Small Wars Journal

Letter Home 2053

Share this Post

Letter Home 2053

Alfred C. Crane III

The following is presented as part of the TRADOC G2's "Soldier 2050" Call for Ideas. This material will form a compendium of thoughts and ideas that will support the exploration of future bio-convergence implications on the Army of 2050 at the Mad Scientist Conference 8-9 March 2018 at SRI International. The conference can be livestreamed at http://www.tradoc.army.mil/watch/.

Good morning.  Your request dated 22 Sep 2061 from the World Archive for Military Operations has been approved.  Please find the attached correspondence from Operation Torch II.  Written at FOB Puller, San Juan, Puerto Rico on 22 Aug 2053.  Thank you for your interest. 

Select “more” to receive further correspondences from this operation.

Archives office of the Chief Historian

Background Operation Torch II

The invasion had begun with hyper-velocity bombardments, quantum attacks and deception operations with cloaked units deployed in the area of operations followed by landings on the beaches of Coastal Africa.  There were supposed to be no more invasions by sea.  Orbital had been the way to go for quite a while.  As the war progressed, the orbital option was often used.  Warriors were quickly deployed by orbital dropships secured to space stations far in the sky and supported by sub-orbital craft carrying offensive weaponry.  Surprise, was deemed imperative for Operation Torch II.  Surprise by Sea seemed necessary.  A cooperative alliance known as the Coalition for A Free Eur-Africa (CAFEA) was formed between several corporations, self-empowered individuals and a few of the remaining nation-states opposed to Leader Alin Kagan.  The Minister, as Kagan fancied himself, had aligned with the forces of the East.  He quickly crushed the server farms, banking institutions, power grids and paltry forces of those he saw as opposed to his world view.  Not much was known about him before his arrival on the world stage.  His first target was the United States.  The surprise cyber-offensive neutralized its influence on the international stage.  Following this his successful string of physical, terror and cyber-attacks occurred practically simultaneous.  After several months, many corporations were bankrupted or erased from the data-stream, as if they had never existed.  Kagan had the edge on the battle-ground with a mix of high tech capabilities, but these technologies and his combat forces were in limited supply and in high demand.  His non-cyber forces were busy securing land and several of the larger population centers.  Energy shields protected Kagan’s forces.  These nullified digital attacks and destroyed incoming missiles, munitions and vehicles which tried to penetrate the screen.  These “domes” did require a lot of power and were identified as a key weakness.  Initial counter-measures were to manufacture less-smart weapons, but these were in limited supply as the factories that produced these were old and required upgrades to their power grids.  While old weapons and munitions were being tailored for new warfare, Operation Torch II was set in motion.  “Rick opened a window by the sea” was the thought delivered tachyon-burst code triggering the assault.  The date was 23 August 2053….

“Hello Jonathin.  This is Aric.  We are being treated well.  I can only go into a few details of my current state, as they will be screening our messages.  Even with all of this cryptographic technology, someone still does not trust it fully.  LOL. 

As you know, this is my first deployment assigned to a hybrid unit.  Some have called us the Devil’s Brigade Redux, alluding to the unit comprised of American and Canadian Soldiers that fought in the Second World War.  Many had their doubts about our unit, which was comprised of Humans, Enhanced Humans and Non-Humans.  Whether we would succeed or fail would be left up to us.

In order to ensure success, training was required.  A lot of it. Getting used to working with other classes of fighters took much trust and respect.  It took a while to form us into a combat ready unit.  Nicknames were given to members of the unit reflecting their “Heritage.”  “Non’s,”“‘Enhancies” and “Smart boxes.”  These were tolerated but not necessarily liked.  Trust was earned eventually.

Orders came down in June that we would be taking part in a new combined operation called Operation Xavier Tempest.  We would be conducting an operation from sea to land amphibiously.  This type of operation had not occurred in decades.  Training was mostly simulated in order to maintain secrecy.  We were able to do this without many dtand-alone simulators as neuro feeds and data-ports allowed the enhanced and the machines to log right in to the simulations.  The rest needed Augmented Reality applique, simulators or simulators embedded in their platforms.  Historical texts were located to assist in planning the operation.  Data-streams delivered amphibious doctrine and after action reviews from past wars.  Data-mining, and analysis processed from satellites and unmanned platforms along with human intelligence delivered much needed information.  The non-enhanced human’s relied on Artificial Intelligence and their ‘bots to do what the enhanced fighters and AI enabled machines could do with little difficulty.

