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What Modern Militaries Can Learn From Battlestar Galactica

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the graceful-degradation dept.

The Military 272

An anonymous reader writes "Modern warfare these days is all about a 'networked environment.' But what happens when such things that make a modern military work breakdown? How would America's armed forces fight if their computers crashed, could not communicate, or were hit with massive viruses? What then? 'There's wisdom in science fiction. The conceit behind the reboot of the sci-fi epic Battlestar Galactica was that networking military forces exposes them to disaster unless commanders and weapons designers think ahead to the repercussions should an enemy exploit or break the network. The mechanical Cylons, arch foes of humanity, are able to crush the humans' battle fleet and bombard their home worlds with nukes by insinuating viruses into networked computers. They sever contact between capital ships and their fighter forces, and they shut down the fleet's and planets' defenses. Having lost the habit of fighting without networked systems, human crews make easy pickings for Cylon predators.'"

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what? (5, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621727)

wtf? get the frack out of here. Comparing battlestar galactica to the modern military.... might as well compare NCIS to police work or star trek to nasa. What can fiction tell us about anything? nothing, because it's not based on real life.
What does abraham lincoln vampire hunter tell us about colonial life? Lots apparently.

Re: what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621803)

Exactly. If they took down our networks we would... not care and keep working?

People have no idea how little actual military stuff is actually networked.

Re: what? (5, Informative)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621903)

Exactly. If they took down our networks we would... not care and keep working?

People have no idea how little actual military stuff is actually networked.

This is less and less true every year. Without networking, forget about using Predator or Reaper drones, for one thing. Forget about chain of command as well, forget about intelligence...moving in either direction. Most importantly, forget about logistics too.

Re: what? (5, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622139)

The single biggest issue is GPS. How many 'smart' things simply stop working when our satellites are taken out (either by enemy...or just space junk cascading into the Kessler Syndrome/Effect [wikipedia.org] )

Re: what? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622347)

More worrying, what about instead of taking out satellites and drone control towers, an enemy takes over them with a virus.

Sure the average foot soldier might not use or encounter very many networked devices. But what if the guidance system in every smart bomb was redirected back at our own troops, ever Predator drone was reprogrammed to search and destroy all humans.

Re: what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622331)

I disagree with the GP but I disagree with you as well. Networking (particularly of military equipment) is a complex web of devices and communications means, running a variety of operating or control systems (many being of those being proprietary costing precious time to exploit). A prolonged outage would likely have to be very targeted to the point of removing a particular capability, a broad attack would be difficult to sustain. Think about how you would deny a civilian neighborhood "networking." You need to cut cable. You need to cut phone lines. You need to knock out cell towers. You need to suppress ad hoc wireless networks. You may even need to patrol to keep people from running cat 5 from house to house. Now multiply those possibilites by hundreds and give all those folks firearms and military training.

Re: what? (5, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621951)

There was a story in one of the Iraq books I read, Rise of the Vulcans or something like that where an amsemtrical warfare game sponsored by the US military was stopped when the Marine commander running the "bad guy team" used things like mopeds to move data rendering all the cool e-warfare shit we had useless. Basically the blue team guys thought they could disrupt and destroy a low tech enemy but it didn't work. Old age and treachery will over come youth and enthusiasm every time.

Re: what? (2)

Deltaspectre (796409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622047)

Or taking advantage of the simulation. I don't know the name of the exercise off the top of my head, but I remember the guy exploiting poorly modeled Jeeps(?) to move information.

Re: what? (1)

pluther (647209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622069)

Same thing happened in Tienanmen Square. The Chinese government cut the phone lines and tried to jam radios, but the students were still coordinating by bicycle and motorcycle messengers.

Re: what? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622481)

You're looking for USMC Lt. General Paul Van Riper and his unorthodox response to the 2002 Millennium Challenge [wikipedia.org] wargame.

Re: what? (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622033)

People have no idea how little actual military stuff is actually networked.

I think they also have no idea how non-critical a lot of the technology is. When I was in the service, were were constantly training for "what if" scenarios. If our radios were jammed, we would communicate with flares, smoke grenades, semaphore flags, signal mirrors, etc. Once a month we would have a "vehicle appreciation day" where we would move every piece of gear in our battalion for twenty clicks (km) using only our LPCs (leather personnel carriers (boots)). Heck, we even trained for a lack of breathable air. There are few things more difficult than trying to sleep with a gas mask on. A "network failure" is not going to stop the US military.

