Lumberton
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Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:11 pm

Parallel to this thread, which discusses potential German defense cuts (and French),
Germany Reduces Number Of Aircraft (by columba Jul 7 2010 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

Aviation Week & Space Technology's Guy Norris, one of the best reporters in the trade, penned this article which appeared today on discussions concerning reductions to the U.S. Defense Budget.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...20The%20Crosshairs&channel=defense

One of the salient points is contained in this quote:

Quote:
At the well-respected Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Senior Fellow Todd Harrison says that if officials really want to save money in defense, “stop doing things.”

Some may want to interpret this as a "duh" moment, but in reality this is the crux of the problem. Strategy drives costs. For example, we keep deploying carrier battle groups as though the cold war never ended. Ashton Carter, the Obama appointed Under Sec Def for Acquisition had a meeting a week ago and came up with this "brilliant" guidance:

Quote:
For instance, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, talked about paying for what goods and services “should cost.” But that is not a legal term and it cannot be found in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations. Carter acknowledges several more weeks of “conferring” with officials and industry executives before reporting out more information.

Those of us who served back in the '80s remember the reaction to the USD$600 hammer (or was it a toilet seat?) and all the "brilliant" (that word again) programs to determine what something "should cost". I was intimately involved in the business then and can't recollect where we had a whole lot of success. Good luck on this, Ashton.

Point of this being: what should go? Unless we continue to allow these lawyers who we elect to Congress to keep pretending that there's no financial trainwreck on the horizon, tough choices will be made. I believe that this upcoming election will turn on who will have the guts to "wield the axe".

To get these mental giants off to a good start, I propose the following:
-USN: say "sayonara" to 2 carriers w/air wings & escorts. Deploy carriers as necessary, not like clockwork. "Fleets in Being" are still a valid concept. Who knows, this might have a salutary effect when the nations that previously benefited from our presence realize they have to pick up some slack. Amphibious forces are still needed, but the same applies: mothball the older vessels and quit deploying for the sake of deploying. How many Marines in Iraq or Afghanistan got there by boat? This will allow a cut of USN personnel. (and note that personnel is the largest cost incurred by DOD and the one Congress simply lacks the guts to cut. In fact, they keep adding benefits almost yearly).
-Air Force. Rehab the KC-135Rs & cancel the tanker contract. Cut back a few tactical wings. Cease C-17 production. Cut back on F-35 buys. Cut personnel. Kill the C-27. No more F-16 or F-15 buys.
-Army. Armored forces & artillery. Mothball or transfer more to the reserves. Transfer the slots to special forces & infantry.
-USMC. You're good.

Of course, one can cherry pick these proposals apart, but remember they are just that, a strawman to be sliced and diced. No one can argue that things should remain the same.

Cuts are coming...DOD can't be immune when we ask for a reduction in other budget categories (especially medicare and social security).

Where would you cut?

What will happen to NATO? The Germans, French, and Brits have announced their intentions to scale back their armed forces. Do they expect us to continue as the bulwark of NATO's force structure in a crisis?

[Edited 2010-07-09 15:32:05]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
johns624
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:53 pm

Maybe everyone should cut back their forces until they have no force projection left. Then no one can get at anyone else and there will be peace in our time.  
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:41 pm

I have a novel idea.

ENLARGE THE MILITARY TO CUT COSTS.

How?

Well stop paying companies millions of dollars to commit crimes. Thats right $0 to PMC's from the US government. Also Massive cutbacks in the service side contracts where failures to provide services has been a major issue. Any that are left should have some actual oversight and be liable both in civil and criminal courts for thier actions. When this happens we can start using actual servicemen for these duties and enjoy a trifecta of improvement. More servicemen, better services, and cheaper costs. Failing the banning of the use of PMCs, heavy heavy regulation should hit them. No hiring former US military personel until 2 years after they recieve a honorable discarge. Full compiance with US laws regardless of location. Additional complaince with the UMCJ when operating in areas with US military control/oversight. Auditing to verify services rendered match services charged. If we can stop the bleeding of trained US personell to PMCs where they recieve huge pay jumps and minimal oversight, we can have a more effective military for the same cost.

I'd also support an overhaul of the benfits and pay for service men such that retention is improved by making some benifits not exist at low ranks (both enlisted and officer) which go up with both time and rank. One is no family benifits for the lowest few ranks and first 2 years. IE a band new lieutenant has no family benifits the same as a new private. Then as they aquire rank and time they start to recieve more benifits, and by say 4 years they will start into a higher pay than previously offered. Of course the new pay/benifit structure would only apply to new recruits to avoid hurting existing servicemen.
 
santafejay
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:44 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 1):
Where would you cut?

Question really should be "where wouldn't you cut". The big problem is which politician has the courage to tell the American people we are going to have to make some sacrafices for awhile. We all know it's needed but it's also political suicide. I've heard people for years saying if we could just cut the waste from our programs we could probably keep them all. I doubt that that's true but waste and corruption isn't a bad place to start.
 
SeJoWa
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:34 am

I guess we're in for cuts, but we must make sure not to endanger our longer term prospects by abandoning prudence (or rather regaining it). If we cut too much in the wrong places, someone's going to try to take advantage of it.

Find out what methods encourage continuous improvement and competition. Top down command-economy thrashing is not one.

Set ourselves up so we have choices. Then choose. No useful feedback over too long a time... no program. It was fundamentally flawed to aim for one fighter aircraft, no matter how good it turns out to be. Who enabled that? Where are they now? Have they learned anything?

Wise and continuous pruning can improve our forces. It probably would have kept programs on a tighter leash.

Nimble, smaller vehicles in greater numbers are cheaper and less predictable.

Cut smartly and let services reinvest part of the savings in new programs (on a much larger scale than what is presently being attempted).

Invest in new kinds of offensive systems where it makes a difference (because the enemy will have to expend resources to adapt)... for instance, slowly alter the mix of our Pacific fleet to make it less vulnerable to cheap ballistic carrier-killers (that China can build by the thousands). In essence, find a new, smaller and more dangerous class of capital ship. Wild idea du jour: adapt EMALS (the new, versatile electric catapult) to a new class smaller, semi-submersible drone launching carriers.

Automate by ecouraging experimentation and rapid fielding of robotic weapons so as to create an accelerating and proliferating feedback loop involving all relevant players from field to lab to fab. This would also boost R&D and small companies. Is the present system open enough to encourage constant experimentation? Would a forward-deployed team of google programmers be able to deliver something useful in the space of six months? Try it.

Rapid innovation favors smaller, more efficient teams all round by keeping established, ossified structures at bay.

We have the smart people, and yes, the money. Stand back and let them deliver. Then go all bureaucratic.

The war going on is not only a drain, but also an opportunity paid for in blood.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:54 am

Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 4):
I guess we're in for cuts, but we must make sure not to endanger our longer term prospects by abandoning prudence (or rather regaining it). If we cut too much in the wrong places, someone's going to try to take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, unless one sees the future with clarity like that Anglo-German octopus, there is going to be risk.  

Personnel costs are just about out of control; retirement and medical costs are a burden that will have to be carried for decades. As I noted earlier, Congress keeps piling on the benefits. Understandable given the times, but very short sighted. AFAIK, there's no recruitment or retention issues that warrant this continuous flow of incentives. Nonetheless, these are the last areas that will probably be addressed.

Unfortunately, near term cuts will fall on hardware. I am a huge fan of the C-17, but I've come around the the view that we have enough (coupled with the C-5 modernization). A few posters here have been vocal proponents of KC-135 rehab; like it or not (and I don't) we can rehab the R's to serve a decade or more. Of course, tac air will be reduced accordingly,at least two wings. Since DOD can not close a base due to BRAC restrictions, reduce the affected bases to caretaker status and let go the contractor and civil service work forces. (I'm not being insensitive to people losing their jobs, but these are not normal times and the economic doldrums will drag out for a few more years at least).