Training lasted for six weeks until our combined exercise.  This was conducted when the newly manufactured multi-modal assault platforms were ready for use.  Then using the cover of a cyber-offensive, we conducted a Tachyon enabled Live Fire Exercise (TeLFX) off the coast, which we did not know was practically identical to our target.

Absolute secrecy was necessary as Kagan’s hackers are some of the best in the world.  His army of quantum mercenaries are very good at their job.  Linked via the hyper-secure tachyon particle web, all were able to see a converged operational picture in four dimensions (time being the addition).  The technology allowed multi-tasking, enabling us to stop, look around and see potential threats above, below, ahead, or behind while continuing to move forward towards the objective.  AI enabled fires coordinated and synchronized targeting protocols that required thought approval by non-enhanced humans within nano-seconds, as well as less than smart munitions launched from sub-orbital and unmanned vehicles were utilized to break through the cyber domes and anti-access threats, which were projected to be weak at the varied points of contact.

We were targeting their defenses and the main objective, their regional grid, which intelligence predicted was their cyber and power hub.  Working together, we were flawless in our reaction times which were much quicker than the Normal’s.  The machines were armed yet, governed by human oversight.  On the ground, Enhanced team members had links to the armed machines, which could think determine, recommend, yet not act. 

After the simulated training, the machine targeting and ID to enhanced human engagements were almost instantly synchronized.  Simulated threats were realistic, shutting down enhanced human to machine networks, deleting governance protocols and detonating smart munitions prior to impact.  The assault on and over the beach was relatively simple, but not easy.  Defenses were present, causing casualties and damaging equipment and downing air platforms.  The hardest part of the simulation was taking out the regional grid.  Cyber and physical defenses were quite vast.

After many simulated casualties, the defenses fell and the grid was captured.  Now, to reset the simulations, repair vehicles and AAR the simulated operation.  The lessons learned would be harvested, disseminated, reviewed and implemented.    However, time was not on our side.  Critical intelligence was gained showing that Minister Kagan was going to visit the regional grid.  The game was, as a notable character from fiction said, afoot. 

Orders were received 24 hours prior to Operation Torch II.  This is my first combat deployment.  Statistically this operation should be a success based on the simulations conducted.  E-Sergeant Ramirez, is trusted and trusting.  E-Privates Lindsey and Powell round out our fire team in E-Platoon 106.  N-Captain Mitchell is our Commander.  I have been selected to carry the squad’s heavy firepower, extra water, ammunition, pharmaceuticals and supplies.  This non-human form is practical and is more readily accepted than my garrison form.  Yet, the mission comes first.  I will let you know how it concludes, pending I am not destroyed, hijacked or erased.  God speed as the humans are fond of saying.

QeCommunication from Machine Intelligence First Class A.r.I.c. ends…..

Note from the historian:  In the early days, machines that possessed Artificial Intelligence would often be given names with the letters AI parsed throughout. 

Thanks to LTC Robert Mon and LTC Alfred C. Crane JR. USAF Ret) for their suggestions and review of this story.

About the Author(s)

Alfred C. Crane III currently works at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Concepts and Learning Directorate, Science & Technology, Research and Accelerated Capabilities Development Division as a Spiral Developments Analyst.  Mr. Crane has worked for the Army as a civilian since April of 1997.  He has served as an Instructional Systems Specialist for the US Army Military Police School, Military Analyst for the Army Training Support Center and Army Futures Center, and Spiral Developments Analyst for the Army Capabilities Integration Center.  Mr. Crane also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1990 – 1996.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Education (Teaching History) from Jacksonville State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Christopher Newport University.  His hobbies include wargaming, painting miniatures, historical re-enacting, collecting toys and militaria, as well as historical and science - fiction books and movies.  He also created and manages two Facebook forums (The Video Alternative and The Video Alternative Part 2) devoted to movies, books, music and gaming.