Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by osdad, May 4, 2010.
Thoughts? Impacts to USNA and the careers of officers?
Politics and the company man being given orders to diminish the DoD and its budget by leadership that sees shrinking value in the idea of defending freedom and the exceptional nation that has modeled and/or enabled that freedom for virtually every other nation on the planet.
Communism, facism, boots to the throat, imperial wizards, midnite disappearances, and goofy moulahs telling women they're little more than brood sows and had better keep their faces undercover or get beheaded ... are the sole alternatives.
The sole role of a military force in this scheme of worldwide oneness is simply disabling overthrow of the self-annointed leader. And aircraft carriers are non-essential for domestic containment.
Analyzing this one is simple, transparent in today's DC reality. All one need ask ...even w/ the monumental budget issues facing Ronald Reagan, did he slaughter or feed his DoD? Enough written.
Robert Gates is a fine man and worthy Secretary of Defense. But as we are reminded, he is first and foremost a politician-survivor supreme ...and one who can dance with many dates.
I laughed. Hard.
As for the question on the carriers, there is no one in better position to make that determination than Gates and his employees. Its a valid point when you look at the Naval position of the US verse everyone else and try to justify that we can't afford to lose one.
Laugh if you will. You've plenty of company. And you'll make a fine company man. Or whatever. Who wishes to compare the U.S. to "everyone else." I prefer the U.S., as noted, to be the exception. When our days of peace-keeping are over, freedom will be done.
Robert Gates is not and never will be a company man or politician-survivor. He is the MOST professional man in the US government. He does his job right. I don't know of one person in the military that would choose anyone else to be their civilian oversight. He started at the bottom and earned his way to the position he holds through his merits in the DoD. He wasn't appointed by this President.
Please do not say that Sec. Gates has anything but our nation's best issues at heart every time he makes a decision.
Also, if you haven't noticed America has been fighting a very assymetric war over the past couple of years, and carrier strike groups aren't exactly designed for that. Especially the billion dollar AEGIS DDG. Build 2 LCS's for the same price, get twice the visibility, all of the same capabilities that are actually used in this war, and a fraction of the crew (and thus a fraction of the upkeep cost). That is a good deal.
Moving this to Military News Board. It's not about USNA and therefore doesn't belong here
USN seems to have a bit of a identity crisis on it's hands....is it big bad killing Navy or a "Force for Good"? Is it blue water carriers, or the new brown water identity of the LCS?
They've increasing encroached on some missions that have not traditionally been Navy....coastal, river, port.
Does the Navy need 11 carrier groups? I don't think so. Certainly want to continue to have the world's most powerful Navy though.
His points were clear, concise, and spot-on: the Army and Marine Corps have borne the brunt of this extended conflict period. Both services, especially the Army with the large amount of heavy equipment and aircraft, need expensive reset programs. The money has to come from somewhere, and we could currently cut our Navy in half and still be the most powerful deep-water naval force on the planet. The Navy is ripe for cuts.
Gates IS a real pro. But anyone who thinks he is anything less than THE COMPANY MAN ...needs to read his CIA history. He knows how DC works and has been the consummate survivor. That requires going along and getting along. While he has probly more credibility and "go to ****" capital among all of Obama's cabinet members, he also knows when the order comes, get it done. He is ...and that is exactly what this is about. Did you see a single $1 of so-called stimulus $$$ going to the USN? Any DoD agency? And remember, thus far, nearly 80% of the give-away money has gone to government entiies. None for Defense.
So why the cut? That stimulus $$ has to be taken from those areas that are of no priority to the admin. And Gates is the executioner in this instance. A likeable, respected, articulate politician of the highest order. But a politician 1st and always.
Little surprised by Sec. Gates' question. Or, more accurately, a little taken back for what this portends.
So, why do we have this overmatching level of sea-power? I can answer that for you in three words: "Global Power Projection". We're the only kid on the block still capable of doing that. And why do we require Global Power Projection? Allow me to provide one glaring reason -- the little document which the Joint Chiefs authored (and Sec Gates approved) called The National Military Strategy, which calls for a defense able to project power in order to protect America's interests. Comes from an overarching document called the National Security Strategy, which comes from the desk of the President.
So, the Secretary's questions portends one of two possibilities: 1) the SECDEF decided on a whim to ignore the recommendations of the NMS, or 2) he's reading the prevailing winds, and may be predicting a shift in a National Security Strategy where power projection is no longer as important.
Or, he just could be looking for easy money to pay for the Army and USMC, which are most heavily involved in the current fight, and taking the heaviest toll on equipment and manpower. I just hope someone remembers the hard learned lessons of previous times, where America sometimes came into the next battle prepared for the last one, and had it's rear-end handed to them until they were able to get it's collective act together.
