The American Military’s Real Problem: Shooting ‘Ants’ With ‘Elephant Guns’

In combating asymmetric threats, we have to ask ourselves, on which side of the asymmetry do we sit? Typically and almost in a cliché manner, we depict our side as superior – we have the technology, we have the equipment, we have the on-going development capabilities. But do we really have the money for such high-end, extended, near-endless military campaigns?

Consider the defensive action by USS Mason in the Red Sea in October 2016. Its response to a rebel attack compels us to rethink the cost factor involved in defensive measures, and how we popularly interpret the costs of war and national security. A few short seconds of fending off a Yemeni rebel attack cost the United States NAVY (USN) an unsettling $8 million. Cost of the rebel attack: $500,000 or less than 10 percent of USS Mason’s reaction.

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