From the T-14 Tank to the Minuteman III: Dave Jones “The NBC Guy” Weighs in on Modern Warfare
For those keeping score, we do not merely have a few nations at war. Instead, we have whole regions of the world that are either lobbing weapons at one another or planning to do so. Yet it seems that some are content with the fantasy that Israel is at war with Hamas, and that Russia is at war with Ukraine.
More accurately, Russia and Belarus are fighting the U.S. and NATO, and south of that, we have the United States and Israel fighting Houthis, Hamas, Hezbollah, and of course Iran who is supplying all of them. Good thing we didn’t just give Iran six billion dollars! We would hate to see that money go towards more war and terror.
Now that we understand the scope of the warring that is going on, it makes the context of the article a little easier to understand. With two massive regional wars, each with World War III potential, we have seen some of the most advanced weapons on the planet finally hit the battlefield.
From Russia’s hypersonic missiles to Israel’s Iron Dome, these things have been tested and scrutinized in the public eye. The question is: Are the weapons living up to the hype?
Israel’s Iron Dome in Action (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons )
To find out, we sought out Dave Jones, an army major with decades of service in nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare to get his take. Let’s see what Major Jones thinks of these modern-day weapons of war–and the strategies being employed to deal with them.
Table of Contents
Dave Jones the NBC Guy
Our interview with Dave
Has modern warfare changed for good?
Dave Jones the NBC Guy
Dave Jones at the Range (Image courtesy of James Walton )
In 1975, Dave Jones joined the Army. Of all places to start, Dave was selected as an assistant to the nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) warfare noncommissioned officer. Taking to it like a fish to water, Dave scored higher on his exams than some of the officers at the time. He would go on to become a nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare operations specialist–beating out the instructors in Fort McLellan who conducted his training!
In time, Dave would become a reservist and jump into law enforcement. The stories this guy has from his time as an Alaskan State Trooper in the 80s are incredible. However, the Army called him back for a fourteen-year stint, where he did everything from commanding a smoke generator company to running the joint personal effects depot in Fort Indiantown Gap, PA. Though Dave retired a major, he was back in the army after a years’ time due to the 9/11 attacks.
After bouncing around the Middle East for twenty-two months in sixteen countries, Dave left the military for good and spent the rest of his time in emergency management. Then he attempted retirement again.
Although Dave Jones has accomplished some tremendous things in his life, he cannot seem to figure this retirement thing out. So, he is now teaching history in Winchester, Virginia. He is also a host at The Prepper Broadcasting Network and teaches a course called Practical Survival in an NBC Environment.
Dave has even sold MIRA masks as an affiliate in the past.
CM-7M with Hydration (Image courtesy of MIRA Safety )
Our interview with Dave
We are seeing all kinds of new weapons from around the world being used by militaries. How do you feel about militaries today, compared to proficiency in militaries fifteen to twenty years ago?
We rely so heavily on technology these days. Artillery these days cannot fire without a computer. Back when I was in, we had a computer that checked the math. This was before the TS80 calculator came out!
They would do the math manually and then run it through the computer. We’d do this simultaneously. It took two or three guys to do it manually and one guy to run the data into the computer.
FADAC is what it was called, and it was huge. It was as big as a table. It had its own 1 1/2-Kilowatt generator and was basically the only thing that ran on electricity in our whole organization. Everything else we ran on Coleman stoves and lamps and stuff like that.
FADAC Computer (Image courtesy of Flicker )
I would argue that today they don't know how to do it manually. They don't have the equipment to do it manually, and if the computer and GPS were not available, they would not be able to deliver artillery fire accurately.
The first of these new weapon systems to make the headlines was the SATAN 2 hypersonic missiles, as we’ve seen in tests. What are your thoughts?
Hypersonic Missile Locked and Loaded (Image courtesy of Wikipedia )
It's a way to get a missile on target without it being intercepted, in theory.
Now, back in the day we had these things called Nike Herc missiles and these were missiles with nuclear warheads. They would just get close and detonate. They wouldn’t have to hit. That may be something that we have to go back to shield against these.
