Thursday, November 03, 2005

Challenge: Beyond Detection

Challenge for US airpower in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for possible scenarios in North Korea, Iran, and other countries in which we might be involved: the enemy will hide yes...But more importantly, the enemy will run. Constantly. SCUD missiles launchers will not stay put. Neither will troops or mobile surface-to-air missiles. Ground units will probably practice dispersed warfare; they will be scattered, running, and hiding across the battlespace. If they are smart they'll rarely (if ever) mass in large formations.

Our adversaries will try to hinder our detection and identification capabilities. No matter how accurate your smart bombs are, you can't strike what you can't find. Even if we find the prospective targets, from the air, the enemy might be indistinguishable from civilian noncombatants. The enemy might be intermixed with civilian noncombatants so that even if he is found our decision to strike him will be colored by collateral damage concerns. The challenge: to distinguish friend from foe; dummy equipment from operating equipment; combatant from noncombatant.

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