Future of War - suicide bombers changing rules of conflict

March 31 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Security   Year: General   Rating: 10

By Dick Pelletier

In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the US military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant felt he had to completely destroy Lee soldiers. In World War I, Pershing relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting machine. And the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and Japanese cities to win World War II.

These wars were not won by tactical or strategic brilliance but by the sheer weight of numbers – the awesome destructive power that only a fully mobilized and highly industrialized democracy can bring to bear. In these conflicts, US armies suffered and inflicted massive casualties. Our ability to both inflict and endure such casualties more effectively than could our adversaries ultimately resulted in victory.

However, this strategy is no longer effective. Inspired by latest information technologies, the US military has adopted new warfare tactics that eliminate the bloody matches of old. The new style seeks quick victory with minimal casualties on both sides and utilizes speed, flexibility, and surprise. It relies on precision firepower and integrates naval, air, and land forces into a seamless whole. This technique was clearly demonstrated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But experts predict that even this latest approach must change. Today, we experience conflict that includes warfare in which dominant military powers are confronted by a wide range of adversaries – from non-state radical ideologies (al Qaeda), to transnational criminal elements (Russian Mafia), to rogue states (N. Korea, Iran) – all employing unconventional tactics.

(cont.)

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Is U.S. Attorney General Mukasey Truly Oblivious to Accelerating Change?

March 24 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: 2008   Rating: 8

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey says he is quite surprised by the vast number of potential terrorist threats facing our nation.

In a closed session with reporters last Friday, the leader of the country’s Justice Department stepped up to the plate, exclaiming, “I’m surprised by how surprised I am.”

“It’s surprising how varied [the threat] is, how many directions it comes from, how geographically spread out it is,” he said.

My first reaction to this went something like: “Are you kidding me? Have you never heard of accelerating change, discussed the concept of a flattening world, or noticed how quickly technology is letting people all over the globe do more with limited resources?”

Of course, such statements are likely nothing more than political hyperbole intended to drum-up public support for the big telecom immunity battle currently shaping-up in Washington, in which case it’s at least something I can comprehend and chalk up to politics. But if Mukasey, the Attorney General, is being remotely serious, it indicates a frightening blind spot for accelerating change and possibly a deeper lack of strategic thinking throughout our government, which would not altogether come as a surprise.

Human progress is a double-edged sword. Social evolution constantly allows us to “do more, better, with less”, as systems theorist John Smart puts it. We can direct these new capabilities at improving our economy, finding new cures for new illnesses, improving the quality of human life, or use them to plot more effective terrorism, more quickly destabilize systems, or hoard more resources. The sword can cut both ways.

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Terrorist WMD attack likely within decade, say analysts

April 11 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Security   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

The world faces an estimated 70 percent chance of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack in the next decade, according to national security analysts surveyed for a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee study.

More than half of the 85 analysts contacted believed one or two new countries would acquire nuclear weapons within five years, and five more will obtain them in ten. They counted technology sharing between terrorist groups among activities that posed the greatest dangers, and attacks by terrorists as more likely than those posed by rogue states.

Committee Chair Senator Richard Lugar said that though the U.S. may be successful in building new democracies, we are not safe from small, fanatical terrorist cells that could possibly get their hands on nuclear materials.

How great is this risk? During the Cold War, the possibility of a nuclear war that could kill every American made it imperative to do anything possible to avoid conflict. Today, the consequence of even a single nuclear weapon exploding in a U.S. city is almost beyond imagination.

Terrorist’s armed with one nuclear bomb could murder a million people – killing in one day nearly twice as many Americans as died in both twentieth century World Wars combined.

A WMD attack on the U.S. would have catastrophic consequences for other countries too. Researchers at RAND, a government think tank, estimated that a nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach in California would cause immediate indirect costs worldwide of more than $3 trillion and, the shutting down of U.S. ports would cut world trade by 10 percent. (cont.)

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