The Quest for Achilles Shield: Is the American Military's Fetish with Technology Harming Mission Accomplishment?
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT ADVANCED WARFIGHTING SCHOOL
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United States combat operations and stability and support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed a number of strategic, operational and tactical - level challenges . Chief among them was the effect the enemy s use of IEDs had on United States and allied operations. The typical response to most problems, with the possible exception of the surge of troops in both theaters, was technological. The technological efforts to counter the effects of improvised explosive devices IEDs met with mixed results. The development of dismounted mine detectors allowed Soldiers to identify IEDs , reducing casualties while conducting dismounted operations. The addition of electronic jamming equipment, both vehicle-mounted and dismounted, reduced the impact of IED attacks for these forces as well. While these technological solutions proved beneficial in the execution of assigned missions, the force protection technologies were less effective. The Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected MRAP series of vehicles provided Soldiers with greatly increased armored protection while conducting patrols and other combat operations. But solving this problem resulted in a vehicle that was too large to easily transit the battlespace, had minimal troop carrying capability depending on the variant, and further isolated the Soldier from the population. This technological solution to the IED problem resulted in a series of vehicles that made the accomplishment of the primary mission, securing th e population, more difficult. This follows a trend in the United States of focus ing primarily on technological solutions for every problem. Without a comprehensive and shared understanding of the strategic and operational environment, the acquisition of technological solutions like the MRAP generate unforeseen second and third order effects that negatively impact the ability of units to accomplish their mission.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare