May 23, 2002
The Pentagon reports that the lessons learned in Afghanistan have shown that plans for modernizing the US military are exactly what is needed to fight future wars. Critics note that the military always finds every lesson supports its previous theory of what to do. Some notes:
@ The various intelligence agencies were able to share data more easily and readily than ever before. This is a problem often cited in previous conflicts, and it seems on the way to being fixed.
@ There is a great need for more human translators (especially to accompany the troops in the field) and a serious need for more computer programs that can rapidly translate intercepted communications. Documents captured in Afghanistan are converted to digital images and Emailed back to the US for quick analysis. On 11 September of last year, the National Security Agency had only four employees who could understand the various Afghan languages. The US actually dropped leaflets in Afghanistan that said "stay in your house and we will kill you" due to a translation error.
@ Enemies are able to spoof US satellites and recon aircraft with camouflage, concealment, deceptions, dummy targets, and other things. Numerous captured documents listed the expected times of US satellite passes. The counter to this is Measurement & Signatures Intelligence, a long-neglected field. This notes that changes between one image and a later
one, helping identify trails being used and caves being occupied.
@ Armed Predator drones, able to orbit over a suspected enemy area for hours waiting for a target to hit with their missile, have proven invaluable.
@ Information Operations are another new form of warfare. This analyzes and manipulates data to create false impressions among enemy forces and is used in psychological warfare--Stephen V Cole