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Thread: Obama, Now Biden, Guts the Military

  1. #161
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military


    Last A-10s To Depart Barksdale

    June 18, 2013

    Monday will mark the end of an era and an historic association when the last A-10s of the Air Force Reserve Command’s 47th Fighter Squadron jump from the runway at Barksdale Air Force Base and head west.

    The last airplanes of the 917th Fighter Group and its 47th Fighter Squadron, which in an earlier incarnation offered the major resistance to Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, will complete their transfer to a new home at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

    "What a sad day that will be," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Peyton Cole, a former 2nd Bomb Wing commander. "It is a sad day for Barksdale. That's a mission that's being stripped way, what with the Pearl Harbor connection. It's not only that we're losing that mission, but that history."

    The first of the official transfers of the 24 A-10s began in April and were reported in advance in a front-page story in The Times that you can read online.

    The final three transfers will be of aircraft tail number 79-0153, piloted by Col. John Breazeale, commander of the 917th Fighter Group; tail number 79-0154, piloted by Major Mark Wendrock; and tail number 79-0146, piloted by Capt. Taylor Petty. Wendrock and Petty both are from the 47th Fighter Squadron.

    The 47th Fighter Squadron, which has been deactivated and reactivated several times in its history, is one of the most distinguished squadrons in the U.S. military. A handful of its pilots formed the majority of the few pilots who were able to get in the air when the Japanese attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor. One of those pilots, 2nd Lt. John Dains, was killed by ground anti-aircraft fire, becoming the nation’s first friendly fire casualty of World War II.

    Of the total 24 aircraft, two A-10s transferred to Davis-Monthan’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group or AMARG, also called “the boneyard,” five to the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and 17 to the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB.

    In addition to the loss of aircraft, the recent Force Structure Action Implementation Plan inactivates the 917th Fighter Group and the 47th Fighter Squadron, which will take place in late September. This closing will take approximately 580 full and part time jobs from Barksdale.

    “The 917th Fighter Group proudly served our nation at Barksdale and deployed locations for over 50 years,” Breazeale said. “It has been an honor to be a part of Team Barksdale and the local community.”

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    US Army Switches to Ineffective Environmentally Friendly Lead-Free “Green” Bullet

    July 27, 2013 By Daniel Greenfield



    A lot of people in the military must be looking back fondly at the Carter and Clinton eras. As bad as those were, they didn’t involve turning the military into a gay rights and green energy clearinghouse while destroying its ability to wage war.

    Lead is bad for the environment. So if we’re going to shoot people, we should do it without polluting.
    The U.S. Army is taking the expression “get the lead out” quite literally and switching to lead-free, environmentally-friendly bullets.’
    The Army has been looking to “green” small caliber ammo for some time now. In 2010, the Army switched to the greener 5.56 mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round.
    “The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug,” said Lt. Col. Phil Clark, product manager for small caliber ammunition in the Program Executive Officer Ammunition. “This makes the projectile environmentally-friendly, while still giving soldiers the performance capabilities they need on the battlefield. So far we have eliminated 1,994 metric tons of lead from 5.56 ammunition production.”
    Why are we making environmentally friendly ammo? Because Obama, that’s why. And like most “Green” products, the green bullets work badly, which is a problem because while environmentally friendly washing machines and diswashers that don’t clean don’t cost lives.
    Bullets that work badly do.
    Fox News reported that Army officials conceded that the M855A1 “has not been providing the ‘stopping power’ the user would like at engagement ranges less than 150 yards” in a 2005 briefing.
    But at least it’s Green. Who needs bullets that draw Red anyway.


    http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenf...e-green-bullet

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    copper..... Well, it will kill.... at the proper speeds and with the right sizing I suppose.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military


    Hagel: Budget Cuts Could Harm US Defense

    July 31, 2013

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Wednesday that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order additional sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress doesn't act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014.

    Speaking to reporters, and indirectly to Congress, Hagel said that the full result of the sweeping budget cuts over the next 10 years could leave the nation with an ill-prepared, under-equipped military doomed to face more technologically advanced enemies.

    In his starkest terms to date, Hagel laid out a worst-case scenario for the U.S. military if the Pentagon is forced to slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 budget and $500 billion over the next 10 years as a result of Congressionally-mandated automatic spending cuts.

    The Pentagon has been ratcheting up a persistent drumbeat about the dire effects of the budget cuts on national defense, and as Congress continues to wrangle over spending bills in Congress.

    But Hagel insisted that the department is not exaggerating the impact.

    "I know there's politics in all this," Hagel said. "But what we're trying to project here is not crying wolf or not trying to overstate or overhype."

