One day I would like to read a book with that title. Unfortunately, it will likely never be written let alone printed. The Pentagon is at its zenith right now. Never has it had so much money, so little oversight, so many projects, and so many new war-making technologies and technology threats as it has today.
Consider this: The threats of war include not only the traditional territory ‘capture and control’ threats but also the cyber threats, the microbe threats, the infrastructure threats, the terrorist threats, the space and satellite threats, and countless other ‘specialized threats’ that debilitate but not physically injure whole populations. Each of these threats require an early detection system, a thwart system, and a progressive response system. And in many cases, we need to watch our allies as much as our enemies.
In any event, the Pentagon at War must be a fascinating study in how to recognize, categorize, triage, and plan for threats when you are listening to every possible conversation taking place around the world and monitoring the evolution of technologies that can be used against you. You can imagine the SUG (Serious, Urgent, Growing) analysis that takes place every day.
One area that I find interesting is the crypto/code breaker area. Not only do we have to have computers programmed to work with foreign latin-based languages but the pictograph and scrawl languages that might be encrypted and require decoding would be quite challenging. No wonder the US Military is working hard to build computers that can crack every code in every language worldwide.If machine intelligence ever arises, it will be because code breaking computers do it. It won’t be due to some computer at the Social Security Division with a 666 address.
All these thoughts came to me as I was reading Ashton Carter’s article in Foreign Affairs about the Pentagon’s difficulties in procuring new war-making vehicles and weapons. With so many technologies and mfring entrenched in other countries, it must be a real challenge to keep war secrets. US dependencies on foreign chips, software, hardware, and manufacturing must be a problem when choosing strategic weapons to be deployed.
I was struck by his last two statements: “Too many lives were lost in the early years of those wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) because the Pentagon failed to keep up with a changing battlefield. Never again should it make the same mistake twice.” He was referring to the failure to protect troops from IED’s through the planning, development, and deployment of successful technologies to reduce the effectiveness of IEDs. Seems to me that agility and changing battlefields are main components of waging a successful war.
In any event, the Pentagon has been at war for many years and it would be fascinating to know how it changed itself to triage all threats and develop war plans for all the threats it faces.