The technology of this war will make the Gulf War look primitive:
- If the United States launches a war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, it is from this windowless, high-tech room that senior officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will direct the battle.
The Joint Operations Center is at the heart of a sprawling, 262-acre base built up in recent months as the diminutive Persian Gulf state of Qatar has emerged as the region’s key U.S. ally.
….In contrast to the Persian Gulf War, more than a decade ago, officers said they expect to be able to link spy planes, satellites, ships, troops, tanks and bombers to develop more exact information on targets and movements much more quickly — a big picture of the battlefield in “real time,” or something very close to real time.
That, they say, can go a long way toward minimizing so-called friendly fire accidents, which accounted for a quarter of American battle deaths in the earlier conflict.
At that time, according to chief of operations Marine Col. Tom Bright, officers in charge often had to rely on units radioing their fast-changing positions up the chain of command, with a precision often eroded by the heat of battle. Missions were frequently planned with outdated photographs and maps.
This time, technology is meant to prevail. Every Humvee, tank and truck moving on Iraq will be equipped with a $10,000 radio device that automatically transmits its position back to headquarters, said Air Force Col. Steven Pennington, another operations chief. It is called a Blue Force Tagger and Tracking device: U.S. forces are “blue,” the enemy is “red.” [LA Times]
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