The bulk of the cuts will probably fall on the USN. Where's the threat that requires 11 carriers with air wings? Unless the Chinese decide that the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a great idea that should be tried again (sans the Japanese), then its unlikely the USN (and allied navies) will face a "near peer" threat in the foreseeable future. Besides, I am of the mind that aircraft carriers are at the point where someone is going to finally figure out how to neutralize them--just like battleships in the late '30s, early '40s. Cut at least two battle groups, escorts, and personnel. Cease deploying the remainder of the CVBGs on a regular schedule.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:32 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Thread starter):
To get these mental giants off to a good start, I propose the following:
-USN: say "sayonara" to 2 carriers w/air wings & escorts. Deploy carriers as necessary, not like clockwork. "Fleets in Being" are still a valid concept. Who knows, this might have a salutary effect when the nations that previously benefited from our presence realize they have to pick up some slack. Amphibious forces are still needed, but the same applies: mothball the older vessels and quit deploying for the sake of deploying. How many Marines in Iraq or Afghanistan got there by boat? This will allow a cut of USN personnel. (and note that personnel is the largest cost incurred by DOD and the one Congress simply lacks the guts to cut. In fact, they keep adding benefits almost yearly).
-Air Force. Rehab the KC-135Rs & cancel the tanker contract. Cut back a few tactical wings. Cease C-17 production. Cut back on F-35 buys. Cut personnel. Kill the C-27. No more F-16 or F-15 buys.
-Army. Armored forces & artillery. Mothball or transfer more to the reserves. Transfer the slots to special forces & infantry.
-USMC. You're good.

Well, some of these ideas have more merit than others. Except for the USS Enterprise, all of the CVNs are 30 years old, or less. Enterprise is already scheduled for retirement in 2013. The others can rotate in and out of commision status much like USN BBs and other capital ships did back in the 1920s and 1930s.

I have always been a proponent of reengining the KC-135E and rehab the KC-135R/T instead of the KC-X.

But proposed cuts in the land forces and equipment in the middle of two wars makes no sense.

Why isn't there any proposed cuts in social and entitlement programs?

Quoting johns624 (Reply 1):
Maybe everyone should cut back their forces until they have no force projection left. Then no one can get at anyone else and there will be peace in our time.

Some countries like China, North Korea, and Iran would just love that. Then there is this little problem of terrorism, how would we deal with that?

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 2):
I'd also support an overhaul of the benfits and pay for service men such that retention is improved by making some benifits not exist at low ranks (both enlisted and officer) which go up with both time and rank. One is no family benifits for the lowest few ranks and first 2 years. IE a band new lieutenant has no family benifits the same as a new private. Then as they aquire rank and time they start to recieve more benifits, and by say 4 years they will start into a higher pay than previously offered. Of course the new pay/benifit structure would only apply to new recruits to avoid hurting existing servicemen.

Oh that will help recruitment, won't it?
 
johns624
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:44 pm

Quoting santafejay (Reply 3):
Quoting johns624 (Reply 1):
Where would you cut?

That's NOT my quote.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
Quoting johns624 (Reply 1):
Maybe everyone should cut back their forces until they have no force projection left. Then no one can get at anyone else and there will be peace in our time.

Some countries like China, North Korea, and Iran would just love that. Then there is this little problem of terrorism, how would we deal with that?

A smilie face denotes sarcasm.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:34 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
Oh that will help recruitment, won't it?

Much of the issue currently is retaining people. If we reduce the number of people who do the bare minimum to get the heavy benifits, then we save alot of money. If we make the bare minimums to get the heavy benifits longer, those people will stay longer, saving lots of money. I fully support having the GI Bill, I'm just thinking that currently its counter productive in that people who join to pay for thier degree are going to bail on thier service as soon as they can. So by moving the benifit to require more years and higher rank, you are more likely to recruit less people, but people who will stay twice as long or more. If you have people stay twice as long, you have to recruit 1/2 as many people which lets you be more selective. Certainly weeding out the 2 year enlistments is vital given that much of that is taken up with training leaving little time for actual time to be of use to the military.
 
santafejay
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:08 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 5):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
-Air Force. Rehab the KC-135Rs & cancel the tanker contract. Cut back a few tactical wings. Cease C-17 production. Cut back on F-35 buys. Cut personnel. Kill the C-27. No more F-16 or F-15 buys.

Sounds reasonable however I wouldn't completely kill the C-27, just buy what is absolutely needed.
 
FLALEFTY
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The W

Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:24 pm

The KC-X program appears to be headed to yet another dead end. If Boeing wins this round, EADS will protest, or vice-versa. The Pentagon would be better off rehabbing former airliners for the tanker role, but that doesn't create the Big Jobs Program that an all-new airframe program will yield.

No one mentioned our continuation of building Boomer subs and the Tridents that go into them. Why does the US need more of these?

In missile defense, THAAD and SM-3 perform similar missions. It would be cheaper to give the Army a ground launcher for SM-3, than to continue THAAD.

And it appears that the Pentagon will fund any UAV program, no matter what is does.

The F-35 program (the F-111 of our times) is a complete mess trying to make one-size-fits-all missions.

[Edited 2010-07-10 09:39:42]
 
Oroka
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:13 am

First, yes, cut out a few carrier battle groups. How long does it take to put force on target now from almost anywhere? Use them as needed, dont use them cause they exist.

There is the Airforce, Navy, and Army. Then there is the Marines, which has a Airforce, Navy, and Army. Sorry Marines, those jobs are already taken, your position has been deemed duplicate and needs to be cut. Seriously, why? All pride aside, the marines should be a division of the army. That will make alot of people mad... but come on.

The F-35 is somewhat of a white elephant (apparently everyone forgot about the F-22), but a common jet between the airforce and navy is a good thing (the marines dont need a airforce, so you dont need the F-35B).

Let NATO take a little more responsibility. The existing carrier battle groups should be comprised of a composite force. Throw in a Canadian destroyer, a British destroyer, a Dutch frigate... and next time, shake it up. Even a mixed aircraft wing on the CV would be good. Contributing countries would provide aircraft to a unit that would train like any other USN unit. 8 NATO members are buying F-35s... a little advanced planning could ensure all members could lend a hand by buying a mixed F-35 order. Most will buy F-35As, but they could get 1-2 squadrons of F-35Cs for carrier deployment.


Some creative shuffling could save money for all involved, and make a strong modern age force.
 
BMI727
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:23 am

Quoting FLALEFTY (Reply 10):
The F-35 program (the F-111 of our times) is a complete mess trying to make one-size-fits-all missions.

It seems that politicians have a short memory. And make no mistake, that is a plane that politics built, not engineers.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
(apparently everyone forgot about the F-22)

That's why the F-35 is a white elephant. Why are we building another plane that is almost as expensive as the F-22 but less capable? And the F-35 is not only less capable than the F-22, but seems to be barely capable of anything since it is so compromised into trying to be everything to everyone. Cut bait with that thing and go back to the drawing board.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
Beta
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:02 am

I'm all for cut-backs in the federal spending, including the Defense budget. However, any reduction in defense spending MUST be accompanied by commensurate reduction in the military commitments, obligations via entreaties or what not. Politicians, especially US politicians love to cut the defense budget (J Carter, Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, etc), but they also LOVE to mandate MORE commitments, obligations, and missions to the military on top of existing commitments. Why? Because the US military is the ONLY Federal "agent" that approaches its job with any degree of competence. But it can only make do with less up to a point before becoming hallowed out. For instance, over the last 8 yrs, the politicians created 2 additional 4-star regional commands: the Northern Command and Africa Command. Each comes with a new set of mandates, commitments, missions, etc, and yet no corresponding increase in the budget.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 5):
The bulk of the cuts will probably fall on the USN. Where's the threat that requires 11 carriers with air wings? Unless the Chinese decide that the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a great idea that should be tried again (sans the Japanese), then its unlikely the USN (and allied navies) will face a "near peer" threat in the foreseeable future. Besides, I am of the mind that aircraft carriers are at the point where someone is going to finally figure out how to neutralize them--just like battleships in the late '30s, early '40s. Cut at least two battle groups, escorts, and personnel. Cease deploying the remainder of the CVBGs on a regular schedule.

