More than that, they refused to test their ideas empirically in more than a superficial fashion, and trusted that the military aviation technology that supported their ideas would more than make up for any mistakes in their thinking. Moreover, American air power theorists were unable or unwilling to admit that enemy technologies might be developed to counteract their theoretical plans, even while the testing of such technologies were going on underneath their noses.
Another, perhaps more significant factor was the desire of the airmen to form an independent air service, free of interference from the army, and able to carry out its own independent mission. Whatever the reasons, the theorists failed on a number of fronts. With their eyes securely fixed on precision bombardment, the airmen ignored the role of fighter aircraft in combat.
Chennault believed in fighters and their role in a coordinated ground-air aerial defense system. In his memoir, Way of a Fighter G. Moreover, the lessons of the Spanish Civil War, which might be considered a major laboratory for aerial warfare in the interwar years, were largely ignored by American strategic bombing theorists. Other army commentators noted the lack of bombing accuracy—the inability to hit specific targets. This idea was fine in theory, but it suffered from a number of deficiencies. As Stephen L.
Moreover, the theorists pinned their hopes on the Norden bombsight, as yet unproven in combat and tested only under the most optimal conditions. See McFarland, In a largely Isolationist country like the United States in the interwar years, the idea of using air power as anything other than a defensive weapon was repugnant. There were attempts to limit the bomber—the Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare drafted in , for example, made it illegal to employ aerial bombardment to terrorize civilians or damage private property.
The use of bombardment would only be legitimate if it were directed at military objectives. Moreover, the bombing of towns, villages and dwellings or building adjacent to military forces was prohibited. The Hague Rules were never ratified, largely because of the objections of the military. Nevertheless, the theorists walked a fine line in their advocacy of precision bombing. Nevertheless, President Franklin D. They based their calculations on practice bombings flown in clear weather and at low altitudes.
Practice bombings were only one bomb at a time, making multiple passes to achieve higher accuracy. In wartime, enemy defenses would make such practices impossible. Despite the fact that there were strategic targets in these areas, the result usually was a high civilian casualty rate. Regardless of the type of bombing employed, the air attacks were wrought at a terrible cost. Strategic Bombing Survey estimated that , Germans were killed and , wounded. In addition, , residential buildings were completely destroyed by air attack and , heavily damaged. Accurate American bomber and bomber crew loss statistics are very hard to come by, but estimates for the USAAF 8th Air Force put bomber and fighter crew member losses at 44, and heavy bomber losses at more than 4, In Japan, the idea of high-altitude precision bombing was abandoned completely in favor of the low-altitude incendiary bombing of Tokyo in March and other Japanese cities.
For example, it has been received wisdom since the Gulf War that Iraq's firing of Kuwaiti oil fields was a monstrous environmental crime. Consider the difficulty, for example, of using an electro-optical guided weapon on a smoke-covered target. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor argue that the Iraqis torched the Kuwaiti oil fields to "erase the Americans' high-tech advantage. As the Iraqi actions suggest, the use of PGMs might well drive adversaries--especially in less-developed nations--to employ pernicious methodologies to counteract them.
It is possible, therefore, that PGM use in certain instances may render the war more, not less, destructive. If a belligerent is attacked with high-tech systems against which it lacks the ability to resist or respond in kind, does it not have the right to respond with whatever resources it has available? Moreover, sheer destructiveness does not make a specific method of warfare necessarily illegal so long as the requisites of the law of armed conflict are observed. But it is also evident that when accepted methods of defense against bombardment such as hardening and battlefield dispersal are circumvented at least to some extent by the deadly accuracy of PGMs, frustrated defenders may resort to conduct clearly in violation of international norms.
Unbeknownst to coalition targeteers, that command and control facility was also being used as a shelter by the families of high Iraqi officials. The broadcast of pictures of bodies being pulled from the wreckage caused US leaders, concerned about adverse public reaction to the noncombatant deaths, to virtually end further attacks on the Iraqi capital. The US response to the unexpected results of the Al Firdos bombing could suggest to some opponents a reliable albeit unconscionable method of defending against PGM attacks: cover the target with noncombatants.
Such brute behavior creates complications for high-minded US forces. As JV asserts, "high ethical standards" are central to the American military ethos. During the war in Chechnya, for example, insurgents offset their technological inferiority by threatening civilian hostages to force the Russians to meet various demands.
