OPERATION COMMAND IN MECHANICAL AND INFORMATION AGE Essay Example

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Operation command during Mechanical Age and Information Age25

Abstract

Operation command is under the defense system in most countries. Military organization refers the structuring of the military of a country. The military powers, organization, weapons and training differ in great deal between the Mechanical Age and Information Age. Age is a term used to explain event have taken place mainly in the past and have profound effect on today’s life. However some similarities have noted. Mechanical Age refers to that time when manual machines were used. Everything was machinery which was empowered by human beings. Information Age which is the age at present is said to refer this time when technology has advance and communication made easier. This has arguably has various effect on operation command. Information Age is characterized by advanced technology which has led to the use of machinery e.g. robots, satellites which are useful in the military. In Mechanical age, manual machinery is the main characteristics of this age. More manpower is said to be more wanting in this age. This is because the power needed was contributed by the human beings. Similarities in both ages includes, presence of human beings in this age and the machinery used were invented by them and advancement is still credit to them. In both ages specialization in the army was .an important feature. Each military group had a specific role to carry which led to mission accomplishment. Centralization is also a common feature. Commands came from a central point and communicated to the rest of the groups. Planning is also an outstanding feature in both. This is mostly done before undertaking any operations in the military. Execution is decentralized in both cases. Differences observed include the structural organization of the military. In Mechanical Age the military was organized according to the weapons used and pattern of the war while in Information Age the military is organized according to the various territories to be protected. For example, air force military, this is concerned with the space. Another difference is the speed of communication. Sophisticated and advanced communication machines are now being used in the Information Age such as the satellites and robots. This has made communication fast and efficient. In the Mechanical Age, slow communication tools were used. This was dangerous and the same risky as the message could be delayed or eve be distorted. In most cases, the military had to send men to scout the hostile are before advancing. However in the Information age satellites are being used to obtain information about the hostile region accurately and instantly. Thus it is more secure and dependable. Military transport is also another major difference. Mostly in the Mechanical Age animals were mostly used especially horses though this later came to change. In Information Age, air spaces and special military vehicles are now in use. They are well adapted to different environment where they operate. Compared to other ages weapons now in use are automated that less manpower is necessary. Therefore, they are more of difference in these two ages as compared to similarities. However, this may seems to favor the workforce at the moment

Introduction

Operation Command is a unit of defense in most countries. This is manly involved with the military. Militaries function as a society. It is more of a community with its own judiciary, education, medicine. In the United State, for example there are special Operation Commands which unit the Air force, Army and the navy. In Europe the command is also inclusive of the major defence department. The intricacy of military operations is on the increase as new operation and strategies are being put in place. The world is in danger and means of defending our interest are minimal. This is as a result of up-and-coming threats that are continuing to advance. Therefore, there’s a need to keep abreast to this changes. Operation commands have also changed due to the advanced technology to be able to tackle the challenges.

Forms of warfare have changed due to the revolution of technology. Asymmetric refers to situation in the military where two groups with unmatched strength do interact and allow their strengths and weakness to be either taken advantage or not. The interaction involves tactics and strategies which are not bound to the warfare. This is sometimes referred to as terrorism. Biological warfare is a form of warfare where the use organism i.e. virus, bacteria or disease-causing life form are used as weapon. It is also referred to as germ warfare. (Alberts et al 2001) This may be employed to animals, people or plants to cause destruction. Chemical substances which have toxic properties when used to injure or kill form the chemical warfare. Electronic warfare involved non-violent ways that are mainly seen to support the other forms of warfare. This includes communication and detection machines. All these forms have been significant in the transit from Mechanical Age to Information Age. (Alberts et al 2001)

“Ages” are said to be proclaimed after something or events happens to bring about discontinuity in several dimensions that will eventually affect society. In information age, it is argued that the introduction of books or even the telegraph itself were the first faint hint of information age. However, it is now commonly believed that this age came up in the mid- 1980’s after some authors including John Naisbitt and Robert Russell started to describe the propagation of computers and decline of industrial or manufacturing as a mark of an economically new era. However, it is only recent that communication technologies together with computing have developed to that point networking has become practical. Thus it became mark of Information Age. It is also known as information era or computer age. It is related to the use of digital music, cameras, the internet, cell phones and cable TV. Idea and information is flowing easily and freely. The use of internet in the military is advancing. Maps and information is necessary for their defense operations. This age has impacted military in a positive way. Tasks force performers has been automated easily.

