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"The Pentagon Requests Ideas"

[written October 27, 2001]

So in what seems to be an attempt to identify more with people who say that the military should look once again for unorthodox people to provide unorthodox military ideas to continue the tradition of innovative American warfare, the Pentagon has officially requested that people send in ideas for how to combat terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and enemies in remote locations.

I would have sent in my ideas, and I'm sure a lot of others would too...but look at the process you have to go through just to get your idea/s to them.

You have to send in a one-page submission of your idea after figuring out where to send it by downloading their PDF on the relevant BAA and with which specifications it needs to be done with as defined by said BAA.

I thought my PDF plugin worked but apparently it couldn't find a window event handler or something and then IExplorer crashed.

Then the "one-page submission" is sent through a 3 phase process and MAYBE it'll be looked at seriously.

Now, I'm sure there are a lot of security concerns, and questions of identity, thought control, and all that crap, but maybe the Pentagon should have considered some more Internet-friendly methods of idea transmission.

The first thought would be a forum. I mean, hell, I have my own forum, and it's open source and free to use. And people would be able to easily add their own ideas by just posting them. This is how most projects that seek user input are done over the Internet. The project team asks for help and people post bugs, ideas, etc. and other people can read the contributed ideas and build upon them for more sophisticated ideas, or ones only tangentially related but which couldn't have been suggested had earlier thoughts not been said.

Anyway, I know there'd be a lot of issues with a public forum, but it's at least something to consider. I mean, I'm not fucking Lockheed Martin and I don't have time or the motivation to send what is probably a contract proposal to the Pentagon. :P Maybe the process is easier than it seemed, but what motivation do people have to contribute what they might think are dumb, off-the-cuff ideas if they have to spend an hour or two figuring out where to send them, and how?

I posted some ideas of my own, many, if not all, were dumb (I'm sure) or already implemented at some level ages ago, in a previous 'Box. But here's some more (okay, so not all of them can be implemented in a small timeframe as the Pentagon requested):

  • Equip commando teams and other forces with trained dogs for scent & sound tracking. Work with SWAT teams and local police agencies for strategy for close-combat.
  • Develop technologies that integrate low-level sound, smell, taste, and touch detection. For instance, small antennae mounted on a soldier's backpack or whatever could hear far-off sounds in caves or whatever. Detection is loaded too much onto optical sensation.
  • Sentry units. Already in development, but useful for monitoring areas for returning fugitives and controlling large areas. Can be controlled remotely for gunfire defense. Along with robotics, this seems to me to be a huge step forward in military tactics.
  • Fabric that adapts colors and patterns to the background. Already in development, I hear, but would make detection much harder by opponents.
  • Very large transparent bullet-proof shielding for camps, general troop movement, crowd control.
  • Alternative energy research. Reports say that the oil supplies are extremely susceptible to even the most incompetent of attacks on oil fields. The US requires oil to conduct its massive operations, and in a broader sense the world needs to be freed from the corruption and cartel behavior of the oil powers in the Middle East.

I don't know what to suggest about weapons of mass destruction or terrorism in general. Seems like awareness and information of a broader perspective of the world and humankind in general is the most effective method of combatting what is basically a propaganda war by a very vocal anti-US/anti-modernism/anti-whatever group of people. I think if people really knew what the world was like beyond the war and poverty of their own existence (or in America's case, what the world is like outside the peace and success of its own), they'd be more sensible overall.

I really do think sentries are a big thing. With the excellent supply lines and maneuverability of the US military juggernaut, it could produce sentry robots mounted with 360 degree cameras and potent weaponry to control vast amounts of territory without troop occupation. Deployment is quick and easy, and with reporting equipment on-board, sentry units could notify command of ammo depletion, malfunctions, etc. Seems to me you could effectively limit the movement of terrorists through the vast Afghan landscape. And limiting the risk and danger that human soldiers are exposed to is always a good thing.

But what the hell do I know? Just throwing ideas out there...


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