The Pentagon wants to deploy a host of exotic new weapons systems. Critics say too much of this costly hardware is designed to fight the wrong war. The attack would come quickly, and it would be awful. Cruising far offshore, the U.S. Navy's DD(X) destroyer launches 20 artillery shells in less than a minute. As the satellite-guided weapons fall back to Earth at 830 mph, computer algorithms alter their flight paths so that the 250-pound projectiles all strike the same patch of ground at the same time, reducing everything in the vicinity to rubble and dust. If more firepower is needed, the destroyer can unleash another 580 artillery rounds, as well as 80 Tomahawk missiles. And when the attack is over, the ship simply vanishes. On a radar screen, the DD(X)'s stealthy hull makes the 14,000-ton vessel look like just another fishing boat, casting its nets into the sea.
The folks at the top apparently like the shift
AIR SUPPORT: The single greatest fix prior to the next war lies in empowering ground forces to employ precision air attack faster over a dispersed battlefield. We've got plenty of planes. But every ground unit moving independently should have the equipment and the training to call in air.
PERSONAL ARMOR: Twenty-five pounds of armor, on top of all the other gear a soldier carries, means that in a dismounted firefight the rifleman lugs at least 60 extra pounds. The Pentagon needs to place a higher priority on reducing the weight of body armor.
DETECTION THROUGH CONCRETE: In Fallujah in November 2004, there were hundreds of fights inside concrete houses because the Marines had no means of scanning before entry. Given the enormous increase in engagements in urban areas, this gap in surveillance must be closed.
A NEW HUMMER: The shape of this workhorse renders it vulnerable to ever-improving explosive devices, even when up-armored. A Pentagon task force is designing a successor to handle the critical task of moving troops and supplies at and near the front lines. The cost will be big-but nothing compared to the cost of developing, say, the F-22 Raptor. And a new Hummer will have a far greater impact in saving the lives of American troops.
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