Air Force Officer Says Death Star Was a Bad Investment

Marshall Honorof

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Air Force Officer Says Death Star Was a Bad Investment


The U.S. Armed Forces could learn a few spending pointers from the Galactic Empire's mistakes.

The Death Star just can't catch a break. Star Wars fans have pointed out every flaw in the gargantuan engine of destruction, from its prohibitive cost [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQdDRrcAOjA]. Now, a report from the United States military has highlighted the Death Star as an example of reckless, unproven spending, and recommends that helpful droids would have been the wiser investment.

The report comes by way of Dan Ward, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, writing in the September-October 2011 issue of Defense AT&L. The piece is fairly light in tone, pointing out that those who support Darth Vader's leadership "conveniently [overlook] his use of telekinetic strangulation as a primary motivational approach." However, this is not just a military officer blowing off some steam. Defense AT&L is the primary publication of the Defense Acquisitions University, a military body that works with the Department of Defense in the fields of logistics, acquisitions, and, naturally, defense spending.

Although the piece is short and satirical in nature, there are some practical lessons in Ward's words. He discusses the futility of spending tons of military money on unproven technology with shoddy field records, and the trouble inherent in making military hardware so specialized that only a Sith Lord could operate it. Perhaps most importantly, he underscores the importance and utility of the simple astromech droid, and why the Empire could have better maintained control with an army of them.

"Droids are Republic technology," Ward writes. "They don't intimidate anyone. Instead, they earn their keep by being useful and practical. Droids are about finesse, while Death Stars are about brute force. And given the current world situation, finesse is clearly what we need."

Source: Wired [http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/ATL%20Docs/Sep-Oct11/Ward.pdf]

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Ldude893

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So an army of astromech droids is a better investment than a moon-sized planet-destroying battle station?
Interesting.
 

Shoggoth2588

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I think The Death Star would be a much more practical investment if it was used as a deep-space exploration vessel instead of a mobile planet-destroying monstrosity.

I mean, think about it. It can travel through the Galaxy, holding years worth of rations and enough people to populate any suitable planet while the Deathstar helpfully orbits said planet to keep an eye on things. Man can travel pretty freely from Earth to the Moon so taking a moon-sized space station and sending it to any given Earth-like planet would be a pretty safe bet I'd think. You know, once we can get our own version of FTL travel or, finish our own version of the Hyper-Drive.

It would still be expensive as hell but using the station as an exploration vessel could potentially pay off in a HUGE way.
 

spectrenihlus

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I dunno if Luke couldn't use the force the Rebel Alliance would have been well a properly fucked. Also a death star might have been pretty useful during Yuuzang Vong War.
 

Baldry

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I read the title and thought military had begun building a death star...Good job they didn't I guess!
 

Zhukov

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But little droids wouldn't provide the same sense of overcompensation.
 

Mr.Pandah

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Jul 20, 2008
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No...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

He can't speak of the death star like this!
 

Elementlmage

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He discusses the futility of spending tons of military money on unproven technology with shoddy field records, and the trouble inherent in making military hardware so specialized that only a Sith Lord could operate it.
F22/35/Super Carrier dig anyone? >:)
 

Echo Delta

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Elementlmage said:
He discusses the futility of spending tons of military money on unproven technology with shoddy field records, and the trouble inherent in making military hardware so specialized that only a Sith Lord could operate it.
F22/35/Super Carrier dig anyone? >:)
That was actually my first thought as well haha. It's hard to believe the article (even though its about a fictional topic) when the united states government has spent so much money on impractical fighter jets.
 

Alon Shechter

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Building a giant ridiculous planet blowing ship the size of our moon is a bad investment.
People, this guy's onto something here!
 

SageRuffin

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Dec 19, 2009
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Echo Delta said:
Elementlmage said:
He discusses the futility of spending tons of military money on unproven technology with shoddy field records, and the trouble inherent in making military hardware so specialized that only a Sith Lord could operate it.
F22/35/Super Carrier dig anyone? >:)
That was actually my first thought as well haha. It's hard to believe the article (even though its about a fictional topic) when the united states government has spent so much money on impractical fighter jets.
As a service member, I can tell you that fighter jets do have their uses. But I'm no pilot, so I can't detail what those uses may or may not be.

