March 26, 2004

Battlefield 'Net IV

Winds of Change has a good article on the networked military. The section on adoption highlighted a related point, the difference between intellectual knowledge of the value of such systems (which probably every military in the world has by this point) and acceptance of the system:

"What I should have spent the entire time focusing on was the small screen attached to my door," Charlton said after the war. "It had been accurately tracking my location as well as the location of my key leaders and adjacent units the whole time."

But four days into battle, amid the Iraqi sandstorms, the Bradley crew finally turned on Blue Force Tracking. The computer's imagery and Global Positioning System capabilities let them use Blue Force Tracking similar to how pilots use instruments to fly in bad weather.

"The experience of being forced to use and rely on Blue Force Tracking during a combat mission under impossible weather conditions completed my conversion to digital battle command," said Charlton, commander of 1-15 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, in Army documents."

The US has the money to waste massively deploying unused IT systems. That's the fundamental difference between it and most of the rest of the world's militaries. The others, even if an elite truly understands and wants to deploy such systems, have such stringent material limitations imposed on them by circumstances, economic and political, that they simply do not engage in the front-end expense necessary to saturate the military with technology attempts at the next generation battlefield network. Many militaries, even first world ones, don't even keep up with the US on a 'bullets fired, miles driven' basis and that's an even more central measure of maintaining troop readiness.

Posted by TMLutas at March 26, 2004 09:50 AM