RealNews

U.S. Banks On High Tech in Event of War

Scores of officers armed with computers are prepared to synthesize battlefield data. They especially hope to minimize ‘friendly fire.’ Deep inside a taupe-colored warehouse rising from the expansive desert here sits a low-ceilinged room that U.S. military commanders call the nerve center of America’s next war. Classified at a level more secret than top secret, this is where up to 50 men hunch over Dell laptop computers, track troop movements and attempt to make sense of the avalanche of information — from satellite pictures and intercepts to field reports — that comes their way. If the United States launches a war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, it is from this windowless, high-tech room that senior officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will direct the battle. The Joint Operations Center is at the heart of a sprawling, 262-acre base built up in recent months as the diminutive Persian Gulf state of Qatar has emerged as the region’s key U.S. ally. Access to the Joint Operations Center is highly restricted, even within the military; outsiders rarely get a glimpse. The Los Angeles Times first visited the center two months ago during a computer war-simulation exercise. Reporters from The Times and three other U.S. newspapers were again given a tour Tuesday and allowed to interview several officers, who were keen to extol the virtues of technological advances that they say have revolutionized the way they would fight a war on Iraq. Full Story

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