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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 08:56 PM
Original message
Why the military would rather fund stealth fighters than soldiers.
The Pentagon's Outdated Budget Priorities
Why the military would rather fund stealth fighters than soldiers.

Do the Pentagon chiefs pay any attention to the lessons they say they've learned? Judging from reports coming out of the Defense Department's current budget and policy reviews, the answer can only be: No.

One lesson of the Iraq war, accepted by nearly everyone now, is that the U.S. military, especially the Army, doesn't have enough troops to occupy a country for very long while fighting off insurgents and trying to establish order.

Earlier this month, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England signed a directive declaring, "Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission. They should be given priority comparable to combat operations" in all Defense Department activities, "including doctrine, organizations, training, education, exercises, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and planning."

Don't expect Congress to break this logjam. Last week, the House and Senate appropriations committees finished their conference on the Fiscal Year 2006 defense billand didn't cut back on a single high-profile weapons system. The administration's overall $77.4 billion procurement budget was cut by a mere $90 million. The F/A-22 stealth fighter plane: fully funded at $3.2 billion for 25 aircraft. The Joint Strike Fighter, another stealth plane: awarded $5 billion in research and development funds, just $200 million less than the administration had requested. The F/A-18E/F fighter: fully funded at $2.75 billion for 42 planes. The Virginia-class submarine and the DDX destroyer: fully funded at $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. The Littoral Combat Ship: tripled, from the administration's request of $249 million for one ship to $689 million for three.

Link
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. DoD can increase troop levels in a few months while the weapon systems
listed in the article have lead times of years. Air and sea superiority are necessary prerequisites for a land campaign even though only troops can ultimately capture and occupy land objectives. That's just one of several factors leading to DoD's budget.
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Qanisqineq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. kick
I am too pissed off at the military right now to see straight. I can't even concentrate enough to read it. But from the subject line, I'd say it is probably bad and therefore I'll help you keep it kicked.

:kick:


A word of warning: Do not join the military. Do not marry anyone in the military. The military will make you so pissed off on a regular basis, you will want to tear your hair out.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Too late.
I am in my 9th year of service.
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Qanisqineq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I'm sorry
If I had known 5 years ago what I was marrying into, I would have run the other direction. How my husband has put up with it for more than 10 years, I'll never know. No wonder he's going bald.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. Just had 38th anniversary, we were married 22 of my 28 years in
Edited on Tue Jan-24-06 10:41 AM by usnret88
the USN. We both agreed that her part was harder than mine raising two daughters practically alone, taking care of all the house/car issues, etc. Most people who are familiar with military wife agree that the life of the non-military spouse is not a bed of roses. I appreciate Mrs usnret's patience, and I most certainly salute you.

btw, I'm bald as a cue ball

edited to add a btw
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. Bald?
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. No, thankfully I have a full head of hair
and seem to be getting hairier in other places as I get older.
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Solo_in_MD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. As someone who has worked in that area
The author of the article does not have a clue about the issues associated with DoD procurement.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Oh yeah, which parts?
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-23-06 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. The reason is very simple:
Defense purchases such as stealth fighters generate genuinely limitless profits for the oligarchy; fulfilling the needs of individual soldiers does not.

Once again, the standard criterion of capitalism: those who are profitable (i.e, either independently wealthy or exploitable for profit) are allowed to live; those who are not profitable (i.e., people who are poor, elderly, disabled; members of sexual and ethnic minorities; soldiers recruited from the poor; wounded veterans etc.) are sentenced to death by the passive genocide of neglect or simply killed outright, whether in Iraq or by other means, for example the deliberate denial of vital prescription drugs under the Bush Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit.

Moreover the government recognizes an instant paradox: that soldiers can mainly be recruited only from already-class-conscious economic or ethnic minorities, but that given the ever-more-obvious tyranny of the fascist New Order, these are the very people who already suffer most from capitalist savagery -- and are therefore the most likely to rebel in defense of American liberty: thus the huge reluctance to expand a standing army the political reliability of which the regime regards as uncertain at best. Thus too the regime's fervent opposition to restoration of the draft: untrained masses cannot possibly successfully resist oppression.

What makes these bitter realities so difficult for so many Americans to grasp is the deliberately obscured historical truth of class-struggle -- and the objective analysis facilitated by its recognition: it really is the X-factor in the American political equation.

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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Your post is sarcastic and cynical but what parts of the "Quadrennial
Defense Review Report" do you believe are wrong?