    Sitting alongside Hagel, Navy Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said a major frustration is that the Pentagon doesn't know what budget totals Congress will eventually decide on, or when lawmakers will make a decision.

    "What we were doing here is teeing up choices. We haven't made those choices yet," said Winnefeld. "When we finally get an answer on what the financial outlook is going to look like, we will then begin to make those choices."

    Going from 11 to eight or nine carrier strike groups would bring the Navy to its lowest number since World War II. And the troop cuts could shear the Army back to levels not seen since 1940, eroding the military's ability to keep forces deployed and combat ready overseas.

    Detailing options, Hagel said America may have to choose between having a highly capable but significantly smaller military and having a larger force while reducing special operations forces, limiting research and cutting or curtailing plans to upgrade weapons systems.

    That second option, he said, would likely result in the U.S. military using older, less effective equipment against more technologically advanced adversaries. And it would have a greater impact on private defense companies around the country.

    The U.S., said Hagel, risks fielding a military force that in the next few years would be unprepared due to a lack of training, maintenance and upgraded equipment.

    And, even if the Pentagon chooses the most dramatic cuts, Hagel said it would still "fall well short" of meeting the reductions required by the automatic budget cuts, particularly during the first five years.

    The details Hagel described Wednesday are the result of a lengthy review by top Pentagon and military leaders that looked at the impact of budget cuts on the department and developed a series of options to deal with them.

    The cuts stem from a law enacted two years ago that ordered the government to come up with $1.2 trillion in savings over a decade. The law included the threat of annual automatic cuts as a way of forcing lawmakers to reach a deal, but they have been unable to do so.

    As a result, come January, the Pentagon faces a cut of $54 billion from current spending, according to calculations by Capitol Hill budget aides. The base budget must be trimmed to $498 billion, with cuts of about 4 percent hitting already reduced spending on defense, nuclear weapons and military construction.

    Congress has shown little inclination to undo the so-called sequester cuts, though talks between the White House and a handful of Senate Republicans have intensified in recent weeks.

    Some lawmakers and staff aides say the new, deeper Pentagon reductions could be the jolt that prompts lawmakers to step back from the automatic cuts.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military


    Branches Of Military Battle Over Shrinking War Chest

    August 1, 2013

    Fights between branches of the U.S. military have erupted over responsibility for everything from drones to clocks as America's armed forces battle to keep their share of a shrinking defense budget.

    The emerging debate is expected to be the most intense in two decades as the branches of the military seek to retool their missions to match the needs of future conflicts.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday recommended cutting the Army to its smallest size since before World War II and making other force reductions that would prepare the military to live under a reduced budget. Final decisions are months away, fueling a bureaucratic battle over how the U.S. will project power around the world.

    In hindsight, U.S. Army Col. Mark Moser may have inadvertently fired the opening salvo. He was ordered last year to put together a presentation that envisioned stationing Army helicopters aboard Navy warships to support ground troops in far-flung battlegrounds. Word soon reached the Marine Corps, who now piggyback their helicopters on Navy vessels.

    In April, Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Mangum, commanding general of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala., said in a speech that basing helicopters on Navy ships could "be our ticket for the future." The Army, he added, must not concede the mission to the Marines.

    The Corps returned fire. "If anyone wants to spend money to duplicate our capability, just give it to us instead as we already know what we are doing," said Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, who commands a new rapid-reaction crisis-response headquarters in Okinawa.

    Mr. Hagel's strategic review didn't look at specific missions, such as whether the Army or the Marines should keep helicopters on Navy vessels. But, in an effort to save money and eliminate duplicate work, the Pentagon is reviewing the size of the military forces, as well as a choice between a smaller, technically advanced military on one hand, and a larger force on the other.

    "You have to ask what attributes you want for your military," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Steve Kwast, who oversees his service's strategic review. "Then we have to make sure the money follows the priorities."

    The formula for U.S. military spending has been constant for much of the time since the Vietnam War: The Air Force has claimed about 30%, the Navy and Marine Corps together between 30% and 35% and the Army claimed roughly 25%, though its share increased during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    But if the Pentagon changes the missions assigned to each service, so too might their share of military spending change, heating up the conflict.

    The Marines have their own plan of attack. As part of the Pentagon's strategic review, the Marines proposed to focus on quick-response forces world-wide and leave primary responsibility for big wars to the Army.

    Marine officials believe such teams—for, say, an attack on an embassy, humanitarian disaster or a terrorist strike—best matches the service with the kind of military operations the U.S. will most likely need in the years ahead.