Several potential US adversaries appear prepared to use noncombatants to blunt the power of high-tech weaponry. Libya threatened to surround the reported site of an underground chemical plant with "millions of Muslims" in order to ward off attacks. All of this suggests that PGMs are no panacea. The expectations of decisionmakers that PGM employment will reduce the dangers to noncombatants may be frustrated; indeed, noncombatants could--paradoxically--be placed at greater risk by PGM use in some instances. In truth, the inclination of unscrupulous foes who are determined to counter technologically superior US forces by reviving the age-old strategy of human shields may herald a new era of barbarism in warfare.
In commenting on the actions of Somali warlords who used human shields, James Dunnigan ominously warns, "If the opponents are bloody-minded enough, they will always exploit the humanitarian attitudes of their adversaries. Along these lines, technology itself may provide another recomplicating effect: In order to avoid the effects of PGMs, new communications technology--which JV says is already available--will allow an unprecedented level of dispersal of military forces.
Dispersal is a way to reduce PGM efficiency, and one that experts assert is militarily imperative for those wishing to confront an information-superior opponent like the United States. Among other things, adversaries can employ inexpensive communications devices to so disperse their forces e. As yet another form of the human-shield tactic, an enemy can further complicate targeting by intentionally dispersing into civilian areas.
Another way of avoiding the effects of PGMs is to move into complex terrain, especially jungles, forests, and urban areas. Laser and electro-optically guided munitions will not track targets through foliage. In urban areas, even the extreme accuracy of PGMs will not be adequate to prevent civilian casualties. Witness the toll of civilian casualties produced by unintended airstrikes against a train and bus, the Chinese Embassy, and apparently the Korisa camp during the NATO air campaign of April-May in Serbia and Kosovo.
Dispersing combatants and military objects into the civilian community is offensive to international law because it violates the principle that defenders have an obligation to separate military targets from civilians and their property. Largely owing to budgetary pressures, the United States itself can no longer afford to maintain very many high-tech capabilities separate from those found in the civilian sector where cutting-edge technology often first appears.
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Professor Dan Kuehl of the National Defense University's School of Information Warfare worries that this "growing intermingling in the integrated information society of systems used and needed by both the military and civil sides of society. Attacks against communications nodes and their related computer facilities do more than just inconvenience people in technologically advanced societies.
Such systems support essential emergency services and quite often control critical parts of the infrastructure indispensable to civilians, especially in vulnerable urban areas. Consequently, strikes against electrical grids, designed to undermine a military's high-tech computer and communications capabilities, have profound and often unintended ripple effects on noncombatants and their high-tech systems.
Statesmen and soldiers must consider the legal and moral ramifications of using civilian systems for military purposes. Such military use may turn them, as well as their supporting infrastructure, into a bona fide target for future opponents. Are they thereby creating target sets whose destruction could cause undue noncombatant hardships in the United States, and for which there is no corresponding vulnerability for adversaries from less-developed countries? Of course, depending upon the adversary, attacks on its dual-use systems could be equally devastating to its civilian populace.
Thus, it is essential for statesmen and soldiers to avoid the misconception that "surgical" strikes using certain high-tech methodologies PGMs or even "bloodless" computer attacks necessarily preclude legal and moral complications just because the immediate casualties including noncombatant losses may be few. Precision technology limits the immediate and direct harmful effects of aerial bombardment.
However, one must take issue with the assertion that the systematic destruction of the civil infrastructure through the use of precision weapons actually reduces the harmful effects of war. Ironically, the very capability of precision potentially augurs greater collateral casualties, not less. Unfortunately, such a methodology not only impedes the enemy in some respects, but it also eliminates civilian life-support systems.
Attacks on dual-use systems need not, however, be foregone. Rather, what is needed is a firm grasp of the long-term, indirect effects upon noncombatants prior to the authorization of an attack. Clearly, an enhanced intelligence architecture is necessary to provide the right kind of data to conduct the more probing proportionality calculation these new technologies require. One way of analyzing the data that an enhanced intelligence system might provide would be to employ the new modeling and simulation techniques now becoming available.
For example, using data drawn from the Joint Resource Assessment Data Base, US Strategic Command's Strategic War Planning System can project the expected numbers of killed and injured when a given nuclear weapon is delivered by a designated platform in a certain fashion on a selected target.
