28 January 2016

How technology transforms conflict

Kevin G. Coleman,  January 26, 2016
The art and science of modern warfare have been undergoing a dramatic change in recent years. You don’t have to go back 10 years, just look back at 2008. That was the year a USB flash drive inserted malicious code into a U.S. Central Command computer and spread into the classified systems of the military. The same malware found its way to some of our allies and disrupted a substantial part of one country’s fleet.
The convergence of the physical and cyber worlds was inevitable. Many are projecting this to occur over the next few years. In all actuality, it has already begun and appears to be accelerating. Technology has already created the need for many new jobs in the military and intelligence communities as well as the private sector. In fact, many of the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not even exist in 2004. All that adds up to a substantial amount of change that will befall the military and intelligence communities
The strategies and tactics employed in modern military conflict are extremely dependent on technology. Some have even gone as far as to say that military superiority demands technological superiority. They point to unmanned vehicles and robots used for patrolling and in actual combat operations. Some have even suggested complete combat brigades of armed robots.
As models of armed conflict change to ones that are much more technology intensive, some have expressed their concerns. The first concern is that we become less humane because the conflict will take place remotely with few soldiers being placed in harm’s way. The second concern deals with the magnitude of change that will take place over the next few years. All of us adapt to change in different ways and at various rates. How will we get those that adapt slower to pick up their pace of change? Or will they just be cast aside because they do not have the adaptability necessary in the military of tomorrow. Think of the magnitude of change the career military has already seen. That is likely to pale in comparison to the technological changes that will take place in the next 10 to 20 years.

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