    To follow that path and comply with mandated spending cuts, the Corps will give up at least a third of its tanks and trim its command structure. The Marines proposed cutting their force to 175,000, down from their current target strength of 182,000, although Mr. Hagel said Wednesday cuts could reach 150,000.

    The Marines are now building new land-based rapid-reaction forces. They have created a new 550-person task force of troops and aircraft, based in the Mediterranean. They are building forces in Australia, in addition to the new headquarters in Okinawa. Rapid-reaction forces are being considered for the Middle East and the Western Hemisphere.

    The Marines would still play a role in big conflicts, a showdown on the Korean peninsula, for example. In the first days of war, they would send airplanes, helicopters and infantry from Navy ships to secure a foothold.

    But Army officials say they also need the ability to attack from the sea and provide air cover for invading troops. With the shift to the Pacific, where the U.S. lacks the same concentration of land bases it has in the Middle East, the Army, like the Marines, says it needs a place to keep helicopters at sea.

    Participants in the strategic review said the Army appeared torn between competing missions. Traditionally, the Army's job has been to use overwhelming force on the battlefield to win a war against a nation-state. In recent months, the Army has tried to remake its training to improve such skills. But the Obama administration, wary of more overseas entanglements, seems more inclined to use the Air Force or Navy to deter would-be adversaries.

    So the Army has also focused on building small teams of soldiers who can move quickly to different parts of the world. It has retooled itself to deploy these smaller, lighter units for overseas missions, well short of war. Basing helicopters on Navy ships would be part of the new mission. Marines said the job was already taken.

    Although military service chiefs rarely, if ever, publicly criticize one another, the language of U.S. four-star generals has grown more strident.

    In early May, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said his service must maintain its capabilities to deploy quickly and act with overwhelming force in the opening days of a conflict. "We provide depth," he said. "The Marines know that. They're not built for that."

    At a speech in Washington later that month, Gen. James Amos, the Marine commandant, said, "Just the same way America doesn't need a second land army, America doesn't need a second Marine Corps."

    The Army and Marines aren't the only services battling. The Special Operations Command—which oversees the Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other elite units—has proposed taking over combat-rescue duties from the Air Force.

    The Air Force needs a new rescue-helicopter fleet, which will be costly. Special Operations has the newly acquired V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, capable of pilot rescues. But Air Force officers said the service doesn't want to cede the responsibility, part of its core mission since its inception in 1947.

    Then there is the drone fight. Through wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army built a fleet of unmanned aircraft. The Navy, meanwhile, has begun developing a drone for its aircraft carriers. The Air Force, which has the most advanced drones, has said it could manage, develop and deploy the U.S. fleet, arguing it would cost billions of dollars more for each service to develop its own drone units.

    The Navy and Air Force also operate manned-surveillance aircraft. The Navy's fleet is brand new; the Air Force fleet is obsolete. That has prompted suggestions by the Navy that it take over the entire manned surveillance mission. The Air Force is deeply skeptical of the idea, say Air Force officers.

    There is also the matter of the master clock. The Navy maintains some 80 atomic clocks, many of them at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. One of the most important uses of the master clock is to provide a time reference for the Global Positioning System. The Air Force, which has its own atomic clocks, argues it should take over the job of keeping time, since GPS relies on satellites. The Navy, which has been the U.S. timekeeper since 1845, objects.

    For the Army, the proposed strategic change means a new focus on the Pacific. The Army has traditionally been focused on protecting Europe and the Middle East, leaving Asia to the Navy. But the Obama administration believes that future economic and security challenges will be centered in the Pacific. Developing sea-based helicopters, some Army officials say, is a critical element of the Pacific shift and could counter criticism that the Army takes too long to get its powerful weaponry to a fight.

    Col. Moser, the Army's deputy director of aviation in the Pentagon, said he drew on his experience in the 1994 U.S. military intervention in Haiti to create his helicopter proposal. Most of the airfields in Haiti were booby-trapped, forcing the Army to fly its helicopters from the USS Eisenhower, a carrier stationed off the coast of the island nation.

    To develop the proposal, Col. Moser consulted with Marine aviators and the Army idea quickly spread around the Corps. Marines saw the proposed mission—including antipiracy and humanitarian assistance—looked a lot like the daily business of the Corps, kicking off the bureaucratic skirmish.

    The across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester exacerbated the tensions. Even though Navy and Marine Corps officials found enough spending reductions to prevent furloughs in their civilian workforces, top Pentagon officials decided the pain would be shared. The Defense Department forced the Navy and Marines to give up $742 million to the Army.

    The Pentagon review announced Wednesday said the size of the U.S. military could be cut dramatically if the across-the-board cuts remain.

