Beware Of Pentagon Technoenthusiasm

Beware Of Pentagon Technoenthusiasm

As Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told the world at the National Defense Industry Association meeting this week, the Pentagon is taking a new approach to dealing with the problem created by China in the "Replicator" initiative, which means "we help." To take advantage of China's greatest advantage: the mass shipping ... more. More missiles More people

Hicks defined the main goal of the new approach: “In the future, we will create advanced technologies that will be cheaper, as America did in the past, systems that will be available everywhere and autonomous. ” , put a few people on the right track, and they can be changed, updated or improved in no time. On the contrary, it appears to be a better option than building systems that take decades to deploy and implement, are extremely difficult to maintain and, in some cases, more complex than the systems used against adversaries. They

But as the Pentagon tries to change the way it does business, the effectiveness of drone teams should be underestimated. untested technology in air, land and sea; And AI-powered decision-making systems can significantly shorten the chain of failure, from the decision to strike to the delivery of the weapon to the intended target. And it must be recognized that efforts to change the way America is armed in future conflicts will involve a sharp political confrontation with Congress over the fate of aircraft carriers, pilots and conventional armored vehicles - which provide jobs and revenue. Counties and member states have the greatest influence on the size and shape of the Pentagon budget.

Although some examples of "revolutionary" technology for warfare - Operation Desert Storm, the US response to Iraq's 1991 invasion of neighboring Kuwait - seem exaggerated by the accuracy of postwar analysis. According to critic and Pentagon defense expert Winslow Wheeler, a postwar analysis by the Government Accountability Office showed that the Pentagon and weapons manufacturers would need far more strikes to destroy key targets than originally thought. Key systems such as the F-117 stealth jet, Tomahawk attack missiles and laser-guided bombs have had much less success than expected, and in some cases very little. For example, a GAO analysis of the use of Tomahawks during Desert Storm found that only half of the missiles fired in that war reached their targets. The agency said it hit "[another] target, but formed a crater that was far from the target."

Another apt example: "DoD and contractor claims of a single-target, laser-guided munitions bomb averaging 11 tons of guided munitions and 44 tons of unguided munitions were not proven during the air campaign." You successfully hit a damaged target. It was enough to overcome relatively poorly armed opponents, but there were no features of magical weapons to begin with. At the same time, these capabilities and subsequent improvements are not sufficient to win a battle against an enemy that does not have significant aircraft or air defenses in Iraq or Afghanistan. War is more than having the best bombs and communications. If this advantage can be gained against China, it will not be decisive.

The impetus for creating a new generation of weapons and control systems was the success of drones in the war in Ukraine. But it is still too early to fully assess the effectiveness of these systems, or their relevance to the potential conflict with China;

All of the above shows that it makes no sense to enter the new technological revolution advocated by Hicks in his NDIA speech without proper evaluation and testing. Most importantly, plans to win the war with China should be followed by political and diplomatic initiatives to create rules that will avoid conflict between Washington and Beijing.

Enthusiasm for technology is not a strategy. And without the right political and diplomatic context, the proliferation of Chinese capabilities, such as drones that can destroy thousands of targets in a short period of time, is more likely to ignite a dangerous arms race than to avoid potentially dangerous conflict.

William D. Hartung is a senior fellow at the Quincy Institute for Good Government.

Computer generated rendering of a pentagonal, hexagonal and circular plate using Solid Edge software.

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