I'm not in the military, but am a student of history. Contemporary history has shown that a powerful navy is an absolute indispensable tool in bringing and maintaining economic prosperity to a nation, and thus insure security. The indisputably powerful Royal Navy in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries ensured the expansion of the British Empire not only in territory, but more importantly economy. And the industrial revolution would not have been a spectacular success, had it not been for the Royal Navy. Today, as China is gaining strength economically, guess which service is getting the money and attention of the PLA and China ruling political class? Yes, it's the PLA Navy that is getting the biggest slice of money pie. What are they doing? They are building a more powerful blue water Navy, including aircraft carriers. Why? Because China understands its economic interests demand the presence of a powerful Navy. The same can be said of India, another rising economic power, flush with cash. The Indian can't get their hands on an carrier fast enough. Global commercial trading today is still done mostly via ships, and the world is still roughly 2/3 water. Warships by its nature are inherently capital intensive, i.e. very expensive, but they do provide a worthy bang for the buck both economic and security.
Instead of setting an arbitrary #s of super carriers the US Navy should maintain, one should ask which regions of the world must the US maintain a continuous presence, and which regions are luxury. The answer to that will give how many carriers we need. I'd argue the Western Pacific and Med are absolute MUST in this century.
I'd advocate a reduction in mini-carriers and amphib battle groups. We don't need several Marine battlegroups (MEUs) floating aimlessly for months on end for just in case scenarios protected by half a dozen ships at any 1 time. And when was the last time the Marines conducted a hostile amphib invasion, and likely will in near future? Sure, maintaining a small amphib capability is fine, but we don't need as much as we have or plan to have for a few Marines Divisions. That's a luxury, not an absolute necessity. In fact I'd like to see the USMC reorganize along the line of the Royal Marines Commando, albeit supersize to a 1 reinforced Div. size plus supports, but not as large as it is now that it becomes an Army within an Army with all the wasteful duplications.
Finally the SSBN is a national strategic assets that MUST be kept. In a world where nuclear weapons are increasingly proliferated and are in the hands of the like of NKorea, Iran, and who knows else, and given that much of the US land-based options are mapped out by likely enemies, the firepower carried by the SSBN and its unknown whereabout are the only truly effective deterrent. And yes most of the responsible nuclear powers are either building, keeping, or updating their SSBN fleets with no plan to scrap it in any time soon; even Russia is waking up to this fact, and is building nuclear missile subs like mad.
That's my 2 cents for now.
 
SeJoWa
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:56 am

Interesting commentaries. I've been shooting from the hip and flinging some things about that might not belong here or be a top priority when it comes to identifying short term cuts.

Ad fontes... I'd recommend looking at the Overview - FY2011 Defense Budget as a primer. It's worth it, I think. http://comptroller.defense.gov/budget.html

And to gain some prespective, an excerpt:


Our capacity for transforming effort into useful output has not kept pace at all, meaning, if we don't become more efficient, more money is simply going to make the job *harder*. That's why wisely premeditated budget cuts can have a salutary effect.

Just one more personal opinion - the Marines add a very unique way of thinking about, preparing for, and doing war. It may not always be the best, but we can benefit from a successful and separate culture with established institutions. Uniformity only makes our adversaries' job very much easier.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:35 am

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Let NATO take a little more responsibility. The existing carrier battle groups should be comprised of a composite force. Throw in a Canadian destroyer, a British destroyer, a Dutch frigate... a

Been done before on an ad hoc basis, but to plan for this on anything resembling a change to the way NATO does operations would require years of debate and endless argument over who would bear the costs. The NATO governments involved (and remember how often governments change) would (rightly) question why they are involved, who's going to pay, etc., etc., etc.

Politically, its not sustainable IMO.

NATO had its genesis back in the days of the Soviet Union; now they are more or less an alliance of convenience, sustained by a kind of inerta. When the members fail to see the threat or the reason goes away (USSR) then the voters in the member countries begin to question why they are spending huge sums of money to sustain this alliance, especially when there's no more USSR and the Chinese are peace loving and friendly. All democracies tend to fight the fires closest to home and right now these are economic. History's lessons become very inconvenient.

Cuts are coming to the U.S. defense establishment. Best to make them wisely now while there's time. I think the Obama administration already has a good idea of where they want to go on this, but with the mid-terms coming up and its looking like the democratic party is going to be on the wrong end of a blood bath, they are keeping their cards very close to their chest.

WRT the F-35, it is just too expensive. I know someone on the program and even that individual is getting concerned over the massive cost increases. The program won't die; there's no alternative on the books, but I suspect they'll slow it down considerably.

We simply have to stop deploying ARGs and CVBGs just for the sake of deploying them!
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Oroka
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:19 pm

Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 14):
Just one more personal opinion - the Marines add a very unique way of thinking about, preparing for, and doing war. It may not always be the best, but we can benefit from a successful and separate culture with established institutions. Uniformity only makes our adversaries' job very much easier.

Integrate the Marines into the army as a separate division. Keep the Marines, let them do Marine things the Marine way, but they dont need to have a airforce and navy, let the actual airforce and navy provide the support the Marines need. Familiarity is just a failure in tactics and training.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:01 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 16):
Keep the Marines, let them do Marine things the Marine way, but they dont need to have a airforce and navy,

I think that's reasonable given the times. The Marines will give lots of reasons why they need "organic" air capability in the form of high performance aircraft. Personally, I think it goes back to Guadalcanal when the USN pulled its last carrier and left the Marines to fend for themselves.

However, if any cuts are made in a vacuum, with out a corresponding adjustment in overall strategy, they'll be picked to death. Its the strategy that's got to change. NATO and all mutual defense treaties must be re-examined in this light.

Things can't continue the way they are. . . .
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
GDB
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:11 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Let NATO take a little more responsibility. The existing carrier battle groups should be comprised of a composite force. Throw in a Canadian destroyer, a British destroyer, a Dutch frigate...

I don't know about specific CVBG escorts, but this happens all the time, in exercises (recently HMS Ark Royal's Atlantic deployment included French and US escorts as well as RN ones, the same happened last year on a worldwide RN Amphibious force deployment), more operationally, NATO vessels have been working with the USN in the Gulf for more than 20 years, then there is the anti pirate deployments.

I know there are some in the US who want out of NATO, this view - not surprisingly - does not take into account that such a move would close not only only airbases, staging posts, military hospitals in Europe, it would also end US access to important assets such as signals listening posts in the UK (and UK assets in Cyprus and the Indian Ocean - rather well placed for current trouble spots), as well as others.
The NSA would be half blind and hard of hearing.
Sadly, much of the discourse on this subject seems to be all about 'why is the US still protecting Europe?'

If you want a US fighter program past 2020 - the F-35 is the only game in town.
And don't underestimate the anger other partners in the program would feel, no good saying on one hand 'others should do more' then if F-35 was axed that would be the end of the RN carriers - just when they were set to get a whole new and greatly expanded capability.
The sense of bad faith would likely also be seen in much less contribution by F-35 partner nations in the current conflicts, (even allowing for the suspicion that the US news media treats them like Hollywood does with war movies).

However, aside from VSTOL aircraft and helicopters, what is the justification for USMC fast jets that completely duplicates USN F-18's on carrier decks?

US defence spending from 2001-2008 went up by some 63%
With no serious military competitor.
That sounds like an 'entitlement program' to me, to the ones who really get the welfare in the US - corporate America.
With - already - US technical superiority over Russia (not an enemy) and China (not likely to be an enemy for economic reasons), so far ahead as to make comparisons meaningless.

