Why did I post a pic of one of my books? Well, I hate to beat my own drum, but I called some recent developments in the field of modern war and combat.
Recently I saw an article at cheeseburgergothic.com about the fighting in Armenia, it was frightening in its implications.
Around the same time I saw another article in yahoo news/military.com about how the US Army is once again attempting to field infantry networking systems.
If you combine these two articles together, you come up with the inescapable conclusion that the age of unaided light infantry is drawing, or has drawn, to a close.
In the case of the fighting in far Armenia, the Azerbaijani forces were able to prevail using cheap drones over well-equipped conventional forces. Many, many armored vehicles were destroyed using loitering “suicide” drones. The little flying bombs would simply float over a target area and they would wait until a suitable target presented itself.
Boom. No more tank, command center, etc.
This is one reason I have always hated armored vehicles. They draw too much fire. Apparently nothing has changed. In fact, it has only gotten worse.
The implications for the world’s conventional forces are stunning.
An example would be the US Army’s pride, the M-1 Abrams tank. We have literally thousands of these; each is worth millions of dollars. So much scrap to a drone.
These flying mines prosecute one of the principles of war; MASS.
Massing forces these days will get you killed. All the humans that are in the drone’s decision chains have to do is to determine approximately where enemy forces are massed. They can dispatch the drones and kick back, maybe crack open a beer and watch the footage.
Guys/girls gathered around a tank. A dusty black explosion. Nothing left but the crying.
How do you counter the rise of the drones?
Your own drones, plus you make the infantry harder, faster, and smarter.
The mission is, and will always be, to “close with and kill the enemy.”
Tanks are too big. Too easy to hit. Similar conclusions will soon be drawn about navies, as well.
Drone swarm over a carrier group, anybody?
Ugly. We need to think about this now. The solution is the Armored Infantry on a supersonic troopship. Worldwide power projection within hours, independent of cumbersome vehicles. Tanks and by extension carriers/carrier groups are deathtraps; our forces need to be lethal and agile.
Right now we’re not there, and neither is anyone else. But someone, somewhere is thinking hard about this problem. They have seen Armenia, they understand the implications.
The age of conventional combined-arms forces has past.
If you grab a rifle and you go up against new-style forces, you will die. This is an inescapable truth; ten years ago I saw this over and over again. There is even less reason to believe that its true now. If you think you can take on a motivated government-backed military with courage and an assault rifle, you will fail. Not only will you fail, but you will pay with your life.
(Caveat and glaring exception: The wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. This is like whack-a-mole. Kill all you want, and they just keep coming. They can’t win, but they can outlast. This is the insurgent’s strategy in a nutshell, and it only works against humans. Remove humans from the loop and the insurgencies would fail.)
The machine doesn’t care about whether your cause is just. The machine could give a rat’s ass about your courage. The machine doesn’t grow tired, unmotivated, or hungry. It either works, or it does not. If it does work, you die.
To counter the machines, we must be paired with a machine. A machine that is loyal to us. That aids us. That enhances our fighting ability, our decision making capabilities. There is no other choice.
If we continue to field strictly human armies we invite defeat by those who do not.
Like love and sex, no one ever plays by the rules in war either. Any advantage will be grasped immediately and exploited ruthlessly.
We cannot afford to continue doing what we’ve been doing; shoveling mountains of money into obsolete weapons systems and paradigms.
Think about it. How survivable is a C-5 Galaxy in a non-permissive air environment? Or the vaunted F-35 JSF? The lumbering M-1 tank? The list goes on.
Too big, too slow, to rich a target.
We need the infantry fighting suit, the hypersonic troopship, and the doctrine to match. It would be helpful to have our own hunter/killer mini drones as well.
This is not a wish list. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is a must.