The RMA Force
--Interview with Dr. James R. Blaker, Senior Advisor to Former Vice Chairman of Joint Chief of Staffs, Gen. (Re.) William A. Owens 访美国参联会原副主席欧文斯上将的高级顾问詹姆斯•布莱克博士
MR. CHEN BOJIANG: In your paper “Understanding the Revolution in Military Affairs: A Guide to America’s 21st Century defense”, you suggest building up the RMA force. Is the RMA force a part of RMA or a result of it?
DR. BLAKER: Well, it’s both. You have to understand that that paper was part of this debate. It was an exaggerated1 view. It was written at a time when nobody had tried to be specific about what were the real changes that the American RMA implied.
The paper argued the United States should move toward smaller forces because, by making them smaller they become more agile2, and you can substitute3 knowledge for mass. That's the hypothesis4. It's not proven, but that' s the hypothesis. The paper was an effort to try to portray what those sorts of organizations might look like.
So, if we got to that point, it would be a result of the RMA. But there was also an argument that said that, we don' t really know how to do this. In order to make the kinds of changes that might be necessary, it would really be necessary to do a great deal of experimentation. And the way to do that experimentation was to take some part of the active military5, free it from the current readiness requirements, make the organizational changes, and then ask them to test whether or not those organizations were the right ones.
To do that meant that in the U.S. you would have to use the reserve forces6 differently than we had used them before. The reserve forces in this scheme7 would be used to provide force presence8, peacekeeping operations9, many of the things that the acting force is now charged with.
So it was a means of accelerating the changes that we think might be involved in this revolution. And as such, it was considered too radical10.
MR. CHEN: Could you describe the technological templates11 for the RMA force?
DR. BLAKER: Well, I'm not sure what you mean by the templates. But the templates do not depend on the traditional way in which the military's looked at technology. In the American case, military technology in aircraft was always associated with advanced forms of the platform itself: aircraft that would fly faster, farther, carry more, things like that.
In the Navy it was always associated12 with platforms. Ships that would go faster, carry more armament, those things. And in the Army, particularly the armored forces, it was always associated with tanks which were more heavily armored13, could shoot faster and more accurately, could go longer, things like that.
The real technology template for the RMA has much less to do with14 advanced platforms than with the things that they carry. It is, again, information technology-based, which deals less with the amount of armor that the tank carries, and more with its ability to communicate, its ability to receive information, and/or trade that information to the tank crew, etc.
So the template was counter-intuitive15 because it did not say that you should spend your research and development money on new tanks or new aircraft, you should spend it on the ability to integrate those platforms better.
MR. CHEN: What are the necessities and goals of building up the RMA force? According to your estimate, how long will it take to shift to the RMA force from the current situation?
DR. BLAKER: The necessities are the will to try it and the courage to change. It sounds like a cliche, but that's the real necessity.
Because the changes are likely to be significant, many of the people inside the military are reluctant16 to try to change, because they don't know where it will lead. And because we have not lost a war since Vietnam, there's a reluctance, a smugness17, an arrogance18, that works against the willingness to try to experiment to change.
If we had the courage to do this, I think it would take 10 years, but the changes would be dramatic in those 10 years.
MR. CHEN: What changes in the armed forces will take place during the building up of the RMA force?
DR. BLAKER: Well, I think that the changes will be in the form of appliques19. What I mean by that is that the technology is arriving. It's almost a done deal20. It’s in place. For the most part, it's been applied to existing organizations and doctrines.
What the Army is doing is a good example. They are taking information technology, and applying it to existing tanks within the existing organizations, and operating as they develop these devices. As such, the real capabilities of this technology will be reached only slowly as people come to the realization that, for instance, if you really do have a dominant knowledge of what is occurring, then perhaps you don't need things like tactical reserves21. Tactical reserves have always been meaningful in the context of22 not having knowledge. They were an insurance policy against the sudden breakthrough, or an enemy capability which you did not expect.
But if you really have a much better understanding of what is occurring on the battlefield, then perhaps you don't need a reserve force. And those kinds of implications go throughout the use of military forces.
The Americans have developed a concept of close air support23, primarily in which the Air Force, provides close air support to the Army. But close air support has always been something seen by the Army and the Air Force, and the United States, as something like the reserves; something that you use when you come up against an unexpected event. But if there are fewer unexpected events, then maybe you don't have to have that concept of close air support.
So, the implications of this are massive. They involve challenges to existing doctrine. Yet the current approach in using the technology is to apply it to existing doctrine, existing organization. And as such, the changes and the power of the concepts will be slow in coming. That's why Owens and others, myself included, have argued that we should experiment much more rapidly and much more radically. We want to condense24 the time at which the revolution will occur, from 20 years to 10 years.
MR. CHEN: What are the main obstacles25 to be overcome in building up the RMA forces? How will the military capabilities be maintained during the building up of the RMA force?
DR. BLAKER: The biggest obstacles again are lack of courage, traditional commitments, and the parochialism26 of the separate services. The way to overcome them is to move toward joint operations, joint command control structures. And speaking as an American, I believe the Americans should do this now—do this sooner rather than later. We should do the experimentation now, when the threat is relatively low.
Practice Listening to words词汇听力练习：
3.substitute  v. 替换
4.hypothesis  n. 假设
7.scheme  n. 安排，配置
10.radical  adj. 激进的
11.template  n. 模板，模式
12.associated  adj. 关联的
13.armored  adj. 装甲的
14.have…to do with 与…有关
15.intuitive  adj. 直觉的
16.reluctant  adj. 勉强的
17.smugness  n. 沾沾自喜
18.arrogance  n. 傲慢，自大
19.applique  n. 镶嵌
20.a done deal（技术）已成型、完善
22.in the context of 在……情况下
23.close air support近距空中支援
24.condense  v.（使）浓缩
25.obstacle  n.障碍
26.parochialism  n.本位主义