rotation of one carrier to replace another can set observers off. This is certainly not the first time; only a few months ago, similar speculation followed the Eisenhower across the Atlantic as it sailed to replace the USS Enterprise. However, the Stennis' movement into the Persian Gulf is not abnormal.
Re: Military Science
Reply #22 on:
February 05, 2007, 09:33:31 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Helicopter Losses and New Questions in the War
Over the past two weeks, four U.S. helicopters have been shot down in Iraq -- one of them a Blackhawk carrying 12 people. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a senior military spokesman, confirmed on Sunday that all four were shot down as a result of ground fire. He went on to say, "Obviously, based on what we have seen, we are already making adjustments to our tactics and techniques, as to how we employ our helicopters." The announcement was accompanied by speculation that Iraqi insurgents have acquired new weapons that have made helicopters vulnerable.
There have been dozens of other shoot-downs of helicopters in Iraq, but the sudden surge in crashes of late raises some significant strategic issues for the United States. Iraqi insurgents using improvised explosive devices and other ambush tactics have imposed penalties on U.S. troops moving on the roads. They have not been able to shut down the roads entirely, as happened in Vietnam, but they have been able to impose significant costs in terms of delays, the quantities of vehicles and manpower needed to move things around on the roads, and casualties inflicted on a casualty-averse force.
The movement of men and materiel by helicopter has been a safer alternative. Certainly the roads have to be used, and the helicopter fleet is limited, but it has been utilized heavily as a low-friction alternative. It also is the preferred mode of transport for high-ranking officers and VIPs. If the friction is building up and helicopter travel becomes increasingly hazardous, it will increase the pressures related to road travel. In other words, the insurgents are not so much shutting down transport as increasing the cost of transport in terms of effort, time and casualties -- and they now are extending those costs to air transports.
It is not clear what sorts of weapons the insurgents might have that were not in their possession previously. Helicopters traditionally have been vulnerable to small-arms fire, but contemporary U.S. helicopters have sufficient armor to withstand smaller caliber rounds, at least in limited volume. Insurgents have used rocket-propelled grenades, but these weapons are effective in close engagements with helicopters moving rather slowly, not against helicopters in rapid flight. There are a number of missiles and radar-guided heavy caliber guns that are extremely effective against helicopters, but it is not clear that the insurgents possess these.
At this point, it is necessary to distinguish between Sunni and Shiite fighters. The Iranians might well be moving advanced anti-helicopter weaponry into Iraq, but it is unlikely they would be giving this to the Sunnis. It is possible that insurgents or militia groups have better weapons, but it is also possible that there are simply more sorties being flown and, therefore, more choppers at risk. Indeed, with larger numbers of forces moving into Baghdad and troops being shifted around the country, roads and air space are both being utilized more intensely. That creates a more target-rich environment.
But still, the possibility that the various insurgents and militias have acquired advanced anti-air systems that can increase the attrition of helicopters opens new questions about the war. Who could be supplying these to the Sunnis? What other weapons systems are being supplied? Who is training the insurgents in their use, since more advanced systems require greater expertise to be utilized? It is not so much the attacks on these helicopters that matters as the geopolitical significance of more advanced weapon systems starting to show up on the battlefield. If this is the case -- and it is not at all certain that it is -- it would mean someone has made a strategic decision to take on the United States head-on. It could be the Iranians, but if the Sunni insurgents have improved weapons as well, then it likely would be someone else.
It is pure speculation, but we note that the Russians have been selling anti-air systems in the region. Someone might be reshipping them to Sunni insurgents. Alternatively, there might just be more U.S. choppers in the air, and the insurgents have gotten lucky.
Re: Military Science
Reply #23 on:
February 08, 2007, 11:05:32 AM »
The Snake Eater
Give our troops the tools our cops have.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, February 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
Subject: A case study of how the U.S. got bogged down in Iraq.
Problem: If a cop in Anytown, USA, pulls over a suspect, he checks the person's ID remotely from the squad car. He's linked to databases filled with Who's Who in the world of crime, killing and mayhem. In Iraq, there is nothing like that. When our troops and the Iraqi army enter a town, village or street, what they know about the local bad guys is pretty much in their heads, at best.
Solution: Give our troops what our cops have. The Pentagon knows this. For reasons you can imagine, it hasn't happened.
This is a story of can-do in a no-can-do world, a story of how a Marine officer in Iraq, a small network-design company in California, a nonprofit troop-support group, a blogger and other undeterrable folk designed a handheld insurgent-identification device, built it, shipped it and deployed it in Anbar province. They did this in 30 days, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. Compared to standard operating procedure for Iraq, this is a nanosecond.
Before fastening our seatbelts, let's check the status quo. As a high Defense Department official told the Journal's editorial page, "We're trying to fight a major war with peacetime procurement rules." The department knows this is awful. Indeed, a program exists, the Automated Biometric Identification System: retina scans, facial matching and the like. The reality: This war is in year four, and the troops don't have it. Beyond Baghdad, the U.S. role has become less about killing insurgents than arresting the worst and isolating them from the population. Obviously it would help to have an electronic database of who the bad guys are, their friends, where they live, tribal affiliation--in short the insurgency's networks.
The Marine and Army officers who patrol Iraq's dangerous places know they need an identification system similar to cops back home. The troops now write down suspects' names and addresses. Some, like Marine Maj. Owen West in Anbar, have created their own spreadsheets and PowerPoint programs, or use digital cameras to input the details of suspected insurgents. But no Iraq-wide software architecture exists.
Operating around the town of Khalidiya, north of Baghdad, Maj. West has been the leader of a team of nine U.S. soldiers advising an Iraqi brigade. This has been his second tour of duty in Iraq. When not fighting the Iraq war, he's an energy trader for Goldman Sachs in New York City.
It had become clear to him last fall that the Iraqi soldiers were becoming the area's cops. And that they needed modern police surveillance tools. To help the Iraqi army in Khalidiya do its job right, Maj. West needed that technology yesterday: He was scheduled to rotate back stateside in February--this month.
Since arriving in Iraq last year, Maj. West had worked with Spirit of America (SoA), the civilian troop-support group founded by Jim Hake. In early December, SoA's project director, Michele Redmond, asked Maj. West if there was any out-of-the-ordinary project they could help him with. And Maj. West said, Why yes, there is. He described to them the basic concept for a mobile, handheld fingerprinting device which Iraqi soldiers would use to assemble an insurgent database. Mr. Hake said his organization would contribute $30,000 to build a prototype and get it to Khalidiya. In New York, Goldman Sachs contributed $14,000 to the project.
Two problems. They needed to find someone who could assemble the device, and the unit had to be in Khalidiya by Jan. 15 to give Maj. West time to field-test it before he left in February.
To build the device, they approached a small California company, Computer Deductions Inc., which makes electronic systems for law-enforcement agencies. Over the Dec. 15 weekend, CDI went to work building a machine for Iraq.
Tom Calabro, a CDI vice president, assembled a team of six technicians. Its basic platform would be a handheld fingerprint workstation called the MV 100, made by Cross Match Technologies, a maker of biometric identity applications. The data collected by the MV 100 would be stored via Bluetooth in a hardened laptop made by GETAC, a California manufacturer. From Knowledge Computing Corp. of Arizona they used the COPLINK program, which creates a linked "map" of events. The laptop would sit in the troops' Humvee and the data sent from there to a laptop at outpost headquarters.
Meanwhile, SoA began to think about how they'd get the package to Maj. West by Jan. 15. They likely would have less than seven days transit time after CDI finished. SoA normally used FedEx to ship time-sensitive equipment into Iraq. But given the unusual nature of the shipment, they were concerned about customs and clearance: This wasn't a case of soccer balls. Jim Hake thought of an alternative: Find someone who would hand-carry it, like a diplomatic courier, on a flight to Kuwait and from there to Taqaddum air base in central Iraq. This meant finding someone who could get into Iraq quickly.
The someone was Bill Roggio. Mr. Roggio is a former army signalman and infantryman who now embeds with the troops and writes about it on his blog, the Fourth Rail, or for the SoA Web site. He was at home in New Jersey, about to celebrate his birthday with his family. He agreed to fly the MV 100 to Iraq as soon as it was ready, in conjunction with an embed trip. With SoA's Michele Redmond, he started working out the logistics for getting to Iraq ASAP.
On Jan. 8, CDI's Tom Calabro emailed the group, including Maj. West in Iraq: "Things are progressing at a furious pace. I may be able to ship by end of day tomorrow. Worst case is Thursday or Friday."
Four days later, a glitch. Mr. Calabro said a vendor mistakenly shipped via the U.S. postal service and a crucial part arrived late, on Jan. 12. "My guys are going to work through the night to finish testing," he said. They shipped the kit via UPS to Bill Roggio for Monday arrival; later that day, he boarded a Lufthansa flight from Newark to Kuwait City. After an overnight hotel stay, he took a C130 military transport to Taqaddum, 45 miles north of Baghdad. Maj. West's Marines drove him to their outpost 15 minutes away.
And so, a month from inception, Bill Roggio handed the electronic identification kit to Maj. West.
On the night of Jan. 20, Maj. West, his Marine squad and the "jundi" (Iraq army soldiers) took the MV 100 and laptop on patrol. Their term of endearment for the insurgents is "snakes." So of course the MV 100 became the Snake Eater. The next day Maj. West emailed the U.S. team digital photos of Iraqi soldiers fingerprinting suspects with the Snake Eater. "It's one night old and the town is abuzz," he said. "I think we have a chance to tip this city over now." A rumor quickly spread that the Iraqi army was implanting GPS chips in insurgents' thumbs.
Over the past 10 days, Maj. West has had chance encounters with two Marine superiors--Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, who commands the 30,000 joint forces in Anbar, and Brig. Gen. Robert Neller, deputy commanding general of operations in Iraq. He showed them the mobile ID database device.
I asked Gen. Neller by email on Tuesday what the status of these technologies is now. He replied that they're receiving advanced biometric equipment, "like the device being employed by Maj. West." He said "in the near future" they will begin to network such devices to share databases more broadly: "Bottom line: The requirement for networking our biometric capability is a priority of this organization."
As he departs, Maj. West reflected on winning at street level: "We're fixated on the enemy, but the enemy is fixated on the people. They know which families are apostates, which houses are safe for the night, which boys are vulnerable to corruption or kidnapping. The enemy's population collection effort far outstrips ours. The Snake Eater will change that, and fast." You have to believe he's got this right. It will only happen, though, if someone above his pay grade blows away the killing habits of peacetime procurement.
Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
Re: Military Science
Reply #24 on:
February 15, 2007, 09:25:10 PM »
U.S. Army granting more waivers for criminal backgrounds
By Lizette Alvarez
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The number of waivers granted to U.S. Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown nearly 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Defense Department records show.
During that time the army has employed a range of tactics to expand its diminishing pool of recruits. It has offered larger enlistment cash bonuses, allowed more high school dropouts and applicants with low scores on its aptitude test to join and loosened weight and age restrictions.
It has also increased the number of so-called "moral waivers" to recruits with criminal pasts, even as the total number of recruits dropped slightly.
The sharpest increase was in waivers issued for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the army's moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide.
The number of waivers issued for felony convictions also increased, from 8 percent to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006.
Waivers for less-serious crimes, including traffic offenses and drug use, have dropped or remained stable.
The army enlisted 69,395 men and women last year.
While soldiers with criminal histories made up only 11.7 percent of the army recruits in 2006, the spike in waivers raises concerns about whether the military is making too many exceptions to try to meet its recruitment demands in a time of war. Most felons, for example, are not permitted to carry firearms, and many criminals have at some point exhibited serious lapses in discipline and judgment, traits that are far from ideal on the battlefield.
The military automatically excludes people who have committed certain crimes. They include drug traffickers, recruits who have more than one felony on their record or people who have committed sexually violent crimes.
Bill Carr, under secretary of defense for military personnel policy, said the military granted waivers selectively and scrutinized a recruit's full record, the nature of the crime, when it was committed, the degree of rehabilitation and references from teachers, employers, coaches and clergy members.
In many cases, Carr said, the applicant may have committed the crime at a young age and then stayed out of trouble. To his knowledge, Carr said, recruits who are issued moral waivers are not tracked once in the military.
"If the community backs them, we are willing to take a hard look," Carr said, referring to the waiver process, which includes local, state and federal records checks. The majority of moral waivers are for serious misdemeanors, most often committed by juveniles.
Douglas Smith, the public information officer for the army's recruiting command, said, "We understand that people make mistakes in their lives and they can overcome those mistakes."
Fewer than 3 in 10 people between ages 17 and 24 are fully qualified to join the army; that means they have a high school degree, have met aptitude test score requirements and fitness levels and would not be barred for medical reasons, their sexual orientation or their criminal histories.
The Defense Department has also expanded its applicant pool by accepting soldiers with medical problems like asthma, high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder, situations that require waivers. Medical waivers have increased 4 percent, totaling 12,313 in 2006.
Re: Military Science
Reply #25 on:
February 16, 2007, 12:52:46 AM »
One wishes it might have occured to President Bush to begin expanding the size of the military (thus overruling Secy Rumbo) 3-4 years ago. Even candidate Kerry was calling for an increase of 50,000 so it would have been easy for Bush to make the call. Now that he has thrashed our troops and led , , , as he has, now the President sacks Rumbo and asks for 90,000. It is going to be a lot harder now to build up the numbers than if he had not listened to Rumbo's huibris.
Re: Military Science
Reply #26 on:
February 26, 2007, 10:13:41 PM »
Iran: Sounding Off on its Latest Rocket Test
Iran launched a sounding rocket for educational and research purposes Feb. 25, Mohsen Bahrami and Ali Akbar Golrou of Iran's Space Research Center said. Though unconfirmed, the launch offers insight into both Iranian politics and the pace of the country's missile program.
An Iranian sounding rocket capable of flinging its payload to an altitude above 90 miles was reportedly launched Feb. 25 for educational and research purposes, Ali Akbar Golrou, deputy head of Iran's Space Research Center, said. Earlier that day, Mohsen Bahrami, head of the research center, described the missile as a "space rocket." Though official Russian statements and an anonymous U.S. military source cited by Agence France-Presse on Feb. 26 questioned the launch, the events of Feb. 25 illustrate two dynamics within Iran's government -- portions of which are quick to tout any new weapon or scientific advance even if they do not understand it.
In January, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission leaked to Aviation Week & Space Technology that an Iranian satellite launch vehicle had been assembled and was being prepared for launch. Though this is very possible, it now appears that he could have been touting the sounding rocket.
Sounding rockets can serve many purposes and are commonly used for atmospheric tests or experiments that require several minutes of weightlessness. Sounding rockets do not insert their payload into orbit. Sounding rockets undergo less acceleration and release their payloads earlier than satellite launch vehicles (SLVs). The payload -- be it an experiment or a test object -- travels in a parabolic arc as gravity drags it back to Earth. Most experimental payloads deploy a parachute on the downward flight so they can be recovered.
A sounding rocket does not necessarily represent a new degree of technical prowess for Iran. Even some of the country's older surface-to-air missiles and much of its ballistic missile arsenal could have been rewired to perform this very mission. However, the possibility that this was a more substantive test should not be ruled out. Whatever the truth, Iran's primary concern of late is not the molecular makeup of the rarified upper atmosphere. This sounding rocket could have carried a new re-entry vehicle for a ballistic missile (although Golrou said a parachute brought the rocket's payload back to Earth) or a second stage for a new two-stage missile or SLV.
