Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speed is Life

Cheap precision weapons have revolutionized warfare, and so far we are the only country that has taken full advantage of this change:

Military commanders the world over are struggling to figure out how to deal with the massive changes created by the arrival of JDAM. The United States has them, most of them, and the ability to stop others from using them (because America control the GPS satellites). The impact of JDAM has been enormous. It has made air power much more effective, reduced casualties for the force using them, and speeded up combat operations. Few non-professionals have noticed this, but generals and admirals of the major military powers have. These changes are will go down in history as a major shift in military capabilities, but the mass media has not really noticed what is going on here. Thus few people are aware of how much JDAM has changed the way wars are fought.

I mentioned this speed feature of precision weapons about a year ago when I noted new precision 2.75" DAGR rockets which continued the trend in precision capabilities:

Coupled with recon assets that now roam the battlefield, precision strike capability will continue this speeding up effect. Our ground forces can look to the day in conventional combat where we kick off attacks and count on our forces to spot enemies during the advance and then destroy them with precision weapons when identified. The speed of reaction may very well allow us to fight in damn near march order in non-urban areas without having to pause to deploy against resistance unless it is a major force well dug in and concealed.

And precision fire support means that line units won't need to fire as much because supporting units to the rear and in the air will take out the targets. And those supporting units won't need to resupply as often, too. So pauses to resupply will dwindle.

Given that night vision gear and land navigation abilities based on GPS allow us to operate 24/7, the limits of human endurance will be the next brake on the speed of combat tempo. We're working on that, too.

And of course, remember that the revolutionary increase in air power means that it is even more important to maintain aerial supremacy. Even if we can't take out an enemy satellite system that allows their rockets and artillery to use precision GPS-guided munitions, keeping their air force off of our troops while our Air Force pounds them (including their guns and rocket launchers) will give us the victory.