Alamut


I’m in ur drones, watching ur live feedz
December 20, 2009, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Efficiency, War

Cost of a Predator Drone: $4,500,000 million

Cost of “Skygrabber” program, which could up until earlier this year, hack into the Predator drone live feed: $25.95

Seeing the US military’s killer robots rendered useless by Islamist script-kiddies:  Priceless

There is actually a serious point here, all snark aside.  The cost of offensive warfare is sky-rocketing, while at the same time, the cost of defensive warfare is dropping.  For example, the drones mentioned are actually considered a cheap option by the United States, and this is certainly the case when compared to, say, an F-15 (especially if you include the cost of training and looking after the pilot).  Meanwhile, insurgencies that are keeping the USA bogged down in two countries are being fought with Kalashnikovs, RPGs, car-bombs, cell phones and off-the-shelf software and computers.

And what do all these things have in common?  As Nolan’s Joker would say, they’re cheap.  Furthermore, because they are cheap, such groups can raise the money through methods like drug trafficking, instead of relying on vastly more expensive methods to gain the sums needed to support larger armed forces.

At what point does the cost of warfare become more than can possibly be gained from it?  The suggestion is that the United States has already begun to reach this point.  And when a broken, inefficient system goes up against more efficient, faster acting systems…well, it doesn’t really need to be elaborated on, does it?

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2 Comments so far
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You make some good points. Big is no longer necessarily better. Although for a long time it’s been the individual who posed the greatest threat to the established order.

I remember a year or two ago, a company issued a challenge: whoever first broke their most secure computer encryption that could legally be exported outside the USA would win a good deal of money. A college student broke it in about six hours.

As I recall, the company actually hoped someone would break it to help convince the U.S. government that the company should be allowed to export better security programs.

As for weapondry, I think the break-even point was reached in 1945. Historically, it had been beneficial to a group (tribe, gang, nation, whatever) to use its most effective weapons. With the atomic bomb, using your best weapons against your enemies meant the territory you gained wouldn’t be useful.

And the tremendous advances in strategic weapons proved useless against a handful of people armed with box cutters on 11 September 2001.

A overview of the past few decades will show that the world’s most powerful leaders are seldom brought down by powerful armies, but by a single person with a readily available weapon and decent aim.

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