Recent scandals in the Bundeswehr

The Bundeswehr has 184,000 active personnel. Some of them are bound to not meet expectations and requirements. A handful of extremists and nutjobs are to be expected in such a large personnel pool.

There are higher expectations regarding officers and NCOs Feldwebel or higher, but I understand the requirements for a Feldwebel career have been eroded by the 1990's already. Some bad apples may even make it to officer rank, though at the very least the professional (not limited time volunteer) officers should NOT be extremists or nutjobs, for the organisation has seen them in action for 12 years already. 

I don't blame anyone for having a decoration MP 40 in his room, either. Yes, that gun was introduced and used by the Wehrmacht (nazified German military 1935-1945). So was the MG42 as well, but we re-labelled it "MG3" and continue to use it to this day despite its obsolescence.* So was the P38 pistol as well, and we re-labelled it "P1" and used it well into the 1990's. And then there's the K98 - iconic rifle of the Wehrmacht (based on a very late 19th century design) and still in ceremonial use. Our federal government literally greets foreign dignitaries with soldiers handling the K98. A MP 40 is an ugly and tasteless decoration, but otherwise nothing bad in itself.

There IS a limit, though. Extremists and nutjobs that were recognised as such and not removed over years despite multiple officers knowing? THAT is a systemic issue. It's not necessarily a Bundeswehr-wide systemic issue, but it's unforgivable and should have severe consequences. A systemic issue means that the bureaucracy should be punished, not just individuals. The bureaucracy should be conditioned to fear to NOT intervene against nutjobs and extremists. I've read that the disbanding of a company was considered the ultimate humiliation. Oh boy, whoever claimed so has no concept of my creativity in such a regard. I would have dragged hundreds of senior officers to an event where they get to stand at attention for hours like recruits, and watch not just a final "Zapfenstreich" disbanding ceremony. They would watch a defilement of the unit. Scratch that, I would have the entire formation defiled and disbanded in shame. And I would let them know that this won't be the last such event if they ever dare to not do their job to minimum requirements.

Having mentioned this; I would not disband the KSK for its scandals. I would disband the KSK for having been a stupid concept and appalling waste of resources all along. That, too, deserves defilement to punish the bureaucracy.





*: Too heavy, very suboptimal rate of fire, no proper mounting for a night sight or magnifying sight, changing the hot barrel requires protective gloves. There were machinegun designs without these faults even before the MG 42 was invented.


Link drop August 2020

Chainmail is officially back in mainstream. ;-)

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Normally one should be careful with such things, but it's glaringly obvious that I would have been able to devise a better policy using only OSINT and a few hours of attention per week than this bunch of incompetents and their lying moron cult leader.

I have zero confidence that this bunch of morons would find appropriate, timely and smart answers to a dangerous international crisis. A thing no one needs to be careful about is the diagnosis that my zero confidence is shared by most governments in NATO, by India, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. I can't tell about Australia or the UK, for their prime ministers have already revealed themselves to be all-too similar.

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The best American anti-tank missile is the Javelin, which is a 1980's design known to Russians since the 1980's, introduced into service in the mid-1990's and I strongly suppose that it would be a terrible disappointment in a European war because of effective countermeasures. The similar (yet conceptually improved) Israeli Spike missile has a lot of sales successes. The German army still hopes to finally purchase relevant quantities of EuroSpike missiles to 'modernise' its anti-tank arsenal.

Now why is this infrared camera head-guided missile concept being treated as state-of-the-art? I strongly suspect because it's the best the Americans have for infantry AT work, and their PR dominates public perceptions on military technology.

Some possible countermeasures to such missiles are figuratively and literally nebulous; quick-deploying multispectral smoke. Here
is a gold-plated and quite threat-specific countermeasure. Maybe its existence is the kind of argument needed to overcome the risky belief and reliance on IIR-guided ATGMs.

