From Gettysburg To The Gulf And Beyondby Richard J. Dunn Iii
In the military realm, we have won the most technologically
Today, at the close of the twentieth century, technology is changing at a pace without precedence in human history. One day's marvel becomes a necessity of ordinary life the next. Rapid technological change permeates the whole of human existence, exhausting our mental ability to comprehend and cope.
In the military realm, we have won the most technologically sophisticated war ever fought. With lightning speed, high-tech weaponry annihilated a massive Iraqi force while the world watched minute-by-minute from its living rooms, leading to a fundamental question of critical importance to the armed services and the nation: How does our military - as an institution - deal with technological change? How well have we done it in the past, and how well are we prepared to do it in the future? What approach should we use? How do we even frame the issues?
Herein lies the subject of this paper. Readers who seek exciting acronym-spiced accounts of futuristic battles fought with their favorite high-tech weaponry are encouraged to look elsewhere. The issue here is much more mundane - and much more important - than specific applications of technology: it is, rather, our basic ability to comprehend the total impact of technology on warfare. If, however, you suspect this issue is dull and uninspiring stuff, let me conjure up a few mental images for you.
Pickett's Brigade, arrayed as if on parade in ordered gray and butternut ranks behind their tattered but proud colors, mown down in their thousands on a warm July day at Gettysburg.
The youth of the British Empire, dying by entire regiments in front of barbed wire and machine guns along the Somme.
The British Expeditionary Force, standing stoically shoulder deep in the sea like human piers at Dunkirk.
Crazily tilted masts of the sunken US Battleship Arizona emerging from the roiling masses of black smoke at Pearl Harbor.
Lines of twisted and burnt Iraqi tank hulks stretching from horizon to horizon across the sands of Kuwait.
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