The Force-on-Force Model: An Anachronism in the Information Age
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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If confronted with an enemy sniper in a darkened room would you want more ammunition, a larger caliber weapon, or night vision goggles Those who make decisions on how to man and equip our forces depend on models that cannot answer this question. Built during the Cold War to respond to concerns over incremental changes in force structure and weaponry, these models are unable to measure the impact of revolutionary advances in information technologies. Born of the industrial age, they are inadequate for the information age. At stake is operations research, a product of the industrial age, and more importantly our national security which depends on this discipline. A much promised peace dividend and consensus on the dawn of the information age raised expectations that we could anticipate significant decreases in defense budgets and force structure. While the military has indeed been downsized, this has been a response to budget cuts and the end of the Cold War, not to investments in information technologies. The Armed Forces are smaller, but we have not restructured to realize savings in the same way as the private sector. This reflects the failure of decisionmakers and those operations research analysts who support them to abandon the industrial age force-on-force models of the past. The information revolution sweeping our lives will also sweep the battlefield of tomorrow. Yet budget decisions on force structure and military technology depend on decades-old industrial age attrition models. Such models were intended to measure incremental change and not to explore revolutionary advances. The longer decisionmakers take to adapt, the less likely it is that we will attain the security innovations that capitalize on emerging technologies. Moreover, we risk failing to demonstrate the tangible cost benefits associated with information technology.
- Information Science
- Computer Systems
- Military Forces and Organizations