On the airplane again. Lt Gen Edward F. Barnes looked at his watch:
0900, 8 September 2025. "We'll be in the middle of the shooting
in three hours," he thought. He looked up at the five-tense warriors
sitting with him on the modified 797. He was glad to have them as his
staff. Each one knew decisions were measured in someone else's blood.
General Barnes couldn't kick his old habit. Their computers knew what
his computer knew, but habit made him tell them anyway: "Guyana
and Surinam are at it again. Both countries have vacillated between
democracy and military juntas since about 2010. Since then, they have
argued over the hydropower of the New River. 1
You know the last border dispute ended only two years ago. Secretary
of State Hillary Druary told me three days ago she had finished secret
negotiations with the UN and OAS to prepare for armed intervention by
the US if peace talks failed. Fighting broke out just over four hours
ago. Each side has gained territory, and both countries have committed
terrorist acts against civilians in Venezuela and Brazil. The situation
could easily spin out of control. Our objectives are to separate the
armies and reestablish peace based on the last agreement. Let's go to
Col Frank Whorton was the personnel chief: "This is the first
time we've used the automatic personnel status reports in a shooting
match, but they're working well. The computer woven into each warrior's
clothing gives us their name, rank, unit, specialty, health status,
and location. 2 You can see the
information split out or lumped together at any level of organization.
In addition, a random poll of the troops and leaders has assessed morale,
understanding of our mission, and understanding of the cultures we're
General Barnes turned to Brig Gen Bill Hladek. "OK, -2, whacha
got?" "Well, sir," General Hladek began, "the screen
pretty much sums up the intelligence situation. First off, the computer's
showing only a 2 percent probability of WMDs in either country. You
know the system will almost never give a straight 100 percent or 0 percent
answer because it forces us to take responsibility for decisions. My
staff and I ran formal reviews of the intelligence synthesis system
eight months ago and validated the four decision-making models listed
on your screen. Per standard procedures, we've established links with
every US embassy in Latin America, the State Department, OAS Headquarters,
UN Headquarters, and professors from eight universities in the US and
Latin America on contract as consultants. Their recommendations are
starting to pour in. They got almost the same briefing as the one you
and the National Security Council gave President Stonerock two hours
ago. In addition, 14 journals on South American studies were scanned
again and their information updated in our databases. Finally, we added
17 reconnaissance platforms to the three already over the area. 3
At this point, we have dispositions on approximately 86 percent of the
enemy forces down there, and we expect a 97 percent disposition before
our forces touch down. We've pinpointed their command posts down to
the company level and located all their armor and mechanized forces.
The system identified one hole we're trying to fill. We know your intel
plan says you want to know where government leaders are, but we haven't
found the Guyanan 'President-for-Life' yet."
Brig Gen Chip Borud was the joint task force operations officer. He
spoke next: "Well, folks, here's the ops situation. We started
planning three days ago. We set H-hour when the shooting started,, then
implemented Joint Operations Plan 14.76 at H+3 after getting the OK
from Secretary of Defense Warden. Mission shred-outs for each unit were
briefed in mobility holding areas and on the airplanes while flying
in. Culture briefings pointed out about 25 percent of the population
is Hindu and about 20 percent is Muslim. 4
Cultural and religious taboos were briefed to help enhance legitimacy
for peace enforcement after we stop the fighting. Dutch is the official
language in Surinam, 5 so every
warrior on the ground is wearing his universal language translator in
his ear." 6
General Borud's staff had tested the Wisdom Warrior Advisor System
extensively. (The NCOs immediately called the system "the Wiz"
and the name stuck.) While putting together the deliberate plan for
this theater, General Borud had split his staff into two competing teams.
The first team developed courses of action using the now-ancient Global
Command and Control System (GCCS) and the second team developed plans
using Wiz. Then they ran 400 simulations with the competing plans. For
the first hours of the campaign, neither plan had an edge. However,
after eight hours, the performance of the Wiz plans pulled way ahead
by every measure. First off, Wiz's plans were superior. The plans included
factors not considered by the GCCS team and Wiz's team achieved better
economy of force. Secondly, information overload killed the GCCS team.
The GCCS team discovered human memories and quickly developed gaps,
especially under stress. Sometimes those gaps took a long time to fill,
even when the whole team worked on them. By contrast, the team with
Wiz developed about the same number of memory gaps but could fill them
almost instantly just by asking Wiz. Wiz owed a lot to the GCCS concepts
but finally put GCCS to rest.
In developing the crisis plan for this campaign, Borud and his team
gave Wiz the campaign and national objectives. Then they told Wiz to
design campaigns using the philosophies of many commanders and theorists.
Sun Tzu in ancient China, Jomini and Clausewitz after Napoleon, MacArthur
in World War I, Bradley and Halsey in World War II, Dayan in Israel's
fight for Palestine, Giap in Vietnam, Horner in the Gulf War, and Wallman
in the Big War of 2013.
Wiz pulled together the information in its databases and all the databases
to which it was connected: digitized maps, political maps, cultural
guides, industrial data, current weather and forecasts, enemy doctrine,
enemy objectives, and the doctrines and capabilities of available US
forces. Wiz then used several models to determine the most likely enemy
centers of gravity.