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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Not disputing the facts -- just explaining why they're as they are:
For example, why the government is spending lavish sums on bombers it doesn't need even as it sends troops to their deaths by withholding adequate body armor or issuing a rifle -- the M-16 or its variant the M-4 -- that is as notoriously unreliable as it was during the Vietnam War: so unreliable the preferred weapon of all U.S. ground troops is, once again (and you guessed it), the AK-47.

(One of the primary reasons the U.S. adopted the M-16 is that it is one of the most maintenance-intensive firearms, military or civilian, on the planet: the theory is that by requiring a huge maintenance infrastructure, the M-16 is of no use to guerrilla or partisan movements, also that any other nation the U.S. compels to adopt it is solidly bound to the U.S. (in exactly the same way a junky is bound to a dealer), and must therefore comply with all U.S. demands. Here of course is why former U.S. colonies (e.g., Venezuela) are turning to Russia and China for small arms: get rid of the M-16 and and replace it with the AK-47, your military is not only far less dependent on the U.S., it also gets a lot more real value per dollar spent.)
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. OK but we had complete air superiority in Vietnam and Iraq. Ask any
troops from WWII what it was like to conduct ground operations without air superiority against an enemy with capable air support.

Air power can not take and hold ground but neither can ground troops without air support against an enemy with a capable air component.

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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. We had complete air superiority by last years of World War II also, but...
our ground troops nevertheless had the finest service rifles on the planet: the U.S. Rifle Caliber .30 M-1 aka "the Emm-One" and, for snipers, the U.S. Rifle caliber .30 M1903A1 or A4 aka "the Oh-three Springfield." We also had the best boots, the best medical care, the best post-service benefit package, the best disabled-veterans' pensions etc. Now -- thanks to corporate control of the national government -- our troops have so much less there is no comparison: a worthless rifle, dramatically curtailed medical services, poor and shrinking benefits, etc.

I'm not questioning the value of air power, just priorities deliberately intended to maximize fatalities (and thereby minimize long-term medical costs) -- exactly as the Bush Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit is doing.

No matter at what branch of the government you look, there has NEVER IN U.S. HISTORY been an administration so blatantly in league with the corporations and therefore so murderously savage toward the rest of us.

As to my military background, it is a Regular Army enlistment preceded by college and high school ROTC: I trained on the M-1 and the '03, shot competitively with the M-22 (a .22 caliber version of the '03), and served overseas in a command where the M-1 remained in service well into the 1970s. This was late '50s into the early Vietnam era: I was honorably discharged in 1965. Luck of the draw, I went to Korea, and missed the big Vietnam reserve call-up literally by days.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. "priorities deliberately intended to maximize fatalities"? Do you have
proof to support that assertion?

Your experience with the M-1, M-22, and M1903A1 are admirable but hardly unique. What does your experience have to do with the issue of defense strategy and weapon systems, the issue raised in the OP?
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Per your request:
Edited on Tue Jan-24-06 07:23 PM by newswolf56
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/3529

In all, with additional paperwork delays, the Defense Department took 167 days just to start getting the bulletproof vests to soldiers in Iraq once General Cody placed the order. But for thousands of soldiers, it took weeks and even months more, records show, at a time when the Iraqi insurgency was intensifying and American casualties were mounting.

By contrast, when the United States' allies in Iraq also realized they needed more bulletproof vests, they bypassed the Pentagon and ordered directly from a manufacturer in Michigan. They began getting armor in just 12 days.


http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2005/050307-armo...

Failure of this magnitude is not incompetence but policy: as in the aftermath of Katrina, as in the West Virginia mine disaster, as in the re-imposition of indentured via "bankruptcy reform," as in the blatant genocide of the Bush Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit -- so also in Iraq: the atrocities not only deliberate but explained in every instance by the historical truth of class struggle.

As to "defense strategy and weapons systems" it happens that most of my intellectual and academic background is in history, including military history. Hence for example I recognize that the worsening treatment of U.S. soldiers is increasingly parallel to the brutal neglect of soldiers characteristic of the armies of the Czar (and not at all of the armies of der Kaiser or der Fehrer, both of whom saw to it that German soldiers -- including enlisted men -- received the best of everything: precisely the reason the Germans fought so well even after their defeat was a foregone conclusion). Nor is the calculated neglect of U.S. soldiers the only parallel to pre-Revolutionary Russia: with the final and permanent destruction of American liberty guaranteed by the appointment of Alito, so will inevitably follow the ever-more-savage enserfment of everyone who is not independently wealthy and therefore of the ruling class, and living conditions here will steadily deteriorate accordingly. The lot of U.S. soldiers -- especially when contrasted to soldiers of World War II or even the Vietnam era -- is merely a microcosm of that deterioration.

