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[] Militär und IT in den USA: guter Überblick mit Afghanistan-Folgen,

1s and 0s Part Of New U.S. Arsenal 

By Vernon Loeb and Thomas E Ricks, Washington Post
Washington Post, 4.2.2002

Out on an Army firing range, in a conversation punctuated by machine-gun
bursts, Staff Sgt. Michael Land describes how he and his soldiers are
preparing to engage and destroy the enemy using an even deadlier weapon:
digital information. 

The most obvious difference between his unit - a new rapid-deployment
infantry brigade - and conventional ones isn't that their armored
vehicles are propelled by wheels instead of tank tracks. Rather, Land
said, it "is all the information we're being given" by computers that
pull in data from satellites, drone aircraft and intelligence analysts
far from the front lines.
When even the infantry - long characterized as "grunts" and "mud
soldiers" - is focused on moving digits, it is clear a major shift is
underway in the way the U.S. military fights. What the Afghanistan
conflict has brought home to the armed forces is how much the new way of
war is built around an unprecedented dependence on information.

Satellites and Gigabytes

In Afghanistan, the Pentagon has relied on a global umbrella of new
information systems, ranging from satellites far overhead to
surveillance drones circling the battlefield to Special Forces troops
with laser designators on the ground, to find targets, transmit
information about them and then attack. Just as important was a
communications network that permitted gigabytes of information to rocket
from Afghanistan to U.S. commanders in Saudi Arabia, on ships at sea and
even as far as Tampa, where the man responsible for the campaign, Gen.
Tommy R. Franks, spent most of the war at Central Command headquarters.
The military's new dependence on information systems was driven home
Thursday by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a speech aimed at
refocusing the Pentagon's efforts to change the military to better
counter the threats of the 21st century. In robust defense of President
Bush's proposed $48 billion increase in military spending next year,
Rumsfeld called for more funding for intelligence and more attention to
unpiloted aircraft and other sophisticated reconnaissance systems.
"We need to find new ways to deter new adversaries," Rumsfeld said. "We
need to make the leap into the information age, which is the critical
foundation of our transformation efforts."

Still Seeking Bin Laden

To be sure, the U.S. military - despite all its technological prowess -
has yet to find Osama bin Laden. But the military's success in routing
the Taliban regime that sheltered the al Qaeda leader has emboldened
those at the Pentagon who favor reshaping the armed forces around more
sophisticated information and weapons systems.
The Bush administration came into office vowing to make major changes in
the structure of the military by eliminating some of the large, hulking
forces designed for fighting a ground war in Europe and replacing them
with smaller, more flexible units capable of being deployed on short
notice to anywhere on the globe.
The initiative stalled last summer. Rumsfeld ordered dozens of studies,
which led to months of contentious reviews but ultimately produced no
major changes in the size and shape of the military. By Sept. 10, the
widespread view in the Pentagon was that defense reform was mired in
bureaucratic infighting and doomed to fail.
All that changed when terrorists piloted hijacked airliners into the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing more than 3,100. The attack
and the war on terrorism sparked an outpouring of support for the
military on Capitol Hill.

Proposed: $380 Billion

One problem Rumsfeld confronted last year was that the Joint Chiefs of
Staff feared he would pay for his priorities by cutting back spending on
their priorities, such as weapons and the number of active-duty troops.
But the new defense budget, unveiled Monday, contains almost $380
With more than a billion dollars a day available, said William Schneider
Jr., head of the Defense Science Board and a confidant of Rumsfeld, the
course of reform should flow much more smoothly. "The environment is
much more positive now," he said.
This shift has huge implications for the future shape and organization
of the large parts of the military. The part of the Army that is built
around tanks and artillery pieces faces renewed questions about
relevancy. The Air Force, having heavily used long-range bombers in the
Afghan war, may be pressed to explain why it isn't building new bombers
and instead is buying more short-range fighters. Across the board, the
ability to move information rapidly is radically reducing the number of
troops and aircraft the military needs to deploy to fight.

Bandwidth, Not Bombs

The early success of the Afghan war, in which long-range bombers were
directed to targets by handfuls of U.S. Special Forces spotters on the
ground, confirmed what a lot of people already suspected, said Edward C.
"Pete" Aldridge Jr., undersecretary of defense for acquisition,
technology and logistics. "In the war itself, what has changed is a real
strong appreciation of the value of ISR (intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance) and the real-time value of being able to target
rapidly," Aldridge said.
There is talk at the Pentagon that the computer and other information
systems may elbow aside weaponry as the central component in war. Ask a
general or admiral for thoughts about the Afghan campaign and they are
more likely to talk about "bandwidth" than bombs. In the air, on land
and at sea, the American approach to combat increasingly focuses on how
to get information, move it and act on it quickly.
Indeed, retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, director of the new
Office of Force Transformation, said the overarching change occurring in
the military is a transition from the Industrial Age to the Information
It used to be that mass meant military strength. Now, in an age of
24-hour battlefield surveillance and instantaneous targeting, mass just
makes a military unit easier to find and hit.
"There is no doubt about it - that is the fundamental transition, and
all other elements of transformation are subordinate to it," Cebrowski

Fewer Bombs, More Knowledge

The increasing reliance on precision bombs means fewer bombers are
needed. But it also requires more information about the location of
their targets. All told, the Air Force has operated fewer than two dozen
bombers in the Afghan war, said Air Force Secretary James G. Roche. "You
don't need so many bombers, because they carry so many bombs and each
one is so accurate," he said.
The ability to gather information remotely and transmit it instantly
around the world means fewer troops need to be deployed and that
military staffs and experts can operate in a headquarters thousands of
miles away. That means the United States can wage war less obtrusively.
The Pentagon has deployed just a few thousand troops at bases in
Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and about 4,000 troops in
Pentagon officials said Rumsfeld's approach to his transformation agenda
will be different than the contentious path he took last year. Instead
of raising the prospect of radical surgery on the military, they said,
the emphasis will be on continuous but gradual change.
"The way you need to do it is incrementally," Schneider said. "That's
much more the way the commercial sector does it."

Drones Here To Stay

In the first half of January, an official "Lessons Learned" panel
traveled to Afghanistan to figure out what in the U.S. arsenal worked,
what did not and why. Those results are still being compiled, but
officials said some lessons already have emerged.
The star in the air campaign has been the lethal drone aircraft, or
Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), as the military calls it. More
than any other innovation, the use of a Predator reconnaissance drone to
launch Hellfire missiles is likely to be what the Afghan war is
remembered for.
The surprise is who was doing the shooting: the Central Intelligence
Agency, not the Air Force. The CIA borrowed the Predator from the Air
Force, which had been experimenting with arming the plane, and used it
aggressively in Afghanistan, firing dozens of missiles at Taliban and al
Qaeda leaders.
In October, just days before the war began, the National Defense
University issued a technical and policy assessment of lethal drones.
"An operational UCAV capability is not expected to be available to U.S.
field and fleet commanders for 10 years," it concluded.
Now, with the war not yet over, there is new consensus that the armed
drone is here to stay. Never again is the United States likely to go to
war flying only piloted aircraft. Aldridge predicted the next generation
of the lethal drones will carry larger payloads of bombs and sensors.
"That's the right thing to do," he said.

Keeping the Innovators

At its core, even a warrior drone is a matter of processing heaps of
information. The key to operating one is being able to move enough data
quickly so that it can be flown and operated by a controller hundreds or
thousands of miles away. Information also promises to be the organizing
principle around which personnel policies change.
A small but vocal group of change-minded officers argues that the armed
forces must revamp a half-century-old personnel system that transfers
people every couple of years, encourages generalists and seems to
discourage innovative thinking.
Indeed, a study on how to transform the military done by the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments for the Pentagon recommended the
military keep innovators in place longer. It also said service chiefs
should be picked from areas likely to grow in importance, such as
submarines and space operations.
The study was especially critical of the Air Force, particularly its
leadership structure. The Air Force increasingly is being used for
long-range airstrikes, but of the service's 17 top officers, only one
has a significant background in bombers, while 10 are fighter pilots, it
said. Personnel choices lead to procurement choices, argued the study's
author, the center's director of strategic studies, Michael Vickers.
While the Afghan war has shown the need for long-range bombers, he
noted, the Air Force continues to focus its acquisition energy on buying
short-range aircraft such as the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter.