There’s enormous change in the security surroundings which has come when the Information Age is shifting the power and also wealth. Information age is reducing communication costs exponentially. This is promising to bring dreams of bandwidth which are unlimited to become a reality in the next decade. The Information Age is said to provide opportunity to influence novel supply of power to face different challenges the world is facing. Actually this is what is said to be the reason of Department of Defense transformation. This transformation has sought to reorient the citizens and focus attention on the upcoming and future missions.

In defence, Information Age is said to be defined by the advancing world terrorism and ongoing regional conflict. The technology has and will continue to have a positive effect on ways used to fight and this lies in the so termed Revolution in Military Affairs. The Information Age has, therefore, began to stimulate changes in the military which has started to experience changes both in the structure and organizational levels. One of the notable hallmarks of this age is the increasing affordability of information technology. This will then be applied to the already existing weapons and weapon systems which will advance their capabilities. Information technology will also become essential to the functioning of a weapon system, in that the weapon won’t function without the information. This means that the weapons will be information enabled.

Mechanical Age is the also referred to as the Age of Machinery. This is the age that machines or machinery was used for repetitive work. Mechanical Age in the military comprised the use of weapons and ammunition. These were mostly used in the World Wars though they are also being used at present. There presence according to history was found in the ancient wars between different tribes. The present are said to be more sophisticated e.g. the robots. The machinery used was mainly hand-used, that is, controlled manually. The have several characteristics, these includes the weight; they are said to be heavy especially the large one e.g. the cannon. They had to be transported to the battlefield. A lot of manpower was necessary during the wars at the Mechanical Age. This was so because the weapons had to be operated manually. There was lack of automation.

Thesis Statement

There are more differences than similarities between Mechanical Age and Information Age in operation command.

Objective

To find out similarities and differences between Mechanical Age and Information Age in operation command.

Main body

Both ages have specialization in the military affairs. This did enable work efficiency and career training in different department. During the military operations, the specialized capabilities generate efficient work that could not be done by generalists. A good example in Information Age is during an integrated air operation. This will involve intelligence on air defenses and command, detailed plans, aircraft control and command, assessment of battle damage, search and organization of rescue would not be achieved if the specialized processes, organization, personnel and equipment are not put into place. In Mechanical Age this can be well illustrated by the famous Alexander the Great army which was specialized in a way that each group had a line of attacking and defending. Each group handled the correct and appropriate weapon for its task.

In Mechanical Ages militaries, different approaches were put in place to ensure that the different units or Services do not conflict and that operation in the battlefield are well co-ordinate. Thus, there would be no interference during the war or harming one another. Each group was assigned specific tasks which were well organized to accomplish the mission. This is also true for Information Age. Various control measures like the boundaries being specified for each unit, on aircraft there would be altitude restriction to mention a few. Military commanders control what happens in their respective area where responsible. Therefore, there is need for a central control in order to achieve the set goals of the whole organization.

In planning both ages had planning which were centralized. This is crucial as it ensures that commanders are able to arrange the forces and space and time events. This would ensure missions are accomplished. The commander of each military group received instructions from the central administration. However, plans were the main mechanism used in the Mechanical Age as communication was limited. Large organizations which were also complex depended mainly on plans which were comprehensive. Considerable time was needed to prepare and the plans were closely monitored and maintained. This had to be effective to avoid any loss in any war. However, execution was decentralized. This enabled each unit to specialize in its field as each had the right weapon for its mission.

Tactics used in war in both ages are similar in many ways. The use of guerrilla warfare is an outstanding feature in both ages. This is done by groups of military men who attack and withdraw or retreat unexpectedly. A warfare which is known to be well suited in the in a rugged terrain which is irregular. However, in mechanical age, the guerrilla fighters had access to weapons which were low in technology and the cost was also low. This is as a result of less access to advanced equipment due to accessibility and economic issues. Propaganda is another familiar tactic used. This term is best suited to the Mechanical Age where a set of disinformation is meant to influence the behavior or opinion of the enemy. This more of an emotional warfare as it meant to generate an emotional reaction to information rather than a response which is rational. This is where planning was necessary to avoid any mistakes as an outcome of the information. (Daniel et al 2004)

Psychological warfare mainly used in the Mechanical Age where people targeted were instilled with fear in order to create an easy and simple battle. Genghis Khan is well known to have used this tactics during his lifetime as a leader. This is presently seen where some countries are seen to be superpowers and control other countries indirectly. Actually is mainly done for economic gain. Most of the affected countries are in Africa. Their former colonialists are seen to dictate their economic and social lives. Information warfare has advanced due technology changes. International networks and signals are used in this warfare. They are used mainly in misinforming. (Gabriel 2010)

In both ages, weapons handled by military men are used. This includes aviation weapons which have continued to develop to more sophisticated ones. For example the earliest attempts were kites which were mainly used to fly over the enemies’ territory to estimate the distance of passageway required to get into the region. This was done before attacking the enemy. It was part which was necessary for planning. Later, planes were invented and immediately drafted for services. Actually, the first country known to use planes was Italy. They were used for bombing especially during the infamous Italian-Turkish war. The aircraft were then later used to shoot each other but they lacked steady gun point. However, this was solved by French who fixed a machine gun at the front of the plane.

