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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Thuraya War

Interesting post on the effect of Thuraya satellite phones on mobile, low-intensity desert conflict.

Desert warfare, as practiced by the Chadians and Darfurians, is based on mobility and surprise. The Landcruiser is the basic unit of military force. The possession of a Thuraya elevates a commander into a potential leader.

Tactical coordination is key to a successful operation. Before the Thuraya phone, guerrilla operations needed tight discipline and extremely careful planning. More often, the commanders gambled on surprise and the momentum of battle, relying on their prowess in combat to carry the day. Today, with the Thuraya phone, commanders in distant theatres can coordinate their actions. Or they can assemble forces from different places at very short order. They only need to agree on that day’s operation—tomorrow’s can be planned tomorrow.

Kid Various has some experience with this in that his political career spanned the time when cell phones first came into widespread use. He can remember a time when political campaigns were waged without the use of cell phones. It was a different world. You youngin's don't know, but back in the day, everything had to be meticulously planned. Really, really well. No, really. Even small events have a lot of moving parts, and it was real easy for everything to fall apart if everyone was not drilled to the plan. Nowadays, things can be put together on the fly. You expect to be adaptable. Unexpected events that would previously have caused event failure can now be adapted to in minutes. A totally different world.

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