The problem with last minute defence preparations

We're not fully prepared for inter-state war, NATO's forces are lacking preparation in terms of training, experimentation, equipment and ammunition to fully meet the expectations. I'm usually remorseless in my criticism of such gaps and neglects, but I need to admit that such flaws save money.

The normal attitude towards such flaws is that they'll be fixed when times become less peaceful or when we send our troops on missions. That's believable in some cases, not so much in other cases.
One example; we don't have real preparations for the defence of NATO's Eastern frontier. The easternmost members (like the three Baltic states and Poland) lack the forces to do more than a delaying action (Poland) or lack forces to be considered serious armed nations at all (Baltic states).
The advantage is that few forward-deployed could be overrun, the disadvantage is that even the Russian ministry of the interior has enough (para-)military power to occupy the Baltic NATO member states in a matter of days.
(I'm not really convinced of the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence today as most people are.)

Last minute preparations are usually used as explanation - but are late preparations wise?

I'd like to suggest that last minute preparations - even if militarily and economically feasible are probably political no-go areas.
I see an analogy to the mobilization chain reaction days before the First World War; a huge, last minute increase in war readiness - and it led to war because it heated up the crisis.
Today's politicians would probably prefer peaceful means so much over war that they'd tell the defence establishment to avoid provocative actions.

We might end up sticking to our partial readiness even in times of crisis in order to avoid to fuel the crisis.
Only last minute defence preparations with a clear emphasis on defence (and very low profile preparations) might be politically feasible in a crisis.

Sven Ortmann

P.S.: It's a tough challenge to illustrate "readiness". I chose a photo of British fighter pilots waiting for an air attack during the Battle of Britain.

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