Withdrawal from Iraq

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by hornetguy, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Ok guys, this random thought process came to my head and I'm curious about other people's thoughts.

    IF someone like Obama is elected and we begin immediate withdrawal, I would expect defense spending to decrease right? Or would the funds start being used in different ways. For example, my biggest thought was: right now the Army probably is the most well-funded and is the topic of attention due to the effects of combat on ground forces. WELL, the Air Force has a bad issue with aging aircraft, a bad one. It's one that will require a MINIMUM of $20 billion a year extra to even attempt to begin fixing the problem with new aircraft and moderization (or so I've read). Would this be seen as an issue important to someone like Obama as far as military goes (if he should care about such minor details or his potential future cabinet) or would a new administration even have an impact on inter-military spending.

    Basically, I worry about job security with a potential democratic president, but I'm wondering how much so!

    Rant over. ;)
     
  2. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I wouldn't worry too much about a job. The AF has wrested control of UAVs away from the Army. The SecDef has been holding their feet to the fire and actually, to their dismay, insist that they fly them, despite their claim that they do not have sufficient pilots. With the increased technology and newly placed emphasis on drones, you should be ensured a job throughout your entire career.
     
  3. THURL

    THURL Founding Member

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    My best guess is that money currently being used to fund the war will be diverted to Navy and Air Force for ships, subs, and aircraft. I believe they have been underfunded for awhile because of the war. Also money will also go for repair and refit of combat vehicles and equipment.

    With China, Iran and Korea in the picture I don't see any scaling down of forces.

    T
     
  4. sealion

    sealion Member

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    I heard on the news yesterday that President Bush has committed more troops to Afghanistan even after he leaves office. There are about 32,000 there right now - according to the news report.

    I didn't realize there were that many there. Obviously, I don't know how that will affect flying jobs.

    A non sequitur, but when my brother was active duty Air Force they were using bases in Turkey to fly in the Mid East.

    Is there someone official at AF who could speculate reasonably about how troop withdrawal could affect career opportunities?

    Sometimes I'm surprised about the guess driven anxiety that comes from students at the SA's. I thought students at the SA's would have fairly direct and rapid access to accurate military information.
     
  5. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    Never underestimate the desire of a Congressman interested in his political survival to bring defense spending to his district, even if the military doesn't want or need the product of that spending.
     
  6. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    OK, "official"? Maybe not to the level of SECAF, but I did stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Arlington during my Pentagon assignment several years back. :biggrin: I also worked the AF side of the issues with the Joint Staff for ALL "big ticket" requirements, so I have some background.

    AHHHH, talking politics and how it impacts each service's future. A favorite game in the Puzzle Palace. Each service spends considerable effort in that place trying to sell Congress on what it needs over the next 20 years. What each cadet needs to understand (and what you'll find out during your career) is that it is all cyclical, based on the current situation and what happened within the past few years. Congress tends to be "short-sighted", looking at the current situation and what their constituents are concerned about now (which comes mostly from mass media, which is even more "short-sighted") when it comes to deciding where to spend the taxpayers money. A can spend hours giving examples, but for the sake of time (and my typing fingers) I'll ask you cadets instead to look at how the conflicts of the past few decades impacted service budgets and programs. Ground wars (Vietnam, Iraq / Afghan today) tend to increase Congress's attention on the ground services. Airpower campaigns (El Dorado Canyon, the first few weeks of Desert Storm, Bosnia) tend to increas the AF and Navy budget. Of course, there are other important facotrs involved, but I'm tying to keep this discussion simplistic (again, we could go on for hours off topic discussing this).

    OK, so how does this impact you cadets currently marching the pavement in C Springs or Annapolis? Well, situations change. History proves it. What may be gospel to Congress today will become "old news" should China attack Taiwan, or some other situation. You go through lean years, you go through feast during your career. None of the services are "going away"; you'll have a job, but maybe not in your first choice. But the wheel is round; you might find yourself in doing something you didn't plan on today, but on an even better position for your next assignment. Yes, the AF's fighter fleet is aging fast and needs help and (more importantly) money. Yes, the Navy and AF's "big ticket" wish-list items are taking some hits from Congress and the media and may not be as robust as hoped. Yes, the Army and Marines are getting the spotlight (and the money tha comes wth that attention) today. But things change.

    As to UAVs: yep, you may find yourself in a trailer in Nevada, sipping coffee while you're "driving" one of those somewhere across the globe as one of your 3-year tours, but if during the other 4 flying tours you're in an F-22, isn't that one stint in Nevada worth the price of admission? (Again, I can have hours of discussion talking about UAVs, their impact, and the AF's selection as Executive Agent for their future, but I'm trying to keep this on track).

    So, Hornetguy, Yes, you will have a future career. Will it be 20 years in a cockpit of the latest and greatest fighter? News flash: it hasn't been that way ever that I'm aware of. You'll always have assignments that take you away from "slipping the surly bonds of Earth" during a career in avaition. And will the AF and Navy go the way of the Dodo while you're on active duty? Well, a few things may make some of your time uncomfortable RIGHT NOW, but unless you're Madam Cleo, none of us can foresee what the future holds.

