Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal
Report: Army's computer forlt falls short The OTE staff observed a war game involving 6,000 soldiers operating 900 'digitized' vehicles at Fort Irwin, in March. Computer malfunctions were so rampant, the OTE report said, that dozens of computer contractors were required to live and work with the troops to maintain the systems. Associated Press NEW YORK — The Army's first major test of its computerized fighting force suffered self-inflicted casualties three times higher than those in previous exercises without computers, according to a new Pentagon study. The review by the Office of Operational Test and Evaluation was obtained by News- day and first reported in the Army Times. The OTE challenged almost every aspc— of the Army's Experimental Force, which if being pushed by Defense Secretary Williarfi Cohen and Army Gen. John Shalikashvtji, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. s So far, $750 million has been spent] equip tanks, trucks and troops with pei computers and laptops. Cohen and , likashvili requested an additional $1 bj for the program on Monday. fL ,, Gen. Dennis Reimer, the Army ch«f$tf staff, told Congress that relaying battlffljld intelligence to computers in the fiej.&'&ill increase the Army's speed, accuracy, s\irviv- ability and killing power. «•"?,-' : The OTE staff observed a war (game involving 6,000 soldiers operating 900 "dfaitized" vehicles at Fort IrWin, in March. Computer malfunctions were so rampant, iW OTE report said, that dozens of comput- ' (Contractors were required to live and with the troops to maintain the sys- is. "There was no increase in lethality, sur- Nvability or Optempo (speed of operations) hflfeributable to digitization," the OTE report 't I (I|/ In addition, there were 32 "friendly fire" "Killings during the March war game, com$/pared with 28 in the three previous exercis- , 'es. , Lt. Col. Joan Ferguson, a spokeswoman for Cohen, said the OTE study was an internal report not intended for the public or Congress. Other Army officials said it was too premature to make final evaluations about the performance of the computerized fighting force. "I think they missed the point," said SFC Richard Puckett, a spokesman for the 4th Division, who said he read the Army Times report. "This was an experiment, not a pass/fail situation. The point was to experiment and we did that."