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Realities of Space Age & the Realities of Carl von Clausewitz's Theories of "Fog and Friction"

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The advent of Space force enhancement capabilities, as applied directly to improving the effectiveness of forces across the full spectrum of operations by providing worldwide operational assistance to combat elements, potentially reduces the effects of Carl von Clausewitzs famous fog and friction of war. The Space assets utilized in Space force enhancement can be critical combat multipliers by providing combatant commanders with real time information that greatly enhances situational awareness and decision- making. But a cautionary note accompanies these technological advances. Satellite technologies provide a commander with a wealth of data, which, if not properly synthesized, have the potential to overwhelm. Thus, modern fog and friction can be caused by having to decipher too much information, just as it arises when leaders possess too little data to make measured decisions. Carl von Clausewitz 1780-1831 described the essence of war in his famous work, On War EVERYTHING IN WAR IS VERY SIMPLE, BUT THE SIMPLEST THING IS DIFFICULT. THE DIFFICULTIES ACCUMULATE AND END BY PRODUCING A KIND OF FRICTION THAT IS INCONCEIVABLE UNLESS ONE HAS EXPERIENCED WAR . . . FOG CAN PREVENT THE ENEMY FROM BEING SEEN IN TIME, A GUN FROM FIRING WHEN IT SHOULD, A REPORT FROM REACHING THE COMMANDING OFFICER. There have been many theorists over the years who have analyzed Clausewitzs theories on friction some speculated that as the technology revolution came to fruition the friction of war would diminish. It is generally believed that the onset of the digital age, and the additional information available to commanders, would greatly reduce the fog and friction of war to virtually nothing. Technological advancements, however, have only improved the access to data and increased the amount of data collected. Technological advancements have not been able to automatically synthesize the collected data into useful intelligible knowledge that aids in a leaders decision.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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