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Space War 2017: US v. China

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the where's-the-tie-fighters dept.

Space 428

A reader writes "The Air Force recently performed a war game set in the year 2017 featuring space warfare, according to this article in the Washington Post. Between hypothetical 'red' and 'blue' countries, which the article conjectures to be China and US, "...the game assumed that the heavens will be full of weapons by 2017. Both Red and Blue possessed microsatellites that can maneuver against other satellites, blocking their view, jamming their transmissions or even frying their electronics with radiation. Both also had ground-based lasers that could temporarily dazzle or permanently blind the optics of satellites.""

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If we do that (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 13 years ago | (#471618)

We may aswell surrender now, we'll become automatons ourselves.

Rick Kirkland

Re:That's Big Blue to you (1)

AaronStJ (182845) | more than 13 years ago | (#471620)

Surely blue vs. red is just a dress rehersal for the final show down between windows and linux - with windows represented by Big Blue, and the linux forces gathering behind Redhat.

Didn't blue win the war game?

Re:So depressing (3)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 13 years ago | (#471621)

Okay, here's where "Peace by having no weapons" is a bad idea.

It is generally human nature to be greedy. Especially for those in power. (Why would they try to gain power if they didn't WANT power? Not many people try to gain power for the better good. Those who want power badly are usually the ones who receive it.) Once they have power, they want more. When you are in charge of a big country, the only way to gain more power is to conquer other countries so that you can control their resources.

The nice guys say "Look, we're nice, we will destroy all of our weapons, so that we can not hurt you. You do the same, and we can all live in harmony." They have the best of intentions, and really want peace. The not-so-nice guys agree at first, so that you will destroy all of your weapons. However, while the not-so-nice-guys are playing nice, they are hiding all sorts of weapons in some secret bunkers, where no sattelite could find them. Once the nice guys weapons are gone, not-so-nice guys say, "Actually, we were kidding. Now you have no weapons, but we do. So, unless you feel like dying, you will submit to us."

Just because you or your country has good intentions, that does *not* mean that other nations do! Never let your guard down when it comes to international affairs! Not unless you want the U.S. to become a socialist state.

I may not really like the system here, but it's better than standing in line for hours for a loaf of bread. A nice, happy global society sounds like a good idea, but until there are NO evil people in the world, it will not work. I'm sorry to dissapoint you.

Re:This is so stupid!!! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#471622)

The military will have its own power sources when needed. There are plenty of resources, it's just a matter of where they're distributed. California simply did a bad job, by restricting consumer price but not cost.

Space Debris (5)

istartedi (132515) | more than 13 years ago | (#471625)

Even without satellites intentionally blowing up, debris is already a problem. One good space battle, and the Earth will have a junk layer too thick to navigate. Then you can kiss all space travel good-bye until they figure out a way to clean it up. Maybe somebody will figure out a way to deorbit massive ammounts of junk all at once. The first idea that comes to mind is releasing enough gas in orbit to slow down the junk, but maybe that isn't practical. At any rate, if they factor debris into this I bet they will determine that it isn't worth destroying this particular battlefield.

Re:That's Big Blue to you (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 13 years ago | (#471626)

Microsoft is Blue as in blue screen o' death.. not big blue..

If God Dropped Acid, Would he see People???

Re:Red vs. Blue (1)

reubenking (220479) | more than 13 years ago | (#471636)

Well, China is the only choice left for the "big bad superpower enemy".. Makes for good grand melodrama, but I agree, is probably not very correct.

My prediction is that the next major war will be fought against a number of united Arabian and African countries. Fundamentalist Islam purely hates the US. The Chinese just want to sell us crappy toys.

Don't read anything into the "Red" and "Blue" (1)

Basilius (184226) | more than 13 years ago | (#471637)

They're designations nearly always given to any abstract simulation of a military scenario. Wargamers commonly use them in scenario descriptions that aren't dependant on particular armies being used. (i.e. it could be British vs. French, or North vs. South, or Egyptian vs. Hittite) Yes, it's convenient that the US is referred to as "blue" and China is communist (therefore "red.") But that's not why the colors were chosen for the simulation. Basilius

Re:Wasted money (1)

Schnedt Microne (264752) | more than 13 years ago | (#471638)

They recently stopped requiring the Officers to learn how to use a Sextant at Annapolis.

If the radio navigation system goes down, the Navy becomes just so many tugboats.

Re:So depressing (1)

einstein (10761) | more than 13 years ago | (#471640)

I consider myself a pacifist, but I'm also a big proponent of space exploration. Having to weigh the two options, I'd rather have another arms race that results in more exploration of the moon and other such things in exchange for some Cold War scares...

Wargames maybe, but not likely (3)

crlf (131465) | more than 13 years ago | (#471641)

I honestly don't see this type of war for the future of mankind. Without trying to sound morbid, the whole point of war is _not_ to blow up your enemies' toys, but to kill the opposing legion's fighters.

