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22 March 2019

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Jim,

True, but to break the analogy a bit, in ways we are in a post-sock world. So, it's not just a matter of being able to get socks via alternate paths. The military's primary answer to virtually all questions is presence, and it's secondary answer is kinetics. Presence needs quantity, and waning numbers of exquisite gadgets creates a twofold problem: less presence (or presence at the expense of training and maintenance, which accelerates the waning numbers) and elevating the target value of the individual gadgets. So, in spite of being in an era of distributed operations concepts promotion, the distributed nodes each become a force concentration/mass - they are now all worth attacking because our industrial base is in no position to replace attrition (we are now where Washington's army was during the Revolution or the Japanese were in 1904-1905).

As for kinetics, for all our prowess in low threat environments, the tactical excellence has shown not to accrue to any favorable strategic outcome.

We don't need Sears to get socks, but socks are not as useful anymore. But this is a military mentality problem not a logistics model problem. Industry will supply what is wanted even if what is wanted is decreasingly germane.

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  • James Hasik is a senior fellow at the Center for Government Contracting in the School of Business at George Mason University, and a senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. Since September 2001, he has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them.

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