Impact of Technology on the Military
The American civil war was fought from 1861 to 1865 in many different locations around the USA. Approximately, six hundred thousand soldiers died in the war. In that war between the Union and confederacy, it was the union states that won the battle. The secession of the southern states was due to the differences in ideologies between the slave and free states. The major forms of weapons used during the American civil war were smoothbore cannons, rifled cannons; crude forms of grenades and ironclads were also used for naval battles.
The cold war conflict in Korea started in June 1950, and the entry of American troops was on behalf of South Korea the war ended in July of 1953 with approximately five million civilians and military casualties. The Vietnam War was between the communists in Northern Vietnam and South Vietnam, and its ally, the US. The war ended with the withdrawal of American troops in 1973 and later Northern, and Southern Vietnam became one nation.
In world war two, the then president Franklin Roosevelt declared that America was totally behind England in the war against Germany, then lead by Adolf Hitler. The Second World War was fought over differences that were unresolved since the end of world war one. There were two sides in world war two: the Allied powers and the Axis powers. The allies consisted of England, Poland France, China and America and the Axis powers comprised mainly of Germany, Japan and Italy.
After the brief background analysis, I will now shift my focus to the technological changes in the military over the past decades to date. My main focus will be on three areas: manpower, personnel training and human factors. For any military to be among the best, it must ensure that it keeps abreast with the changing times especially with respect to technology. This is because the weapons that were considered lethal the past decade may be considered obsolete now. The first area I will look at is manpower. The tactics used in recruitment of soldiers has become more a function of technology now than it used to be before. As technology is being used to create more sophisticated weapons, the entry requirements for soldiers is also changing. This is because the recruits have to be able to comprehend these complex machines and how they function. This means that entrance requirements for MOA (military occupational specialties) are becoming more stringent as compared to before due to advances in technologies. Assuming that the military increases its retention of soldiers, recruitment of new soldiers will reduce significantly. The advancement of technology means that the retained workforce will have to cope with the emerging trends. This can be facilitated through workshops and further training from time to time. Without a doubt, changes in technology will lead to changes in military leadership. The US military has spent large amounts of resources and time in training their soldiers and assessing their performance and characteristics of leaders. A leader cannot understand all the complex functions that the members of his unit have to do with the advancement of technology. The change in technology continues to change and modify the relationship between a leader and his troops. His troops have a bigger responsibility as technology advances since he is the only one that can perform specific tasks. This means that there is increased job specialization with the advancement in technology. Social processes within a military unit have been found to contribute to improve unit effectiveness. Such processes include group cohesion, satisfaction and motivation. The truth is that, in other countries the defense budget is not as big as that of the US. This means that they can’t afford high tech equipment and their soldiers have been forced to become more flexible and resourceful. They have to rely on their unit and fellow soldiers for survival. In conclusion, technology plays a very big role in determining unit effectiveness and the social processes.
The military perspective since the American civil war to date in terms of technology has changed tremendously. In the American civil war, the sides going to war faced off with each other on a level field with the confederacy on one side and the union on another side. The two sides were using traditional tactics to try and win the war. In the 21st century, due to the advancement of technology, warfare has taken completely different forms. This includes high intensity battles such as nuclear wars and chemical attacks such as the one witnessed in Syria where the Syrian government killed almost 1600 of its civilians via chemical attacks. To a lower scale, the guerilla war is not a high intensity conflict. Also, due to advancement in technologies, terrorist are now shifting from suicide bombings although they still exist to biological and chemical attacks. With the advancement in technology, training of soldiers has become more complex; more diversified and requires greater resources and planning. The training of troops that deal with technology or tech savvy weapons has to an ongoing, regular process to cater for the rapidly changing technologies. Training programs are increasingly being infiltrated by softwares and computers. The trainees spend more time learning about advancements in technologies and less and lesser time in the fields. The increasing complexity of technology will necessitate for an increase in the number of recruits. Another consequence of technology to training is that the training programs by trainers will need to be evaluated from time to time to accommodate new advances in technology. The US armies these days have come to terms with the fact that, at times civilians will have to be sought because of their specialized skills.
With that said, it means that the cost of training a soldier now is more expensive than the cost of training a soldier during World War 2. The third factor is human factors. After the purchase of sophisticated and complex weapons, it’s now up to the generals in the military to ensure that they have enough manpower that has been trained in handling and repair of the weapons. The lack of adequate and able personnel to operate and also repair the complex machines reduces combat effectiveness. A key human factor is the intelligence levels. The more intelligent an officer is, the easier it will be for him to change with the changing technological advances. However, the best way of dealing with the advancement of technology is designing equipment that requires fewer people to operate and repair. A good example is automation of equipment that reduces the number of soldiers required to operate the machine. According to MANPRINT, (manpower and personnel integration) weapon systems are becoming simpler to operate due to advancements in technology. It has become clear that entry requirements for training of troops have reduced, but the entry requirements for repairs and maintenance of the weapons and equipment continues to increase. As a result of technological advances, electronic maintenance has become more complex. The military is embracing ‘black box’ technology where those without specialized skills can still repair the high tech equipment. This is made by substitution of one part, for example a damaged circuit box with a new working one. On the negative side, those weapons that are made with black box technology in mind cost more than the ordinary weapons that require specialized personnel to repair it. In conclusion, we can say that advancement in technology has led to an increase in the entry requirements for many MOS.
