Arms and Innovation: Entrepreneurship and Alliances in the Twenty-First-Century Defense Industry

By James Hasik | Go to book overview

4
Five Bombs in One Hole, and Cheaply
The Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Mass Production
of Precision Destruction

Thus the military-industrial complex now consists of two relatively thin bookends to
our enormous, civilian, high-tech economy. Military R&D programs push the leading-
edge development of power semiconductors, software and sensors, a decade or so out
ahead of Intel, Motorola or DaimlerChrysler, then encourage the migration of successful
technologies out into the civilian sector as quickly as possible. Military contractors end
up buying back the same technology at mass-production prices, embedding it in every
vehicle, weapon and projectile on the battlefield.1


Introduction

On 26 October 2001, Master Sergeant John Bolduc, the officer in charge of Detachment Alpha 565 of the U.S. Army's Green Berets, presented his credentials to General Atiqallah Baryalai Khan, deputy defense minister of the Northern Alliance. Despite nineteen days of bombing by aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and the U.S. Navy, the war was still not going well for the enemies of the Taliban. General Khan was somewhat distressed by the small force he had been sent.

“Commander John,” he asked, somewhat overstating Bolduc's rank, “there are only ten of you. When is the U.S. Army coming?”

Bolduc told him not to worry: “We're here. This is it.”

Khan was not amused. “This is not good,” he insisted. “We need many soldiers.”

Bolduc was unfazed and reassuring. “You don't need many soldiers. Wait and see what we can do.”2

Master Sergeant Bolduc was placing his faith in the ability of his team to serve as forward observers for a huge and concerted precision bombing campaign. Over the next two months, day after day, Detachment 565 spotted Taliban and al Qaeda positions, found their positions with GPS-laser rangefinders, and systematically passed those coordinates to strike aircraft overhead. Within minutes, 2,000-pound precision-guided bombs would typically fall within meters of the intended targets. At that distance, 2,000 pounds of high explosive

-54-

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Arms and Innovation: Entrepreneurship and Alliances in the Twenty-First-Century Defense Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • 1: The Fast and the Many 1
  • 2: Dream Teams and Brilliant Eyes 17
  • 3: Unmanned, Unafraid, and Underscoped 32
  • 4: Five Bombs in One Hole, and Cheaply 54
  • 5: Dili and the Pirates 76
  • 6: Mountains Miles Apart 98
  • 7: Drop Your Purse 111
  • 8: The Two Towers 136
  • Notes 153
  • Index 185
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