Saturday, September 20, 2008

Investing in Antiques - A Case Study

Andrew Osborn of the WSJ reports in today's paper, Moscow Will Boost Defense Spending to $50 Billion.  His research includes analysis of performance of Russia's military in the recent Georgia invasion and the obvious: "...the boost highlights a gap between President Dmitry Medvedev's sometimes-conciliatory rhetoric and actual Kremlin policies".  The graph below is from his article. 

Last month's war against Georgia highlighted the weaknesses of Russian procurement policies, according to reports from Russian military officials that have since trickled out in the local media.

Though victorious, the Russian army discovered it had almost no spy drones, substandard satellite navigation and an aging arsenal of imprecise conventional weapons. When Russian commanders wanted to communicate with each other, they had to use cellphones because their own battlefield communications equipment was so poor. When the army wanted to observe Georgian troop movements, it sent a Tu-22 strategic bomber to do the job of a drone. It was shot down. Russian officers discovered that captured Georgian hardware -- of the same Soviet-era vintage as their own -- was actually better, since it had been modernized. Georgian tanks, unlike their Russian counterparts, had night-vision and fire-correction mechanisms.

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