January 26, 2004

Battlefield 'Net

The battlefield data network has often been highlighted in military science fiction such as David Drake's Hammer's Slammers series. But now this seems to be transitioning into current military science fact. The essential (but stubbornly not permalinked) StrategyPage provides a good description of the Small Tactical Arms Recognition Equipment (STARE) system that is moving into the US arsenal. A good STARE data sheet is available in PDF as well (this time from SMDC).

Eventually, Chief Wiggles is going to get his turn in the "how do we do this electronically" development cycle and I suspect that instead of meeting informants at a gate in future, the US will seed occupied zones with wireless internet access devices and airborne network points. Such devices will be distributed with FAQs of curfews and other occupation orders, occupation etiquette such as what to do if you're stopped for a search and how to make the process the quickest and least unpleasant it can be, and various programs for receiving food and other necessities. But the same devices also give the ability to report illness and injury, request compensation for US military damage, and do occupation currency transfers to help restart the local economy. From a military intelligence perspective, it will allow established informants to report in without leaving their homes and will cause no shortage of worries for insurgents because these things will be cheap and will be everywhere.

I've written about this stuff before under the heading occupation tech and it's likely the most neglected part of military transformation. The US is barely starting to wake up to the need to reconfigure and focus on occupation operations in destroyed or failed states. The IT implications of this are large and they have both strictly civilian and dual use implications.

Posted by TMLutas at January 26, 2004 01:57 PM