Also, maybe the good LtCol is noticing that, hey, maybe the US military is already spending too much on shit we don't need. Is it too much of a stretch that he's simply reflecting on current events?

Aside: Why couldn't this guy be our squadron commander instead of the jackass that just left? Goddamn, life would've been so much easier...
 

FalloutJack

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Nov 20, 2008
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Ldude893 said:
So an army of astromech droids is a better investment than a moon-sized planet-destroying battle station?
Interesting.
Think about it. Which one's actually harder to destroy?
 

Ph33nix

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the full article is a good read and funnily enough he advocates all the points of Software Engineering when he is talking about weapon development.
 

Mad Hamish

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Shoggoth2588 said:
I think The Death Star would be a much more practical investment if it was used as a deep-space exploration vessel instead of a mobile planet-destroying monstrosity.

I mean, think about it. It can travel through the Galaxy, holding years worth of rations and enough people to populate any suitable planet while the Deathstar helpfully orbits said planet to keep an eye on things. Man can travel pretty freely from Earth to the Moon so taking a moon-sized space station and sending it to any given Earth-like planet would be a pretty safe bet I'd think. You know, once we can get our own version of FTL travel or, finish our own version of the Hyper-Drive.

It would still be expensive as hell but using the station as an exploration vessel could potentially pay off in a HUGE way.
But wouldn't putting a moon-sized object around a planet that didn't have one really mess up the tides? It didn't matter for Alderaan, but it seems like it would be a problem if people were planning on colonizing.
 

Exile714

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FalloutJack said:
Ldude893 said:
So an army of astromech droids is a better investment than a moon-sized planet-destroying battle station?
Interesting.
Think about it. Which one's actually harder to destroy?
Depends, I guess.

Remember, SOME droid manufacturers produce inferior military grade products. "Battle Droids" (because apparently nobody ELSE makes droids that fight) are notoriously stupid. If an army of clumsy frog-people and Natalie Portman can take out an entire army of them while the Jedi have a "whose is longer" contest with a Sith, then I'd say you don't have a proven track record of success.

The people who made R2-D2 though seem somewhat more competent, but who knows how much he cost? After all, he was probably a luxury model since he started off on a royal yacht.


But yeah, this was a dig at the F-22/JSF projects. We need fighters, but with the F-15, F-16 and A-10 still in service (read up on the A-10, it was set to be phased out before Desert Storm, but has proven irreplaceable since), there's no need for the F-22 or the JSF.
 

megs1120

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Jul 27, 2009
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Echo Delta said:
Elementlmage said:
He discusses the futility of spending tons of military money on unproven technology with shoddy field records, and the trouble inherent in making military hardware so specialized that only a Sith Lord could operate it.
F22/35/Super Carrier dig anyone? >:)
That was actually my first thought as well haha. It's hard to believe the article (even though its about a fictional topic) when the united states government has spent so much money on impractical fighter jets.
Hey, you never know when we'll have to go to war with the Soviet Union.
 

Avae

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Shoggoth2588 said:
I think The Death Star would be a much more practical investment if it was used as a deep-space exploration vessel instead of a mobile planet-destroying monstrosity.

I mean, think about it. It can travel through the Galaxy, holding years worth of rations and enough people to populate any suitable planet while the Deathstar helpfully orbits said planet to keep an eye on things. Man can travel pretty freely from Earth to the Moon so taking a moon-sized space station and sending it to any given Earth-like planet would be a pretty safe bet I'd think. You know, once we can get our own version of FTL travel or, finish our own version of the Hyper-Drive.

It would still be expensive as hell but using the station as an exploration vessel could potentially pay off in a HUGE way.
I think that would be a fantastic TV Show, instead of Star Trek just have the Death Star flying about.....some Alien species bitching about violating their space?.........

"You may fire when ready."

It would be amazing, make it so!
 

BabySinclair

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C-130, B-52, A-10. Really old planes that are still used because the bloody work. New technology is good, but should be tested and proven small scale before ramping up production (F22/35)
 

Evilsanta

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As long as there are no guys named Luke with a mentor named Obi-Wan I think it would be safe to build one.

Still the man has a point!