throwaway capability

xrn

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi, I've come across this phrase once or twice during my studies and it has always boggled my mind.
The Soviets had larger rockets than we had and consequently they had heavier throwaway capability. And if this trend was allowed to continue without any compensating action on our part of course I was concerned about it.

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Thomas Moorer, 1986
Intelligence has historically been an easy throwaway capability. It has often been considered nice to have, however, the changes in our national security concerns and in our military doctrine and strategies are resulting in an era in which intelligence information will be a mainstay of our national security strategy.

Full text of "IC21 : the Intelligence Community in the 21st century : hearings before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, May 22--December 19, 1995"
Another foreign-steered neo-Ottoman throwaway capability is the Turkish-based Nursi Sufi order led by Fethullah Gulen, which enjoys close ties with the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon and its Washington, D.C. organ, the Washington Times.

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/...90910_045-the_neo_ottoman_trap_for_turkey.pdf
I feel like in the first one, it might mean "a one-off capability". Like, throwaway capability might mean you can just use it once and get rid of it? I'm not sure.
In the second link, it doesn't seem to have the same meaning as the first, but I can't figure out what it could mean.
In the third one, I have absolutely no clue as to what it could mean.

Just to give some context for the third link: It's talking about foreign-steered attempts to revive the Ottoman Empire and strengthen Neo-Ottoman ideology.

I'm not asking that you tell me the specific meaning in every quote. I've added them just to give a couple of examples. My question is, what does "throwaway capability" mean in general?

Thank you for reading.
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I've never heard of it and can find no definition online. There are only a very small number of results from a Google search.

    So I guess someone has an idea what it means but it seems to be a very select group of people. I can only guess from the examples.

    I agree with you that the first example seems different than the other two, but I'm not totally certain. I think it might be related.

    Number two seems to be the clearest and means the idea that we could live without it if we had to. We could literally "throw it away" and keep going.

    The way I think the first one might relate is that they have bigger rockets that can carry more warheads and therefore they have an overcapacity of warheads, so they can waste a lot of them on unsuccessful attacks (throw them away) and still have enough left over to accomplish the main task.

    So really, the one I don't understand is the third one.

    Based on the frequency with which the term is used and the lack of a definition online, I think you can call it a throwaway term. You don't need it to be successful in life or English. :)
     

    xrn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    So really, the one I don't understand is the third one.
    Could the third one mean that this order, this group in question is another pawn that foreign powers use that they can just throwaway after it serves its purpose? Would it be correct to assume something along those lines?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That was my only thought, too. But I don't know what they really do so I don't know if they can be thrown away and who would throw them away. They have independent relations with the Unification Church (I don't know why) so they can't be just a pawn, it seems.

    Maybe they mean "they" can secretly use it to try to influence people but they don't have to take public responsibility for it. But I don't know who "they" are.
     
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