Thursday, November 25, 2010

The big push. From the advertising department of DND

The Jurist has just the right amount of sarcasm spread evenly on the subject. If the Department of National Defence has to go on an advertising blitz to try and convince people that buying a super-cool, enemy air-space penetrating high-tech bomb truck is such a splendid idea ... well it's looking like it might be a less than splendid idea.

The cross-country tour will cover seven cities in all. It started last Friday in Ottawa, skipping Parliamentary Press Gallery journalists who cover defence and focusing on academics and business contacts in the nation’s capital. It continued Monday with a roundtable for media in Vancouver and a separate session for academics and companies – a format that continued in Calgary and Winnipeg.
This is unprecedented. Never has DND gone out to gather a sales force to peddle a military acquisition project. It borders on the obscene.
To add fuel to the argument that the sales pitch is wrong-headed, a real military analyst takes a bite. 

Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie said the PR blitz is an indication of how much grief Ottawa is getting over the F-35 deal, adding he can’t recall Defence previously launching such a campaign in support of a military purchase.
And then he leaves a welt on those who play the argument that we have to buy the "best" even if it's the most expensive.

The former senior military officer said the argument that the military needs cutting-edge technology is not always an easy sell, even for veterans of past wars.
“Talk to some of our tankers who went into World War II. They did a pretty damn good job, but they didn’t have the fifth best tank, let alone the best tank.”
The truth be known, Canada has rarely had the "best" equipment. More often than not, the equipment is suitable and we have lived with the knowledge that there was better, and more expensive, available.


Edstock said...

"but they didn’t have the fifth best tank, let alone the best tank"

Uh, Lewie's entitled to his opinion, but the M4A3-E8 ("Easy Eight"), the British "Firefly" 17-pdr Sherman were were way ahead of 5th place: only the Panther and Tiger were superior — but these German tanks were available in only very small numbers.

It's actually the German experience with building the biggest and the best that shows the dangers of the F-35 approach.

The time and money spent on building "the best" left the Wehrmacht without enough armor after Kursk, as the OKH fixation on size meant that deadly units like the middle-weight Hetzer SP got ignored. Every Tiger required the resources to build 3-4 Hetzers.

The F-18 Super Hornet looks better and better.

Alison said...

Dominic LeBlanc, Lib critic for national defence, Embassy Mag, Nov 24 :
"Conservatives have been telling us that there was a competition in 2001. However, this competition was a Pentagon-led process, during which Canada had only observer status. This competition was to determine the best aircraft for the United States and the United Kingdom, not for Canada.

In fact, Canada's Statement of Requirements was only drafted in spring 2010. Therefore, the Conservative's assertion that the American process was somehow related to Canadian Air Force needs is less than credible."


Boris said...

The best kitted out armies in the history of war have been drawn to halt and then some by poor people with Kalashnikovs, HE and some serious motivation.

At some point soon we're also going to hear the "lives of the pilots" argument where they'll spin most advanced to equal 'safest'. Bullshit of course, because we have no idea what sort of peacetime loss rate might be typical for this aircraft and pilot. And then they'll say wartime because its stealth negating that fact, duh, war is a danger to pilots and this aircraft facilitates our participation in whatever fight the Americans decide they'll pick next.

Alison said...

More excellent advertising, General Admissions Dept.

Cdn colonel declares victory over Taliban

OK, that one is a bit over the top and lacks direct quotes, but there's afe more this am in the same vein.