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"Defund the Pentagon [by a mere 10%]: The conservative case"

"Defund the Pentagon [by a mere 10%]: The liberal case"

Context: The Pentagon budget was bloated by much more than inflation + 11% since the last Obama-administration budget.

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Math education for the win!

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It's surprising to me that they did not add an infrared camera sensor for (better) sensor fusion.
The enlarged range appears to be unnecessary, as shipborne air defences don't reach far if not supported by third party (such as AEW) targeting data. Anti-ship missiles have notorious targeting issues at long ranges because even the slow movement of ships (usually 10...15 m/s) allows for much movement and changes of the formation during the time of flight. The ASM-3's supersonic cruise speed reduces the time of flight, but a supersonic cruise requires a hefty price to pay. The missile needs to be much bigger, heavier, more expensive and is heated up by air friction due to the supersonic cruise.
The Russians developed at least one two-stage anti-ship missiles with a subsonic cruise stage and a supersonic terminal stage. This offers the supersonic speed advantages against defences without the costs of supersonic cruise.
I don't see much or any need for extremely long anti-ship missile ranges. 100 km sea skimming cruise is plenty, even assuming that 30 km or so are for course corrections and repeated approaches after falling for false targets.

A mix of supersonic and subsonic (which would tend to fly a few metres lower*) terminal approach speed and also different sensors makes sense in an arsenal because of uncertainty about what works best.

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By the way; I missed to announce the passing of a milestone. The blog has now over 10,000 comments (it's about 10,250).


*: Radar physics are tricky. It's not necessarily better to fly those few metres lower, but having the option is nice to have, especially if the missile has an X/Ku band  radio receiver.


Fragile ASW

Almost all of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) depends on lightweight torpedoes (LWT, typically 324 mm diameter in NATO) for the engagement of hostile submarines.


Their guidance is de facto standardised as using passive and active sonar.* Wake-homing, fibre-optic communication with a radio buoys or launcher and AFAIK also some electrostatic sensor might be used, but I've never seen these published for LWTs. The Swedish SLWT has a wire datalink to the platform.
Their warhead is always so small that mere blast does not suffice (especially at great depths), so the torpedo has to score a direct hit to penetrate with shaped charge effect.**

LWTs typically have a tiny endurance (battery-powered) and lesser top speed compared to heavyweight torpedoes. 

LWTs usually employ a search pattern (such as a downward spiral), and they need to be delivered to the proximity of the targeted submarine or else they would fail to pick it up with their sonar or be simply outrun by it. Emphasis on proximity, for their moblity and sensor really aren't all that powerful compared to similarly sophisticated heavyweight torpedoes.

Few other munitions are relevant for ASW. These are mostly heavyweight torpedoes (almost exclusively used by submarines), some rocket depth charge launchers (mostly on Soviet and Chinese design warships), naval mines (but CAPTOR is out of service) and bombs/missiles (for attacks on ports). No country appears to still have nuclear depth charges.
LWTs are really the indispensable mainstay (including as payload of anti-submarine missiles such as ASROC) munition of ASW.

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The title here is "Fragile ASW". I wrote before about the dependency of ASW on helicopters (availability, survivability) for delivering LWTs. This time I'd like to point out that LWTs (usually only one type is in service in a navy) are a critical link in ASW that renders a navy's ASW impotent if it fails.

LWTs CAN fail if they are outdated. They CAN fail due to soft kill countermeasures by the targeted submarine. They can be wasted (and not recovered) in wartime if the ASW platforms detect too many false contacts and the munition stocks particularly of the newest LWT generation are generally meagre. LWTs CAN fail if they are outrun by fast submarines (SSNs, a famous Cold War-era concern with the extremely fast Alfa SSN class). LWTs CAN fail due to hard kill countermeasures by the targeted submarine (typically anti-torpedo torpedoes, but decoy-mines are another possibility).

