Monday, January 05, 2009

Military Budget Crisis looming

The Big Picture: US Military Force Structure

My takeaways:
Massive Defense Budget cuts are coming due to competing Civilian Demands.
Military budgets are already inadequate for stated plans.
The Military is not structured for the missions it is taking on (Iraq, Afghanistan)
" can NOT train a force to do both kinetic war and win “Hearts and Minds” the psychological imbalance not only precludes a force from doing both, but when you try, you fail at both."
Procurement is utterly broken.
"....our current direction of recapitalization cannot be sustained in the face of fiscal realities, and it is probably the wrong direction anyway. Give the delays in new programs and the “LULL” that will exist in delivering them, there is about a 5 year gap in the 2013-2018 timeframe when our current readiness will drop below operational levels. Our current inventory was built on non-wartime metrics.
The 5 years of combat we have had has aged equipment 16-20 years and acquisition programs cannot keep pace and they are unfunded at even that level. For example HUMVEES were programmed for 8000 miles per year. The current inventory in the past 5 years has surpassed the 20 year life of the vehicle (i.e. the average is in excess of 150,000 miles). The vehicles replacement is due in 2014, but is expected to slip to 2018."

Either we need to transition to a full war footing or we need to disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan. No matter what we do we are going to be un-breaking the military for years, possibly a decade or more. We need a military that can "kill people and break things" a lot more than we need one for peacekeeping and that should be the basis for allocating resources.

Our one defining victory of the 20th Century was won on the China model. The "arsenal of democracy ' and the Russian war machine produced vast quantities of adequate weapons swamped the small number of fussy wonder weapons the Germans had. Like a bronze age king though we brought the vanquished enemy's fallen idols into our temple and bowed down before them. We became the ones counting on our wonder weapons that we could never afford to produce in quantity. Our resources are much larger than the German state so it took longer for us to hit a wall but we have. Moore's law does not apply to defense. If anything, it seems to be inverted.

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