Sunday, March 6, 2016

Further Ramifications of a Fully Integrated Strategic Response Policy

Not long after I did the "Islands In the Sky" post I had a "now I've done it. I made a declarative statement that sounded a bit like forming the basis of a new global security policy. I'm going to have to at least put some folks concerns at ease that I'm not completely bonkers when it comes to such matters" moment (similar to Ripply making a clean spot on Newt's face in Aliens).

As is probably obvious I am not a security policy expert, and I would never make any such claims. I do have a facility for looking into how complex processes work, and understanding a good deal of the high points, and at least a few of the finer points. That being said, however, in no way precludes the fact that you need to take what I'm going to say here with a good deal of skepticism. Even someone who has tried to be at least something of a student of this aspect of our overall political/economic operating system, and even allowing for a further ability to reason out important factors of what you've been studying, if you haven't made it your main focus you're likely to miss some things. Even with that, however, I still think that its important that I make the attempt to outline my understanding of this important part of America's place in the world, and let the mistakes, as well as the judgements that come of those mistakes, fall where they will.

First and foremost here it needs to be clearly stated that our place in maintaining stability in the world is not something that will go away simply because we've decided to organize things on an effort based model, as opposed to a cost based model. The one central fact that is clear even to a novice such as myself is that "power vacuums" can be at least as bad, and many times far worse, than whatever singular example of inefficiency or redundancy, or outright waste, one might identify. In point of fact, keeping faith with that responsibility will require extra creative effort, as well as due diligence, in establishing at least an outline of how such a new model might continue with a proper program of leadership.

This has always been an interesting problem for me because it requires thought on an issue that, even now, we don't do very well. Which is, of course, how any nation, regardless of their means, and how they go about marshaling national intent, goes about the process of prioritization. There are abundant problems; abundant threats, but there is also the will of the people to be considered in the act of asking for their sacrifice, as well as finite material means to apply to whatever threat list one might come up with.

I have criticized that process as it now operates, in fact, precisely because we are not intended to be fully informed as we give our consent. This is so for two reasons I think. The first is what you might expect from an advocate of change; because other, singular interests, put their needs, along with the needs of the nation as an industrial entity, ahead of what might actually be in the best overall interests of the nation as a connected group of people.

The other reason is, I think, a combination of not only a hubris of those in power, but also because we, as a nation, are about as lazy minded as a people can be (of which a lot factors are involved, but of which we still bear personal responsibility). A context for which the powerful have had at least some justification for their arrogant sense of leadership entitlement.

The first part above, as a faulty dynamic, is why so much of what gets prioritized now serves the purveyors of one commodity or another, as well as current economic model as a whole as it remains addicted to those items that we can clearly see are bad for us, and the rest of the planet. As such we have a military establishment whose current requirement of material sacrifice surpasses all of the other industrialized nations combined.

The second part is that, because we don't always bother to inform ourselves to the degree that responsible citizenry should, we set ourselves up for not only being taken advantage of, we also risk taking simplistic views of complex situations within the rest of the world, and making policy decisions on them. Which is, I suppose, one of the main contradictions of governing, or being governed, that all societies have faced in one form or another.

On the one hand you want to have the citizenry involved to as great a degree as possible, but on the other you don't want them making what might be what an "expert" might consider a catastrophic mistake. This is another reason why a good portion of what we are informed of, or not, isn't always the truth. The "expert" will justify the lie, well intentioned or not, as being in the greater good. And perhaps in the short term it can be, and perhaps even in a good portion of the "short terms" where such situations come up. Unfortunately, however, in the long term it builds up another those "delayed costs" we've been so fond of in the past; costs that will have to be paid at some time or another, and when this particular bill comes due you can be sure complete chaos will ensue. And this will happen because the governed will have come to the conclusion that their government isn't to be trusted at all. Whereupon nothing the leaders may say will be believed, no matter how ultimately true it might be.

So. Where does this leave us? There is the practical side of coming up with a security rational that gives the best flexibility of both bang and prevention for a given amount of effort. In this must be asked questions of a practical nature  about our current security rational:

You need only look at the Vox piece done back in 2015 on this matter to get an idea of just how vast that establishment has become. And when you consider this, not only in  monetary terms, but in the terms of the shear size, and widely flung displacement, you can't help but wonder at just how much is still necessary (of which more than a few will undoubtedly have to remain), and which still continues via institutional inertia, as much as anything else.

