Carlyle Group just bought Booz Allen Hamilton which does $3.5 (about $5B total corporate revenues) a year “consulting” for DoD.
Now Carlyle owns the consultants who will “advise” the DoD to keep to the “strategy and structure” of the think tanks and support investing in more and more potentially useless things from companies in which Carlyle has interests.
One of the longstanding strategies that drive expensive DoD structure is observable,: “continuous mobilization”: Always being “ready” to fight a theoretical battle on the military industrial complex’ terms defined by the think tanks and developed largely to sustain a profitable or health industry. Never ask whether any of it is worth the expense of scarce national resources.
Prior to 1950, the US prepared to fight the most expensive type of think tank theorized war. This was to be “industrial age” war perfected prior to 1914 against the Red Army in Central Europe. It included tactical nuclear forces to overcome logistical limitations and the size of enemy conventional forces. Those of you around in the mid 50’s; did you get an Atomic Cannon for Christmas one year, like my baby brother? Anyway, there was no think tank concerned for slogging it out in another 1936 Sino Japanese style light infantry war in Asia. Mac Arthur presciently warned against a conventional war in Asia and his “run in” with Truman was less insubordination than demanding the president keep to the playbook.
RAND helped to establish strategies to fight nuclear armegeddon, the Air Force who got tons more money than the Army and Navy, who got stuck fighting the wrong war in Korea in June 1950.
The Korea police action added the need for conventional war “continuous mobilization” to the nuclear warfare (Air Force pilots, every one a Capt Kirk) mission requirements.
This renewed capability to fight Mao on his terms helped get the US stuck in Vietnam. The think tanks developed new strategies and theories of conventional and unconventional warfare to sell anything from counterinsurgency warfare, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to new super weapons to refight the Battle of Kursk. Army brand think tanks devised “air mobile” doctrine first tried in Vietnam, and discredited, but revised for a Central European Armageddon, complete with Apache helicopters armed with tank busting rockets, supporting 60 ton tanks, that today blow up Toyotas in Baghdad.
Navy brand think tanks sell a dozen aircraft carrier battle groups to fight the battle of Midway again. The Soviets never built a ship equal to one of ours. No one today is working a carrier remotely equal to any US ship. The Air Force lost its monopoly in nuclear warfare, as the Navy got its branding in nuclear Armageddon with Rickover’s Polaris/Poseidon/Trident nuclear submarine fleet. Finally, the Navy brand kept their WW II North Atlantic anti submarine navy to guard the convoys going over to reinforce the US Army in Europe in holding back the Red Horde.
The Marines have their brand. While the Navy has 3 navies for their dreams of expensive orders of battle, they keep a fourth navy for the Marines!! That is the dozen or so Landing Ships and supporting ships that carry about a thousand Marines each. All of which together could just about invest Saipan if someone were so rude as to take it from the US.
All these “branded” orders of battle, devised, revised and sustained by think tanks’ whim, ratified by beltway bandits working in service office like Booz Allen consultants support the wishful thinking of building up the military industrial complex.
Continuous mobilization is based on faulty estimation of threats, such as the perennial estimation of the Red Army and now Islamic terror, created the most expensive, unneeded war machine that money could buy. Lately, continuous mobilization termed “broad spectrum” warfare or more of the same preparing for the war they wish they could fight, and making a lot of money.
The folks who describe the beaks to be whittled are now part of the guys who make money on their dreams.
Further reading from Robert Gates is here.
This one by ilsm.