This makes total sense for NATO bureaucrats, who of course like to see an expansion of their bureaucracy (allocating and overseeing resources - they do not do R&D themselves), especially with something interesting as a topic such as technological gadgetry.

It's also a total and complete confession by NATO that it's not a smart organisation or alliance and incapable of reacting to events in a timely fashion.

Ukraine is defending itself with mostly 1970's and 1980's equipment against an aggression with mostly 1970's and 1980's equipment. Very little of the relevant equipment there is considerably newer, and almost all of it was conceptually already known during the 1980's. Some of the newer relevant items are
  • NLAW (introduced 2000's), conceptually going back to early 90's overflight attack ATGMs
  • Javelin (introduced 1990's), developed since early 80's
  • small recce drones (conceptually 1980's, see KZO Brevel)
  • Bayraktar TB2 (introduced 2010's, conceptually 1970's)
  • StarLink (introduced recently, conceptually 2000's, civilian product)
  • some thermal night vision devices (tech introduced in 1980's, improved in resolution)
Ukraine could clearly defend itself with purely 1980's equipment (even purely Soviet equipment) if it had it in the right quantities.
Defence can nowadays be just fine if you master the art of introducing 20 years-old equipment in suitable quantities. The potential aggressors are using almost exclusively equipment older than 20 years and conceptually older than 30 years. A robust defence implies a robust deterrence.

We're seeing a large-scale live demonstration of how unnecessary "leap ahead" / "revolutionary" technology advances are for defence. It's visible to anyone paying attention and thinking for himself/herself that NATO has paid too much attention to fancy new tech and not enough attention to quantity of infantry and indirect fires munitions. 

So obviously, this is just the right moment for NATO to set up a bureaucratic program to promote military technology advances.



  1. DARPA was an incubator for new technologies that did influence the battlefield, but many of their ideas saw civilian use and stimulated the economy. At DARPA long hours could be paid trying to find working solutions and in short order things could be turned into successful start-ups for civilian projects. Although these might as well retain potential military applications. Social networks for example offer themselves to weed out potential resistance leaders that are more networked and hold negative views.

  2. I would be critical of this for another reason too. I don't think it is useful to have NATO become a supranational entity. I think having an alliance bureaucracy in order to have a medium for multilateral talks is useful. But giving NATO organization its own forces and research facilities is counterproductive. It doesn't make sense from an economy of the scales perspective.
    BTW what do you think about the new NATO strategic concept? I think it is horrible. It defines Sahel, North Africa, the Middle East, "Indo"-Pacific as regions in the alliance's responsibility area. It claims this is justified since events in these regions affect the Euro-Atlantic area. (Americans keep inventing geographical regions) This is not defense. There is no definition of defense that includes the use of military force in distant regions of the world just because you may get affected by events happening there.

    1. With this expansion of the area of responsibility, any talk about Japan, Australia, and South Korea joining NATO?

    2. I found the German parliament's bill for the Finland & Sweden accession protocols (trilingual versions are in there). It's straightforward, nothing fishy in there. https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/025/2002534.pdf

  3. Maybe here is the best place to ask what you think of George Friedmans Vision of "Future Warfare" which is basically still very RMA-inspired.
    He thinks that on future Battlefields precision guidance and surveillance will make numbers and resources irrelevant allowing even small states to become Great Powers. (See this article: https://geopoliticalfutures.com/the-evolution-of-great-powers/ )
    I actually used to be convinced of this Vision when I was still more naive on military matters but now, especially with the war in Ukraine I consider it to be mostly wishful thinking.
    But judging from the publication date of the article he still seems to be firmly convinced of his views and doesn't reconsider.
    What is your opinion?