The US military likes to talk about how their advantage is people but they really don’t believe that. What they believe is the primacy of technology.
C4ISRNet website has an interesting article that talks a bit about the consequences to the US if China – or any enemy – can disrupt our assumed dominance and reliability of data and networks. They liken this to the boxer, Mike Tyson, who said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. The US military has a plan and it’s a beautiful, wondrous thing full of flawless data, seamless networks, real time awareness, and instantaneous flow of information from the very top to the lowest grunt on the ground.
The problem which the article ponders is what happens when our command and control and networks are attacked and fail?
Today, China and Russia channel Tyson through strategies that attack U.S. military information and command systems and exploit the resulting cognitive and psychological disruption. (1)
After 30 years fighting below its so-called weight class, the Pentagon has largely forgotten how to deal with opponents that can disrupt its information and command-and-control systems. (1)
So, what is the solution to this potential punch in the mouth disruption? As always, it’s technology.
U.S. armed forces desperately need a new network architecture … (1)
The solution, as the military sees it, is more technology and more advanced technology. It’s not better trained people who can function without being micromanaged. It’s not using commander’s intent instead of voluminous orders (Air Force Air Tasking Order, anyone?). It’s not training people to operate in total EMCON. It’s not encouraging independent thought and actions at the low level.
Train people well and you don’t even need technology.
Slightly encouraging, the article recognizes that trying to maintain our assumed data and network dominance is a fool’s errand and suggests, instead, that the military strive to be better at degraded operations than the enemy.
… the Pentagon should aim for degradation dominance: operating effectively enough with degraded systems. (1)
I give partial credit and recognition to the article’s author for this insight. Indeed, I’ve said the exact same thing many times and even wrote a story illustrating the concept (see, “Piece It Together”). The reason I give only partial credit is that the author, after correctly stating the problem and the required solution, then goes on to suggest that the path to the solution is, again, via technology rather than people and training.
We absolutely do need technology that has degradation resilience built into it but the more important aspect is training people to operate in a degraded environment rather than expecting technology to compensate for the degradation.
(1)C4ISRNet website, “The Pentagon needs a plan to get punched In the mouth”, Christopher M. Dougherty, 20-May-2021,