How about accepting that the US requires some 'core capabilities' then size then rationally.
The CVBG example has been cited - to retain carrier building production best done by retiring vessels up for a major re-fit.
The USAF has a core advanced fighter capability in the F-22, quite honestly how many are enough? Given that there is no realistic competiotor around - the new Russian one, if it is all it's cracked up to be - is years from operational service and given how modernisation of the Russian AF has happened in recent times, not likely to be around in numbers when it does arrive.

If you are that concerned about China, well maybe they are already in your country, by proxy.
Not some silly Red Dawn film but via Walmart!
 
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:35 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
US defence spending from 2001-2008 went up by some 63%
With no serious military competitor.
That sounds like an 'entitlement program' to me, to the ones who really get the welfare in the US - corporate America.
With - already - US technical superiority over Russia (not an enemy) and China (not likely to be an enemy for economic reasons), so far ahead as to make comparisons meaningless.

Between WWI and WWII, the US thought the UK could become an adversary in a future war, mostly on the Naval side, later that was shifted to Japan (who also was an allie during WWI). The US had fought two wars with Britian already (US Revolutionary War and War of 1812).

The US is not alone in thinking who they may need to fight in 10, 20, or more years. It is the nature of the world we live in. China is clearly a country to watch for the US, as is a future Russia. Iran and North Korea are also future problems, that could draw the US into a direct war with China and/or Russia. In Europe, they have their own problems with possible future conflicts among themselves.

In the years leading up to WWII, neither Britian nor the US began preparing early enough, and it costs them in warships and men. The RAF was within about two weeks of being defeated in the BoB, and the RN suffered losses in the Battle of the Atlantic to German U-Boats and BBs. Germany was close to starving Great Britian. The US was hanging by its fingernails after the IJN attack on Pearl Harbour.

History should not be repeated here again, which is what we are about to do. SAC proved the best defense and avoidance of major wars was a very strong offense.
 
GDB
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:30 pm

I do see your point KC-135, in history.
However, history also shows that nations economically intertwined tend not to go to war with each other, China and the US are such nations and this is ever increasing.
(That's before we get into the debt they hold).

Whatever we think of the Chinese leadership, they are very cautious.
And their system is set up so only very cautious people get to the top.
The chaos of the Cultural Revolution and other excesses of Mao has not been forgotten, he may be a party icon, but make no mistake they are not about to replicate him.
(There is a statue of British revolutionary leader Oliver Cromwell in Westminster but he is seen now as a murderous religious extremist even by 17th Century standards).

Russia is also much more integrated with the world, that was the danger of the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact was almost a parallel universe bumping up against the rest.
Prior to WW1 and WW2 there were power-blocs/empires bumping up against each other too, again the intertwined economic/social world of today was unimaginable then.
And we are on a site that celebrates one important aspect of this, mass air travel.

Not to say there will not be disputes with Russia and China, but war?
(Consider too - if you want to have more effective leverage against the really worrisome states, like Iran, North Korea, you need the help of Russia for the former and China for the latter).
 
SeJoWa
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:21 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
I do see your point KC-135, in history.
However, history also shows that nations economically intertwined tend not to go to war with each other, China and the US are such nations and this is ever increasing.

The western economies were very integrated before WWI, and the exact same thought was voiced back then.
 
hercppmx
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:31 pm

"The Marine Corps pulls down about 6 percent of the department’s budget,” Conway said. “For that 6 percent, you get about 15, 16 percent of the maneuver battalions; you get 15 percent of the attack aircraft [and] you get 19 percent of the attack helicopters. The average Marine costs the country about $20,000 less than the next closest service man in other services.”

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=54372

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
There is the Airforce, Navy, and Army. Then there is the Marines, which has a Airforce, Navy, and Army. Sorry Marines, those jobs are already taken, your position has been deemed duplicate and needs to be cut. Seriously, why? All pride aside, the marines should be a division of the army. That will make alot of people mad... but come on.

The Marines have and will be based around the MAGTF (Marine Air Ground Task Force) which includes an aviation combat element, a ground combat element, a Marine Logistics group (formally FSSG), and a command element. everything in the Marine Corps is based around that concept.

The Marines don't have an army, they have and infantry, They don't have big boats, they get rides from the navy, but being a department of the navy, that makes sense. I would also disagree that they have an Airforce, the entire fleet of aircraft types are there first and fore most to support the people on the ground, aka infantry.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
The F-35 is somewhat of a white elephant (apparently everyone forgot about the F-22), but a common jet between the airforce and navy is a good thing (the marines dont need a airforce, so you dont need the F-35B).

The F-35B is needed, the STOVL capability is of great use. To have a aircraft that can land at a fob or next to a convoy and refuel and re-arm, take off and continue CAS without having to fly to the rear saves time, and is much more effective that a conventional aircraft that tanks it's way to the target, drops ordinance, and tanks its way home.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 16):
Integrate the Marines into the army as a separate division. Keep the Marines, let them do Marine things the Marine way, but they dont need to have a airforce and navy

First off the Marines are already a department of the navy, they won't be part of the army, ever. Second the Marines don't have a navy, They ride on navy boats, this dates back to the origin of the Marines protecting navy ships.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
However, aside from VSTOL aircraft and helicopters, what is the justification for USMC fast jets that completely duplicates USN F-18's on carrier decks?

The F/A-18's are used for close air support and the E/A-6B's are used for the same, The Marines like to be completely self sustained. But as of right now the plain is to replace the A/V-8B's, the F/A-18's and the E/A-6B's with the F-35B. So eliminating 3 types in favor of 1.
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GDB
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:58 pm

Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 21):
The western economies were very integrated before WWI, and the exact same thought was voiced back then.

Were they?
Empires like the British and French had their own trading blocs - not to appear ungrateful but one of the conditions of US aid prior to their own entry into WW2 was the breaking down of the British Imperial trading bloc, in other words making it far more accessible to the US.
This continued after WW2 as the UK was of course bankrupt and worn out by 6 years of running a total war economy.

The same happened with the other European powers.

Prior to WW1 it was even more pronounced, a major issue in British politics in the first decade of the 20th Century was the question of whether a move to a more open free trade - as was emerging slowly - or to a 'Fortress Empire' bloc.
It was a major issue in that it felled governments, made some political careers, ended others.

Now we are technology driven too.
Mass instant communication, mass air travel, far more multicultural societies.
 
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par13del
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:47 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 16):
but they dont need to have a airforce and navy, let the actual airforce and navy provide the support the Marines need. Familiarity is just a failure in tactics and training.

Since WWII incidents of "friendly fire" by Marine CAS units are what compared to the Air Force, Navy and Army? If it is just a failure of tactics and training after all these years I say the rest should give up. When the Air Force wanted to improve their CAS they turned to technology, I don't recall any of the other services turning to the Marines for help improving their CAS abilities, whatever the Marines are doing is working, the rest are a work in progress. My radical idea is to transfer all the CAS capabilities of the Air Froce and Navy and put them under Marine Command rather than the other way around.

Unfortunately for the Marine Corp, due to their retention rates and continued meeting of their recruitment numbers, they are the end all to all other forces having problems.
The Navy issue with retaining their pilots was partially solved by transferring more Marine squadrons to the boats, the Army's issue was partially solved by deploying Marines as if they were regular army, now we get the talk of the Marines not needing their own air.

To me it is short sighted thinking and not looking long term, folks who join the Marines join the Marines, if they are "transferred" to the Navy, Army and Air Force they will follow the rest of the folks who leave as soon as their term is up and you are back to square one minus one, as the Marine recruitment will also suffer when it becomes apparent that the Marines are being used as a stop gap for the other services.