Military in Space (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 13 years ago | (#471643)

It is essential for the US military to have a strong space presence. Why is it that would-be aggressors are scared of the United States? Because they know we have the best military hardware in the world and some of the best-trained soldiers in the world. They understand that wars are very political until you get into all-out fighting (i.e. WW I/II). Saddam knows we can't just go in and kick his ass. That would be uncouth for such a developed nation. So besides playing politics in a touchy situation, what can we do? Launch satellites into space to do the covert work the media doesn't need to know about. Right now we have satellites for reconnaisance, but not attack. There are many hurdles to overcome, but it needs to be researched and put into practice. Then people need to be educated about it -- the cold war proved that deterrence is the way to win wars in a situation where a slip of the finger on the big red button could reduce the planet to a smoldering lump of carbon. Maybe I am biased. I am, after all, in the US Air Force myself. I love the military and would like to see a better defense system, as if our current one wasn't good enough. And before you flame me for being in the military (if you think that's a bad thing, I'm sure SOMEBODY does), know that I am an ex-Katz geek. Now I have access to military hardware to get back at those bullies from high school, and anybody that flames me :-) Opinions are like bungholes, everybody has one and they all stink.

When's the Half-life skin coming out? (1)

lumpenprole (114780) | more than 13 years ago | (#471645)

Or, is that Freespace mission?

Here we go again... (3)

PingXao (153057) | more than 13 years ago | (#471646)

The missile defense system first championed by Ronald Reagan is not a bad idea. There's just one problem: it's not possible. The arguments you hear for it or against it revolve around the question of treaties. Software, as we know it, is just not reliable enough to run this stuff. Identifying and tracking missiles in flight - hundreds or perhaps even thousands at once - is beyond what we know software can do. The treaty problem is a red herring, if you ask me.

A crash program to develop and implement a missile defense system, a Star Wars system, is destined to become a prime example of wasteful government spending and corporate welfare. Sure, the studies and research that will be done will conclude it is possible, but only because that's the conclusion that they will be mandated to achieve (see "Carnivore review team"). Huge profits will be made by firms that get the contracts. You can build all the lasers and pulse cannons and boosters and kinetic energy warheads you want. But if you don't have the software to run them all together with 100% reliability and safety then all those other things mean NOTHING. If it were practical I'd be behind the idea. It's not.

Another thing in the article I found amusing was the "information warfare" aspect. Come on, does anyone seriously think key military command and control computers are going to be vulnerable to state-sponsored script kiddies, for God's sake? What worries me more than battles in space is the absolute clulessness of our elected officials and the gullible nature of the population at large who will be hoodwinked into thinking that these things are even possible. Should we be concerned abuout protecting our assets in space? Yes, absolutely. Should we study these things? Yes, absolutely. But we shouldn't devote huge resources to a pie-in-the-sky project that will never work.

Fun RPG (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 13 years ago | (#471647)

Sounds like fun, they should see it to a games company

Re:Your Sig (1)

Poligraf (146965) | more than 13 years ago | (#471650)

You're not Russian, man!

You don't use transliteraion correctly ;-))))

Sounds like DARPA stuff... (4)

smoondog (85133) | more than 13 years ago | (#471651)

This sounds a bit like some DARPA simulations I've seen performed before. Much of this stuff I see is pretty much like basic science, a lot of theology and a little applicability. The models of the future are so wrong that it would be impossible to even get the technology correct, one of the assumptions of the model. Does that make the simulation uninteresting? No, it can help guide current weapons development to lead us away from situations that are expensive and unfruitful.


GOOD (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 13 years ago | (#471730)

Maybe now instead of actually blowing each other up, we can just play war games.
Or we can have the to presidents (kings, dictatores, etc) just play thumbwar!

Optimistic (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471732)

They're being a little optimistic about SDI, now, aren't they? When I see evidence to suggest we'll have our Magical Laser Satellites in the next 20 years, I'll believe it. And the point of war, from a modern standpoint (assuming it's US v China) is to destroy everything your enemy owns. Someone fires the first (nuclear) shot, and we all die.

Marching Up and Down the Square (in space) (5)

ahem (174666) | more than 13 years ago | (#471740)

"We never really play space," Maj. Gen. William R. Looney III said. "The purpose of this game was to focus on how we really would act in space."

Oh come on now! This has to be a pseudonym.

Duh... (1)

AaronStJ (182845) | more than 13 years ago | (#471745)

If you want to know what combat in space would be like, don't play war games. Just read Ender's Game. Who needs sattelites when you have 0g laser tag?

Who was it...? (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#471766)

Someone said that World War Three would be fought with rocks and sticks?

Sometimes things are moving in a way that I think that might be more of a possibility than I'd like.

Last week? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#471768)

"Last week, the possibility of war in space moved from pure science fiction created in Hollywood to realistic planning done here by the Air Force."

So the EMP effects from nuclear missles detonated in space in the 50's and 60's didn't happen? Wow! It was all a bad dream after all... Thanks Washington Post!

So depressing (2)

sith (15384) | more than 13 years ago | (#471771)

Seeing this article was just horribly depressing.

Oh goody, our space weapons will beat their space weapons. How about no damn space weapons at all? We do not need another arms race, but that is exactly where stuff like this is heading. How about we try to work for a lasting peace agreement with China et all and work for a function global society? hrmph...

