Imag(in)ing Tomorrow’s Wars and Weapons


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Imag(in)ing Tomorrow’s Wars and Weapons

  1. 1. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 21:198–208Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN 1040-2659 print; 1469-9982 onlineDOI: 10.1080/10402650902915177Imag(in)ing Tomorrow’s Wars andWeaponsCHARLES E. GANNONAlthough many critics and analysts have, with good reason, challengedthe proposition that science fiction can actually influence the future, itis interesting to note that one of the most conservative and skeptical ofall discursive communities, the military, has repeatedly acted on exactlythat presumption. Indeed, advanced projects administrators inAmerica’s armed forces have employed future war authors to work indirect advisory capacities at the very highest levels of their technologyassessment and development projects. Since 2007, a science fiction thinktank—Sigma—has (as a group or as select individuals) been directlysolicited for its counsel and perspectives by agencies as diverse as theArmy, the Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security, NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and several other agencies thatforbade disclosure of their identities.S uch overt utilization of science fiction authors as sources of advice or ideas naturally invites a cautious investigator to question whetherthese authors are predicting or making the future. In short, do theseauthors foresee the shape of the coming battlefield, thereby informingthose who will one day fight upon it, or do they help to ‘‘create’’ thatbattlefield through their cultural and technological influence?Naturally, the most likely answer is that both processes are at work,in varying degrees, at all times. A clear and early example of this can be found in the career ofRobert A. Heinlein, arguably the father of military SF in America. AnAnnapolis graduate with various technical accomplishments, Heinleinwas involved with special Naval projects during World War II, whichallowed him to keep his finger on the pulse of advanced militaryPortions of this essay are excerpted from Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: TechnomilitaryAgenda Setting in American and English Speculative Fiction by Charles E. Gannon (First edition:Liverpool University Press [Liverpool, U.K.], 2003; Second edition: Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.,[Boulder, CO, Lanham, MA], 2005). Reprinted with Permission. 198
  2. 2. IMAG(IN)ING TOMORROW’S WARS AND WEAPONS 199thought and ambitions, and kept him connected with senior officerswhose interests were almost as speculative and extrapolative as his own.Heinlein recruited a number of fellow science fiction writers to work onthe Philadelphia Naval Yard projects, doing so under the auspices ofhis old Annapolis classmate, Lieutenant Commander (later Admiral) A.B. Scoles. This community of writers included L. Sprague de Camp, IsaacAsimov, and in an ex-officio role, Murray Leinster. Heinlein himself issaid to have either worked, or was consulted, on projects as diverse asradar, the Kamikaze countermeasures study, and materials developmentfor hypersonic aircraft. There is also considerable evidence that Heinleinworked on a number of advanced weapons systems, including anti-missilemissiles and weapon automation: in short, even his military research workwas the stuff of which future war fiction is made. Heinlein’s involvement with the military and aerospace commu-nities persisted after the war ended, and honors from, and invitationsto, the nation’s premier technomilitary centers and special demonstra-tions became commonplace. He was a distinguished civilian guest onboard the flight of an early version of the B-1 bomber, was invited todeliver the 1972 James Forrestal Memorial lecture at Annapolis, andreceived the Distinguished Public Service Medal from the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (posthumously). Given the respect accorded Heinlein by military professionals, it ishardly surprising that they demonstrated similar esteem for—andconsultations with—other, comparable ‘‘hard’’ SF authors. Over thedecades, however, these early, almost opportunistic patterns ofinteraction and exchange became increasingly prevalent and intenselycodified. By the 1980s, the relationship between the science fiction andmilitary communities had become one not merely of overt commoninterest, cooperation, and occasional consultancy, but had evolved intojoint, institutionalized future war ‘‘think tanks.’’T here are numerous examples of this trend toward official integration of military and science fiction discourses. In 1985, ameeting called ‘‘Futurist II’’ was held at Wright Patterson Air ForceBase, which brought together at least forty specialists in future war andweaponry—of which eight were future war authors. This meeting, asuccessor to the top-secret ‘‘Futurist I’’ conference, addressed issues ofweapons development and potential combat scenarios. It also exploredthe social implications of war and peace-making. Science fiction authorJoe Haldeman, one of the invitees, later wrote that ‘‘We saw the futurethere…’’ and that the writers and the soldiers were, in many ways, cutfrom the same cloth—much more so than the futurists, whomHaldeman describes as being ‘‘stodgy and conservative.’’