South Korea's quick progression of three Korean Sounding Rockets (KSR-I, KSR-II and KSR-III) in the last 15 years has provided the foundation for its SLV program, still in development. The KSR-III was particularly useful in the areas of propulsion, guidance, control and mission design. Similarly, whatever Iran might have learned Feb. 25 is certainly a step forward for Tehran's ballistic missile and SLV programs.
Though information about the events of Feb. 25 is limited, two other aspects of Iran became apparent with the announcement of the launch. First, certain elements in the Iranian government have a penchant for touting Iran's latest scientific achievements without knowing exactly what they might be. Second, the launch revealed the deliberate nature of Iran's missile program.
Iran's program -- despite the common Scud design heritage and shared development efforts -- is not like North Korea's. North Korean missile tests are so rare that, after a single-stage Nodong test and years of quiet, the world was stunned by the 1998 launch of the three-stage Taepodong-1 SLV, which very nearly succeeded. In contrast, Iran regularly tests even its already proven Scud and Zelzal rockets. The latest Shahab-3 was test-launched several times in 2006.
In other words, barring the launch of a North Korean-designed and manufactured SLV with an Iranian flag painted on it, Feb. 25's sounding rocket seems to suggest that any indigenous Iranian SLV launch will proceed via a more conventional development program that could include more sounding rocket launches. But given certain Iranian leaders' apparent inability to hold their tongues, it will be more difficult for Iran to proceed with the same discretion North Korea did leading up to its 1998 Taepodong-1 launch. Iran also intends to be more certain that its SLV will work the first time.
Re: Military Science
Reply #27 on:
March 07, 2007, 01:58:23 PM »
The New Logic for Ballistic Missile Defense
By Peter Zeihan
The commander of Russia's strategic bomber force, Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, said March 5 that his forces could easily disrupt or destroy any missile defense infrastructure in Poland and the Czech Republic -- where the United States is preparing to set up parts of a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. Khvorov was hardly the first Russian official to make such a threat: On Feb. 19, statements by Strategic Rocket Forces commander Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov left little doubt that Moscow would target U.S. BMD sites with its nuclear arsenal if Washington pushes ahead with its plans.
Exactly why missile defense -- a technology that has received little publicity since the Cold War -- should be a source of increasingly obvious tension between the United States and Russia is an interesting question. An equally interesting question: Why are the Russians threatening once again to target NATO countries -- a tactic Moscow abandoned 15 years ago?
The answer is rooted not only in the history of BMD, but in the myriad ways the European theater has changed -- from both the U.S. and European points of view -- since the end of the Cold War.
BMD and the Cold War
When Ronald Reagan introduced the Star Wars system in the 1980s, his logic was much more political than military. It was apparent that, even with extremely aggressive funding, the United States was decades away from being able to establish a missile shield capable of deflecting a significant Soviet nuclear strike. Rhetoric aside, the argument for a BMD system was not really about establishing an impregnable bubble around the United States, but rather about shifting the strategic balance away from mutually assured destruction and into a venue that catered to the Americans' economic advantage.
In the minds of Politburo members, the United States not only was moving into a realm in which the Americans already enjoyed substantial technological and economic advantages, but in which the costs of development also threatened to overturn Soviet military doctrine. As of the early 1980s, the United States was spending only 6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, whereas the Soviets are thought to have been expending more than one-quarter of theirs. The Soviets recognized that they could not win a space race involving defensive weaponry. Reagan's insistence on keeping the BMD issue on the table, therefore, gave him enormous bargaining power against the Soviets and contributed heavily to the subsequent arms-control and disarmament treaties that ultimately heralded the Cold War's end.
European leaders, however, viewed BMD issues in much the same light as the Soviets did. Though few Europeans were comfortable with the idea of the Americans and Soviets being locked into a Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) structure that would consume their homelands if anything should go awry, it was impossible to ignore the fact that MAD had brought about 50 years of relatively stable Great Power relations. Reagan's BMD was viewed as an extremely aggressive effort to overturn that system and disrupt the stability that went with it. European states were terrified of BMD at both the political and strategic levels.
But the arguments and alignments in favor of BMD have changed drastically in the post-Cold War era.
The New American Logic
As the Russian missile arsenal has declined in quantity and quality, U.S. desires for a BMD protective net have only strengthened. Though most American strategic planners in the 1980s were well aware that the system being envisioned was merely drawing-board material, strategic and technological realities today are starkly different. U.S. strategic thought now is fixating on two ideas.
First and most obvious is that, though it would not be foolproof by any stretch, it is possible that within a few years, an American-installed BMD network in certain parts of the world could protect against secondary threats such as Iran and North Korea. Given that the human and financial costs involved in rebuilding a major U.S. city (should one be hit by a nuclear weapon) are well above even the most aggressive price estimates for a global BMD network, the original vision of BMD as an effective defensive weapon now could be within reach.
The second idea dovetails with long-standing U.S. strategic doctrine -- a philosophy that long predates the Cold War. That doctrine has always aimed to push threats away from the continental United States -- initially by securing U.S. sovereignty over the North American land mass, achieving strategic depth and controlling sea approaches. Ultimately, the doctrine calls for the United States to project power into Eurasia itself, establishing as much stand-off distance as possible. In the early 20th century, naval power allowed the United States to do this just fine. But in the early 21st century, with the proliferation of intercontinental ballistic missile technology, naval power is only one leg of such a strategy.
Having forward-based BMD facilities not only is becoming important for Washington, but is moving to the core of U.S. defense logic.
From Washington's perspective, establishing a BMD system is not about taking advantage of Russia's relative military weakness, but instead about adapting to a new strategic reality. The foes and threats facing the United States have changed. No one is pretending that Russia's decline as a global power has not opened the door to a U.S. BMD system in the first place, or that the system could not be expanded and upgraded in the future as a potential counter to Russia's nuclear arsenal. Rather, it means simply that in the current strategic picture, the Russians really are not at the heart of U.S. defense planning -- and certainly not so far as BMD is concerned.
(click to enlarge)
The technological considerations are not unimportant here. With current technology, any system would be twitchy at best -- so for best results, the United States is seeking a layered network. The first layer of defense -- which most likely would include airborne lasers at some point -- would be sited as close to the launching states as possible, allowing the system to target any missile launches during the boost phase. The second layer would involve missile interceptors or AEGIS systems to strike during the midcourse of the missile's flight, followed by terminal phase engagement with anti-missile systems, such as the PAC-3 (the newest incarnation of the Patriot).
The polar projection of an ICBM is also key to understanding Washington's logic. Any missile launched from Iran and bound for the continental United States would have to fly over Central Europe -- which is why the United States has pending agreements to set up an interceptor base in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Similarly, any North Korean missile would have to fly over Alaska, the other major BMD interceptor locale. A nuclear strike out of Russia, however, would travel over the North Pole. BMD installations in Europe and Alaska would cover only the peripheries of that attack corridor -- and with vastly insufficient numbers of interceptors.
In short, the U.S. rationale for BMD has evolved. In the 1980s, it was about breaking out of the MAD impasse and wringing concessions out of the Soviets. Today, BMD has the potential to be something that was never seriously considered in the 1980s: a viable defensive weapon. Put another way, BMD once was wielded as a political tool to avoid a future war; now, it is coming to be viewed as a defensive weapon to be used in a future conflict.
The New European Logic
The Czech Republic and Poland are not the only European states to have changed their thinking about BMD either. A number of countries not only are responding warmly to U.S. overtures regarding facilities, but in some cases actually are initiating the siting requests.
For central European states, the benefits of such deals are obvious. Most of the political elites in these states fear a future conflict with the Russians, and anything they can do to solidify a military arrangement with Washington is, to their thinking, a benefit in and of itself. But even in Western Europe, further removed from the Russian periphery, opposition to the United States' BMD programs seems to have relaxed considerably. The United Kingdom has specifically requested inclusion in the system (though Washington so far has declined), and the German government has called for the United States to address the issue of BMD in the context of NATO.
There are several reasons for this change.
First and foremost, BMD technology -- while still unproven -- has advanced considerably since the Reagan era, and thus is now far more likely to work. When BMD was only a political tool and could offer no real protection, the Europeans were understandably squeamish about participating in the system. But if the system is actually functional, the calculus shifts.
Second, a weak BMD system designed to guard against Iran theoretically could evolve into a stronger system that helps to protect Europeans against Russia in the future. Of course, the system is not designed to target Russia at the present time, but if Russia's military capabilities should decay further over time, the technological argument -- that the system might actually work -- weighs heavily in the European mind. And at a time when Moscow is growing more aggressive in economic and political terms, laying the groundwork for a military hedge makes sense.
Third, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Europeans to define their security interests as separate from Washington's. Moscow's new energy strategy is a tool for exerting influence over Europe, making European states more willing to view Russia through American goggles. Moreover, Iran regularly bites its thumb at the United Nations and its nuclear watchdog, inducing the Europeans (little by little) to morph from being apologists for Tehran to quiet, if still primarily unofficial, enforcers of sanctions. BMD fits into the U.S. strategic doctrine, and that logic, by association, is now taking hold in Europe.
Fourth, there is a desire to rope the United States into a multilateral defense stratagem. Many Western Europeans begrudge U.S. efforts to dominate the NATO alliance and regularly try to persuade Washington to more seriously consider European points of view. But the United States' ability to make bilateral defense deals cuts the Europeans out completely. For countries like Germany, which considers itself a key driver of European policy, the only way to counter unilateral American moves is to make it worth Washington's while to discuss issues like BMD within the framework of NATO -- which means taking BMD well beyond committee meetings and talk shops. It means actually deploying assets. To do otherwise would only encourage Washington to impose a security policy upon Europe without consulting the Europeans.
Finally, there is the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" logic: Bilateral U.S. security agreements with Central European states are forging BMD into reality. If is going to happen anyway, the logic goes, you might as well jump on the bandwagon and reap some of the benefits.
The Russians, of course, are not blind to the emergence of a potential threat near their borders -- even recognizing the limitations of the BMD system as currently envisioned.
The United States certainly does not want to trigger a war with Moscow, but that does not mean that Washington is oozing with warm feelings toward all things Russian. Throughout American history, only three countries have seriously threatened the United States: Britain, which ultimately was forced into the role of ally; Mexico, which was occupied and half its territory annexed; and Russia/Soviet Union -- the only foe still remaining. Traditionally, the United States does not defeat its enemies so much as crush them until either they switch sides or are incapable of posing more than a negligible threat.
Though the days of Russian-American military parity are long past, the United States is not yet finished with Moscow from a strategic perspective. Washington wants to pressure Russia until its will, as well as its ability, to pose a viable threat completely disintegrates. Therefore, while it is true that Russia is not an explicit target of the BMD system being established in the Czech Republic and Poland, it would be ridiculous to believe that BMD facilities in Europe would not trigger evolutions in Russian policy. Washington realizes that. In fact, the Americans are betting on it.
Establishing a BMD system on Russia's doorstep would indeed pose a potential long-term threat for Moscow -- but more importantly, it creates a political irritant that will generate a steady stream of bellicose Russian rhetoric. And that serves American purposes. The more aggressive Russia sounds, the more willing Europeans will be to see strategic U.S. policy in general -- and BMD policy specifically -- from Washington's point of view.
Which brings us back to the recent statements by the men who manage Russia's warheads. Their direct threats against European targets must have thrilled American strategic planners. With but a few words, the Russian generals not only supplied a fresh rationale for the BMD system, but also tilted the debate in Europe over the entire system toward the Americans' logic.
Re: Military Science
Reply #28 on:
March 10, 2007, 10:36:21 AM »
Museum Review | U.S.S. Monitor Center
A Celebrity Warship Gets a Hall of Fame to Call Its Own
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN
Published: March 10, 2007
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — As sacred relics go, it doesn’t seem too inspiring. In appearance, Nathaniel Hawthorne said, it “looked like a gigantic rat-trap.” In life, it had little more than a single day of major achievement, and in that it was less than triumphant. In death, it was even less grand, sinking into the Atlantic during a storm, not even a year after it first lumbered onto the scene.
So why, after 145 years, $15 million in oceanic explorations and more than a decade of dives and excavation, is the Civil War battleship the Monitor being given a second life at a cost of $30 million, with its artifacts, history and accounts of its career displayed in a 63,500-square-foot space? That’s precisely what is happening at the U.S.S. Monitor Center, which opened March 9 at the Mariners’ Museum here.
Something seems off kilter about the entire scale: why this kind of attention and expense? It is much easier to see why the Mariners’ Museum itself was interested. Rich in land (a 550-acre park) and endowment ($110 million) and founded in 1930 by Archer M. Huntington (of the railroad Huntingtons) to explore what he called the “culture of the sea,” this museum features a collection of about 150 boats, a major research library, world-class navigation equipment and exhibitions about the history of navigation. But it has been drawing only about 60,000 visitors a year in a region where American history is a major tourist attraction, shipbuilding a local industry and the United States Navy a nearby presence.
Now that may change with the opening of its U.S.S. Monitor Center, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (The government owns the wreck and oversaw its excavation.) While the scale and attention can be a little disorienting to a visitor without sea legs, by the time you have passed through the well-annotated, smartly presented exhibits, watched the widescreen re-creations of historic battles and read something about what this ship meant to its contemporaries and devotees, the Monitor starts to loom large.
The center’s galleries are meant, in current museum style, to be evocative re-creations of times and places — turning points of experience. (The exhibits were overseen by the museum’s chief curator, Anna Gibson Holloway, and designed by DMCD Inc.) The history begins on a gun deck of a 1798 warship, where the vulnerabilities of the age of sail could be sensed in the evolution of ever more powerful guns. The early 19th century sounded the death knell for that age; the Civil War allowed it a final breath; the Monitor and the Confederate ironclad Virginia buried it.
Then comes a room evoking the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia in 1862: the Union had tried to destroy the yard and remove its warships, but only half-managed to burn the Merrimack and leave it in the mud. Lacking the North’s industrial facilities but not ingenuity, the Confederates took the burned hull of the Merrimack, built on it and layered on four inches of iron, renamed it the Virginia and, with this strange contraption, emulated the armored ships that were transforming European navies. A 50-foot-long replica of the Virginia’s bow here is a monstrosity that understandably inspired fear and bewilderment among those used to wooden vessels with billowing sails.
Then a visitor enters the board room of 1862, where Navy officials discussed what kind of armored warship the Union could hastily construct. A Confederate ironclad ship, it was justifiably feared, could wipe out the entire Union Navy. A brilliant Swedish engineer, John Ericsson, had fruitlessly peddled an ironclad design to Napoleon III, but the urgency of war now won him American approval. Abraham Lincoln saw Ericsson’s model and famously declared: “All I have to say is what the girl said when she stuck her foot into the stocking. It strikes me there’s something in it.”
The catch: Ericsson was given 100 days.
One hundred days! This was to be a revolutionary vessel in which the crew and engine were to be entirely housed below the water line. If naval weaponry had traditionally been aimed at targets by turning the ship, here a gun turret would rotate on enormous gears, allowing shots in almost any direction. Everything about the Monitor was experimental, but there was no time for experiments. It was built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with numerous contractors bringing the ship in on time.
This technological marvel then took on mythic dimensions. On March 8, 1862, the Virginia had steamed into Hampton Roads, not far from its birthplace, and almost effortlessly destroyed two Union ships, the Cumberland and the Congress, mauling them with its iron ram. With 121 men dead on the first and 240 on the second, it was the worst naval defeat for the United States until Pearl Harbor. What would come next? The Confederacy’s triumphal river journey to Washington? The Union Navy had become obsolete — until the next day, when the Monitor met the Virginia in battle.
In the museum a 13-minute wide-screen show, intriguingly composed of animated paintings and maps and aided by lighting and sound effects, recounts the great battle that followed, as these behemoths tested out their gear, each side claiming victory.
