A couple of years ago Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff made a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Future Conflict and its Prevention: People and the Information Age. It was a good smart speech–we have linked to it on KOW before and I have quoted parts of it many times in papers and lectures. There’s a line in there which I know caused a fair bit of consternation here and there–though I agree with it:
If one equips more for this type of conflict [i.e., 'unconventional'] while significantly reducing investment in higher-end war-fighting capability, suddenly one can buy an impressive amount of ‘kit’. Whilst, as you will hear, I am emphatically not advocating getting rid of all such equipment, one can buy a lot of UAVs or Tucano aircraft for the cost of a few JSF and heavy tanks.
Such ‘bang for for buck’ arguments have a lot of resonance now that we are, um, nearly broke. To be sure, I don’t think the government will be contemplating purchases like two big aircraft carriers (apparently one more than we can afford) without working airplanes (that we will struggle to pay for) any time in the near future.
But, you know, life’s funny–fate closes one door and opens another. It is with interest, then, that I read in the New York Times that in Burma they have found literally binders of Spitfires (ok, crates–maybe 140 of them) in mint condition. Mr Crisis? Meet Mr Opportunity. I mean Tucano shmucano. Spitfires! Buy ‘em all!