I get “Air & Space Power Journal” electronically. You might call it a professional journal for Air Force personnel. The latest articles had these titles:
Character into Action: How Officers Demonstrate Strengths with Transformational Leadership
Multidomain Observing and Orienting: ISR to Meet the Emerging Battlespace
Preparing for Multidomain Warfare: Lessons from Space/Cyber Operations
An Ethical Decision-Making Tool for Offensive Cyberspace Operation
There’s something about military writing that loves pretentious jargon. Not just leadership, but “transformational” leadership. Combat or war must be “multidomain.” Battle or battlefield isn’t enough: we must now talk of “battlespace.” My automatic spell-check is having conniptions over these three words.
Instead of resorting to pretentious jargon in titles, why not go for the simple and direct? Here are my suggested titles for the articles above:
* How to Lead.
*Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance in Battle.
*Lessons from Space/Cyber Warfare.
*Applying Ethics to Cyber Warfare.
(Here I think “warfare” is more honest than “operations.”)
One tiny reason the U.S. military continues to struggle in its various “overseas contingency operations,” i.e. wars, is the pretentiousness of its writing.
As the military drowns in words, it’s also drowning in money, though it’s already thinking about what will happen when the cash is curtailed. A good friend of mine sent me an article with the title, “Pentagon, Defense Industry Brace for Expected Dip in Future Funding.” Here’s an excerpt:
Without congressional action, the decrease in defense funding would be dramatic. The base Department of Defense budget would drop to $549 billion in FY 2020 and $564 billion in FY 2021, according to a July 2018 report by the Congressional Research Service. The FY 2019 defense budget, recently signed into law, set spending at $717 billion.
The defense industry knows what a looming congressional budget fight could do to the Pentagon’s current high levels of spending. Executives are preparing Wall Street analysts for what likely lays ahead: Congress reducing the cash flow to the Pentagon and what that will mean to corporate bottom lines.
Yes — we must defend those “corporate bottom lines”!
Defense contractors have to be prudent and prepare for the future. That said, a decline in defense spending should be good news to the American taxpayer. Old-school Republicans, who used to fight for smaller government and lower deficits, should also be pleased at the prospect of lower spending.
Except it doesn’t work that way anymore. Few if any Members of Congress of either party want to see a decline in spending. And of course defense contractors want to keep the money flowing — as President Eisenhower famously warned us about in his military-industrial-Congressional complex speech of 1961.
The rest of the world could declare “peace forever” tomorrow and Ike’s complex would still roll along. The U.S. economy is now linked (forever?) to inflated spending on weapons and war.
Inflated war/weapons spending and inflated prose about “transformational multidomain battlespace” what-have-yous. All that’s missing in our military are the victories.