Dale Brown writes military techno-thrillers. He has thirteen New York Times best sellers to his credit. After leaving the Air Force in 1986 he wrote his first book, Flight of the Old Dog. Brown’s latest novel, Executive Intent, combines military technology with political intrigue. There are a lot of confrontational episodes between the United States military and America’s old adversaries, Russia and China. Brown uniquely explores how Americans need to be aware of Russia’s re-emergence and China’s new status as super powers. NewsRealBlog had the pleasure of interviewing him.
NewsRealBlog: What is the premise of your books?
Dale Brown: I take different technology and programs being considered by the military and advance it one more step. I try to look at the next two to five years and see how technology will be applied.
NRB: What is the theme of Executive Intent?
Brown: Military pundits fearful of a military space race. I wanted to point out that the US is finding it more competitive with nations such as China, Russia, and India. We have to work harder to maintain our superiority. I talk specifically about high power lasers that penetrate the earth’s atmosphere to shoot down missiles. The air force actually tested these a little while ago.
NRB: Did you want to awaken your readers about any dangers?
Brown: Our lead is eroding. With the Space Shuttle Program being shut down we will have no other way to get a man in space except through the Russians. The US is not going to have its own ability to send a man into space and that to me is unacceptable.
NRB: Is your story realistic since there is a space treaty among nations?
Brown: Yes. People point to the space treaty and say it prohibits weapons in space. That is simply not true. It prohibits WMD weapons in space. It does not prohibit lasers or defensive missiles.
NRB: In the book you have Russia and China teaming up against the US. Can you explain?
Brown: Think about it. If Russia and China put away their differences and worked together to harass the US that would be a very serious problem and the US could lose control.
NRB: Recently Admiral Mullen said he was concerned about China’s military expansion. It seemed with this book you sounded the warning first. Am I correct?
Brown: I wanted to point out that China has been experimenting with modifying ballistic missiles to be used as anti-ship missiles fired from 1000 to 2000 miles away and can place them anywhere in the world. I wanted to create a level of anxiety.
NRB: Do you think we have to fight two types of wars: counter-insurgency and conventional?
Brown: We have a completely new enemy and it’s Al Qaeda. They are insurgents and guerillas. But we can’t ignore the other side like I believe we are doing. We are not building anymore F-22 fighters or new bombers. By solely focusing on the counter insurgency war we are forgetting the old adversaries still out there.
NRB: You still think Russia is a threat?
Brown: We cancelled the F-22 because America has not been challenged in the sky since Korea. That doesn’t mean we are not going to be challenged in the future. Russia just rolled out its own stealth fighter and it’s a pretty good jet. We need to be thinking of 2020 and what is needed.
NRB: Are the battle scenes in the book realistic?
Brown: It is actually happening. Russia and China attempt to aggravate the US. They get into proxy battles. They fly closer and closer to disrupt the air flow off the pilot’s wings which makes the ride bumpy.
NRB: Your book has the three powers, Russia, China, and the US manning space stations that control satellites with defensive missiles-is that really happening?
Brown: China is willing to put weapons into a space station that would attack satellites. This would be a serious problem for the US. They already sent up a test military satellite that positioned itself within 40 miles of the international space station. This was a hostile act in my estimation.
NRB: Any final thoughts?
Brown: We have the technology capabilities to develop a space defensive group. It’s the political will we need. One of the sub plots of Executive Intent is that the President was putting his blinders on and did not want to use the technology. The political side is a big factor as to what happens to the military (just look at the General McChrystal firing) since the military is run by civilians.