October 1, 2007  

Common-sense approach

The following thoughts and insights, while probably not original or creative in a sense, are solid enough to start a process of damage control and rebuilding once we get beyond our present war situation.

Defense policy must become more levelheaded in scope and application. While there is an important need for intellectual analysis and recommenda¬tions in the formulation of defense poli¬cy, there is also a growing need to get to the common-sense issues that are often neglected or shoved aside in any defense policy problem or issue. Gaps develop in theory and practice when our nation goes into war and the damage and nega¬tive results often stay with us for a long time and are hard to get over.

Sometimes we fail to truly educate ourselves with the lessons learned while involved in military conflicts. The logic of intellectual analysis must be coupled and supported with the common sense of levelheaded practicality.

Defense policy must be flexible and adaptable. Policy plans and programs must be created and developed to fit the circumstances, not the other way around. We need to have a common base of practical knowledge and theo¬retical preparation in the making of defense policy so that a quick and sensi¬ble end can be brought about in any military conflict. We must stay adapt¬able and flexible so that plans and pro¬grams can be changed in a positive and practical direction to meet opportuni¬ties that can bring success and reduce or eliminate the boom and bust cycles of defense buildups and drawdowns.

Defense policy requirements might mean a streamlining or consolidation of military institutions and infrastructure of higher education. There may come a day when we have to shut down a lot of the military educational infrastructure to free up money and finances for present or future military operational involvements.

Defense policy requirements may require simpler and easier-to-maintain technologies. An example that comes to mind is the A-10 Warthog close air sup¬port jet, which can take a beating and still operate, is easy to maintain, and can be up and running in a shorter time than other more advanced aircraft. The more complex the technology system, the easi¬er it is for malfunctions or breakdowns to occur as a result of continued use in any military conflict. Simplicity in technology systems should be a high priority.

Charles Trudell

Miamisburg, Ohio