Something Wicked This Way Comes

SUBSUNK is mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

Your Defense got sold down the river when you elected the Dhimmicrats as a majority to Congress in 2006. All DoD is to a Dhimmicrat is a Pork Jobs Program. If you can find a Pro Defense guy with a D after his name, I’ll buy you a steak dinner…..

And Sen Webb most assuredly doesn’t count as Pro Defense to me. And he used to be my SECNAV too…………. Gates just does what the bosses tell him to do. (Anybody else miss Rummy when you ask what is in the future of the Forces questions? At least he didn’t sell out our National Defense because his boss was looking to make a political windfall.)

Read it and weep, because the Hollow Force is here to stay for awhile.

It’s a good read, and raises a lot of valid points. I was (fortunately) not around for Carter’s Navy. In fact, I showed up as we rode the downward slope of Reagan’s Navy during the Clinton years. So you could say I’m bearing witness to the elegant decline.

“The Navy’s reliance on emergency defense supplemental appropriations to fund routine ship maintenance in recent years begs for re-examination,” Webb wrote on his Web site. “Such funding should be included in the core budget, and it should be protected.”
I completely agree. In fact, so does the Navy. For the past year the Navy has been *trying* to get these essential services into the baseline budget to protect the funding, the problem is that we’ve trained ourselves to go for the easy money, and for the past few years the low hanging fruit was in the supplemental. After all, who’s going to vote against the budget for war? Not many, but the normal operating budget? Oh, we’ll fight over that like the last piece of chicken at dinner. So naturally, all of the services started to squeeze things into the supplemental that were maybe not so “conflict” related. Reap what you sow on that one, I’m afraid.

Defense analysts said the budget problem isn’t unique to the Navy; it has become a perennial one for the Pentagon. Last year, legislators had to pump nearly $1 billion into the operations and maintenance accounts of the four military services – including $180 million for Navy ships and aircraft – in a midyear supplement to the Pentagon budget.

In defense of the Navy on this one, the service is also paying for over 4400 sailors serving as boots on the ground in Iraq. 4400 folks whose jobs would probably have been eliminated in accordance with the draw down. 4400 folks that are doing distinctly non-Navy jobs (Detainee camp operations anyone? I’ve seen Submarine Sonarmen go and do this job). Using the estimate that one person costs the Navy $100,000 a year (with pay, benefits, training, etc), well… that’s $440 million right there. In theory you could say we’re doing a damn good job saving money since we only asked for an extra $180 mil for ships and aircraft and you know we took money from that account to pay for people.

Surface ships will remain tethered to their piers for more days. Their sailors and aircraft crews will undergo more training with simulators instead of taking to the sea or sky.
SUBSUNK points out that you fight like you train. Absolutely. There is no replacement for getting out there and doing the job. Simulators are good, but they never simulate the “well….shit” moments that happen in real life.
Perhaps more importantly, the money that we think we’re going to save by cutting down on operations will inevitably be spent on repairs as people who, through no fault of their own, go to sea and make the mistakes that tend to happen at sea. Unfortunately, the less we go to sea to train, these mistakes will change from the tiny and recoverable to the large and much more expensive.

The main point of all this is that having a Navy is expensive. More importantly, a Navy is necessary. Say all you want about how there is no large Naval threat to the US, if you allow it to decline now, when the enemy *does* pop up, the nation will find itself caught with its collective pants around the ankles wondering why a fleet of 55 LCS’ and an ass-ton of Special Operators can’t stop anything. After all, we’re the largest Navy right now, and there’s no threat. But nature abhors a vacuum, so if we allow ourselves to decline, it is almost guaranteed that someone will suddenly emerge to take the reigns of global commerce.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s difficult to maintain the long range outlook necessary to justify the expenditures required to sustain a viable naval force. We’re distracted every 30 minutes by global warming, or Britney, or who’s going to win The Biggest Loser, or some other nonsense. When the news cycle is this fast, and the news is an inherent part of generating public opinion (and therefore votes for Senators and Congressmen), things that require diligent thought and a sense of scope are going to be ignored for the quick fix, give me results I can show my constituents, perceived “easy decisions”.

Too bad these “easy decisions” are nothing more than paint on a rusting car. And the nation won’t realize it until they call on the Navy to do something, and when we can’t they’ll look at their representatives like Chris Farley in Tommy boy. All “What did you DO?!?”

OPNAV Staff Member reviewing the 10 Budget

OPNAV Staff Member reviewing the 10 Budget

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3 Responses to Something Wicked This Way Comes

  1. Niall says:

    I’m amused to see how completely reality defying our Naval personnel seem to be. So, the Republicans have always supported the military, and the Democrats have always undermined it? Ha ha. That’s really funny.

    Who killed the Comanche helicopter program? Donald Rumsfeld, a Republican.

    Who killed the Crusader artillery system? Donald Rumsfeld, a Republican.

    Who refused to listen to the advice of the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and insisted on sending in a pitifully small military force to secure Iraq, leading to thousands of unnecessary military deaths there? Donald Rumsfeld, a Republican.

    Who refused to give the ground forces in Iraq the armored protection necessary to protect their lives against mines and IEDs? Leading to thousands of deaths and brain damaged service personnel? Donald Rumsfeld, a Republican.

    What military won the First Gulf War decisively? Why, the military bequeathed to Bush I by the Clinton administration.

    Have you guys tried working some comedy clubs? You’d be very successful.

  2. fastnav says:

    Comparing the first Gulf War to the current engagement in Iraq is simply silly.

    But if you must, we actually decisively won the major combat operations in this war even faster than the first Gulf War.

    The difference is that the first Gulf war ended with major combat operations. Get Saddam out of Kuwait. High fives all around.

    This war didn’t *really* start until after that same decisive victory in major combat operations was done. Once the insurgency started it was a whole new ball game.

    The wars won or lost are never by any “President’s Military”, it is simply the military.

    Oh and Bush I was before Clinton, but that’s just a little fact checker for the crowd…. because Bush I was after Reagan.

    A Republican.

  3. Niall says:

    It’s not at all silly to reference the first Gulf War, since that war was fought with the Carter (sorry I slipped up and mentioned CLinton – my bad. But apparently the Carter military was even worse, so my point still stands) military. The one that was supposedly gutted and left a useless skeleton by those evil Democrats.

    Maybe not so much after all? Eh?

    I fully agree with your point about the Iraq war. Except that failure to plan adequately for an insurgency was the fault of a … (wait for it!) Republican administration. Right?

    ANd it’s a contradiction to hold particular presidents accountable for the state of the military under their tenure, and then say that you can’t give credit to presidents when the military they budget and are responsible for does well.

    Doesn’t check with chart.

    Rumsfeld’s military policies were a complete disaster for the US project in Iraq. Yet he is a Republican and creature of a Republican administration. So this business of the Republicans always being good for the military just doesn’t scan with reality.

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