Re: what? (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622191)

I would agree with you, but sometimes the sum of the pieces is greater than the total. I.e. you can test widget/process A for all manner of failures and B, C, D as well. But testing ALL of them for simultaneous failures simply isn't possible. And while I also agree that it won't 'stop' the military, it will significantly degrade it's effectiveness.

Which, when fighting a superior force is exactly what you want to do...and is exactly what our enemies would be facing and thus want to do.

I'm sure it's been thought out and planned, but sometimes a complete 'failure' isn't needed to actually cause enough problems to overcome your opponent.

Re: what? (0)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622423)

This sort of goes back to what the after action reports for the conflicts fought in the past 20 years have said: equipping an infantry with any more than a rifle, compass, map, ammo, rations, and canteen is about all they really need to be effective. Yes squads need radios, but with off the shelf SIGINT & ELINT gear these days the more technology you give soldiers the bigger target you make them.

It's just like the Air Force and their horrendously expensive F-22's and F-35's that don't really address what the reports say the Air Force really needs: more A-10's and B-52's.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621819)

Have you ever worked with the military? They have redundant systems, but most of those systems can't work with out some form of electronic communications. It's the theory of being completely cut off from your chain of command. Not the cylons invading.

Though the whole thing is stupid because they do war games all the time with one side using comm equipment and the other side using turn on the 20th century comms. You'd never guess who wins.

Re:what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621859)

You'd never guess who wins.

The Americans, of course. The whole point of 'war games' is for them to win.

Hence, for example, they had to 'reboot' the war game a few years ago when the guy playing Iran wiped out the US fleet with thousands of cheap missiles.

Re:what? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622319)

The side that loses will be the one that breaks first. This is pretty much how it always goes. The vulnerability of your communications isn't nearly as important as how your troops will react when it inevitably fails.

Are your troops like the Ko-Dan armada or are they more like the IDF?

If you need to reserve your best troops to ensure that your average units remain on the line, then you are already at a severe disadvantage.

Re:what? (1)

hackula (2596247) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622415)

Every system has SOME point of failure. If all forms of electronic communications go down, then yeah, we are pretty much screwed. All that means is that we need to do everything possible to make sure that does not happen.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621851)

Fail troll is fail

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621869)

Im glad someone has reality in check.
I was thinking I'd view the comments of everyone saying how battlestar galactica invented everything and people were just catching up, or something.
It's so easy to imagine stuff, it's not easy to create it....

Re:what? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621873)

I learned a lot of things from Sci-Fi before I learned them in real life.

  In Star Trek: TNG, for example, I (through the Klingons) learned that Blacks are violent. I also learned that Ferengi (Jews) are greedy. And that women who study Psychology (Counselor Troi) are all ditzy sluts who like to codify common sense through their cleavage. Then, through Voyager's Janeway, I learned that all women over thirty-five are nagging bitches who enjoy being difficult to their families.

Then, through Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and comic books, I learned that nerd humor is pretty much gay humor - excessively chatty with the only controversy being that all the men wear underwear on the outsides of their clothes.

Yep, Sci-Fi. I tossed it all in the trash or out the window. Then I got a skateboard and started playing football, then got a girlfriend; and have been a real man ever since.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:what? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621883)

Reminds me of the Onion article about the multiverse of possibilities from the US Election results. "What if your fighting machines break?"

Dont forget to ask "What if your battleships get trapped under a force field?"

And finish up with "What if you need to throw a ring away really bad, like *really* bad, but the ring itself doesn't want to be and can control YOU???"

So many irrelevant questions, so much time to waste...

Re:what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621981)

Reminds me of the Onion article about the multiverse of possibilities from the US Election results. "What if your fighting machines break?"

Dont forget to ask "What if your battleships get trapped under a force field?"

And finish up with "What if you need to throw a ring away really bad, like *really* bad, but the ring itself doesn't want to be and can control YOU???"

So many irrelevant questions, so much time to waste...