My cost saving ideas:
1. Fire the current US OEM's who produce military equipment, they are too expensive, take too long to deliver and are way over priced. Allow other US companies into the mix, put some bids out and tell Northrop, Boeing, Lockheed etc. that they cannot bid, see what happens, innovation is not dead in the US, its just being stifiled

2. Close down the European "vacation" sites, there are numerous bases in western Europe which are not needed, why are infantry brigades still permanently based, training area's are getting smaller and smaller and costs are rising, cheaper to bring those soldiers and equipment back to the US mainland. Unlike others' I'm not suggesting they leave NATO, but the number of troops and equipment being maintained in Europe is out of whack with the political situation.
No need to pre-position equipment, cheaper to build the fleet of vessels and pre-postion those versus paying for basing, security, housing for soldiers and their families, yes that does cost more funds to be spent in the "US" versus elswhere.

3. Improve the numbers in the short term, the idea that technology makes things cheaper only seems to work in the civilian sector, cue the F-22, so expensive you cannot afford it. In the short term, buy new F-15's, F-16's and F-18's, allow other US companies a chance to design and build new a/c over the current powerhouses whose market cap and financial book-keeping is more important than the actual product. Same applies to the Navy, imagine how the Perry class were built then cue the LCS and see how things differ, millions of dollars on a boat that technically cannot even defend itself, one of its missions is to go close to shore and rather than have CWIS and guns for shore bombardment they have a non-existent cancelled missile system.

This is a debate so I thought I'd throw my two cents in.  
 
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par13del
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:50 pm

I forgot one, there is no need to increase the size of the Corp, leave it where it is, if the Army or Navy need more they can simply increase their force size. Since the Navy is looking at reducing its numbers of ships to continue to afford their expensive projects they will have no ships to put the increased numbers anyhow, unless they transfer them to the Army in which case why are they Marines?
 
hercppmx
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:49 am

Quoting par13del (Reply 25):
there is no need to increase the size of the Corp

Over the last few years the Marines have gone from 184,000 to a high of around 205,000. There is currently an effort being made to reduce that number to the end strength that congress approved of 202,000. A few weeks back in the Marine Corps times there was an article that said once the mission in Afghanistan is complete your Corps could reduce down to 160,000 to 180,000. I tried to find the article but was unable to.
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SeJoWa
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:34 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 21):
The western economies were very integrated before WWI, and the exact same thought was voiced back then.

Were they?
Empires like the British and French had their own trading blocs - not to appear ungrateful but one of the conditions of US aid prior to their own entry into WW2 was the breaking down of the British Imperial trading bloc, in other words making it far more accessible to the US.
This continued after WW2 as the UK was of course bankrupt and worn out by 6 years of running a total war economy.

The same happened with the other European powers.

Prior to WW1 it was even more pronounced, a major issue in British politics in the first decade of the 20th Century was the question of whether a move to a more open free trade - as was emerging slowly - or to a 'Fortress Empire' bloc.
It was a major issue in that it felled governments, made some political careers, ended others.

Now we are technology driven too.
Mass instant communication, mass air travel, far more multicultural societies.

My salient point being that people were voicing the exact same thoughts about a link between more integrated economies and flourishing peace back then. The reference system may have been skewed, but the hopes the same. And while your hard data about politics and trade is very valuable indeed, the railways of North and South America were financed by Great Britain, which is quite interesting too.

As to our modern world, I think the Chinese (and the seemingly feverish nationalism there) are quite a (half) world apart. Not willing to draw quick conclusions, but democracy activists of all colors still get the short end of the stick (or the long view from a cell).

Now, I've voiced my support for the Marines already, but wanted to add a thumbs up for the posts of HercPPMX and Par13del. The Declaration if Independence was written with a keen sense of the human condition so as to complement optimism (founding the first modern Democracy!) with some formal staying power.

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;"

Take away the Marines' relative autonomy (and I'm not talking CAS here, but leave it alone if at all possible), and you end a proud culture of initiative, self-reliance, and mental staying power.
 
dragon6172
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:47 am

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Then there is the Marines, which has a Airforce, Navy, and Army.

That is the whole point... instead of making three calls you can make just one.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
All pride aside, the marines should be a division of the army.

Already a department in the Navy, why move? Are SEALs, Delta Force, etc. repetitive as well? Should they be all merged into one?

Quoting Oroka (Reply 16):
Integrate the Marines into the army as a separate division. Keep the Marines, let them do Marine things the Marine way, but they dont need to have a airforce and navy, let the actual airforce and navy provide the support the Marines need.

The Navy already provides the support that the Marine Corps needs (with maybe the exception of effective shore bombardament, which could be argued as an outdated concept.) The Air Force does not specialize in CAS, therefore are not that good at it. Personally I think the Air Force should focus their efforts on air superiority, air mobility, and tactical and strategic bombing. Navy and Marine Corps aviation should focus on fleet defense, power projection, and close air support.
To me some of the problems are the Army is still geared towards longer, drawn out wars. The Marine Corps is geared towards quick strike, mobile warfare. The two wars we are involved in now are long and drawn out, so the Army should have been the go to, but they have been reduced in size so much that the Marine Corps has had to pick up the slack (not saying that the Army slacked off mind you.)

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 8):
I fully support having the GI Bill, I'm just thinking that currently its counter productive in that people who join to pay for thier degree are going to bail on thier service as soon as they can.

As of right now you need to have three years active service since 9-11 to get the full benefits of the new GI Bill, which is 36 months of college benefits. Personally I think it should be changed to a 2 for 1 exchange, every 24 months of service equals 12 months of benefits with a cap of 48 months. So 8 years of active service gets you a college education when you get out. The new GI Bill, which pays the full tuition vice a set monthly amount, should take the place of active duty tuition assistance. It is a double benifit, and seems a bit ridiculous. Will never be cut, but probably should be looked at.

Quoting HercPPMX (Reply 26):
Over the last few years the Marines have gone from 184,000 to a high of around 205,000. There is currently an effort being made to reduce that number to the end strength that congress approved of 202,000. A few weeks back in the Marine Corps times there was an article that said once the mission in Afghanistan is complete your Corps could reduce down to 160,000 to 180,000. I tried to find the article but was unable to.

I think the Corps would be good going back to the 176,000 (active) that it was at for the longest time, and increase the Marine Reserve component.
Phrogs Phorever
 
Lumberton
Topic Author
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:28 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
I know there are some in the US who want out of NATO, this view - not surprisingly - does not take into account that such a move would close not only only airbases, staging posts, military hospitals in Europe, it would also end US access to important assets such as signals listening posts in the UK (and UK assets in Cyprus and the Indian Ocean - rather well placed for current trouble spots), as well as others.

AFAIK NATO membership is not "on the table" for discussion, but cuts to force structure are. As for assets such as listening posts, if it ever came to that, then those would be subject to "one-on-one" discussions with the host nations.

Quoting par13del (Reply 24):
Close down the European "vacation" sites, there are numerous bases in western Europe which are not needed

I believe that there are only two full U.S. Brigade Combat Teams remaining in Europe, one in Italy, the other in Germany. I can tell you that the Army leadership howled over the draw down announced by Rumsfield to bring back many of the heavy units from Europe. However, there are numerous headquarters and logistical units that remain behind; many of these should be brought back to the U.S. or deactivated. There is a institutional resistance in the Army to further cutbacks in Europe; they love their European assignments. Frankly, I'd rather spend 3 years in Italy than Fort Gordon any day!  

I'll repeat: strategy must drive force structure. Right now, I believe the strategy we are pursuing is still rooted in the cold war. Its unsustainable and the cross hairs will fall on the Navy first.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
LMP737
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:53 pm

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 2):
I have a novel idea.

ENLARGE THE MILITARY TO CUT COSTS.

How?

Well stop paying companies millions of dollars to commit crimes. Thats right $0 to PMC's from the US government. Also Massive cutbacks in the service side contracts where failures to provide services has been a major issue. Any that are left should have some actual oversight and be liable both in civil and criminal courts for thier actions. When this happens we can start using actual servicemen for these duties and enjoy a trifecta of improvement. More servicemen, better services, and cheaper costs. Failing the banning of the use of PMCs, heavy heavy regulation should hit them. No hiring former US military personel until 2 years after they recieve a honorable discarge. Full compiance with US laws regardless of location. Additional complaince with the UMCJ when operating in areas with US military control/oversight. Auditing to verify services rendered match services charged. If we can stop the bleeding of trained US personell to PMCs where they recieve huge pay jumps and minimal oversight, we can have a more effective military for the same cost.