    Defense officials said Adm. James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been adamant about shrinking the size of ground forces, particularly in the Army. Adm. Winnefeld, these officials said, favored a smaller military that emphasized investment in new weaponry. A spokeswoman for Adm. Winnefeld disputed that characterization, saying that Adm. Winnefeld views ground forces as essential but believes the entire military must shrink.

    During initial strategic review sessions, Army officials opposed any cuts beyond the agreed-upon reduction of active-duty forces to 490,000. But senior Pentagon officials said that even without the across-the-board spending cuts, the Army should shrink to 420,000. Army officials offered a counterproposal of 470,000.

    Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the final cuts could leave the Army with 380,000 soldiers or less, if the sequester remains law.

    In the next months the debate will continue to play out between the services. Defense officials said Adm. Winnefeld favors a smaller, but technologically advanced military, while Army officers are pressing to minimize the cuts to their services.

    At Wednesday's news conference, Adm. Winnefeld said the review offered a "deep and very painful look" ahead. He added that as the services came to terms with the new budget picture, "nobody was very happy."

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Ah... finally it comes to this. Gladiators!

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military


    Army Reserve Struggles To Fill Midgrade Ranks

    August 28, 2013

    The Army Reserve has what it calls a classic out-of-balance problem. It has far more entry-level enlisted personnel and officers than it needs and too few midgrade soldiers. Leaders say they're trying to manage the imbalance atop the "shifting sands" of an uncertain future when it comes to budgets and force structure.

    Officials know all too well that there's a bulge in the junior enlisted ranks, but they're also trying to push the reserve toward an overall size that meets congressionally-authorized end strength targets. And meeting those targets determines the size of the Army Reserve's budget. On paper, the Reserve is authorized 205,000 soldiers; it currently sits at just shy of 199,000.

    Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, the director of the Army Reserve Human Capital Enterprise, said the imbalance forced the Reserve to create new positions for those excess junior soldiers.

    "What we had to do is to open up additional vacancies, and we had to put in place a procedure in which we purposely over-manned many units. I know this had negative impacts on you in the units," she told other reserve leaders at the Army Reserve's senior leader conference in Colorado last week. "We had to do that because we are so out of balance and because the mission of our accessioning agency doesn't reflect what our real requirements are, but we had to do that to maintain our end strength."

    Nonetheless, in 2013, the Army Reserve made a deliberate decision to slow the process of onboarding new reservists at "skill level 1," which is part of the reason the service is now several thousand people short of its authorized size.

    The next challenge, Smith said, is getting recent enlistees to stay in the service long enough to reach the E-4, E-5, E-6 and E-7 pay grades, where the Reserves are currently short of personnel. She said the reserve is "bleeding" E-4s in particular. To study that reenlistment problem, her staff looked at soldiers who entered service in 2008, when Congress authorized relatively generous incentive payments to join and stay.

    Out of that group, by this year, 58 percent had left uniform — voluntarily or not — before their first chance to reenlist.

    "There were a lot of reasons. Some people had unsatisfactory participation, some people relocated in their civilian jobs and couldn't continue, some people went onto active duty," she said. "But still, when you look at the losses, these people never entered the reenlistment window. Our non-commissioned officers never had the opportunity to engage them about reenlisting."

    About 15,000 soldiers did stay long enough to hit their first reenlistment window. But Army statistics show 45 percent of those were not even eligible to stay in the service because of red flags on their service records.

    "The majority were flagged for height and weight, so we lose them for those and other reasons. Some of those are disciplinary, and it's good that they're on their way out. But when we start to look at that cohort and we see how we squeezed it down, it explains a little bit about why we have some of our out of balance problems," she said.

    Overall, the Army Reserve currently has about 24,000 people with flags on their record for failure to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test. And Smith says most of the factors that make young reservists ineligible for reenlistment are out of the control of her Pentagon office. She says it's up to local commanders to make sure their soldiers can continue to serve.

    She said the fact that they can't is having an impact not just on the Army Reserve's ability to meet its end strength targets, it's also costing a lot of unnecessary money.

    "As we think about the budget moving forward, we had to replace every single one of the people we lost, because we're not at our end strength, and it costs $57,000 on average to replace them when you think about training," she said. "That's almost like throwing money out the window there."

    Of the soldiers who are eligible to reenlist, Smith says there's another big reason many are choosing not to. The incentive bonuses Congress used to offer in order to boost retention and recruiting have shrunk dramatically — 65 percent since 2010. And Smith says the Reserve had to stop reenlistment payments for 2013 altogether midway through this year in order to stay below legislative caps.

