Followers of technology

This is by no means an original thought - but the problem is persisting and huge.

Our Western forces pay lip service to tactical innovations first, but focus their continuing improvement efforts on the introduction of new high-tech tools and weapons.

Many experts have complained about the insufficiency of technological answers to problems. The enemy can counter almost every technological superiority to a high degree. This does often lead to costly arms races without really improving the relative position of the first innovator. The most successful technological innovations were those which remained either undetected by adversaries for a long time (like Ultra deciphering) and those which were exceptionally difficult to counter (like motorization). The latter were often countered by adopting them as well. A rule of thumb is that a spectacular technological advance will quickly fade as advantage as it provokes a strong reaction. Think about stealth in this context...

The questionable long-term effect of technological advances isn't the only shade on this.
Another disadvantage is the huge cost of R&D and production. It's difficult to sustain the high expenses in the long run when your adversaries can keep up with much less expenses for copying and countering your technology. The high expenses don't only risk the national security, but they're also a huge strain on the taxpayers which expect for good reason that the military does its job without major financial waste.

Another problem surrounding technological warfare is that technology often doesn't keep its promises in restricted terrain types and harsh real-world conditions in general.

The fourth and most important problem associated with the focus on technology is its root:
The defense industry cannot earn money by developing phenomenal tactics, military theory, drills, strategies and operations plans. It earns money by R&D and eventual production of hardware and software.
There's no lobbying for the brain-related factors in warfare besides good will and intellect of the people in administration and military. But there's a huge lobby for technology, as an entire industry branch can live off that. This powerful lobby is likely the primary reason for the drift towards technology-centric warfare.

It's very unlikely that this coincides with the optimum, and in fact many experts have complained about technology-centric development of the military. This encompasses most NATO forces, especially the larger ones with an indigenous arms industry.

Complaints alone will never solve the problem as long as the cause - the lobbying - continues. And it's highly unlikely that this lobbying can be suppressed ... to fight lobbying is very uncommon and usually unsuccessful as lobbying fulfills a desire of bureaucrats for a simpler life and more prestige as bureaucrat.

We need a counterweight to the lobbying for technology - a lobbying for improvements that don't need much more than the brains of our soldiers for their implementation.
This could be an institution solely for such solutions with a strict ban on (high-)technological approaches. Another possibility to promote non-technological solutions could be to issue call for tenders about non-technological solutions - valued as high as a technological offer would be.

Sven Ortmann

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