Blogging from the Battlefield: The View from the Front Line in Afghanistan

Nursing care on the battlefield
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The compound was a legitimate target, and any civilians in the houses had to know that it was being used for war, what with all the armed men moving about. Having personally checked the situation, he gave the order to strike. With the rise of each new generation of communications technology, these connections between soldiers in the field and those who give them orders grew distanced. Generals no longer needed to be on the front lines with their men but operated from command posts that moved further to the rear with each new technological advance. For instance, when telegraphs were introduced during the Crimean War —56 , generals sipping tea back in England quickly figured out that they could send daily plans to the front lines in Russia.

So they did. With the radio, this went even further. Even the US military has suffered from this problem. It can also show enemy locations gleaned from intelligence. This tracking system is reinforced by video feeds from various unmanned systems blanketing the battlefield. US forces initially went into Iraq with only a handful of unmanned systems in the inventory; indeed, just one UAS supported all of V Corps.

Rapid growth in ground robotics has occurred as well. Zero unmanned ground vehicles took part in the invasion of Iraq; a year later, were in use. By the inventory in Iraq had approached the 12, mark, with the first generation of armed ground robots arriving that same year.

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These are just the Model T Fords and Wright Flyers compared to what is already in the prototype stage. With these trends in play, warfare is undergoing a shift that may well parallel that which occurred in World War I. Amazing new technologies, almost science-fiction-like in their capabilities, are being introduced.

Indeed, the number of unmanned ground systems now in Iraq roughly parallels the number of tanks used in Rather, in everything from doctrine to the laws of war, they are presenting more questions than we can answer. Quandt Issues of command leadership offer just one example of the ripple effect now under way.

The combination of networked connections and unmanned systems enables modern commanders as never before, linking them closer to the battlefield from greater distances and changing the separation of space. But the separation of time has changed as well. Commanders can transmit orders in real time to the lowest-level troops or systems in the field, and they have simultaneous real-time visibility into it.

With a robotic system such as a Predator UAS or Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System a ground robot, the size of a lawn mower, armed with a machine gun , commanders can see the same footage that the operator sees, at the same time, and even take over the decision to shoot or not.

The Blogs of War

Many people, especially the network-centric acolytes who surrounded former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, thought this linking together of every soldier and system into a vast information-technology network would decentralize operations, enable greater initiative among the lower-level units in war, and allow frictionless operations that lifted the fog of war.

New technologies have certainly enabled a powerful revolution to occur in our capabilities, creating a strange new world where science fiction is fast becoming battlefield reality. But although commanders are empowered as never before, the new technologies have also enabled the old trends of command interference, even taking them to new extremes of micromanagement. Too frequently, generals at a distance use technology to insert themselves into matters formerly handled by those on the scene and at ranks several layers of command below them.

A year-old corporal can now call in air strikes directed by a year-old colonel in the past. What to do about this phenomenon will pose a core leadership question in the years ahead. Author Peter W. The four-star general who told how he spent two hours watching Predator footage recounted the story proudly and unprompted.

He did so while trying to make a point about how he intended to assume personal leadership of operations for which he was responsible.

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That a general, who can now see what is unfolding on the ground, would want to shape it directly makes perfect sense. A general who stays on top of an ongoing situation can also rapidly adjust to any changes that happen in the midst of battle, rather than proceed with old plans that have been overcome by events. Unfortunately, the line between timely supervision and micromanagement is a fine one and may be quickly fading with unmanned systems. More and more frequently, generals insert themselves into situations inappropriately, and their command leadership role becomes command interference.

Examples run rampant. A captain in special operations forces recounted how a brigadier general four layers of command up had radioed him while his team was hunting down an Iraqi insurgent who had escaped during a raid. Watching live Predator video back at the command center in Baghdad, the general had orders for the captain on where to deploy not only his unit but also his individual soldiers!

To the general who described spending two hours watching Predator footage, this was time well spent. As the ultimate commander, he would be held accountable if the strike went awry and collateral damage ensued. So, if the technology allowed, he believed that he should make sure the operation went exactly the way he wanted. But this comes at a cost. While this general was doing a job normally entrusted to junior officers, who was doing his job? New technologies allow him and other senior flags to make tactical decisions as never before.

But the captains, majors, colonels, and so forth, whom they cut out of the chain, cannot, in turn, assume responsibility for the strategic and policy questions that the generals would have wrestled with instead. That is, they have spent their entire professional lives preparing for battle and usually look back on their days at field level as the best part of their careers. The challenge is that tactical generals often overestimate how much they really know about what happens on the ground. The findings showed that no significant differences were identified between control and test red blood cells at any time point during the simulation.

And that there was no impact on the quality of the packed red blood cell units. The specially designed transport boxes were able to maintain an environment within which the quality of the red blood cells was maintained even when conditions were extreme. The history of blood donation in Canada dates back to World War II when approximately , blood donations were collected from Canadian donors for military hospitals during the last year of the war.

Because platelets have a short storage life of 5 days, it is impossible to ship them to remote locations.

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Blogging from the Battlefield: The View from the Front Line in Afghanistan [Major Paul Smith] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Blogging. Front Line Bloggers - Afghanistan and Helmand Blog - Aghanistan (now combined as UK Forces Afghanistan) were established by the MoD to allow UK armed.

The transportation of red blood cells with a storage life of 42 days can also be problematic to coordinate. Research is needed to find a safe way to ship platelets and red blood cells overseas. A number of military and civilian blood organizations around the world are looking at the use of cryopreserved red blood cells and platelets to meet the remote transfusion needs of their soldiers and civilians who find themselves away from the local blood bank and bleeding.

Having plasma available for immediate transfusion can be the difference between life and death for an injured solider. Special Forces and some military in Europe have once again begun issuing freeze-dried plasma to their soldiers. There may be potential for using aerial drones to transport blood on the battlefield or to remote locations in Canada. Canadian Blood Services pre-screened troops before their deployment so that the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan had access to on-call donors in the event large quantities of blood were needed or if supplies became exhausted.

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Canadian Blood Services trained CF nursing and laboratory personnel in drawing and testing blood according to the highest Canadian and world standards. Lion Rampant.

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Verified Purchase. A British anthropologist named Bill West told me that the extreme poverty of the s and the collective trauma of the Blitz served to unify an entire generation of English people. Studies have shown how two underrated factors frequently shape strategic choices in war. It's one of the most genuine accounts anywhere of what life is like for a soldier in Iraq. The study involved two groups of six participants who met the necessary health and fitness requirements. Dunlap Jr. But the captains, majors, colonels, and so forth, whom they cut out of the chain, cannot, in turn, assume responsibility for the strategic and policy questions that the generals would have wrestled with instead.

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