Saturday, January 23, 2016

Military Power (Cont'd 4).

To close off the cultural, that is Military Personnel argument (in reality, there is no closing it off--it is a vast issue which was around for ages) we may state thusly: 

1. It is possible, and it is done, to quantify military personnel's training (that is "quality"), it is also possible to predict with some probability the level of this quality under different conditions;

2. It is impossible to quantify, unless creating some bizarre metric, the cultural element in military personnel, since it is essentially unquantifiable element. It also varies with postures. People in defense of their own nation do fight and often fight desperately. Red Army's capturing Berlin was also defensive fighting, it was also a revenge one, after experiencing what Axis did on Soviet territory. WW II, however, is a very special case in every senses and we will discuss this in the future. 

Conquering nations such as Russia, USA (that is purely theoretical issue), modern India or China is, of course, beyond anybody's conventional military capabilities, including within this listed group of nations against each-other. Will Americans fight for their country to the last breath if one considers a purely fictional scenario of the US being attacked by massive land force? Most likely they will, at least "middle-America" will, and I do not mean the Red Dawn drek of a movie and an idea. In general, when speaking of the Military Personnel, feel free to create your own mental "models, you may come up with some interesting conclusions but, to really close off this part of discussion of the CINC model--read Tolstoy's War And Peace. No better testament to the travails of a military man exists. And the history, cleaned from tendentious (mis)interpretations, is of great help here........


2. Military Expenditure;

3. Steel/Iron Production;

4. Energy Consumption;

Composite Index Of National Capability (CINC) separates these three. Well, too bad for CINC, I, purely out of my evil intentions, put them together as a single entity and give it a title of ECONOMIC DETERMINANT. In fact, what CINC model lists is by far not enough in determining Military Power. Yes, I agree, all three must be the part of the metric but, yet again, they are necessary but not sufficient enough in modern world. Let's elaborate. And here we must separate Military Expenditure from Steel/Iron Production and Energy Consumption. All of them are still economic metrics but Military Expenditure is a budgetary affair and here we open a very special can of worms, because this expenditure must be taken into consideration within NON-linear doctrinal framework. It also must be considered within properly calculated Gross National Product. 

Let's take Russian and US Navies, as an example. US Navy, out of its doctrinal (and operational) needs, spends colossal sums of money on building and maintaining its fleet of CVNs or, in layman's lingo, nuclear aircraft carriers. In fact, even today, US Navy remains primarily carrier-centric navy and, until very recent events, viewed its carriers as:

1. Most important asset in Power Projection, which remains a primary function for the whole US Navy.

2. Some American naval people still think that CVN is alpha and omega in fighting against other fleets in the ocean. This may or may not be true but what matters here is that US Navy has the largest carrier fleet in the world and, in this fleet, a colossal monetary value. 

Now comes the question: does Russian Navy want carrier(s)? Yes, it does, but not for Power Projection and, certainly, Russian Navy never will transform itself into the carrier-centric navy. In fact, Russians do not consider Power Projection to be an ultimate doctrinal necessity. Russian Navy, as it was with the Soviet one, still thinks that carriers are needed primarily for provision of combat stability (boyevaya ustoichivost') of own naval force while fighting enemy's naval force. Power Projection capabilities, in this particular case, come as merely an afterthought or, if you will, free lunch. I, in the first post on Military Power, already posted an excellent interview by Admiral Stansfield Turner to The Christian Science Monitor, where he succinctly describes the method in assessing necessities in one or another force combination. So, if the US Navy has and operates its 11 large nuclear carriers should Russian Navy try to reach this number? Absolutely not and the question here is not even in the fact that it will be economically not feasible for Russia to do that but in the fact that there will be no competent answer to the doctrinal question of WHAT FOR. The maximum number of carriers which Russia needs under the ideal conditions are 4-5 large nuclear ones, not counting good ol' chap Admiral Kuznetsov and even this number may vary depending on the evolving (declining?) role of carriers in real naval war. A lot will depend on how fast hyper-sonic Anti Shipping Missiles will come on line.  In the end, Russian Navy will need carriers for defense of  motherland and fighting enemy force at the maximum distance from own shores. More over, Russian navy does not need such a colossal amphibious force that exists in US Navy.

So, how do we compare then the expenditure? US Navy spends on the order of magnitude more on its carrier and amphibious force than Russia does or ever will. Does it make US Navy more powerful purely on this metric? Well, not quite, if one considers the fact that Russia is not going to use carriers for purposes US Navy does, that is police the third world shitholes and bomb those shitholes with impunity into oblivion. The US Navy IS, undeniably, the most powerful navy in the world, but expenditure comparison here is not an exact science here because, as you may have guessed already, if I am not going to buy a $3.5 million 20 acre luxury ranch but am content with living in good enough $200,000 condo, it is really difficult to compare. So is the case here with carriers. I underscore, if Russian Navy ever, which I doubt it is going to happen, will get to this number of 4-5 nuclear carriers in its order of battle NO expenditure comparison will still be correct. Russian carriers will serve a very specific role of defending its group against....well, we'll leave it at that for now;-)    

In general, this metric of expenditure should be considered with what Russian military was using for ages now--cost/effectiveness criteria. And that is a very tricky criteria when one considers the fact that Russian Navy is in a full distributed lethality transformation mode and this is having a massive impact globally. After all, a single missile corvette of Project 21631 Buyan with the price tag of roughly $160 million "loaded" can wreck a havoc which could be measured in billions of dollars in hardware. That is a pretty damn good cost/effectiveness ratio. But here we are sliding into the operational issues and they will be discussed later. In general, an easy conclusion could be made here: while understanding that large parts of military expenditures globally are nothing more than racket and extortion, still they cannot be viewed outside of doctrinal and operational framework. Period. If one wants to compare military expenditures more or less objectively one must use, at the very least, cost/effectiveness criteria within doctrinal and operational framework. 

Can Cause Real Massive Damage For Affordable Price

In the end, using WW II analogy, heavy PzKW VI Tiger is considered by some to be the best tank of WW II. It just had one "minor" problem, it was over-engineered, very expensive and very limited in numbers, not to mention its propensity for breaking down. I guess the medium T-34 came on top in the end for a reason or, rather, many of them. 

Very Expensive, But Can Kill A Whole Large Country. 

I would abstain here from playing with, however basic, math but it is counter-intuitive--larger expenditure does not, in fact very often, absolutely does not mean larger military power. It is also a...ahem..cultural issue. But as I said previously, war is one of the facets of culture. Saudi Arabia has a very expensive armed forces 

Saudis' $80.4 Billion Military Budget 2014 

but, realistically, it is almost comical to consider it a serious military power capable of achieving any serious regional, forget global, objectives. Russia, meanwhile, for $10 billion less in her 2014  military budget, procures weapon systems and trains its personnel to the standards which are beyond the grasp of said Saudi Arabia which is constantly featured in all kinds of baloney "military power" ratings purely on expenditure merit. You can easily find many of those "ratings" on your own, but here is the list of expenditures.      

List of countries by military expenditures

So much for expenditures.....

To be continued....... 

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