[Blog] Defence and Freedom theses

Defence and freedom has an agenda, so much was admitted before:

(1) Promote peace
(2) Fight against the encroaching of authoritarian features in Western societies, especially Germany.
(3) Warn about mediocrity and complacency, an unsatisfactory state of affairs in regard to Western military forces armed bureaucracies.
(4)Share interesting or amusing stuff

Now I've become curious what  major theses I have published so far (most of them more than once). The list is quite long:


Western foreign policies are often hypocritical.

(Military) history is a useful resource for understanding the present and preparing (oneself) for the future.

A large non-compulsive organisation of army reserves should be established (and be kept separate from the standing army).

A true military victory in a conflict requires that the 'winners' are better off being 'winners' than they would have been without warfare. This, of course, means that almost no modern war is a good idea, as meeting this condition is exceedingly difficult and impossible to prove.

To introduce state surveillance capacities into a society (legally, training, hardware, tolerance) means to prepare for the establishment of dictatorship. A dictatorship establishing itself could immediately seize on these capabilities and enlarge them - the resistance to such a move would already have been torn down. Not smart.

Cooperation is much preferable in foreign policy over an all-too often avoidable and wasteful confrontation.

The economic backing of a state's military power is of great importance. This includes not only GDP, but also the presence of substantial industrial (and R&D) capacities such as shipyards, electronics industries and above all a mechanical engineering industry. The Western developed countries are strong in GDP, but partially hollowed-out in regard to key industries. Our arms industries are horribly inefficient because of rotten procurement bureaucracies.

I hate warmongers, obviously.

Great emphasis on concealment and camouflage in land warfare. The use of field fortifications and dispersion as means to mitigate opposing firepower has little potential left today. The avoidance of being spotted and tracked long enough for a destructive engagement is one of the keys to European battlefield success in the future. (This applies less to offensive actions, despite smoke.)

The political press is of great importance for democracy, and it lets us down.


Great importance of small ("mini", "micro" drones in land warfare) as opposed to the more fashionable medium altitude, high endurance surveillance and PGM strike drones.

I generally buy into the 'war is about breaking the will to resist' thing of von Clausewitz.

Alliances should be defensive and should be understood as a club that provides a service to its members, not to the rest of the world. An alliance member should need to expend less on defence than it should if neutral, and this is one of the benefits of being allied.

There was little modern warfare from the introduction of 'smokeless' powders in the 1880's till 1911, and almost none in Europe. This led to European armies being quite clueless in 1914 and learning lessons the hard way, first how to break through defensive lines and then how to exploit the breakthrough. We've had an even longer period of relative peace between 1946 and today in Europe, and it shows in obsolete, WW2-based doctrines even though they've been updated with fancy techno stuff.

Technology propagation follows quite often the same pattern: First applications which tolerate high weight, large volume and/or high costs, then progressively applications which require lightweight, smaller and cheaper equipment. Many innovations built into warships or combat aircraft can thus be expected to arrive in ground combat vehicles and even later also on infantrymen. Radios, INS, jammers, infrared sensors and satellite communications are examples.

Piracy should be dealt with on land, as Pompey did already. Patrolling and escorting is inefficient and stupid. The multinational naval effort in the Indian Oceana gainst a couple ragtag East African pirates is most inefficient as an anti-piracy effort and should rather be considered as a multinational naval get-together of naval forces which have to cruise for training anyway.

The North Atlantic Treaty includes a mandate to be non-aggressive, but no mandate to spend much on the military. Many people who refer to it have this backwards. The bad allies are the interventionists, not the ones with below-average %GDP military spending.

High public debt (in %GDP) leads to a likely late entry into an arms race. This may be troublesome because intense, approximately two years long, arms races preceded both world wars and it might take one to prevent a third conventional world war.

Tripwire forces are a stupidity.

The cluster munitions ban and modern technologies have changed the rationales for artillery systems design as we know it. Yet there's not change of trends in artillery systems (towards smaller calibres).