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It occurred to me that the seemingly obsolete approach of anti-submarine rocket launchers firing depth charges deserves a second look at least for coastal waters and non-nuclear (=much less than 30 kts top speed) submarines. 
Dumb depth charges fell out of favour because they take a long time to sink and then require a direct or extremely close hit, so it takes an excessive quantity to saturate the large no escape zone of the submarine. They remained in service the longest for shallow littoral water applications, especially in areas where stupid LWT torpedo sonars had the greatest difficulties. Such rocket launchers may also be used to deploy countermeasures to heavyweight torpedoes.

 (This is a fairly simple 1980's vintage ASW depth charge projector system.)

The sinking speed issue can be addressed with a rocket propulsion and maybe supercavitation along the lines of the famous Skhval torpedo. The high speed could be maintained till a pre-set depth to enable the use of semi-active sonar guidance afterwards.
The shaped charge warhead would need to be fairly powerful, driving up the size of the torpedo. The supercavitation concept of Skhval does literally get in the way of a shaped charge, further driving up the size (diameter, weight) requirement for the shaped charge. A tandem or triple warhead design may cope with this (saving on diameter, not so much on weight).

We could reduce the required quantity by giving each rocket a sensor and some steering ability*** to enable each munition to cover a larger footprint, but this would require a more modest sinking speed.

What remains is the question of how many such small anti-submarine rockets would be required in a salvo. This is largely an operational research (OR) question; the answer can be calculated. I strongly suppose that the quantity is bearable when the target is slow (and couldn't get much faster during an anti-submarine rocket engagement sequence). Shallow waters help, while small submarine sizes are detrimental.
Fast SSNs in deep waters would be least suitable targets.

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By the way, the latest Russian munition for their ASW rocket launchers is pretty close to what I wrote about here; unpowered underwater, but with sensor and steering.
Their effective depth is certainly much less than their published nominal (likely crush) depth.
Powered or unpowered doesn't make a difference at really shallow depths, of course. Rocket propulsion underwater would merely be a means to threaten slow-moving SSNs at greater depths.

OR has the last word, but I have a suspicion that we could use underwater rocket-depth bombs to complement LWTs and make our ASW a little less fragile in at least some environments.


*: This is not very low frequency active sonar and is thus subject to strong attenuation by anechoic tiles on submarines.
**: Some hit locations would still be ineffective and submarines may be able to cope with the leak caused by such a hit if they are at shallow depths.
***: Semi-active homing is a possibility. A buoys sends out strong acoustic waves, and the sinking munitions detect the echoes. This would only require simple, small and cheap microphone and computing technology in the munition.

edit August 2020:
I was apparently not far off. I found this in Jane's Air-Launched Weapons Issue 26 1997:
The USN participated in a NATO LCAW project, but withdrew. Lockheed kept marketing its concept nevertheless; an "ultra lightweight torpedo" 132 cm long, 27.7 kg, 5 kg shaped charge.
"Following a boosted airflight trajectory, the torpedo enters the water vertically and ignites its rocket motor for the attack phase. Search and tracking is carried out by radially and axially mounted sonar transducers. The ULWT is credited with an underwater speed of 40 kts and a high probability of successfully intercepting a submarine travelling at 8 kts (the speed specified for the NATO competition)."

The LCAW entry clarifies a lot more:
The LCAW was a provocateur, meant to force a possibel contact into reacting if it's a real submarine. It was a problem during the Cold War that ASW frigates didn't really have enough LWTs for all the false contacts they encoutner during a North Atlantic crossing.

I had previously ignored the (actually produced and introduced) A-200 because it was usually described as some special forces and anti-special forces hardware.

So essentially, think of a salvo of such tiny torpedoes (faster than A-200) being fired by a multiple rocket launcher in a pattern that creates a large no-escape zone for a submarine and you got what I thought of.



