Le soldat du futur

Sera seul. Mais il aura pléthore de jouets et de technologie qui espérons-le pour lui ne tomberont pas en panne. C’est l’orientation des armées modernes que de donner plus de technologie à moins d’hommes, tendance qui semble s’accélérer ces derniers temps en raison des restrictions budgétaires que l’on doit à l’austérité résultant de l’insatiable appétit et du terrorisme financier de wall street et de la city en particulier; où les banquiers roulent toujours en grosses cylindrées et ne prêtent pas toujours l’attention nécessaire à leur environnement.

Malheureusement rien ne remplace le nombre. Les russes l’ont redécouvert en afghanistan, les américains le savaient suite au vietnam, etc. etc.

Where things went sour was when the simulated US force actually closed for battle, even in the high-tech version. “When the innovative force met the enemy and got in, it just didn’t seem that technology gave you the advantage that you wanted,” said the colonel leading the briefing. Though he didn’t characterize what happened as a “defeat,” he acknowledged that progress stalled, calling it an “operational pause.”
Even in the alternative future where the Army was able to make additional investments in breakthrough technologies, however, the high-tech force still ran into trouble. A crucial problem was that we were sometimes just so badly outnumbered that no amount of technology could make up for it.

“We’re finding the mass, in certain situations, isn’t there,” said the colonel running the briefing.

The general was blunter: “We started running out of numbers,” he said. “At some point those numbers still matter.”

Three recent wargames and a RAND study all agreed the Army would need to field 20 combat brigades against a threat on the scale of North Korea, the general continued. But the Army is currently shrinking to 32 brigade combat teams, which would leave very little margin for error or other simultaneous contingencies.

The mandatory 10-year budget cuts known as sequestration will make all this much worse.

So far, although the Army is in the process of shedding 80,000 soldiers – from 570,000 at the height of the Iraq war to a planned 490,000 in 2017 – it is mostly giving back its post-9/11 buildup and streamlining support functions such as headquarters and supply. In the current reorganization, “we just eliminated overhead,” the general said. But that plan predates sequestration.

As sequestration bite deeper, “we’re going to start seeing further reductions,” the general said. “It’s not just going to be brigade headquarters or a sustainment battalion, [but] the core fighting capability of the Army.”

Et oui, on n’a jamais rien fait de mieux que la chair à canon…



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