    "I realize the jerking-around that is for soldiers, they worry about whether there's going to be an incentive for their particular [military occupational specialty], but we had to do that from a fiscal perspective in July," she said.

    The Army Reserve is trying to tackle a similar problem in its officer ranks, where it's also seeing a gap in mid-grade personnel — it's currently short by 3,200 captains and 4,000 majors. Smith said the reserve is working those issues through its career management offices and studying approaches like making sure officers can continue to serve in one geographic area as they move up through the ranks.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Well, they yanked everyone's chains, they sent them back for three and four SEASONS of Iraq, Afghashitstan and the other "stans" and they expected the mid-levels to STAY?

    I had 26 years in when I got out, got out right after 9-11 because of, you guessed it, POLITICS. Others behind left due to getting fucked over and over and over....without a break.

    They opened up Gay baiting to the general public and forced "tolerance" on the midgrades - so why the fuck stay in?

    Tough SHIT.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post

    Hagel: Budget Cuts Could Harm US Defense

    July 31, 2013

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Wednesday that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order additional sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress doesn't act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014.

    Speaking to reporters, and indirectly to Congress, Hagel said that the full result of the sweeping budget cuts over the next 10 years could leave the nation with an ill-prepared, under-equipped military doomed to face more technologically advanced enemies.

    In his starkest terms to date, Hagel laid out a worst-case scenario for the U.S. military if the Pentagon is forced to slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 budget and $500 billion over the next 10 years as a result of Congressionally-mandated automatic spending cuts.

    The Pentagon has been ratcheting up a persistent drumbeat about the dire effects of the budget cuts on national defense, and as Congress continues to wrangle over spending bills in Congress.

    But Hagel insisted that the department is not exaggerating the impact.

    "I know there's politics in all this," Hagel said. "But what we're trying to project here is not crying wolf or not trying to overstate or overhype."

    Sitting alongside Hagel, Navy Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said a major frustration is that the Pentagon doesn't know what budget totals Congress will eventually decide on, or when lawmakers will make a decision.

    "What we were doing here is teeing up choices. We haven't made those choices yet," said Winnefeld. "When we finally get an answer on what the financial outlook is going to look like, we will then begin to make those choices."

    Going from 11 to eight or nine carrier strike groups would bring the Navy to its lowest number since World War II. And the troop cuts could shear the Army back to levels not seen since 1940, eroding the military's ability to keep forces deployed and combat ready overseas.

    Detailing options, Hagel said America may have to choose between having a highly capable but significantly smaller military and having a larger force while reducing special operations forces, limiting research and cutting or curtailing plans to upgrade weapons systems.

    That second option, he said, would likely result in the U.S. military using older, less effective equipment against more technologically advanced adversaries. And it would have a greater impact on private defense companies around the country.

    The U.S., said Hagel, risks fielding a military force that in the next few years would be unprepared due to a lack of training, maintenance and upgraded equipment.

    And, even if the Pentagon chooses the most dramatic cuts, Hagel said it would still "fall well short" of meeting the reductions required by the automatic budget cuts, particularly during the first five years.

    The details Hagel described Wednesday are the result of a lengthy review by top Pentagon and military leaders that looked at the impact of budget cuts on the department and developed a series of options to deal with them.

    The cuts stem from a law enacted two years ago that ordered the government to come up with $1.2 trillion in savings over a decade. The law included the threat of annual automatic cuts as a way of forcing lawmakers to reach a deal, but they have been unable to do so.

    As a result, come January, the Pentagon faces a cut of $54 billion from current spending, according to calculations by Capitol Hill budget aides. The base budget must be trimmed to $498 billion, with cuts of about 4 percent hitting already reduced spending on defense, nuclear weapons and military construction.

    Congress has shown little inclination to undo the so-called sequester cuts, though talks between the White House and a handful of Senate Republicans have intensified in recent weeks.

    Some lawmakers and staff aides say the new, deeper Pentagon reductions could be the jolt that prompts lawmakers to step back from the automatic cuts.
    Gut the Military...And replace it with an updated American version of the Red Army, that's the plan. Anybody remember Obama's National Civilian Defence Force?

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Yeah, we remember it. Has anyone got any information on how to join?

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    Yeah, we remember it. Has anyone got any information on how to join?

    I'm sure real Americans need not apply, but i'm sure it's ranks will be filled with mercenaries, vile parasites of fortune, criminals and degenerates like the CHEKA and 'Red Guards' were during the Russian Civil War.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military


    Navy To Delay $4 Billion Contract For Next Carrier

    September 14, 2013

    The Navy will delay by as much as a year awarding Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. a contract for at least $4 billion to start construction on the second vessel in a new class of aircraft carriers, according to U.S. officials.

