The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions


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Precision warfare is a key element to these new war strategies. Other countries including Australia, Singapore, the UK and Sweden, were early adopters of the new US approach, while other countries followed later, such as Germany in Before going to war, military planners increasingly test their strategies in computer simulations developed in the commercial sector to see how the strategies might work in practice.

But reality does not always match the outcome of a computer game. Michael Schmidt, professor of international law at the United States Naval War College in Rhode Island, says that while planning an attack, computer simulations are used to predict impacts. The simulations assume that using precision weapons will reduce casualties. War games are also used for recruiting and training soldiers, providing virtual warfare in which a soldier never really dies.

The opportunities offered by the new war strategies and the technological development for weapons systems falsely indicate that wars in the 21st century can be fought virtually and bloodlessly. US President George W.

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The War on Terror involves measures against some governments and international terrorist organizations. It is a perpetual armed conflict, with no clear conditions for resolution and with ongoing tensions that can escalate at any moment. The US and its NATO allies are using remote control and precision weapons in the War on Terror, peace enforcing operations and in the subsequent Long War period of asymmetric warfare against insurgents. These weapons are designed to make it possible for armed forces to control a hostile territory without sending in large numbers of soldiers. The US military believed that by using new technology, the War on Terror could be a new type of war, one that was rapid, precise and low in casualties.

Networks of state and non-state actors fight the wars, and violence is most often targeted toward civilians. The distinctions between combatant and non-combatant and between legitimate violence and crime are breaking down. Precision weapons have so far not been precise enough to discriminate between fighters and civilians, and soldiers using remote control weapons are not distant enough to be invulnerable to attacks.

Precision warfare is not bloodless

Illusion of bloodless war. Technological trends give the false promise of virtual bloodless war. This notion challenges the theory that democratic states are more peaceful than authoritarian states. Others observe that precision weapons may actually encourage war. In the coming decades, European governments may no longer exhaust other options before resorting to military force. Instead, the European Defence Agency EDA expects governments to use both in parallel, and under close media attention, against an unequal adversary hiding among the civilian population.

According to the EDA, European governments will increasingly deploy precision weapons and techniques for identifying and observing adversaries hiding among civilian populations. A Hamas militant stands next to an Israeli military surveillance drone aircraft. Democratic states going to war are not likely to improve human rights or keep their soldiers safe with the current imprecise precision warfare. The images of soldiers in body bags and the number of civilian casualties contradict the dream of bloodless war. This seems to encourage military technology decision makers to solicit more precise weapons or replace soldiers with robots.

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Still, there are alternatives to this vicious cycle of perpetual precision warfare. Several other solutions have been proposed, including employing more military force, utilizing more police and intelligence methods, and using more good old-fashioned diplomacy.


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Precision warfare may fail to force the enemy into submission, because it does not last long enough and because it does not undermine military and civilian morale. The society as a whole may not start questioning its national leaders and hostile ideology, and continue to support insurgents.

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Get to Know Us. Skip to content Skip to search. Home All editions This edition , English, Book edition: The revolution in military affairs: Published [Carlisle Barracks, PA]: Strategic Studies Institute, U. Check copyright status Cite this Title The revolution in military affairs: Author Tilford, Earl H. Army War College, [] Physical Description vi, 20 p.

The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions : Earl H. Tilford :

Military planning -- United States. United States -- Military policy. Notes "June 23,

The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions
The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions The Revolution in Military Affairs: Prospects and Cautions

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