Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bloodless theories, bloody wars

Ralph Peters says that Easy-win concepts crumble in combat

The primary problem we face in preparing for future wars is an intellectually corrupt budgeting and procurement process, a system that forces the services — especially the Navy and Air Force — to make extravagant, impossible-to-fulfill claims for the weapons they wish to buy. It isn’t possible to argue that a system will be “useful.” To appear competitive, each system has to be “revolutionary.”
Compounding the damage, each of the services (except the Marine Corps) has fallen into the trap of designing its strategy to fit the systems it wants, rather than devising an honest long-term strategy, then pursuing the weapons best-fitted to support that strategy.
We have gotten the process exactly wrong.
No sensible person would argue against the potential benefits of new military technologies — but those technologies must be relevant to genuine wartime needs, not merely sexy platforms for air shows. The services become so mesmerized by their in-progress procurement programs that any challenge to a system’s utility is treated as an attack on the service itself.
The truth is that we lie.

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