Re:This bodes ill for the peaceful use of space (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471772)

How exactly does one "use" space? Can you, say, open a can with Space? Will it wash your car? If you pay Space reasonable wages, will it work in your athletic shoe factory?
Perhaps this may delay the peaceful *exploration* of space (though the smart money's on "It never gets off the ground"), but as for the "use" of space, nuh-uh.

blocking their view?? (2)

jshazen (233469) | more than 13 years ago | (#471776)

It seems unrealistic to me that a microsatellite would be carrying enough fuel to be manueverable enough to actually block the view of another satellite.

Using radiation to "fry" the electronics seems much more plausible, as a burst weapon could be charged from solar collectors.

Re:GOOD (2)

The Troll Catcher (220464) | more than 13 years ago | (#471778)

Whoa - that's stunningly appropriate considering the Star Trek (original series) that was just on SciFi - it's the one where there are two planets, Eminiar and Vendikar, who wage war through computer simulations, and the 'casualties' are cleanly disposed of in disintegration chambers...

There Was a Book (2)

Poligraf (146965) | more than 13 years ago | (#471786)

Science fiction, by Poul Andersson, called "Kings for sacrifice", when nations agreed to battle in space instead of scorching Earth.

Or "Fury" by Henry Kuttner, when battles were performed outside of the living space not to damage it.

I know, it's too early for that kind of technological advances for all warryng states, but it's nevertheless an option for the future, unless humankind will learn how to control its aggression (let only ones who never flipped off a sucker who cuts you off or blocks the left lane throw a stone at me ;-)))

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (2)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#471790)

The point of war is to secure the acquiescence of your opposition. Killing the opposing legion's fighters is just the first and most basic way of doing that.

Conventional weapons are making a comeback (3)

Urban Existentialist (307726) | more than 13 years ago | (#471794)

And Nuclear weapons are dieing. States are now so used to Nuclear weapons, that it is taken as read they will never be used. Every state has become rational and technological in this regard by definition - otherwise they would be unable to develop Nuclear weapons at all.

We are seeing the next paradigm in weaponary. States are developing high tech conventional weapons that will operate in space and be able to strike out opponents hardware in small brushfire wars. There will never be a WWIII. If the US were to take on China, they would instead test each other, like rutting stags, without going the whole hog and destroying each other.

In any war, the contestants are trying to determine who's vision of freedom will prevail. In the case of USA V China, the Stags may well clash, but it is the most determined, the most suicidal of the two that will win, just as in real life. I very much fear that America has become weakened, in terms of its resolve I must stress, whereas the automatons of China will be able to behave in the brutal fashion required to win the contest. If the USA is to have a hope, it , like the stag, must cultivate a spirit of self sacrifice among its civil service and citizens.

It is the only way that America will get the resolve to win. The USA has done it before - lets see if it can do it again.

You know exactly what to do-
Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh-

Re:Optimistic (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471800)

I referred to the "Incredible, 100%-shootdown, missle-killing laser satellites" version of Star Wars, as hyped by the Reagan admin. That is not off the ground, period.

Predictions (2)

dingo2000 (221196) | more than 13 years ago | (#471801)

Yeah, and the US also 'knew' that we would have moon bases by now. They also 'knew' that computers would never get any smaller. I personally think that it's sad that in the US at least, technology is pushed by military...I know that's not entirely true, but often in history the civilians got the stuff after the military. It would be good for commercial space travel, which is sad that to get this we have to be at 'war' with another nation. We need to create peace on Earth before we can ever hope to reach the stars.

Re:GOOD (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471803)

The episode is "A taste of Armeggedon."

Kids, just say 'no' to war (2)

Chuck Flynn (265247) | more than 13 years ago | (#471821)

There hasn't been a US war worth fighting in aeons now, and I can't see there being a worthwhile one in the future. My generation stormed the beaches at Normandy but decided to prop up Nazi West Germany after the war. Hmph, no one asked me, I tell you.

You know, I laughed when I saw kids burning their draft cards in the sixties. Sometimes, I did more than laugh. Sometimes I hurled insults, fists, and even other stuff at them. Damn pipsqueaks didn't know what it meant to bleed for your country. For my country. Jimmy's never coming back, but these kids got to smoke their pot and shrooms and bras and whatever else they could fit in their pipes and mouths. It made me sick.

But not every war is worth fighting like 'Nam was. I'll even admit, 'Nam had its problems, and they weren't problems you could sweep under the front-porch's rug, neither. Deep issues, but I wonder whether those kids were right, now. I'd hate to learn something from someone half my age, but I have a closed mind, sometimes. It's not just that we had it better back then. Stuff was more real. You could taste your fried eggs on toast, and you didn't have to have someone slice your meat for you. I'll even let you in on a secret: the world wasn't black and white back then, no matter what those Hollywood films try to tell you. It's all lies and serpents.

Why should we fight China? What does China have to offer in conquest that we can't already obtain by getting them to immigrate? We already build better domestic Chinese food than they've got.

Re:Who was it...? (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 13 years ago | (#471824)

It was Einstein, and he was talking about World War IV.

I'm glad to hear... (1)

Bill the Cat (19523) | more than 13 years ago | (#471831)

...that our military is thinking about these things. Any future enemy of the US with 1/2 a brain would do well to try and take our space-based systems away from us, through any means available, eg) attack of ground stations, jamming of GPS signals, etc.