This battle is in every elementary-school textbook. About 20,000 people stood on the banks, watching. The clash — chronicled by letters of participants and witnesses — apparently ended in a draw. But the age of sail definitively lost. The Times of London declared that the British Royal Navy had 149 first-class warships before the battle, but “we now have two.” Jules Verne, inspired by the Monitor, wrote “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” published in 1870.
As a drama, the encounter could not have been more skillfully plotted: the Union disaster, the last-minute rescue, the celebration. There were Monitor playing cards, hats, scrimshaw and sheet music.
And there were also complaints, because what was ending was not just the technology of sail. The seaman’s center of gravity had changed — which may be why the vessel’s living quarters below the water, reproduced here, were given unusual attention. An entire culture had evolved around sailing and naval warfare, complete with manners and strategies, uniforms and training. Now the action was below the water line. And in combat, there was no more hand-to-hand confrontation or urgent need to know the ropes. This wasn’t really life at sea; it was life in the engine room.
“All the pomp and splendor of naval warfare are gone by,” Hawthorne mournfully wrote. “Henceforth there must come up a race of enginemen and smoke-blackened commoners who will hammer away at their enemies under the direction of a single pair of eyes.”
In his recent book “Ironclad,” Paul Clancy points out that Melville wrote poems about the Monitor, referring to the turret as the seaman’s “welded tomb,” and noting that warriors
Are now but operatives; War’s made
Less grand than Peace.
After their major battle, the deaths of the Virginia and the Monitor seemed to prove Melville’s point. Within days the Virginia, cornered, was run aground and set on fire by the Confederates: a suicide avoiding capture. By the next winter, the Monitor too, in less than glorious circumstances, came to its accidental death in a storm. The Union produced another generation of ironclads, but the Civil War stumbled along its bloody course, undeterred.
A good portion of the museum is devoted to the recent rescue of the Monitor from the sea floor, itself done at great risk. There is a full-size reproduction of the rusted, lichen-
encrusted gun turret, just as it was found sunk off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Outside the museum’s glass wall, a full-scale exterior deck of the Monitor is recreated; inside a replica of the turret’s mechanism is also reproduced. It will take 15 years to rehabilitate the original turret in tanks filled with 90,000 gallons of water.
So what are these relics, then, that so attract a visitor’s gaze? Here, not far from where the Monitor fought its main battle, the rusted machinery, silver forks, glass bottles, the human-size propeller and interlocking turret gears all seem to offer testimony to a moment when the world changed, when, as with the Civil War itself, something had come to an end, and something else — which could either turn out horrifying or magnificent — had not yet begun.
The U.S.S. Monitor Center is at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, Va; (757) 596-2222 or monitorcenter.org
July 11, 1862
New Type of Ship Fights for North
HAMPTON ROADS, Va.--Officers of the U.S.S. Monitor displayed their new type of battleship as it lay anchored in the James River in Virginia on July 9, 1862. Four months ago it fought a battle that could change the course of naval warfare forever.
The twelve officers are posing in front of the ship's turret, one of the many new features of this vessel. It can turn allowing the ship's two cannons to be pointed in any direction. It gave the ship its nickname, "a tin can on a shingle."
Unlike the traditional battleship, which is made of wood, the Monitor is covered with iron. This kind of ship is called an ironclad. That makes it harder for cannon balls to sink the ship.
The ship fought a famous battle just four months ago, in March 1862, against the Merrimac. Both ships were ironclads.
The Merrimac was a Union ship at the beginning of the Civil War. But the Confederates captured it and turned it into an ironclad renamed the C.S.S. Virginia. But in common usage it was still called the Merrimac.
On March 8, 1862, the Merrimac won a victory at Hampton Roads, Va., against Union ships who were blockading the Confederate coast.
A Union officer watching the one-sided battle between the Merrimac and one of the Union ships, the Congress, said that the Merrimac "fired shot and shell into her with terrific effect, while the shot from the Congress glanced from her sloping sides without doing any apparent effect."
But the next day, March 9, the Union ironclad, the Monitor, arrived on the scene. The Merrimac and the Monitor fought each other for almost five hours.
Describing the first exchange of gunfire, Lt. Samuel Dana Greene, an officer on the Merrimac said, "The turrets and other parts of the ship were heavily struck, but the shots did not penetrate; the tower was intact and it continued to revolve. A look of confidence passed over the men's faces and we believed the Merrimac would not repeat the work she had accomplished the day before."
Neither ship was able to do much damage to the other ship. The battle was considered a draw.
Although there was no winner, the battle will be likely to change the course of naval warfare forever. It has brought worldwide attention to the importance of ironclad ships.
The Monitor was built in less than four months according to the design of a man who is not in the picture. His name was John Ericsson, a Swedish immigrant.
Ericsson's design was unusual and not everyone liked it. But when it was shown to President Lincoln, he said, "All I have to say is what the girl said when she put her foot into the stocking. 'It strikes me there may be something in it.'"
The Union has plans to build other ships designed by John Ericsson called "monitors." They will be ironclad, easy to maneuver, and will have revolving turrets.
The officers of the Monitor include Captain John Lorimer Worden, a young man of 24 with a long beard. He was blinded permanently in one eye by an explosion in the battle.
Lt. Samuel Dana Green, the second in command, is 22. He took over after Worden was wounded. Another officer was Lt. Thomas Oliver Selfridge Jr.
Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 10:54:57 AM by Crafty_Dog
Re: Military Science
Reply #29 on:
March 19, 2007, 04:25:38 PM »
Iraq: The Fear Factor in Chlorine Bombs
Insurgents detonated three vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) packed with chlorine in Iraq's Anbar province west of Baghdad on March 16. The initial blasts, which U.S. officials blamed on al Qaeda in Iraq, killed at least six people, while at least 350 Iraqi civilians and six U.S. troops fell ill as a result of chlorine exposure.
Although the deaths were caused by the blasts rather than the chlorine -- as in similar attacks involving chlorine bombs earlier in the year -- these latest attacks clearly demonstrate al Qaeda's fascination with combining chlorine and explosives to create crude chemical weapons. Causing mass casualties with chemical VBIEDs is extremely difficult, though the fear incited by such attacks makes these kinds of bombs increasingly popular among insurgents. Moreover, as the insurgents gain experience with the devices -- and increase their lethality -- the tactic likely will spread beyond Iraq.
Chlorine bombs are relatively easy weapons for the Iraqi insurgents to make. The devices used in the latest attacks involved a pickup truck and two dump trucks loaded with chlorine tanks and rigged with explosives. One of the dump trucks reportedly carried a 200-gallon chlorine tank. One truck detonated at a checkpoint near Ar Ramadi, while another killed two Iraqi policemen in Al Amiriyah. The most devastating attack occurred three miles south of Al Fallujah when a dump truck targeted the reception center of a tribal sheikh who had denounced al Qaeda.
The use of chlorine in chemical VBIEDs is attractive to militants because the chemical is widely available in Iraq and around the world. The problem, as Iraqi militants are finding, however, is dispersing the chemical with a VBIED while maintaining an effective concentration of the gas. As a result, the chlorine bombs seen to date in Iraq have been tremendously ineffective in inflicting mass casualties, especially when compared with traditional car bombs, which do kill large numbers of people when detonated in populous areas.
Regardless of these bombs' effectiveness as mass killers, however, insurgents like them because the immediate chlorine odor incites fear. Witnesses of the Iraqi attacks, for example, reported nasty smells and a white plume of smoke that turned black and blue. Furthermore, these attacks are valuable to insurgents as tests for future operations elsewhere. Whether this method of attack is the fixation of a particular insurgent leader or it represents an emerging doctrine by al Qaeda in Iraq, the attacks will allow the insurgents to gain tactical expertise and learn to construct more effective chemical bombs. The attackers also could be conducting these attacks to gauge security weaknesses or to divert attention from a different location where an operation is planned.
Chemical VBIED attacks are likely to continue in Iraq and to spread as those responsible for them export the knowledge gained throughout the region and beyond. Al Qaeda units in other locations followed the lead of al Qaeda in Iraq as it increased its use of tactics such as employing roadside bombs and conducting beheadings -- and the use of chlorine bombs could be next.
The Iraqi insurgency has proven to be an effective training ground for foreign jihadists, much as the Afghan resistance was two decades earlier. Al Qaeda sprang from the Afghan conflict, and today foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Africa and elsewhere are honing their insurgent skills on the battlegrounds of Iraq -- and are then returning home to spread jihadist tactics. This has been seen most recently in the Maghreb, where the regional al Qaeda arm is increasingly employing improvised explosive devices in attacks, especially against foreign energy workers.
Because chlorine is so common, movement of the chemical cannot be severely restricted. This is especially true in areas where the state already has a weak hold on the security situation. Therefore, Iraqi insurgents are likely to continue refining their technique -- and their allies and sympathizers beyond the state will start to adopt the tactic themselves.
Re: Military Science
Reply #30 on:
March 20, 2007, 10:48:32 AM »
Who Needs Nukes
Why the U.S. and other Western powers need to modernize their arsenals.
BY BRET STEPHENS
Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
The problem with nuclear weapons today can be summed up as follows: They are going out of fashion where they are needed most and coming into fashion where they are needed least.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair eked out what is likely to be the last significant legislative victory of his government on Thursday when parliament approved funds, over the objections of 88 Labour MPs, to begin design work on the next generation of ballistic missile nuclear submarines. Whether the subs and their missiles will actually be built remains a question for a future parliament to answer.
At nearly the same time, the Bush administration awarded a contract to the Lawrence Livermore Lab to design something called the Reliable Replacement Warhead--basically a retinkered version of the previously tested but never-deployed W89 warhead--to replace the current mainstays of the U.S. arsenal, particularly the 100-kiloton W76. But with Democrats in control of Congress, the RRW will surely face funding hurdles of its own. The New York Times has already chimed in with an editorial denouncing RRW as a make-work scheme for nuclear scientists based on the supposedly bogus rationale of " 'aging' warheads."
Too bad the Times didn't rely on its own fine reporting of the issue: "As warheads age," noted the paper's William J. Broad in a 2005 exposé, "the risk of internal rusting, material degradation, corrosion, decay and the embrittling of critical parts increases." Too bad, too, that British anti-nuclear activists fail to consider the dire consequences for their collective poodledom should they relinquish their independent deterrent.
Still, these ironies are of small account and at least the left maintains its scruples. No similar scruples inhibit the nuclear ambitions of other nations. Russia is fielding a new land-based missile called the Topol-M and building a new generation of ballistic-missile submarines. The Chinese are upgrading their land- and sea-based nuclear forces with multiple warheads and solid-fuel propulsion technology. Pakistan last month successfully tested its Shaheen-II ballistic missile, capable of lifting a nuclear payload to a range of 1,250 miles. Iran is reportedly within months of developing an industrial-scale uranium enrichment capacity of about 3,000 centrifuges, which in turn puts it on track to acquire a bomb's worth of fissile uranium by the end of 2008. The progress of North Korean arms is well known.
Why are the world's responsible powers in such doubt about the necessity of nuclear deterrence when the irresponsible are seeking as never before to enlarge or improve their store of weapons? One answer was offered in these pages in January by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who noted that the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty committed non-nuclear powers not to develop weapons in exchange for a promise by the nuclear powers to "reduce and eventually abolish their arsenals." "If this reciprocity is not observed," he wrote, "then the entire structure of the treaty will collapse."
As a matter of rhetoric, Mr. Gorbachev is surely right, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be clever to press the point when he makes an appearance before the U.N. Security Council later this month. As a matter of reality, the argument is wrong on facts and dangerously solipsistic: Messrs. Kim and Ahmadinejad have better reasons to seek nuclear weapons than pique at American (or British) "hypocrisy." As it is, both Russia and the U.S. have reduced their arsenals from Cold War peaks by as much as 80%--much of the reduction being achieved by the current administration--yet that has done little to incent rogue actors not to seek their own weapons of mass destruction.
A more serious objection to the American and British modernization plans is that they offer no realistic security against terrorism. Suppose al Qaeda detonates a nuclear bomb in Times Square. Suppose that the weapon was stolen from an old Soviet depot, meaning no "return address" for purposes of retaliation. Suppose, also, that al Qaeda threatens to detonate five other bombs if the U.S. does not meet a list of its demands. What use would deterrence be then? Against whom would we retaliate, and where?
This scenario does not invalidate the need for a nuclear deterrent: There would still be conventional opponents to deter, and it's odd that the people who tell us we can "contain" a nuclear Iran are often the same ones who insist we can forgo the means of containment. But the question of what to do after a nuclear 9/11 is something to which not enough thought has been given. We urgently need a nuclear doctrine--and the weapons to go with it--for the terrorist age. The RRW, which simply prolongs a Cold War nuclear posture through the year 2050, amounts to a partial solution at best.
What would a sensible deterrence strategy look like? "Even nihilists have something they hold dear that can be threatened with deterrence," says Max Singer, a collaborator of the great Cold War theorist Herman Kahn. "You need to know what it is, communicate it and be serious about it."
Would it hinder Islamist terrorists if the U.S.'s declared policy in the event of a nuclear 9/11 was the immediate destruction of Mecca, Medina and the Iranian religious center of Qom? Would our deterrent be more or less effective if we deployed a range of weapons, such as the maligned "bunker buster," the use of which a potential adversary might think us capable? How would the deployment of a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile shield alter the composition of a credible deterrent? Does it make sense to adhere to the NPT regime when that regime is clearly broken?
One needn't have answers to these questions to know it requires something more than pat moralizing about the terribleness of nuclear weapons or declaring the whole matter "unthinkable." Nothing is unthinkable. But whether the unthinkable remains the undoable depends entirely on our willingness to think clearly about it, and to act on our conclusions.
Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.
Reply #31 on:
March 29, 2007, 05:15:00 PM »
U.S.: A joint Northrop Grumman/ European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. team announced March 28 -- as expected -- that it will formally submit its KC-30 tanker design to the Pentagon on April 12 for the $40 billion competition to replace the U.S. Air Force's aging KC-130 tanker fleet with 179 new aerial refueling planes. The KC-30 (a militarized version of the Airbus A330) will compete against Boeing's KC-767, which is based on the civilian 767 airframe. The replacement program is a top priority for the U.S. Air Force. As such, the Pentagon is expected to award the contract during this calendar year. Northrop-Grumman maintains that more than 50 percent of the production would take place in the United States, despite the Airbus frame. Boeing, of course, estimates 85 percent domestic production. The A330 is also a larger plane than the 767, and its commercial counterpart runs $160 million per plane -- $30 million more than the commercial 767. Both are two-engine aircraft with seating in the two-aisle 200-300 range.
Re: Military Science
Reply #32 on:
April 10, 2007, 05:52:34 PM »
Its no secret I think a lot of
. That said, the following piece makes some points with which I disagree-- specifically in its analysis of the possibility of blockading Iran.
IMHO the decision not to embargo was less a military one (and the piece is a discussion of military theory) than a political one-- and again IMHO naval power may well be quite necessary if we are to stop Iran from going nuke.
The Limitations and Necessity of Naval Power
By George Friedman
It has now been four years since the fall of Baghdad concluded the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We have said much about the Iraq war, and for the moment there is little left to say. The question is whether the United States will withdraw forces from Iraq or whether it will be able to craft some sort of political resolution to the war, both within Iraq and in the region. Military victory, in the sense of the unfettered imposition of U.S. will in Iraq, does not appear to us a possibility. Therefore, over the next few months, against the background of the U.S. offensive in Baghdad, the political equation will play out. The action continues. The analysis must pause and await results.
