Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

A proposition on innovation: Getting rid of the old is harder than embracing new

One more from Andrade‘s "Gunpowder Age."

rickscarrier21
rickscarrier21

 

One more from Andrade‘s Gunpowder Age: He asserts that:
The problem for an old state isn’t so much embracing the new as getting rid of the old. ... If the Qing had been able to devote to new armies the funds it was expending on decrepit ones, it would have done far better. The problem for the Qing wasn’t a lack of technology or know-how. It was lack of focus. Old institutions drained resources.
To me, this raises the question: What should we get rid of, or at least stop making more of? My answer, grasshopper knows, is the current aircraft carrier of the Big Fat Target class. But what do you think is the horse cavalry of today — or of 2026?

Image credit: Tom Freeman/CNAS

 

One more from Andrade‘s Gunpowder Age: He asserts that:

The problem for an old state isn’t so much embracing the new as getting rid of the old. … If the Qing had been able to devote to new armies the funds it was expending on decrepit ones, it would have done far better. The problem for the Qing wasn’t a lack of technology or know-how. It was lack of focus. Old institutions drained resources.

To me, this raises the question: What should we get rid of, or at least stop making more of? My answer, grasshopper knows, is the current aircraft carrier of the Big Fat Target class. But what do you think is the horse cavalry of today — or of 2026?

Image credit: Tom Freeman/CNAS

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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