If you detect a hypersonic, then you send these up there and detonate. If you get enough debris and explosions going off, these hypersonics are not going to hit their target.
MIRA’s NBC Filter for fallout
Now, recently we had an error of our own in the U.S. with the Minuteman test. What's the difference between Russia’s mishaps and the U.S.’?
Reagan Era Nuclear Weapons (Image courtesy of Wikipedia )
Well, the thing that gets me is, we have been abiding by the treaties. The Minute Man goes all the way back to Reagan. So, are you going to test the newest one? No. You are going to test the oldest one. The oldest one costs the least.
Whatever they were trying to do, whether it was a show of force–or if they are testing “will this system actually work?”–is unclear. They could have also put a new component in there to test out in flight. They upgrade them as much as they can, you know.
The thing that is scary is that our newest nuclear weapon was created in the nineties! Our oldest, which is still in the arsenal, was made back in the fifties! That's our nuclear arsenal today.
Anyone that is working on nuclear weapons now is using today’s technology to develop a weapon with today’s materials and so on. We can replace components, but eventually, we are going to come to a point where you have to scrap the whole thing.
The T-14 Armata, the dreaded new Russian tank, has been rolling out since 2015, then it hits the battlefield and retreats quickly. What’s your experience on rolling out new military tech?
Armata at Victory Day (Image courtesy of Wikipedia )
Well, we did the same thing in the first Desert Storm. We had the F-117 Stealth Fighter and the B2 Bomber rolled out, and up until that time, totally classified. I would say any chance they get to one, demonstrate it, and, two, test it out in real combat situations–it’s invaluable. The data that you can get is just impossible to get any other way.
You ran smoke for tanks, right? Do you think tanks still work in modern warfare?
Well, here is what’s happening with tanks. With the introduction of drone technology and super accurate man-packed anti-tank weapons like the Javelin, tank warfare–especially in urban areas–is becoming obsolete. They are becoming big targets, and everyone and their brother wants to shoot at them!
Think back to the first Gulf War. The A10 was the killer of tanks on the battlefield. Well, you actually needed to fly pilots over an area with ordinance and everything that goes along with that. Now, with the introduction of drones that can carry missiles, that's no longer the case. You load a drone up with missiles and fly it around till you find a tank. Shoot your one missile or two missiles.
The least amount of armor a tank has is on the top and on the bottom so attacks from above are always gonna work.
Does the Iron Dome live up to its name? Hamas used a “saturation attack” against it, and it seemed effective. Is it worth the money?
Yes. In Israel’s situation, absolutely. The Iron Dome came about because after the first Gulf War we gave Israel the Patriots from the war and they said, “Hmm. We can do better.” They copied our technology. We did the same thing with the Abrams, and they said the same thing, “We can do better.” Their tanks are far superior to the Abrams.
Back to the Iron Dome. What they need to do is deploy more launchers. They can supply launchers quicker and more effectively than the enemy. So, for Israel they need an upgrade. Still, even if it’s 60% effective, you are only getting 40% of the inbound into Israel.
Hamas rockets have basic guidance and basic explosive packages. They have no way to self-destruct the rockets. It’s totally crazy.
They are making launchers out of waterpipe and other infrastructure. So, when we pay for infrastructure in Gaza, we are effectively arming them. The world seems angry at Israel, but they are doing what they have to do to protect themselves. The best possible aid for the people of Gaza is to get them out of the war zone for good!
Most Americans don't understand this, but Hamas is the government of what they call Palestine! They held one election in 2006, Hamas got elected to run Gaza, and there has not been one since! There is no negotiating or reasoning with these people. It's not democratic.
Wagner a.k.a. Russia is handing off SA-22 missile defense systems to Hamas. Tell us about these systems, and are they going to be effective against Israeli F-16s?
SA-22 on Display (Image courtesy of Wikipedia )
Well, it is better than what they have now. They are much more effective against transport vehicles. F-16s have countermeasures and things that will make the SA-22s less effective. Will they be able to shoot one down? They could. You can get one taking off or landing if you hit it just right.