I'd also support an overhaul of the benfits and pay for service men such that retention is improved by making some benifits not exist at low ranks (both enlisted and officer) which go up with both time and rank. One is no family benifits for the lowest few ranks and first 2 years. IE a band new lieutenant has no family benifits the same as a new private. Then as they aquire rank and time they start to recieve more benifits, and by say 4 years they will start into a higher pay than previously offered. Of course the new pay/benifit structure would only apply to new recruits to avoid hurting existing servicemen.

This is your idea on how to cut defense costs? Quite frankly it makes no sense. Do you have any numbers to support on how much money this will save? How can preventing servicemen from working for PMC's save billions of dollars? And what PMC's are you referring to?

You're second idea I just find disturbing. You almost make it sound like low ranking servicemen get married just so they can get some extra money on their check. Very few guys I knew who got married young did so for the money. I have to ask the same question I did before, how much money do you think the military will save by implementing something that draconian? It seems to me the bigger problem when it comes to defense spending is cost overruns with programs like the F-35, F-22, B-2, LPD-17, LCS, V-22 etc, etc, etc.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
GDB
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:02 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 29):
AFAIK NATO membership is not "on the table" for discussion, but cuts to force structure are.

Understood, the JCS would never wear it for a start.
Though the voices to extract the US from NATO are mostly still fringe, hopefully it will stay that way.
 
LMP737
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:10 am

Quoting par13del (Reply 24):
The Navy issue with retaining their pilots was partially solved by transferring more Marine squadrons to the boats

That had more to do with the Navy retiring the A-6 Intruder and not having something to take it's place on the flight deck.

Quoting Lumberton (Thread starter):
No more F-16 or F-15 buys.

I don't know about the F-15 but the USAF took delivery of its last F-16 in 2005.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 8):
So by moving the benifit to require more years and higher rank, you are more likely to recruit less people, but people who will stay twice as long or more. If you have people stay twice as long, you have to recruit 1/2 as many people which lets you be more selective.

Invariably what would happen is that you would start to have a top heavy force. Which means more people having higher pay and careers stagnating because there is no room to advance.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
BMI727
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:46 am

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 32):
That had more to do with the Navy retiring the A-6 Intruder and not having something to take it's place on the flight deck

That's their fault for cancelling the A-12. I have little sympathy for the Navy there.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:10 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
That's their fault for cancelling the A-12. I have little sympathy for the Navy there.

A-12 was canned by the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney due to costs that were about to run out of control. The aircraft threatened to consume up to 70 percent of the Navy's aircraft budget within three years. The sheer ineptitude of the contractors in allowing the costs to go out of control is clearly evident when the contractors were forced to repay the DoD for the program costs plus interest in court.
 
BMI727
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:19 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
The sheer ineptitude of the contractors in allowing the costs to go out of control is clearly evident when the contractors were forced to repay the DoD for the program costs plus interest in court.

Isn't the A-12 case still in court? Either way, the Navy lost their chance at a quality attack aircraft and I don't see how their failure to get one program into service justifies continuing with the boondoggle that is the JSF.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
A-12 was canned by the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney

Well, if we have too many more Secretaries of Defense, there won't be any Defense Department left to lead. Hopefully those North Korean physicists know their stuff so we can get some cash flowing back into DoD. We need a good arms race.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
Lumberton
Topic Author
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:48 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 34):
A-12 was canned by the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney due to costs that were about to run out of control.

   Lockheed-Martin, take note.

I usually don't agree with the editorial slant of this french publication, but this time they nailed it on their comments to the pro-LCS editorial. BTW, in my very humble opinion, the Littoral Combat Ship is a complete waste of time, money, and effort. It's underarmed and undermanned. It can be neutralized by a bunch of speedboats carrying suicide bombers if it operates close to the littorals (which is what a "Littoral Combat Ship" is supposed to do I gather).

Worse, its another PUEBLO in the making.

Cancel it. Build a few more DDG 51s. These ships have the firepower, but are more manpower intensive. They also have an ABM capability with the right upgrades.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...-us-navy-and-the-persian-gulf.html

Quote:
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a very strange way to support the US Navy and its new class of Littoral Combat Ships. In fact, all Iran has to do to win control of the Persian Gulf is to close the Strait of Hormuz, which in turn only requires a few anti-ship missiles, mines and a small boats. It is precisely in the Persian Gulf -– shallow, narrow, and with limited navigable sea routes -- that surface ships operated by conventional navies are of the least use, so using it to make the case for the US Navy and its LCS is puzzling.)

Puzzling? That's being kind. This whole program is founded on wishful thinking and astonishing stupidity.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
dk1967
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:58 pm

Report of the Sustainable Defense Task Force's recommendations:

http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/1006SDTFreport.pdf
 
UH60FtRucker
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:18 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Thread starter):
-Army. Armored forces & artillery. Mothball or transfer more to the reserves. Transfer the slots to special forces & infantry.

I would completely disagree. The armored forces were the spearhead of the invasion of Iraq, and often went places and did things (thunder run, anyone?) that no one else could.

Armor and artillery are the core of any heavy fighting force... retiring/mothballing/reserving those forces is foolish. What are you gonna fight with, 5.56 rounds and the 105 on a few Strykers?

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 36):
Cancel it. Build a few more DDG 51s. These ships have the firepower, but are more manpower intensive. They also have an ABM capability with the right upgrades.

I posted a thread a few months ago about the Navy's decision to cancel the SPY-4 radar on the Zumwalts, and the decision to cancel the CGX in favor of a stretched Burke... but it didn't gain much attention.

Basically the philosophy seems to be a move to an all Burke surface force. The stretched version will replace the Ticos... but it just seems like a step in the wrong direction, financially. Forget about new cruisers, hell the Burkes are practically cruiser except in title. We ought to start focusing on a frigate replacement that can be fielded in large numbers. Not every ship needs to be a floating fortress with all the bells and whistles. A large fleet of modern OHP frigates makes sense - they can be dispatched to deal with the low intensity missions, such as pirate hunting.

Not to mention, the Navy's sub hunting abilities are lacking. The Burkes are practically nothing more than land strike craft. We need a smaller ship that is armed with a more modern torpedo, a modern supersonic anti-ship missile, and a good sonar. The VLS tubes can be left for the Burkes/Zumwalt/SSGNs.

-----------------

Oh and to answer the question about cutting cost. It's easy. Get rid of DoD civilians. They're doing a job of a private, at 3x the cost. Most of them are lazy, leaches, who are nearly impossible to fire. Twenty years ago, servicemen were doing their jobs, but someone thought it would be cheaper to let civilians do it. Wrong.
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.
 
Lumberton
Topic Author
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:26 pm

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
We ought to start focusing on a frigate replacement that can be fielded in large numbers. Not every ship needs to be a floating fortress with all the bells and whistles. A large fleet of modern OHP frigates makes sense - they can be dispatched to deal with the low intensity missions, such as pirate hunting.

That's how it starts...low cost for low intensity. What we end up with is the Littoral Combat Ship...$400million per unit and rising. Still undergunned, but greatly over priced. The original frigate mission was convoy escort, which IIRC was the rationale for the KNOX class back in the 60s. However, when the FRAM's went without replacement, these ships assumed CVBG duties as well. The problem with low capability platforms is that at some point the planners will be tempted to use them "in lieu" of a vastly more capable platform given lack of resources, perstempo, etc. This debate will likely be made academic as the Navy's shipbuilding programs look to be eviscerated; they will do what they always do: circle the wagons around their subs and CVs. Best bang for the buck I can see is still the DDG-51s.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
Armor and artillery are the core of any heavy fighting force... .