However, modeling and simulation themselves present significant recomplications for statesmen and soldiers. Specifically, are leaders legally or morally obliged to follow the model? Suppose, for example, that a decisionmaker chooses a course of action that the model shows will result in more numerous noncombatant casualties than another available option. Since the legal and moral duty is to "take all feasible precautions" to avoid noncombatant casualties, if a computer calculates that a certain method of attack among several options minimizes noncombatant losses, does that automatically preclude consideration of the other options?
If a commander selects another option, has he failed to do everything "feasible" to avoid noncombatant losses? How will a commander justify a decision that seems to fly in the face of dispassionate computer logic? Consider that casualty estimates from whatever source can create real quandaries for commanders at a later time. In the recent controversy over the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II, the relatively crude casualty estimates of nearly 50 years ago were relied upon by some to assert that an invasion would have cost fewer lives than the atomic attack.
What the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did do, however, was to evaporate what was left of the Japanese government's will to resist. The object in war is to break the enemy and to impose our will.
That is best accomplished with a combination of psychological and physical shock. The dropping of two atomic bombs in August seems to have accomplished that objective. As technology progresses, one might fairly expect the fidelity of the models to improve, but it is not yet clear that they can ever substitute for the judgment of the commander in the performance of the warfighting art. The linear, mathematical nature of computer processes may never be able to replicate the nonlinear and often unquantifiable logic of war.
Paralleling the problematic commingling of military and civilian high-tech facilities is the infusion of civilians into formerly military jobs. In the past few years there has been a determined effort to convert as many military billets as possible to less-expensive civilian positions. These initiatives have resulted in thousands of civilians filling what were once military assignments at stateside bases and, increasingly, on foreign deployments. While these actions are principally motivated by a desire to save scarce defense dollars, they are also a tacit recognition that the growing sophistication of the technologies of war require the military to tap ever more frequently civilian expertise.
Armed Forces Journal reports, for example, that in fiscal year , 70 percent of the Department of Defense's information technology transactions were outsourced to private vendors.
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This trend heightens the long-recognized danger that new technology requiring ever-greater civilian involvement will cloud a principle vital to the law of armed conflict: the requirement to distinguish between combatants who could be legitimately attacked, and noncombatants who could not. International law does recognize that civilian technicians and contractors are necessary for modern militaries, but it holds that they are subject to attack only when actually performing tasks in support of the armed forces.
Unlike uniformed personnel, they would not ordinarily be targeted when they are away from their jobs. If captured, they are entitled to treatment as prisoners of war. If they took action against a party's armed forces, they automatically lost immunity. Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly the direction in which we are heading.
Defense News characterized the large numbers of civilian technicians required for the Army's digitized battlefield as "surrogate warriors. For example, a civilian technician who helps execute a computerized offensive information attack against an enemy system may well have gone beyond mere "support. Likewise, the Air Force, probably unaware of the implications of its statement, has openly announced its intention to use civilians operationally. In Global Engagement: A Vision for the 21st Century Air Force , the service states that "combat operations in the 21st century" will broaden "the definition of the future operator.
Once civilian technicians or contractors become involved as "operators" in "combat operations," they risk being characterized as "unlawful combatants" under international law. Since it is unlikely that military dependence on civilian expertise will diminish any time soon, several writers suggest establishing a new type of part-time military.
Endowing civilians with military status would support their recognition as lawful combatants under international law, and would also be a step toward solving another problem with civilianizing military functions: the fact that civilians cannot be compelled to stay on the job in times of crisis. While this approach would solve one technology-driven problem, it would create a recomplication for statesmen and soldiers. Specifically, these proposals differ from ordinary Guard and Reserve membership in that the military affiliation contemplated would not require the technical experts to undergo all the rigors of military training.
Soldiers and statesmen need to be cautious, however, about abandoning "much of the military regimen" simply to indulge the predilections of civilian technical experts. Military personnel are not just people in uniforms. They are instead, as Stephen Crane, the author of Red Badge of Courage , put it, "a mysterious fraternity born out of smoke and the danger of death. However much sociologists might argue that we live in an age of "narrowing skill differentials," where many of the soldier's tasks are growing ever closer to those of his civilian contemporaries, it is an inescapable fact that the soldier's primary function, the use--or threatened use--of force, sets him apart from civilians.
