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Paying defense.

Although people quote Sun Tsu to the point of annoyance, that's not his fault. And the man did have a few valid points to make about waging war. For one, he said it was better to wage war in the enemy's country rather than your own. Attacking is better than defending. Defenders are generally so preoccupied with protecting their valuables that they can't muster much of a threat to the attacker's valuables. Of course, an ill-managed offense will wreck an army and change the strategic situation, perhaps irretrievably. There are sometimes opportunities for an inspired defender. But the goal then is to go over to the offensive in turn.

I've made a similar point in the past (see "Sand Castles," JED, February 2002, p. 10), so I won't bother to repeat myself much. I will reiterate that when the Soviet Union felt itself vulnerable to strategic air attack from US heavy bombers, it poured staggering resources into a national defense network. The belts of positional defenses around Moscow alone consumed more than the annual cement output of the entire Soviet Union, which was a very cement-oriented institution. And about all it took was a change in US tactics to render that air-defense network as built obsolete. Part of the phychological aspects of an offensive threat is to cause an opponent to over-commit or misdirect his attention and resources to defensive measures that won't really help him.

In the US, it's money rather than concrete that is being poured on the problem of securing the homeland. Some of the money goes for what are termed "first responders," which are fire, police, and other emergency-service workers. This is a sort of dual-use defensive capability, in that police and fire departments will be able to perform other civil functions while being better prepared for enemy action. Money is also being allocated to reinforce and expand the capabilities of the US Coast Guard (see this issue's cover story, p. 44), which is long overdue in my opinion. Again, the USCG does a lot of good every day while remaining vigilant against maritime threats to US national security.

Less clear cut are homeland-defense measures that do not have dual-use functionality. Flying combat air-patrols, positioning air-defense batteries around key sites, and equipping potential civilian targets (such as airliners) with countermeasures are all examples. Sometimes these costs must be borne in order to prevent an enemy from inflicting even greater costs and loss of life by exploiting a vulnerability. Sometimes, the costs come at the expense of other options that might be more effective.

There seems to be a growing homeland-defense industry, even a "homeland-defense-industrial complex." Certainly, the Paris Air Show in June had a great many systems on display that were a direct response to either the threat or market opportunity of terrorism, depending on how you look at it (see "Insecurity at Le Bourget," p. 30). I wonder if practical homeland-defense requirements are sinking or swimming in the rush to do something, anything about perceived threats. I would like to see some clear, altruistic analyses of real threats and real requirements come out of the multitude of homeland-security conferences that are scheduled in the coming months.

I don't know what Sun Tsu might say. Maybe: If you have to spend money on defense, try to buy something with which you can also attack. It is worth noting that as of mid-July, the US has committed 21 of the Army's 33 active-duty combat brigades to Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and the Balkans. Seems like the offense could use a little help.

LTG Steven Boutelle,

US Army, Chief Information Officer


CAPT Bob Boyd,

US Navy, Program Manager,

PMA-272, Advanced Tactical Aircraft

Protection Systems

Byron Callan,

First VP and Senior Industry

Analyst, Merrill Lynch

Richard Curtis,

AOC Board of Directors

Robert Doto,

Director, US Army Research,

Development, and Engineering


Henry J. Driesse,

President, ITT Industries,


Jacques Franquet,

Managing Director,

Thales Systemes Aeroportes

Walter R Havenstein,

President, BAE Systems Information

and Electronic Warfare Systems

Nell Kacena,

Deputy of Advanced Development

Programs, Lockheed Martin

Aeronautics Co.

CAPT Kenneth G. Krech,

US Navy, Program Executive

Office--Tactical Aviation

John Kreick,

Chairman of the Board of

Directors, Draper Laboratory

Col Linda Palmer,

US Air Force, Program Manager,

Foreign Comparative Testing

Everett Pratt,

VP, Electronic Warfare, Northrop

Grumman Defensive Systems


Dr. Hugo B. Poza,

VP, Raytheon Homeland

Security Division

Lt Col (ret.) Kenneth Pullen,

Air National Guard, Electronic

Combat and Reconnaissance Test

Program Manager, ANG Air Force

Reserve Test Center

William Swanson,

President and CEO, Raytheon Co.

Paul J. Westcott,

Division Chief, Mission Applications

Division, Sensors Directorate,

Air Force Research Laboratory
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Title Annotation:From The Editor; national security
Author:Puttre, Michael
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Previous Article:Calendar.
Next Article:AOC position papers.

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