And people thought the world was getting safer...muwhaaaaaa!!

Ummm...sources! (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471832)

Can we get some evidence on that?

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (3)

Big Brass Balls (257794) | more than 13 years ago | (#471835)

Actually, the point of war is to put your enemy in a position such that they say "uncle", yet causing the least amount of casualties.

I think it's in Sun Tzu's The Art of War - the best wars are the ones that are not fought. Intimidating the enemy into submission without fighting is the highest level of strategy. If there is to be fighting, a battle that is quickly and efficiently fought is better than one that is drawn out. The worst kind of war (according to TAW is one that is long and causes many deaths.


Re:Fun RPG (2)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#471839)

Yeah, maybe FASA would like to make something out of this idea. Oh, right... forget it.

We thieves, we liars, we vandals, and poets. Networked agents of Cthulhu Borealis.

I think this says it all... (1)

edo-01 (241933) | more than 13 years ago | (#471841)

"We never really play space," Maj. Gen. William R. Looney III said

Loony, as Brits/Aussies/Kiwis/Monty Python fans know, is slang for nutcase...


loony adj : informal or slang terms for mentally irregular [syn: balmy, barmy, bats, batty, bonkers, buggy, cracked, crackers, daft, dotty, fruity, haywire, kooky, kookie, loco, loopy, nuts, nutty, wacky] n : someone deranged and possibly dangerous [syn: crazy, looney, weirdo]

That's Big Blue to you (1)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 13 years ago | (#471856)

U.S. vs. China?

Surely blue vs. red is just a dress rehersal for the final show down between windows and linux - with windows represented by Big Blue, and the linux forces gathering behind Redhat.

It's on topic cause it's on slashdot

Re:Duh... (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471858)

Ender's Game was a man's idea of what war would be like in the future that was thought up in the 70s. The focus of the book was on characterization and the nature of leadership, anyhow. If you own a later edition, read the introduction.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (1)

crlf (131465) | more than 13 years ago | (#471861)

But how can battles fought without a loss of life allow for this acquisition? Sooner or later you still end up with a bunch of humans that won't give up their possesions, so you still have to torture/slaughter them.

War sucks. (1)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 13 years ago | (#471863)

Aside from the fact that it stimulates the economy and it is a great cure for over-population, war sucks. It is not necessary. It is perhaps the most wasteful activity, if I can call it that, that the human race particpates in.

I have a friend who likes to argue that war is necessary and inevitable. I like to argue that it is neither, but very probably considering machoism and miscommunication... blah blah blah... I don't like this subject.

I want some cheese.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (5)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#471869)

>the whole point of war is _not_ to blow up your enemies' toys, but to kill the opposing legion's fighters.

And since US doctrine (since the Gulf War and on to the present) appears to be based on the use of technology as a force multiplier, the way to kill lots of Americans is to blow up their toys in the sky.

When your mobile artillery piece relies on one technology to pick up the flashes of fire from your opponent's gun, and GPS to say "I know I'm here. I know the enemy's gun is there. If I point my gun in this direction and fire now, the enemy's gun goes bye-bye before he gets a second shot at me", you can win the war with a fraction of the manpower (and firepower) you used to need.

But you only get to win if your opponent can't blind your spysat/UAV, or your GPS satellite. Once your space network goes down, you're as blind as a bat, and outgunned two-to-one.

Control of space is vital to warfighting today. Ask any Iraqi artilleryman... if any survived.

Re:Who was it...? (1)

Foos (52086) | more than 13 years ago | (#471870)

Actually they said that World War Four would be fought with rocks and sticks. And I forgot who said it as well.

Re:Duh... (1)

Wog (58146) | more than 13 years ago | (#471872)

I just read that...

Incredible book. I highly recomend it.


Wasted money (2)

autocracy (192714) | more than 13 years ago | (#471874)

Hehe, satelites having dogfights...

Frankly, I can't imagine countries doing that kind of thing to each other. All's good in love and war, yes, but when both countries lose from such ridiculous tactics then their is no longer a point. If I kept intentionaly crashing my car into yours and you did the same, don't you think we'd fast realize that we're both wasting one another's money in fixing our cars and agree to stop? Politicians may be pretty numb in the head, but they do have SOME sense.

The reasoning behind this? We'd make it stop. There'd never would be a war where stuff like that happened. They spent our money on an exercise that is based on practicing for something that just won't happen. It's like schools doing drills for nuclear bombings back in WWII: ducking under your desk won't do a thing if an A-bomb lands nearby - you should be more worried about the radiation because if you're close enough to the blast that it might hurt you, the rads will definitely kill you. In other words there was no point in the duck-and-cover thing and there's none in this either...

I suggest that the higher-ups in the military that plan this read some of Isaac Asimov's work - he wrote a good one about something like this.

The problem with capped Karma is it only goes down...

NMD (4)

BSDevil (301159) | more than 13 years ago | (#471892)

Gee...what a surprise that "Blue" has a national missle defense program. What a coincidence that one of those is exactly what that fool Rumsfeld and his master want to install. The one bit that gives me hope is that "Red" found a fairly easy way to eliminate its usefullness. Maybe this will cause B&R to think again about the usefulness of such a system.

