Silhouettes of War: Technologies of U.S. Soldiering and Surveillance


  • Jessica J. Behm CITYatwork, an organization for technology and science education in New York City, USA



Surveillance, U.S. Military, uniform, technology, silhouetting, invisi-bility, cartography


This paper forwards a theory of silhouetting in relation to technological augmentation in U.S. Military uniforms and suggests that the increasing utilization of metamaterials, nanotechnology, and surveillance technologies operates under a rhetoric of invisibility that complicates the technologies’ visible destruction. Methodologically, the paper attends to three general technological developments in the evolution of the U.S. Army uniform: the design of the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU); the technological advances in the uniform, including embedded wearables, biometric identification devices, and 3D combat enhancement systems; and the bio-networking, GPS, and digital communication arrays that physically link digital uniforms to a larger geopolitical network of U.S. military strategy and surveillance. Throughout, the work traces the aforementioned theory of silhouetting in relation to select sociopolitical consequences of linking digitally enhanced soldiers into a transnational grid of surveillance.


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Theme: Surveillance