Importantly, Holmes argues that much of the military's regimen even including such things as haircuts has psychological importance beyond its obvious practical value. Many military requirements and rituals serve to acculturate an individual to the armed forces and to build the kind of unit cohesion and esprit de corps necessary for participants to endure the enormous pressures of combat. For statesmen and soldiers concerned about the ethical conduct of war, such a transformation also helps to create a selfless, morally conscious combatant.
The uncertainties and unpredictable dynamics of 21st-century battlefields make it unwise to assume that technical experts will always be in situations that render unnecessary the kind of bonding and mental preparation that has sustained winning military organizations for centuries.
Notwithstanding the need to secure sufficient numbers of technical experts, statesmen and soldiers must be especially wary of any actions that might erode the altruistic warrior ethos that underpins instinctively proper behavior in the crucible of war. Civilianizing uniformed positions is not the only way the US defense establishment hopes to deal with tight budgets. Innovative applications of technology are also expected to help control costs. But cost is a two-edged sword in the context of the RMA. While computers and other information technologies often produce economies, the price of many new weapons is still quite high.
PGMs, for example, are significantly more expensive than unguided dumb bombs. If a relatively inexpensive artillery barrage can neutralize an enemy force notwithstanding a few noncombatant casualties, is the commander obliged to employ a costly bevy of PGMs to reduce that number to zero? It could be argued that simply having PGMs mandates their use under the theory that the commander has an available alternative that can save noncombatant lives.
The accepted view, however, holds that there is no obligation per se to use PGMs so long as the tenets of the law of armed conflict are observed. The commander can properly consider the price of the weapons as a factor in deciding the means of attack. For statesmen and soldiers, however, there is the further question of expectations raised by Gulf War videos of PGMs. Undoubtedly, the perception that PGM use avoids virtually all collateral losses is something that could create a new precept in the court of world opinion.
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A paradigm might arise which posits that if the United States wishes to do so, it can employ force via PGMs in any circumstance with few or no noncombatant casualties. It is the converse that statesmen and soldiers may find most vexing, that is, the perception that failure to use PGMs represents a considered American decision to cause noncombatant deaths. If this perception comes to represent the consensus of world opinion, it is not inconceivable that international law may someday require PGM use as well as other high-tech instrumentalities by those nations with the resources to produce or acquire them.
For each dollar spent to acquire an expensive PGM, one less dollar is available for other desirable social purposes. President Dwight Eisenhower articulated this dilemma in Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children. This raises an intriguing question: To what extent is the civilian populace of an aggressive belligerent entitled to draw against the treasure of a law-abiding defender? In analyzing this question one may wish to ponder historian Daniel Boorstin's contention that Americans suffer from the "Myth of Popular Innocence," that is, the tendency to demonize enemy leaders but absolve adversary populations of responsibility in war.
Americans often assume that enemy societies are helpless victims of powerful tyrants--despite evidence, as Boorstin views it, that "that ruthless rulers can be removed by popular will. Even if one chooses to excuse the populations of totalitarian states, technology may yet recomplicate moral judgments by the polities of democratic states. Proponents insist that the phenomenal growth of the Internet and other communication technologies has helped stimulate the rise of democracies around the world.
A September article in the New York Times Magazine credits modern communication technologies with spurring the growth of democracy and forcing totalitarian regimes to wither. Regrettably, however, new studies are eroding the "democratic peace" thesis. Henry Kissinger argues that it was a misconception that the removal of a few "evil bigots" there would create unity and peace in a society where deep-seated ethnic hatreds pervade the populations. Still, international law has never sought necessarily to equate noncombatant status with moral innocence. But should the sentient, adult population in a democracy escape responsibility for their nation's actions in an era when science is globalizing weapons of mass destruction?
James Child contends, for example, in Nuclear War: The Moral Dimension that "people have a duty to restrain their government from committing nuclear aggression, and if they fail in that duty, their absolute immunity as noncombatants is undermined. Such an examination could indicate that, where democratic states are concerned, a modification of the current understanding of noncombatant immunity might be in order, especially when such states engage in unlawful acts such as the wrongful use of a weapon of mass destruction. The idea that democratic societies might properly be held accountable for the unlawful actions of their governments raises the broader question as to whether democracies ought to be exempted from certain kinds of information operations that aim to corrupt the democratic process.
