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Fighting the wrong battles.

In my talks on China I touch on their already crushing defence capability. “Today China’s arsenal of ante ship missiles on the mainland and in its coastal fleet, make it impossible for the US to operate within 1000 miles. Forget aircraft carriers we have already been out manoeuvred!” And in other talks I have looked at how WW1 and WW2 began. In both cases the western allies were initially undone by their military’s inability to envision new tactics, to use new technologies, or to correctly assess the strength of their adversaries.

I was reminded of these comments when reading in growing frustration an excellent review in the IBD weekly of the US current aircraft  carrier developments.

  1. We are glorying in the biggest, broadest and by most counts the most bloatedly irrelevant and costly war machines. Aircraft carriers are now as long as 3.5 football fields, carry 5000 sailors,and  more than 75 fighter jets with the capacity of 1 million lbs of bombs a day. We are building them as fast as we can but they are already obsolete in the face of China’s capabilities – according to Pompeo “our number one enemy”.
  2.  These $13 billion behemoths are $2.6 billion over budget  and are expected to remain in the fleet till the end of the century , presuably to show some financial return.
  3. Our three , or is it 4, services do not appear to be managed under a single coherent command, though one of the core lessons from the last war was the critical need to combine to maximise the focus of innovation, and purchasing let alone battle field management.
  4. Wars were regularly being strategised, initiated and led by overaged generals. I’ve not noticed many top brass in their 30’s and 40’s. Though we have seen a steady stream of uniformed old men filing through the White House.

Perhaps I am being over anxious, bu tI cannot readily find a clear Pentagon or White House strategic review that answers the following questions:

  • What do the future wars we plan to fight look like?
  • What will differentiate our ability to fight these wars and ensure we are stronger than our enemies?
  • What resources, matereal, leadership and structural changes need to be made to achieve this ? 
  • What will our military services look like in 5 or 10 years’ time?

As a footnote to our unexplained, possibly inexplicable romance with redundant aircraft carriers, the Chinese have succeeded in stationing their Queqiao satellite behind the moon. This Lagrangian achievement, named after the 18th century French physicist, is of serious military significance. The satellite effectively  allows China to build eqipment on the dark side of the moon, unseen and untouchable. China is finessing land and sea battles altogether whilst we are spending treasure on outdated boats.

Have a good day, James