WIRED: A Different Kind of Net-Centric Warfare in Iraq
Defense Industry Daily’s mandate is clear, and summed up well in our motto “daily news for defense procurement managers and contractors.” In most cases, our coverage limits itself to the events and issues around contracts that have already been issued, and/or key issues of doctrine and policy that are related to defense procurement. We also include reports from the field that bring home useful information about equipment performance, and serve as a reminder of what’s really important: usefulness to the people on the front lines.
Sometimes, news from the front lines also highlights important trends and force structure issues that go beyond the performance of any one system. “(Lt. Col. David) Labouchere of Mesopotamia,” which covered that British commander’s successful mobile/Bedouin approach in Iraq, was one. Now Noah Shachtman of WIRED’s award-winning defense blog Danger Room has written another. In the wake of the discussions in defense departments and ministries around the world concerning “network-centric warfare,” events like Israel’s recent Winograd Commission post-mortem of the 2006 war in Lebanon, and the Nov 28/07 security pact involving 6,000 Sunnis in Hawija, Noah’s article offers important food for thought to policy-makers and procurement managers alike. In his words…
“It’s an attempt at explaining why we’ve seen such a drop in violence in Iraq in recent months, and why it took so long to see a shift. My short answer: the U.S. dropped its somewhat techno-centric approach to prosecuting the war — and started focusing on Iraq’s social, political, tribal, and cultural networks instead… For the story, I scored a rare opportunity to spend time with a U.S. “psychological operations” team, getting into the heads of the people of Fallujah; hung out with an Army colonel who worked his tribal connections to bring stability to one of Iraq’s roughest towns; spent time with the heads of a controversial program to embed anthropologists into combat units; and interviewed General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq.”
“How Technology Almost Lost the War: In Iraq, the Critical Networks Are Social – Not Electronic” is worthwhile reading as one contemplates the future of net-centric warfare as it is currently sold – and what it might be turning into.