  3. 3. 200 CHARLES E. GANNON This account of the interactions between SF writers and themilitary R&D community is echoed by the senior governmentalparticipants in the meetings, such as Stan Goddard, who was a sectionhead with the Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency(DARPA) at the time, and credits science fiction writers with playing alarge role in sparking official interest in individual-scaled lightamplification and thermal imaging technology, as well as electro-magnetic (or ‘‘coil’’) guns as an alternative armament for surfacewarships. More recently, but prior to the creation of Sigma, sciencefiction authors had become a regular feature at the Air ForceAcademy’s Nexus lecture series, and Joe Haldeman and others weretapped for their expertise by the research and planning team thatcompiled the Air University’s 1996 white paper, ‘‘Airforce 2025.’’ A slightly different, and rather enduring, example of future warauthors serving as expert consultants and commentators was initiatedat the January 1986 conference on small arms held by the ArmyJoint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) at the Battelle Institutein Seattle. Science fiction author Frederick Pohl attended, as well asDean Ing and other future war fiction writers. What is particularlyinteresting about the JSSAP meetings (of which two were held asrecently as 2008) is the subject itself: small arms development, whichis not particularly amenable to ‘‘generalist’’ input and is, rather, ahighly specialized process driven by the prevailing limits oftechnology and a sophisticated understanding and projection of thelikely evolution of small unit tactics. By implication, the degree ofmilitary expertise, or at least topical interest, of any attending sciencefiction authors would need to be relatively high for them to be ofany use to the military. In order to establish a complete model of how future war authorsand texts come to enter and influence domains of official discourse, itwould be prudent to propose the pathways whereby they first inspire orimpress the experts within those domains. Once again, Heinlein’swriting offers an excellent example of how this might occur. Arguably, in terms of pertinent narrative content, publicationhistory, and plentiful technologically significant ‘‘prognostications’’ nofuture war text can rival Robert A. Heinlein’s 1959 novel StarshipTroopers. With considerable accuracy, Starship Troopers graphicallyand specifically anticipated personal military equipment and weaponsthat are the equivalent of (or still well beyond) today’s most advancedsystems. Heinlein also foresaw how these diverse technologies wouldcombine to create a radically new battlefield: one that was fluid,electronic, and largely automated.
  4. 4. IMAG(IN)ING TOMORROW’S WARS AND WEAPONS 201 In the first twenty pages of Starship Troopers, Heinlein’s narratoremploys the proleptic analogs of many of today’s cutting edge orexperimental technologies in a desperate urban firefight, demonstrating: a personal head’s up display (HUD) slaved to a (laser?) rangefinder, GPS equivalent, and personal computer; battlefield 3-D graphics computers connected to a broadcast or satellite network; flip-up, flip-down night vision goggles; personal self-guided (i.e.; ‘fire-and-forget’) missiles; multi-plexing communica- tions with secure and encrypted channel redundancy; real-time two-way communication with rear area/staff analysts; and a powered exo-skeletal frame that receives commands directly through biomechanical feedback sensors.The actual analogs of these revolutionary pieces of equipment are onlynow being developed for standard adoption, are still prototypes, or areevolving slowly in the computers of designers. First generation equivalents of the personal communications,sensors, computing, and interface technologies that Heinlein proposesunderwent intensive field trials in the Land Warrior project conductedunder the auspices of the U.S. Army. With that project now rolled into theArmy’s more expansive Future Force Warrior initiative, even the‘‘powered armor’’ of the Starship Troopers is edging its way graduallyinto serious discussions, and hence, on to designers’ boards. Almost tenyears ago, DARPA put forth a technology development initiative entitled‘‘Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation,’’ which is drivenby the recognition that on today’s battlefield, as on Heinlein’s, the key tosurvival is speed, not protection. Anticipating current personal armordesign doctrine, Heinlein’s suit is not designed to be invulnerable toserious direct attacks, but is only intended to provide adequate protectionagainst shrapnel, blast effects, and even lower-velocity bullets. Mostimportantly, however, ‘‘Our suits give us better eyes, better ears, strongerbacks (to carry heavier weapons and more ammo), better legs, moreintelligence … more firepower, greater endurance, less vulnerability.’’ One can only wonder if the exoskeleton researchers at DARPAcribbed their copy from Heinlein when they wrote: The overall goal of this program is to develop devices and machines that will increase the speed, strength, and endurance of soldiers in combat environ- ments. … Inclusion of exoskeleton technology into land based operations will extend the mission payload and/or mission range of the soldier. Exoskeletons will also increase the lethality and survivability of ground troops for short range and special operations.Heinlein’s new hardware is only half of his future war story: hisdescriptions, both of combat and training, primarily emphasize that
