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June 10, 2004

Asymmetric war reporting

Reason takes on journalists reporting on military affairs who know next to nothing about the military (via QandO).

The news stories you saw in the wake of the attacks alleging that the institutions of U.S. national security entirely failed to foresee their possibility were sometimes written by the same people who wrote the earlier stories describing -- in some cases dismissing -- the warnings. Itís a fair guess that there are some awfully frustrated people in the military and intelligence communities right now.

But a posture of surprise in the face of widely available facts isnít really all that shocking, since it has a very particular utility to both the government and the media. It is, at just this moment, a comfort, and one that can be meshed neatly with the other popular media fictions about U.S. military potency. If they didnít see it coming, then the problem is one of foresight and the faulty prescience of a bunch of desk jockeys, rather than operational power. The eggheads in intelligence dropped the ball, but the warrior types are ready to make up for it.

But what does it mean if we did see it coming, and still couldnít stop it?

Good question. This is where the blogosphere enters the picture... In network on network warfare blog reporting is part of the battlespace.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 10, 2004 08:33 AM

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Interesting. I noted his explanation of RMA fits his general comments on accuracy in reporting on the military: he didn't do much more than a cursory check on its origins.
The first reference to the Russian RMA was in the early 70's by Drs William and Harriet Fast in their writings on Soviet military strategy, doctrine, et al. They translated the Russian phrase as the Revolution in Military-Technology Affairs, as taken from the Great Soviet Military Encyclopedia of about 1965. The phrase deals with substantial changes in military doctrine (now RMA); it also encompasses changes in military technology, and its interaction with doctrine.
The writers of the GSME were expanding on concepts developed by the Soviet General Staff's historical section. Brig Richard Simpkin followed these up, subsequent to the Fasts, and identified the original concepts in the writings of Tchugashevskii and Triafandelov (both spellings suspect) during the post- Civil War period/ 1920s.
I think that the current philosophy of RMA is bloated and lacks firm foundations in both history and technology, but it looks good in PowerPoint.


Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs at June 10, 2004 09:44 PM