Small Wars and Telecommunication

Authored by: Thomas Rid

The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Warfare

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754674108
eBook ISBN: 9781315613284
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042495


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Information technology has fundamentally affected the way modern armies operate. Technology has made journalism more intrusive, faster, and independent from military logistics even in remote areas. Deepening Internet penetration everywhere has turned the civilian populations at home and in theater into keen observers and commentators of military action. And—most significantly—improved “network-enabled” command-and-control technology has made regular armies far more lethal and efficient. 1 1

One of the best histories of war reporting is Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975). See also Susan L. Carruthers, The Media at War (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000); Frank Aukofer, and William P. Lawrence, America’s Team: The Odd Couple: A Report on the Relationship between the Military and the Media (Nashville: The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, 1995); Daniel C. Hallin, The “Uncensored War”: The Media and Vietnam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986); John J. Fialka, Hotel Warriors: Covering the Gulf War (Baltimore: Hopkins University Press, 1991); William M. Hammond, Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962–1968 (Washington: Center of Military History, 1988); William M. Hammond, Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1968–1973 (Seattle: University Press of the Pacific, 2002); Thomas Rid, War and Media Operations: The US Military and the Press from Vietnam to Iraq (London: Routledge, 2007). For armies in the information age see Alvin Toffler, and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Making Sense of Today’s Global Chaos (New York: Grand Central, 1993); John Arquilla, and David Ronfeldt, In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age (Santa Monica: Rand, 1997); Thomas X. Hammes, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century (St Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2006). Specifically on the debate on military “transformation”, a good critique is Williamson Murray, “Clausewitz Out, Computer In: Military Culture and Technological Hubris,” The National Interest (Summer, 1997), vol. 48:, Summer, 57–64. For a good introduction to war blogs see John Hockenberry, “The Blogs of War,” Wired Magazine (August 13, 2005).

But changes in telecommunication have had an even more revolutionary impact on irregular forces. 2 2

On the history of telecommunications see George P. Oslin, The Story of Telecommunications (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1992); Anton A. Huurdeman, The Worldwide History of Telecommunications (New York: J. Wiley, 2003).

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