Sheesh! Talk about a straw man argument. Shutting down our military network is far more probable than a ring controlling someone, or battleships trapped under a force field. -1 to you sir.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622003)

The lesson to be learned here is not to let your resistance movement to be owned - and eventually canceled - by TV executives.

I don't think you want me to answer that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621733)

"What Modern Militaries Can Learn From Battlestar Galactica"?

Don't let women in the military.

Re:I don't think you want me to answer that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621837)

Yeah, because if you're in a firefight, you sure as hell don't want Starbuck backing you up. She's only the best pilot in the fleet.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621743)

The reverse happens as well if you remember correctly - something you happen to have left out in the missive.

Lesson one: don't re-reboot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621745)

No one wants a preachy "wouldnt it be crazy if things were like earth, but backwards" drama filled with with apprehensive teenagers. It just isn't fun tv.

(in. re. Caprica in case anyone didnt get the reference)

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621815)

Sorry, but the Battlestar Galactica reboot was FAR superior to the original. And I say that as someone who was a huge fan of the original. It should be the textbook case for how to do a reboot right.

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621871)

Personally I only got half-way through the first episode before I decided I couldn't be bothered to watch a soap opera set in space. Did it get any better (I gather that the ending was a huge let-down)?

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621993)

I finally gave up when they had Baltar running a load off by hand and it was quite apparent that Starbuck had a bigger pair than Apollo.

Eeeeewwww...

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622199)

First two seasons were great. First few episodes of any show that has a decent story are going to be a little slow, as there is a lot of introduction for characters, settings, and plot.

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622023)

Sorry, but the Battlestar Galactica reboot was FAR superior to the original. And I say that as someone who was a huge fan of the original. It should be the textbook case for how to do a reboot right.

missed the part where i said i was referring to Caprica, did you? ugh

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (2)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622125)

Caprica was a spinoff, not a reboot.

Re:Lesson one: don't re-reboot (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622413)

That would be the one where Baltar was reduced to a middle manager having waking wet dreams? The one where the level of tech made Baltar irrelevant despite all of his unwarranted guilt?

The one where they made their military systems extra vulnerable to computer attacks despite the fact that their last war was against robots?

The power of a Death Star main canon is nothing compared to stupidity of that magnitude.

Someone just discovered Battlestar Galactica I see (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621765)

Someone just discovered Battlestar Galactica I see. Old news, militaries already aware of this, nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Someone just discovered Battlestar Galactica I (1)

Zedrick (764028) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622077)

> Someone just discovered Battlestar Galactica I see

If that's true, I envy them. I'm currently watching BSG (the remake series, sorry puritans) for the 5th time.

We must prepare for a Cylon attack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621769)

That's what you're saying, right?
Because if our enemies are human, then their chance of taking out the network is as big as taking out any other weapons system, if the network is constructed to be robust. Our enemies do not have intelligent-machine-like hacking capabilities.

Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames or (1, Insightful)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621777)

What's so special about BattleStar Galactica? Why is this on /. to begin with?

Re:Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621885)

What's so special about BattleStar Galactica? Why is this on /. to begin with?

It's covered under the Nerds part. Why are you on this site again?

Re:Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames (1)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621985)

What's so special about BattleStar Galactica? Why is this on /. to begin with?

It's covered under the Nerds part. Why are you on this site again?

I like those shows I just see very little to do with that particular show in the article other than OMG AI which is about all the article is, which is very uninteresting.

Re:Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622185)

I don't think the basic premise of BattleStar Galactica is particularly nerdy. Sci-Fi is full of technological over-reliance causing apocalyptic disasters when it fails. I don't think it's something nerds would talk about as a BattleStar-centric theme. I mean, Dr. Strangelove is a far better example of the theme, as is Forbidden Planet. Heck, even Frankenstein is arguably a better example of the theme, although the consequences of Dr. Frankenstein's experiments were not as destructive. Seriously, what makes Battlestar Galactica more appropriate for this idea than Mad Max, or, hell, The Dark Knight Returns comic?

It's kind of like using the Star Wars movies in particular for how military and political forces can be manipulated into electing a dictator as leader. Yes, that happens in the movies, but it's not a particularly unique story element of the series, nor is the series a particularly good example of it. How the Cylons attack is essentially background information about the setting. It could just have easily been that Cylon agents had been able to infiltrate all active starships, but they neglected to consider the BattleStar Galactica because she was decommissioned and being converted into an inactive museum ship.