Also, in time of war, would the commercial satellite operators really say no to "Red" using their systems, if the contract said so? I just get a feeling that the "Blue" government would provide some sort of incentive/threat to get their domestic commercial sats not to carry "Red" traffic.

And come on, we're not in the Cold War anymore. The commies arn't going to come and invade, and the Brits won't need any saving. Get some new bloody colors...


Seriously (1)

edo-01 (241933) | more than 13 years ago | (#471894)

The last space-race got us to the moon.

Here's hoping that the one shaping up between China and the US gets us a permanant foothold out there beyond earth orbit. (Without killing us all in the process)

Re:Who was it...? (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471896)

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." --Albert Einstein (actual quote)

US DOD secret weapon... (5)

griffjon (14945) | more than 13 years ago | (#471898)

All those itanium satellites have found a new role as the suicide bombers of the 21st century. We'll just start changing their orbits to collide with enemy sats (or de-orbiting them into the enemey's nation...)

(that's not supposed to be serious. I'm sure the future will prove it otherwise)

i played the demo (1)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#471901)

The framerate was poor and jeeze, no BFG in sight.

Re:Sounds like DARPA stuff... (3)

HorsePunchKid (306850) | more than 13 years ago | (#471904)

I worked for the Construction Engineering Research Lab [] for a couple of years, and I must say I agree. The lab had a number of projects going on about simulating battle situations (movements of units, use of terrain, and so forth, largely aimed at understanding the environmental impact of the maneuvers). Unforunately, it seems the projects are all years away from being able to simulate current war conditions. The models are generally primitive and run on legacy systems, despite being under active development. I think you're absolutely correct in saying these simulations are aimed at finding a general course for military R&D, and not intended to accurately represent the future of combat. (I know the simulations that CERL does are quite different from what this article is talking about, but i think the analogy is quite relevant.)

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (2)

AaronStJ (182845) | more than 13 years ago | (#471928)

I honestly don't see this type of war for the future of mankind. Without trying to sound morbid, the whole point of war is _not_ to blow up your enemies' toys, but to kill the opposing legion's fighters.

You're completely off the mark. A war of attrition is pretty much the last thing that anyone wants. The way to fight war is not hope that you can kill all of them before they kill all of your guys. In this kind of war, you just end up with a lot of dead guys. The whole point of a war is to remove the enemies ability to successfully fight you.

If you render the enemies weapons innefective, they can no longer fight you, you win. If you can degrade their information to the point that they can no longer attac you or succesfully defend your attacks, the they can no longer gifght you, and you win. If you can strategically use your space toys to lessen their ability to fight you (ie, destroy their GPS and observation satellites) you are ahead. If you combine this with conventional air and ground strikes to the point where they can no longer fight you, you win.

Sure, if you kill so many of their troops that they cannot fight you, you win. But no one likes death, and destroying their toys is often just as effective, if you're smart about it.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (3)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 13 years ago | (#471934)

How wrong you are.

The US currently dominates outer space (at least earth orbit) The recon satellietes that the Air Force and CIA operate allow us to observe our friends and enemies from afar, day or night. These 'birds' are impervious to any weapon currently deployed.

A little less than a century ago a similar situation existed over France. British, French and German recon planes circled over the battlefield of the western front, directing artillery fire and providing intelligence about troops movements and such.

The response to these recon planes was... fighter planes to chase them off! Then someone realized that you could shoot stuff on the ground with an airplane, so the bomber was born.

When the US and China fight in 20 years, the same thing will happen with spacecraft.

Before you laugh at this, think about the nature of war. What is more valuable, 50,000 soldiers standing in the wrong place or 5,000 soldiers who know exactly where the targets are, thanks to the 'eye in the sky'?

Re:Conventional weapons are making a comeback (1)

heike (310814) | more than 13 years ago | (#471937)

Oh yeah, how about we send all your offsprings to some military training camp, like those in the movie "Soldier", so that we would have some "good citizens" who are willing to self-sacrifice for this kind of stupid ideas?

Just what I've always said: (2)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#471939)

You didn't think that the SDI ("Star Wars") was for taking out ICBMs, did you? They didn't revive this stupid idea until it became clear that in the future they would be dealing with all sorts of entities (nation-states, corporations, other?) who had assets in orbit.

How do you stop somebody from offering anon. email, Web space to child molesters, recipes for tacNukes, and the secrets of the intelligence community when their server is in orbit? Fry it with a laser or particle beam weapon.

The real question is, will it really take 16 years for this to happen? Why not burn Billy Gates' birds outa tha sky?.. that's what *I* say.

We thieves, we liars, we vandals, and poets. Networked agents of Cthulhu Borealis.

Re:This bodes ill for the peaceful use of space (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471941)

No, I actually meant like it *didn't* delay those things. Sarcasm, pal.

Re:War sucks. (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471943)

If war is as "uneccessary" as you claim it is, why has it been such an integral part of human history?

Your Sig (1)

Poligraf (146965) | more than 13 years ago | (#471944)

Is it a citation?

Actually, Soviet Union did it in thew Second World War.