During this pause, we have been thinking about some of the broader questions involved in Iraq -- and about the nature and limits of American military power in particular. We recently considered the purpose of U.S. wars since World War II in our discussion of U.S. warfare as strategic spoiling attack. Now we turn to another dimension of U.S. military power -- the U.S. Navy -- and consider what role, if any, it plays in national security at this point.
Recent events have directed our attention to the role and limits of naval power. During the detention of the 15 British sailors and marines, an idea floated by many people was that the United States should impose a blockade against Iran. The argument was driven partly by a lack of other options: Neither an invasion nor an extended air campaign seemed a viable alternative. Moreover, the United States' experience in erecting blockades is rich with decisive examples: the Cuban missile crisis, barring Germany's ability to trade during World War II or that of the American South during the Civil War. The one unquestionable military asset the United States has is its Navy, which can impose sea-lane control anywhere in the world. Finally, Iran -- which is rich in oil (all of which is exported by sea) but lacks sufficient refinery capacity of its own -- relies on imported gasoline. Therefore, the argument went, imposing a naval blockade would cripple Iran's economy and bring the leadership to the negotiating table.
Washington never seriously considered the option. This was partly because of diplomatic discussions that indicated that the British detainees would be released under any circumstances. And it was partly because of the difficulties involved in blockading Iran at this time:
1. Iran could mount strategic counters to a blockade, either by increasing anti-U.S. operations by its Shiite allies in Iraq or by inciting Shiite communities in the Arabian Peninsula to unrest. The United States didn't have appetite for the risk.
2. Blockades always involve the interdiction of vessels operated by third countries -- countries that might not appreciate being interdicted. The potential repercussions of interdicting merchant vessels belonging to powers that did not accept the blockade was a price the United States would not pay at this time.
A blockade was not selected because it was not needed, because Iran could retaliate in other ways and because a blockade might damage countries other than Iran that the United States didn't want to damage. It was, therefore, not in the cards. Not imposing a blockade made sense.
The Value of Naval Power
This raises a more fundamental question: What is the value of naval power in a world in which naval battles are not fought? To frame the question more clearly, let us begin by noting that the United States has maintained global maritime hegemony since the end of World War II. Except for the failed Soviet attempt to partially challenge the United States, the most important geopolitical fact since World War II was that the world's oceans were effectively under the control of the U.S. Navy. Prior to World War II, there were multiple contenders for maritime power, such as Britain, Japan and most major powers. No one power, not even Britain, had global maritime hegemony. The United States now does. The question is whether this hegemony has any real value at this time -- a question made relevant by the issue of whether to blockade Iran.
The United States controls the blue water. To be a little more precise, the U.S. Navy can assert direct and overwhelming control over any portion of the blue water it wishes, and it can do so in multiple places. It cannot directly control all of the oceans at the same time. However, the total available naval force that can be deployed by non-U.S. powers (friendly and other) is so limited that they lack the ability, even taken together, to assert control anywhere should the United States challenge their presence. This is an unprecedented situation historically.
The current situation is, of course, invaluable to the United States. It means that a seaborne invasion of the United States by any power is completely impractical. Given the geopolitical condition of the United States, the homeland is secure from conventional military attack but vulnerable to terrorist strikes and nuclear attacks. At the same time, the United States is in a position to project forces at will to any part of the globe. Such power projection might not be wise at times, but even failure does not lead to reciprocation. For instance, no matter how badly U.S. forces fare in Iraq, the Iraqis will not invade the United States if the Americans are defeated there.
This is not a trivial fact. Control of the seas means that military or political failure in Eurasia will not result in a direct conventional threat to the United States. Nor does such failure necessarily preclude future U.S. intervention in that region. It also means that no other state can choose to invade the United States. Control of the seas allows the United States to intervene where it wants, survive the consequences of failure and be immune to occupation itself. It was the most important geopolitical consequence of World War II, and one that still defines the world.
The issue for the United States is not whether it should abandon control of the seas -- that would be irrational in the extreme. Rather, the question is whether it has to exert itself at all in order to retain that control. Other powers either have abandoned attempts to challenge the United States, have fallen short of challenging the United States or have confined their efforts to building navies for extremely limited uses, or for uses aligned with the United States. No one has a shipbuilding program under way that could challenge the United States for several generations.
One argument, then, is that the United States should cut its naval forces radically -- since they have, in effect, done their job. Mothballing a good portion of the fleet would free up resources for other military requirements without threatening U.S. ability to control the sea-lanes. Should other powers attempt to build fleets to challenge the United States, the lead time involved in naval construction is such that the United States would have plenty of opportunities for re-commissioning ships or building new generations of vessels to thwart the potential challenge.
The counterargument normally given is that the U.S. Navy provides a critical service in what is called littoral warfare. In other words, while the Navy might not be needed immediately to control sea-lanes, it carries out critical functions in securing access to those lanes and projecting rapid power into countries where the United States might want to intervene. Thus, U.S. aircraft carriers can bring tactical airpower to bear relatively quickly in any intervention. Moreover, the Navy's amphibious capabilities -- particularly those of deploying and supplying the U.S. Marines -- make for a rapid deployment force that, when coupled with Naval airpower, can secure hostile areas of interest for the United States.
That argument is persuasive, but it poses this problem: The Navy provides a powerful option for war initiation by the United States, but it cannot by itself sustain the war. In any sustained conflict, the Army must be brought in to occupy territory -- or, as in Iraq, the Marines must be diverted from the amphibious specialty to serve essentially as Army units. Naval air by itself is a powerful opening move, but greater infusions of airpower are needed for a longer conflict. Naval transport might well be critically important in the opening stages, but commercial transport sustains the operation.
If one accepts this argument, the case for a Navy of the current size and shape is not proven. How many carrier battle groups are needed and, given the threat to the carriers, is an entire battle group needed to protect them?
If we consider the Iraq war in isolation, for example, it is apparent that the Navy served a function in the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces. It is not clear, however, that the Navy has served an important role in the attempt to occupy and pacify Iraq. And, as we have seen in the case of Iran, a blockade is such a complex politico-military matter that the option not to blockade tends to emerge as the obvious choice.
The Risk Not Taken
The argument for slashing the Navy can be tempting. But consider the counterargument. First, and most important, we must consider the crises the United States has not experienced. The presence of the U.S. Navy has shaped the ambitions of primary and secondary powers. The threshold for challenging the Navy has been so high that few have even initiated serious challenges. Those that might be trying to do so, like the Chinese, understand that it requires a substantial diversion of resources. Therefore, the mere existence of U.S. naval power has been effective in averting crises that likely would have occurred otherwise. Reducing the power of the U.S. Navy, or fine-tuning it, would not only open the door to challenges but also eliminate a useful, if not essential, element in U.S. strategy -- the ability to bring relatively rapid force to bear.
There are times when the Navy's use is tactical, and times when it is strategic. At this moment in U.S. history, the role of naval power is highly strategic. The domination of the world's oceans represents the foundation stone of U.S. grand strategy. It allows the United States to take risks while minimizing consequences. It facilitates risk-taking. Above all, it eliminates the threat of sustained conventional attack against the homeland. U.S. grand strategy has worked so well that this risk appears to be a phantom. The dispersal of U.S. forces around the world attests to what naval power can achieve. It is illusory to believe that this situation cannot be reversed, but it is ultimately a generational threat. Just as U.S. maritime hegemony is measured in generations, the threat to that hegemony will emerge over generations. The apparent lack of utility of naval forces in secondary campaigns, like Iraq, masks the fundamentally indispensable role the Navy plays in U.S. national security.
That does not mean that the Navy as currently structured is sacrosanct -- far from it. Peer powers will be able to challenge the U.S. fleet, but not by building their own fleets. Rather, the construction of effective anti-ship missile systems -- which can destroy merchant ships as well as overwhelm U.S. naval anti-missile systems -- represents a low-cost challenge to U.S. naval power. This is particularly true when these anti-ship missiles are tied to space-based, real-time reconnaissance systems. A major power such as China need not be able to mirror the U.S. Navy in order to challenge it.
Whatever happens in Iraq -- or Iran -- the centrality of naval power is unchanging. But the threat to naval power evolves. The fact that there is no threat to U.S. control of the sea-lanes at this moment does not mean one will not emerge. Whether with simple threats like mines or the most sophisticated anti-ship system, the ability to keep the U.S. Navy from an area or to close off strategic chokepoints for shipping remains the major threat to the United States -- which is, first and foremost, a maritime power.
One of the dangers of wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan is that they soak up resources and intellectual bandwidth. It is said that generals always fight the last war. Another way of stating that is to say they believe the war they are fighting now will go on forever in some form. That belief leads to neglect of capabilities that appear superfluous for the current conflict. That is the true hollowing-out that extended warfare creates. It is an intellectual hollowing-out.
Re: Military Science
Reply #33 on:
April 13, 2007, 05:26:48 PM »
Sorry, no URL for this one, but it seems sound and comes from a sound person:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The military's controversial V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will head to Iraq for its first combat tour later this year, Marine officials announced Friday.
After 18 years and $20 billion in development, the plane will deploy to western Iraq in September to support Marine Corps combat operations for seven months, Marine officials said.
The plane, which is intended to replace the Corps' 40-year-old fleet of CH-46 helicopters by 2018, can fly like a plane and land like a helicopter, giving the Marines more flexibility in the field, officials said.
The V-22 can carry troops three times as far, twice as fast and has six to seven times more survivability than the CH-46 widely used now in Iraq, the military says.
The Osprey's performance has also been noticed by the Air Force, which has plans to use it as a special operations aircraft.
The aircraft has been redesigned after two fatal accidents in 2000 that killed 23 Marines. Accidents in 1991 and 1992 killed seven other people, but Marines say the plane's problems are in the past.
"It's been through extensive operational testing and evaluation, and it is our fervent feeling that this aircraft is the most capable, survivable aircraft that we carry our most important weapon system in, which is the Marine or rifleman, and that we will successfully introduce this aircraft in combat," said Lt. Gen. John G. Castellaw, deputy commandant for aviation.
Critics say the tilt-rotor design may still be too unsafe for the complexities of flying in combat operations.
The Marine Corps maintains it is a much more controllable aircraft in those situations.
Since 2003, the Marines have lost seven aircraft in combat operations. The Marine Corps says the V-22 can better avoid being shot down because it can fly higher than the missiles that have been targeting helicopters. In addition, people on the ground cannot hear the aircraft approaching, giving insurgents less time to prepare to shoot as it flies at low altitude.
"I flown the V-22, and I have taken it and used it in a tactical manner," Castellaw said. "The ability to maneuver this aircraft is far in excess of what we have with the existing helicopters."
CNN's Mike Mount contributed to this report.
Re: Military Science
Reply #34 on:
April 15, 2007, 10:06:47 AM »
The Pilotless Plane That Only Looks Like Child’s Play
By CHARLES DUHIGG
Published: April 15, 2007
IF you’re the type of shopper who spends billions of dollars on lethal military gadgets, and you’re ever invited to visit General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the small, privately held San Diego company that has quickly become one of the military industry’s most celebrated businesses — take a bit of advice: accept a ride on the corporate jet.
Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., left, president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, prepares for takeoff. He was commander of the Navy station that housed the “Top Gun” school. He even had a bit part in the movie.
The plane isn’t fancy. The cabin is cramped and the seats a little threadbare. (Want a beverage? Open the cooler, help yourself and quit whining about the heat.) Still, such bare-bones accoutrements haven’t stopped a parade of top military officials and politicians from clamoring for their own seats on General Atomics flights.
If you’re lucky, after the jet lands at the company’s airstrip in the high desert east of Los Angeles, you’ll tour one of the room-sized shipping containers clustered near the runway. Inside is a video-game addict’s idea of a cockpit, with joysticks, gauges and high-tech screens sprouting everywhere and a cushy chair that has improbably become one of the sexiest seats in the military. From that perch you can guide an unmanned airplane, known as the Predator, that is potentially thousands of miles away and can hover over suspected enemies for dozens of hours before raining down missiles.
For years, such planes — known as U.A.V.’s, for unmanned aerial vehicles — were pariahs within the military industry, scorned by commanders who saw them as threats to the status quo. But during the last several years, U.A.V.’s have amassed unusual political firepower. “For a long time, the only thing most generals could agree on was that they didn’t want any unmanned vehicles,” says Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Now everyone wants as many as they can get.”
In fact, only a decade ago, crucial Air Force commanders were lobbying to prevent battlefield deployment of U.A.V.’s, according to Congressional staff members. By 2005, however, John P. Jumper, then the Air Force chief of staff, had sufficiently about-faced to tell Congress that “we’re going to tell General Atomics to build every Predator they can possibly build.”
This transformation is, in many ways, a reflection of how the military’s priorities and goals have changed over the last decade. It is also a testament to how much clout General Atomics has amassed in a short period of time.
All of which raises another bit of advice if you’re visiting General Atomics: Don’t be late.
More than one official has learned the hard way that when the pilot of the General Atomics corporate jet says he’s flying back at noon, he means it. And that pilot is likely to be Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., a 34-year Navy veteran, former rear admiral, onetime commander of the station where the “Top Gun” flight school is based and now the president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Mr. Cassidy’s belly may hang a bit over his belt now, but he’s so authentic that when the producers of the film “Top Gun” needed someone for a bit part who oozed power, they cast him.
Which is only fitting, for while General Atomics boasts elaborate technological gizmos and martial splendor, its authority also derives from its political savvy. In the last decade, the company has outgunned some of the nation’s biggest corporate heavyweights in the battle for prized military contracts. Soon, analysts say, Americans may rely on a host of General Atomics military devices, including magnetic cannons that use pulses of electricity to drop ammunition on distant targets, radar systems that can see through even the densest clouds and guns that shoot laser beams.
“Everyone talks about how the world has changed,” Mr. Cassidy says. “We’re building the technology for where it’s going.”
NO single moment marks the ascent of General Atomics. But to understand its rise and what that says about changes in military contracting, it helps to go way back, to a point before a pair of wealthy, intensely private brothers bought it, before General Dynamics spun it off, and before it even existed — to the 1930s and a group of angry German commanders plotting revenge.
After World War I, while France and other Allies were building military defenses modeled on trench warfare, German commanders were shaping a nimble fighting force. Using new technologies — like radio and fast-moving armored vehicles — they created the blitzkrieg, or “lightning war,” a strategy that allowed them to end-run their enemies’ trenches by using panzerdivizions — small, sprightly forces that revolutionized how battles were fought. In 1940, Germany toppled France in 20 days and the panzerdivizion symbolized war’s shift from drawn-out conflicts using massive fortifications to rapid-fire engagements built around manned, motorized armor.
Nearly 70 years later, the Predator and General Atomics reflect the military’s transformation from conflicts built around manned armor to strategies organized around surveillance. U.A.V.’s embody the potential for quick, relatively effortless wars fought by drones controlled from great distances, and thus have become lightning rods for battles over the military’s direction.
Page 2 of 4)
General Atomics, the progenitor of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, started life in 1955 when a major military contractor, General Dynamics, feared that the military hardware market might dry up. It began exploring peacetime uses of atomic energy, but abandoned the effort when cold-war military spending took off. General Atomics eventually passed through the hands of a number of energy companies before landing in the lap of two Denver real estate moguls, Neal and Linden Blue, who bought it in 1986 for about $50 million.
At the time, a big part of the company’s revenue came from contracts focused on fusion experiments. (General Atomics, today a sister company to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, still runs one of the world’s largest fusion programs.) But the Blue brothers wanted to pursue the fascination with airplanes and national security they had carried since they were students at Yale in the 1950s, Neal Blue said in an interview.
