Monday, July 10, 2017

Do We Have Military Strength...?

From time to time – jingoists and war-mongerers keep exhorting war. 

But – is war child’s play...? 

Before thinking of war – the first thing a nation has to assess  is its own military strength (and the military strength of the adversary)

How do you assess military strength...? 

I feel that Military Strength has 3 key determinants – as explained below – in a nutshell.

Hardware”  Software  Skinware
Musings of a Veteran

The Military Capability of a nation is dependent on 3 key ingredients:

1. Hardware

2. “Software”

3. “Skinware”

1. MILITARY HARDWARE comprises weapons, equipment, ordnance, platforms (ships/submarines/aircraft/space based platforms) etc – and is a Technology governed Qualitative and Quantitative component – depending on the “high-tech” Quality and Quantity of Military Equipment.

Military Hardware is a tangible factor – and – the Military Hardware and Technologies of a nation are well known.

2. MILITARY “SOFTWARE” refers to the War-Fighting “System” – the operational doctrine, strategy and tactics and the organizational management aspects like Rules/Regulations, HR and Training Policies etc.

Military “Software” comprises both tangible (documented) and intangible (experiential) aspects.

3. MILITARY “SKINWARE” comprises the Human Resource Element of the Defence Services.

Of course – Military “Skinware includes the Military Men and Women in Uniform (Officers and Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen) 

Military “Skinware also includes the Bureaucracy and various Civilians who provide support to the Armed Forces 

And – the most important component of “Skinware is the Political Leadership – which governs the entire gamut of Defence Services and Security Machinery. 

“Skinwarecomprises both quantitative and qualitative factors – tangible and intangible elements.

Of course – tangible “Skinware” numbers can be quantified – a nation may boast of the numerical strength of its Army, Navy and Air Force.

But – the vital characteristic of Military “Skinware” are intangible aspects – which comprise indefinable “hard to quantify” factors like morale, leadership quality, ideology, motivation, inspiration, welfare/care of servicemen and military veterans, respect given to the military by civil society, how civilian citizens treat soldiers etc. 


A nation must develop its Military Capability in a holistic manner – giving due importance to all 3 aspects – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” – in a balanced and harmonious manner. 

High Technology but Low Morale – or – High Morale but Obsolete Technology – or a poorly managed military system  all result in sub-optimal military effectiveness. 

All 3 aspects (Hardware “Software” “Skinware”) – all 3 factors need to be well developed in a balanced manner. 

So – Dear Reader – before we think of war – let us introspect – and holisitically assess our military strength” – all 3 factors – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” – and see where we stand. 

Do we require to augment/optimise – any one – or two – or all the 3 constituents of military strength”...? 

It is only when we are confident of our military preparedness and our superiority in all the 3 domains – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” – should we start thinking of war – provided – our leaders have the political will” – and our citizens have the national readiness – for war

Dear Reader: Do you agree...?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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This is a revised re-post of my article MILITARY PROWESS – Hardware Software and Skinware” posted online by me earlier at url:  and  and

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