Optimism and Pessimism in the West

There's an interesting article in the Technology Review July 2020 (German edition) about perceptions in Germany and the U.S..
Polling shows that the share of Americans who are content with where their country is heading hasn't been greater than 50% since 2004 and has dropped to 20% this summer.
Meanwhile, 78% of Germans are confident that Germany will succeed in the future and only 16% are pessimistic. The German optimism has actually grown during the Corona crisis, and it was pointed out that the Germany government can still dish out extra billions to push what's believed to become technologies of the future amidst a near-global fiscal crisis.

My guess is that the 16% look like a circle in a Venn diagram with those people who think that voting for extreme right wingers is a just dandy idea. The far right has been shown to be fearful in many scientific studies. The fear of change and of 'others' is not exactly a signal of great courage, after all. In other words, far right wingers are fearful pussies, but I mentioned that a couple times already.
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The cultural influence of the United States with its fashion of apocalyptic movies, TV shows and 'dark' movies, comics et cetera doesn't seem to be powerful enough to coin German perceptions.

I can tell that there is cultural influence and political influence, but for about five years I haven't seen any big American motifs getting picked up in Germany other than by Neonazis. German Neonazis gratefully pick up whatever nonsense the American right wing distributes in the internet no questions asked, but other than that? I can't recall any American lead in anything other than IT buzzwordery ("SaaS", "Cloud" et cetera) that's basically just sales talk.

There has been very little discernible influence from most other regions as well, except maybe a little K-pop. 
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I am convinced that cultural affinity can make allying easier and cultural convergence can help fortify alliances. The latter is probably the reason for NATO's survival and unusual prominence.

More attention on the other European nations could help Europe to unify (how good or bad that would be is another topic). A parallel outlook or development can surely help countries to stay partners. The U.S. and Germany appear to go into opposite directions in some regards, and I'm sure we have a similar widening schism between Mediterranean and Central Europe/Northern Europe.

This could spell trouble in the (very) long term.
Governments are and will be trying to address completely different (perceived) major problems, failing to arrive at a consensus and thus failing to cooperate. A disunited West could fail to keep neutral countries from entering a Chinese (or later Indian) sphere of influence and so on.

And talking of the United States, a country in pessimistic (and frightened) mode might be enticed to spend even more insanely on the military and get trigger-happy when spooked again. An American-Sino war is a really really bad case possibility, and it could be sparked just as much by American fears of losing status as by Chinese jingoism and revanchism. I suppose that this possibility exists regardless of which party controls the White House.



Link drop July 2020

Half time of 2020!

We survived.
(That is, unless the zombie apocalypse has already begun.)

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I'm not aware of a single WW2 case of this being applied. I guess that the usual wind conditions are unsuitable for this. I do know of many cases when a successful application would have been decisive

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 This is a representative sample of a great website on the Ming Dynasty military.

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Mitch deserves a link as well. He covers just about everything about warfare on an Osprey book-like level of readability, illustration and ambition. Some day some corporation will ruin him with copyright claims.

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It's still a disappointing performance, but the countries of the EU look rather like functioning societies that can deal with a challenge in comparison to countries that gave power of governance  to lying right wing demagogues.

It's noteworthy that the Hungarian right wing de facto autocrat government did better than other right wing demagogue governments (U.S., UK, Poland, Brazil). They differ in general; they're actual populists (not mere demagogues who only do hatemongering and fearmongering to gain support that  exceeds plutocrats). They try to do popular policies including helping the poor. They're messing up left-right pandemic response performance comparisons whenever the authors don't notice this difference.

Now we have a cesspool of infections in the West. Blocking travel from there is the correct way to handle this.
They need to grow up and choose a different "leader" than a whining man-baby and lying moron.
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Door jammer.

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No fucking fighting!

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I mentioned that one of the blog post ideas is a commentary on Sun Tzu's "Art of War".
Now I'd like to call for feedback whether there's any interest in such an effort. I would interpret the sentences, link them to examples and clarify why and when the sentence made/makes sense. Feel invited to signal interest ("+" in comments) or disinterest ("-").

