Information Warfare: May 20, 2005


Starting next month, marines headed for  combat will be issued small how to booklets, which are designed to fit into the pockets of their combat uniforms. The U.S. Marine Corps, noting the development of new tactics and techniques developed by marines fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, have speeded up the creation of how to publications. The marines, and the army, have been putting the latest techniques on their web sites. The troops themselves, who are avid Internet users, exchange this information among themselves, often hours after the new tricks were discovered in combat. The marines are taking this one step further with their series of booklets (Marine Corps Warfighting Publication Interims), because when you are in combat, you cant refer to web sites or old email to check details. The new booklets are illustrated, and written so that marines in a combat zone will easily understand them under stressful conditions. Some of the booklets will be classified (for electronic warfare and the like), but most will give practical, and up-to-the-minute advice on street fighting, patrolling and convoy operations. 

As far back as World War II, the U.S. Army  improvised booklets that were prepared (from very current information about the enemy) and given out to the troops. There were also paperback books (field manuals) with more abundant, but more out of date, information on the enemy. This idea has come, and gone, several times since. The U.S. Army (CALL, or the Center for Army Lessons Learned) has been maintaining a special web site for this sort of thing for years, and before that would pass around reports on lessons learned. During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, CALL issued booklets to the troops. Unless you get timely material  into the hands of the people doing the fighting, the usefulness of all that collected knowledge is very limited.


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