Red vs. Blue (4)

Software Cowboy (9112) | more than 13 years ago | (#471945)

China vs. US? Actually red vs. blue has been used forever by the US military. Blue forces are always "good guys" and red forces are always "bad guys". It could be China, it could be Russia, it could be anyone.

I think the Washington Post is reading WAY too much into this (but if it gets you to view their web site, I'm sure they don't care)....

Re:US DOD secret weapon... (1)

jshazen (233469) | more than 13 years ago | (#471946)

All those itanium satellites

He, he. I knew those latest processors from Intel weren't doing too well, but I hadn't heard that they just gave up and orbited them all.

Re:Seriously (1)

Antenna Head (228112) | more than 13 years ago | (#471947)

The last space-race got us to the moon.

Yes, and it was so useful that we haven't been back in over two decades.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#471948)

> These 'birds' are impervious to any weapon currently deployed.

And God willing, they'll stay that way.

> What is more valuable, 50,000 soldiers standing in the wrong place or 5,000 soldiers who know exactly where the targets are, thanks to the 'eye in the sky'?

Amen, with only one addition...

...when you have 5,000 soldiers with an "eye in the sky", every place is the "wrong place" for the opposing side's 50,000 ;-)

Re:US DOD secret weapon... (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#471949)

Itanium is Intel's next generation 64 bit processor. Surely you meant to say Iridium.

Idiot (1)

Pacorro (16464) | more than 13 years ago | (#471950)

You mean those Iridium (motorola) satellites dont you ?

sure (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 13 years ago | (#471968) CLE_ID=14283 TI CLE_ID=16805 TI CLE_ID=20685 ht m um ent11.11.1998.6.html ht m ws /espionage990509.html

Thats just a few, to prove a point. Open your eyes.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (1)

jmegq (33169) | more than 13 years ago | (#471971)

Read The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.

Re:This is so stupid!!! (1)

pub (301151) | more than 13 years ago | (#471973)

I can't agree with the absolute end date, but this does bring up an interesting point. Did the Defense Department take into consideration a variable for diminishing resources? The threat of dwindling power is certainly rearing its ugly head... and that seems like it would certainly interfere with slinging satellites around.
bona-fide sludgesicle man,

Re:Duh... (1)

AaronStJ (182845) | more than 13 years ago | (#471975)

I was, of course, just kidding. I was hoping I was being funny enough to be modded up. Becasue I am a karma whore. (I'm being serious now)

Isolated Base My Ass (1)

daviskw (32827) | more than 13 years ago | (#471977)

What they're talking about is Shriver AFB east of Colorado Springs. I guess you could call it isolated but for the three or four hundred signs pointing the general/specific direction to the Air Force Base.

Oh wait, are we saying that the Air Force held war games on Space at "Gasp!!!" The U.S.A.F Space Command's headquarters? I'm shocked. Totally shocked.

The Air Foce base wouldn't be quite so isolated if some Arabian Prince didn't own all of the land between the Air Force base and Colorado Springs.

Re:Wasted money (1)

d-rock (113041) | more than 13 years ago | (#471978)

It's waste money along the lines that war sucks and in a perfect world we wouldn't spend money on destructive anything, but the anology of ramming cars into one another isn't quite correct. More like me ramming my car into you so you don't see the angry mob around the corner going to burn down your house. Military Intelligence (insert well-worn jokes here) is becoming more and more important because fighting is becoming more and more tactical/strategic.

It is increasingly important (in their eyes) for the military to achieve their goals with as few casualties as possible. Look at the statistics at this school website [] for a rundown of American War deaths. For major conflicts the trend has been towards steadily lower numbers because the American people are less willing to stomach Americans dying.

I'm not trying to advocate some of the gross misappropriations of prior cabinets on space warfare, but you can't get something for nothing. I don't know how much a role space will play in 2017, but whatever it is America will have to spend some amount of money to at least stay aware of what other nations are doing...

Disclaimer - I'm against war, but human nature seems to have no such reservations.

So let me get this straight... (2)

EraseEraseMe (167638) | more than 13 years ago | (#471979)

...They got paid to play Missle Command all day?

Re:sure (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#471980)

Somehow, I'm not seeing the "Clinton Sells Nuclear Secrets" view on any site that's not a paranoiac right-wing fundamentalist bastion.

stupid (1)

staeci (85394) | more than 13 years ago | (#471981)

I wish we'd stop spending (tax-payers) money on more interesting ways to kill each other.

" You don't have to look too far to see the 'bigger-dick' foreign policy plan in action. It goes something like 'what?!? they have bigger dicks?!?! BOMB THEM!!!' And of course the bullets and the bombs and the rockets are all shaped like dicks too. I don't quite understand that part yet, but it is part of the equation."

Apologies to George Carlin.
Steve Jobs: We're better than you are.
Bill Gates: That doesn't matter.

WTF? (1)

derf77 (265283) | more than 13 years ago | (#471982)

Why did this get mod'ed down to zero? Have you no shame!?

Re:Marching Up and Down the Square (in space) (1)

fenix down (206580) | more than 13 years ago | (#471983)

Didn't he used to hang around with Rocky & Bulwinkle?

