Diverting Defense Dollars
Rich Western militaries so used to proposing extremely sophisticated and costly weapons programs, almost assuring they will get passed through legislatures hungry for the jobs and votes which coincides with grandiose projects, might be in a for a shock very soon. In this new era where moneys are tight and political leaders are more concerned with propping up tottering economies, the funds are just no longer there for future spending sprees by our spoiled service folk. So instead of a rise in defense spending on just any new project the generals and admirals conjure up, look for weapons and strategies to be increasingly prioritized. Read this from the UK Times titled “Ruthless approach to spending needed“:
Resources have been at breaking point, despite the constant reminders from the Government that, year on year, the defence budget has been increasing in real terms. In reality, the MoD has had to look for cuts, and the days are over when adequate savings could be made by delaying the painting of windows or canceling training exercises…There is now huge support for the troops fighting in Helmand and a growing sympathy for the sacrifices being made, but no one in any political party is contemplating increasing defence expenditure by a substantial margin. Assuming there will be no change in approach, whoever wins the general election, a strategic review will be the only way that some sense can be brought to play in plotting Britain’s defence and security requirements…A ruthless approach is needed. If expenditure is not set to rise, the Armed Forces can no longer do everything and be everywhere. Investment should focus on the capabilities and platforms that can best be used in the future to contribute to multinational, probably US-led, efforts.
As we mentioned earlier, we see the Army winning this fight, for the simple reason that is the only rational way. When all boils down to needs, it is always the ground troops which win wars. Air Power might defend from invasion and Sea Power will sustain peace for a time , but it is the Army which ends conflicts decisively. This current crisis in spending has been brewing for a while now. Back in 2007 we wrote:
Since the Army is carrying most of the load in the War on Terror, and thus is more susceptible to reform than the other two, they should get the lions share of the annual funds, say a 50%-25%-and 25% ratio. Then perhaps their more hi-tech siblings would become less interested in fighting some future war that never occurs and be more useful in wars we already have.
Which is why we consistently plead with the Air Force and Navy to emphasize less high tech, with more planes in the air and hulls in the water. Else they will face irrelevance with the politicos choosing future force structure.