As to you your implicit questioning of my right to raise the issues, the mere fact that I am an American citizen gives me those rights and many more -- at least for now, until the Bush Regime publicly suspends the Constitution -- and shame on you for your elitist failure to recognize that fact.

Which reminds me: I did not post my military service to boast of it but merely to make it clear I (A)-know something of small arms and (B) did indeed serve. Did you?


Edit: text in italics added for completeness.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Yes I served in the military and like millions of others, I'm proficient
with various types of military and civilian arms. Neither of those facts however, qualifies me or anyone else as an expert on military strategy and defense budgets.

Both articles you cite are about shortages of body armor, a problem that should have been solved by any competent military logistician at a cost of $1 billion or much less.

DoD's 2006 QDR will be out next month and I would welcome a post by you critiquing it and your recommended changes.

Until then, have a nice day. :hi:
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. And how about that missile-defense program?
<snip>

How about Bush's much-cherished, but utterly unworkable, missile-defense program (fully funded by Congress at $8.8 billion): What would be wrong with transferring, say, $5 billion of that sum to buy extra armor for the troops or fund more tangible homeland security efforts?

:grr:
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. A couple of respondents in this thread
would assert that the missile defense program has been properly vetted into the defense acquisition program and has been published in the Quadrennial Defense Review, and is, therefore, a completely justifiable expenditure. No mention of the efficacy of or the need for the program, only a nodding consenst that since it's on the books, it must be good.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. The article links to a very good report on it being unworkable
and I again ask why the fuck are we spending 10 Billion dollars on something "unworkable"

http://www.slate.com/id/2111185 /

<snip>


There is no need to repeat here the dozens of reasons for skepticism that an antiballistic-missile system has much chance of shooting down a single enemy warhead. (For some of those reasons, click here.) If it can shoot down one warhead (a lucky roll of the dice), the bad guys can simply launch a second warheadand there hasn't yet been even a rigged test involving multiple targets. Everything about the system is way too complicatedthe software; the command-control network; the integration of early warning radars, target-acquisition sensors, and weapons-launch centers. Yes, landing on the moon was complicated, too (to use an example cited by many advocates), but that was child's play by comparison. For one thing, the moon landing was a one-sided enterprise. As the spacecraft approached the lunar surface, the moon didn't suddenly shift direction or turn into a mirage. By contrast, an enemy can easily load a missile with decoys, which can lure an interceptor to the wrong target. Also, the trip to the moon took days; if something went wrong, corrections could be made. The trip to an enemy warhead darting across the heavens at 15 times the speed of sound must be completed in a half-hour or less, everything must be automated (there's no time for human intervention), and nothing can go wrong at all.

But Wednesday's test tells us that we are a long, long way from having to discuss the system and its problems at this level of detail. We can't even count on the rocket getting out of its launch silo, much less the millions of minute operations that must follow. President Bush fielded a half-dozen antimissile missiles and called them "operational." But they're a ruse. The Pentagon's test director, Thomas Christie (a veteran missile engineer and lifelong civil servant who, alas, is retiring next month) has testified repeatedly that the program is not yet ready for deployment, not yet ready to be called "operational."


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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
18. IMO we do need a missile defense program however the technology is
Edited on Tue Jan-24-06 11:12 AM by jody
not available to field one at this time. It's possible only directed energy weapons will be effective against ICBMs and it appears countermeasures can thwart our still primitive directed energy weapons.

ON EDIT ADD:
"Directed Energy Weapons" by the Federation of American Scientists.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
15. The explanation is the single word that sums up the entire neo-con
agenda, loot. Graft and corruption are childsplay when shuffling billions around with no accountability.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
17. It's because the Mob gets a cut of stealth fighter purchases...
...but they make nothing at all from paying soldiers. So since they'd obviously rather make money than not, they spend it on the fighters to get their kickbacks.

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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
20. Because There Are Massive Profits In High-Tech R&D Programs
It' research/cutting edge, so cost accounting is difficult.

On the other hand, cost accounting for relatively mature weapons programs/logistics/personal can be accomplished fairly easily (until recently, anyway).

Accounting seems mundane, but is an important part of administration of cost plus contracts..

This is per an article I read 23 years ago, during the Raygun 'buildup', for what it's worth.

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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-24-06 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
26. That's an easy one.
Big dollar pork projects get money to the rich much faster than buying beans, bullets, and barracks.

At least half of our "defense" budget is pork for rich CEOs. Star Wars/Missile defense is the biggest taxpayer scam of all time.
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