Impact of Information and Precision-Strike Technologies on Future Warfare
Future war paper
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING (SAW)
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This paper argues that future war is best served by decentralized organizations and command structures despite the obvious inclination to centralize offered by the fast developing information and precision strike technologies. For several reasons, there is a tendency to utilize developing precision strike and information technologies in centralized organizations with centralized command and control. This is a tendency pointing in another direction than current doctrine for most Western armed forces that preach some kind of maneuver warfare. This raises the question of whether the centralization tendencies, with a subsequent shift in doctrine offered by the new technologies is the best way to go, or if current doctrine is basically sound and only needs adjustments to accommodate the developments The paper is divided into three parts. It first gives a short description of a possible future decentralized structure built around the three theoretical levels of war. The upper two levels are HQs while the warfighters are a number of taskforces, joint or functional, at the tactical level. The number of intermediate levels is greatly reduced. In part two it creates a basic platform for the later discussions. It first gives a short general discussion on the characteristics of centralized and decentralized structures. It then describes the major characteristics of the evolving information and precision strike technologies. It points out possible future capabilities that might be provided. Based on this basic platform, part three will discuss how decentralized versus centralized structures fits into future war and how best to utilize the characteristics of the emerging capabilities.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics