Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Le Tout Technologique"

Gen. Vincent Desportes is worried that France's rejoining NATO will lead to adoption of standards of "interoperability" with American military technology and that this apparently technical decision will lead to political subservience to the United States.

Si, malgré des budgets de défense très inférieurs aux budgets américains, les armées européennes persistent à se doter d'équipement de norme technologique américaine, il y a fort à parier que, dans peu d'années, les forces européennes dans leur ensemble devront abandonner des pans entiers de leurs capacités militaires. La cohérence d'ensemble ne pourra donc être rétablie que sous parapluie et leadership américain.

For a previous comment on Gen. Desportes's ideas, see here.


Tom Holzman said...

I am not sure I understand the argument because the next to last sentence seems ambiguous. Is he afraid that "les forces européennes" will lose large amounts of their capacity to produce armaments or their ability to function as national armies? Whichever it is, how much does this matter in the real world, other than for purposes of "gloire nationale"?

Unknown said...

The argument isn't really spelled out, but I would guess that it has to do with the notion that technology drives tactical organization. For example, American forces now rely heavily on maneuver units deployed under the control of electronic command sensors that gather information from a network of battlefield sensors, intelligence and reconnaissance units, etc. So, in order to "interoperate" with American forces, European forces would presumably need to reorganize so that their maneuver units can "plug in" to the American command and control system. But the Europeans will not themselves have the command and control hardware: they don't have the AWACS planes, the encrypted computer networks, the battlefield sensor technology, etc. They will simply be cogs in the American-dominated machine. So two questions arise: is this actually true, and why can't Europeans angle to develop command and control technology of their own?

Unknown said...

that should read "electronic command centers," not "sensors."

Tom Holzman said...

Thanks for the explanation. There still seems to me to be a question of whether this all matters in the real world, and whether everyone would be better off from a military point of view if what is feared (American domination of the system) occurred. I do not have enough expertise to have any idea.