But the Pentagon eventually learned its lesson, and learned it well. By the 1990s, the U.S. military had stopped trying to manage Moore's Law and learned to embrace it. The soldier fighting now in Iraq is as well-equipped technologically as his counterpart in a Seattle office cubicle, and both intellectually and functionally his equal.
But perhaps nothing better captures the impact of Moore's Law on the U.S. military than the JDAM, the technology — recapitulating what happened to consumer and industrial products over the last 40 years — that enables a simple chip-based device to be attached to a bomb or missile and make it "smart."
Ultimately, the real "shock and awe" of this war will not be the bombs raining down on Iraq, but the realization, as the world watches those pinpoint explosions, that this is just the beginning. Now that America, and America's military, is aboard Moore's Law, the transformation has only just begun.
The law, as I've said, is exponential, which means it only gets faster and faster from here on. This war, Moore's War, will likely be the last conventional war in U.S. history; the next one will be fought by remote control, with bombs that can be aimed to the inch.
Very soon, no one else in the world will be able to keep up. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wasn't just being vindictive when he said we could fight this war alone. The truth is that most other countries' armies are now as much an impediment to us as a help.
The French have accused us being a "hyperpower." They are half right. We are now, thanks to Moore's Law, a powerful nation about to launch into hyperspace.
Michael S. Malone, once called “the Boswell of Silicon Valley,” most recently was editor-at-large of Forbes ASAP magazine. His work as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter at the San Jose Mercury-News sparked the writing of his critically acclaimed The Big Score: The Billion Dollar Story of Silicon Valley, which went on to become a public TV series. He has written several other highly praised business books and a novel about Silicon Valley, where he was raised. For more, go to Forbes.com.