Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why it is absurd to expect that the army becomes a profitable business

The defense budget will be maintained at the current level of € 31.4 billion for the next three years. Jean-Yves Le Drian announced property sales and disposals of equity holdings in companies to compensate for budget freeze.

Atlantico: The French army can it become profitable as are the companies? Its purpose is it to have a balanced budget?

Jean-Vincent Brisset:  This question may seem surprising. She is actually in a great democratic country. But be aware that there are many countries where the armed forces have a direct link with the commercial sector . It has long been the case in China, for example, where the field of military industry and that of the army were completely intertwined . Things went much further since in all regiments, military and their families, in addition to purely work related training were running small businesses, farms (sometimes very large sizes), businesses and institutions recreation and restoration.

This mix, causing much corruption that distort competition, theoretically disappeared . In many countries, including France, the armies "earn" no money, but they can perform paid services using their equipment, whether rental locations or equipment, for filming films such as transport to other departments (which are sometimes coaxing to pay their dues) or others. Without financial transfers, they can also save the state, local communities are relatively high paying men and vehicles (Vigipirate, cleaning beaches, highway operations ...) that act in place of other State officials who are not available or too expensive. It may even be of interest to individuals or associations, through loans land or equipment, for example a rave party. Sometimes the Defence put at the disposal of companies or other departments its research and experimentation. It is important not to exaggerate the importance of this phenomenon. The sums involved in loans and rent charged are low and often these services are provided free of charge, without any consideration being given to defense budget

Can we consider the defense budget as any other departmental budget or is it an exception by its primary protective function of national territory?

The defense budget is both very similar to the budgets of other departments and very different. It is similar because its development is the common law, and that decisions are made ​​entirely by the political power . Scripts is a bit different, for reasons of operating procedures which it is not difficult to understand that they obey very specific requirements. Among the specifics, there is also the importance of positions that are much smaller in other departments : one thinks immediately fuels, but there is also the price of ammunition and other "consumables" and, especially, the purchases of materials that are, in large nations, a good third of the budget. Another difference is the additional cost of operations, external in the case of France, which often can not be provided and must be subject to supplementary budgets to be taken into account.
Another feature of Defense, and the budget is spent, is not an end in itself. It is much more an insurance policy, and, as the slogan says "insurance is expensive than before the accident." The fall of the USSR had more angĂ©listes believe he would be possible to remove the armies and nations to benefit from "peace dividend". He soon had to face reality. The world remains dangerous and confrontational. Even refusing any military intervention would not be totally justified by the international community, the armed forces still needed.

Countries that have chosen not to provide credible means must also agree to lose a part of their sovereignty and / or leave commit abuses by refusing to be able to "duty to interfere." The notion of " homeland defense "had also disappeared from many minds at the same time that ended the Cold War. The attacks of 11 September 2001 issued to date this threat, but in a completely different form.The lessons of these events have also not yet been fully drawn. Where the defense was along the border between the nations attacked the attacking nations, it must now be very far from the national shrine, where are preparing attacks and escape opponents. Has the ability to stand toe to toe territory replaces - or rather, should be replaced, the project to quickly and accurately hit. New ideas have emerged on this occasion. The refusal of collateral damage, long recognized as a necessary evil, profoundly affects the modes of action.
Also referred to as ability to "get in first." This would theoretically mean that a country is able to run only one step away from its national territory, whether to respond to an attack or to help a friend threatened. Currently, in the western world, only the United States have kept the ability to enter into and sustain a first unaided effort.


The policy is to sell a portion of real estate and state stakes in strategic companies to balance the defense budget is it sustainable?

Armies do not produce, she told me by me, wealth, the solution is to sell some of its assets to maintain his lifestyle is only a palliative. can at best hope that better days will come and that this solution will be allowed to pass a course. This is what qu'espèrent, without believing in most cases, those who come bring their family jewels to pawnshop. In this case, such sales must be accompanied by downsizing and ambitions. When there is nothing left to sell, it will continue to cut in staffing and equipment, adapting our strategic ambitions in what remains of the military tool.
General Air Commodore Jean-Vincent Brisset is research director at IRIS. Graduate of the Air War College, he wrote several books on China, and participated in the defense field in Strategic Year .
He is the author of Manual military tool , published by Armand Colin (April 2012)

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