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[German] https://netzpolitik.org/2020/mit-diesem-gesetz-bekommen-alle-geheimdienste-staatstrojaner/



Who was the greatest general of all time?

Many generals and army-leading princes are standing tall in military history, but which one was the greatest of all?

I have two suspects, with a clear favourite for #1.

Many of the usual suspects such as Caesar, Hannibal, Frederick the Great, Prince Eugen, Alexander the Great, Napoleon don't make it to that very short list.

Some of them simply inherited a powerful war machine (Caesar, Frederick, Alexander in some regards Napoleon) and were the first ones to fully unleash it. Some illustrious names from WW2 fit that bill as well.
Severe shortcomings disqualify some such candidates (Frederick relied on the frontal oblique order infantry push tactic for too long, Hannibal failed in regard to sieges, and I am thoroughly unimpressed by Prince Eugen's tactics at Belgrade in 1717).

My two suspects are:

#2 Suvorov
He was the best general the czars ever had. He was a master of superior speed on the operational level (arriving ready for battle before expected) and on the tactical level. His tactics varied, but tended to avoid lengthy exchanges of fires. Suvorov also did much for the improvement of training.
His spell of 63 victories in battle without a defeat qualifies him for the very short list of suspects.

#1 Subutai
This Mongol general can claim to have fought the most varied opposition, most varied terrains, most enemies by quantity, the quickest-moving campaigns (even shaming Suvorov), caused the most devastation - and he routinely won, even with stark numerical inferiority. He wasn't born into nobility or even only into Genghis Khan's tribe. His incredible talent was spotted and he made an incredible career despite his suboptimal upbringing.

There's no point in even only trying to assess him on a moral level (from a Christian perspective he no doubt burns in hell), but as a leader of armies he is a strong contender for the #1 spot.
His many operational art innovations (including predating Napoleon by centuries on the coordination of multiple armies), varied tactics and decades of practically uninterrupted campaigning and battlefield successes (65 victories in battle, afaik without defeat) stand out in military history.*

I encourage you to read more about them, and to interpret that info in the context of their technology, society and political environment.


*: One could claim that Subutai inherited a superior military machine as well, but his forces were very similar to important opposing forces (such as the Cumans). They were also a lot less impressive after his death and weren't very different from the steppe armies that the Central Asian and East European steppes had produced for 1,500+ years before him. The Mongol bow was a bit better but otherwise Mongols weren't very dissimilar in forces quality to the steppe-dwelling Skythians from the time of Alexander the Great.


A rational case for keeping the expenses for military power very low (I)

There's practically no way how a country could have a net benefit from major military action nowadays.* Even successful aggressions such as the Crimea invasion or the invasion of Iraq tend to be costly affairs for years to come, with negligible benefits.
The only wars that appear to promise to be better than all peaceful alternatives appear to be (short) wars of independence, for people mostly value sovereignty very highly.

A possible exception could be a long-term preventative war in which a rising power gets stalled by a medium-sized war before it could unleash a more damaging large-sized war (or even "win" it).
Even such war scenarios still have to out-compete peaceful alternative policies to be the best course of action. Nazi Germany could have been stalled by a total trade embargo and an alliance of British Empire, France, Czechoslovakia and Poland before 1938, for example. The result would likely have been a triangle Cold War (Republics-Fascists-USSR). Much of the PR China's rise and its near-indispensability in global supply chains could have been avoided by refusing trade as well.

There's thus a conclusion that aggressive wars are hardly ever the best choice. We should avoid them altogether, for many people can be manipulating into supporting a bad aggressive war idea by warmongering propaganda (see Iraq invasion 2003).

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Thus only defensive wars make sense. This does naturally extend to collective defence of an alliance, so a country could and should come to aid of a non-aggressive ally under attack even if the specific conflict is no direct threat to its interests.

One should be careful about which country should get the promise of aid in case of aggression against it; aggressive countries should be excluded.