  5. 5. 202 CHARLES E. GANNONwar and warriors will—indeed, must—be forever changed as a result ofthese innovations. This has made Starship Troopers the most oft-citedwork of fiction in the tracts of military planners at all levels, from thearchitects of the 1980s Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), rightdown to Marine captains who are promoting the evolution of smaller,faster, more elite combat units.N one of the technologies depicted by Heinlein existed in 1959, but they have been shaping readers’ expectations ever since: StarshipTroopers has never been out of print. Given the extraordinary similaritybetween the technologies proposed in Starship Troopers and thosecurrently in use or development, it seems that Heinlein was expert atextrapolating how the technology of 1959 would evolve. Heinlein mayalso have influenced the evolution of such technologies by creating anexacting, if purely imaginary, portrayal of their future development. Itis easy enough to propose a model for this: contemporary 1959technologies enabled Heinlein to envision vastly evolved offshootdevices. Heinlein then located these advanced devices within anarrative, giving them a ‘‘pseudo-reality’’ via imaginary, but empiricallyconsistent, technological and sensory details. Finally, readers of thisnarrative, particularly those who were willing to suspend disbelief andaccept the ‘‘pseudo-reality’’ of the advanced devices, had an image ofwhat technologies might one day be created. The specificity of theimage imparts a form of solidity to any projected device. It alsoprivileges the device in the memory of readers, for amid the almostinfinite field of other possible technological developments, this one hasbeen given shape, weight, color, operating parameters, even limitationsand quirks: a set of discrete properties that may become a murmuringvoice at the back of those minds that are looking into the nextgeneration of technological advancement. Whether an exact dupli-cate—or even vaguely corresponding analog—of such a device resultsfrom this form of influence is not the point: that the image has thepower to influence those who direct techno-military research is all thatis implied by this model. In gathering evidence that might confirm or disprove thishypothesis, I interviewed a number of industry insiders including, onMarch 7, 1996 in St. Louis, Missouri, Jerry McClellan, McDonnell-Douglas’ Chief Program Engineer for incorporating new technologiesinto the F-18 fighter aircraft. It was understood that Mr. McClellanmight have to defer questions that touched on classified matters: thislimitation arose frequently—and at extremely telling moments. Mr. McClellan was an avid reader of future war fiction, whetherof the hard science fiction or technothriller variety, remarking that of
  6. 6. IMAG(IN)ING TOMORROW’S WARS AND WEAPONS 203800–1,000 books in his bookcase, ‘‘Probably 70–80 percent of those arescience fiction.’’ His greatest interest was in ‘‘hard’’ science fiction; awriter’s credentials as either a scientist or a painstaking researcher werevery important to him, both in his choice of favorite authors and in thecredence he accorded their ideas. McClellan noted that his level ofinterest and his choice of favorite topics within future war fiction arenot particularly unusual among workers within his industry, statingthat ‘‘about 25–30 percent’’ of his colleagues had ‘‘roughly the same’’degree of interest in the same kind of literature. The interview exploredwhat he himself had observed regarding the presence of SF in thecourse of carrying out his job as an engineer for advanced/new systems.When asked if he had seen ‘‘operational capacities’’ (rather than theunderlying technologies), that started as science fiction but later became‘‘reality,’’ McClellan answered, ‘‘Yeah, definitely some of that … Idefinitely see that going on.’’ Although he could not give detailsbecause of the classified nature of the work, he had witnessed changesthat were first postulated as science fiction and agreed with thehypothesis that science fiction images set goals, start areas of inquiry,and shape responses. He also confirmed that he personally hadimported ideas from narratives to the actual workplace but that theyhad ‘‘all wound up in the classified world.’’ Responding to a question about whether or not he thought therewas a ‘‘predictive’’ component to science fiction, McClellan remarkedthat he had never really thought of science fiction as prediction. Insteadhe considered it be a ‘‘kind of cause-and-effect’’ with abstract creative‘‘hard core’’ science fiction writers creating the vision and ‘‘coming upwith wild ideas—something that no one has thought of before’’ andthen ‘‘the more logical but creative class of people, the engineers, thatdon’t seem to be capable of making that leap into … the abstract, butonce someone exposes them to an idea, then they can start to puttogether different things in a very creative way to make some of thatstuff happen.’’ What is most striking is that McClellan is suggesting that sciencefiction’s power to directly shape research, technology development, andthe political agenda to pursue them are more tangible, more important,and ultimately, more powerful than are its postulated predictivequalities. Coming from a senior design engineer who has been involvedin some of the nation’s most important and classified weaponsdevelopment and research projects, this assertion is extraordinarilyprovocative and difficult to dismiss. Given William Broad’s revealinginterviews with Strategic Defense Initiative’s young Star Warriors atLivermore Labs, McClellan’s comments support the proposition thatthis discursive dynamic is the rule, rather than the exception, within the
  7. 7. 204 CHARLES E. GANNONmilitary R&D community. Indeed, most of the other interviewees Ipolled, whether formally or informally, were at least as emphatic inasserting a ‘‘cause-and-effect’’ relationship between the ideas andimages presented in hard science fiction and the research anddevelopment initiatives undertaken by the military-industrial complex. Although McClellan made little mention of Heinlein, he wasfamiliar with Starship Troopers. This points to another process wherebysuch texts and authors exert influence over the military/industrialcomplex: their reinspection, and even revision, of the military ethositself. Certain science fictional assessments of the changing socialperspective on war and warriors are not only well-known to militarypersonnel, but have become significant referents for professionaldiscussions. This suggests that those authors who evince expertise inboth scientific and military domains may have the potential to exert aparticularly powerful influence over certain elite readers. There isevidence that this is the case with Heinlein: certainly the VIP status ofhis later years suggests it. Furthermore, the influence and authority ofhis future war fictions seem to be growing. In Air Force 2025, theMobile Infantry of Starship Troopers is invoked as an ideal model forthe next century’s soldiers: in his paper ‘‘Brilliant Warriors,’’ Lt.General Jay W. Kelley, USAF, asserts: (W)e have taken people already committed to the warrior profession and must train and educate them in such a way that by 2025, as compared to today, they will be brilliant—smart, adept, agile, savvy—professional warriors. Take away the gizmos of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper (sic) and use that image to envision the best in tomorrow’s warriors. They should have all the attitudes and behaviors that allow them to survive, succeed, and lead others in whatever future we find ourselves.That same year, an even more telling example of the influence of StarshipTroopers appeared in what is arguably the most august, conservative, andbuttoned-down of all military journals. The November 1996 issue of theProceedings of the US Naval Institute included an article entitled ‘‘We CanMake Real Starship Troopers.’’ The headlining picture showed a recentcopy of Heinlein’s classic protruding from the back pocket of a Marine’scamouflage fatigues. The author, Captain Robert Smullen, USMC,compares Marine training and readiness to that of the Mobile Infantry—and finds his own service lacking. His solution: use Heinlein’s elitetroopers as literal models for an overhaul of the Corps’ training programs.One reader of Smullen’s article was Alan Brown, a Commander in theCoast Guard Reserve and a member of the Science Fiction Writers ofAmerica, who observed that, ‘‘I have always known that there was an
  8. 8. IMAG(IN)ING TOMORROW’S WARS AND WEAPONS 205affinity between military personnel and the science fiction audience (thefolks at the local Waldenbooks tell me this has been measured throughmarket research, science fiction sells better near military bases). But Inever imagined that such a respectful reference to science fiction would befound in an otherwise conservative professional journal.’’ Smullen’s article is most significant not for its content, nor for the‘‘respect’’ it accords Heinlein and Starship Troopers, nor even for thepurposeful attempt to promote Heinlein’s ‘‘cap troopers’’ as thetechnological and psychological model of the new Marine. Its mostsignificant feature is that the article’s author and editors expected that asizable majority of the Proceedings subscribers have read and rememberHeinlein’s 1959 future war novel. Their expectations were evidentlycorrect: no confused letters or protests were stimulated by Smullen’sarticle. Nor were any such objections raised when George and MeredithFriedman’s widely bruited book, The Future of War: Power,Technology and American World Dominance in the 21st Century,employed numerous references to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers asharbingers of the kind of ‘‘poor, bloody infantry’’ that would berequired for America’s twenty-first-century missions.T here are many other, less high profile, examples of SF’s technological and doctrinal influence on both the disseminationand inspiration of military ‘‘actualities.’’ S. M. Stirling’s short story,‘‘Necessity,’’ for instance, introduces a small arm—‘‘the DZ-7 LightAssault Rifle’’—whose specifications closely follow those of the JointService Small Arms Program’s once-projected replacement for theaging M-16A2 assault rifle, the Objective Infantry Combat Weapon(OICW). The DZ-7 and the OICW have identical range and extremelysimilar targeting, sensor, and data processing capabilities. Similarly, thearmor usually worn in conjunction with the DZ-7 is a computer-permeated chameleon suit that offers an extensive suite of sensor,computing, communications, and concealment options, and alsoprovides for direct user–machine electronic interface. Once again, mostof the components of Stirling’s futuristic-sounding battle-garb are notmade from the gossamer of dreams: analogs of almost all its ‘‘fictional’’components are currently undergoing trials as part of the U.S. Army’smuch-publicized Land Warrior combat dress. Remote operations, robotics, and limited artificial intelligence(AI) devices have also moved rapidly from drawing board, to provingground, to battlefield. The most ominous of these weapons may be theDefense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) ‘‘FutureCombat Systems’’ (FCS)—a more ambitious, ground-warfare analogof Boeing’s Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) project—where
  9. 9. 206 CHARLES E. GANNONrobotics is not merely a part of the multi-vehicle system, but thelynchpin of its entire operational concept: ‘‘The first concept will be fora network-centric, distributed force that will include a mannedcommand and control element/personnel carrier, a robotic direct-firesystem, a robotic non-line of sight system, an all-weather robotic sensorsystem, coupled with other layered sensors.’’ This vision of a largelyrobotic army—imagined by Nicolai Tesla and others—was repeatedlyexplored by science fiction writers, probably most notably by KeithLaumer in his influential ‘‘Bolo’’ series. This article’s final example pushes beyond the realm of theprimarily tactical battlefield and out into the strategic concept of orbitaldefenses. In 1983, with the advent of SDI, anticipations of space-basedanti-missile missiles and lasers suddenly leaped the nebulous dividebetween science fiction and national policy. Arguably, it was sciencefiction writers who had brought these technologies and options to themilitary’s attention and into the national political spotlight. Among thestrong supporters of SDI was Ben Bova, whose advocacy for itappeared in his non-fictional tracts The High Road (1981) and AssuredSurvival (1984), as well as his novel Privateers (1985). Robert Heinleinwrote a number of supportive articles, and penned the Foreword forLieutenant General Daniel O. Graham’s The High Frontier, aninfluential, Reagan-endorsed tract on the pro-SDI side of the debate.It was Jerry Pournelle, however, who was the most outspokensupporter of SDI. Along with fellow hard science fiction author DeanIng, he published what may be the best known non-official tract of theentire SDI debate: Mutual Assured Survival (1984). But long before this,his fiction had been nurturing the mindscape of young inventors whowere to become the technological wizards of the ‘‘Star Wars’’ initiative. Pournelle’s greatest claim to popular fame is a long string of farfuture war stories with a ‘‘hard science’’ basis that were not onlypopular with the general science fiction readership, but also with manyof the individuals who provided the brain-power for the SDI program.When science journalist William J. Broad interviewed dozens of youngweapons researchers at Livermore Laboratories for his book StarWarriors, he discovered that the innovator of the X-ray laser, PeterHagelstein, credited Pournelle as one of his primary influences inconceiving the weapon, which appears in action in the Pournelle/Nivencollaboration, The Mote in God’s Eye. Indeed, Hagelstein had invokedthis, and other future war fictions, in his daring dissertation on thetopic of X-ray lasers. One of the other key young Star Warriors at Livermore, RodHyde, drawn into the field by his aspirations to design a workablepropulsion system for near–light speed starships, has asserted that his
