15 February 2010

Retro Flash Back Day

Blogging has slown down recently due to the fact that I'm currently producing a paper for the Council for Emerging National Security Affiars' (CENSA's) latest collection of essays.

I've been doing some reading on much of the thinking about Effects-Based Operations, Network-Centric Warfare and Systemic Operational Design from about a decade ago, and I found a particularly embarrassing line being spoken by US Central Command's General Tommy Franks, courtesy of Noah Shachtman. According to Shachtman, General Franks boasted, in his 2004 autobiography that new C4ISTAR (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Asquisition and Reconaissance--how's that for an acronym?) would give commanders the "type of Olympian perspective Homer had given his gods".

But can they find Osama bin Laden? Can a camera tell me if that village supports the Taliban? Which provinces are the most sympathetic? These are all things that billions of dollars worth of sensors can't tell us.

Seriously, if we're going to make bold claims about the prowess of American technology, why not claim that American troops can defeat any adversary simply by pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start?

It's not as old school as Olympian deities, but it's pretty close.

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