Danger Will Robinson!

QC

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A rather lengthy article but interesting read nontheless. Read the full article here;

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/military-robots-and-the-laws-of-war

More than just conventional wisdom, it has become almost a cliché to say that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have proved “how technology doesn’t have a big place in any doctrine of future war,” as one security analyst told me in 2007. The American military efforts in those countries (or so the thinking goes) have dispelled the understanding of technology-dominated warfare that was prevalent just a few years ago—the notion that modern armed conflict would be fundamentally changed in the age of computers and networks.

It is true that Afghanistan and Iraq have done much to puncture that understanding of war. The vaunted theory, so beloved in the Rumsfeld-era Pentagon, of a “network-centric” revolution in military affairs can now be seen more clearly as a byproduct of the 1990s dotcom boom. The Internet has certainly affected how people shop, communicate, and date. Amid this ecstatic hype, it is not surprising that many security studies experts, both in and out of the defense establishment, latched onto the notion that linking up all our systems via electronic networks would “lift the fog of war,” allow war to be done on the cheap, and even allow the United States to “lock out” competition from the marketplace of war, much as they saw Microsoft doing to Apple at the time.

Nor is it surprising that now analysts are writing off high-tech warfare altogether in the wake of Afghanistan and Iraq. Insurgents armed with crude conventional weapons have proven frequently able to flummox their well-equipped American foes. Many observers increasingly seem to believe that if irregular warfare is likely to be the future of armed conflict, advanced technologies have no great role.

These “all or nothing” attitudes are each incorrect. High technology is not a silver bullet solution to insurgencies, but that doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t matter in these fights. In fact, far from proving the uselessness of advanced technology in modern warfare, Afghanistan and Iraq have for the first time proved the value of a technology that will truly revolutionize warfare—robotics.

When U.S. forces went into Iraq, the original invasion had no robotic systems on the ground. By the end of 2004, there were 150 robots on the ground in Iraq; a year later there were 2,400; by the end of 2008, there were about 12,000 robots of nearly two dozen varieties operating on the ground in Iraq. As one retired Army officer put it, the “Army of the Grand Robotic” is taking shape.
 

Marauder06

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“how technology doesn’t have a big place in any doctrine of future war"

:uhh:

Who says that? Technology is one of the major edges we have over our opponents.
 
A

arizonaguide

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These “all or nothing” attitudes are each incorrect. High technology is not a silver bullet solution to insurgencies, but that doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t matter in these fights. In fact, far from proving the uselessness of advanced technology in modern warfare, Afghanistan and Iraq have for the first time proved the value of a technology that will truly revolutionize warfare—robotics.

For sure, our good ol' "yankee ingenuity" does give us an edge that many other nations don't have...and the money we (used to) spend from our "strong" economy was one reason the Soviets could not keep up...they couldn't afford the capital investment in development and production...to match our technology production. And UAV's are awsome life savers in many ways.

But, on the other hand we have to be careful about depending completely on technology to "save our asses" when we should be also putting the hand work in as well. To my understanding we have almost completely neglected the "humint" aspects of modern intel, and in trade have put too much stock in electronics, etc.

Seems to me we didn't learn the lessons that were so costly from our Vietnam experiences. 7point62 outlines this better than I could in a previous post:
https://shadowspear.com/vb/showpost.php?p=224689&postcount=3
and
https://shadowspear.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15625

There are just some things Robots/Technology can't do!
 

AWP

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People seriously think that high-tech warfare doesn't have a place on the modern battlefield?

That is so patently asinine that it doesn't even deserve a rant.
 

QC

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No matter what the technology, it's the operator who will or won't make it happen.
 

car

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These “all or nothing” attitudes are each incorrect. High technology is not a silver bullet solution to insurgencies, but that doesn’t mean that technology doesn’t matter in these fights. In fact, far from proving the uselessness of advanced technology in modern warfare, Afghanistan and Iraq have for the first time proved the value of a technology that will truly revolutionize warfare—robotics.

No matter what the technology, it's the operator who will or won't make it happen.

Robotics has certainly made its mark, but QC is right - it's the kid who puts the technology into action who is repsonsible. And thank God our current generation of young Soldiers is savvy to it....I can remember back in the mid-90's at Huachuca - we were doing the final acceptance flights of a new system - UAVs (Predators) - the two-star in charge of MI at the time (MG Paul Menoher) gave a speech, then walked up to the PFC who had his hands on the toggle knob and said, "No pressure, kid. Just don't fuck this up."
 
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arizonaguide

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Yup, it's a great tool...and the things that UAV's do are amazing.
But, I think we have to be really careful about depending so much on technology to "save our asses". It sure didn't win the war for us in Vietnam against a technological inferior insurgency, and I wonder if we're not making the same mistakes again.