Powerful information and cyberwar technologies are becoming available that can radically affect an electorate's perceptions of its leaders. Thomas Czerwinski, then a professor at the School of Information Warfare of the National Defense University, suggested how such technologies might be used with this rhetorical question: "What would happen if you took Saddam Hussein's image, altered it, and projected it back to Iraq showing him voicing doubts about his own Baath Party?
Moreover, the capability is hardly science fiction. As anyone who has seen the film Forrest Gump can attest, technology now permits the creation of extraordinarily convincing but false images. But this norm may need reexamination when the government affected is a democratic one. It needs to be reconciled with a key component of US national security policy: the promotion of democracy.
Furthermore, Michael Walzer asserts that "war aims legitimately reach to the destruction or defeat, demobilization, and partial disarming of the aggressor's armed forces. Except in extreme cases, like that of Nazi Germany, they don't legitimately reach to the transformation of the internal politics of the aggressor state or the replacement of its regime. Thus, leaders may wish to develop policies that restrain information warriors from engaging in tactics that damage the democratic process of the enemy state.
Democracy has an intrinsic human value even when it produces governments whose actions lead to war. The interplay of democratic values and modern technology presents other recomplications for statesmen and soldiers. Specifically, JV insists that the US military must have "information superiority" in future conflicts. To do so requires not simply controlling the adversary's information sources, but also the avalanche of data available from third parties, including the global media.
This latter source would be extremely difficult to dominate. In a very real sense, global news sources could become the poor man's intelligence service.
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In addition, information about current operations will be obtainable from other sources for a modest investment. Already commercial satellites are providing high-resolution images heretofore the exclusive province of the intelligence agencies of the developed nations. Thus, the capabilities of new technology present statesmen and soldiers with several unattractive options. If information superiority is truly imperative, achieving it may require aggressive, draconian measures against international information sources that are not parties to the conflict.
Such measures are of doubtful legal and moral validity, and they could have the unintended consequence of antagonizing allies and even bringing the United States into conflict with third parties. Given the number and variety of sources, however, it would not seem practical or even possible to do so. Finally, we could change our approach, that is, develop doctrine and strategies for conducting military operations in an environment of information transparency or information parity.
It seems that this last alternative, which obviates interference with information produced by entities not otherwise involved in the particular conflict, would most readily mesh with our legal and moral norms. As already implied, any discussion of information operations necessarily brings up the issue of space. Satellites provide critical surveillance and communication support for US forces, as well as for those of potential adversaries. However, space warfare presents significant moral recomplications for senior leaders. Most fundamentally, there is the question as to whether combat operations ought to be conducted there at all.
In fact, the nature of space systems creates legal and ethical reasons that weigh against doing so. As previously discussed, a basic principle of the law of armed conflict is the obligation of belligerents to separate military targets from civilian objects. Future opponents will likewise depend upon commercial communication and surveillance systems.
As a practical matter, it is difficult to foresee many scenarios where a proportionality analysis would justify attacks on multi-user systems. This is especially true as noncombatants in a growing number of countries become ever more reliant on space-based technologies for a whole range of essential communications and other services. Nonetheless, US Space Command is seeking to have "space" declared its area of operations so as to facilitate planning for conflict there. Virtually every treaty related to space asserts that it is to be used only for "peaceful purposes.
It may be shrewder to pursue a legal regime that declares space a "sanctuary" similar to that afforded communications facilities located in neutral territory. Arguably, this strategy would renew the original US policy toward space. President Eisenhower established a "self-imposed space sanctuary policy.
This proposal would not preclude sub-space means that selectively deny adversaries' military forces the use of signals from space platforms. The development of lasers and other space weapons would be prohibited, although passive defensive measures hardening, stealth, etc. Accordingly, the proposal would not be inconsistent with current US space policy, which advocates diplomatic and legal "measures to preclude an adversary's hostile use of space systems and services. Another recomplicating effect of the new technologies is the danger that they may inadvertently lead to a lowering of the threshold of violent conflict.
Peacetime information operations are one example of how this might occur. Consider, for instance, that there is no clearly accepted definition of what kind of data manipulation constitutes "aggression" and is thus contrary to international law and condemned by the UN Charter.
The growing proliferation of the popular new nonlethal technologies presents similar recomplications. The characterization of these capabilities as "nonlethal," for example, is a source of real confusion--virtually all of them are potentially deadly. All of this is especially worrisome because of the unpredictability of the reaction of those against whom supposedly nonlethal means are used. To reiterate a central theme of this essay: what was intended as a "bloodless" means of coercion may well generate a lethal response.
It would seem prudent then for statesmen and soldiers to view information operations and nonlethal technologies principally as means to minimize noncombatant casualties under circumstances where the use of force is otherwise necessary and appropriate. If this is clearly understood, miscalculation is averted, and the unintended involvement in unexpectedly hostile situations is checked.
It is worth noting that a similar issue exists with regard to other high-tech systems. Quite often the declared purpose is to "send a message" to that government, a function traditionally the role of a diplomatic bag. Analysts A. Bacevich and Lawrence Kaplan ask, "Given the precision weapons that the United States advertises as central to the new American military doctrine, how many people is it permissible to kill merely to send a message?
It is true that manipulating the psychology of an adversary could constitute a legitimate military objective. The real issue for statesmen and soldiers is ensuring that the casualty-minimizing features of high-tech weaponry do not induce decisionmakers to inappropriately lower the threshold for the use of force. Bacevich and Kaplan warn:. Ultimately, a doctrine that relies on antiseptic methods of warfare may prove dangerously seductive. Seemingly tailor-made for an era of post-modern politics, precision weapons also have the potential to increase the propensity of political leaders to resort to violent means.
The ready availability of [PGMs] may tempt them to conclude that force need no longer remain the option of last resort, and induce them to employ their arsenal without due reflection. High technology also carries potential unexpected consequences for the organizational cultures of militaries on 21st-century battlefields.
Communications advances will be the most important agent of organizational change. As JV indicates, technology is already becoming available that will provide individual soldiers with unprecedented access to all kinds of information. Other technology-fathered changes will directly affect battlefield tactics. The Marine Corps, for example, is experimenting with a new tactic called "infestation" which capitalizes on the new technologies.
While increased combat effectiveness should result from these and other technology-driven organizational changes, there are nevertheless potential "revenge effects" of concern to statesmen and soldiers. In his book The Unintended Consequences of Information Age Technologies , David Alberts warns that when subordinates are provided with the "larger picture" that new data-transfer capabilities allow, they are "likely to second-guess decisions made at higher levels and. It seems therefore that, ironically, controlling the actions of lower-echelon troops may not necessarily be enhanced by better communications technologies.
Regrettably, it is at those levels that the risk of indiscipline is the greatest--the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War being just one example. Stephen Ambrose notes,. When you put young people, 18, 19, or 20 years old, in a foreign country with weapons in their hands, sometimes terrible things happen that you wish never happened. This is a reality that stretches across time and across continents. It is a universal aspect of war, from the time of the ancient Greeks up to the present.
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What is worrisome about 21st-century battlefield technology is that it will put ready access to vastly more potent firepower into the hands of the young troops that Ambrose describes. The new battlefield organization produced by infestation tactics is illustrative. Analysts assert that the "most revolutionary aspect" of the new concept is that the infantryman does not rely on his personal weapon to engage the enemy, but will instead call in outside fire support.
This change of identity for the infantryman stems from technological advances. With enhanced digital communications, more accurate smart munitions, and manportable guidance systems, fire support. In addition to traditional tube artillery, the individual team can call for and direct close air support, rocket fires, naval gunfire, and missile attacks. Quite obviously, whatever havoc troops were able to wreak with their personal weapons at places like My Lai, that terrible potential will be markedly greater in future conflicts because of the new technologies of war, particularly since the command and supervisory structure that might intervene is, by design, less robust.
By empowering junior personnel, the new technologies of war create other recomplications as well.
They believe that "once soldiers and airmen start dying in a war, the young computer-literate officers and enlisted men are going to start making their own efforts to crack enemy computer systems. For example, a computer virus loosed on an enemy might have "unintended consequences and come back and cripple friendly computers.
Still, the solution is not to deny lower echelons the benefits of the technology. Rather, when technology dramatically empowers junior personnel, steps must be taken to ensure that they are fully prepared, both technically and psychologically, to handle the greater legal and moral responsibilities that the enhanced capabilities impose upon them. Unquestionably, maintaining discipline and professionalism under the new combat conditions is more essential than ever--yet ever more difficult to guarantee.
