Friday, July 30, 2010

Men still better than machines...for now

A recent article on the internet pointed out the difficulties the U.S, Air Force is having supplying enough pilots to fly surveillance air craft in Afghanistan. Though not the point of the article in question, I think the real story is the tacit understanding that the military has been relying too much on technology like drones instead of people. One can almost hear the pitches company representatives made to the Pentagon over a decade ago in which they dazzled procurement officers and politicians with the allure of a panacea: cheap surveillance and weapons platforms that would keep pilots out of harms way. But one has to wonder if the pitch convinced anyone the drones would be more effective than pilots and their planes.

fast forward to the fighting in Southern Afghanistan going on right now.  Ground units need aerial surveillance and their aren't enough drones or surveillance planes such as the MC-12 Liberty, a twin turbo prop. Pilots can look out the cockpit window and actually see things like enemy movements and troops in trouble. The article I mentioned above points this out, but does not really address the core of the issue: People and training have been neglected in favor of technology.

Drones are probably the future of the military, but for now, in this war, people are still better than machines.

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