…are currently running this nation.
Pentagon plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II level. From the New York Times.
It’s been quite a while since I brought out the chainsaws of exposure, now seems like a good time.
NYTimes – “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001″
R – Are these Chuck Hagel’s plans or do they come from the Obama White House? Because I don’t see any difference from what Bob Gates did when his neck was under Obama’s loafers, nor do I see any difference from Obama’s many various campaign promises (threats) to emasculate the US military. Eliminating the A-10 gets covered later in the article so I’ll get back to that folly then. Given that the enemies of 2001 are still very actively at war with the US and its allies, why is our political leadership aggressively pushing the US military off of its war footing?
NYTimes – “The proposal, described by several Pentagon officials on the condition of anonymity in advance of its release on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.”
R – “The fiscal reality of government austerity” is not reflected by the antics of the Obama family vacations (at least Jimmy Carter put on a sweater), nor does this austerity seem to be negatively effecting numerous massive government bureaucracies that serve no real purpose beyond pushing paper and creating unenforceable laws, rules, and regulations that damage the economy still further. The president who pledged to end two land wars failed to understand that it was and remains a single war with multiple fronts. Costly (comparatively to history, no), exhausting or otherwise, that war is not over, because the enemy has not agreed to stop fighting the war that they declared. The results of the already massive military budget cuts during the last five years of this war have left the US military incapable of intervening in any place that the current White House has declared a “Red Line“, continued cuts will soon reduce the US military to struggling to intervene any place outside of the confines of a few remaining military bases within the continental US. Will we then be talking about a US military too small for its protracted domestic occupation? There are currently at least six potential adversary nations that, depending on circumstances, could defeat the current US military or at least not be defeated by the current US military and it doesn’t take very much imagination or uncommon knowledge to figure out which six those are.
NYTimes – “The officials acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.”
R – Cutting the military budget has already caused the current multi-front war to be extended dramatically, which will inevitably result in much higher casualty counts…among the effected civilian populations of regions where the US can no longer intervene. Most of those six potential adversaries are already practicing adventurism, they got their invitation in early 2009.
NYTimes – “You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war,” a senior Pentagon official said.”
R – A “senior” (and unnamed) Pentagon official said that? There are still almost 70,000 US troops in Afghanistan, in this day and age that counts as a large land war. I see a great place the military could save some budget room already…among senior unnamed Pentagon officials who seem unaware of current events.
NYTimes – “retire air wings” “National Guard anticipated cuts” “slow Navy shipbuilding”
R – None of those are ingredients in the recipe for a prepared military institution. Nor are they in any way conducive for a nation that is still at war on multiple fronts.
NYTimes – “Even so, officials said that despite budget reductions, the military would have the money to remain the most capable in the world and that Mr. Hagel’s proposals have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Money saved by reducing the number of personnel, they said, would assure that those remaining in uniform would be well trained and supplied with the best weaponry.”
R – That “most capable” title is rapidly slipping away, to China among others. The Joint Chiefs, as so aptly demonstrated in Bob Gates “Duty“, have just two choices, they can endorse their political masters self destructive whims or they can retire. If the money saved by reducing personnel is to be used to increase training for the handful remaining, then how will that exact same money improve the national debt/economy in any way? There are currently at least seven Main Battle Tanks in production that are the equivalent or perhaps even better then the US M1-A2SEP Abrams, four of those are made by potential adversary nations.
NYTimes – “The new American way of war will be underscored in Mr. Hagel’s budget, which protects money for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare.”
R – That’s nice, but neither can hold ground, or stop tank divisions from taking ground. This is not a “new” way of American war, it’s an old standing US political tradition that leads directly to Pearl Harbor.
NYTimes – “And in an indication of the priority given to overseas military presence that does not require a land force, the proposal will — at least for one year — maintain the current number of aircraft carriers at 11.”
R – For almost a year now the USN has had just one, sometimes two carriers at sea out of the eleven currently in active service. That’s not an “overseas military presence” it’s a single drop in the oceans.
NYTimes – “Over all, Mr. Hagel’s proposal, the officials said, is designed to allow the American military to fulfill President Obama’s national security directives: to defend American territory and the nation’s interests overseas and to deter aggression — and to win decisively if again ordered to war.”
