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Thread: The Military–Industrial complex

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    Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    The Military–Industrial complex

    Hard to know where to put this topic. So apologises if I got it wrong But seeing As Eisenhower was a US President and military leader ....

    In President Eisenhower's last speech he said,

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

    I was interested in what your thoughts were on that comment. Which it has to be said came from a man that witnessed and was in part instrumental in the birth of America as a military super power.

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    He had a cogent point. We have to be careful to strike the right balance with military spending and acquisition programs.

    When looking at acquisition programs for complex things like submarines or aircraft, you have to strike the appropriate balance in the number and rate that they are acquired. If you don't buy enough or leave too big a gap in purchases, the industry that can supply them will dry up and you will lose decades of institutional knowledge and experience. If this happens, when you need new submarines again in 30 years you'll have to spend a ton of time and money to rebuild the industry before they can even start producing submarines again, then you'll have to deal with all the mistakes and defects that happen as a result of inexperience.

    On the other hand, you don't want to buy to buy 15,000 tanks that will never be used just to keep a senator with a tank factory in his district happy with low unemployment rates. Resources allocated to the military above and beyond what is really required are detrimental because those are resources that can't be used more efficiently on domestic programs that will provide more benefit to the nation.

    So you have to strike the right balance of buying enough tanks that the factory stays in the tank making business instead of switching to tractors, but without buying so many that you don't know what to do with them. You'll see several tricks to try to accomplish this balance, such as buying submarines at a rate of 2 per year for the next 20 years. We might really prefer to buy 40 submarines over the next 5 years and then not buy them again for a few decades but that would force the only shipyards capable of producing them to move on to making other things instead.

    It is wasteful to buy equipment this way, but less so than rebuilding industry every few decades. It also provides insurance against quickly deteriorating political situations. If you suddenly need as many submarines as you can build and as quickly as possible due to a war, it's far easier to expand existing production facilities with experienced personnel that can train new hires.

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    Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    He had a cogent point. We have to be careful to strike the right balance with military spending and acquisition programs.

    When looking at acquisition programs for complex things like submarines or aircraft, you have to strike the appropriate balance in the number and rate that they are acquired. If you don't buy enough or leave too big a gap in purchases, the industry that can supply them will dry up and you will lose decades of institutional knowledge and experience. If this happens, when you need new submarines again in 30 years you'll have to spend a ton of time and money to rebuild the industry before they can even start producing submarines again, then you'll have to deal with all the mistakes and defects that happen as a result of inexperience.

    On the other hand, you don't want to buy to buy 15,000 tanks that will never be used just to keep a senator with a tank factory in his district happy with low unemployment rates. Resources allocated to the military above and beyond what is really required are detrimental because those are resources that can't be used more efficiently on domestic programs that will provide more benefit to the nation.

    So you have to strike the right balance of buying enough tanks that the factory stays in the tank making business instead of switching to tractors, but without buying so many that you don't know what to do with them. You'll see several tricks to try to accomplish this balance, such as buying submarines at a rate of 2 per year for the next 20 years. We might really prefer to buy 40 submarines over the next 5 years and then not buy them again for a few decades but that would force the only shipyards capable of producing them to move on to making other things instead.
    Heavy lies the crown!

    It is wasteful to buy equipment this way, but less so than rebuilding industry every few decades. It also provides insurance against quickly deteriorating political situations. If you suddenly need as many submarines as you can build and as quickly as possible due to a war, it's far easier to expand existing production facilities with experienced personnel that can train new hires.
    As a proud Brit, I deeply apologise for the weaponising of American industry and all its consequences. Unfortunately we had no choice, as we were dealing at the time with a Tyrant. Regardless of what anybody says...Germans / Japanese fight just as bravely as any Russian, Brit, American, Indian etc the deciding factor in our war against Germany was production and logistics. Unfortunately in Piling the entire wealth of the British empire into arms production we collectively unleashed an unparalleled power. Which to this day has been ill at ease with its own might.... How do you say sorry and thank you at the same time?

    Heavy lies the crown!
    Last edited by Toby; 10 Mar 17, at 23:09.

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