In the Mechanical Age, horses were part of the war. These were mostly used by the military commanders. They were mainly referred to as chariots. They were mainly depended on them for transport. This mode of transport had several disadvantage. It was cumbersome as animals could not be used as means of transport in some areas. (Daniel et al, 2004) Animals would also get tired and sick. Feeding them was an added task to the fighters. In Information Age, military have become independent of the horses and advanced weapons are being used e.g. the space weapons. For instance, in America weapons that were used in the America Civil War included the edged weapons e.g. swords and knives, firearms like handguns and breech loaders and fields guns. In recent times advanced machinery which are computerized and automated are being used.

Manpower input in both ages is quite different. In the past or the Mechanical Age the input was more. More military men were deployed during wars. This was so as a result of few mass destruction weapons. At the same time communication was slow but later became fast due to the introduction of telephone and telegram. In the Information Age, communication is very rapid and the most of the weapons used are mainly mass destructive. The weapons used were also slow and minimal and to some extent heavy. The Information Age is characterized by nuclear weapons and less of manpower due to weapons advancement as technology has become less manual and more of machinery such as the use robots.

This technology is a science that refers to the combination of computer application and machine tools. It also includes production theory, intelligence which robots the capabilities. Military robots are controlled by a remote and are now design to be applied in the military. It is believed that soon automated weapons will be used in future wars. Most developed countries have started to invest in research in order to increase the automated systems. (Davis, 2007) Development of remote-controlled bombers and fighter jets are improving. Their use to obliterate adversary targets is promising as no training is required for the robots and the maneuvers performed could not be done by human pilots. Furthermore, they don’t require a system to support life which is a necessity to human.

The Advance in technology has assisted in controlling military activity from a central point. This has been accomplished by use satellites which are objects that have been placed into the orbit. There are known as the artificial satellites. The military have satellites known as military satellite. There are important in communication. Identification of enemies’ territory and the military advance to hostile regions has been possible. Apart from minimized manpower the Information Age is also characterized by effective mission accomplishment as the machinery being used don’t get tired or attention interfered as in humans. (Alberts et al, 2001)

Military training in both ages is different. In Mechanical Age, training was not intensive. The military men used less sophisticated training facilitate and it was mostly manual. To some extent, they trained amongst themselves which was dangerous and risky as there were no advance protective devices or gears. In Information Age, advancement in training has been made. The gadgets offer the trainees the real scenario in a begnin and controlled environment. In most countries investment is being made on obtaining better gear for training.

Mode of military transport is also different between the two ages. In Mechanical Age, land warfare mainly amounted to military man own strength of locomotion. This was as a result of inadequacy in the strength, size and horses’ stamina. Long distances were covered which left the men weary and therefore, at times the mission was not completed. Actually, the horses were mainly set aside for the generals and commanders. This mainly affected the army. However, as technology advanced, it was introduced in the warfare. It is thought that Greeks ‘technology formed the bases of military civilization mainly in the west. The Romans are then said to have acquired this technology and advanced to modern level. (Alberts et al, 2001)

Ranking is another difference. The Mechanical Age had ranks in order of either the weapons they men used or the fighting capabilities. For instance, in the Greek army, Alexander army to be specific had a basic unit which consisted of 256 military men who were ranked in the same order during the war. The five ranks who were always the first were armed with spears. They were the ones responsible for breaking or penetrating the enemies’ rank. The rest held their weapons, spears, upwards to deflect any projectiles. He’s said to use cavalry of 2000 military men who were divided into groups of 250 and were said to be heavily armed. This small-sized is known to move faster compared to the larger ones. Each man would carry his own luggage and therefore, few animals were used decreasing the work needed to take care of these pack animals. Therefore Alexander did create the most mobile, lightest and fastest army seen in that era. In the Information Age, the organization is different. The organization is known to be hierarchical which was introduced by the Roman Army. The administration, management and supervisory control of the military are under the government. This is through the departments of war, Defense and in some cases the Ministry of Defence. This narrows down to the armed forces which in most countries is divided into mainly three Armed Services: a navy, an air force, and an air force. (Gabriel, 2010)

The navy is involved with protection at the waters; air force which is also divided into other groups mainly is involved in guarding the countries from attack through the space. Finally the army is situated on the land. A military task force may also be created during special and specific purpose. They are not supposed to enforce the law and mainly handle external threat. Thus they are said to be protecting the countries boundaries.