While still in college, they persuaded Life magazine to finance a trip around South America on a propeller-driven Tri-Pacer, in exchange for sending back photographs. After graduation, the brothers moved to Nicaragua to found a cocoa and banana plantation with the family of Luis Somoza Debayle, then Nicaragua’s president. (They were “enthusiastic supporters” of the United States-backed fight against Communism in Nicaragua during the 1980s, Mr. Blue said, though, he added, not formally involved.)
After serving in the Air Force, the brothers expanded their business holdings to include petroleum mines in Australia, natural gas wells in Canada, manufacturing concerns in the former East Germany and hundreds of acres of ranches in Arkansas, Colorado and California. Neal Blue, now the chairman of the company, said that both brothers have top-secret clearance with the United States government, but declined to discuss if they have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.
All the while, they remained flying enthusiasts. Linden Blue served as president of Beech Aircraft from 1982 to 1984 and was briefly imprisoned by Fidel Castro after his private plane skirted Cuban airspace a few weeks before the Bay of Pigs incursion.
Soon after the brothers gained control of General Atomics in 1986, they unleashed their passion for advanced aviation by turning the company into a leading pioneer in drone warfare.
Military efforts to develop unmanned planes had existed for decades, but unreliable technology and shifting priorities had killed most of the programs. The Blues, however, were convinced that technological advances in microprocessing and global positioning systems had made it possible to build inexpensive, technologically reliable and ultralight unmanned airplanes that could stay aloft for days. They poured tens of millions of dollars into the project, eventually establishing a separate company, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Neal Blue said.
At the time, the Defense Department was less enthusiastic.
“The military can react to new threats and new enemies very quickly, but there is a very high bar to shifting how forces are deployed, because a mistake can be catastrophic to national security,” said Andrew L. Ross, a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. “Commanders are skeptical about machines that remove soldiers from the field.”
The Predator itself has offered critics some ammunition. One analyst estimates that 20 percent of all Predators sold to the United States military have crashed, because of errors by pilots controlling them from the ground. Another analyst, who has flown the aircraft but asked not to be identified to maintain his relationship with General Atomics, says they offer significantly less maneuverability than manned jets.
Another analyst who has studied the history of U.A.V.’s says the Predator has failed at some crucial tests.
“It has never done everything the military originally wanted it to do,” said Tom P. Ehrhard, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a nonpartisan research organization. “It still fails on flight reliability, flight worthiness, the camera’s accuracy, the ability to fly through clouds. There are a whole series of operational limitations that normally would prevent a device like this from getting military adoption.”
Officials at General Atomics declined to discuss those and other criticisms in detail. An Air Force spokesman said that the number of Predator crashes had declined, and that the plane’s limitations had not prevented its combat use.
Another obstacle to military adoption of U.A.V.’s, say the Blues and others, is a dynamic even older than the panzerdivizion: resistance to innovations that threaten entrenched power structures.
“There is a very strong tendency to reward commanders for figuring out how to win the last war,” says Neal Blue. “The fiefdoms within the Department of Defense were built upon putting more people into airplanes or into the battlefield. Technologies that didn’t include cockpit pilots or moving soldiers were seen as unattractive.”
Page 3 of 4)
For its part, the Air Force disputes that turf wars ever impeded the Predator’s deployment. “It is hard to name any other aircraft that has accomplished so much in so little time, or that has had such an immediate impact on how we conduct combat operations,” it said in a statement. “It was the Air Force that gave birth to the concept that Predator could both find and attack fleeting targets, a concept that has paid huge dividends.”
The Blue brothers bought General Atomics in 1986 for $50 million. Neal Blue is now chairman.
Nonetheless, the Blues’ early attempts to find military supporters of U.A.V.’s during the 1980s and early ’90s met with little success.
“No fighter pilot is ever going to pick up a girl at a bar by saying he flies a U.A.V.,” says Andrew F. Krepinevich, a former Defense Department analyst who is executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “When defense contractors initially talked about U.A.V.’s, they advertised them as replacements for fighter pilots. Fighter pilots don’t want to be replaced.”
BUT, ultimately, fighter pilots don’t run the military. Politicians do. And when Bill Clinton entered the White House in 1993, there was already a sense among some elected officials that the military was stuck in cold-war thinking, according to members of Congress at the time.
Those politicians, however, were increasingly butting heads with Pentagon officials. And the military industry, which collected billions of dollars a year selling expensive jets and submarines, was in no rush to tell customers that they needed smaller, cheaper equipment.
So the politicians used stealth tactics. In 1993, John M. Deutch, a deputy defense secretary under President Clinton, invited Neal Blue to the Pentagon under the pretense of discussing fusion reactors. Mr. Blue said in an interview that when he walked in, he discovered an array of high-ranking officials waiting to hear about the Predator. Mr. Deutch asked how long it would take to deliver a flight-ready aircraft. Six months, Mr. Blue promised.
“We were looking for technologies that were sufficiently path-breaking that they offered justification for changing military doctrine,” Mr. Deutch recalled.
Flashy images helped, too. The live video feeds from cameras attached to Predators were transmitted to commanders and politicians back home.
“There was a lot of work to make sure that G.A.’s product made it to the battlefield before the bureaucracy could stop it,” said Representative Duncan L. Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “We knew that once we sent all those pictures to Washington, D.C., the debate would be over.”
After the Predators’ deployment in the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, the military’s support for them began to grow. Although many analysts were already suggesting that Predators could easily carry weapons — cruise missiles use similar technologies — General Atomics avoided even mentioning such possibilities until clients requested them.
“There was an unspoken deal. It was obvious the technology existed to make the Predator into more than just a surveillance platform,” said Daniel Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a military policy research group in northern Virginia. “But fighter pilots shoot the missiles, and fighter pilots have a lot of power within the Air Force. So G.A. made it clear pilots didn’t have to worry about Predators doing something they hadn’t asked for.”
(In the late 1990s, armed Predators were rolling off the assembly line two months after they were requested by Air Force commanders, according to company executives.)
After taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush gave his defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, a mandate to remake the military into a more technologically advanced organization, and U.A.V.’s became a top priority, say former department officials. The Sept. 11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan heightened the push.
By the time a Predator-launched missile killed a suspected Al Qaeda leader in 2002, even the public was accustomed to hearing about unmanned planes’ successes. Voicing enthusiasm for U.A.V.’s became an easy way for the military brass to show that it had signed on to Mr. Rumsfeld’s program.
“Predators became emblematic of what Rumsfeld wanted,” said Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute. “Suddenly, everyone was saying they were ordering Predators, whether they actually wanted them or not.”
Predators part 2
Reply #35 on:
April 15, 2007, 10:08:19 AM »
That shift has been profitable for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The company, which remains privately held, refuses to disclose its revenue or profits. But it now employs more than 2,400 workers and has sold more than 200 unmanned planes since 1993, according to a spokesman.
In 2005, the Air Force announced that it was ordering enough Predators to equip 15 squadrons over five years, at a price of $5.7 billion. The Department of Homeland Security has bought two Predators for border control, and Italy and Turkey have also bought planes.
A research firm, the Teal Group, predicts that the handful of U.A.V. manufacturers will collect about $55 billion worldwide over the next 10 years. General Atomics is expected to dominate a large portion of that market, said Philip Finnegan, an analyst at Teal.
When Mr. Rumsfeld stepped down last year, one of the mandates that had bolstered the Predator for so long also disappeared.
“Transformation is dead as a political idea,” Mr. Thompson said. “Rumsfeld was discredited by Iraq, and when he left, his priorities left with him.”
That presents a challenge for General Atomics, which is also confronting a flurry of competition. The major military contractors, including Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have all jumped into the U.A.V. game. With billions of dollars at their disposal and deep military relationships, those companies can outspend smaller rivals.
“This is an exploding marketplace, and we intend to claim a larger market share as it grows bigger and bigger,” said Gemma Loochkartt, a spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman. “Being a leader in this sector is important to maintaining leadership within the defense industry.”
So General Atomics is aggressively building on its existing clout. Unlike many other military contractors, which wait for a guaranteed contract to build new products, General Atomics has set aside what some analysts estimate at $50 million to build the next generation of Predators.
“We can move faster because we’re smaller, and we make sure people know that,” says Mr. Blue, who, at 72, still actively guides the company’s strategic direction. General Atomics has upgraded its manufacturing with a diverse range of automated and laser-guided tools that allow it to quickly change design specifications and produce custom-built planes, a flexibility that analysts say is almost unrivaled within the military industry.
Despite a demand for its products that far outpaces supply, the company has kept the Predator relatively cheap — about $19.2 million a plane, according to a study that the Government Accountability Office released last year. “For the military, $19 million is almost an impulse buy,” said John E. Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense research firm in Washington.
YET however much General Atomics competes on price, some of its most dexterous strategies have involved overtly political tactics.
In 2006, a study conducted by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity and other watchdog groups said that General Atomics had spent $660,000, more than any other company, sending Congressional staff members on trips. Company executives said the jaunts allowed staffers to help educate foreign governments about the Predator’s successes, although they acknowledge that they also improved the company’s relationships in Washington.
“Everyone else was doing it, so we did, too,” says Mr. Cassidy at General Atomics. After the study was released, General Atomics decided to sponsor less than $10,000 worth of Congressional trips a year.
General Atomics has also hired scores of former military commanders and has partnered with Lockheed Martin to pursue a $2 billion Navy program, one of its first such joint projects.
Equally important, the company has begun whispering to lawmakers about the importance of diversifying the military marketplace, say lobbyists who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the company. In part to preserve that selling point, General Atomics has spurned acquisition offers from major military contractors, Mr. Blue says.
Analysts say the trends that have kept General Atomics’ fortunes aloft are likely to persist for decades.
“It took 30 years for the world’s militaries to completely absorb and implement the technologies that started with panzerdivizions,” says Mr. Goure, the defense analyst. Although military strategists talk about organizing war-making around information and intelligence, the truth is that it will take decades for that transformation to be complete. In the meantime, leaders are likely to latch onto emblems of transformation — like the Predator — as symbols of progress.
“Once you prove that something works, a flurry of activity starts that builds the infrastructure for more innovations, and fights over who controls the new technologies emerge,” Mr. Goure says. “That’s when things become permanent.”
Such fights have already broken out over Predators. This year, the Air Force told Congress that it, rather than other branches of the military, should control the deployment of unmanned planes. Commanders in other military branches have voiced disagreement.
“The Predator has become a very durable and powerful symbol in a very short time,” says Mr. Thompson, the defense analyst.
That transition is even more impressive, considering what the Predator cannot do.
“It is unclear if this plane will ever meet some of the key suitability tests the Air Force applies to most aircraft,” said Mr. Ehrhard, the military analyst. “But no one seems to care that much.”
WHICH brings us to a final bit of advice for visiting General Atomics: Don’t count on leisurely send-offs. When its corporate jet lands back in San Diego, the company’s president is likely to bound out, make a dash for his BMW — the one with the license plate reading “UAV S”) — and shout out a hasty goodbye.
“I gotta run,” said Mr. Cassidy, the pilot and executive, after a recent flight. “We’ve got planes to sell.”
Re: Military Science
Reply #36 on:
April 20, 2007, 04:26:00 PM »
U.S./SAUDI ARABIA: The United States plans to sell Joint Direct Attack Munition smart bombs to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said while he was in Israel. Israel had expressed its opposition to the sale, citing concerns that the systems could fall into militant hands and undermine Israel's defense strategy.
Re: Military Science
Reply #37 on:
April 25, 2007, 10:49:34 AM »
Ballistic Missile Submarines: The Only Way to Go
Russia and China are both in the process of fielding a new class of ballistic missile submarines. These submarines, longtime prudent investments for states with nuclear weapons, are becoming an essential -- and ultimately, the only -- option for a survivable nuclear deterrent.
For the better part of a decade, four nations have maintained a regularly patrolling strategic deterrent at sea: the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Israel (whose use of nuclear warheads mounted on cruise missiles aboard its three Dolphin-class submarines is an open secret). However, that decade also has seen China and Russia complete nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programs. This is particularly important because diving beneath the ocean's surface is quickly becoming the only way to hide.
At its peak, the Soviet navy operated more than 60 SSBNs. The fleet is now one-quarter that size, and most of the boats are in poor condition. In 2002, the Russian navy did not conduct a single strategic deterrence patrol. The current fleet of aging SSBNs can barely hold the line. Not only is Russia investing in the future of its SSBN program, but it also is essentially starting from scratch.
The Yuri Dolgoruky, the lead boat of Russia's newest Borei-class SSBN, has a troubled past. Laid down in 1996, the Yuri Dolgoruky was neglected and construction was held up because of economic troubles after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The parallel development of the SS-NX-28 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) failed, and the design had to be adjusted during construction to accommodate a different missile, the SS-NX-30 Bulava.
Although the Bulava has had several successful launches, three failures in the fourth quarter of 2006 demonstrated the missile was far from ready. Nevertheless, the Yuri Dolgoruky was launched April 15. (It will spend at least a year being fitted out.) Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Alexei Moskovsky has promised seven more by 2017.
Of course, Moskovsky's statements are nothing if not ambitious. A series of successful Bulava tests will be necessary. But the ultimate success of the Borei class is essential for Russia's ability to maintain its nuclear deterrent. It is perhaps the top defense priority, along with the continued fielding of the land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). And it is something Russia can afford.
In recent years, Russia has politically and economically consolidated and has been fiscally conservative enough to keep a balanced budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies, and a hefty windfall from high energy prices, have turned Russia's $160 billion debt in 2000 into $400 billion in currency reserves and surplus funds. In March, the Kremlin shed its fiscal conservatism with a new budget for 2007-2010 that dramatically increases spending in many sectors, including defense. The budget and economic conditions are reminiscent of the Soviet budgets of the 1970s, during which Moscow launched its last dramatic increase in defense spending.
For the Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN), nuclear-powered submarines have been a challenge. At times, the PLAN was an understudy of a less-than-perfect master: the Russian navy. Though the PLAN has made incremental improvements, its nuclear submarines reportedly have yet to attain modern standards of performance.
The PLAN's older Xia-class SSBN, though able to launch missiles, never made an official deterrence patrol. However, the new Jin-class SSBN (Type 094) reportedly is undergoing sea trials. It spent some five years under construction and sources indicate it was launched in mid-2004. It reportedly is not up to modern SSBN standards, and there are rumors of nuclear propulsion problems. However, the shift to sea trials suggests it will ultimately deploy. The JL-2 SLBM with which it is to be fitted appears to have had several successful trial launches. If the Jin class is deployable, the bulk of the continental United States -- now only vulnerable to a small arsenal of China's longest-range land-based missiles -- would be within reach of the JL-2 SLBM.
Though dozens of funding priorities compete for the money, China's military spending has continued to rise. China has a small nuclear deterrent, so it must ensure that the deterrent it has is mobile and survivable; thus, while Beijing's pocketbook is not bottomless, the SSBN program should continue receiving the funding it needs.
Both the Russian Borei and the Chinese Jin are still at least a year from operational capability, and their sister boats -- still under construction -- will need to be completed in the next few years in order to build to a constantly patrolling rotation. But in five to 10 years, Russia and China both intend to have such a rotation in place.
While the significance of a new SSBN is greater for China, which has yet to field a functioning sea-based deterrent, the decay of Russia's SSBN fleet is such that the Borei marks a new beginning there.
India could be working toward a missile submarine as well, but that development is 10-20 years away. Countries like Pakistan could one day follow the Israeli example -- diesel submarines armed with cruise missiles. Diesel boats lack the endurance of their nuclear-powered brethren, but can run even quieter for short periods. The cruise missiles have a shorter range than SLBMs, but are technically easier to launch and require no major modifications to a standard hull, since they can be launched horizontally like torpedoes.