  10. 10. IMAG(IN)ING TOMORROW’S WARS AND WEAPONS 207interests and abilities were ‘‘nurtured by a stream of science fiction,most especially by authors Gordon Dickson, Keith Laumer, andRobert Heinlein.’’ Indeed, the entire mood at Livermore is set byBroad’s description of an environment pervaded by the genre; picturesof starships, familiarity with SF tropes and themes, and a ubiquitousfascination with far future weapons and spacecraft were an integral partof the Star Warriors’ subcultural and discursive roots and day-to-dayworking environment.I f Pournelle’s fiction provided indirect inspiration for the nation’s engineering braintrust at Livermore Labs, his influence on both thetechnomilitary and political domains of the SDI initiative was evenmore direct and powerful. In a testimonial, dated October 27, 1983, forPournelle’s tract Mutual Assured Survival, President Ronald Reaganexpressed appreciation for the ‘‘generous comments’’ made about hisMarch 23 speech and noted that ‘‘You and your associates deserve highpraise for addressing with verve and vision the challenges to peace andto our national security.’’ Reagan’s letter was printed in full on the backcover of Mutual Assured Survival: a sure way to boost the sales of thebook, and in so doing, advance the agenda shared by author andpresident alike. The genesis of Mutual Assured Survival is, in itself, a revealingexample of the overlapping discursive domains of future writers,military experts, and senior aerospace figures. Although the book waswritten by Pournelle and Ing, the recommendations presented in it werethe result of coordinated committee work by a group of individuals whoexamined various nuclear defense alternatives and then presented theirassessments of the separate options, along with recommendations forimplementation. This group, the Citizen’s Advisory Panel on NationalSpace Policy, included three astronauts (including Buzz Aldrin), eightscience fiction writers and editors (including Heinlein, Pournelle,Gregory Benford, Larry Niven, and Greg Bear), four major physicists,two retired generals—and Star Warriors Rod Hyde and Lowell Wood,both of whom had been interviewed in depth by William Broad. Thebook circulated at various official levels, and Reagan’s response isconsistent with other indicators that it enjoyed a high regard within thebroader ranks of the administration. Although the SDI program was, ultimately, discontinued (mostly),that does not diminish the discursive significance of Mutual AssuredSurvival. Indeed, ‘‘failed predictions’’ do not logically indicate thatscience fiction and its authors have no influence over future weaponsand warfare. Instead, and in conclusion, the litmus test of any text’sinfluence is not determined by whether its ideas prevail, but rather, is
  11. 11. 208 CHARLES E. GANNONindicated by the credence and respect those ideas are accorded by thepolitical and military elite. Judging from both the frequency and widearray of official requests for science fiction authors to participate in theprocesses of both technological inspiration and forecasting, as well asstrategic and tactical speculation, it seems that those measures ofconferred credence and respect are very high indeed.RECOMMENDED READINGSAir University 2025 Support Staff. 1996. ‘‘Airforce 2025.’’ White paper. Air Force University Press. Available either through Defense Technical Information Center (ATTN: DTIC-BRR); 8725 John J. Kingman Road, Suite 0944; Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060-6218 or online at <http://>Broad, William J. 1985. Star Warriors. New York: Simon and Schuster.DARPA, United States Government. 2000. ‘‘Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation.’’ Available at <>, last accessed July 12, 2000.Friedman, George and Meredith Friedman. 1998. The Future of War: Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the 21st Century. New York: St. Martin’s.Gannon, Charles E. 2005. Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-Setting in American and English Speculative Fiction. Boulder, CO and Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.Garamone, Jim. 1998. ‘‘Army Tests Land Warrior for 21st Century Soldiers.’’ Army Link, Army News Service(September 14). Available at < a19980914lanwar.html>.Haldeman, Joe (ed.). 1988. Space-Fighters. New York: Ace Books.Heinlein, Robert A. 1959. Starship Troopers. New York: Berkley.Ing, Dean. 1984. Firefight 2000. New York: Baen Books.McClellan, Jerry. 1996. Personal interview. March 7.Pournelle, Jerry and Dean Ing. 1984. Mutual Assured Survival. New York: Baen.Staff Author, Unattributed. 1999. ‘‘Boeing Unmanned Combat Aircraft to be Developed.’’ Boeing News 58(15): 1,12.Stirling, S. M. 1988. ‘‘Necessity,’’ in John Carr and Jerry Pournelle (eds.), War World: The Burning Eye. New York: Baen Books.U.S. Government. Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). 2000. ‘‘Darpa and Army Select Contractors For Future Combat Systems Programs.’’ News Release No. 236-00 (May 9). Available at <>.Dr. Charles E. Gannon regularly publishes both fiction and non-fiction; his most recent scholarlybook (‘‘Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda Setting in American andBritish Speculative Fiction’’) is in second edition and won the 2006 American Library AssociationAward for Outstanding Book. He has been a Fulbright Fellow at Liverpool, Dundee, and Palacky(Czech Rep) and his work on fiction, technology, and political influence is widely cited. Prior to hisacademic career, he worked eight years as a scriptwriter and producer in New York City, where hiscredits included programs for the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and ThePresident’s Council on Physical Fitness. E-mail: