The 1,000 Hour War: Communication in the Gulf

The 1,000 Hour War: Communication in the Gulf

The 1,000 Hour War: Communication in the Gulf

The 1,000 Hour War: Communication in the Gulf

Synopsis

The 1,000 Hour War was marked by unprecedented speed and force. This book adopts the view that the telecommunications technologies responsible for guiding smart bombs and Patriot missiles to their targets were the same marvels responsible for transmitting to news agencies around the world information about the progress of the war. The 1,000 Hour War was a unique case of military action in that it owed both its prosecution and its coverage specifically to satellites, computers, cellular telephones, microwave relay stations, and a myriad of similar technologies.

Excerpt

Thomas A. McCain

This is a book about communication practices during 1,000 unique hours in time -- January 17 to February 27, 1991. There is no pretense about inclusivity; lots of communication occurred during the Gulf War that is not covered in these pages. But this collection of chapters does describe and analyze several aspects of communication and technology vital to the prosecution and news coverage of the conflict; hence, they are vital to our understanding of the important role of communication in the events known as the Persian Gulf War, and they warrant our attention.

In general, the authors assume that understanding communication principles and practices is required for understanding the complex nature of modern warfare. the role of communication is particularly Germane to understanding the 42 days that are the subject of this book. Communication practices influenced the prosecution of the war in manifold ways; the unprecedented air and ground attacks on Iraq and Kuwait by allied forces under U.S. command were orchestrated through a dazzling array of integrated communication technologies. That these technologies were tested for the first time under fire in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, home of some of the richest oil fields in the world, is also important. That the war was prosecuted through the cooperation of people allied for the first time against an Arab neighbor is also of key importance. For the allies to succeed, the communication surrounding the events and circumstances in the Gulf required that many bridges would be built; there were many new assumptions to negotiate in a short amount of time; successful communication had to overcome countless opportunities for error and misunderstanding. There were gulfs of uncertainty among the participants; moreover, classic adversarial conditions chal-

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