Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Future Of The Military

Under Obama, the military is reduced to a giant sociological experiment by the undergrad psych students at Harvard, and technology developed by the greenest mad scientists money can buy.

Sen Mark Udall is up for election in 2014 and is in full campaign mode already. His latest contribution is to the greening of the national defense. His latest newsletter boasts:

Dear Fellow Coloradan,

What do GPS, flat-screen televisions and the Internet have in common? Before each became commonly available consumer goods, they were developed by the military.  Alternative fuels are on the cusp of similar cutting-edge development. 
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 in favor of my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, authorizing the Defense Department to continue its efforts to develop and use alternative fuels.
This is vitally important because you never know when we'll find ourselves in a military conflict in a region where the only available fuel for our Abrams tanks is dried cow chips. To this end, I can envision a tank with a 200 ft tall windmill on top and a boiler on the back into which the crew are frantically tossing the chips. Range and speed would be reduced but fewer people get killed in highway accidents at lower speeds.

This is green technology here on so many levels. Start your company now and get your own Abrams tank to play with and half a billion bucks to spend on your green ideas with the usual understandings that 10% will go to the DNC and the president's re-election* fund. Big bonuses to your companies management team 2 years out just before declaring bankruptcy are the norm. Don't forget to include a GPS, flat screen TV, and high speed internet connection for the tank crew.

*Or retirement fund if it turns out he can't repeal the 22nd amendment by executive order.


Brad K. said...

Um, I can envision the Oxen-mounted cavalry needed to assure that said chips are available as needed.

Adding combat-drover and combat-butcher (for when the lightning-fast advances through enemy fortifications outpaces the supply train and readi-meal transport) to the roster of military job classifications should go far to bolster civilian culture as veterans return to a renewed American rural life.

Actually, with drones so popular around the world, I suspect that anything useful we could do should be based on successfully countering whatever the Chinese, Iranians, and Venezuelans are fielding today. Abrams tanks are likely the wrong answer - something more mobile, something about the size of a VW microbus or so, something less likely to "throw a track" or flounder in mud. Or maybe the "urban assault vehicle" from the movie "Stripes".

Billll said...

Imagine a deployment of Chevy Suburbans, most armored vs 7.62 only with a M-2 or recoiless on the roof. The first one is remotely piloted from the second or third one in the convoy. The actual lead vehicle is a slow drone piloted from another vehicle. It works if you have air superiority. Depends on weather your fighting Afgans or Russkies.

Brad K. said...

I recall Donald Kingsbury's novel "The Moon Goddess and the Son". In one storyline, the hero, in college, befriends a student from another country, and in an idle moment outlines how easy it would be to set a small plane on an unpiloted course. Later in the story an unmanned Cessna crashes a bomb into the Kremlin. The novel came out in 1986, from the 1979 novella in Analog magazine.

What is interesting is the number of cheap technology gimmicks that have surface from "David's Sling", by Marc Steigler, from 1986. Marc discusses the autonomous "hopper", a battle field robot that hops around, assassinating any enemy seen to give orders (officers). The unmanned reconnaissance and attack drones? Check. What we haven't seen, yet, are the "crowbars", kinetic weapons launched from low orbit, a simple unpowered steel bar with minimal guidance to pick a likely target like tank, bunker, missile silo, etc. In the novel the development team of engineer nerds is hounded by the military because they leave out so much of the military infrastructure, manning, and budget. Go figure. The team also stepped around the procurement cycle that cripples the US military -- that was invented by Robert McNamara under President John F. Kennedy. The current procurement process is a bureaucratic nightmare, and boondoggle, for everyone but the career bureaucrat, and is responsible for the golden toilet seats, and the reason it costs hundreds of dollars to sell the government a simple, off the shelf hammer.

And your suburban fleet sounds almost like the agile jeeps featured in the TV show "Rat Patrol", from the North Africa campaign. And it is something that could likely be retrofitted to today's Mid-East campaign in a short while. Maybe send over some Chevy Volt's to load with sand and remote steering gear, so the loss wouldn't be significant as they discover booby traps.