Revolution in Military Affairs in the United States
--Interview with Former Secretary of National Defense, Dr. William Perry 访美国前国防部长威廉•佩里博士
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: I feel honored to have the opportunity to interview you today. In my research on military revolution, future warfare and national defense development, you are the interviewee1 whom I most desire to speak with. As far as I know, you have not only personally directed defense research and engineering which contributed significantly to the advanced military technologies being used currently, but also promoted the discussion of revolution in military affairs during your appointment2 as the Secretary of Defense3. I really appreciate this chance to gain your insight4 and views on these issues.
What is the reason for the encouragement of the discussion of RMA5 in the USA? You have directed defense research and engineering for a long time. How do you view the emphasis and essence6 of this revolution in military affairs?
DR. PERRY: The RMA in the United States is simply applying the same technologies and the same management procedure to the military—that we’re applying to the commercial area. There’s a technological revolution going on in the world and it provides not only a basis for making newer and better products, but it also provides a basis for managing more effectively and more efficiently. The RMA is to conceive7 of what products could be most effective for the military and also what processes and procedures improve military efficiency—so that it’s not fundamentally different from the application of technology in the field. Once the new product—military weapons—has been developed and as new management processes become available, it can have a profound impact on tactics8 and doctrine9, and organization10. Now this is true in the industry as well—but it is perhaps more obvious in the military because the military tends to formulate their doctrine in certain forms and so the army, for example—in FM-10011 something—describes the thinking about military doctrine. But some of these new products and processes change dramatically and therefore it is important to exploit12 tactics and doctrine at the same time. An excellent example of this is Desert Storm13, where for the first time, we used stealth14 technology and for the first time, we took modern intelligence15 techniques to the battlefield. Those techniques were so powerful that we had to devise16 new tactics on how to use them. It is great credit17, I think, to the American military leadership, that even though they did not have the new manuals18 at that time, that they were able to adapt the technology as the war was proceeding. The most striking19 was the way that used stealth. They chose to use the stealth airplane over the area with the greatest defense. The idea was that stealth would have a leveraging20 effect. If we could use it to essentially defeat the defense system, then you end up giving other aircraft a much easier time. So, the military leaders who were putting the military campaign21 together had to devise a way of using the aircraft they had, including non-stealth most effectively, and so that the other aircraft benefited from how we were using the stealth aircraft. That’s an example of how doctrine and tactics need to be adapted to reflect the availability of new weapons systems and new technology.
MR. CHEN: Compared to the RMAs that have occurred in history, what are the topmost characteristics of the RMAs which should be especially noticed?
DR. PERRY: In terms of other RMAs in history, the characteristic of this one, which is dramatically different from any other, is the speed with which it is proceeding, compared with the introduction of gunpowder22, introduction of the flint23 lock and other major changes that brought about change in tactics and doctrine. They changed the way we fought war—caused us to back away from trench24 warfare. All of those changes occurred over several decades, whereas the current technology is changing every few years now. And so, the military leaders, if they want to use the most effective technology have to be prepared to turn over weapons systems in a few years time and change their tactics and doctrine in a correspondingly short time. And that’s a very difficult task. One area of difficulty is that in the computer field, a new generation of computers is introduced every two years, whereas it takes us ten to twelve years to develop a new airplane. And when that airplane comes into the force, it’s there for twenty or thirty years. That means that you’d have to find a way of deciding which of the new technologies are most important and incorporating them into existing weapon systems without waiting for the next generation of weapon systems. And that challenges our system development because it was set up to operate in a different way—in a twelve year cycle. The topmost characteristic which affects the whole system the most, is the speed with which it advances.
MR. CHEN: To the best of your knowledge, what is the topmost achievement or theoretical breakthrough25 as a result of the discussion on RMA?
DR. PERRY: The topmost break-through is certainly stealth—it was a dramatic breakthrough. But in a different field altogether, and I would say equally important, has been the introduction of information technology, which basically answers the question that soldiers have asked for centuries, which is what is over the next hill. The way of answering that question has moved very slowly through the centuries. During the last decade, The technology has moved very fast and has completely revolutionized how that question is answered.
MR. CHEN: How is the American future development of national defense related with RMA? How do you think RMA influences that development of national defense? Is the United States at the beginning, middle, or end of an RMA? What are the main trends in the development of RMA?
DR. PERRY: Yes. If I focus on information technology, we’re certainly not at the beginning of it—we have been introducing it now ever since before Desert Storm. I would say we’re not at the end of it, by any means. We’re in intermediate26 phase. But information technology continues to develop at a very fast rate. It’s been under way for fifty years and it has a long way to go. We’re not near the end yet. Because we’re not near the end of the technological changes, particularly in the field of information technology.
Practice Listening to words词汇听力练习：
1.interviewee  n. 被采访者
2.appointment  n. 任命，指定
3.Secretary of Defense国防部长
4.insight  n. 见识
5.RMA:Revolution in Military Affairs军事革命
7.conceive  vi. 考虑
12.exploit  vt．开拓，发展
16.devise  vt．设计，想出（办法）
19.striking  adj．显著的，惊人的
24.trench ｎ．堑壕；trench warfare 堑壕战
26.intermediate  adj．中间的