The Risks of a Networked Military

Lost in the welter of daily crises—Serbian atrocities, Chinese espionage, North Korean nuclear programs, and Iraqi intransigence—is the big story about American defense policy.1 Away from the headlines, as the United States designs a security policy for the twenty-first century, two basic facts of long-term consequence have emerged. The first is that present and foreseeable defense budgets are simply not large enough simultaneously to support the current tempo of military operations worldwide, the high level of training and readiness that makes American skill at warfare second to none, and the modernization of the current arsenal. The second fact is less widely recognized, but just as certain, and it has important implications for how we deal with the first. Notions of an information technology–driven “revolution in military affairs” (IT-RMA) are now deeply embedded in American defense planning. But despite their intuitive attractiveness, these ideas are dangerously misguided.

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