The Case for Transformation


Look, I'm not a big fan of 60 Minutes, but for some reason they keep drawing me in.

Last week it was the Dalton Fury/Kill bin Laden furor (BTW, I got a review copy of the book and am having a hard time putting it down) and this week it's 60 Minutes' take on how technology provides a key enabler for counter insurgencies.

Here's the deal...

There are a lot of folks out there -- many who read this blog -- who say Rumsfeld and his ilk were wrong about emphasizing "transformation," the "RMA" and otherwise leaning on technological solutions to act as force multipliers that can justify "slimming down" the force. The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan show, these detractors say, that it's about low tech, human interaction, not wiz bang robots and electronic networks.

But, as in all things, you have to have both. And the 60 Minutes piece titled The Battle of Sadr City is a pretty good explanation of where high-tech is crucial to enabling a counterinsurgency strategy that saves lives.Watch CBS Videos Online

Though the piece gives me that icky feeling of being played (a gooey argument for high defense budgets as Americans decide on a new president...Just look at how stiff Odierno looks during the "briefings") and I just want to puke when I see Lesley Stahl's open-toed shoes, red shirt and lack of PPE while on patrol in Sadr City (no wonder the military holds reporters in such high contempt. When you come to their home court and refuse to adapt to the realities of combat, safety and risk, it just reinforces the mentality that reporters are aloof and unable to comprehend the of the situation), it does present a strong case for continuing the drive to perfect the high-technology that has truly "transformed" how we fight.

And I do savor the juxtaposition of the old-school concrete wall with the Reaper drone cover -- so 10th Century meets 21st...

-- Christian

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