Mike Shedlock

A close friend of mine since high school frequently writes for Foreign Affairs Magazine, the Small Wars Journal, and places like Janes's Defence Weekly.

His latest article in the Small Wars Journal highlights compelling reasons that bigger, more expensive, weapons systems "borrowed from the end of World War II or the Cold War" are far too costly and are not even what is needed in today's world.

Please consider a few snips from Disruptive Thinkers: More Thoughts on Disruption and National Security by David Wise.

The Military Needs More Disruptive Thinkers,” by Benjamin Kohlmann reminded me of what is surely fast becoming the quote for our times when Sir Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, once said to his staff: “Gentleman, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking.”

The futility of large, inflexible military bureaucracies, procuring large, complex, over-engineered systems from the few large, inflexible remaining general contractors in a rapidly changing world seems evident.

Something that I wrote critiquing one branch of the military, the Navy, and its fixation on large ships, seems relevant to this discussion. In that article appearing in the May 18, 2011 issue of Jane’s Defence Weekly I said:

What is the most effective way to achieve the missions of the US Navy: sea control, sea denial, power projection or protection of open commerce? In an age of networks, small wars, unmanned systems and diffusion of military technology, the best solutions are unlikely to be found in highly expensive, complex, centralised systems requiring massive manpower. Answers are likely to be found in ways that distribute firepower to lower-cost platforms for more widespread and rapid deployments on more numerous, but less visible, lower-signature vehicles. Solutions are likely to stress reliability over theoretical elegance, quality achieved through quantity and simplicity over complexity while utilizing the emerging capabilities of robotics and unmanned systems.

Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for Sitka Pacific Capital Management.
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