This means that in the end, all 'sensible' wars are defensive wars either on the national or on the alliance level (not necessarily on the tactical, operational or warfare strategy levels).

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How should a (politically) defensive war be waged? 

A complete "victory" that includes the elimination of the aggressor as a threat requires greater effort and incurs greater harm than a war that achieves a white peace (a peace or armistice that includes a return to the pre-war control of territory). One could even make a case that the optimum is to seek a minor defeat, but this is very difficult to realize politically (due to domestic politics). It would require politicians not only to recognize the optimum, but also to put the country before their career.

The difference between a white peace and unconditional surrender (or total elimination) of the aggressor does suffer from the very same problems as an aggressive war: It's to be avoided because it harms the own party more than it benefits it.

The way to go for an alliance under attack is to wage war with the objective of a white peace.

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This means that many capabilities that would be necessary for the achievement of extremist objectives are unnecessary. You don't need troops for occupation duty and you don't need to be able to project air and land power deep beyond the alliance's pre-war borders in spite of resistance.

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You need to be able to first frustrate an aggressor (the capability to do so should help to avoid the aggression through deterrence in the first place) and you need to be able to offer a face-saving exit (which means that maybe the aggressor should have some bargaining chips left to make the peace look more like a deal than a dictat). Furthermore, you need to either gain bargaining chips or to liberate all relevant invaded and occupied territories. Bargaining chips are much better, for they allow a return to peace through a negotiated exchange of bargaining chips. It's difficult to offer a face-saving exit if you liberated all invaded territory.

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Now that we have all this in mind let's state the obvious: Military spending is public consumption, not prosperity-driving public investment. We spend for a service, and this service is mostly the protection against foreign armed threats. Side benefits of military spending such as disaster response services, bad music, aerobatics teams, feelings of pride or dual utility R&D efforts justify but a negligible fraction of the military spending in major Western countries.
More military spending than necessary for deterrence does not yield substantial benefits and is thus wrong.

We can REDUCE (NOT increase) the needed military spending by being allied with other powers that provide a net benefit (most importantly, they should not be aggressive unless the alliance serves the purpose to eliminate them from the list of potential antagonist powers). To have allies means to have less potential enemies and the allied wartime strength becomes at least partially available for your cause. Repeat: Being allied does reduce the need for national military spending. Any exception tot his rule requires that either military spending is completely pointless (and thus to be avoided altogether without alliance due to futility or entering the alliance added so many potential enemies that it's a mistake to join.

It is wise to spend on military capability about as little as necessary for its primary purpose.
Smart alliance policy and military spending oriented towards deterrence and (in the event of war) achieving minor defeat or white peace are the way to go.


 (Part II will delve into a less abstract plane of the topic.)

*: This is an opinion. Anyone who disagrees shall be reminded that his or her disagreement is but an opinion as well, for we have no total costs:total benefits analysis of any violent conflict. The arts and science of mankind don't suffice to do such a complete appraisal. I formed my opinion based on the often very expensive, yet usually marginally beneficial conflicts of the past decades. The best case for the profitability of aggressions is in my opinion the (never provable) assertion that a war may have prevented another, worse war. The 1991 Gulf War and 1999 Bombing of Yugoslavia are candidates for such an assertion. Yet even such an assertion does not exclude that the same benefit could have been had cheaper through peaceful means.


Replacement instead of reform

The Minneapolis' city council's decision to replace the police department made the news in early June. I remember that I mentioned such a 'total water change' policy for terminally reform-resistant (armed) bureaucracies in the past.
It's a very interesting case and one of few experiments in this regard. It'll be interesting to see how it works out. A proper police education and training requires probably two years of full-time learning and a one-year (fully paid) trainee/internship period. The formal education and training of police and deputy recruits is ridiculously short (shorter than for barbers or other fairly simple trades where incompetence doesn't kill) in the U.S.. This short training forces a heavy emphasis on on-the-job training. This in turn empowers rotten bureaucracies to corrupt their poorly inoculated new hires right away.