Yes, they are, and where are we going to deploy the "heavy" fighting force? Korea? Given NOKOR nukes that might be tough. The strawman proposal was not to eliminate, but to transfer to the capability to the reserves or mothball. Hard choices will have to be made. Rumsfield was far from being my favorite SECDEF, but he at least made the right choice on the Crusader. Besides, you need a relatively benign environment to stage these forces before launching them off to fight Air Land Battle Century 21.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
Get rid of DoD civilians. They're doing a job of a private, at 3x the cost. Most of them are lazy, leaches, who are nearly impossible to fire.

Lots of potential savings here, but the problem is that they tend to stay in one place and they vote, resulting in political support in both parties.

There used to be a Naval Center for Cost Analysis provided resource called "COMET" (Cost of Manpower Estimating Tool) that laid out the costs of each rank, in various locales. Most people would be amazed what an E1 costs when recruitment, training, retention costs are considered along with salary and "care and feeding".

[Edited 2010-07-13 10:29:26]

[Edited 2010-07-13 10:38:08 by lumberton]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Shmertspionem
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:59 pm

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 15):
Chinese are peace loving and friendly

You are joking aren't you? if you meant to be sarcastic i sure cant see it.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 29):
I'll repeat: strategy must drive force structure. Right now, I believe the strategy we are pursuing is still rooted in the cold war. Its unsustainable and the cross hairs will fall on the Navy first.

And that too could be a disaster.... if the strategy goes wrong ....then so does the defence plan and the procurement.

IMO procurement and acquisition should be effects based. I'm amazed at when people still talk about a Navy by its gross tonnage (and i notice far too many people in the USN do that). IN WW2 you needed an average of 152 bombers flying full load plus fighter escort PER target. Today You can have 1 plane engage at least 6 targets (or more depending on hardpoints)

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 36):
BTW, in my very humble opinion, the Littoral Combat Ship is a complete waste of time, money, and effort. It's underarmed and undermanned.

And that why effects and not strategy should decide design and procurement.

Strategies Change and in fact MUST change rapidly to keep the enemy off his/her game - equipment cannot change so fast. Equipment needs to be strategy proof.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
Quoting Lumberton (Thread starter):
-Army. Armored forces & artillery. Mothball or transfer more to the reserves. Transfer the slots to special forces & infantry.
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
I would completely disagree. The armored forces were the spearhead of the invasion of Iraq, and often went places and did things (thunder run, anyone?) that no one else could.

Throughout history attacking forces grew progressively lighter - till a heavy enemy simply snuffed them out. And defending forces grew progressively heavier till the per unit cost grew so much that their numbers were insufficient. and the examples about - Phalanx Vs Peltasts, Phalax vs legions, Legion vs Teutonic tribes, Legions vs the Persian Cataphracts, Persian Cataphracts vs the Arab light cavalry, Teutonic Knights vs Mongols, Mongols Vs the Japanese Heavy Cavalry, French Knights vs Longbowmen, etc etc etc etc

I totally agree with UH on this - the current quagmire should not be allowed to distract from core capabilities. That said core capabilities also need to be rationalised.
Vi veri universum vivus vici
 
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par13del
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:22 pm

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
Basically the philosophy seems to be a move to an all Burke surface force. The stretched version will replace the Ticos... but it just seems like a step in the wrong direction, financially. Forget about new cruisers, hell the Burkes are practically cruiser except in title.

They did start retiring Tico's early, and based on the billion dollar cost of the Burkes and the program already running I guess they naturally went in that direction, only problem is that missile technology PK ratio is still not one to one and the Burkes carry lesss SAM than the Tico's let hope they never have to use them to defend a carrier.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
That's how it starts...low cost for low intensity. What we end up with is the Littoral Combat Ship...$400million per unit and rising.

I agree with UH60 that a frigate replacement is needed, my question would be what is wrong with the Perry class, yes they are aluminum boats but with newer engines you could probably build new boats for much less than the current LCS. A ship is still a ship and most of the extra cost now being incurred is not on the basic vessel itself but all the computer designers higher cost and the end electronics they finally put in the boat.
I say start building new Perry's no need to re-invent the wheel, could change the class name.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 38):
Oh and to answer the question about cutting cost. It's easy. Get rid of DoD civilians. They're doing a job of a private, at 3x the cost. Most of them are lazy, leaches, who are nearly impossible to fire. Twenty years ago, servicemen were doing their jobs, but someone thought it would be cheaper to let civilians do it. Wrong.

Are these the folks that "Rummy" wanted to put in place so more uniforms soldiers could go out into the field, if so I never agreed with that decision mainly from the standpoint that as an all volunteer service folks joined for more than just taking a gun to the battlefield, gave me the thought of a mercenary army versus a citizen force. Also thought he came up with that idea when recruitment number and re-enlistment rates started falling off over the long deployments, also around the same time when the reserves saw they commitment times climbing.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:04 pm

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 40):
You are joking aren't you?

Yes.

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 40):
if you meant to be sarcastic i sure cant see it.

Some things are patently obvious, or so I thought.

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 40):
And that why effects and not strategy should decide design and procurement.

Without a crystal ball, how does one predict the efficacy of the effects? Do you mean something like "lets-buy-planes-that-will-bomb-the-hell-out-of-the-bad-guy"? Don't forget, the enemy gets a vote as well?

A broad strategy drives procurement, deployment, and force levels. For example, the U.S. must decide if it wants to remain an ocean power, capable of projecting power and fighting on two oceans simultaneously. If the answer is "yes", then there are basic requirements that have to be met to carry out that strategy. There have been iterations over the years. For example, in the '80s it was the "maritime strategy". After the peace loving soviet union collapsed (sarcasm BTW), the USN adopted "From the Sea". Without being able to articulate the intention, how does one plan for which one, what kind, and how many?

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 40):
Equipment needs to be strategy proof.

How?

And BTW, I certainly have no issues with heavy offensive forces except that in an era of declining funding hard choices are going to have to be made as to whether to maintain the status quo, or do "something else". This whole thread is about discussion options. With the Army and the Marines engaged as they are, I expect the USN and USAF to be first under the knife.

[Edited 2010-07-13 13:13:36]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:04 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
Isn't the A-12 case still in court? Either way, the Navy lost their chance at a quality attack aircraft and I don't see how their failure to get one program into service justifies continuing with the boondoggle that is the JSF.

Nope, it was resolved in the Court of Appeals last year. Boeing/GD owns the US government US$1.35 billion, plus interest charges of US$1.45 billion.
 
Lumberton
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:47 pm

Quoting lumberton (Reply 42):
I expect the USN and USAF to be first under the knife.

Just read this on AW&ST. Very germane to the topic.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...ants%20And%20Needs&channel=defense

Quote:
Referring to the Navy’s plan to have 11 carrier strike groups through 2040, Gates acknowledged, “The need to project power across the ocean will never go away . . . but consider the massive overmatch the U.S. already enjoys. Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

Strategy, strategy, strategy....

Quote:
But Roughead stands behind the numerous plans and strategies that have emerged in recent months. “We are committed to our 2007 Maritime Strategy,” as well as to the National Security Strategy, the Navy’s future as laid out in the Quadrennial Defense Review and the latest Navy Operations Concept, he said. The service hopes to achieve its strategic goals despite financial problems with the fleet it has now. And Roughead believes the key to success lies in building strong bilateral relationships.

“The U.S. Navy does not need to do everything, nor do we want to,” he said. “Global challenges require global response.”
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Flighty
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:49 am

The Pentagon's #1 military weakness is cost control. Largely, this is because Congress builds in unreasonable costs. For example, you can get $2700 / mo for PTSD disability, for life, COLA adjusted, even if you never.... saw.... combat.  Wow!

Unless things improve, the Pentagon will no longer be able to win wars or defend America. A financial military readiness initiative needs to happen sooner than later. Great technology and bravery are useless if they can't be deployed or funded. Like health care, the Pentagon's financial impact has grown to threaten its own existence.

One great thing about private companies is they know how to eliminate waste. It's not unethical to disband less productive enterprises and lay off the staff. It is good business. This is what powers America and, in turn, the Pentagon. But the Pentagon's waste threatens to eat it all up.

"Cuts" are not wrong. They actually keep companies and families on the right trak. The fact the government never lays off workers is an alarming sign of neglect, and contempt for taxpayers. Somehow, when we talk about government layoffs, people think it's some kind of human rights crime.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:29 am

First thing the Navy needs to do is get the Marine Corps vicarious spending under control: V-22's, F-35B's, and even the LHA-6 with no well deck - what a waste.
 
UH60FtRucker
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:08 am

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
That's how it starts...low cost for low intensity. What we end up with is the Littoral Combat Ship...$400million per unit and rising.

Well I think there is a big difference with trying to design a ship for a mission that was never really clearly defined, and designing a ship for a mission that has been part of the Navy for the past 100yrs.

The Navy has never been truly comfortable with the LCS, and has never really figured out how they intended to use it. The cost has continued to rise because the Navy has dithered,never nailing down the requirements, and allowing it to become a camel. (the old saying: a camel is a horse designed by committee).

But the mission of a light frigate has been around for ages. So I don't think using the failure of the LCS is a fair argument.

You propose cost cutting... but at the same time you want more billion dollar boats? Why not get 2 or 3 frigates for the price of one Burke? There is a legitimate argument for building a larger fleet of cheaper ships that augments the cruiser-like Burkes, but omit the land attack ability and focus on the anti-sub/ship mission (which the Burkes are increasingly neglecting).

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
Hard choices will have to be made. Rumsfield was far from being my favorite SECDEF, but he at least made the right choice on the Crusader. Besides, you need a relatively benign environment to stage these forces before launching them off to fight Air Land Battle Century 21.

You say the Marines are fine... but they still maintain a considerable artillery/armor force...

So what's the point of having an Army if you can't fight a linear war? Are you suggesting we are never going to fight another war, again? Instead we'll only fight low-intensity battles that the "additional infantry units" you propose, can handle?


Quoting par13del (Reply 41):
They did start retiring Tico's early, and based on the billion dollar cost of the Burkes and the program already running I guess they naturally went in that direction, only problem is that missile technology PK ratio is still not one to one and the Burkes carry lesss SAM than the Tico's let hope they never have to use them to defend a carrier.

Well they only retired the first five Ticos. This was because the CG(X) program was still on track, and the Navy didn't see the logic in upgrading the Mk. 26 system if the ships already had a limited life.

The rumor is that the Flight III Burkes will have an additional stretch to bring them to the equivalent length of the Ticos, carry two 64 cell VLS (over the current 1x32 and 1x64 cells), and larger radar.

...But so what? All you're doing is making a larger ship with a larger land-attack/ABM ability. You're not meeting all the needs of a modern superpower naval force. It will be a ship that is lacking. Just like the Flight IIAs, the Harpoon tubes will not be included on the Flight IIIs. Sure you can load a few Harpoons into the VLS, but it's not a standard load-out, not to mention, the Harpoon is still a subsonic outdated design. And what ability does the Burke really have to prosecute enemy subs? The Spruances were decommissioned way too early. The OHPs are old. They don't even have the MK. 13 system, anymore.

Look... the future is in the Asian Pacific Rim and Indian Ocean. The United States will have to be prepared to match up against some navies that are quickly modernizing. For almost two decades, the Navy has been adrift without a clear mission. But it's becoming apparent that the days of floating around, tossing a few Tomahawks at caves, and making goodwill port calls, are coming to end. Force on force, ship against ship/sub, is coming back. So why the hell are we not properly preparing for this?
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.
 
SeJoWa
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:33 am

Quoting lumberton (Reply 42):

Quoting Shmertspionem (Reply 40):
And that why effects and not strategy should decide design and procurement.

Without a crystal ball, how does one predict the efficacy of the effects?

   That's precisely why I dislike these buzzwords - it always seems to me a reductio ad absurdum.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 47):
But it's becoming apparent that the days of floating around, tossing a few Tomahawks at caves, and making goodwill port calls, are coming to end.

  

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 47):
Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
That's how it starts...low cost for low intensity. What we end up with is the Littoral Combat Ship...$400million per unit and rising.

Well I think there is a big difference with trying to design a ship for a mission that was never really clearly defined, and designing a ship for a mission that has been part of the Navy for the past 100yrs.

The Navy has never been truly comfortable with the LCS, and has never really figured out how they intended to use it. The cost has continued to rise because the Navy has dithered,never nailing down the requirements, and allowing it to become a camel. (the old saying: a camel is a horse designed by committee).

But the mission of a light frigate has been around for ages. So I don't think using the failure of the LCS is a fair argument.

I think the idea of having a very flexible, highly automated ship is worth grappling with. Though it does seem undermanned, undergunned, and "excellently" priced. I"m wondering if the definition of flexibility shouldn't be extended towards the design... why lock it in for 50+ ships. Cost cutting that nets you a fleet on the seabed is rather counterproductive.

At least the Navy ran afoul of its incapability to design a new surface combatant on an "experimental" program that didn't consume even greater resources. That's better than having no feedback at all and plodding on, growing ever more wary of change.
 
Lumberton
Topic Author
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RE: Once "Unthinkable" Are Cuts To US DOD On The Way?

Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:31 am

Quoting lumberton (Reply 42):
I expect the USN and USAF to be first under the knife.

Well, its starting. Northrop Grumman is closing Avondale in 2013 and looking at divesting its ship building business. As I said, its going to be painful.
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4707436&c=AME&s=SEA

Quote:
Northrop Grumman on July 13 confirmed rumors that it will close down its Avondale shipyard near New Orleans and consolidate its Gulf Coast shipbuilding operations at the company's Ingalls yard in Mississippi.
In a greater surprise, the company also announced it is exploring strategic alternatives for its shipbuilding business.
Northrop is the U.S. Navy's largest shipbuilder, supplying the service with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, surface warships such as DDG 51-class destroyers, and all the Navy's amphibious ships. Its yard in Newport News, Va., is the only yard in the world capable of building full-sized nuclear carriers. About two-thirds of all U.S. Navy ships are built by the company. The Ingalls yard in Pascagoula also builds the U.S. Coast Guard's National Security Cutters.
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 47):
You propose cost cutting... but at the same time you want more billion dollar boats? Why not get 2 or 3 frigates for the price of one Burke? There is a legitimate argument for building a larger fleet of cheaper ships that augments the cruiser-like Burkes, but omit the land attack ability and focus on the anti-sub/ship mission (which the Burkes are increasingly neglecting).

Large numbers of cheap ships don't solve the #1 cost issue: manpower. Despite the Navy's "smart ship" program (which involves cutting the crew size to a very risky minimum), life at sea is labor intensive and you simply need people to do certain things, like fight the ship and do proper damage control. WRT frigates, what's the point of putting a crew of 175 in harms way without adequate means to defend themselves? The STARK and ROBERTS were saved because we had sufficient manpower to fully man the repair lockers; and LCS or minimally manned frigate would not be similarly equipped.

A revised maritime strategy is coming, have no doubt of that.

UH60FtRucker,reply=47]You say the Marines are fine... but they still maintain a considerable artillery/armor force...[/quote]
The USMC is widely perceived--especially where it counts, in Congress--as providing "best value" for the investment. Politically, they are as close to bullet proof as any of the services can be. Taking on the USMC in a budget knife fight is not a smart move for Pentagon bean counters; there are far more productive avenues to pursue before it comes to that. With unemployment officially at 9.5%, even the GOP sees the need for DOD to share the pain.

So where would you make the...and cuts there will be?
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".

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