The Best Defense

I am not happy with the term 'disruptive defense' but at the same time I hope we're on the eve of some creative destruction

I like some of the people using the term "disruptive defense," but I don't think I like the term itself. I know what they mean by disruptive technologies, but the term standing alone makes it seem like disrupting is an end in itself. I don't care if something is disruptive, I care if it makes our military more effective and our society better and safer. Some of those changes will be disruptive, others will not.

Still, I am sympathetic. The more I look at today's defense establishment, the more I think it is mired in the industrial age, especially its personnel policies -- which I believe are at the core of how our military operates and adapts, or doesn't. If we are to continue as a topmost military power, those policies are going to have to be overhauled entirely. And not by the people currently in charge of them.

We also probably need to see the defense industrial base go the way of the trolley. In five years, Amazon and Google probably are going to know more about drones and robots than anyone in the military. So yes, I hope we are on the eve of creative destruction. Disrupt away, fellas.

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The Best Defense

A few words in defense of the Wisconsin National Guard funeral honor guard

It is easy to be shocked by troops seeming to make fun of the ceremonies honoring dead soldiers. But I suspect that this type of humor actually is a form of psychological cushioning. As I recall, doctors dealing with trauma on a daily basis often have private humor and terms themselves, partly to enable themselves to work in an environment of pain and loss. I also can remember how, when I was a reporter, I quickly become accustomed to standing over a dead body with Miami homicide detectives ("smoker," "four-waller," and "potato mouth" were some of their terms of art to describe corpses) and discussing where to get dinner.

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