(A good read for those interested:
Heard it used to be required reading at the USMA, and a few other PME courses)
The Pentagon Shuffle. An interesting little dance; you just got to follow the money to know the steps...
I'll go out on a limb and say he's using Bullets scenario #2.
Political grumbling about "stimulus package" spending is a red herring to avoid real discussions about the need or lack of need for defense programs. Gates' point is exactly the question he is paid to ask and answer: "how much is enough"? If there is no significant maritime threat to the United States in the forseeable future- how many Carrier groups do we need to maintain? Defense discussions should be dominated by analysis of real and reasonable perceived threats. If there is no combination out there that can challenge the USN on the high seas then Power projection is for sure the only real mission for the USN as the world is constituted now and for the next 20 years. But how much capability do you need? 11 Carrier groups? 8? 6? (Rumsfeld was proposing 8 you may recall). If there is no threat today worthy of a force that size- and there is a distinct possibility that the role of manned aircraft missions has already lessened and will be significantly reduced in the next 20 years then why do we need 11 Carrier groups? It wasn't so long ago when people were screaming about the Navy falling below the 600 ship Navy of Reagan years and when we dropped below 18 Carrier groups we were going to lose our ability to project power. Oddly- that didn't come true. Where the bottom is I don't know, but a reflex reaction that automatically insists that no defense program can ever be cut is just pork barrel spending under a different name.
Personally I'm a little surprised that Gates is picking the carriers as his target here. Given that he has several times pointed out the lack of utility of many of the AF manned aircraft platforms in the 2 wars we've been engaged in, I would have expected that he would have aggressively challenged the current size and footprint of the USAF as their manned platforms become increasingly unaffordable and thus smaller and smaller numbers are fielded - without a commensurate force reduction as far as I can tell. (I think that's coming fast though- it's no coincidence in my estimation that you have the first AFCofS whose career is not either a bomber or fighter guy but has alternated between SOF and Airlift. )
Bottom line- the The USArmy and Marine Corps have been engaged in 2 wars for over 8 years & have had their equipment worn to the nub and need to be recapitalized,and the money to do so needs to come from somewhere. Carrier groups are huge money and manpower consumers that can be deactivated quickly so if they can't be justified by the threat then there is a big and fast payoff in eliminating them.
Bruno, you know I love ya, and not to quibble too much, but the AF (and Naval aviation) assets have been just as heavily engaged in that part of the world for over 20 years now, with NO major acquisition of any tactical aircraft outside of some F-22s and Super Hornets. Our tactical aviation fleet has been used WELL beyond the expected service parameters for those two+ decades, and the average age of our air fleets are the oldest they have EVER been (our fighter fleet is, on average, over 20+ years old). Heavy involvement in both those wars plus a decade plus of involvement prior plus a decade of flying Operation NOBLE EAGLE + a "procurement vacation" from getting replacements = our equipment is worn to a nub and needs to be recapitalized as well.
Agree. In fact, I agree with most of your post. We DO need to assess where there is overmatch and where we need the money the most. Just throwing the proverbial grenade out there, but exactly how many Main Battle tanks are needed in the current battle with the insurgents in Afghanistan? Or Patriot missile systems? Or submarines? Or MLRS?
There is plenty of overmatch throughout the DoD if you're using the current operations as your measuring stick. The question is: is that wise to do so? History tells us perhaps not.
Anyone else here remember when Gate's "secret 3 page memo" slipped out to the media about a month ago? You know, the one where he reminded everyone that we don't have a long term plan?
He's "towing the line" after that assessment
I feel like we're back in 1976....
Let's be a bit realistic, here. 11 Carrier Groups is too many, especially nowadays when we have the ability to provide deep-strike capability from AFBs in the US.
No one is saying we need to gut the Navy. He's saying "Gee, maybe we can get by with 10 Carrier Groups."
There is a reason they're shifting their focus (and commercials) to the LCS, and can't complete a briefing without talking about pirates.
I'm giving my opinion on the political end as I have absolutely no knowledge of how many Carrier Groups are needed in the US Fleet. I do however, occasionally talk to a retired (now driving a USNS Oiler/ammo as Skipper) two star RADM (neighbor and friend) about the current admins position with things regarding the Navy and Military. That was the gist of his opinion.
Ironically, my RADM friend, just so happened to be the Captain of the USNS ship that took the lone Pirate survivor back to NYC last year for his "arraignment"
Bullet- I'm not saying that I think the AF is too big or that it doesn't need recapitalization- I'm saying that I'm surprised that the SecDef went after the Navy first given some of his other comments at other times.
LINK to Article here
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