With the advancement of technology, there are very many questions emerging and few answers available. The truth is that, with advancements in technology each and every day, it has become more costly to keep up with the changes especially with increased budget constraints on defense.
Military leadership in World War Two
There are a number of military elites that emerged during World War Two. Among them are: Sir Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Hirohito, Benito Mussolini, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, James Stalin, among others.
An army leader is different from political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders or educational leaders. This is because, for army leaders, discipline and endurance is a must. They have to lead their troops by example. They must reach the standards that they set for their troops. In short, they have to be super human. A major difference between military leaders is that they carry in their hands, the lives of the people they lead. Especially in wars, their soldiers would rather die beside their leader rather than surrender to enemy forces. An army leader faces a very key role in the success or failure of his troops. A common leadership motto is BE-KNOW-DO. The leader must BE the values that shape character. KNOW- the leader should be aware of tactical systems, the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition management of resources and motivation of personnel. Lastly, leaders should be able to apply or DO what they have knowledge of. Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation required to accomplish a mission and improve the organization.
The foundations of any level of army leadership in the US are based on country’s democratic foundations, standards of excellence and defined values. There are 3 levels of leadership, strategic, organizational, and direct leadership. Organizational leaders influence from several hundred people to several thousand people. Strategic leaders comprise army civilian leaders, and military leaders and they thrive in complex and uncertain environments.
Direct leadership occurs where the subordinates constantly interact with their leaders on a face to face basis.
Adolf Hitler’s motives have been questioned by so many people, but his leadership abilities have not been questioned by anyone. Hitler had the ability to attract huge crowds of people through his speech. He was surely a charismatic leader, who strived to increase his personal control. He wanted to be the only one in command. In short he was a dictator. That was exactly the kind of military leadership that existed in Germany during the Second World War. This is not the same situation today. Military leadership in the USA, for example, lies with the president and the legislators. The president cannot decide to engage another country in war without the approval of the senate. The senate has to discuss such a motion, liberate on it and then make a decision whether to support the president’s motion or otherwise. If they refuse to accept the president’s demands, the president is left with no option but to eat humble pie. This was not the case in the last century. The presidents then had the power to do anything and that’s the reason Adolf Hitler was able to kill millions of Jews while the whole world stood and watched as this was happening. During the world war two, Hitler was stationed and worked in one of the field headquarters as compared to other heads of state who were in their capital cities. Some argue that Hitler was a perfectionist, and he would become agitated by any discrepancies in no matter how small or minute they were from what he wanted. Hitler had trust issues. He did not even trust his own generals. He treated them with suspicion.
Winston Churchill joined the Royal Military College at a tender age. He then went on to engage in politics. He entered parliament at the age of 26 and gained the admiration of many politicians of his time. During the Second World War, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of Admiralty in the Navy. He is recognized for his refusal to concede defeat to the Nazi of Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler at the time. He made a significant contribution to the Allied powers during the Second World War by organizing a successful air strike that ensured victory in the battle of Britain vs. Italy, then lead by Mussolini. Some of the leadership traits that lead to the success of Winston as a military leader was the good communication skills that he used to communicate effectively with those he was leading and the leaders that were below him. He also had a high tolerance to frustration. He was a transformational and charismatic leader who inspired many especially during world war two. His greatest quote arguably is “Never, never, never give up.” When comparing the leadership styles of Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill, there are huge differences. Winston was a leader who invested in his people emotionally. By this, I mean he had exceptionally good relations with his juniors and the people who were under his leadership. He used to inspire, encourage and build a sense of self belief in them. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler trusted no one apart from himself. He was always suspicious of his generals. He thought they would overthrow him at any time. Adolf wanted to be in control of anything and everything he could get his hands on. He was a power hungry leader and in my opinion I don’t believe he would have conceded defeat if he lost the elections. Winston, however, resigned as the prime minister of Britain in 1944. He agreed to leave his office for someone else. This is a mark of a true leader. It’s now clearly visible that the political leaders during the Second World War were the same people who were leading their militaries to war. They formulated air raids and other military strategies that lead to the success or defeat of their militaries. They also provided inspiration to their soldiers. In the 21st century, military leadership is ceremoniously under the president or prime minister who is the commander in chief of the armed forces. However, true leadership of the military rests with the respective Generals who have undergone intense military training and risen through the ranks. They know everything about their military wings and act as special advisors to the president.
Another change in the military leadership of the 21st century is the acceptance of homosexuals and display of religious regalia in the military. This is done to avoid discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion or race in the military. The office of the president has started relaxing the rules on religious attire in the military uniforms of US troops. Gay soldiers have also been incorporated into the service, and they enjoy the rights and freedoms of any other officer in the service. In the last century or the last decade, it was considered a punishable offence if a soldier was found to be gay. They were liable for discharge from active duty. Just recently, a Navy chaplain presided over the civil union of two sergeants in the US army. The military leaders of today have to learn to adjust with the changing times. A wise military leader does not discriminate his juniors on the basis of sexual orientation or religion.
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