Re:Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622461)

> It could just have easily been that Cylon agents had been able to infiltrate all active starships, but they neglected to consider the BattleStar Galactica because she was decommissioned and being converted into an inactive museum ship.

BATTLESHIP!

Now that's a comparison that the neo-galactica fans won't like.

Although the "infiltration" bit overlooks the problem of only having a small number of physical variations. How can you actually infiltrate like that? It's bound to get noticed.

Re:Or Star Trek, Dr. Who, Terminator, or WarGames (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621941)

Batlestar Galactica not relevant on /. ?

Hi, you must be new here.

Aren't we the cylons? (4, Insightful)

Lifix (791281) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621787)

In Battlestar Galactica, the humans are facing the Cylons technologically superior force with advanced cyberweaponry. Doesn't that make us (the USA) the Cylons? Sure China is a threat, but I haven't heard of any damage from any Chinese 'attack.' I have, however, heard of Stuxnet, which had real economic, political and technological consequences.

Re:Aren't we the cylons? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621905)

The US should all be put to death for crimes against humanity. Then again, most of them are so stupid that they aren't even culpable.

Re:Aren't we the cylons? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621961)

In Battlestar Galactica, the humans are facing the Cylons technologically superior force with advanced cyberweaponry. Doesn't that make us (the USA) the Cylons? Sure China is a threat, but I haven't heard of any damage from any Chinese 'attack.' I have, however, heard of Stuxnet, which had real economic, political and technological consequences.

I think our society mirrors the society of caprica prior the first cylon war. We might not have jump drives or VR that is as "real" but we are working on fixed wing drones that can kill without human intervention. Scary stuff. The UN is recommending a ban on autonomous drones with lethal weapons.

Re:Aren't we the cylons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622105)

The title says "what modern militaries can learn.." not what the "American military can learn...".

Never RELY on any one point of failure (3, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621791)

Any one point of failure that can render your entire force useless is a problem. A network should be treated as an AID to military forces, not a necessity. Soldiers should, of course, know how to still function if it goes down.

Re:Never RELY on any one point of failure (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622045)

Also those networks should be redundant and decentralized this way its harder to take down an entire network. Even if its treated as only an aid, the side with the aid may have a distinct advantage over the side without. This is were having your network consist of many technologies and generations of hardware is nice. One shouldn't phase out old hardware that still works just because its "obsolete" falling back to networks of short wave radio's when your satellites and drop ships get knocked out of the sky means you are not out of the fight just yet.

Anyway as far as technical set up the BSG series demonstrates a winning scenario spot on. The Russians did well in this regard and some of their old tanks still work just fine enough to be a problem in places like Syria.

Re:Never RELY on any one point of failure (3, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622091)

. Soldiers should, of course, know how to still function if it goes down.

. . . and more importantly, commanders. Von Clausewitz wrote the importance of not relying on information and command chain systems. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Clausewitz [wikipedia.org] :

While Clausewitz was intensely aware of the value of intelligence at all levels, he was also very skeptical of the accuracy of much military intelligence: "Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.... In short, most intelligence is false." This circumstance is generally described as the fog of war. Such skeptical comments apply only to intelligence at the tactical and operational levels; at the strategic and political levels he constantly stressed the requirement for the best possible understanding of what today would be called strategic and political intelligence. His conclusions were influenced by his experiences in the Prussian Army, which was often in an intelligence fog due partly to the superior abilities of Napoleon's system but even more to the nature of war. Clausewitz acknowledges that friction creates enormous difficulties for the realization of any plan, and the fog of war hinders commanders from knowing what is happening. It is precisely in the context of this challenge that he develops the concept of military genius, whose capabilities are seen above all in the execution of operations.

So you need an army where units can function independently. Even if you have a great military plan: "No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy".

Not really new thinking, at all.

Reciprocity. (5, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621801)

What's strange about the whole concept of Battlestar Galactica and the nature of the attack by the Cylons is how one-sided it was. The humans seemed to have an awareness of what cyber warfare is (they reference firewalls and viruses in the series), yet they never seemed to develop any more than a rudimentary defensive capability (CND, in military parlance) and no intelligence or attack capabilities (CNE and CNA) whatsoever. This, despite the fact that their adversary was entirely cybernetic in nature. Um...yeah, no, I don't buy it. Makes for a good story device, yes (and I loved the series), but I don't buy it as actually realistic. Think about the long-distance communication needed for resurrection, for example...WOW. Get access via that, and think of the incredible damage you could do to Cylons...heck, just a denial of service attack would drastically alter the priorities of an attacking Cylon force, since their losses would be magnified in significance.

Re:Reciprocity. (2)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621933)

This was at least partially explained by the Cylon's disappearance for decades. How do you build systems to fight and defend against an enemy you haven't seen in 40 years, but who have also infiltrated your society and military? They know your weaknesses while you can only guess at theirs, with zero time to adapt due to the surprise assaults.

Re:Reciprocity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621959)

Obviously the "lesson" from Battlestar Galactica isn't about cyber-anything. It's about not fighting your enemy where he dominates. The premise of Battlestar Galactica is that human network defenses are child's play for the Cylons. That's why the only working defense is one which doesn't rely on networks. It could be anything else, whatever the enemy has superiority in.

Re:Reciprocity. (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621971)

Did you watch the series?

Long distances mean no resurection. Destroy the resurrection ship, and they suddenly fear death.

It was done.

Re:Reciprocity. (1)

gorzek (647352) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622007)

They were screwed because the enemy had thoroughly infiltrated the operating system that powered all of their (current-gen) ships. If not for that, it could have actually been a fight, rather than a slaughter.

Re:Reciprocity. (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622013)

I think the point of the opening miniseries was that humans had become complacent in their defenses, since they hadn't even seen any Cylons for 40 years. And in those 40 years, the cylons had advanced far beyond what humans ever expected them to.

And during the course of the series, they did develop some defenses (discovering/attacking Resurrection ships and adapting the cylon virus to use as a weapon themselves, for example). But it's hard to do a lot of R&D when you're running for your lives and just trying to survive most of the time.

History also teaches (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621809)

What was stated is potentially true, but real history also teaches us lessons.
One of the reasons Japan and Germany were sometimes tactically frozen is their rigid command system and the soldiers mentality that they couldn't (shouldn't?) act on their own. We train our troops, lower level officers and non-com's to seize tactical advantages but not to be too aggressive and put their troops in danger. We should be training for reaction to events like loss of communications, gps, and other technical advantages. We should also be training for command scenarios that offer some advantages when those things occur.

Jump into a plan before you actually figure out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621813)

...how shitty and pointless the end game might be.

Looking back instead - Wargames, from 1983 (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621817)

This is not very new:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086567/?ref_=ttqt_qt_tt [imdb.com]

"a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III"

So where is the news, except the setting?

So maybe the title of the submission should be (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622265)

"What Modern Militaries Can Learn from Science-Fiction Television Show Writers"

It wouldn't have been any less sophomoric - just more accurate regarding the point being proposed.

Punch your commanding officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621841)

BG teaches us that fighting with your superior officers is a good way to "get things done".

Make sure to break every conventional rule of military discipline! Everybody will respect your rebellious attitude, and promotions will follow.

Re:Punch your commanding officers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622057)

I'm pretty sure Starbuck never got a promotion. They did throw her in the brig a few times though.

Ridiculous (5, Insightful)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621875)

Modern war - that is, every war the US has fought in the last decade, has been fought largely by infantrymen, light armor and close air support. All of which function just fine without a networked environment.

Maybe you learn the difference between sci fi and reality.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621979)

Sure they do, with each unit deciding to do whatever it sees fit because there is no chain of command, while the enemy is doing coordinated attacks.

There is a motive for the military to use those nice computers and network infrastructure they have, my good sir, and if you want a hint it it is not as paperweight.

Only sheer ignorance can justify your failure to give the due importance to communication and information acquisition in any military conflict.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622005)

Infantry, light armor, and air support are ALL networked these days. Do you think they still relay intel by semaphore?

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622203)

Maybe not... but they still CAN if necessary!

Re:Ridiculous (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622305)

Infantry, and even light armor, perhaps. Close air support, not so much. The technical term for close air support that's not in proper communication with the ground troops is "friendly fire."

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622471)

It depends what echelon of intell you are talking about. Down at the company or platoon level, most of the battlefield information would be disseminated by radio, field phone, or messenger. Back at headquarters, at all levels, there is still keep a hardcopy map of with the current situation overlaid. That map may not get updated quite as often at the computerized map, but it is still there if the network goes down, etc.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

bkmoore (1910118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622475)

They are not networked, or at least on the same one. The problem with the networked battle field is it creates the illusion of perfect situational awareness. Throw in inoperable equipment, poor communication, failure to follow procedures, and you have the raw ingredients for a good-old-fashoned blue-on-blue incident.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622025)

How do you expect to get close air support without communication (and thus network) ?

Re:Ridiculous (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622269)

How do you expect to get close air support without communication (and thus network) ?

According to every movie I have ever seen about the Vietnam war, the best way is to have your newly appointed Lieutenant shout his own map coordinates at a hand cranked radio and hope that the pilots will figure out what he meant.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622059)

As if none of these elements have to communicate with the other? And as if these communication elements are not becoming more and more network-centric?

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622075)

Actually, the elements that you named still rely heavily on computer networks. Assuming that our digital/satellite communications abilities are disabled that leaves line of sight radio. Those relay's would take time to set up. The battlefield picture for the commanders would drop significantly as GPS is disabled. Weapons platforms would either fail or be inoperable. So I think that those elements would eventually adapt to the lack of computer networks there would be a time when they have to rely on older technology and the C3I capabilities would be reduced significantly.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622293)

Modern war - that is, every war the US has fought in the last decade, has been fought largely by infantrymen, light armor and close air support.

I guess close air support must work by telepathy.

In any case, every war the US has fought in the last decade has been fought largely by infantrymen, etc., because each has been an asymmetric conflict, where the main difficulty is locating and identifying the enemy while avoiding ambush. Command and control (i.e., networking) is more critical in this kind of anti-insurgent fighting than in almost anything else you can name.

Re:Ridiculous (3, Interesting)

bkmoore (1910118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622395)

True, a lot of people on /. seem to be confusing StarCraft for real command and control. If the network all went down, it wouldn't make a huge difference, at least at the Battalion level or below. We'd all just pull out our laminated maps and grease markers and keep on executing the mission. Almost all communication is encrypted radio anyway. Most Computers in the military are used for doing inane things such as making PowerPoint slides. In that sense, loss of computing might be a tactical advantage.

Just like copy protection/DRM schemes (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621893)

What one man or team can create, another man or team can break, usually faster, easier, and cheaper than it took to create in the first place. That's the lesson learned from the copy protection/DRM wars, yes? With exceptions, of course; some forms of encryption are difficult to break, and are getting harder to break all the time.

Remember to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621909)

Set the giggers to pulse when you do abandon your craft to look for a lost comrade.

Hard ware Network Kill switches (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43621919)

When facing an enemy whose ability to infiltrate your IT network far exceeds yours to keep them out you should: 1) Only network equipment that actually needs to be networked together. As in targeting system with weapon. 2) Create no physical links at all between systems that don't need to be networked together. 3) Honeypot them into a virtual trap.. (Never understood why they never tried this in Galactica). You want them THINK they have compromised your system, especially whey they have not.

Just stop invading other countries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43621929)

That's all the US military needs to learn.

Re:Just stop invading other countries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622325)

Invading other countries is good now, you racist.

Re:Just stop invading other countries... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622441)

The military doesn't decide that. Supposed to be Congress, but the Presidents have figured out a few ways.

Modern warfare is not a video game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622019)

No matter how much you want to pretend it is.

Yeah... (1)

glwtta (532858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622021)

TV computer systems and "viruses" have very little in common with real-world computer systems and viruses.

Contingency planning (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622037)

That's all our military does in peace time. They even develop contingency plans *for* their contingency plans. Hell, even the CDC has a contingency plan for zombies!

But maybe the enemy is running Windows XP (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622051)

So we can send Jeff Goldblum up to their mothership and infect them with a virus.

Re:But maybe the enemy is running Windows XP (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622159)

Be sure to bring a Mac though. Aliens don't use Windows.

I don't know... (2)

Chessucat (143856) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622073)

... mayhaps the Navy could learn to design hatches to make a cricket sound when opened?!?

Three cyclons per spaceship is a waste! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622095)

Can you please tell me why it took 1 gold Cylon and 2 silver Cylons to fly one single ship? That seems like such a waste.

Re:Three cyclons per spaceship is a waste! (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622173)

In the new series, the ships WERE individual cylons. Made a lot more sense than the original.

Re:Three cyclons per spaceship is a waste! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622197)

It took three cylons to fly a single ship because that's exactly how many cylon costumes they had.

Also, because it looked really cool.

ITS A TV SHOW, the cylons should have won (2)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622107)

the whole point of tech in the military is to shorten the decision making cycle. most times you don't know where the enemy is, so you have scouts looking for him. once they sight the enemy it has to be reported to the highest levels command so that the general and everyone below him has a clear picture of the battle.

in the old days it was done by radio and scouts on feet and wheels. now its done by drones, cameras and the data is networked to everyone. this allows you to make decisions where to attack faster.

since the humans in BSG were so far behind the cylons technologically, they should have been exterminated in the first few episodes. but you need lots of episodes to make money and the good guys to win to make people watch

scientifically it was a dumb show. robots using eyes instead of heat, sonar, radar and other sensors to find humans hiding on the planet and out in space

What is this pseudo-intellectual bullshit? (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622133)

Foreign policy discusses Syria from a Startrek perspective, now military "learning lessons" from a dumb TV show. WTF? How about a reality check -- what could you have "learned" from a Hollywood disaster movie that would have helped you survive the Japan 2011 tsunami?

Go ahead, slashdotters, make an experiment. Rent a movie or two and then watch the real thing on the youtubes and tell me honestly what the fuck could you have learned from the movies to help you escape the disaster? Well, that one's easy -- absolutely nothing. Because what Hollywood imagined isn't anything like the real thing.

Sci-fi shows are entertainment, and they don't teach "lessons", just help you kill time.

The argument suffers a bit for referencing fiction (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622169)

I completely agree with the premise that you want to design weapons platforms from the ground up assuming a broad spectrum of threats. Be those direct physical attacks or more subtle network intrusions.

War.

What will one human mind do to overcome the machinations of another hostile human mind? Anything. Everything.

Be prepared for anything. Biological. Nuclear. Chemical. Hackers. Sexy honey pot assassins. Everything is on the table.

Let your guard down anywhere and you've told the enemy how to kill you.

Centralized systems (1)

Xeno-Root (2914175) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622211)

I don't see so much of a problem in having networked systems, since networked doesn't necessarily mean centralized.

Most sci-fi and action movie plots involving networks out there show an attacker going after a centralized system. They are assumed not to have enough resources to go after multiple independent systems. I've seen countless films where an alien force attacks us, we don't have any chance of winning, but then someone notices that the aliens depend on a central system. We defeat that system and win. Heck, sometimes it goes so far as having all attackers die on their own after their mothership is destroyed.

I guess most first-class military strategists understand the danger of having centralized command-and-control systems. I don't think we must give up networks. Cylons in Battlestar Galatica were essentially machines. They had optical fiber running to their nervous systems, and their minds could be linked to computers directly. Not having so many interconnected systems with such an enemy was a very sensible choice for them. Not so much for us as we generally need to defend only from other humans.

There's a bigger conceit (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622213)

The bigger conceit in Battlestar: Galactica and many other TV shows is that any computer or networked system can be *always* hacked in an *arbitrarily short amount of time* if the plot demands it. For dramatic purposes, computers are stationary targets.

Re:There's a bigger conceit (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622327)

Just like encryption will always be broken a few seconds before the plaintext is required.

Actually, (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622233)

Since the Cylons were able to dominate the colonial computer networks because they manufactured most of the key parts, wasn't the lesson of Battlestar Galactica more like "Hey, maybe it might not be such a good idea to outsource production of all of your really important defense stuff to the people you are going to use it to defend yourself against?"

joshua (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622243)

do you want to play a game?

Fact: Bears eat beets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43622387)

Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

What I learned from BSG (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | about a year and a half ago | (#43622463)

Always do it doggy-style the first time.

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