2019/10/12

Strategy changes

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Several of my blog posts were written under the (mentioned) assumption that we should have a division of labour in NATO / EU. The Baltic countries and Poland should focus on self-defence against a strategic surprise attack. Germany should be able to quickly deploy a decisive ground forces strength capable of stopping Russian ground forces, Turkey should be able to close the Bosporus even to submarines, Spain should be able to close Gibraltar Strait even to submarines and so on.

I hinted back in 2017 that such an alliance grand strategy of deterrence by frustrating even strategic surprise attack scenarios might need adjustments if the Turkey situation doesn't develop well.  Strategy changes may be necessary, and this may be a terrible issue given the inertia in the armed services.

A complete change of an air war strategy may take 30...40 years, for that appears to be the life cycle length of combat aircraft and air defences from introduction to disappearance. I doubt it will become much quicker unless there's a major war wearing down the inventory.

Even unspectacular changes of a national defence strategy such as reorganisation of the army (which should be possible in little more than a year including the re-training periods) often last 5+ years nowadays.

This slowness is what seemingly almost everyone has become used to, and has become accepted as normal, if not inevitable.
It's not. 
Remember, Germany built a continent-dominating military based on a 100,000 men army and 10,000 men navy in less than seven years. No computer programs were used, and we should get rid of them if computer programs were slowing down rather than accelerating things. Technology advanced, so we should be quicker, not slower. Whatever technological change made us slower should be dispensed with.

It's a rule of thumb to replace a strategy every about five years in a business. Few large businesses (such as concrete factories) can successfully operate without having and adapting a strategy. Likewise, we should expect strategy changes every five years on the national and collective defence levels. Any longer intervals are symptoms of failure by the executives involved.

An armed bureaucracy that expects to change strategy every about five years has to move to be able to change course every about five years. Such an adaptable armed bureaucracy could dare to react to its environment with more specialised adaptions than a sluggish armed bureaucracy that lives and preserves inertia and conservatism above every thing else. It's a bureaucracy's self-interest to preserve itself and to not change much, so the impetus towards adaptability has to come from the civilian leadership.

Political leadership may change as well, but ours in Germany exists in four-years legislative cycles, and this fits the five-year rule because we don't really hand over power in four-year intervals. Our governing coalitions last about 5...14 years.

We should be much more adaptable on the strategic level both as nations and as collective security organisations (alliances).

S O
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