Like in Ender’s Game

I read Conrad Black’s The Canadian Manifesto this week, a small book in which he proposes some ideas to improve Canada’s policy framework and standing in the world.

A section on military spending included this passage:

“We need at least 100,000 more people in the armed forces. Canada cannot be taken seriously with a minuscule air force, almost no ocean-worthy vessels, and an army of three brigades. We need at least two divisions, a hundred first-class fixed-wing aircraft, new equipment for everyone, especially helicopters, a navy of at least twenty serious vessels, including an aircraft carrier, and a heavy infusion of strength into the Canadian aerospace and shipbuilding industries into the bargain.”

I’m not an expert, but I’ve read and heard that Canada’s military aircraft and ships are very old. Conrad Black is proposing that we build and buy new ones.

What if we skipped the next generation of both and went directly to autonomous options? A military comprised primarily of drones + drone ships. We might then also reduce that “100,000 more people” by an order of magnitude or greater, without any meaningful loss to our warfaring capacity.

Again, I’m not an expert and don’t know if this makes sense, but it seems to me like it should, and I do know that there are some very cool companies like Anduril working on it.

Given the blanket of protection provided by the United States and our NATO membership (same thing), we could probably afford to take a little risk in this file and reinvent the modern military for a small, peaceful country like ours at a fraction of the cost.