There is less time and distance limitations in the information age; information is being transmitted within a short duration of time and for long distances without any alteration to its meaning and also its clarity. This in the military implies that volume of information about developing situations in areas of interest for the military. (Black 2002) This as opposed to the mechanical age helps to centralize control and the operations within the military. The easier availability of information age is crucial for the specialized decision making within the military a feature that was not present in the mechanical age. This is crucial if the level of decision making will develop from the basic level to the tactical level hence better performance.

Another difference is that there will be increased participants towards national and international unity and harmony. This was not the case in the mechanical age since the information was scarce. The increased information within the information age may prove beneficial in identifying the potential positive contributors and threats towards the military. This means that preparedness for attack will be more evident and highly technical strategies will be put in place. Once this is affected the defeat instances will be reduced to a minimal.

In the information age there is less constraint of information based on the national boundaries. This was not the case in the mechanical age since the government would restrict the information within the country territory and not beyond. This has since changed especially with the introduction of the internet. This has a positive impact in the international interaction for better defense mechanisms. (Davis, 2007) This may also have negative effects since incorrect information may spread easily and be a source of dispute locally and internationally. For this reason some governments have involved in practices that help control flow of information and at the same time ensure that democracy is upheld. This is done by definite internet, licensing and control or denying avoiding the leakage of information that may compromise national security.

As opposed to the mechanical age, the information age is characterized by a high level of democracy and globalization. The networking between the states is going to reduce the tension between them by encouraging free market economies. This will however be met with the problem of rigidity within the countries and therefore refusal to change or incorporate new ideas may result to poor relations among them. This will threaten the military defense and the national security of the participating states.

In the information age there is a tendency towards globalization and regional cohesion hence the defence strategies will be harmonized. Better communication and transmission devices are put in place to replace the old less efficient gadgets. An example in the military is the shift from the use of telegraph to the presently used microburst transmitters. This will greatly benefit the way in which the commander issues the commands and a shift of the level of decision making will be experienced for better. (William 1979)

The information age provides the better ground for the commander to orient with what is happening around hence quicker strategies at the expense of the opponent. This however does not necessarily translate to success in the kind of decisions that the commander will give. This is due to the limitation in the event that the decisions are poor. Unlike in the mechanical age, the information age is characterized by decision making technology. This may accelerate the efficiency of the decisions of the commander. This is however dependent on the ability of the commander to understand the results of the computer aided logic tool. (Gabriel, 2010)

Each age had different reasons for the military to be involved in the wars. For instance, In Mechanical Age would fight to protect their women and hunting grounds. Others reason included power, thirst to conquer and rule other tribes. This was characterized by the rising of empires such as those found in Mesopotamia. Chariots were mainly used in conquering the empires. In Information Age, reasons for war range from resources control e.g. in Congo in Africa where different powers are fighting over the mining regions. Political interest and power is also a cause of war. Many leaders are fighting over the leadership in their country especially in Africa. Military has been seen to be used to advance political agenda, supporting economic expansion which is through imperialism. (Alberts et al, 2001).

In Mechanical Age, war casualties were many as there was a lot direct contact with the enemy. In Information Age, need for direct contact is minimal. This is attributed to the advanced weapons which are automated. The weapons are controlled in a way that the target is destroyed or killed. This is an advantage as unnecessary destruction is avoided and thus not affecting the surrounding environment. This also avoids unnecessary loss of weapons as few are used.

Conclusion

In Mechanical Age, the innovation of weapons, organization of the military and commanders did play a critical role in determining which power controlled the world. There military had moderate weapon and less information and communication facilities. Reports of death of military men were high. Information Age is more advanced and work has been made easier and efficient. It is advancing in a level where machines are replacing people in different jobs. Therefore differences are more compared to similarities.

Reference

Alberts, David, S. (2001). Information Age Anthropology: The
Information Age Military. Washington DC

Black, J. (2002). Warfare in
the Western World. New York.

David, S., Daniel, S. (2004). The Information Age: An Anthology on Its Impacts and Consequences. University Press of the Pacific. London, 254

, W. (2007) DavisOperating Systems: A Systematic View, 6/E. Pearson Education. London, 688

Gabriel, R. (2010) Values andTechnology: Religion and Public Life. Transaction Publishers. New Jersey, 245

(1979). William, S. The informationage.
Addison-Wesley Publisher New York