R – Closing the southern border would go far towards defending American territory. Defending the nations overseas interests and deterring aggression with missiles and a handful of Special Forces units might still work against a few third world nations, but that depends on how aggressively they want to defend their aspirin factories. Win decisively? Not against any of our current crop of potential national adversaries. If the current Commander-in-Chief orders the current US military into a full scale war he should be impeached on the spot.
NYTimes – ““We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” the official said. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.”
R – No we won’t, China has almost 2 million soldiers in its land army alone. How agile will this new military be if it cannot leave the continental United States? Oversea interests cannot be defended with missiles and cyberwar capability. Almost all of the programs designed to modernize the equipment of the US military have been cut or slashed entirely from the budget, and more such cuts are coming.
NYTimes – “For years, and especially during the Cold War, the Pentagon argued that it needed a military large enough to fight two wars simultaneously — say, in Europe and Asia.”
R – The Two-Ocean strategy goes back to the Franklin D Roosevelt administration passing the “Two Ocean Navy Act” in 1940. The FDR administration was not the Pentagon.
NYTimes – “In more recent budget and strategy documents, the military has been ordered to be prepared to decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there.”
R – Orders to prepare that contradict existing budgetary constraints are all but meaningless. The US military is currently in no position to win against any one of its top six potential adversaries, much less decisively. It is certainly not capable of holding off a second such adversary at the same time. Mobilizing sufficient forces implies conscription in the worst case and at best implies ill-trained older reservists hurriedly scraped together as cannon fodder to hold a line until the draftees arrive. Redeployed suggests both an ability and the logistics to leave the continental US, which would seem to contradict the stated intent of these budget cuts.
NYTimes – “If steeper spending reductions kick in again in 2016 under the sequestration law, however, then even more significant cuts would be required in later years.”
R – There is no “if” here. The Obama administration has significantly cut the US military budget every single year that it has been in office, there is no reason not to believe that it will continue to do so for its remaining years in office.
NYTimes – “The proposals are certain to face resistance from interest groups like veterans’ organizations, which oppose efforts to rein in personnel costs; arms manufacturers that want to reverse weapons cuts; and some members of Congress who will seek to block base closings in their districts.”
R – The proposals will face absolutely no resistance from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, or a host of third world nations led by bloodthirsty dictators.
NYTimes – (two paragraphs on all the wonderful cuts to allowances and subsidies for active US military members and their families)
R – We ask these people to defend us and our way of lives, and we ask them to sacrifice a significant proportion of their own lives, if not their own health and lives themselves, and our elected leaders expect our military members to pay for the privilege of this? That will serve only to speed up the process of reducing the number of active duty military personnel.
NYTimes – “Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft would be eliminated. The aircraft was designed to destroy Soviet tanks in case of an invasion of Western Europe, and the capabilities are deemed less relevant today.”
R – Eliminating the most capable ground attack aircraft in the history of flight combat will not increase the capability or the flexibility of the reduced military in any way. No US soldier or Marine in Iraq or Afghanistan ever complained about the relevance of the A-10′s ability to destroy tanks.
NYTimes – “In addition, the budget proposal calls for retiring the famed U-2 spy plane in favor of the remotely piloted Global Hawk.”
R – That’s not a favor. The U-2 collects more data, faster, then the Global Hawk can. The unmanned Global Hawk can be sent places that the manned U-2 cannot. Both are needed.
NYTimes – “The Navy would be allowed to purchase two destroyers and two attack submarines every year. But 11 cruisers will be ordered into reduced operating status during modernization.”
R – Destroyers and submarines are fine, but they cannot take or hold land and without air support they of limited value in defending US land based interests overseas. Retiring eleven cruisers does not improve the capabilities or the flexibility of the US military.
NYTimes – “Although consideration was given to retiring an aircraft carrier, the Navy will keep its fleet of 11 — for now.”
R – Given how few USN carriers are actually at sea, due to existing budget cuts and scheduled maintenance, this is of no comfort.
Shrinking the US military to pre Pearl Harbor levels should sound an ominous note to anybody who has studied even basic high school history.