How an iPhone revolution could turn the Army upside-down


Unfortunately, if you remember from when it may have happened to you as a child, being turned upside-down is often neither a good thing nor much fun…

I was reading this article which opines that the US Army needs to get with the programme and starting issuing smart phones to soldiers to improve their access to information…yeah, nice but…

Where’s all the bandwidth going to come from? In fact, where is the cell net going to come from? Will the Army be relying on commercial/civilian networks in the host nation? will it be forced to develop and deploy its own portable cell networks?

The term ‘host nation’ implies that we will be continuing to engage in the type of warfare we have been doing since DESERT STORM i.e. with the semi-consent of the current governing body…where’s the cell net going to be if/when we return to good old-fashioned major combat operations?

Who’s making all these smartphones? Who’s going to guarantee that they don’t come with a hard-wired ‘go dumb in event of war’ function much like that the US was suspected of installing in military equipment it sells to potentially unreliable customers?

How will these phones offer the degree of security necessary when you really do want to keep something a secret? Similarly, what’s the lock-out going to be when one gets lost? And how will that be designed so that the security protocols don’t risk lives e.g. ‘please insert your 17 character alphanumeric password that must include upper and lower case, digits and special characters in order to access the emergency call for fire screen’…

How will soldiers maintain situational awareness and still be able to follow all the miltwits (take that anyway you want) on the smart phone screen…?

How will soldiers be able to recharge the damn things? Or will they just mean yet more batteries to be carried?

How will they connect with the range of current and legacy information systems and tools? Or will the Army just toss everything into the “…cloud…”?

Has anyone done a check to see if they will work in all areas of the world when boots may be on the ground? Or will ‘no service’ = ‘no war’?

How will the endless stream of updates and patches be applied in an operational arena?

I’m sorry but I think that the blingophiles need to think this through a little more. While the military development and acquisition definitely needs work, outfitting your Army at Radio Shack seems a sure way to set oneself up for a mighty fall against a smarter opponent who just needs to work out how to turn the lights off…

One thought on “How an iPhone revolution could turn the Army upside-down

  1. I think you’re spot on here. From my perspective this is yet another manifestation of the pathology where everyone thinks they can be their own intelligence shop. People commonly think that getting access to more raw data will allow them to avoid ‘spin’ and make better decisions but all it does is clog up the limited amount of information their brains can process AND strip that information of context. That leads to a worse understanding of their environment and a corresponding degradation of effective decision making.

    It’s stupid…it’s inefficient…and it’s unavoidable.

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