In this does one see the need for further questioning of the fundamental assumptions that have guided our requirement to see to the security of our nation. As in: Do we really still need four separate service branches? Each with their own management, research, and maintenance bureaucracies? Wouldn't three be enough (as in item 9 of the outline below)?

We certainly don't want to keep all of our security eggs in the vulnerability of only a few baskets, but can't we be a great deal more creative in how we disperse our supply and maintenance hubs? Is it such a stretch to want to preposition such facilities in floating cities, or islands in the sky, for that matter, wherever possible instead of a host of countries that A: quite often don't want us there in the first place, or B: ought to be standing on their own feet a good deal more?

In addition to the questions of the practical aspects of determining what our priorities are, however, and then setting up the institutions to best attend to them, we must also be newly creative in getting a Federated group of communities not only more deeply involved in understanding ongoing, complex security requirements, as well as being involved in the decisions that will come of that understanding, we must also be creative in being prepared to handle the mistakes that will inevitably come from that.

At the end of the day the best that we can hope for is a citizenry/military mix of involvement that best translates the options available to the Federation as a whole, articulating the consequences of taking any particular option as best as possible, and then utilize what the citizenry has been willing to support them with to the best affect that they can manage. After that it is simply a matter of the rest of us understanding that you will have to sleep in whatever bed you've made, whether you like the results or not. You were given the full rights of choice and now you must take responsibility for those rights.

The following was taken from the
Do people have the right to be stupid? And is there a way we can accommodate the stupid in all of us?" essay in the "The Need for a New Operating System" page of this blog

"...Leaving aside for the moment of the merits (or lack thereof) of the argument to make the change (see, and assuming we could bring about the elimination of money, the freedom to apply automation to our advantage, along with assuming responsibility for not only governing ourselves, but also being directly involved in maintaining the community, as well as for making our own possessions, would give us a lot of options we don't have now. We could set up a Federation of communities where each could set their own rules just so long as they stayed within the articles of Federation.

And what, you ask, might they be? Would they allow for a lot more diversity?

It's going to take a lot more input and debate for any final conclusions, but I'm hoping that this list is at least a good place to start from:
  1. Universal freedom of information. Which is to say that all technique, and knowledge would be shared, including the conditions that prevailed in any one community. This would also entail shared maintenance of the infrastructure to provide the conduit for distributing this information, as well as the creation and distribution of hydrogen as a universal power source.
  2. The freedom of any citizen in a community to move to another and, if vested in the community being moved from, to take their share of resource accumulated as a part of participation in the moved from community's upkeep with them.
  3. All citizens in all communities who participate in community upkeep get an equal vote in decisions to be made by their individual communities.
  4. All participating citizens get an equal vote in decisions to be made by the Federation as a whole.
  5. Each community has the right to trade or not trade in material goods with any other community.
  6. Each community will always provide the ability for all other communities to move through the boundaries of their community, even if they are not trading with them.
  7. All communities will make their young available, at the age of 18, for mandatory Federal service for a minimum period of 4 years (longer if minimal education requirements aren't met). This service will be organized around military command structure, discipline and conditioning, with the type of final training and posting being the option of the individual, unless overridden by priorities decreed by Federation vote.
  8. The Federation will designate Federal basic resources, and item output, priorities within which all communities must participate (taking priority over article 5). These resources and items will then be allocated thus: Half will be apportioned to all communities based on a formula that combines their population, and the number of their people currently in Federal service. The other half will be apportioned according to the dictates of the Federal military leadership as they see fit to accomplish the tasks assigned to them by vote of the Federation as a whole.
  9. The Federation military will be organized into 3 main groups: Navspar for the defense of water, space and air. Mobile infantry for all boots down defense. And FedEngEm for all Federation wide engineering and emergency response requirements. The military leadership will promote their own up to the point of the top 3 tiers of officers; which would require certification of a 51% majority Federation vote. The military will also not be allowed to favor any particular belief system, either in its organization, procedures and operational requirements, held by the federated communities.
  10. Communities can be added or removed from the Federation by a 65% majority Federation vote.
  11. Any community can appeal a Federation wide decision by obtaining a 30% Federation vote of petition, whereupon a new vote of the original majority would be required to say yea or nay. A petition vote of 20% can also be used to put any new items before the Federation as a whole for an up or down 51% majority vote. The military leadership, by unanimous vote, can also place any item, or an appeal of an item, before the Federation as a whole for an up or down 51% majority vote.