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On October 11, 2016 at 8:02 AM, kinophile said:

But theres always that massive manufacturing base back home - ie the US could make a hundred Paladins and transport them to theatre pretty damn quick, if needs be. Currently there is no need, but the production potential is there, latent and waiting.

Maybe. But that can take a while to gear up and get going. We were lucky in WW II to have two years of advance warning to at least have some plans in hand as well as some industries already engaged in war production. If a comparable balloon ever goes up again, a lot of bad things could happen before we would be able to get to the party.

Michael

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Be a real shame to get outgunned in the early days and find our artillery unable to meet ground commanders' expectations in the subsequent weeks beyond that.  Unfortunately those concerns are constantly shot down by confidence in air, despite glimpses of the future being provided microcosmically elsewhere.  Mark me down as being in the 'skeptical of glaringly obvious over-reliance on fickle air power' camp.  ISW does some good conflict mapping work and it's been pretty wild watching them chart RU and CN anti-access/area denial hubs blossoming over time.  Clearly attention is being given to countering American air capabilities.
 

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True. 

If I was infantry I would dark,  far prefer  the certainty of artillery overwatch v the promise of air support. 

Michael, I suspect though, barring a blue sky pre-emptive strike, that there would be strong indicators over several months of impending military conflict, spurring the wake-up of various additional production lines. Also modern American manufacturing is pretty nimble and adaptable. US could increase tube count pretty quick

However, I do see the point that the current tube count within the current US force structure is dramatically lower that the equivalent Russian forces. 

@TheForwardObserver I know more is always better, but realistically, based on US artillery capabilities and facing Russian forces, what do you feel would be a better number of guns? 

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While American manufacturing is certainly renowned, with our over reliance and stubborn peristance with digital technology being in every piece of equipment we field, I question its ability to rapidly produce the necessary "stuff" for our military. A Paladin hull is easy enough to build, but when you look at all the digital equipment we are filling it with, that requires complex computer hardware which must be properly hardened, weatherproofed, etc... and from my understanding of what it takes to make computer chips, it is not a flexible process. IBM can't go from making computer processors to military grade digital fire control systems in a short amount of time. Add in the fact that these systems will also need to be replaced by front line units that suffer combat damage (can't fix a computer chip with a welders torch), surging our manufacturing power won't be as easy as cranking out Sherman tanks was in WW2. One of the great things about "dumb" military vehicles is they can be fixed virtually in the combat zone - not so today. You can fix the hole in the armor with steel and a private, but you cant fix a hole in the computer. 

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11 hours ago, SeinfeldRules said:

While American manufacturing is certainly renowned, with our over reliance and stubborn peristance with digital technology being in every piece of equipment we field, I question its ability to rapidly produce the necessary "stuff" for our military. A Paladin hull is easy enough to build, but when you look at all the digital equipment we are filling it with, that requires complex computer hardware which must be properly hardened, weatherproofed, etc... and from my understanding of what it takes to make computer chips, it is not a flexible process. IBM can't go from making computer processors to military grade digital fire control systems in a short amount of time. Add in the fact that these systems will also need to be replaced by front line units that suffer combat damage (can't fix a computer chip with a welders torch), surging our manufacturing power won't be as easy as cranking out Sherman tanks was in WW2. One of the great things about "dumb" military vehicles is they can be fixed virtually in the combat zone - not so today. You can fix the hole in the armor with steel and a private, but you cant fix a hole in the computer. 

Good point. 

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^^^

Agreed. The next "big one" will be a "run what you brung" fight. The lead-time required to manufacture modern weapon tech is pretty long. Existing production lines may be able to hasten their output, but I don't see new lines coming on or non-producers becoming a producer. In WWII, the US was producing a B-24 (heavy, long-range, 4 engine bomber) every hour. 24 a day, day in, day out...  Let's not even start talking about tanks. Or jeeps. Or Liberty ships.

The US was able to do this, only because the war broke out in '39...and the US didn't enter (for all real purposes) until '42. That 3 year time gave the US a chance to plan for it.

Now, products are as specialized as their production lines. (In a lot of cases.) Just because you make refrigerators does NOT mean you can make an artillery barrel. Etc.

 

Edited by c3k
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Given that the next major war will almost certainly be dominated by cyberwar, it could be over in hours, perhaps minutes.  That's why our interest in conventional tactical combat is more a fun entertainment exercise on how to fight the last war, and with little to do with how the next "big one" will be fought in RL.

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That's certainly a viewpoint held by many smart people.  If the arguments revolving around Cyber drop people into two camps; Cybermageddon and Cyber Pearl Harbor, I'm in the Cyber Pearl Harbor camp.  I can see cyber kicking off a big one and doing plenty of damage to a population and it's critical infrastructure but I'm not yet ready to pronounce it as the nail in the coffin of large scale kinetics.

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The problem is what happens IF a cyberattack can disrupt our water and food distribution, and even communications and power networks. 

For example, big urban metroplexes like Los Angeles with few exit routes would become deathtraps within days.  Think of the South-Central riots and looting, but throughout the city.  What kind of kinetic conflict will compete with millions of families, including that of troops, panicking and dying - rather like the effects of nuclear exchange.  Yes, maybe we can "win".  But, what does winning mean in this sort of situation?

We have to be sure we can protect the population first, then we can deal with kinetic war plans. 

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The trick,  of course,  is identifying the attacker,  if they desire to remind hidden and/or shift the blame. 

I think the US could eventually, to a solid degree, identify the perps, but that temporary uncertainty could give a nice time advantage to the hostile entity. Which can be decisive. 

Edited by kinophile
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2 hours ago, Erwin said:

Given that the next major war will almost certainly be dominated by cyberwar, it could be over in hours, perhaps minutes.  That's why our interest in conventional tactical combat is more a fun entertainment exercise on how to fight the last war, and with little to do with how the next "big one" will be fought in RL.

Possibly .............. but this reminds me of what was said after nukes were obtained.  Our ground forces, for awhile, were neglected (partially because it would be a nuke war anyway) until the Reagan rearmament of the US military.  The nukes were never used however the conventional forces have been deployed to dozens and dozens of hot spots around the world and continue to be.  Cyber will play a role (and maybe nukes or the threat of nukes) but like any fight IMO the combined arms approach is the best.  Cyber, nukes, conventional, unconventional, space etc.  Neglect anyone one of these will be accepting risk in the neglected area and the OpFor as always will attempt to exploit our neglect.  There will always be a need for a robust conventional force in the combined strategic approach.   

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Sure could @kinophile.  I know I'd use cyber to disorient or delay decisive action in the short term, and create an atmosphere of discomfort and diminished productivity amongst my opponent's population over the long term.  Obviously there are passive and active sides to cyber but I assume we're talking about active measures.

Edited by TheForwardObserver
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The other issue is the bizarre continued emphasis on nuclear weapons as the worst thing terrorists can get hold of. 

Bio-chemical weapons are much easier to obtain, much easier to hide and transport by a non-state actor.  Imagine a weaponized highly contagious disease like Ebola for example?  For the last 2 decades that is what has worried me and some of my colleagues far more than nukes. 

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@Erwin True,  but as I understand it,  weaponizing bio is quite tricky. If you want to achieve a local effect,  sure possible. But for a wider,  regional/hemispheric /global effect it's a lot harder. Bio is hard to keep stable (especially) and secure, requiring quite specialized facilities, without which it is just as dangerous to the handlers as the targets.

Chem is easiest, due to relative abundance and usability of most ingredients. See ISIS/Assad  and their scumbag attacks on civilians.  If ISIS could make/aquire a bio weapon and deploy it then by golly they would deploy it. Instead they've used relatively simple chemical bombs. Same with that POS Assad. 

Re Cyber,  the fundamental  difference with nukes is that Cyber is scalable up/down. Drop a nuke and it's a definitive point in the history of humanity, earths geography and military status quo. But you could run a whole library iof cyberspace weapons,  causing tailored damage and never each the threshold for military action. 

I'd consider Cyber is now,  n terms of its flexibility and damage scaling,  in the the realm of Air Strikes. It just hasn't t been deployed as such -  yet. 

I could see,  in the very near future, where the progression of a conflicts time line,  from Diplomatic Antagonism through to Ground Assault, is tracked,  reinforced,  amplified and sustained by concurrent Cyberspace warfare., but also where cyberspace strikes would be a specific weapon warned abour,  threatens with and used on their own. 

And I don't mean defacing Web pages or hijacking twitter accounts,  events which are laughablly useless. I mean misdirecting/corrupting enemy Comms/Media/Comms infrastructure, Transit  Systems,  Economic systems,  Political processes,  self-destructing civilian infrastructure, etc.

We've seen this in infant form against Ukraine,  but I think proper, full on,  integrated opposing cyberspace efforts during a Tier 1/2 peer-to-peer conflict has yet to be seen. But Id give max 5 years before it is. 

So, where as cyberspace could be integral and integrated with the conflicting forces at all levels, from start to finish,  Nuclear is a Change Point - everything happens either before the Nuclear event,  or is resulting from/defined by it afterwards.

 

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LOL  Another gem of a new asymmetric weapons system:

"In a variation on that idea, researchers pondered a "Who? Me?" bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks.  However, researchers concluded that the premise for such a device was fatally flawed because "people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis".

Anyone you know...?

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Actually.... Halitosis would essentially be biochemical tagging. You could give suspects/convicted terrorists a mouth spray that gives a specific chemical reaction when breathed into a breathalyser. 

You could also give a spray that induces a higher resting body temperature,  allowing IR tracking through a crowd.

And hey a bunch of horney, same sex enamoured ISIS child killers "turning" on each other,  with the resulting chaos and friendly fire would be fun to watch.

From a distance. 

Surrounded by Playboy magazines. 

 

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