    Last bit of advice: get on active duty,and worry about TODAY! Do your job, do it well, give everything you have everyday, and things will work out for you. They usually do....
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  7. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    As to troop withdrawal and how it will impact career possibilities in avaition? Well, my best estimation, based on years of experience in HQ-level jobs and the Puzzle Palace is: Who Knows? It could be that the next President spends his (or her) years in office "trying to fix" the Army from years of this war. Or they could adapt of foriegn policy of "the best solutionfor any international crisis is to lob some Tomahawks". Or a butterfly may sneez in the Costa Rican jungle, which will cause pollen to go in the air, causing an increase in rain, starting a major storm system that goes round the globe and makes a Typhoon in the Pacific, ruining this summer's Olympics, thus China invades Taiwan!!!:biggrin: My point is, we don't know with 100% certainty.

    Again, things will change in your career. Your primary job is to do your primary job well, today.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  8. VMINROTChopeful

    VMINROTChopeful Member

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    this is not meant to address the career issue, but i've seen a lot of talk on a navy forum about there being pressure in congress to reduce the air force's budget. here is an article from feb 2008 on this topic:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0226/p03s03-usmi.html

    also, you know that right now, the air force is going through a huge reduction in force, right? http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070215-076.pdf
    this is just an example of the air force reshaping itself.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I think that you need to worry about the things you can change and not sweat the details of an unforseeable future. 8 years ago the Army was starving for funds and missions - we had shed 300,000 soldiers in the previous 5 years. Now- clearly a different story. Everything goes in cycles and you are making a mistake if you try to really predict a future that has so many different variables. For every prognosticator predicting one future, there is another one with a different prediction. If you want to be in the AirForce- then do what you've been dreaming of. The AF undoubtedly will look different in some aspects in the future but I guarantee it will still be there and once you are in it you get to be part of an exciting ride. The future will be what it will be.

    Good luck
     
  10. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    The RIF shouldnt affect any of us as it will be done with by the time we graduate. They arent really affecting aviators either as it is. Plus the SECAF and CSAF are lobbying to stop the reduction short. Since the Army and Marines are increasing in size, the AF is going to need more men to support them. So they see that increasing the ground force while decreasing the air support force is a bad idea.

    And from what I hear, they are only having the reduction to free up quick funds to pay for the F-22. As far as job security for pilots goes, I see long term issues in the future. Since they arent going to buy as many -22s and the F-35 is being attacked by the GAO, they will need less pilots to fill the active slots. Congress cut the F-22 order from something like 350 to 183 and I bet the F-35 wont be much better. The AF seems to have a new attitude of doing "more with less" these days. But these are just my observations.
     
  11. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    nick, based on what I've heard about some flying squadrons, I'm apt to say the RIF does affect aviators. On another note, supposedly our airlift fleet (C-5's and C-17s) are going to live a shorter life than intended due to supporting operation in the AOR. Since only somthing like half the number of C-17s were produced to replace the retired starlifters, their lifespan has shortened with the large amount of combat sorites. The huge stink with the KC-X deal is annoying since the tanker fleet has 50 year old aircraft in it! I guess my issue is watching the air force's aircraft getting older and having more problems like the F-15A-D models are having.

    Meh, I guess I should quit worrying. But my stance as of late has been to want McCain for defense spending/jobs/stuff policy, but now I wonder where someone like Obama would take it. That's really what I'm searching at!
     
  12. VMINROTChopeful

    VMINROTChopeful Member

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    obama is no pacifist. pacifists could probably not get elected in the US, at least not for president. i'm guessing he would probably pull out of iraq pretty quickly and then iraq will collapse like vietnam did, but an obama president would spend a lot of money still on the military. probably a lot less than mccain though.
     
  13. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    Sorry about the error with the RIF. Im not very familiar with the details on who's getting cut. But Ive heard that its hitting the non-rated community hardest.

    I would say even if Obama is elected it doesnt really matter. Im no real expert but wouldnt the SecDef and Congress be more deeply involved in approprations? Id guess Obama would concern himself most with social programs.

    Plus, even if there is an immediate withdrawl, AQ would infiltrate the country in droves, Iran and Syria would grab for influence and Turkey would invade Kurdistan. Our oil interests would again be threatened and Id guess we'd have to go back in there a few years later (and defense spending would again increase). McCain has been saying that for months, but if Obama is elected Id say that the JCS and State Dept folks would make it clear that IMMEDIATE withdrawl is impractical.
     
  14. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    Id also say that as far as aircraft go, the C-17s are a big problem. I know we were supposed to procure a lot more initially, but the clinton drawdowns hit in the early 90s.

    But ive been told thats not the biggest problem. The AC-130 is one of the oldest a/c we have, and is being used more than any other. Those things have thousands and thousands of hours on them, and still, every time a SF team goes out, an AC is supporting them. Especially with the new type of warfare we're seeing, Id say that the AC-130 issue is as big of a need as the new tanker.
     
  15. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Really, our entire inventory needs a good looking at. C-130s, KC-135s, B-52s, helicopters, F-15A-Ds, and the stress on those taking up the slack like C-17s and the aging C-5s. I would really like to know how much it will take before the situation is given the attention it needs outside the air force.
     

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