    Award of the "detail design and construction" contract for the John F. Kennedy, designated CVN-79, was planned for this month until recently, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the postponement hasn't been announced.

    The ship would be built at Huntington Ingalls' Newport News Shipbuilding facility, the only place in the country that builds nuclear-powered carriers.

    The Navy is grappling in a time of budget cuts with how to pay for a shipbuilding plan that anticipates spending $43 billion for three carriers in the new class, as well as $34 billion for 52 littoral combat ships and the costs, not yet estimated, for a 12-vessel nuclear submarine fleet to replace the Ohio-class subs.

    Huntington Ingalls is operating under a $4.9 billion construction contract awarded in 2008 for the Gerald R. Ford, or CVN-78, the first vessel in the three-ship class. The Ford, already the costliest warship ever built, is projected to cost $12.8 billion when completed and fully equipped, 22 percent more than estimated five years ago.

    Sean Stackley, the Navy's assistant secretary for acquisition, made the decision to delay the Kennedy contract, the officials said. Also, the Pentagon's independent Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office hasn't completed an analysis of total costs for the Kennedy, which is required before a contract award.

    Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said in an email that the service continues to negotiate with Huntington Ingalls on the contract and, "until these negotiations conclude," the Navy intends to extend funding on a current, smaller, construction-preparation contract to "avoid a costly production break." The Navy awarded that $296 million contract to the shipbuilder last year.

    Continued negotiations on the larger contract "will allow Huntington Ingalls and the Navy to account for construction process improvements and other cost-reduction opportunities," she said.

    Beci Brenton, a spokeswoman for Huntington Ingalls, said in an email that extension of the existing contract "will help ensure that the fragile supplier base and our shipbuilders remain working, minimizing delay to ship delivery and associated cost increases."

    "This extension also provides time for the Navy and industry team to implement lessons learned from CVN-78 construction, implement further construction process improvements, identify any government requirement reductions, and increase the maturity of government technologies in order to stay within a challenging budget," Brenton said.

    The Navy's action wasn't prompted by a recommendation made by the Government Accountability Office this month to delay the contract until deficiencies with systems on the Ford were corrected and tested, according to a Navy official.

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    Budget Challenges Threaten Submarine Program

    September 12, 2013

    The U.S. military touts its submarine program as an unqualified success, yet the fleet is expected to drop by nearly 30 percent in coming years and one Hampton Roads lawmaker wants to pull money from outside the Navy's shipbuilding program to ease the pressure on one key program.

    Two Navy leaders on Thursday told a panel chaired by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, that more budget cuts would dull the edge of the submarine program, where the U.S. enjoys a distinct advantage over other superpowers. Forbes chairs the House Armed Service's subcommittee on sea power.

    About 2,300 jobs at Newport News Shipbuilding are tied to the U.S. submarine program. The shipyard builds them in partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn.

    The U.S. military has three types of nuclear-powered submarines. First are the smaller fast-attack submarines that fall primarily in two classes, the older Los Angeles class and the newer Virginia class. Last week, the Navy commissioned the newest Virginia class sub at Naval Station Norfolk.

    The second type are Ohio class ballistic missile submarines that roam the seas and provide a nuclear strike capability.

    The third type is an offshoot of the second: When the Cold War ended, the U.S. converted four of those ballistic missile submarines into guided-cruise missile submarines.

    All three types are scheduled to drop, said Rear Adm. Richard P. Breckenridge and Rear Adm. David C. Johnson. who testified before the Forbes panel.

    The fast-attack submarines will drop from 55 to 42 as the older Los Angeles class subs are retired. The four guided cruise missile subs will all be retired and the 14 ballistic-missile submarines will drop to 10. All told, that's a 29 percent cut in the nation's submarine force in the coming years before rebounding in the 2030s.

    The Navy and Congress are looking at a variety of strategies to deal with the shortfall.

    To replace the four guided-missile subs, the Navy proposes to increase the firepower of future Virginia-class submarines, outfitting them with extra payload tubes that enable them to fire more Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    Replacing the 14 ballistic missile submarines is more complicated, but extremely critical to the nation because it represents the U.S. nuclear deterrent, the two Navy officials said.

    The first of the current ballistic missile subs will reach the end of its 42-year service life in 2027. The remaining 13 will be retired at rate of roughly one per year after that. The Navy proposes replacing these 14 with 12 new subs that won't require a mid-life refueling overhaul. The Navy has already delayed this program by two years, meaning they won't deploy until 2031.

