Friday, December 23, 2005


Beware the military-industrial complex - especially if you are an ordinary soldier...

Slate's Fred Kaplan analyzes the spending priorities of our military establishment:

Kaplan takes issue with a system he thinks over gadgeted to the point the ordinary soldier's needs - and Americas ability to fight a protracted war - take a backseat to the shiny toy lobby...

I agree. And I think this is a lesson taught over and over but as of yet unlearned. It certainly isn't just a foible of the US military: Germany's failure in WWII to stop the fiddling and produce the goods of war was a significant contributor to their defeat.

Kaplan notes the Pentagon is planning on cutting the standing army by 32,000 troops while fully funding a long list of big ticket items including two new capital ships, a new stealth fighter program, and 42 FA-18's.

It's tommy this and tommy that... and in some ways the military bureaucratic mindest hasn't changed since Kipling wrote about the army that defended the flag on which the sun never set...

While I am loathe to agree with much of anything Slate has to say, I have to agree on this issue.
The revolving door of Military Officers going to work for Contractors, and lobyying their former associates is a major part of the problem.
Another aspect is the officer-heavy force we have today. The officer corp s among the branches is two or three times that of WWII ratios (something I heard a long time ago - looking for verification right now).
If anything, we should be increasing the Army and Marine corps, and training them for desert/urban campaigns, with smaller, lighter, deadlier weapons, improved body armor, and inter-unit comm gear.
The F22 should be fine for another 20 years or so, and only the Chinese are going to be able to challenge us at sea anytime soon. But Urban/Desert fighting is here for the duration.
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