Influence of Digital Dependance on the US Military Thesis

Pages: 4 (1732 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … Digitization of the U.S. Military

The development of digital technology has revolutionized the business and private culture of the day. With digital information technology businesses and individuals can occupy space hundreds or even thousands of miles away from other individuals or organizations and still maintain relatively instantaneous contact and access to information. The information and intelligence exchange in the U.S. armed forces has always been one of the most substantial of obstacles in warfare and peace, and the move toward digitization of such communications has been less swift than it has been in other sectors, mostly due to the need for essential and foolproof security and the resources that are needed to develop the it infrastructure, that digital technology requires. When the U.S. armed forces are fully digitized, and relying on this technology one hundred or at least 90% of the time this alteration will sensationalize actions on their part, allowing the system to make rapid decisions, never before possible.

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Yet, if this digital system is not given adequate maintenance and resources, just like worn vehicles, armor and radios of the past, the system will likely fail, and the alternative systems will not be able to keep up with the needs of a modern military conflict. If the digital infrastructure is put in place effectively, adequately maintained and fully failsafe it will be revolutionary, yet if the opposite occurs, even in part it will become a drain on military branches that does not serve the needs of the modern soldier, or the modern military. Despite the fact that the internet, has its origins in the development of military-based back up systems allowing networks to hold and transfer information almost instantaneously if one of the computers on the network (ARPANET) were destroyed, the military still runs the risk of becoming a casualty in the digital transformation.

Thesis on Influence of Digital Dependance on the US Military Assignment

In 2003 the U.S. Army was noted by many as being strategicly underprepared for fully online digital communications, or digital systems. Though things have improved the limitations and stretched resources of the military, fighting in one active war, and at least two active military operations, not to mention several territorial protection situations, are clearly threadbare and many feel as if soldiers and equipment are operating under prepared. The result of this fear has been to privatize many "nonessential" services, some of which actually include significant private involvement in digital and other technology.

Privatized Military History" reviews the rise, triumph, and decline of private military forces up through the 19th century. A follow-up chapter offers an explanation for the proliferation of PMFs at the turn of the 21st century, arguing that they can be understood as part of a worldwide trend toward privatization of government functions, with commercialized military services marking the most striking manifestation, and with the meltdown of the Cold War standoff generating a climate where such services are in high demand.

In the opinion of many these privatized services have gone far to further stretch the dwindling military resources, as services are being provided inadequately and for far more money than many would expect to be spent on them.

THE WAR in IRAQ COULD NOT HAVE taken place without a network of for-profit contractors upon which the U.S. military has come to depend. Some 20,000 employees of private military companies (PMCs) and of more traditional military contractors accompanied the U.S. forces in the buildup to war in the Middle East. They maintained computers and communications systems in Kuwait, Qatar and other locations, handled many aspects of logistics as the military's supply lines moved through Iraq and helped the Pentagon identify key targets in Iraq. As hostilities began, many of these PMC employees were integral to the American effort, keeping communications secure, assisting with the reopening of Iraq's southern oil fields and performing many other crucial tasks, often right behind the front lines.

Though many frequently assume that some of the possibly substandard services that are developed and performed by PMCs are truly "nonessential" such as laundry, the reality is that all of the services provided by these PMCs are essential, including but not limited to the provision of clean drinking water to soldiers the logistics of their equipment and gear and most importantly the digital technology infrastructure. Though it has been assumed that private industry has been more effective at digital the transformation, there is a clear sense that oversight and security could be essentially breeched, as a result of privatization. Leaks of information could endure, private communications, that were in the past restricted, due to the need to maintain secrecy and control can and have occurred, at the hands of privatized systems that have guidelines and limits to information transfer but don't always follow or enforce them.

What's more, using PMCs allows the Pentagon to avoid scrutiny of its actions. PMCs that obtain Pentagon contracts worth less than $50 million do not have to notify Congress, and the Pentagon has admitted it has no idea how many PMC workers it actually employs. "Congress has little oversight of what PMCs are doing in Colombia," says Sanho Tree, an expert on South America at the Institute for Policy Studies. "This is how the Pentagon wants it, because they can put more troops in Colombia than they are allowed." As a result, Tree says, America encourages the Colombian military, one of the least transparent and most abusive in the world, to be even more opaque.

Paid arms of the U.S. military can then effectively get away with a lot, and when such situations surface the private organizations have little if any real accountability for leaks of information, substandard work or seriously limited technological functioning.

This is not to say that all the "digital" mistakes are made by private companies, as the military itself demonstrates repeatedly that to err is human, even when the error was the object of limited technology training, the technology itself and its maintenance and development. Though the military is clearly not at a standstill with digital development possibilities serious resources need to be spread out to conform the systems to those that help rather than hinder actions, and through internal transparency as well. Digital wars, might lower the number of actual military lives lost, as does the privatization of services, yet the opposite could be true if the system is not seriously invested in, with regard to development, security, training and maintenance by the most adept individuals and organizations, be they military or private. The creation of systems that can endure travel, rough terrain, dust, moisture and many of the other things that live military action exposes them to will likely prove easier than the development of a system that has adequate backup, adequate security, adequate maintenance and fully trained individuals to use it and possibly abuse it. With the needs of the military growing, in every area where the defense force is deemed by the president and congress as being needed, the services must be top notch and digitization is no exception. If the military deems it necessary to continue to rely on privatization to develop and maintain systems then this is fine, as long as all the failsafes are kept in place and accountability, with loss of contracts, or even possible criminal actions need to be developed concurrently. Each player in the system, military or otherwise needs to be fully aware of the digital possibilities and limitations as well as the need for adequate maintenance and security of systems and intelligence. If these things can occur, then the military will likely see fantastic results, if they do not then the system will become like an ox bridle on the neck of the soldiers and the system.

Works Cited www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102376181

Lax, Stephen, ed. Access Denied in the Information Age / . New York: Palgrave, 2001. Book online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102376197.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008. www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5007239156

Hoffman, Michael H. "Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry." Parameters 34, no. 3 (2004): 153+. Database online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5007239156.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008. www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001916974

Kurlantzick, Joshua. "Outsourcing the Dirty Work: The Military and Its Reliance on Hired Guns." The American Prospect, May 2003, 17+. Database online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001916974.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008. www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5022533831

Peters, Charles. "Tilting at Windmills." Washington Monthly, September 2007, 7+. Database online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5022533831.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008. www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002396215

Toomey, Christopher J. "Army Digitization: Making it Ready for Prime Time." Parameters 33, no. 4 (2003): 40+. Database online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002396215.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008. www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102376181

Winston, Brian. "9 'smell the Tulips': the Internet, Neo-Liberalism and Millenarian Hype," in Access Denied in the Information Age / . Edited by Lax, Stephen, 161-177. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Book online. Available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102376364.Internet. Accessed 10 December 2008.

Christopher J. Toomey, "Army Digitization: Making it Ready for Prime Time," Parameters 33, no. 4 (2003) [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002396215;Internet; accessed 10 December 2008.

Charles Peters, "Tilting at Windmills," Washington Monthly, September 2007 [database online]; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5022533831;Internet; accessed 10… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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