Air Force Adapts

The Air Force is already adapting on some fronts. In a symbolic
acknowledgment of the emerging role played by information as a weapon in
and of itself, the Air Force has given its new advanced
command-and-control center a weapon-like name, the "Falconer."
"When you go back and look at the lessons identified and the
technologies identified from Enduring Freedom - the military's formal
name for the war on terrorists in Afghanistan - you will see some
wonderful capabilities that we had not demonstrated before in the
ability to kill targets faster," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert F.
Behler, who heads the Aerospace Command and Control and Intelligence,
Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center at Langley Air Force Base in
Hampton, Va.

Information Platforms

The Air Force hopes the center will help integrate the information
gathered by satellites in space, reconnaissance aircraft over the
battlefield and sensors on the ground to help commanders make decisions
more quickly.
Each of those information "platforms" would play a special role that
makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. For example, said
Behler, a targeting sequence might begin when a satellite detected a
radio transmission. The satellite would automatically notify a Joint
Stars airborne radar system that keeps track of vehicles moving on a
battlefield. Joint Stars would find the transmitting vehicle and order a
Predator drone aircraft to move in and take video images of it.
"What we're trying to do is have digits talk to each other, the ones and
zeros talking machine language," Behler said. "You find it and fix it,
track it and target it, and just before you engage it, you have a human
break point that says, 'Okay, that's a good target and all the rules of
engagement are played into it.' "
In Afghanistan, the Predator fed real-time targeting video directly to
AC-130 gunships, which were then able to attack targets. CIA operatives
using armed Predators achieved the U.S. military's long-standing goal of
reducing the time from "sensor to shooter" to almost zero.

Where Battle Is Fought

Ultimately, what Behler is doing at the Falconer command-and-control
center in Virginia is not that different from the Army experiment with
the new brigade in Washington state.
Here at Fort Lewis, Capt. J.C. Glicks's infantry company is part of the
Army's effort to be light enough to deploy overseas quickly but strong
enough to survive once it gets to the fight. To achieve this balance,
the new unit has a far different organization than past infantry
brigades. It has its own military intelligence, signal and medical
detachments, not usually part of a traditional Army brigade.
More strikingly, it possesses a unit not seen before in the Army: A
"Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron" designed
to acquire information and feed it to other units in the brigade. To
help it acquire the information, the squadron will fly its own air force
of four unmanned armed vehicles.
One of the biggest training challenges facing the new Army unit is
learning how to surf the wave of incoming information, rather than drown
in it. So, for days at a time, commanders and troops from the unit
hunker down before rows of computer screens to learn how to understand
and use the battlefield information flow.

Information Is Key

"This is where the battle is fought, so to speak," Lt. Col. Kevin
McClung said. "The key in all this is information dominance - and we
have more information about ourselves and the enemy, which will make us
more lethal when we fight."
There is concern, however, that the ability of computers and machines to
collect information exceeds soldiers' ability to process it. "We can
provide so much information to you here it will really slow down your
decision process," Behler warned.
As the tense exercises in the Fort Lewis simulation center indicate, the
military's emphasis on information also creates new vulnerabilities.
Growing dependence on information - and the machines that gather it -
means it is likely that future adversaries will attack the information
networks, Cebrowski said. He said the military should prepare for
attacks on reconnaissance planes, on satellites and their ground
terminals, and on the communications systems that link them.
"This is the information age," said the career naval aviator. "The
battle is over the source of power."

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