Told you (1)

BananaBoht (221296) | more than 13 years ago | (#471984)

I've been telling everyone I know our next war will be with China. There is no agressor out there. After Russia bent over to the US with Reagan, it was apparent that China was our only last cold war enemy. After reading this, our future war may the /.ers versus China. If you get my point.

china is a prime 'candidate' (1)

theseum (165950) | more than 13 years ago | (#471985)

China is a prime candidate for supremacy in the 21st century. Although their culture is supressed and chock full of propaganda, their society can be very production oriented, like the US in its rise...

Re:Idiot (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 13 years ago | (#471986)

long day. yes I mean iridium.

People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#471997)

Simple. You only have to convince them that they will be slaughtered in order to convince them to give up some things. If I still have my wonder toys that let me blow you up without getting a scratch, and you don't have them, you're in a world of hurt. You might very well be willing to give up some concessions to stay alive.

Limited war in which the goal is to gain concessions- a slice of disputed territory, ransom for prisoners, etc.- has been more popular through history than wars of annihilation. Of course that only works if both sides agree to fight that way, but they do it's generally better for all involved in the long run.

Re:GOOD (1)

staeci (85394) | more than 13 years ago | (#471998)

lies lies its all lies, don't listen to him children. ;-)
Steve Jobs: We're better than you are.
Bill Gates: That doesn't matter.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#472000)

Not acquisition, acquiescence ... you want the enemy to do what you say. That might be an invasion, but equally it might be to protect one country (BROWN) from another country (RED) as in this example.

Any method for achieving this acquiescence by force on a national scale could validly be called war. Whether that's hacking into their military tactical systems or dropping a neutron bomb on their capitol.

War is more about getting the opposing government to do what you want, rather than getting the opposing population to do what you want. The latter always requires torture and slaughter.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (1)

Poligraf (146965) | more than 13 years ago | (#472004)

Sometimes you need to kill/render incapable to fight as many soldiers as possible to make enemy reluctant/incapable to attack you in future.

It happens in case when technical level of the armies is about equal (Iran/Iraq), but the manpower is high.

Re:Sounds like DARPA stuff... (4)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#472006)

> [ the simulation models are based on lots of guesswork, but have value because they ] can help guide current weapons development to lead us away from situations that are expensive and unfruitful.


Many /.ers would be the first to recognize that a $1M/year web server doing the work of 10 $20K/year customer service reps is a good investment. Yes, it costs five times as much in the first year - but it scales to handle larger capacity, and frees up those 10 people to do more useful work elsewhere in the economy.

Any /.er who recognizes the impact of the web to bring a "big presence" to a small business, yet considers the US' current emphasis on the use of technology as a force multiplier to be "a waste of money", should rethink their assumptions.

If a Tomahawk costs $1M, the fact that conventional bombs "could have gotten the job done for $10K per target, even if it takes two or three tries" is irrelevant if the target is right.

Were I a commander, I'd gladly pay $50M for a barrage of Tomahawks to waste the enemy's SAM sites and airbases in the first hour of a campaign. The Tomahawks are cheap - and after I launch 'em, my expensive pilots and aircraft are then free to concentrate on blowing up the enemy's now-defenceless tanks sitting on the ground with neither SAM nor air cover.

Finally - and this is both important from a "PR" view and a morale view - as a result of my up-front investment in $50M worth of hardware greatly increases the odds that my pilots and my ground troops get to come home when the war's over.

I can easily buy $50M worth of cruise missiles when the war ends. But I can't buy replacements for my trained troops without years of training. And I can't buy increased morale for any price.

Thought control? (1)

Psycho Boy Jack (268087) | more than 13 years ago | (#472008)

We don't stop people from offering anonymous email now! (Hushmail [] , and to a lesser extent, Hotmail [] are some examples.)

There really is no way to keep knowledge of tacnuke construction and the like a secret. Look at what the credit card companies tried to do with magstrip encoding; now any determined young post-h4x0[Z kid can encode their very own Visa, and the tech to make the physical card has been out since the 80s.

Probably, the only effective way of keeping these sort of things under control is to either restrict the materials or strike somewhere else entirely, such as with heavier penalties for child porn and the like. Just a suggestion, given the fact that the current system fails by your definition of success.

Re:Wasted money (1)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 13 years ago | (#472009)

...spent our money on an exercise that is based on practicing for something that just won't happen. It's like schools doing drills for nuclear bombings back in WWII: ducking under your desk won't do a thing if an A-bomb lands nearby - you should be more worried about the radiation because if you're close enough to the blast that it might hurt you, the rads will definitely kill you...

I have this theory that the promoting of each family having a "backyard fallout shelter" was actually to make cleanup of a post-apocalytic US easier. The US Gov't knew that a few feet of dirt wouldn't stop the radiation from killing a family of 4 and their little dog too.
But at least no one would have to come back and bury their bodies...