While none of these developments fundamentally alters the strategic balance of a unipolar world, advances in Russia and China's SSBN programs mark the first time in a decade that nations other than traditional U.S. allies are building sea-based deterrents.
The Increasing Importance of the Sea-based Deterrent
Early in the Cold War, ICBMs were almost prohibitively large and expensive. The submarine was a way to move shorter-range missiles closer to one's adversary. But as missile accuracy improved (the dramatically increasing potential yield of strategic warheads did not hurt, either), the prospect of a successful "first strike" began to alter the role of the SSBN. It became a valuable "first strike" platform because it could move close to an adversary's coast, giving the enemy less time to react to a missile launch.
But its greatest value as the most survivable leg of a nuclear triad is its capacity for a "second," or retaliatory, strike. Much harder to keep track of than platforms in fixed positions, an SSBN lurking at sea is the ultimate wild card. Land-mobile missile systems (as opposed to fixed, silo-based missiles) are another way of accomplishing this, but technological advances will make them increasingly vulnerable.
A joint U.S. program between the defense and intelligence communities is working to test space-based radar. Destined to succeed in one form or another, space-based radar will one day be able to track objects across the face of the Earth -- objects such as land-mobile launch vehicles -- and keep close enough tabs on them that their locations can be effectively targeted by strategic warheads.
In a unipolar world -- in which the United States will have the best intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and weapons of increasing speed and accuracy -- the nuclear weapon is the only true guarantor of national independence. Even a minimal deterrent allows nations to focus on and confront regional disputes, as well as protect their interests abroad. An SSBN fleet is, of course, not absolutely necessary -- whether mounted on a land-based missile or a submarine, a nuclear weapon is a substantial bargaining chip -- but it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide anything from the United States. The U.S. military has a technological edge beneath the waves as well, but even a modestly well-built submarine traveling below 5 knots is hard to track, and it certainly has a better chance than a fixed concrete silo. Consequently, the sea-based leg of a nation's nuclear triad is evolving from a prudent choice for survivability to the most essential element of a meaningful nuclear deterrent.
Re: Military Science
Reply #38 on:
April 27, 2007, 11:27:59 AM »
Missile Defense Mischief
April 27, 2007; Page A16
One of the Bush Administration's quiet successes has been missile defense -- from the negotiated demise of the Cold War ABM Treaty to initial ground-based deployments. But that progress is suddenly in jeopardy from opposition in Russia and Congress, and just when we might really begin to need it against the likes of Iran.
The immediate dispute concerns the U.S. offer to extend missile defenses to Europe. The Czech Republic has expressed interest in providing a site for a tracking radar, while Poland is considering whether to host the interceptors that would destroy incoming missiles.
Linked to upgraded radars in Britain and Greenland and a command-and-control system in Colorado, the Polish and Czech sites could protect Europe from long-range missiles launched from Iran. It would also provide an additional layer of defense for America's East Coast. Tehran is expected to have long-range missiles by 2015 or sooner, and since the world can't seem to muster the resolve to halt its nuclear program, missile defense would seem a logical -- and urgent -- priority.
If only. After Warsaw and Prague announced negotiations with the U.S., some Europeans, notably the French and the Germans, accused the U.S. of acting unilaterally. Moscow has called it "destabilizing," and Democrats in Congress have vowed to kill it. Representative Ellen Tauscher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, is opposing the Pentagon's $310 million request to begin construction next year.
The arguments against the "third site," as the Polish-Czech contribution is known, are updated versions of the anti-Star Wars rhetoric of the Reagan years. Ms. Tauscher claims the missile defense system isn't "fully tested," but the initial system the Bush Administration has fielded in Alaska and California and now wants to extend to Europe isn't the final architecture. The idea is to follow the models provided by the JSTAR military surveillance plane and Predator spy plane. Both were still in the experimental phase when they were called into service in the Gulf War and Afghanistan, respectively. The missile defense system is constantly being tested and upgraded.
Critics also argue that the third site wouldn't protect all of Europe from Iranian missiles because the Southern flank would remain exposed. But the site is designed to defend against missiles with ranges of more than 1,500 kilometers, which means Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria aren't at risk from this specific threat. The Iranian threat against Southern Europe is from medium- and short-range missiles, which require different kinds of defenses, and the U.S. is prepared to work with individual countries as well as NATO to install Patriots or other systems against those missiles.
Moscow's objection is that the third site is somehow intended for use against Russian missiles. This is untrue -- as the Russians well know because U.S. officials have briefed them repeatedly on how the system would operate and have even offered to bring Russia under the missile-defense umbrella, an offer Moscow has so far rejected.
No one believes 10 interceptors based in Poland could deter the thousands of missiles in Russia's arsenal, and it's unclear what game Moscow is playing here. Perhaps it hopes to forestall U.S. missile defenses for Georgia or other former Soviet republics, or maybe it sees an opportunity to drive a wedge between Washington and Warsaw, where the government is already facing heat over Poland's role in Iraq.
Democrats claim that the third site creates "divisions" among our European allies and should therefore be subject to NATO's multilateral seal of approval -- and a consensus process that would mean the kiss of death. But why should bilateral agreements between the U.S. and the sovereign nations of Poland and the Czech Republic be subject to NATO approval any more than U.S. agreements with Denmark and Britain over the radars located in their territories? Or agreements with Germany, the Netherlands or Italy on other kinds of missile defenses? In any case, NATO may acquire theater missile defenses, which could be deployed to protect against medium- and short-range missiles.
Iran's not the only potential missile threat. More than 20 nations, including North Korea and Syria, have ballistic missiles and their proliferation is sure to continue. The third site is part of the Bush Administration's vision of missile defense with a global reach. Since the U.S. withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, nations have been lining up to get under the new missile defense umbrella. The U.S. and its allies are safer for it.
Re: Military Science
Reply #39 on:
April 27, 2007, 04:58:01 PM »
Second post of the day:
By BRUCE BERKOWITZ
April 27, 2007; Page A17
One of the more interesting sections of the war funding bill Congress will soon send President Bush is its provision for "readiness." The bill prohibits spending funds "to deploy any unit of the Armed Forces to Iraq unless the chief of the military department concerned has certified in writing . . . that the unit is fully mission capable."
John Murtha (D., Pa.), chairman of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, is mainly responsible for the clause. Mr. Murtha is a Marine Vietnam combat veteran and he's concerned that U.S. forces don't have all the resources they need to complete their missions.
U.S. Navy Ensign George Gay would have been bemused.
Ensign Gay became famous in World War II as the sole survivor of Torpedo Eight, a squadron flying off of the USS Hornet in the pivotal Battle of Midway. If ever there was a unit of the armed forces that wasn't "mission capable," it was Torpedo Eight.
In June 1942, the Navy's new torpedo bomber, the Grumman TBF Avenger, wasn't ready. So Ensign Gay and the other Americans had to fly old Douglas TBD Devastators, an aircraft that was inadequate for the task of taking on Japanese fighters.
A Devastator's top speed was about 200 mph. The Japanese interceptors -- Zeros -- could do around 350 mph. That's correct, the Japanese pilots had an advantage of about 150 miles per hour.
But Ensign Gay's bigger problem was training. "When we finally got up to the Battle of Midway it was the first time I had ever carried a torpedo on an aircraft," he later told a Navy interviewer, "and was the first time I had ever taken a torpedo off of a ship, had never even seen it done. None of the other ensigns in the squadron had either."
Ensign Gay and the others got the attack plan in "chalk talks" and then rehearsed the attack by walking through the steps on the flight deck.
Not a single TBD flying that day from the Hornet made it back. Ensign Gay was the only one of the 30 men in his squadron who survived the attack and he had to be fished from the sea a day after the battle. The TBDs from the other two American carriers suffered similar losses.
But by drawing the Zeros to themselves, the slow, low-flying Devastators gave U.S. dive bombers a clear shot to strike from above. The dive bombers sank three of the four Japanese carriers, a loss that decided the outcome of a battle that proved to be turning point in the war in the Pacific.
Which gets us back to Mr. Murtha's readiness provision.
Lieutenant Gay (he was promoted) later briefed the events to a Navy interviewer. He described the situation, succinctly, as "a difficult problem."
"We had old planes and we were new," the pilot recalled. "We had a dual job of not only training a squadron of boot Ensigns," he said, "we also had to fight the war at the same time."
In fact, training and fighting became one and the same. Ensign Gay's squadron leader told him and the others to follow him to the target, and then they figured out a way to get through the flack when they got there.
Ensign Gay and the other pilots knew they were ill-equipped and under-trained. But they flew the mission anyway because they also knew that something larger was at stake -- like losing the war if they waited until someone was willing to "certify in writing" that they met official readiness standards.
It's unfortunate, and often tragic, but that's what happens in war, or at least one that you are serious about. And that's the issue. Are we serious about the war? Can anyone imagine Congress in 1942 passing a provision like the one in the current bill? Would they constrain Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower the way they propose to constrain Gen. David H. Petraeus?
Mr. Murtha has good intentions, but he's got it exactly wrong. If U.S. forces lack the equipment or training they need, it's his job, as the chairman of the one subcommittee specifically responsible for originating defense appropriations, to make sure they get it.
If legislators really don't believe we should continue in Iraq, they need to come clean, shut down the war -- and accept the risks, and take responsibility for the consequences. Otherwise, they need to provide U.S. forces the means to carry out their missions.
Mr. Berkowitz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Re: Military Science
Reply #40 on:
April 29, 2007, 08:52:45 AM »
Top general: U.S. needs a bigger Army faster
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (AP) -- The Army's new chief of staff said he wants to accelerate by two years a plan to increase the nation's active-duty soldiers by 65,000.
The Army has set 2012 as its target date for a force expansion to 547,000 troops, but Gen. George Casey said he told his staff to have the soldiers ready earlier.
"I said that's too long. Go back and tell me what it would take to get it done faster," he said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press during a stop in Hawaii.
Casey became the Army chief of staff April 12 after serving as the top U.S. commander in Iraq for more than two years. He visited Hawaii for a few days in a Pacific region tour to talk with soldiers and their families. He next heads to Japan, South Korea and Alaska.
Casey said his staff has submitted a proposal for the accelerated timeline but that he has yet to approve the plan. He said the Army was stretched and would remain that way until the additional troops were trained and equipped.
Casey told a group of soldiers' spouses that one of his tasks is to try to limit the impact of the strain on soldiers and their families.
"We live in a difficult period for the Army because the demand for our forces exceeds the supply," he said.
A woman in the group asked Casey if her husband's deployments would stop getting longer. She said they used to last for six months in the 1990s but then started lasting nine months and 12 months. Two weeks ago, she heard the Army's announcement that deployments would be extended as long as 15 months.
"Do you honestly foresee this spiral, in effect, stopping?" she asked.
Casey said the Army wants to keep deployments to 15 months, but "I cannot look at you in the eye and guarantee that it would not go beyond."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January said he was recommending to the president that the Army boost its active-duty soldiers by 65,000 to 547,000. Casey said about 35,000 of those additional soldiers are already in place.
Gates also recommended that the Marine Corps increase its active-duty force by 27,000 to 202,000.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Re: Military Science
Reply #41 on:
May 02, 2007, 10:30:13 AM »
Armored Vehicles for Iraq Delayed
Associated Press | April 30, 2007
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - The armored carrier has a grim black slash across its side, burn marks on the door and a web of cracks along the window.
Like most of the Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Anbar province, this one has been hit as many as three times by enemy fire and bomb blasts. Yet, to date, no American troops have died while riding in one.
But efforts to buy thousands more carriers - each costing about $1 million - could be delayed if the White House and Congress do not resolve their deadlock over a $124.2 billion war spending bill.
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About $3 billion for the vehicles is tied up in the legislation. The spending plan has stalled because of a dispute over provisions that would set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
At a hearing last month, lawmakers urged the Army to get more of the carriers to the battlefront as quickly as possible. The vehicles, with their unique V-shaped hull that deflects blasts outward and away from passengers, are considered lifesavers against the No. 1 killer in Iraq - roadside bombs.
Military leaders say the carriers have reduced roadside bomb casualties in Iraq by as much as two-thirds. But they are not effective against the enemy's latest weapon - explosively formed penetrators, which hurl a fist-sized lump of molten copper capable of piercing armored vehicles.
Right now, there are at least 1,100 of the armored carriers on the battlefront in Iraq, including the 100 or so that rumble through Anbar province carrying troops and clearing roads of explosives.
The Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations forces want thousands more. The goal is more than 7,700, at a cost of about $8.4 billion.
The Army wants 2,500, at a cost of about $2.7 billion. The Marines are planning to buy 3,700 and would send about 3,000 to Iraq. There will be 525 in the country by the end of the year, said Brig. Gen. Mark Gurganus, ground combat commander for U.S. forces in western Iraq.
As the Pentagon scrapes to find the money to run the war in the midst of the budget impasse, the Pentagon says there is not enough cash to buy as many as commanders say they need.
"We can build what we can get the funds to build. It's strictly an issue of money," Gen. Peter Schoomaker, former Army chief of staff, told a Senate committee last month.
At the time, he said the Army had an unfunded requirement of about $2 billion. Lawmakers added some additional money to the bill, so that number would now be about $1.5 billion.
He said the Army believes "that not only do we need the MRAP immediately to give us better protection, but that we need to stay on a path to get an even better vehicle than the MRAP for the long haul, because the enemy is going to continue to adapt."
Senators pressed for more. "We're buying far too few of them," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. "If we have that capability, why would we not do everything to mobilize, to move as many of them into the field as is possible?
In January, the military approved contracts to buy 4,100 of the armored carriers, using nine different companies to fill the order. Although the Pentagon is shifting money around to cover war costs until the spending bill is signed, the Army said dollars already approved and in the pipeline for the vehicles will not be affected.
Additional orders cannot be placed until the disagreement over the war spending legislation is settled. That bill would give the Army ($1.2 billion), the Marines ($1.25 billion), the Navy ($154 million), the Air Force ($139 million) and special operations forces ($259 million) money to buy their own versions of the carriers, according to Bill Johnson-Miles, spokesman for the Marine Corps Systems Command.
The Defense Department has requested about $4.4 billion in the 2008 budget to buy more of the vehicles.
Out on the dusty roads in Anbar province, Marines say the carriers have proved their worth.
This month, Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Kessler said, Marines were riding in one and took a hit from a small roadside bomb. The blast blew a tire, and it took them more than 90 minutes to limp back to base, but no one was hurt. Days earlier, a carrier with six Marines was hit by two blasts; two Marines had broken bones, but they all survived.
"It's an extremely survivable vehicle. I guarantee it saves lives," said Kessler. Pointing to the scars on the side of the MRAP, he added that had they been riding in a Humvee or something else, "they would all be dead."
Senator challenges M4
Reply #42 on:
May 05, 2007, 06:40:56 AM »
Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4
Military.com | By Christian Lowe | April 30, 2007
The debate over the Army's choice to purchase hundreds of thousands of M4 carbines for its new brigade combat teams is facing stiff opposition from a small group of senators who say the rifle may be inferior to others already in the field.
In an April 12 letter to acting Army Secretary Pete Geren, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said purchase of the M4 - a shortened version of the Vietnam-era M16 - was based on requirements from the early 1990s and that better, more reliable weapons exist that could give Army troops a more effective weapon.
Coburn asked the Army to hold a "free and open competition" before inking sole-source contracts worth about $375 million to M4 manufacturer, West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Defense - which just received a $50 million Army contract for M4s on April 20.
