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Defence and Tech

Le’ Notes #28: Why is it so hard to buy military transformation?

This post discusses the factors that make buying military transformation so difficult.

Why doesn’t the military get with the program? Why does the government seem so reluctant to buy those shiny new Gen-5 planes and ships? These are some of the questions I had when I was a snot-nosed undergrad aspiring to solve all of the country’s defence problems. I thought we could buy our way out of being a big country with a meagre defence force. I thought the government was stupid because it didn’t (or was too slow) to embrace the technological marvels that were on sale. The truth is, defence acquisition may be one of the most convoluted processes within the government, aside from implementing neoliberal macroeconomic policies.

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Le’ Notes #24: Models of the Revolution in Military Affairs

Continuing from the previous post (Note #23), this post introduces the major models of the RMA.

The previous post discussed the historical origins and the definitions of the revolution in military affairs. Now, let us take a look at the major models that seek to explain the RMA. The theories introduced range from Alvin and Heidi Tofflers’ “Wave theory” to the business-as-usual model.

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Le’ Notes #23: Introducing the revolution in military affairs

This post introduces the origins of the revolution in military affairs.

We are said to be in the middle of a self-conscious revolution in military affairs, or RMA for short. This assumption is grounded in the breakneck pace of technological advancement that’s happening almost on a daily basis. Every now and then, someone in Silicon Valley or DARPA or some whiz kid somewhere comes up with a new thing that promises to shake up or “disrupt” the entire world as we know it. Tesla Motors, for example, is trying out driverless cars. The South Korean military showcased their LEXO exoskeleton systems, which they had been developing since 2013. Suidobashi Heavy Industries have already marketed their Kurata robot, which was unveiled in 2012. The robot, which is basically just a bigger and capable exoskeleton, can be fitted with rapid-firing weapons. Although Suidobashi claims the Kurata only comes with BB guns, in the future, that may change to live ammo. However, the RMA is not just about technology. In the US.

 

Final_Four_Jaegers.jpg
Hell yeah, future warfare

 

However, the RMA is not just about technology. In the US, the Department of Defence has been constantly trying to implement their Third Offset Strategy, which (at the risk of oversimplifying) basically wants to use a combination of technology and operational art to gain an edge over America’s adversaries and maintain their alliances. With President Trump in office, America might just be great again, although the alliances part might not be.

Sure, the future looks amazing. And bleak at the same time, considering we’re developing weapons of war. But, let’s step back for a moment and reflect on this RMA phenomenon. What is it? How did it start? How did we get here?

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #3: Uphill battle for Indonesia’s defense modernization

This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post, 1 November 2016.


The more expert analyses I read on the issue of naval and defense modernization in Indonesia, the more I realize that there are many challenges ahead. Though Jokowi does have a grand maritime vision for the country, there are a lot of challenges ahead before Indonesia can become a global maritime fulcrum in Southeast Asia.

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Le’ Notes #5: Arms race or arms dynamic?

This post discusses the arms dynamic and how it works.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “arms race”? Does it invoke images of USA and USSR outbuilding one another in terms of nuclear weapons? Is the act of buying more guns and equipment for the military considered an arms race that is always destabilizing? Or are the headlines in the media just sensationalist bullshit?

Strap yourself, we’re going for a ride up the spiral of arms dynamic.

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SemText #1: Can defence technology make us strategically stupid?

This SemText discusses how defence technology may impair strategic intuition.

It’s August and it’s time for the Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO)! Granted that I’m still a civilian, it’s a great privilege for me to actually be able to attend this event (albeit only the morning seminars). There are supposed to be 3 talks today, but I missed the first one because it took me 2 hours to get to the venue which was located at the east coast of Singapore (I live at the west coast) and the second one was already half-way through. So I decided to just pay attention to the third and final talk delivered by Prof. Pascal Vennesson about how defence technology can make military planners become strategically stupid. His emphasis was on how technology influences strategic decision-making.

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