Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Casual Observations on Military Equipment/Deployment

A festering concern that I have had for many years is the development and use by the US military of extremely expensive high tech military equipment.  There is no doubt that sophisticated state of the art equipment is nifty, but is it appropriate?

An undeniably truth is that military operations result in destruction and require sustainability. The use of expensive sophisticated high tech equipment runs counter to that undeniable truth.  An "old" black humor joke was that such a war would only last 15 minutes since much of the equipment would cease to function due to an inability to maintain it since many of the technicians would be dead and replacement parts would be unavailable. Furthermore, there is the issue of cost.  Wipe-out one of our aircraft carriers and our Nation will be bankrupt.

We may have technological superiority over terrorists, but if hostilities were to break-out with opponents that have a degree of technology (such as North Korea or Iran) we may only get 15 minutes of shock and awe, but continued action may not be sustainable. If not sustainable, Vietnam would serve as an example that technological superiority cannot guarantee victory. But then again, these countries could ultimately prove to be as "hollow" as Iraq was to a traditional attack. Would China protect North Korea? I don't know.

Here are my casual thoughts concerning the design and deployment of military equipment:
  1. expendable
  2. rapidly reproduced
  3. easily maintained
  4. cheap
As two asides: Point Defense, as an anti-terrorist measure, is ineffectual and ludicrous.  The use of drones is an excellent use of equipment.

1 comment:

enigma_foundry said...

Yes, you have hit the nail on the head, and this gap between the forces we would likely field and their short term abilities vs. their long term sustainability creates a fundamental asymmetry.

I would recommend John Robb's site Global Guerrillas as he has explored this topic and many others re: modern warefare in some depth and with interesting discussions, too.