"I am concerned with the Army's plans to procure nearly half a million new rifles outside of any competitive process," Coburn wrote in the mid-April letter obtained by Military.com.
A Geren spokesman said the secretary's office is putting together a reply to Coburn's letter, but provided no further details.
Take Action: Tell your public officials how you feel about this issue.
Coburn has banded together with a small group of like-minded senators to push the Army into a competition to determine whether the M4 is the best choice to equip newly-forming brigade combat teams, a top Coburn aide said.
The senator's concerns grew out of media coverage that showed the M4's design fails in critical situations and that special operations forces prefer other designs.
"Considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon," Coburn wrote. "A number of manufacturers have researched, tested and fielded weapons which, by all accounts, appear to provide significantly improved reliability."
Related Article: Army Won't Field Rifle Deemed Superior to M4
Special operations forces, including "tier one" units such as the Army's Delta Force and the Navy's SEAL Development Group - or SEAL Team Six - have used their own funds to purchase the Heckler & Koch-built 416, which uses a gas-piston operating system less susceptible to failure than Colt's gas-operated design.
"That's significant, because these guys don't screw around," the aide said.
In fact, Colt included four different weapons in the competition to build the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, none of which used the M4s gas system, the aide said.
In a routine acquisition notice March 23, a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines. The M4 fires using a system that redirects gas from the expended round to eject it and reload another. The 416 and SCAR use a gas-operated piston that physically pushes the bolt back to eject the round and load another.
Carbon buildup from the M4's gas system has plagued the rifle for years, resulting in some close calls with Soldiers in combat whose rifles jammed at critical moments.
According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent."
Yet the Army has still declined to buy anything other than the M4 for its regular troops, requesting about $100 million in the 2007 wartime supplemental to buy M4s for its Soldiers.
The office in charge of equipping Soldiers said in a March 30 statement the service has no plans to purchase the HK416.
"I am certain we can all agree that America's Soldiers should have the best technology in their hands," Coburn wrote. "And there is simply no excuse for not providing our soldiers the best weapon - not just a weapon that is 'good enough.' "
The Army has not yet responded to Coburn's letter, but his aide said if the senator doesn't receive a response to the letter by Monday, Coburn plans to call Geren personally to address the issue.
"Our feeling is once people see the facts on the face of it they're going to say that this is ridiculous and demand that the Army does it right and competes the contract," the aide said.
Re: Military Science
Reply #43 on:
May 17, 2007, 08:52:06 PM »
North Korea: A New Missile and Regional Politics
North Korea has tested in Iran a new intermediate-range missile dubbed the Musudan-1, according to Japanese and South Korean media reports. The news follows word that North Korea displayed the new missile in an April 25 parade, though reportedly only satellite photos of the missile exist. The attention being paid to the Musudan is not really about the changes in North Korean capability, though the missile could represent a substantive improvement over the Scud-based Nodong and Taepodong systems. The focus on the missile is more about the politics surrounding the six-party nuclear talks, South Korean presidential elections, and Japan's constitutional and defense evolution.
North Korea and Iran are celebrating a so-called week of friendship with social and cultural exchanges in each country following a visit by North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun to Tehran. During Kim's visit, the two countries called for closer ties, though Iranian officials suggested obstacles to closer cooperation remain, including outstanding North Korean debt to Iran. But as the two remaining "Axis of Evil" member states discuss closer ties, South Korean and Japanese media have reported that North Korea recently tested its newest intermediate-range ballistic missile in Iran.
The missile, dubbed "Musudan-1" by overseas observers, is based on the Soviet-era SS-N-6, a submarine-launched ballistic missile. It reportedly was displayed during North Korea's April 25 military parade. Photos and video of at least three mobile missile systems shown off during the parade were later published, including the AG-1 anti-ship missile (a knockoff of the Silkworm and Seersucker missiles), the Hwasong (a Scud missile derivative) and the KN-02 (North Korea's latest short-range ballistic missile, a prime candidate for the export market, based on the SS-21 Scarab). While most reports suggested four missiles were shown, no images of the fourth were released.
Three days after the parade, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo reported that U.S. satellite imagery revealed the fourth missile was a new intermediate-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,500 to 4,000 kilometers (1,500 to 2,500 miles) that in subsequent reports would be identified as the "Musudan-1." The missile is shorter and wider than the Scud-based designs, as it traces its lineage to early Russian submarine-launched missiles. As such, it is a more stable missile. Coupled with a dual-chamber control engine, rather than steering vanes, this makes the missile substantially more maneuverable -- and accurate -- than current North Korean missiles like the Hwasong, Nodong and Taepodong, all of which are based on Scud technology. Pyongyang has stretched the Scud-based systems to their extreme limits. To their credit, North Korean engineers very nearly put a satellite into orbit based on Scud technology in 1998 -- no small achievement. But the failure of the Taepodong-2 in 2006 (whatever the actual cause) is symptomatic of a generation of engineering pushed too far.
(click to enlarge)
The SS-21 Scarab and SS-N-6 Serb essentially represent a badly needed influx of fresh blood into the North Korean missile program. With the display of North Korean versions of both the KN-02 and Musudan-1 at the April parade, new life has been injected into Pyongyang's missile program. The KN-02 marks a production-level solid-fuel missile system, which can serve as a basis for North Korean understanding of solid propellant. It is worth remembering that the SS-21 remains the mainstay of Russian short-range ballistic missile regiments to this day (though they are slowly being upgraded to the SS-26), and the Russian guidance package is reportedly capable of 95 meters Circle of Equal Probability (a measure of accuracy) -- a huge step up for Pyongyang.
The SS-N-6 is even more significant. Aside from a much more compact design, the dual-chamber control engine is a big advance from the steering vanes of Scud missiles. What will be especially interesting is watching North Korean engineers stretch what was necessarily a compact Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missile as they did the Scud. Without the space constraints placed on Soviet designers (e.g., the missile tubes on Soviet submarines), the Musudan-1 can be expanded; it reportedly has already gotten 10 feet longer. Combined with parallel improvements in gyroscopic guidance, the Musudan-1 promises a generational leap for Pyongyang.
North Korea's work on the SS-N-6 variant has been known for quite a while, and there is little surprise that Pyongyang finally decided to roll out the missile for display. As early as 2000 there were reports Pyongyang had completed improvements on the SS-N-6. By 2003 there were expectations North Korea would display the missile during military parades that year, though this did not come to pass. The missile, called the Nodong-B or the Mirim (after an airbase near which it was spotted in 2003), is now apparently called the Musudan-1, though North Korea's own designation is unknown. There were initial suspicions that Pyongyang even tested one of the Musudan (or Mirim) missiles in July 2006.
Despite its substantially enhanced capability versus the existing Scud-based systems, the missile does not represent a major shift in the balance of regional power. Pyongyang has had the Musudan since at least 2000, and deployed it in 2003.
Somewhat more interesting is the potential that North Korea tested the new system in Iran, though even this is not entirely unusual. North Korea has long worked with Iran, Pakistan and others (including Yemen and Saudi Arabia), either exporting missiles to these countries or jointly developing missile systems. North Korean technicians work with the local technicians on the ballistic missiles, and learn from the more frequent test launches in Pakistan and Iran. (Pyongyang is very sparing with its test launches at home, both to mask its real capabilities and because any such launches inevitably pass over or near one of its neighbors, causing additional complications for the government.)
If the Musudan was tested in Iran, perhaps during a series of missile tests earlier this year, it could indicate either a sales demonstration by Pyongyang or the testing of a system already sold to Tehran. The first is more likely, as there are no other signs that Pyongyang has successfully tested the Musudan to date. Either way, it would appear the new missile is intended not only to enhance the domestic security of North Korea, but also to create additional sources of cash -- which fits with previous North Korean missile sales and the renting out of its technicians, with all the implications of proliferation that brings.
Beyond the technical considerations, reports of the new missile and its potential test in Iran reveal political battles in South Korea and Japan as much as they do any military improvements in North Korea or Iran. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo, a conservative paper, has been the first to reveal new North Korean missile developments; South Korean defense officials leak this information to the paper to shape perception and debate over North Korean issues.
In South Korea, there are widely differing views on the best way to deal with North Korea, and the current government's policy of "peace and prosperity" is not universally accepted. By revealing "new" threats from the North, even as Pyongyang and Seoul engage in dialogue, various South Korean factions can show that the government's programs are ineffective or need to at least be tempered and paired with a stronger focus on South Korean security. With presidential elections fast approaching, and outgoing President Roh Moo Hyun accelerating inter-Korean cooperation to solidify his policies and legacy, there is an equal push by the more conservative or cautious elements in the government and military to restrain Roh's initiatives and tread more carefully when dealing with Pyongyang.
Outside of South Korea, the Japanese press and government officials are playing up the Musudan missile issue the most. Tokyo is seeking support for changes to the Japanese Constitution and in Japan's defense posture and relations with other countries (particularly the United States). Tokyo is strongly backing the joint development of new anti-missile technology with the United States, but remains legally constrained in this matter due to regulations regarding the transfer of military technology.
By highlighting the "new" North Korean missile threat, Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma has suggested that Tokyo's current missile-defense plans -- using a combination of the sea-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile system -- are insufficient to deal with a longer-range North Korean system like the Musudan. The argument is that Japan needs to modify its defense rules to allow the development of a more robust and longer-range system to supplement the SM-3 and PAC-3 duo. (Ideal supplements could include the U.S. Theater High Altitude Air Defense system and the Airborne Laser).
Raising the specter of a significantly improved North Korean offensive capability also assists Tokyo in its broader moves to rewrite the Japanese Constitution to remove restrictions on collective self-defense, a standing military and missile defense. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has gained points in the polls for talking a stronger stance on North Korea, and will continue to build up the political capital for general elections later this year and for the constitutional change battle. And Washington is helping the process along by supplying the satellite images necessary to highlight North Korea's continued military developments.
Re: Military Science
Reply #44 on:
May 29, 2007, 06:55:31 PM »
I posted this in the Libertarian thread as well:
Of course I hungry bird could mess up the best laid plans....
Scientist: Military Working on Cyborg Spy Moths
Tuesday , May 29, 2007
By Jonathan Richards
At some point in the not-too-distant future, a moth may take flight in the hills of northern Pakistan, and flap towards a suspected terrorist training camp.
But this will be no ordinary moth.
Inside it will be a computer chip that was implanted when the creature was still a pupa, in the cocoon, meaning that the moth's entire nervous system can be controlled remotely.
The moth will thus be capable of landing in the camp without arousing suspicion, all the while beaming video and other information back to its masters via what its developers refer to as a "reliable tissue-machine interface."
The creation of insects whose flesh grows around computer parts — known from science fiction as cyborgs — has been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Rod Brooks, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is involved with the research, said in a speech last week at the University of Southampton in England that robotics was increasingly at the forefront of U.S. military research.
Brooks said that the remote-controlled moths, described by DARPA as just part of its overall research into microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, were one of a number of technologies soon to be deployed in combat zones.
"This is going to happen," said Brooks. "It's not science like developing the nuclear bomb, which costs billions of dollars. It can be done relatively cheaply."
"Moths are creatures that need little food and can fly all kinds of places," he continued. "A bunch of experiments have been done over the past couple of years where simple animals, such as rats and cockroaches, have been operated on and driven by joysticks, but this is the first time where the chip has been injected in the pupa stage and 'grown' inside it."
"Once the moth hatches," Brooks said, "machine learning is used to control it."
Brooks has worked on robotic technology for more than 30 years and is a founder of iRobot, the MIT-derived manufacturer of both Roomba robot floor cleaners and PackBots, military robots used by the Pentagon to defuse explosive devices laid by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brooks said that the military would be increasingly reliant on "semi-autonomous" devices, including ones which could fire.
"The DoD has said it wants one-third of all missions to be unmanned by 2015, and there's no doubt their things will become weaponized, so the question comes: Should they be given targeting authority?"
"The prevailing view in the army at the moment seems to be that they shouldn't," he said, "but perhaps it's time to consider updating treaties like the Geneva Convention to include clauses which regulate their use."
Debates such as those over stem-cell research would "pale in comparison" to the increasingly blurred distinction between creatures — including humans — and machines, Brooks told the Southampton audience.
"Biological engineering is coming," Brooks said. "There are already more than 100,000 people with cochlear implants, which have a direct neural connection, and chips are being inserted in people's retinas to combat macular degeneration. By the 2012 Olympics, we're going to be dealing with systems which can aid the oxygen uptake of athletes."
"There's going to be more and more technology in our bodies, and to stomp on all this technology and try to prevent it happening is just ... well, there's going to be a lot of moral debates," he said.
Another iRobot project being developed as part of the U.S. military's "Future Combat Systems" program, Brooks said, was a small, unmanned vehicle known as a SUGV (pronounced "sug-vee"), basically the next generation of the PackBot, one which could be dispatched in front of troops to gauge the threat in an urban environment.
The 30-pound device, which can survive a drop of 30 feet onto concrete, has a small "head" with infra-red and regular cameras which send information back to a command unit, as well as an audio-sensing feature called "Red Owl" which can determine the direction from which enemy fire originates.
"It's designed to be the troop's eyes and ears and, unlike one of its predecessors, this one can swim, too," Mr Brooks said.
Re: Military Science
Reply #45 on:
June 18, 2007, 09:29:19 PM »
U.S.: The Real Reason Behind Ballistic Missile Defense
June 18, 2007 14 45 GMT
The U.S. ballistic missile defense system slated for Poland and the Czech Republic has been continually touted as intended to counter long-range Iranian missiles -- which is true -- but it is also entirely consistent with long-term U.S. strategy.
Washington has spent the last six months trying to convince the world that the expansion of the nascent U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) system into Europe poses no threat to Russia's strategic deterrent, but rather is only intended to counter Iran and other Middle Eastern threats. The U.S. claims are accurate -- for now.
In 1998, the world was stunned when North Korea launched a Taepodong-1 that very nearly put its payload into orbit. Through force of willpower, persistence and innovation, North Korean engineers effectively built an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with little more than Scud missile technology (which essentially is little more than World War II-era German V-2 technology). That launch provided a signpost for the future of strategic security since, if North Korea could do it in 1998, almost any nation in the world might be in a position to threaten the continental United States in the next 50 years.
Washington has now placed a rudimentary ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system in Alaska to counter the North Korean threat. The same system is slated for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter a similar threat from Iran in the near future.
Such a BMD system accomplishes three things:
1. It protects the United States from a small-scale rogue missile launch from very specific regions of the world.
2. It undermines the use of a yet-to-exist Iranian or North Korean ICBM as a negotiating tool.
3. It deters the development of such systems (which represent a huge national investment for countries like Iran and North Korea).
While the U.S. plan is all well and good, is it worth the price? There is certainly an economic argument in favor of BMD. If the system stopped a nuclear missile from striking a large U.S. city, then the costs of development (already at some $110 billion since former President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative) would pale in comparison to post-nuclear-strike reconstruction costs.
But building a crude nuclear device is difficult enough. The specialized materials and technical skill required to miniaturize a weapon and harden it against the strain of launch, the cold of space and the heat of re-entry is prohibitive for all but a handful of nations. If BMD is to be understood as a defense against nuclear terrorism, then there are far more likely scenarios to be considered, and the massive investment would be better spent elsewhere -- such as on port security, where a much more rudimentary device could be slipped into the United States.