    No further delays are acceptable, the officials told the Forbes panel.

    "So the delays we put into effect today will impact a decision to deploy in 2031," Forbes said.

    The cost of these 12 boats will average $6 billion a piece and may crowd out other shipbuilding interests, Forbes said. For that reason – and because nuclear deterrence is a national priority, not just a Navy shipbuilding need -- Forbes said the Department of Defense should make sure that the Navy "does not disproportionately bear the burden."

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    Retire B-1 Fleet To Save Future Bombers: Defense Experts

    September 17, 2013

    A collection of defense think tank leaders said the Pentagon should retire its B-1 bomber fleet and cut near-term readiness money if it’s going to survive the next decade of sequestration.

    The Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessments recently held a “strategic choices exercise” to look at possible ways to cut the defense budget by $500 billion over the next decade. Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at CSBA told an audience Tuesday at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, about the results.

    In addition to the CSBA, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for a New American Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies looked at 650 different budget options across all services.

    “We sat down all these experts on four teams including CSBA and said ‘hey if you have to take these … sequester level cuts over the next 10 years and you have complete flexibility of how to allocate these cuts, go do it and show us what that looks like,’” Harrison said.

    “What is the best you can do with over a half a trillion dollars worth of cuts?”

    One of the programs most groups chose to target was legacy bombers. CSBA and CSIS recommended retiring all B-1 bombers and AEI recommended retiring both B-1 and B-52 bombers, Harrison said.

    The recommendation was in line with the Defense Departments Strategic Choices and Management Review, which also recommended cutting the legacy bomber force.

    “Ten to 20 years from now, we are going to need a bomber force,” Harrison said. “How do you do that? Well, if you are going to need a new bomber program, you may have to give up some of your legacy bombers.”

    Force readiness was one area where they think tanks differed from the SCMR, which recommended to fully fund readiness.

    “We gave teams the explicit option to cut back on near-term readiness; there is a lot of money in readiness right now and obviously that does a lot of good things it keeps our forces ready to fight,” Harrison said.

    Despite the risk, all four think tanks chose to cut near-term readiness. Maintaining full funding for readiness means the cuts have to come from other areas including cutting the size of the force, Harrison said.


    Cutting readiness “is a strategic choice and a difficult one … but that is a choice we allowed the teams to make and they did – all of them took some cuts in near-term readiness,” Harrison said.

    “As we saw in 2013, the Air Force didn’t have much option but to ground some of its fighter squadrons temporarily,” he said.
    “When you look at the budget; when you’ve got to make cuts immediately … there is not a lot of quick money you can take out of the budget other than readiness. Readiness is quick money.”

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    Pentagon floats plan to close US commissaries

    By Justin Fishel, Jennifer Griffin
    Published December 02, 2013
    FoxNews.com


    The Pentagon is floating a controversial plan to close all U.S.-based commissaries in 2015 as part of a massive cost-saving effort after more than a decade of war. The commissaries are grocery stores that offer food and other necessities at a discount to members of the military, their families and veterans. But as Congress tightens the purse strings, the stores could get caught in the budget battle. Budget cutters say they don't yet know how much money the plan would save, but there are 178 commissaries in the United States -- and 70 overseas -- which receive a total of $1.4 billion in government funds.

    The Defense Commissary Agency, responsible for administering all commissaries worldwide, says military families and retirees save an average of more than 30 percent on their grocery bills compared with those who shop at regular retail stores. The agency says those savings amount to thousands of dollars annually per family. But families could also lose jobs if the stores close. Thirty percent of the employees at the commissaries are military spouses. The director of the Defense Commissary Agency says that they have already cut their budget by $700 million since 1993.

    Other military services -- including the Pentagon Channel and Stars and Stripes newspaper -- may also face cuts, along with Armed Forces Radio and Television, which broadcasts football games and news for service members overseas. Stars and Stripes, an independently edited military newspaper, has been around since the Civil War and has over 200,000 daily readers. It collects just $7.8 million a year in government subsidies. To put this number in perspective, the U.S. spent $135 million in fuel for the Afghan military this year -- part of the $4 billion the nation budgeted to support the entire Afghan military this year.

    Defense officials say none of these cuts have been made yet and no final decision has been reached. But, according to Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren, "everything has to be on the table." Still, Warren said: "No commissaries have closed. No commissaries are about to close. As with every other program that's out there, we're taking a look at how we can save money. We're just taking a look. No one's decided to do anything." Any cuts to military benefits would ultimately have to be approved and passed by Congress.

