What professionals were talking about for a long time now. As being reported by a variety of media outlets around the globe:
U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Defense Department said Tuesday that Turkey's acquisition of the advanced Russian S-400 anti-air missile system is "wrong" and "disappointing." "You can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35. You cannot have both," Mark Esper told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services committee. "Acquisition of the S-400 fundamentally undermines the capabilities of the F-35, and our ability to retain that overmatch in the skies."
The question here is not the fact that this whole "Stealth", or VLO (Very Low Observable), technologies are good only in the environment of a complete suppression of enemy's air defenses and air forces, which automatically implies third-fourth world armed forces, but the fact that somebody in Pentagon and Military-Industrial Complex still believed that F-35 was good for anything other than bombing barely armed with muskets backward aborigines into oblivion? OK, I got it, I write books on those topics but the issue here is not just myopia, or stupidity, or hubris, albeit these too play a major role in this doctrinal and operational disaster. Dmitry Orlov today wrote a superb piece on a subject which was discussed here and elsewhere not for once. Here is how Dmitry writes about it:
Within the vast bureaucratic sprawl of the Pentagon there is a group in charge of monitoring the general state of the military-industrial complex and its continued ability to fulfill the requirements of the national defense strategy. Office for acquisition and sustainment and office for industrial policy spends some $100,000 a year producing an Annual Report to Congress. It is available to the general public. It is even available to the general public in Russia, and Russian experts had a really good time poring over it. In fact, it filled them with optimism. You see, Russia wants peace but the US seems to want war and keeps making threatening gestures against a longish list of countries that refuse to do its bidding or simply don’t share its “universal values.” But now it turns out that threats (and the increasingly toothless economic sanctions) are pretty much all that the US is still capable of dishing out—this in spite of absolutely astronomical levels of defense spending. Let’s see what the US military-industrial complex looks like through a Russian lens.
Why so? Here it is:
What knocked Russian analysis over with a feather is the fact that these INDPOL experts (who, like the rest of the US DOD, love acronyms) evaluate the US military-industrial complex from a… market-based perspective! You see, the Russian military-industrial complex is fully owned by the Russian government and works exclusively in its interests; anything else would be considered treason. But the US military-industrial complex is evaluated based on its… profitability! According to INDPOL, it must not only produce products for the military but also acquire market share in the global weapons trade and, perhaps most importantly, maximize profitability for private investors. By this standard, it is doing well: for 2017 the gross margin (EBITDA) for US defense contractors ranged from 15 to 17%, and some subcontractors—Transdigm, for example—managed to deliver no less than 42-45%. “Ah!” cry the Russian experts, “We’ve found the problem! The Americans have legalized war profiteering!” (This, by the way, is but one of many instances of something called systemic corruption, which is rife in the US.)
Ahh, warmer now. You see, it is akin to introducing into the Theory of Operations such thing as, say, US Dollar Adjusted Exchange Rate. This USDAER factor will be calculated the next way: say Russia and the United States go to war (God forbids): In the wee hours of this war Russians shoot down, say, 6 F-35s, while the United States shoots down 6 SU-35s. That automatically makes the United States a winner in such a war because, American USDAER in this case will be counted as 6 F-35 x $100 million = $600 million, divided by 6 SU-35 x $50 million = $300 million. You see, that means that USDAER for the United States will be 600/300=2 which is very good rate, since it means a much larger cash flow for US military contractors (and capitalization of their companies) than it will be for Russians whose USDAER is merely 300/600=0.5. Losers! You see, no matters how you fight, the United States will always come on top because it will have much larger USDAER than any enemy US fights. The beauty and power of this USDAER model, of course, can only be unlocked with the application of Financial Utility Combat Knowledge Integral Translator (also known as FUCKIT), which is a natural logarithm of ratio of a number of Wall Street brokers to the number of days they spent in operational zones combined. But I don't want to disclose many details of it.
In fact, everything we know about warfare should be thrown out to the dumpster because all those Operational Theory and Strategy criteria are wrong! What kind of morons attend all those General Staff academies and colleges. Only Walls Street economists, all those magnificent MBAs and PH.Ds in Monetary Theory, know how to fight the war. $50 million-worth of hyper-sonic weapons are nothing against $20 billion-worth of Carrier Battle Group which they will destroy. Come on, look at the USDAER in this case: $20 billion/$ 50 million = 400! The exclamation Mark here does not imply Factorial. That's what I am talking about. But, of course, I am being facetious... and dumbfounded. To measure a military might of the state in profits is a new (no, I mean it), new, word in military art.
As famous Soviet movie masterpiece That Very Same Munchhausen foretold it 30 years ago: Me, to fight a war in this?! Don't you know that nobody fights today in single-breasted uniforms!
Don't you know that nobody fights today without... Stealth. Ahem. Yes, Leonid Bronevoy, our favorite Mueller, is (pains me to say was) as stellar as always in this unstoppable triumph of cinema and wit. Who would have thought that comic absurdity will become a reality 30 years later. But here it is. The more you lose the better (richer) you become. Another matter in all that, is the fact that the games are over and any wrong move may lead to a catastrophe in which all myths of US military omnipotence could be dispelled through disastrous loses and then...WHAT? I don't think anyone in US "elites" knows the answer.