The point of war... (3)

The Blackrat (255469) | more than 13 years ago | (#472010)

is to assert certain political and/or economic conditions upon your enemy(s). Many times in history, so called 'peripheral battles' were decisive in affecting the overall progress of the war. An example, in ww2, Axis submarines and submarine tenders roamed freely in the southern atlantic, from where they could inflict masive losses in the south atlantic itself, or sortie up to the caribbean and have some fun there. It was not until late 1942 that the Allies placed a single squadron of long range aircraft and a few small escort vessels in Brazil. This tiny force wiped out the Axis threat in the southern atlantic, which never amounted to more then 5-8 submarines and maybe a surface raider or tender. The point of the battle in space is similiar. In and of itself, space has no value. But denying use of it to ones enemy is of paramount importance because of the nasty things that can be done from space. (Spying, communications, lobbing the odd weapon earthward). Even if the chinese only manage to get one or two 'killsats' into space, it is imperitave we dedicate superior resources to secure the use of space for the US and our allies. I dunno if we actually have any allies left though, except Great Britian ;)

Re:fp! (2)

Kalani (66189) | more than 13 years ago | (#472011)

So cheering a country that is not USA and its Stars and Stripes is counted as a troll. Nice.

Cheering any country in a war is trolling.

Re:Wasted money (2)

Gen-GNU (36980) | more than 13 years ago | (#472012)

All's good in love and war, yes, but when both countries lose from such ridiculous tactics then their is no longer a point.

Wow, what do I say to that? Well, firstly, there has not been a major war, involving the US, in which money was the driving factor. (I don't count Desert Storm, it wasn't major. It was a several month bitch-slap).

Actually, far from being a factor, most wars left the US less well off finacially than before the war. People don't fight wars because it helps their pocket books. Never have, never will. Wars, (real wars that is) cost so much in money, equipment, lives, etc. that you have to be really pissed off to fight in one. Or be led by a lunatic.

To say that wars won't be fought because they would cost too much to be worth it shows a severe lack of historical knowledge.

New from Ronco, it's Instant Space! (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 13 years ago | (#472013)

Just remove everything! It's the best thing since the pocket fisherman! And now, our host, Ron Popeil!

Why wait till 2017? (1)

spack (43763) | more than 13 years ago | (#472014)

Nuke them now! Nuking was, is still, and will always be the solution. Nuke them till they glow and be done with it!

I can't believe I said that.

Stop playing with those lasers (2)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 13 years ago | (#472015)

You're going to put out someone's eye with those things.

Re:Marching Up and Down the Square (in space) (2)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#472016)

Nah [] . He's real. Now ahem, that's a dumb-sounding name.

Re:Wargames maybe, but not likely (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#472027)

If you destroy enough of the enemy's war resources, they have to devote more resources to building replacements, thus stressing the enemy's country. Make the enemy devote enough resources to the war and more people have to sacrifice more in order to replace the losses. Either the entire country changes to a war machine to sustain the war, or the defenses will be worn down and the attacker can pick more targets.

This was done recently in Iraq, with much of the normal infrastructure torn apart and the political balance between the population and goverment left to develop as it would. Of course, the Iraqis which were "defenders" were dealing with an "attacker" which was not trying to take their possessions, unlike the situation when Kuwait was the "defender" several months earlier.

abcnews (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 13 years ago | (#472028)

Obviously you never read the abcnews link ws /espionage990509.html

Heres another one

of course,... (2)

SomePoorSchmuck (183775) | more than 13 years ago | (#472030)

the military has a vested interest in making these predictions ("all war will soon take place in space"), because their predictions will be taken seriously by people, who will press their congressperson(s) to fund spacewar programs so we don't get beaten by those inscrutable chinese people, most of the congressperson(s) will eagerly comply since some of their largest campaign donors are companies like Lockheed, Boeing, etc., who will be awarded the contracts to stimulate the newest arms-race. and voila! the next war(s) will indeed take place in space! ps, i hear there's a shortage on toilet paper so all 278 million americans need to run to the store right now and stock up!!!

At least as kids we had the calming placebo of a nuke shelter; now it will be worthless, since satellites can read your mailbox to verify your name and then narrowly target your house/shelter.

whoever made the implication that somehow space-war will be a "kindler, gentler" war is, pardon the expression, building castles in the air -- do you think They (whoever they may be that decade) will knock out Our satellites and then say, "okey-dokey, we won 'cause we ruined your bourgeois DSS reception and now your society will crumble! there's no need to also bomb your cities, invade your land, or anything else that might actually subdue your people" ?

Since SF literature is full of pertinent novels, let me offer what is perhaps the most likely one, given human capacity, no, tendency for setting up the very systems that will destroy it:
Fiasco, by the masterful Stanislaw Lem. the characters are so humanly infuriating, and the M.A.D.ness so inexorably self-perpetuating, it could only be true.

i can understand the reasons for wanting to militarize near-space to protect ourselves, but history shows unequivocally that armament only leads to more armament, and merely puts us one step closer to the real "War to End All Wars". i dunno. sometimes i think we deserve it.
Now, children, come on over here. I'm going to tell you a bedtime story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time, there lived a magnificent race of animals that dominated the world through age after age. They ran, they swam, and they fought and they flew, until suddenly, quite recently, they disappeared. Nature just gave up and started again. We weren't even apes then. We were just these smart little rodents hiding in the rocks. And when we go, nature will start over. With the bees, probably. Nature knows when to give up, David.

Re:blocking their view?? (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#472033)

Squirtgun. Bolo net. Magnets.
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