RE: Hi-Tech Warfare with China?

Tue, 8 Apr 1997 03:43:55 +0100
Richard K. Moore (

4/07/97, David Lloyd-Jones wrote:
This is the blather of florid colonels who have spent too long
in the sun. Unlike most fatuities, it does not even have the
virtue of being faintly true. It is simply nonsense. C4 stumbles
along, the same way C3, C2, and the various c1s always did.
Throwing a lot of stuff on a screen no more makes sense of it
than stuffing it in a cleft stick might have.

Wow - what a prompt and lengthy critique. Should I feel devastated or
flattered? Does Mr. Lloyd-Jones correctly expose the flimsy substance of
my analysis, or does he perhaps protesteth overmuch? Does he bring his
considerable insight to bear, or do we see a barrage of cheap-shot
commentary, some hardly worth responding to? Did we see the core of a
potential critique, or is emotional response to an unfavored perspective
all there is?

In the selection at the top, not atypically, we see broad, bold claims -
but with no attempt to provide the reader any reason to give them credence.
The authors at the Economist did in fact research their piece, and though
I may agree with Mr. LJ that some of their views are sophmoric, one would
expect that in dismissing concrete elements of their report, some germ of
factual information might be appropriate - some reference, say, to C4
performance statistics.

To follow this topic just a bit further, are we really to dismiss the
potency of the latest gadgetry so lightly? Desert storm I know had certain
special charcteristics - desert terrain, Iraqi capabilities exaggerated by
press, etc. - but the ability to carry out a predominantly night-time
precise air offensive, lose virtually no personnel, neutralize all counter
measures, systematically take out the nation's entire infrastructure, and
reduce enemy military activity to occasional futile gestures - all this
speaks somewhat positively about the deadly efficacy of the technology

Desert Storm was, one must acknowledge, a first field test of many
techno-applications, and both technology and training procedures will have
been already updated based on the field experience gained. The very short
generation-span (ie rapid innovation turnover) of electronic-based
technology is profoundly significant - it is misleading to extrapolate from
earlier experience with long-cycle, hardware-based armaments projects,
which might persist even longer than funding cycles.

To some extent, what the warfare revolution is about is hooking together
diverse systems of intelligence and control - each of which can be
independently upgraded as appropriate - and coordinating those components
synergystically by means of software. Sofware can compare (over time)
radar and infra-red images of the same object, for example, and distinguish
types of vehicles and their direction of travel. Not only functionality,
but also field usability, are the subject of ongoing refinement. One gets
into a situation where as many total-system advances come from software
updates as from new hardware deployment. And software evolution cycles -
design, test, refine - are very short indeed.


Enough about C4. I simply wanted to give some substantiation to my claim that DL's summary dismissal of C4 efficacy, as with most of his other dismissals, are simply insufficiently substantial to warrant the time of refuting each one. I stand behind my analysis and the observations on which it is based - I'd be glad to offer substantiation, sources, etc. in response to a more focused critique.

Regards, Richard