I doubt that a bottom-up water change with thorough training is going to happen in the Minneapolis case, for it takes many years to take effect and a full water change might require more than a decade this way. They could alternatively hire professionals from elsewhere, but that approach would only work well for few cities at once, since the pool of good cops willing to move is way too small for a nearly nationwide police reform.
Military bureaucracies have the same problem, only much more extreme; they would rather not make use of foreign officers at all since this has become unfashionable after the Napoleonic Era.

The replacement of a rotten air force could make use of a naval air arm as replacing alternative, but this only helps if the latter isn't too rotten itself.
An army could be replaced by growing a militia, national guard or marines branch in parallel to grow up an army alternative over about two decades till the water change is complete.

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Recent private sector corporate successes at maintaining a high vitality / start up spirit for roughly a decade even in an organisation with thousands or ten thousands of employees are interesting cases for studies. It might be possible to distil some recipe to stay 'non-bureaucratic' for decades after a water change.

In the end, after any successful reforms it would take a stern, informed, well-intentioned and effective exogenous (civilian) leadership to keep the bureaucracy from becoming a self-licking ice cone again. It's the exogenous leadership and oversight that is responsible for keeping the bureaucracy on course towards the common good rather than towards its self-interest. 
It's inappropriate to expect the superhuman effort of consistent selflessness from bureaucrats. The group thinking and group egoism are all-too human and all-too reliable. 

This shall also be a reminder why generals and admirals are horrible ministers or defence in principle.

also related

BTW, the Camden police department disbanding did not exclude the old cops from applying for the new county-level organisation.



Link drop June 2020

February's "Disruptive technologies" text did not mention one potential tech: Hydrogen (fusion) warheads without a fission stage. "H-bombs" require the energy of a fission device (Uranium or Plutonium fission) for an intensive x-ray radiation burst that triggers the second (fusion) stage.
Nuclear warheads could be much simpler to produce and have less fallout without that first stage. One of the ideas for alternatives to this fission stage is to use incredibly highly energetic materials. And one idea for what materials could qualify is metallic hydrogen.
It passed way under my radar, but physicists actually have made progress and created metallic hydrogen a while ago.



I am not enough of a physics nerd to understand whether this is really a potentially practical alternative or what the (physical) effects of such a no-fission nuclear warhead would be. Still, there might actually be disruptive technologies in the nuclear warhead corner.

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Hence the discussion about the privacy design of the German tracking app. There's absolutely zero reason to trust ANY government with surveillance capabilities or surveillance authority.

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It's striking that there's this time around almost no talk of much public investment as a counter-'cyclical' economic stimulus. Economists do actually not know for sure whether the recovery from the corona-induced crisis will be a sharp V-shaped one or a more drawn-out one. We might not even have any full recovery (=no return to the old trend line of GDP growth), just as many Western countries had after the 2008 crisis.
Medical experts don't know whether the pandemic will force us to have at least mildly economy-depressing countermeasures for a few more weeks, months or up to two years.

This seems like excuses for not investing much in the future, but consider this; there's no substantial harm in setting up investment efforts, but then being unable to execute them because of continued troubles. There is considerable harm in the opposite scenario of needing such stimulus, but not having it.

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some personal notes:
The news are almost all-round horrible in 2020. Meanwhile, I have a very pleasant private life in 2020. There's a little feeling of guilt over this.

On another note, I expect to completely lose faith in median human intelligence by about 2030 and will then turn into a very, very cynical person. I should limit my exposure to morons to slow this process down. (This is not about commenters at D&F; it's a much more general issue.)

I have tried to come up with some real breakthrough military theory thinking or a concept for some 'magnum opus' on land or air warfare comparable to the 80 book pages equivalent series that I did on modern surface warships. It appears that you cannot force such a thing. Yet, I have recently toyed around with the idea of a military theory/military history commentary on Sun Tzu's "Art of War". This classic is very small and still interesting.