Wiz determined the initial center of gravity for both countries was
the King Edward VII Falls on the New River. It was the key to exploiting
the hydropower potential in the area and was the objective of both countries.
Wiz also pointed out our airborne and long-range air assault troops
could seize the Falls faster than either Guyana or Surinam. Wiz reasoned
that if we held both sides' reason for war, we could gain our initial
objective to stop the fighting.
Wiz automatically ran simulations on the planned campaigns and evaluated
them against the usual criteria: ability to achieve national objectives,
contribution to a long-term better state of peace, casualties to our
side, casualties to the enemy, estimate of collateral damage, time to
complete the campaign, logistics feasibility, and cost.
General Barnes had given Borud the weights for each factor. Wiz determined
Sun Tzu's style would work best overall. However, Wiz pointed out that
emulating MacArthur's audacity in World War I would play well in the
cultures of Guyana and Surinam and would be useful for establishing
legitimacy of UN forces in enforcing the peace.
Borud told all this to Barnes and held his breath. Borud knew this
was the point at which Barnes always proved why he was in charge. Barnes
was a genius. He trusted Wiz. He appreciated using something much like
it when he worked logistics on the joint staff in the Big War just 12
years ago. But Barnes knew no computer could replace him. Barnes could
feel the battlefield. He could smell the enemy. Barnes could taste the
battle. He knew only a human can run this most human of endeavors. He
wanted Wiz's help but he knew the decision was his, and his alone. Barnes
closed his eyes and thought silently for several minutes. Finally, he
asked, "Roxanne, what about you?"
Col Roxanne Wyant, the J-4, stirred. "General, Wiz is working
the logistics just fine. It already projected the minimum and maximum
force sets for the most likely scenarios needed to meet the national
objectives. It has incorporated the scenarios run by the J-3 and issued
orders for the minimum force set to immediately move to staging areas
in the theater. It also issued warning orders for units in the maximum
force set. We'll send out execution orders to them if you give the word.
Wiz alerted our primary suppliers and our "just-in-time" resupply
will start flowing this afternoon. Since logistics feasibility was a
grading criteria for the ops planning, we have no limiting factors due
to logistics in any of the plans in front of you."
General Barnes grunted. It was all being done in accordance with the
standard procedures he had issued, but it was still a surprise when
the computer thought two steps ahead of him, even when he had told it
what steps to take.
The meeting had taken 15 minutes. He needed a cup of coffee and a few
minutes to think alone, so he excused the staff. He looked at the holographic
battlespace picture on his desk and zoomed in on the King Edward VII
Falls. General Barnes knew that every captain in the 82d Airborne could
see the same thing through the contact lenses each one wore. 7
"But what do I want those great captains to do?" Barnes paced
back and forth in the small cabin. After five minutes, he called the
staff in, then called the secretary of defense and the president. "Mr.
President, this is what we should do..."
By H+5 hours, the plane carrying Capt "Acid" Raines' airborne
company was loitering over the Caribbean along with the six other C-18s
carrying the minimum force set. At H+6 hours, everyone there heard and
saw President Stonerock give his objectives. Next, General Barnes appeared
and briefed his intent and the outline of the campaign plan. The contact
lens displays were so vivid, Captain Raines almost came to attention.
Five minutes later, the brigade commander appeared and told Captain
Raines to secure the northwest side of the top of the King Edward VII
Falls. Raines' Raiders had a mission.
Captain Raines asked Wiz for enemy dispositions and estimated arrival
times at the falls. He then zoomed in his country display on the falls
and asked Wiz for the best drop zone locations. Wiz told Raines to clarify
his meaning of "best." After Raines gave Wiz the criteria,
Wiz gave Raines a choice. He could land his company together in a clearing
on the southeast side of the falls and take boats across to the northwest
side. Wiz said this gave him a 90 percent probability he could have
his whole company in place one hour before the time Wiz estimated the
enemy would arrive. On the other hand, Raines could jump his company
into a small drop zone on the northwest side, closer to his final position,
but with multiple aircraft passes. That meant he could have men in place
three hours before the enemy got there but Wiz said there was a 40 percent
chance he would lose 15 men in the hazardous drop into the jungle. Raines
would rather have less time to dig in together than have more time with
some men dead. He picked the clear zone across the river.
Raines had his platoon sergeants look at the plans. No one suggested
changes so Raines sent them to the brigade commander. Wiz noted another
company was dropping at the same place so the brigade commander gave
Raines priority. Wiz passed the word to both company commanders and
used its airspace management routines to vector the transport planes.
8 It would take an hour to fly to
the drop zone. Raines decided some practice would help so he had Wiz
display the drop, river crossing, and platoon maneuvers in double real
time on each man's display, then turned the men over to the platoon
sergeants. At H+7 hours, Raines' Raiders started their drop.
It took six days. It really took only four days to separate the armies
but it took two more days to convince the Guyanan "President-for-life"
to join the peace talks. They fulfilled the prophecy: faster operations
mean more effectiveness. 9
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