Another recomplicating effect is caused by the proliferating e-mail-equipped laptop computers, fax machines, cellular phones, and similar technologies that troops themselves own and carry with them into war zones. Equally important is that these devices hasten the day when the authority of the military commander could be questioned on the battlefield, a development with potentially disastrous consequences. The prospect of instant communications by soldiers of future battlefields causes Nicholas Wade to ask, "Would any commander want his soldiers to receive parental advice in the midst of a firefight?
What if Dad disagrees with the officer on the scene? To deal with such concerns some commanders will attempt to restrict the use of these communications devices. But is this realistic? Can a democracy reliant on an all-volunteer force expect to isolate forward-deployed troops from contact with their friends and families, especially when they have grown up in an environment of instant communications gratification? It may be more practical, as suggested previously, to abandon the goal of information security and plan accordingly. Finally, the assimilation of these revolutionary technologies into the armed services might create a generation of "console warriors" who wage war without ever confronting the deadly consequences of their actions.
Statesmen and soldiers should not assume that such combatants will automatically share the military's traditional values that restrain illegal and immoral conduct in war. Until now, much of the military's ethos was drawn from concepts of honor and chivalry sourced in the physical reality of direct combat. Although the extent to which the proliferation of long-distance, push-button war serves to replace that ethos with a new ethic is as yet uncertain, it is imperative that whatever emerges instills in tomorrow's soldiers those moral underpinnings which will further develop the application of ethical and legal norms in future conflicts.
At this point, the reader may agree that my promise at the beginning of this essay has been fulfilled: far more questions have been raised than solutions offered. It seems clear that despite their many beneficial aspects, the emerging RMA technologies have great capacity for unintended consequences and revenge effects.
Our examination reveals several broad themes that statesmen and soldiers may wish to address:. The unpredictability of an adversary's response to high-tech attack. While US intent in using PGMs or other high-tech means in a particular conflict might be to minimize casualties on both sides, their use may, nevertheless, drive an enemy incapable of responding in kind to resort to measures that could make war, paradoxically, more destructive or inhumane than if the high-tech weapons had not been used at all. The increasing commingling of military and civilian high-tech systems.
Although this dual- and multi-use trend is unlikely to change in the future, greater consideration should be given to the moral and legal implications of making legitimate targets out of systems upon which technology-dependent societies rely. Where possible, steps should be taken to ensure that essential services are preserved in the event of war. At a minimum, decision-support systems need to be developed not only to analyze the vulnerability of friendly populations but also to assess high-tech targets in hostile countries in order to assist military commanders in making an informed proportionality judgment.
Such systems need to be able to evaluate secondary and third-order effects on civilian populations. The blurring of the distinction between noncombatant civilians and combatant military personnel. Technologies, along with budget-driven decisions to outsource, privatize, and otherwise civilianize military functions have moral and legal ramifications. Care must be taken to ensure that a whole class of unlawful combatants is not inadvertently created.
There may be utility in devising new kinds of reserve organizations for technologically skilled personnel which do not require members to conform to all the rigors of a professional military. However, such efforts must not compromise those aspects of the military regimen that develop the military's altruistic warrior ethos which underpins moral conduct in war. Information operations. Information operations and cyberwar can complicate the moral life for senior leaders in many ways, but of particular concern are the new techniques that can interfere with democratic societies.
Information operations and cyberwar techniques are properly applied to control the aggressive behavior of nations, but they should not be permitted to destroy democratic values in the process. Moreover, the proliferation of third-party communications sources renders suspect military strategies aimed at achieving information superiority. The militarization of space. Satellites and space vehicles are irrevocably integrated into modern warfare.
However, this does not mean that space should become another battlefield. Rather, the United States should use its prestige as the preeminent space power to forge an international consensus that designates space to be a neutral area, thereby possibly avoiding a space weapons race. The lowering of the threshold of conflict.
Advanced technology provides the capability to employ coercion via non- or low-lethal means in a way that greatly minimizes the immediate noncombatant losses. Because of the unpredictability of the response of those targeted, however, care must be taken to ensure that misunderstanding of the nature and implications of military means do not delude decisionmakers with visions of "bloodlessly" coercing opponents by means short of violent conflict.