The Future of War

Worth watching (via Andrew Crosthwaite). Click here (6 minutes).

BTW, here’s something on the future of war forecasting from What’s Next back in 2005.

In the future there will be pollution forecasts, disease forecasts and war forecasts. In fact war-forecasting is already a growth industry with a number of players in countries such as the US, Germany and Australia. One of the leading systems used to predict military outcomes is a bit of software called the Tactical Numerical Deterministic Model – TNDM – which is produced by a military think-tank called the Dupuy Institute in Washington DC. TNDC is the mother of all battle simulators, largely because it successfully predicted the outcome (particularly casualty rates and duration) of the first Gulf War and also the Bosnian conflict.

The accuracy of TNDM is largely due to the fact that the Dupuy Institute sits on a mountain of historical data from previous wars and has spent time analysing the influence of such factors as rainfall, foliage cover, length of supply lines, tank positions, river widths, muzzle velocities, density of targets and the nature of the regimes participating in the conflict (democratic or authoritarian). The result is a mathematical model that predicts outcomes, which is in turn used to deliver a three-page report on casualty rates, equipment losses, capture rates and terrain gains. What’s even more astonishing is that this software is for sale at a cost of US $93,000 (including instruction, a year’s technical support and a newsletter).

Interestingly though, most people prefer the human touch and opt for the predictions plus human analysis. A future challenge is to predict the outcomes of guerrilla conflicts and the Dupuy Institute is apparently working on this. Given the success of business books like ‘The Art of War’, one wonders how long it will be before a corporation like Microsoft develops a similar model to predict the outcome of innovations or commercial strategies.

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