The Future of War
Science Fiction looks to the future and asks questions. One of the most common is, how will wars be fought in the future?
Let's look at how the British and American armies have fought in conflicts over the last decade - Somalia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan.
The actual fighting is done by about four hundred Special Forces troopers. They are backed up by four thousand assault infantry, such as Paratroopers or Marines. The rest of the combat forces, what remains of forty thousand infantry, are basically cannon fodder who are used for guard duty in safe areas.
It should be noted that Special Forces units and tactics were originally developed for operations behind enemy lines, specifically to attack and destroy the enemy's line of communications. During the Gulf War, the Special Forces were less than successful at this - and in conflicts since then the Western governments have used missiles for this task. Since their main duty has been taken away from them, the Special Forces must therefore be redeployed.
The traditional military has had several arguements against the use of Special Forces. To start with, anything they can do should be within the capabilities of any decent infantry unit. Secondly, more importantly, the performance of the other combat units is impaired because their best soldiers are creamed off. If the best 10% of soldiers are in special units, obviously the remaining 90% will be of a much lower standard.
So, what is the next step? Robert A. Heinlein made a couple of predictions. One was the use of technology to enhance the capabilities of ultra-elite Mobile Infantry, as show in Starship Troopers . The other was the use of genetically engineered warriors, such as Dark Angel . And as the current trends show, that is still the way things are headed.
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