Information Edge & information umbrella
--Interview with Former Vice Chairman of Joint Chief of Staffs, Gen. (Re.) William A. Owens 访美国参联会原副主席威廉•欧文斯上将(退役)
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: I am very glad to have the opportunity to interview you. When I was looking for interviewees on military revolution, future warfare and national defense development, you were strongly recommended to me as one of the major RMA advocators and contributors whose work had a significant influence on this field. I really appreciate that you are able to meet with me given your busy schedule1. I have read several of your articles on military revolution and U. S. National defense development. I would like to begin our interview by asking you some questions about issues dealt with in your articles.
After your article “America’s Information Edge2” was published in 1996, “Information Edge” became a hot topic. In the Information Age, what are the changes in the concept of force and the balance of force? How can this new framework3 be used to assess force and the balance of force?
GEN. OWENS: It is trying to say you can replace an existing military force, in our case an Army of 9,000 tanks, and a navy of 340 ships and an Air Force of 20 tactical fighter wings. You can replace all of that, replace the force capability from the existing force of these 20 tactical fighter wings, and these 340 ships, for example, with fewer forces but with the same force capability. Now, we're talking about force capability, what you can do with the forces. An example of what I mean might be satellite systems. They have been present for some time but we never thought much about them as supplements4 or trade-offs5 for combat forces.
The same has been true about UAVs6, or commercial satellites. All these types of things can multiply the capability of the "good enough" platforms7. You can replace and multiply the capability of the force without replacing or adding new weapon system. That's the new idea, because we always thought that if you decommissioned8 a ship, you had to get a new ship, but I think not any longer. You replace force capability with a new force, that looks different and is based on information. I think that's in our mindset9.
MR. CHEN: In the future development of national defense, which kinds of advanced technologies will be a priority10 for the U.S.? How will these kinds of advanced technologies influence American military capability?
GEN. OWENS: The easiest way of thinking about it is to list the kinds of technologies that are most important, those technologies that allow you to see, sensors, the technologies that allow you to tell, the communications, and the tech¬nologies that allow you to guide the preci¬sion guided munitions11. And those are the technologies that are of main interest to a military that wants to become modern. These tend to be in the area of information technology, and telecommunications, and in systems integration. Remember the is¬sue of "system-of-systems"12 What this all means is that this will be central to mili¬taries and the future, not tanks and air¬planes.
MR. CHEN: Some have argued that the speed in the development of technolo¬gies has exceeded that of the development of military doctrine. Therefore, the em¬phasis of military revolution should be fo¬cused on the military doctrine, structure and organization so as to adapt to the de¬velopment of technology. In your opinion, what is the emphasis of the RMA?
GEN. OWENS: I completely agree. It is the biggest challenge of the Revolu¬tion in Military Affairs to change the doc¬trine and the concepts and the culture. We have in the U.S., 1.5 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have all been raised in the stereotypes'3 of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. We teach them about ships and tanks and air¬planes and the tradition of the military and remember what I said about history and tradition. I think it is interesting, but not very. It is the future that matters most. So culturally, we have to get ourselves in this mindset of new functions and not stay in the mindset of the culture of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. We have to change the culture into how to see the battlefield, and how do you apply force through dominant maneuver14 armies and marines in strategic ways in the battlefield, not in force-on-force confrontation, and how you put precision weapons on targets without platforms, and finally how you support those things. That's a big change. I think it will take years and I think it will have to be top-down. That's the only way you can do it, by taking the senior people and convincing them that they have to have a revolution and drive the revolution down, because you can't start from the bottom up.
MR. CHEN: Can the information technology driving America's emerging15 military capabilities change classic deter¬rence16 theory? What is the information umbrella? What is the difference between the information umbrella and the nuclear umbrella? Can the information umbrella replace the nuclear umbrella?
GEN. OWENS: I think that it is ab¬solutely true that you can change the deter¬rence theory with the revolution in military affairs. It means that our nation can influ¬ence other nations with an information um¬brella, if I say to Saddam Hussein, I have the ability to put an information umbrella over Iraq. I can see everything you do. I am able to do that, and I will do that, if you don't comply17 with the United Na¬tions resolutions. I will be able to show, if I desire, on CNN18 what I saw from my information umbrella and then be able to inform the world, or I may be able to put bombs on specific targets if you persist in not doing what the UN19 wants you to do. It is because of the very strong element of deterrence theory that you are able to say, our country is so smart we will be able to take this information umbrella over your country and it has enormous ramifications20 for your country. It's not the size of my carriers or the size of my air force. It' s the size of my smarts, it' s my ability to think about and use the information um¬brella. The answer to your question is yes, the information umbrella can replace the nuclear umbrella. I believe we need to reduce our nuclear weapons radically, not just slowly. We need to rid the world, to the extent we can, of nuclear weapons. You can continue to maintain a deterrence strategy with an information umbrella, and I believe that the nuclear umbrella that we have used with our allies in the past is overcome by events. We have an ability now to put that information umbrella in its place. And it's a much more peaceful um¬brella. It's not that dire threat, but I be¬lieve it's equally effective in terms of21 aggressors like Saddam Hussein22. We have a much bigger potential23 to use the information umbrella than to use a nuclear weapon. People said that they don’t think we’ll really use nuclear weapons, and they’re right. But the information umbrella, we’ll use it, and that’s good. So all of us who want to see peace in the world, and security, and I personally believe that’s the kind of thing we should start to think about and do with our allies24. I gave a speech yesterday where I talked about the cooperation between our nations, and we should be able to talk about these kinds of issues, and how we can do these things together, especially as a part of a group of nations, and forming a security blanket around the Pacific.
Practice Listening to words词汇听力练习：
1.schedule  n. 时间表
2.information edge 信息优势
3.framework  n.（理论）框架
4.supplement  n.补充
6.UAV:Unmanned Aerial Vehicle 无人驾驶航空器
7.platform  n.平台
8.decommission  vt. 使退役
9.mindset  n. 思维模式
10.priority  n. 优先
11.precision guided munition精确制导武器（弹药）
15.emerge  vi. 显现，形成
16.deterrence  n. 威慑
17.comply  vi. 顺从
18.CNN:Cable News Network美国有线新闻网
20.ramification  n.衍生物，此处意为：影响
21.in terms of 在……，从……（来说）
23.potential  adj. 潜在的
24.ally  n. 同盟者