They are not the end all, be all for taking down a plane with that kind of speed and capability.
What is Russia’s Coastal Destroyer Poseidon Torpedo?
Poseidon Beside other Torpedoes (Image courtesy of HiSutton.com )
What they did was they made an underwater cruise missile. This thing has an onboard computer and sensors. It can hold maps and navigate on its own. It is autonomous, underwater, with a nuclear warhead.
Lots of people have been talking about tsunamis, but if you want more destructive force, you get that thing as close to the surface as possible before you detonate. You don’t want that targeted port facility functioning ever again. If you get that thing as close as possible, you will have effectively eliminated essential ports.
If you wanted to take down a country, then you would take down those commercial ports, like off the coast of California.
How far could it get up the Potomac to Washington, D.C.?
Tracking these all comes down to the types of censors. What kind of sensors do we have and what kind of signals is it putting out? Sonar is detectable, but underwater GPS and internally downloaded maps could make this thing very hard to track.
How did the Houthi Rebels shoot a cruise missile that got shot down in space?!
They got it from Iran. Absolutely. If you are looking for a fingerprint or a smoking gun, they got it from Iran. The Houthis didn’t come up with that.
Are we gonna wreck Iran? Is that what's about to happen?
I think Israel is, and we are going to back them up. I mean, there is no way around this for Israel. What do you wanna do? Stomp 'em down and back off, let them build up again, or do you want to secure the Middle East for all countries?
The Middle East could be a huge hub for international trade, technology, and energy. They could be like the next Asia. It has the potential.
I was in Jordan before we went after Saddam. There was a fully functional furnished casino that was boarded up and closed up. It would not open up till Saddam was gone. After he was gone, there was a lifting of a veil of oppression. Everything opened up. Flights were going. People were happy, and it will be the same way with Iran. Once that happens.
Has modern warfare changed for good?
War Torn Ukraine (Image courtesy of Flickr )
Despite all the new weaponry, it would appear that the Russians and the Ukrainians have reached something of a stalemate. If the use of weapons of mass destruction is off the table, then it makes sense that defensive weaponry and strategy have caught up with air superiority and tanks.
We will see how things go in Gaza, and the months that follow in this latest regional war. It’s not even clear that direct interactions between superpowers are in the cards.
With proxy war being such an effective tool of asymmetrical warfare, it is getting harder and harder to imagine what it might look like if the superpowers were to go head-to-head. The most important question is: why?
Why disrupt commerce and the average person’s life with something as crazy as a war between superpowers, when you can keep selling, buying, and trading? All the while militaries are weakening, the military industrial complex is taking massive orders, and the U.S. is funding it all! All the "right” people seem to be getting paid handsomely.
Warfare is Changing (Image courtesy of Flickr )
Sometimes, the best strategy is to merely avoid the mistakes of the past. When you talk to a guy like Dave Jones, it makes you wonder if those leading battlefield strategies today have any understanding of the past.
As you can imagine, Dave is a huge proponent of gas masks and high-quality filters. He also talks about the importance of having a Geiger counter or radiation measuring device.
MIRA’s Geiger Counter (Image courtesy of MIRA Safety )
If there is one takeaway from all this talk about weapons of war, it is that methods and the effective weaponry are changing so rapidly, and the superpowers may not even understand where to put their money. Are the armaments we are cranking out going to win a war of hearts and minds through social and cultural upheaval?
For perspective, the British had 300,000 pro-Palestine supporters take to the streets on Remembrance Day, marking the end of WWI and honoring the fallen soldiers. Violence ensued, and that leads you to wonder about what war actually looks like anymore. If a force of opposition can take to the streets in such great numbers on a day like this, do we even recognize where the wars are being fought?
While it is very interesting to discuss hypersonic nuclear weapons and underwater cruise missile nuke drones that can level major ports, are they as effective as a good community organizer? The quest to you dear reader: If you were planning to overtake a nation in 2023, would you want an arsenal of high-tech weapons or an army of political and social activists?