The Progress and the Main Trends of RMA
--Interview with Dr. Martin C. Libicki, Senior Fellow of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS, National Defense University) (March 3, 1998) 访美国为防大学战略研究所高级研究员马丁•利比博士
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: Please give an overview of the progress and the main trends of the RMA.
DR. LIBICKI: To think about the history of the RMA, requires starting about twenty years ago and going thirty years into the future. Now, of course, we cannot predict the future, in that we can’t always predict what kind of innovations will come. If I were to look fifty years ago, I would be looking before the invention of the transistor. Without the transistor, we cannot imagine the computer that can sit next to my desk. No one anticipated the transistor. Yet, when it came, it led to everything else. So, to give you a practical example, how good are high energy lasers going to be? If you think that higher energy lasers will be cheap and effective, that’s going to change the conventional battlefield very greatly. If you think high energy lasers are going to be expensive and ineffective, then they’re not very important. My hunch1 is that they’re going to be ineffective and expensive. But I may be wrong. That’s one reason why it’s difficult to project out too far.
Another is more fundamental. Military equipment tends to evolve very quickly in wartime. In get four years between 1941 and 1945 military advanced greatly partly because new weapons were brought into production by 1945, and partly because we learned how to use weapons in 1945 that we didn’t know how to use in 1941. once war ends, the pressure to innovate drops off. Furthermore, without war, you have a tendency to hang on to things that don’t make much sense anymore. Colonel David Johnson (former had of academic affairs at NDU), said that the U.S. Navy’s RMA took place on December 7, 1941. Until Pearl Harbor the United States maintained battleships2, and the U.S. maintained aircraft carriers3. And it wasn’t clear which of the two were going to dominate naval warfare, as the U.S. contemplated waging war with Japan across the Pacific. But when the battleships were sunk, we were left with aircraft carriers, and the aircraft carriers were so effective in the Battle of Midway that nobody thought that battleships had much of a future and we pored our money into aircraft carriers. I suspect that most of the philosophy that we brought to war in the European Front in the 1980s was already obsolete. But we didn’t know that because we didn’t have a war and because we didn’t have a test of those concepts. So therefore we keep extending these concepts out into the future.
Should a war take place in thirty years and we get to test concepts, a lot of things will change. It will accelerate matters. By the same token4, if the U.S. finds itself in a competition with another power, it will be forced to question its own technological development. If the world stays as benign as it is today, chances in military technology will move more slowly. So, I can talk about the last twenty years, because it happened. But I can’t talk about the nest thirty years, except to speculate5.
What do we see over this fifty-year period (e.g., 1978～2028)? First is the refinement and development of precision ammunition, to where if you can get a signature on a target, you can probably kill it. Now, when you add to this the fact that the U.S. and many other advanced countries can now map the world very precisely, that means that you can now locate an object -you can also kill it. The combination of mapping and of GPS (global positioning system) means that, basically, if you can see something, you can kill it.
There are some qualifications to that statement. It doesn’t pay to kill up a $10,000 truck with a million dollar cruise missile-probably not if the U.S. does it, and certainly not if someone tries to do that to the United States. We can produce a $10,000 truck faster than anybody can produce a million dollar cruise missile. So, you have to take that equation into account. At any rate, some time in the next five to ten years, the United States will complete its evolution of PGMs (precision guided munitions).
The second half of the RMA is how do we illuminate6 the battlefield? How do we see everything worth seeing? And a lot of that answer seems to be sensors-electrooptical, microwave, imaging sensors, acoustic sensors. You name it, we have it. We can put in every medium and we can somehow fuze all this information together so we can get a real fine picture of the battlefield. Exactly what sensors, exactly how we do it, is yet to be determined.
DOD will spend a great deal of thought in the early 21st century defining a constellation7 of sensors, that can survive attack by the other side. For instance, we now put our most capable sensors on Boeing 707 platform, which are not stealthy, which are not maneuverable-which have to generate energy to get energy back. Right now we can do it safely. Can we do that safely 10, 20, 30 years from now? I don’t know. If not we’ve got to figure out a way to put these sensors on smaller platforms that do not require human beings.
