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Re: data saturation on in future combat Was:rules "inspiration"

From: Los <los@c...>
Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 10:04:53 -0700
Subject: Re: data saturation on in future combat Was:rules "inspiration"

Mikko Kurki-Suonio wrote: As I said, I don't really question whether
sufficiently advanced

> technology can do it. I am questioning whether the *human crew*
> can digest all that information (working from the assumption that we
> are
> still using human crews) fast enough to make a judgement.
> Let me pose this in another way: When playing your fave *real-time*
> flight
> sim (or some such, Wing Commander clones included) that has extensive
> display, do you *always* pick the most optimal target?

I think this can be addressed as a function of crew quality. The short
answer to your question is yes, most of the time you do. (if you are
reasonably good). This is a function of situational awareness. (Not your
sensor's but your brains). Re: the situation in flight sims, I play air
warrior and warbirds online (plus EF2000 and a lot of modern sims
to.)and have participated in dozens of online scenario missions (not the
general arena free for all) with up to 250 other flyers. My involvement
ranging from a newby who was totally overwhelmed by everything and
couldn't even remember that my damn gear was still down (my first
scenario mission!) to a squadron commander, navigating, communicating,
and shepherding a dozen fighters, while escorting bombers and keeping
tabs of the strategic situation while still flying my aircraft and
working with my wingman in a dogfight. It can be done with training and
practice. That's what we pay our professionals to train for and master.

Mikko brings up an excellent point that having all this sensor data does
not bring you automatic "situational awareness". This is purely my
opinion, but I believe that with all this newfangled sensor equipment
ever for today (esp. JSTARs and the digital battlefield project), you
have battalion, brigade, and division commanders, that have so much data
at their finger tips, that most of them get bogged down telling this or
that company commander what he should be doing to fight his own company
instead of concentrating on their appropriate level of command. This was
a big problem in Desert Storm.

In special operations, we're there has always been a lot more sensor and
state of the art communications gear available, commanders have long had
to deal with these problems. Especially on mission the high priority
where you could have commanders of the highest level plugged into the
net. It's extremely frustrating. I can tell you that on some missions it
was a matter of SOP to not report data or report erroneous data in
particular regarding our exact where abouts. (Though a certain amount of
that goes back to mistrusting the security of the data link). Especially
on long missions dealing with other countries we had to balance what's
right with what our commanders wanted us to do so they would stay out of
hot water with their uppers. So most teams failed to report a lot of
their activities in order that no one would monkey with them.

I could see it in the future, (Mikko's worst nightmare coming to pass).
A GEV company is engaging enemy forces. The digital battlefield is wired
directly into the BC command vehicle. While the GEV company is hotly
engaged, the BC sees a juicier target being ignored because there's some
pesky infantry tank killer teams trying to ambush them. He starts
flooding the company comanders with orders on how to fight his company.
Something gets ignored. The company commander has to pull his mind off
the fight to argue with the BC. Something is missed, and people get
killed. This happens al lot today, there's no reason why it won't happen
in the future with even greater data saturation.

Unless of course, we sit back and think on the problems as we have done
for others on this list. <g>

> I know I don't. I tend to go for the first thing in my sights, unless
> there's something *obviously* better nearby.

Also that's why there's ususally two sets of eyes (at least) looking for
targets on an IFV or tank. In an M1, the commander can override a
gunners control if he sees anything more pressing. Usually he desigantes
the target area and even the targets of the gunner to hit. Once he hands
of these targtes to the gunner, he goescak to scanning through his own
dispaly. If the gunner is firing at a BMP at 1000 meters and all the
sudden the TC sees a T-90 pop up at 1200 meters with the muzzle pointed
right at him. He can override the gun, swing it on to target and even
fire it himself if he has to.


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