Wednesday: 03.March.2004

Hi-Tech War PBS

Watched a PBS special last night: hi-tech war. Many new hi-tech gadgets & weapons were used for the first time in the war with Iraq, in what the government calls network-centric warfare. I tuned in midway through, and, at first, thought I was watching a documentary about video games.

Everybody had a laptop. A map of the battlefield was displayed on screen, complete with grid coordinates. Different battalions were identified with/by different colors. GPS data updated everyone's position real-time (!). So everybody knew where everybody else was located .. so we wouldn't shoot our own guys .. like we did in the first Gulf war.

I was drooling, in geek heaven, watching this technology work. Almost made me want to re-enlist. (Almost.) They went into some detail about the new software used to create a "digital battle command system" called FBCB2 [Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below 2 (thx John)]. Sounds like something created for a Digital Warrior.

continued

Technology doesn't come as easy to older folks (like generals) as it does to younger kids, who grew up with it. You know the new adage: If you have a computer problem, find a 14-year-old. I've found that kids posses an intuitive understanding of computers, whereas older folks often find their use mechanical. So it surprised me to see these gray-headed guys playing (what looked like) video games, and looking comfortable discussing bleeding-edge technology.

I knew warfare was headed in that direction (toward network-centric operations), but this was the first time it has been implemented on such a grande scale. And it seems that the systems really work. You can imagine the headaches they must've had getting everything to work. I mean, I had trouble networking one computer to another, located in the next room.

Not once did I hear a single soldier use the term crash, lock-up, reboot, or blue-screen-of-death. When it works right (politics aside), technology can be a beautiful thing. Seems like much of the technology used in their new network-centric system could've easily been ported directly from online video games currently being used. More info here.





Posted by Rad at March 3, 2004 07:23 AM

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