Some Western armies neglect the 'combat' aspect of armoured reconnaissance too much. Armoured reconnaissance vehicle armaments which would struggle to defeat a cheap armoured car are a tell-tale symptom. The trend goes towards observation teams instead of recce teams in some countries (such as Germany), and this is enticed by improving sensors.

The nominal and real battlefield utility of hardware is very different. Nominal power can rarely be realised, and hidden values such as reliability or ease of employment are often underrated.

The utility of NATO isn't so much defence, as it more importantly prevents a costly rivalry and hostility between (continental) Europe and the U.S. over the many actual divergences in national interests.

There's too much chaos and not enough standardisation in army vehicles procurement. The hurried procurement of additional purpose-built protected vehicles only worsened this. To add a supposedly standardised procurement plan on top of the old inventory only contributed to the chaos. We have seen the horrible logistics problems caused by a chaotic vehicle inventory already when the Wehrmacht used hundred so different types of motor vehicles in WW2; even well-equipped divisions had about 30 different types of vehicles, with 30 different lists of spare parts. An entire army could make do with about fifteen today if it did a good job.

The very concept of an IFV is flawed; it provides too little infantry to the combined arms mix because the evolution of the vehicle as a weapon system in itself has taken prominence (this is where the superficial strength and the big money is to be found). I favour an HAPC for cooperation with tanks and a cheap APC (can be an armored medium truck) for infantry quantity.

The strategies (campaign plans) employed in Western military adventures tend to be primitive and brute. There is a crisis in Western strategic thinking, but it's not about a lack thereof; the output's quality is simply too primitive. It's all too often about employing what power is at hand rather than about establishing a connection between the goal and the means first.

Attention is a scarce resource. The more we allow ourselves to become distracted by bullshit affairs, the less we'll be able to master actual challenges.

Air power is overrated. It's going to be very busy in a conventional conflict and simply not going to be available to single platoons in trouble as it was during wars of occupation. Entire battalions could be in battle for hours in a intra-European conflict without getting air power support. Scarce close air support is only to be expected in support of the Schwerpunkt or at major crisis locations.

Rapid fire medium calibre guns (about 75-90 mm) and Mach 5+ kinetic energy penetrator AT missiles are underrated in ground warfare equipment development. We're still stuck with the less versatile conventional big quick firing guns (100-125 mm) and the less effective but more versatile shaped charge-equipped AT missiles (Mach 0.3-2).

Both interventionists and surveillance fanatics use the same strategy to wear down public resistance to their nonsense: "Salami tactics".

Independently manoeuvring units and even smaller elements offer much potential for future army doctrines, with the more traditional brigades or battalion battlegroups with their combined arms brute power being held back for major actions and as deterring 'force in being': Skirmishing on the operational level is an interesting scenario for the near future of land warfare.

Self organization is an interesting field for research. It's especially interesting in regard to identifying 'natural' leaders, who can lead even without artificial command authority imposed by regulations.


A military theory framework around the concept of repertoires, and how opposing forces seek to neutralise much of the other's repertoire instead of merely clashing against each other.

Repulsion as a function in the art of war: Short-range threat influence your movements, long-range threats don't for you cannot avoid getting into range. This is a factor which reduces the advantage of greater ranges.

Direct democracy. I like it for the big topics which have the attention of the citizenry in general. The smallish routine jobs are what's best delegated to professional politicians who get paid to care about this full-time.

Dangerous idiots. They make up several per cent of the adult population in every country, and it's a perpetual challenge for every society to keep them from having extraordinary power - for they will do much harm once they have it.

The role of the infantry branch is not 'to close with and destroy the enemy'. Its job is rather to do its job well in general in the (large) niche where it's better than mounted forces. 'To close with and destroy' is a tiny aspect of what infantry does, and often not advisable.


Military forces are essentially armed bureaucracies, and the common theories and insights about the motivation and workings of bureaucracies apply.

An unorthodox view on air power involving much more ground/ground precision (quasi-) ballistic missiles than is commonplace. Such missiles can substitute for much air/ground attack capability against static and semi-static targets. They don't meet the air forces' interest in as many combat aviation pilot tickets as possible, though.