Get as many men on the ground as you can, totally integrate your forces into the villes and village life; (forces, by the way, who have been fully indoctrinated to the ways of the locals, and who are embedded with well-trained indigenous troops.)

Technology can only help so much in that scenario.

The people are the same. Dirt poor, scared sh*tless. And in every ville, the young men are gone...You'll find the old men, old women and kids...(but the young men are off with the (Viet Cong), i.e. Taliban).

...people who are going to be predisposed anyway to side with their own countrymen--guys who speak their language and worship their Gods--than they would be predisposed to side with some well-meaning young men from freakin Minnesota or Texas. Young men who have to call in air support from time-to-time against an enemy who hides himself among the population thereby increasing the chances of collateral damage and casualties which further enhances the insurgent position.

I wonder if our dependance on technology sometimes HURTS us in those type of "cultural/hearts-and-minds" type situations?

https://shadowspear.com/vb/showpost.php?p=224374&postcount=1
 

EverSoLost

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Yup, it's a great tool...and the things that UAV's do are amazing.
But, I think we have to be really careful about depending so much on technology to "save our asses". It sure didn't win the war for us in Vietnam against a technological inferior insurgency, and I wonder if we're not making the same mistakes again.

AZ I dont want to talk out of school too much here. So tell me to STFU if I'm out of line.

One of my professional mentors is/was a Marine Corps SgtMaj (Still getting used to their way of spelling that) served in Viet Nam, he said "Propaganda is why we lost that one. We one every battle, but lost the Propaganda war on the homefront. This boy is why the War College is imperative to stufy for all soldiers. Intelligence wins wars, and saves lives." As close to verbetim as I can get.

Would you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Mind you his input has had a great impact on my current and future decisions and plans. But I'm aware that lots of you folks lived through it so I would be interested in hearing differing or supporting perspectives on the subject.

TIA
 
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arizonaguide

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Electronic Micromanagement?

ESL, of course you're not out of line, and if I'm way off base tell me to STFU!
Hell, I just want to make sure I'm (we're) asking the right questions.
I am just trying to "bird dog" this a little!;)

I was just a boy during Vietnam, but I have made it a mission of mine to try to understand what went on, and why we "lost" there (to attempt to honor my wife's inter-related Cambodian history, as well as the Vets who served/died). And to my understanding your friend is spot on (with a little addition).
I did live through and remember the propaganda at home.

What seems to be the case was that we had the ability to "win" (at least like Korea), but the "anti-war sentiment" back home (politically) stopped the "follow through" to completion of many operations, or set artifical (and bogus) constraints. We lost the media war.

For example, we went into Cambodia after the NVA during 1970, yet set a "limit" of 20 miles because the Propaganda at home was crying we were invading a neutral nation. So we didn't follow through and chase them down past the 20mile limit, EVEN when the intelligence KNEW that the NVA owned most of that part of Cambodia and Laos at that time. Intelligence worked, Politics Didn't.

And, I can't even believe some of the stuff I'm reading about limits imposed by our ambassador in Laos at that time. And Johnson, Paris "peace talks" (Effective Hanoi stalling tactic), Kissenger, Nixon, etc.

Perhaps what your friend meant to say was "Intelligence combined with selling the Politics" wins wars!
I mean selling the policy at home, AND to the indigenous people, both.
Good intel doesn't help much if it gets "bastardized" in the press into some other anti-war sentiment, and results in the "rug being pulled out" from under our troops (forced from the "top down" through the command structure).

They dispursed out of range, and came back at their leisure.
And it seems very similar to the Pakistani border situation right now.

I totally agree that Intelligence (combined with politics) wins wars...RELIABLE intelligence.
Yes that can be had through electronic/aerial observation to some extent.
But I wonder how you differentiate from 10K feet elevation when they are intermingled in the population.
I guess you look for nighttime behaviors, etc. (I'll leave it at that).

But, if you depend heavily on that, and if you don't have ground observation (reliable HUMINT) totally integrated into the villes and village life, you can't help but have an enemy who hides himself among the population. Thereby increasing the chances of collateral damage and casualties (which further enhances the insurgent position AND the bad press propaganda at home). It's a bitch, and of course I don't have the answers.

The modern Special Forces guys can talk more regarding winning hearts and minds of indigenous people, but I wonder how much of THAT most important mission can be done electronically.

I'm still studying the CAG history, and Special Forces history with regards to relationships to indigenous people and attempting to link it with our modern conflict, but 7point62's thread seemed to hit on the best (most logical) answer.
 
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