Information Warfare: August 6, 2001


The use of "digitalization" on the battlefield means putting computer displays in most combat and command vehicles. Information about where friendly and enemy troops are shown, as well as the position of things like mine fields and obstacles. As the computer displays fill up with symbols, the troops tend to believe they know where everything is and concentrate on running a fast break on the enemy. In theory, this is good. The digitalization gives the user an information advantage. While the enemy is still trying to figure out who is where, the digital force knows where everyone is and is executing a crushing attack. In reality, not all the information on the displays is accurate or up to date, and this has led to some embarrassing friendly fire accidents. Not to mention wandering into mine fields or roadblocks no one managed to get into the digital database. This can be characterized as growing pains with the new technology. But it also points out that the digitalization technology works best, if it works at all, only with trained and disciplined troops. Computer games, which most of today's troops grew up with video games. One thing that characterizes these games is the widespread use of unambiguous information. What you see is what you have to deal with. On the battlefield, things aren't so clear cut. In fact, dealing with ambiguous information is one of those skills required for survival in combat. So the Nintendo generation must lose some bad habits before they can take full of battlefield digitalization.


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