The true utility of BMD is measured by its congruence with the five imperatives that have dominated U.S. strategy for the better part of two centuries:
1. maintaining control over North America
2. securing strategic depth for the continental United States
3. controlling sea approaches to North America
4. dominating the oceans
5. keeping Eurasia divided
BMD is not just consistent with one of these themes; it is the logical outgrowth of three of them, and has contributed incidentally to a fourth (e.g., rivalries within Eurasia). At the end of the 19th century, Rear Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan advocated the foundational importance to U.S. geopolitical security of a strong Navy. Now as in Mahan's time, the U.S. Navy provides North America the buffer that has been the foundation of U.S. geopolitical security and stability since the mid-1900s. BMD will help secure the same strategic depth for the continental U.S. and extend control of the sea approaches and dominance of the ocean into space.
So while Iran tries to cobble together a few more centrifuges and Russia rattles its saber, Washington is extending its technological military dominance across and above the same oceans that have protected it for the better part of two centuries -- and building the foundations for a far more capable BMD system. Follow-on technology will dramatically improve what is now a barely-functional system. It can become more robust, flexible and mobile. Specific land-based sites will eventually become more or less irrelevant.
The current debate therefore is extremely shortsighted. In the long term, BMD is about one thing: space. Poland and the Czech Republic are about to be equipped with the rudimentary technological precursor to a series of systems that are truly the technological beginnings of the full-fledged national missile defense shield Reagan once envisioned. These incremental steps -- of which nascent BMD systems extending across both the Atlantic and Pacific are only an early instance -- will attempt to solidify for the U.S. military the same dominance of space that it now enjoys on the planet's blue water, and in so doing extend Mahan's vision of North American continental security from the steam-powered warship to the anti-satellite weapon.
And therein lies the true leap. BMD is not just about missiles; it is about the technology and sensors necessary to dominate space. The U.S. Air Force already has a claim to that dominance of space. But it is currently a fragile dominance -- perhaps less fragile than open sources would suggest, but far more fragile than most realize. Space-based assets are a keystone of the Pentagon's technological superiority. The United States has been so successful in this realm, in fact, that it is becoming a cornerstone of U.S. economic prosperity. This dependence creates a potentially significant vulnerability, however, meaning the ability to counter an anti-satellite weapon launched via missile is of direct relevance to the next generation of BMD technology.
BMD is also about the capability to deny the utility of space to adversaries (in accordance with the official 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations doctrine). The difference between intercepting a ballistic missile warhead 500 miles above the earth and hitting a satellite at the same altitude is simple: It is harder to hit the ballistic missile warhead.
Thus, the debate about placing a BMD radar in the Czech Republic, and the distinction between Poland and Azerbaijan, is immaterial in the long run. The United States is pushing ahead with the technological development and operational deployment necessary to build the knowledge base and technical capacity to take these next steps toward not only defending itself in space, but also fighting there
Re: Military Science
Reply #46 on:
July 06, 2007, 06:39:40 AM »
Interesting piece on the use of aerial gunships in Iraq.
Re: Military Science
Reply #47 on:
July 23, 2007, 07:34:16 AM »
China's Space Weapons
By ASHLEY J. TELLIS
July 23, 2007; Page A15
On Jan. 11, 2007, a Chinese medium-range ballistic missile slammed into an aging weather satellite in space. The resulting collision not only marked Beijing's first successful anti-satellite (ASAT) test but, in the eyes of many, also a head-on collision with the Bush administration's space policies.
As one analyst phrased it, U.S. policy has compelled China's leaders to conclude "that only a display of Beijing's power to launch . . . an arms race would bring Washington to the table to hear their concerns." This view, which is widespread in the U.S. and elsewhere, misses the point: China's ASAT demonstration was not a protest against the Bush administration, but rather part of a maturing strategy designed to counter the overall military superiority of the U.S.
Since the end of the Cold War, Chinese strategists have been cognizant of the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the world with the capacity -- and possibly the intention -- to thwart China's rise to great power status. They also recognize that Beijing will be weak militarily for some time to come, yet must be prepared for a possible war with America over Taiwan or, in the longer term, over what Aaron Friedberg once called "the struggle for mastery in Asia." How the weaker can defeat the stronger, therefore, becomes the central problem facing China's military strategy.
Chinese strategists have struggled to find ways of solving this conundrum ever since the dramatic demonstration of American prowess in Operation Desert Storm. And after carefully analyzing U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo and Afghanistan, they believe they have uncovered a significant weakness.
The advanced military might of the U.S. is inordinately dependent on a complex network of space-based command, control, communications, and computer-driven intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that enables American forces to detect different kinds of targets and exchange militarily relevant information. This network is key to the success of American combat operations. These assets, however, are soft and defenseless; while they bestow on the American military definite asymmetric advantages, they are also the source of deep vulnerability. Consequently, Chinese strategists concluded that any effort to defeat the U.S. should aim not at its fundamental strength -- its capacity to deliver overwhelming conventional firepower precisely from long distances -- but rather at its Achilles' heel, namely, its satellites and their related ground installations.
Consistent with this calculus, China has pursued, for over a decade now, a variety of space warfare programs, which include direct attack and directed-energy weapons, electronic attack, and computer-network and ground-attack systems. These efforts are aimed at giving China the capacity to attack U.S. space systems comprehensively because, in Chinese calculations, this represents the best way of "leveling the playing field" in the event of a future conflict.
The importance of space denial for China's operational success implies that its counterspace investments, far from being bargaining chips aimed at creating a peaceful space regime, in fact represent its best hope for prevailing against superior American military power. Because having this capacity is critical to Chinese security, Beijing will not entertain any arms-control regime that requires it to trade away its space-denial capabilities. This would only further accentuate the military advantages of its competitors. For China to do otherwise would be to condemn its armed forces to inevitable defeat in any encounter with American power.
This is why arms-control advocates are wrong even when they are right. Any "weaponization" of space will indeed be costly and especially dangerous to the U.S., which relies heavily on space for military superiority, economic growth and strategic stability. Space arms-control advocates are correct when they emphasize that advanced powers stand to gain disproportionately from any global regime that protects their space assets. Yet they are wrong when they insist that such a regime is attainable and, therefore, ought to be pursued.
Weaker but significant challengers, like China, simply cannot permit the creation of such a space sanctuary because of its deleterious consequences for their particular interests. Consequently, even though a treaty protecting space assets would be beneficial to Washington, its specific costs to Beijing -- in the context of executing China's national military strategy -- would be remarkably high.
Beijing's attitude toward space arms control will change only given a few particular developments. China might acquire the capacity to defeat the U.S. despite America's privileged access to space. Or China's investments in counterspace technology might begin to yield diminishing returns because the U.S. consistently nullifies these capabilities through superior technology and operational practices. Or China's own dependence on space for strategic and economic reasons might intensify to the point where the threat posed by any American offensive counterspace programs exceed the benefits accruing to Beijing's own comparable efforts. Or the risk of conflict between a weaker China and any other superior military power, such as the U.S., disappears entirely.
Since these conditions will not be realized anytime soon, Washington should certainly discuss space security with Beijing, but, for now, it should not expect that negotiation will yield any successful agreements. Instead, the U.S. should accelerate investments in solutions that enhance the security of its space assets, in addition to developing its own offensive counterspace capabilities. These avenues -- as the Bush administration has correctly recognized -- offer the promise of protecting American interests in space and averting more serious threats to its global primacy.
Mr. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Re: Military Science
Reply #48 on:
August 03, 2007, 09:36:23 AM »
On His Armor
A refugee to our shores finds a way to protect our soldiers.
BY BRENDAN MINITER
Friday, August 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
It's not every day that you get to take a heavy armor panel into the family backyard and blast away at it with a shotgun. But on this occasion, I was doing my brother-in-law David Warren a favor. We were testing a new kind of armor he developed that he hoped would protect American soldiers. That day three years ago was among the first of many tests--bringing him from a workshop in his garage to the Pentagon and eventually to the front lines in Iraq.
Something of an American success story, David arrived in this country in 1975, an 8-year-old refugee from Vietnam. His father, a U.S. soldier, disappeared and was likely killed in action during the war. His mother couldn't manage to fend for her family when the communists took control of the country; so David lived on the streets in Saigon for a while before, thanks to a little divine intervention, he ended up on a flight that eventually took him to New York. He was adopted by an American family and grew up on a farm in the Hudson Valley. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Marines. And during his four-year stint, he served very briefly in the Persian Gulf just before the liberation of Kuwait.
David always liked to tinker. He used to make a good living at a security company that designed surveillance systems, and he held nearly a half-dozen patents. But none for armor.
After reading a story I had published on this Web site and a later one in The Wall Street Journal about U.S. soldiers in Iraq not receiving all the armor they needed to shield themselves from insurgent attacks, he changed course. Why, he asked me, was the U.S. military unable to move armor to the front lines fast enough? I explained that it wasn't just the bureaucratic snafus in Washington that held up the armor plating. It was also the manufacturing bottlenecks that made it difficult to quickly fabricate and ship hardened steel and other materials used for armor.
And so David decided to design a new kind of armor that would be lighter than steel and easier to produce. Part of him, he tells me, was drawn to the difficulty of it. "You challenged me to stop a bullet," he'd say on several occasions over the next few years.
But there was another reason as well. As a refugee and a former Marine, he empathized with both the American soldiers and the Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire. He saw the fight in Iraq as more than toppling a dictator. He saw it as a return of the U.S. to the kind of war that it had abandoned in Southeast Asia. And this was his opportunity to turn his talents to the aid of a country that had taken him in.
"It all really leads up to this," he told me. So David took a steep cut in pay and pulled away from his security business--though the company kept him on the payroll to support his venture. He played around with several different types of metals and other substances. He found a financial backer and a plastics manufacturer, Wayne Schaeffer, who helped him work on the armor designs. And, within a few months, I found myself in David's backyard about to test his home-made product.
To my amazement, and maybe David's too, the panel withstood the shotgun blast. It also withstood a shot from a high-powered rifle. Seeing his armor's success, David sold the rights to one of his patents to raise more funds. Eventually, he got to show his armor to the folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), who put it through several rounds of tests, including a few bomb explosions. After David made more improvements, he was contacted by some soldiers in Iraq who had heard about his armor and wanted to put it on their vehicles.
Late last year, David went to Baghdad. He spent several days with soldiers to see, firsthand, what they needed. In the coming months he expects to send large panels of his armor to Iraq, where they will be bolted onto military vehicles. If all goes according to plan, he'll get orders for more panels, which he and his partners will build in a factory they're setting up in Kingston, N.Y.
During the course of the past three years, as David worked his way through several prototypes, he received plenty of help. Nearly every manufacturer he approached--about a dozen--has donated time or materials; sometimes they moved him to the top of their order lists. Each, it seems, feels he owes it to the men and women fighting to protect our way of life. But maybe David feels it a little more.
Mr. Miniter is assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com.
Re: Military Science
Reply #49 on:
August 08, 2007, 12:25:27 AM »
China: The Deceptive Logic for a Carrier Fleet
The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy continues to push for aircraft carrier capability, despite ongoing internal debate and dissent. While a carrier is a valuable naval asset, China's pursuit must be understood as an expensive choice that entails considerable opportunity costs.
China appears committed to deploying the Soviet-built Varyag aircraft carrier in at least a training role around or after 2010, with the potential for further pursuits, despite contradictory claims in recent weeks. The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will have to sacrifice much to continue this costly endeavor.
The Chinese Logic
A carrier fleet substantially expands a country's naval capability, so it is easy to understand China's ambition. The British, for example, would never have been able to take back the Falkland Islands in 1982 without the HMS Invincible and the HMS Hermes. Furthermore, the Chinese have carefully noted the decisive role the U.S. Navy's carrier fleet has played in Washington's global naval dominance.
For the Chinese, a carrier fleet means several things. It is a mark of status as a great power, a massive and ambitious national undertaking, a way to alter the current dynamics of air power in the region, a tool to project force beyond the East and South China seas and a means of expanding China's ability to protect ever-expanding import and export routes.
There is logic to China's view of carrier capability as a mark of great power, and the British operation to retake the Falklands is a perfect example: To have global influence, you must have global reach, which becomes a tool of foreign policy and affects the perception of a nation's naval power. China is quite aware that it is the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to never deploy an operational carrier.
China also is the nation that built the Great Wall. More recently, China built the Three Gorges Dam to supply a full 10 percent of domestic electricity supply and now has plans to land on the moon. The Chinese have a certain penchant for massively ambitious projects, and the construction of a carrier fleet certainly falls into that category. But such plans have often been pursued with a consequences-be-damned determination -- one that accepts enormous inefficiencies and the commitment of huge resources also needed elsewhere. The opportunity costs of this particular attempt at a great leap forward cannot be underestimated.
A desire for international recognition as a great power and a tendency to bite off more than one can chew hardly make for a prudent investment, and as much as 50 percent of China's motivation to develop a carrier capability could fall into one of these categories.
From a more strategic perspective, the Chinese are aware of their great vulnerability due to exposed import and export routes. With exports that reach nearly every corner of the globe and an already heavy reliance on Africa for energy resources (and ongoing pursuits of Latin American energy resources), China has the global vulnerabilities of an empire but not the naval ability to protect them. This is the core geopolitical weakness Beijing hopes a carrier fleet might solve. As Beijing becomes increasingly reliant on other countries for raw materials and trade endeavors, it faces a continued shift away from long traditions of being a land power to participating -- and competing -- in the maritime world.
The Situation Close to Home
This competition is a big part of the problem. Beijing is facing a serious expansion of military power in the region. All branches of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) already face technologically superior competition from some of China's closest neighbors. The South Korean navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces are now both equipped with domestic variants of the highly capable U.S. Arleigh Burke design (including the Aegis weapon system) in service. In 2004, Japan shifted F-15C fighter jets to Xaidi Island (Shimoji), uncomfortably close to Taiwan, adding to the complexity of any offensive across the Formosa Strait.
Because of this game of catch-up, Beijing has no shortage of military projects -- especially naval projects -- it could get more economical, near-term and effective results from. Consider the amphibious warfare pursuits of South Korea, Japan and Australia, which are much more manageable and realistic steps for each country. China has instead persisted along the carrier route, and is consequently behind the curve in its amphibious capability.
The PLAN, along with the other branches of the PLA, has made admirable improvements in the last decade. There has been progress in areas such as missile technology and nuclear submarine propulsion -- progress more realistically within China's technological grasp than a meaningful carrier fleet -- and it is precisely these more realistic, near-term pursuits and improvements that will suffer.
Carriers do not come cheap. The Varyag was originally purchased with more than $500 million in work still required. Carrier aircraft must then be acquired (talks are under way for the purchase of 50 Russian Su-33 navalized "Flankers" for something in the ballpark of $2.5 billion) and appropriate escorts and auxiliary ships dedicated or built. Even without start-up costs, the United States spends more than a $1 billion annually simply to deploy, operate and maintain a single carrier strike group -- and a meaningful carrier fleet requires not just one carrier, but three.
And for what?
Effective and meaningful carrier aviation is the product of decades of extensive first-hand experience at sea. The establishment of a trained cadre of naval aviators, efficient flight-deck operations and naval doctrine cannot be reverse engineered, and further investment will be necessary for China to even begin to adequately explore these core competencies. China is in effect neglecting its own current weaknesses in order to attempt to compete in one of the most technically demanding and certainly the most expensive naval pursuits there is -- carrier aviation.
The deployment of a carrier will be seen as an unmistakable sign of Chinese ambitions and will draw even closer attention and more intense competition from not only the U.S. Navy, but also from Beijing's regional competitors -- something the PLAN simply does not need right now.
In other words, China will be stretching itself to build a rudimentary carrier fleet -- a pursuit that will necessarily involve costly sacrifices elsewhere within the navy. Of all the things Beijing hopes to gain from that carrier fleet, more will be lost in the process of attaining it. It might be seen as a great leap forward, but it will ultimately represent movement in the opposite direction.
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