Information Warfare: July 3, 2003

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In the past decade, sensors have become smaller, cheaper and more reliable. Thus the U.S. Army's push for a combat uniform that would contain such sensors that could constantly record respiration and heartbeat of all troops, and broadcast this data to unit leaders. Also broadcast, via the same encrypted, wireless network, would be still pictures and video from a small (lipstick size) camera on each soldiers helmet and/or weapon. The information on a soldiers physical state can, via medical analysis software, tell if the trooper is excited, exhausted or wounded (and how badly). Squad and platoon leaders thus have instant information on what shape their soldiers are in. The ammo pouches on each soldier could also be wired into the "battlenet" so that leaders would know how much ammo the unit had left. It's not always possible to ask everyone "how ya doing?" in the middle of a firefight, but with this system, the leader could program his command computer to alert him if ammo gets down to a certain level, or if any one is wounded. He could also monitor the data via a display built into one of the eyepieces of his goggles. While there are always warnings of "information overload," form men in combat, the problem has always been too little information. The troops will let you know when they are getting too much info, then you can cut back.

 


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