2004-07-25

Future Combat System der US-Army wird deutlich teurer

--- Das Modernisierungsprogramm der US-Army mit dem Titel Future Combat System verz�gert sich und wird deutlich teurer. Es soll die Landstreitkr�fte der USA f�r die viel beschorene Network-centric Warfare, die netzzentrierte Kriegsf�hrung, fit machen. Doch noch ist unklar, ob ein derart komplexes, Software-gesteuertes System �berhaupt funktionieren kann: The Army outlined yesterday a restructuring of its modernization program, the Future Combat System, increasing the cost by between $20 billion and $25 billion ... The massive modernization effort has been dogged by questions about its complexity and the pace of progress on the futuristic drones and ground vehicles. The high-tech renovation will require more than 30 million lines of software code. The program "has so many moving pieces and they are so technically challenging it would be almost unbelievable to suggest it could stay on its original schedule," said Loren B. Thompson, defense consultant and chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, an Arlington think tank. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker acknowledged the challenges Wednesday, telling Congress that as originally structured the program had only a 28 percent chance of success. The revisions boost its chances to more than 70 percent, he said. Under the restructuring, the military will delay deployment of the first fully modernized unit, which will include about 2,500 soldiers, for two years, until 2014. Instead the Army will create an experimental unit in 2008 to begin testing some of the technology, including missiles stored in remote locations that a soldier could deploy through the network.

Update: Die New York Times berichtet derweil �ber eine andere Baustelle des Pentagon, die auf den gut durchgesponnenen Namen Active Denial System h�rt. Die so genannten Non-lethal Weapons sollen sich demnach als "Killer-Applikation" auf den Schlachtfeldern in Afghanistan und Irak (und dar�ber hinaus) erweisen. That, in essence, is the point of a new generation of nonlethal weapons being developed by the military: to enforce and do battle without killing, or in the words of the Defense Department, ''to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesired damage to property and the environment.'' Along with the Active Denial System, the military is testing bullets that disintegrate in mid-air, propelling their nonlethal payload to their targets, slimy goo that stops people in their tracks and, eventually, guns that shoot pulses of plasma energy that stun and disorient. In an era when the American military increasingly finds itself in situations where civilians and combatants can be difficult to distinguish between, and when the line between soldiering and policy has blurred, nonlethal weapons could prove useful. At the same time, such nonlethals might be abused, like any other weapon. Still, in a world where the tolerance for ''collateral'' casualties is fast diminishing and where soldiers return home haunted by their ''kills,'' such novel weapons, if made to work, could well make war less hellish.