Sunday, December 7, 2008
How to Spend $3 Billion
Defense analysts estimate Chile has amassed $3 billion from copper revenues to spend on weaponry. The main items already under discussion include air-defense missiles for the army, refueling tankers and early-warning aircraft for the air force, plus UAVs for all armed forces. Here's this blog's proposed spending plan, which argues that most purchases should be for equipment that can also have a civilian use. For the navy, two more patrol vessels make sense. These ships serve a valuable role in protecting economic interests. It's also important to acquire a ship capable of transporting troops, helicopters and vehicles for peacekeeping missions and natural disasters. For the air force, UAVs and early-warning aircraft would help patrol borders and fight drug trafficking. A fleet of rescue helicopters, which is already under consideration, is needed for civilian emergencies. For the army, infantry modernization is key. That includes more optical electronics, body armor, M-4 carbines. The peacekeeping batallion should get priority. Not all $3 billion need to be spent. It would be smart to set aside $1 billion to create a fund, sort of an endowment, to generate new revenue for the military.