Horizontal cooperation: Support assets integrated into manoeuvre units, supporting the own manoeuvre units and others. An alternative to centralising support assets on a higher level. It's an option; no nature's law imposes that only assets under control of a higher HQ can support multiple units of a given hierarchy level. It's not truly original, but it is unorthodox.

An entire draft for a German security policy (effectively defence policy), cast into a set of rules meant to stand the test of time.

Maxims. I hate maxims. Dumbed-down, simplistic rules. They are unnecessary if you're smart enough for the job and they're wrong in exceptions. So basically too dumb people will apply the maxim also when it's wrong and smart people have no benefit from accepting a maxim at all. Don't elevate too dumb people into positions of importance and you'll have no use for maxims any more, ever.

Multinational corps make some sense to help out small military forces maintain corps-level experience - in peacetime. Multinational units are nonsense in wartime because of cohesion and friction issues (the Légion étrangère makes up for this by enforcing one language and creating a strong esprit de corps).

Low force density. Modern intra-European conflict can be expected to have low force densities in an early stage, and a quick decision should be sought (to avoid the greater damage of protracted conflict). Military theory should thus pay much (more) attention to the scenario intra-European conflict with a low forces/area ratio. This applies to the loss of the former functions of a front line, too.

Pursuit of unfair advantages: The art of war should seek decision without battle because this means to seek decision prior to battle. A decision in battle means to enter an open-ended, bloody fight. That's inferior to having 'won' in advance. Intelligent opponents will avoid a battle that's a sure defeat, so seeking a decision prior to battle equals seeking decision without battle. This is in part about skirmishing again.


The true test of a military is the crisis situation. Decades of beating on grossly inferior opponents may have blunted our sight for weak spots in unit cohesion, robustness of hardware and morale, preparation for understrength actions and more.

Elusiveness is not only a concept for guerrillas: It's also an imperative in land warfare against capable opposition.

General scepticism about the cost efficiency of navies, army aviation (most helos) and also air force combat aviation (partially mentioned since 2009 at the latest).

Deconfliction is exaggerated: Often times it's important to take a small risk to alleviate greater risks.

Interventionists and proponents of more military spending/capability aren't responding to defence needs, but to innate psychological need for the feeling of superiority.


Submarines are overrated due to self-serving claims of the not so silent 'silent service'. Submarines are effective without a great combined arms team as is required with surface fleets and air strikes when facing a capable opponent. This makes subs a natural choice for the 'underdog' navy in the conflict, but the benefits of additional subs are declining quickly. The first few force caution on the enemy, additional ones merely add destruction - but they add little further alteration of behaviour.

Low signature propellant could change the feasibility and practicability of weapons, especially kinetic energy missiles and recoilless weapons which as concepts suffered greatly from their large tell-tale signatures.

Much application of non-military theories on military and defence policy topics. I obviously insist that this is helpful.


The U.S. Army and USMC are incompetent in combat vehicle development and procurement. The army developed the flawed Abrams/Bradley and the unnecessarily expensive MLRS/Apache/Blackhawk during a period of relatively tight budgets and hasn't succeeded at getting any new combat AFV into service since then. The USMC fails since 1973 in its attempts to replace the AAV-7 and its aviation projects were horrible as well. No new generation of purposeful combat AFVs and army aviation can be expected from the USA (in the near future).

That's a rather long list of theses.
I know milblogs which basically had one thesis; "smaller is sexy", for example. Or three: "F-35 bad, F-22 good and everyone but me and my friends is stupid!".

The lists makes it look like the years had a very different productivity, but the introduction of a thesis isn't everything. Many of these theses were presented in greater depth only later.The list certainly is not flawless either.

And yes, I was too lazy to add plenty links to this list. Feel free to explore the archive by yourself.


edit: Slightly altered choice of words, typos corrected.


  1. Very good summary! IMHO, if doable, as I sure don't know how to tinker with blogspot, you should set it as a "sticky" entry, maybe a sidebar-linked FAQ or "About me" post.

    1. It is possible to define extra "pages", and I have on the header a link to a, 'about me' blog post.

      Visitors are invited to read the blog instead of my own summary only, though.