« The empire's demise has been prematurely reported | Main | Pirates and convoys »

November 28, 2008

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Cheap tramp steamers refitted into Q-ships maybe? It's kind of outside the box for most navies, though, one would think.

Contractors are probably the solution, but I think that you'd have to be at least somewhat careful in vetting those you employ so you don't just wind up with another group of pirates running around. And the U.S. does have the constitutional authority to issue letters of marque, and IIRC is not a signatory to the treaty whereby a lot of European powers agreed to end privateering.

1. Re Armchair Admirals's post linked to: What price is he putting on moral hazard? (And I'm saving that link as evidence in the future debate on why neocons haven't gone away.)

2. What can the contractors do that isn't being done already? Posting armed guards on board to repel boarders doesn't sound that controversial. Did you have something else in mind?

3. News coverage of the pirates had given me the impression that they were a bunch of guys with guns and fast boats; obviously that's not close to the whole story. What do we know about them? Who are they allied to, how do they recruit and train, what do they do with their money?

4. I suspect that electronic communications might be their Achilles heel. However, that would also be expensive to exploit.

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