Not Serious People, Not Serious About War

Not Serious People, Not Serious About War

Perusing the headlines, I saw Joe Biden had announced a green initiative for military vehicles.

US President Joe Biden has announced a “process” is underway to make every vehicle in the country’s massive military “climate friendly,” adding that “we’re spending billions of dollars to do it” during an Earth Day celebration on Friday.

This is one of those failures that demonstrates, no matter how far down the path of senility dementia Joe has traveled, that the people in the white house, almost certainly including the secretaries of Defense, the Army, and a number of top generals and flag officers, are fundamentally not serious people, as they are not even serious about war.

Pardon my language, but whether my logistics is "green" shouldn't even be on the list of concerns, much less anywhere near the top, of anyone contemplating how and when to use an army and keeping it running.

Armies are there to break things. Sure, there are other things they can be used for that lean on the logistics and transport capabilities of a competent army, but the whole point of an army is to bring force and violence to bear to convince your opponent to give up. This requires destroying things, and more often than not, killing people. That means, yes, effective bombs, artillery, rockets, and firearms, but as they all have a limited range, that also means transporting the arty, tanks, rifles, and people to where they can use their weapons.

There's an old saying attributed to Bedford  Forrest, about winning battles by being the "Firstest with the mostest." More academically, it's said that amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.

To simplify things, tactics is the art of figuring out how and where to move things within the scope of a battle. It is of course constrained by who can get where, how quickly. Strategy is the plan you have for how you will generally conduct the battle. Yes, this is also constrained and determined by what you can get where, via what paths, and how quickly.

In short, logistics isn't a meta-strategy so much as the question of what you can get where, via what paths, whether those paths exist or are made by killing people or breaking things, constrains everything you do. A holistic part of everything you do, but coming even more to the fore when you need to get a lot of men and equipment from point A to point B.

This transport, whether trucks, ships, or APCs, has to be effective in its role of carrying guns, people, and supplies. Ships can't sink. Trucks need to go fast enough over roads to justify being constrained by them. Part of effectiveness is efficiency: supply trucks can't burn all the fuel they're carrying just to get there. Tanks that burn fuel too fast are limited in how far they can get from their supply. Part of it is reliability: A tank that constantly throws tracks can't be in the battle putting metal on target.  

The only one of those considerations that in any way relates to being "green" is efficiency. Trucks that use less fuel to cover a mile can carry more supplies further. For that matter, a side effect of cleaning up exhaust on warships was making them more difficult to spot at a distance.

Even then, it cannot be the primary focus.

Why?

It's nice if your truck doubles its mileage per gallon. until that highly efficient engine doesn't have the power to get you up a hill. Or it breaks down because of a complex or high-tolerance set of parts.

Efficiency also demands predictability and steady states. A car steadily doing 55 for hours is much more efficient than one in stop and go traffic. Given that the enemy, nevermind reality, mother nature, and incompetence, all have a vote in military operations, predictability is at best a rare and precious thing.

All of the above aside, it's also, as observed, the job of the military to increase entropy: to kill people and break stuff.

What the hell about that is environmentally friendly or "green?"

In short - the fact that "climate friendly" environmentally vehicles was even in a speech handed to Biden to deliver means that those in the white house and the tiers just below are not serious about war. And if you tell me "well they're just cynically selling bullshit to the gullible," you are still making my point.