March 12th 2003 42 minutes ago
U.S. Military Says It Dominates 'Smart' Warfare
By Charles Aldinger
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a huge force poised near Iraq (news - web sites), the U.S. military bragged on Wednesday that improved satellite-driven weapons, intelligence and communications now give American forces a stunning advantage over any adversary.
At a briefing clearly intended to send a message to Baghdad, an Air Force general said many potential U.S. adversaries do not comprehend the power of American high-tech warfare and "smart" weapons based on space satellites.
"Whether it's Iraq or any enemy of the United States and its allies, I would tell you that we are so dominant in space that I pity a country that would come up against us," Maj. Gen. Franklin Blaisdell told reporters.
"Many of them, unfortunately, I don't believe understand how really powerful we are," added Blaisdell, director of U.S. Space Operations and Integration, at the Pentagon (news - web sites).
The general and an Army colonel, also an expert on space-based warfare, showed slides and cited a litany of abilities based on satellites ranging from those that guide cruise missiles and 2,000-pound bombs to their targets to others that intercept enemy chit-chat and instantly transmit videotape from spy drones.
VAST IMPROVEMENTS SINCE GULF WAR (news - web sites)
Blaisdell and Col. Steven Fox of the Army's space program office said vast improvements had been made in U.S. technology since the 1991 Gulf War. One B-2 stealth bomber, they said, can now deliver 16 big satellite-guided bombs and achieve the same result as 1,000 aircraft using 9,000 bombs in World War II with little fear of unintended damage.
But, in another of numerous daily Pentagon "informational" briefings, the officials did not discuss U.S. military concerns about possible house-to-house warfare in Baghdad or potential use of Iraqi chemical and biological arms.
Speaking a day after the Air Force openly tested a precision 21,000-pound "mother of all bombs" in Florida, Blaisdell said a U.S. constellation of 28 satellites can now pinpoint the position of an American soldier anywhere on earth to within feet.
He noted that the Pentagon even uses high-resolution commercial satellites to obtain key information on items from weather to target damage.
Fox noted that U.S. Special Operations troops in Afghanistan (news - web sites), riding on horseback, had communicated with eight-engine B-52 bombers high overhead and, in a 20-minute period, directed bombs against nearby Taliban positions.
Blaisdell declined to discuss any looming war with Iraq or link his remarks directly with such a conflict, but said when pressed that he believed Iraq would "have a very hard time" in any attempts to disrupt U.S. satellite communications.
"Bombs on target, real-time battle management. That's what we're about," he said.