That is why people are talking very excitedly about UAVs8, which (once we learn to fly them reliably) will have a considerable military effectiveness. If you take a look at Globalhawk, you’re talking a look at an extremely capable unmanned aerial vehicle that costs about $10 million. But you can also make UAVs that can be held with one hand and cost $1000-but they don’t fly as high, they don’t carry as complete a sensor package, they don’t have the endurance, and they probably crash a lot. But you use $5000 UAVs completely differently than you use $10 million UAVs. And the main thing about a $5000 UAVs is that no one’s going to shoot at it with a $100,000 missile-the result is that these things are much more survivable.
We are in a confluence9 of two trends. The first trend is toward the dispersion of things, making a lot of small things. Consider the personal computer business. Mainframe computers are dead, but personal computers are thriving. There are a lot of other analogies as well. The second thing is that we want to network everything together. One sensor may see something using one mode, and another sensor sees it using another mode-and one wants to bring these readings together to start correlating things. I hear a tank. Do you see a tank? Are we getting the radar reflection of the tank? Does it sound like a tank? Etc. When we put these things together-called data fusion10 -we can learn a good deal more about the battlefield. If we can get that kind of information very quickly, then we’ll want to take advantage of that information very quickly. We have at the same time dispersion and integration. And that’s something with which we’re going to be occupied for the next thirty years.
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS 词汇提示
1.hunch  n.预感
2.battleship  n.战列舰
3.aircraft carrier 航空母舰
4.by the same token 由于同样的原因
5.speculate  v 推测
6.illuminate  v.照明，透亮
7.constellation  n.星系
8.UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) 无人驾驶航空器
9.confluence  n.汇合
10.fusion  n.熔合
QUESTIONS AFTER LISENING 听后答题:
1. What did Colonel David Johnson say?
A.The U.S. Army’s RMA took place in 1951.
B.The U.S. Navy’s RMA took place on December 7, 1941.
C.The U.S. Air Force was founded on September 1,1914.
D.The U.S. military’s reform took place in 1989.
2. When did the U.S. Navy decided to pour the money into aircraft carriers instead of battleships?
A.After the Battle of Midway.
B.After the end of World War Ⅱ.
C.After the incident of Pearl Harbor.
D.After the end of World War Ⅰ.
3. What does the precision ammunitions mean?
A.It means if you can see something, you can destroy it.
B.It means if you can see something, you can locate it.
C.It means if you can see something, you can take a picture.
D.It means if you can see something, you can acquire it.
4. Why did Dr. Libicki say that you have to take the equation into account?
A.Because it doesn’t pay to use precision weapons in a border conflict.
B.Because it doesn’t pay to use a nuclear weapons in a mutual crisis.
C.Because it doesn’t pay to kill up a $10000 truck with a million dollar cruise missile.
D.Because it doesn’t pay to destroy a car with a smart missile.
5. What’s the meaning of illumination of the battlefield?
A.It means that you can see everything worth seeing in the battlefield.
B.It means that you can destroy everything in the battlefield.
C.It means that you can target everything in the battlefield.
D.It means that you can locate everything in the battlefield.
6. What will DOD do for sensors in the early 21st century?
A.It will spend a lot of money purchasing new sensors.
B.It will spend a great deal of time training a new army for the use of sensors.
C.It will spend a lot of material experimenting sensors.
D.It will spend a great deal of thought in defining a constellation of sensors that can survive attack by the other side.
7. What is Global-hawk?
A.It is a big bird.
B.It is a manned aircraft.
C.It is an extremely capable unmanned aerial vehicle that costs about $10 million.
D.It is a new satellite.
8. Why did Dr. Libicki think that a $5000 UAV was much more survivable?
A.Because it was too difficult to target it.
B.Because it was too difficult to destroy it.
C.Because it was too difficult to find it out.
D.Because it was so cheap that no one would shoot at it with a precise missile.
9. Dr. Libicki said: “we are in a confluence of two trends.” What is the first trend?
A.It is the information network.
B.It is the multipolarization.
C.It is the dispersion of things.
D.It is the globalization.
10. Along the lines of the previous question, what is the second trend?
A.It is the integrity of market.
B.It is the data fusion.
C.It is the economic group.
D.It is that we want to network everything together.
KEYS TO THE QUESTIONS 参考答案：
1.b 2.a 3.a 4.c 5.a 6.d 7.c 8.d 9.c 10.d