Head start on lessons learned

Steve LeSueur

When Washington Technology last went to press, war in Iraq had not yet begun. At this press time, coalition forces march toward Baghdad. Few are predicting a quick end, but we still can hope.

Second-guessing the military has begun as well, and, depending on the war's outcome, it likely will continue through the next presidential election.

But another kind of second-guessing also is set to begin. After every war and conflict, the Pentagon asks experts inside and outside the services to gather lessons learned to help guide future training, tactics and weapons development. Many of the weapons and information technology systems deployed in Iraq today were developed as a result of lessons learned during the first Persian Gulf War.

Staff Writer Patience Wait talked to industry officials and military experts to see what lessons are already emerging from the conflict, and how they will shape future Pentagon procurements of sophisticated technology. The friendly fire incidents, one analyst told her, already suggest a need for more effective systems that identify friends and foes.

The war also is confirming the increasing importance of communications, sensors and other IT systems. "The future of the battlefield," the analyst said, "is greater reliance on information management and information flow, rather than weapons."

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