Accession Number : ADA328959

Title :   Reflections on the Signal Corps: The Power of Paradigms in Ages of Uncertainty,

Corporate Author : AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s) : Vandiver, Ronald W.

PDF Url : ADA328959

Report Date : 14 APR 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 64

Abstract : The advent of the Information Age is reshaping the battlefield just as the Industrial Age did in the early twentieth century. The telephone redefined the fire support paradigm, resulting in the expanded role of artillery in World War I. Today digital data networks are redefining how we synchronize maneuver on the battlefield. Information technology, expected to make a thousandfold advance over the next twenty years, is already making our current organizational structures, doctrines, hardware and software inadequate. This paper draws upon an historical example to address not just the 'why' but also what are consequences when the Army fails to change its paradigm of warfare based on the character of warfare it faces? This is accomplished by constructing converging lines of evidence that establish the similarities of the Signal Corps as it struggled to support the American Expeditionary Force during World War I to an early twenty-first century Signal Corps faced with supporting future military operations in a predominately information age. This paper argues that the reluctance of America and its Army to accommodate the shift in warfare paradigms during the first two decades of the twentieth century contributed to its unpreparedness in general, and that of the Signal Corps specifically, to face the character of warfare present in Europe. This is not how to respond to today's revolution in information, but it is consistent with how historically the Signal Corps is channeled toward an evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach to supporting the Army. Instead of being shaped by emerging technologies or being fashioned by revolutionary change, the Signal Corps is again caught in the 'chaos of peace' when it should be preparing to fight the nation's information wars. The Signal Corps is missing the lessons that history has already taught us.

Descriptors :   *TACTICAL DATA SYSTEMS, DIGITAL SYSTEMS, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, DATA TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS, MILITARY DOCTRINE, INFORMATION PROCESSING, CORPS LEVEL ORGANIZATIONS.

Subject Categories : Command, Control and Communications Systems

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE