Thanks to RT, I got involved in reading a piece from Naval War College Review, by lecturer from Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterrey, CA, Thomas-Durell Young. This is what RT has to say:
Young’s article, titled ‘NATO’s selective naval blindness’ and published in the most recent issue of the Naval War College Review, makes the case that the situation is “both serious and desperate,” and that the navies of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania and Montenegro all suffer from not just old ships but “legacy concepts” when it comes to sea power.
One of the moments, which RT also paid attention to, in puzzlement, was this passage from Young's article (you can download it directly from RT site):
7. Lastly, in this summary of remaining antithetical concepts, in central and eastern Europe there is an odd absence of either a conceptual understanding of or linguistic cognate for capability. In some Slavic languages this is defined as potential, which misses the fundamental meaning of such a key concept of modern Western military planning and operations. Thus, the concept that a platform is not an asset unless its crew is fully trained, exercised, and provisioned is being recognized only slowly. The lack of understanding of this key concept throughout these defense institutions partly explains why commanders do not have operations and maintenance budgets, and therefore cannot reliably produce capabilities.
I was floored, honestly. I don't know under what stone Mr. Young lived prior to writing his piece but I am personally is exactly the product of those "legacy concepts" Mr. Young is feeling so desperate about when speaks of the navies of the (relatively) new NATO members such as Poland, Croatia or Romania. To start with: Russian-language word возможности (or Polish, for that matter, możliwości) which are capabilities ARE NOT defined in Russian language as potential (потенциал), which had a somewhat different meaning. In fact, definition of capabilities in Soviet/Russian military environment sounded and continues to sound like this:
БОЕВЫЕ ВОЗМОЖНОСТИ ВС (ВОЙСК, СИЛ ФЛОТА) - количественно-качественные показатели, характеризующие возможности ВС (объединений, соединений, частей и подразделений) выполнять боевые задачи в установленное время в конкретной обстановке. Зависят от состава ВС (войск, сил флота), их боеспособности, уровня подготовки, морально-психологического состояния, искусства командного состава, а также характера противодействия противника, условий местности и погоды.
Translation: Combat Capabilities of Armed Forces (Troops, Naval Forces)--quantitative-qualitative indicators which characterize capabilities of Armed Forces (formations, units, sub-units) to fulfill (complete) combat tasks in defined time under specific circumstances (situation). They depend upon force composition, level of training, moral-psychological state, abilities (art) of command core and also on character of counter-actions by enemy, weather and locality's conditions.
I don't know what Mr. Young studied but "legacy" as well as modern military structure of USSR/Russia was and is revolving around Combat Readiness (боеготовность), which, in the end is built around exactly the concept, and I quote Mr. Young:
Thus, the concept that a platform is not an asset unless its crew is fully trained, exercised, and provisioned is being recognized only slowly.(c)
Hm, I don't know what "legacy" things exist in all those new NATO navies, after historic Russia left them alone to pursue their "democratic" future, but in the Soviet military science "capabilities" were recognized exactly for what Mr. Young is trying to preach (to a choir, I may add), so, if those navies have their "legacy" issues today--this is precisely because they didn't study or trained well, nor copied properly their Soviet vis-a-vis. And then, you wouldn't become a real military professional until you owned a process of combat training to the utmost degree. But that is the whole other story altogether. If Mr. Young doesn't know what is the difference between potential and capability in former Warsaw Pact, with Potential having a variety connotations, ranging from the Military Potential of the State, to the same (combat) of Armed Forces, to specific services--he really should update himself on those issues, especially since potential and capability are closely related synonyms even in English language.
One, then, has to ask a question--what's the point of Young's article? Here is the point:
The governments of the new navies must move in the short term to reconceptualize the use and management of their navies. Perhaps controversially, this policy redefinition should precede a commitment of funds to recapitalize their navies so as to ensure that money is not wasted unwittingly supporting legacy concepts and platforms.
Now, it all becomes clear. In other words, buy "advanced" and "democratic" platforms and weapons. This what this article is all about--money. The pseudo-linguistic and pseudo-operational mambo-jumbo is just that, to create a fluffy (and false) filler for a sales pitch. In the end, Mr.Young should understand (I am sure he does) that the only thing those new NATO navies are good for is to be a buyer of new shiny military toys which will be, in case of a serious war, annihilated within first minutes of real hostilities, their geography notwithstanding. If Thomas-Durell Young doesn't understand that, he may talk to Mr. Ochmanek of RAND--he may explain to him how it all will look like. Just saying. I, of course, do not even talk here about capabilities of "legacy" NATO members--that is a sad-sad (for NATO) story.
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