    Patrons offered mixed opinions about the proposed changes. Officials at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., would not allow Fox News to interview shoppers at the on-post commissary, but passersby spoke to Fox News outside the Pentagon. "I definitely think it's a bad thing to take away the commissaries, because that's a benefit that a lot of soldiers and family members utilize." said Sgt Major Steven Scott. Scott said it's not only about lower costs, but it's also a matter of convenience for families who are able to shop on post.

    Others who take advantage of the benefit, like Joseph Shubert, say it's a better option for cutting than some of the alternatives. "I don't like it, but I understand that choices have to be made," Shubert said. "So, if it's this or, say, cutting our retirement paychecks or things like that, you know one way or another I think this is one of the least bad options."

    Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...ntcmp=trending

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    We’ll so weaken your
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Of course.

    Certainly.

    Everything to FORCE us all to shop at the government sanctioned locations that are coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

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    Cold War-Era 'Warthog' Plane Targeted For Retirement Amid Budget Cuts

    November 20, 2013

    The A-10 Thunderbolt II, a snub-nosed ground-attack plane nicknamed the "Warthog," is the latest aircraft to find its way onto the Pentagon's endangered weapons list.

    Outfitted with a seven-barrel Gatling gun the size of a Volkswagen Beetle in its nose, the Cold War-era plane has a reputation for tearing apart armored tanks and clearing the way for troops on the ground with its massive 30-millimeter rounds of ammunition.

    But the unsightly plane has been in the cross hairs of Pentagon officials in recent years. The Air Force — better known for aerial dogfights and dropping GPS-guided bombs — would rather invest its diminishing funds elsewhere. With billions of dollars in budget cuts and a possible second round of sequestration looming, the military faces tough decisions: keep funding proven planes of the past or invest in high-tech 21st-century weapons.

    The Pentagon has yet to release its latest budget or officially signal that the Warthogs are on a kill list. But last month, the Air Force disclosed that eliminating the fleet of 326 aircraft would save it about $3.5 billion over five years.

    But taking no chances, A-10 supporters in Congress rushed to offer an amendment this week to the National Defense Authorization Act that would effectively prohibit any additional A-10 retirements until 2021 or later.

    Last week, 33 lawmakers wrote a letter to the U.S. secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to express "deep concern" about retiring the A-10.

    Last month, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, blocked the confirmation of the White House nominee for Air Force secretary until she received answers about the plane's fate.

    There's even a Facebook group called Save the A-10 that was created in August and has garnered more than 4,000 supporters.

    The situation serves as a harbinger of the battles to come in an age of budget austerity. The military says it must slash, or "divest," its older arsenal to save money. But because these entrenched programs support troops and provide thousands of jobs across many states, Congress has continually come to their rescue.

    The Pentagon already faces budget cuts of $487 billion over 10 years, and now it must cope with the threat of an additional $500 billion in cuts because of sequestration. The military services are going through an unprecedented process of developing two budgets for 2015 — one with sequestration and one without.

    Sequestration cuts would reduce Pentagon spending $52 billion next year. When it comes to programs such as the A-10, some in Congress feel there are better places to cut.

    "It would be unconscionable to further cut an asset like the A-10 for budget reasons — increasing the risks our service members confront in ground combat — when equivalent savings could be achieved elsewhere in the Air Force budget without reducing operational capabilities," said the bipartisan letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

    The Air Force spends millions of dollars on "conferences, air shows and bloated headquarters staffs," the letter said.

    But major savings — measured in billions rather than millions of dollars — can be made only by cutting an entire fleet, the Air Force has said. That way, the infrastructure that supports the fleet can also be cut, which encompasses thousands of jobs.

    The A-10 program also supports 6,000 jobs in the Air National Guard, which flies 90 A-10s in five states. Guard officials have expressed dismay at the prospect of killing the plane.

    No one calls into question the A-10's success at close-air support. The plane is considered one of the best at directly protecting troops on the ground. Pilots do that by laying down fire on enemy tanks, vehicles and strongholds with its high-powered Gatling gun.

    The A-10 was designed by Fairchild-Republic in the 1970s around the gun — the heaviest rotary cannon ever mounted on an aircraft. Pilots can shoot short bursts that unleash 140 rounds of ammunition in two seconds. To do so, it must fly low and slow over the battlefield, making it susceptible to ground fire.

    But the plane is designed to keep flying even if parts of the wing or one of its engines has been blown to shreds. And the cockpit is surrounded by a bullet-resistant titanium tub. The aircraft has been routinely upgraded over the years.

    "The idea is the pilot in the cockpit faces the same threats as the guy in the foxhole," said Pierre Sprey, an aeronautical engineer who helped design the F-16 and A-10. "They're in the same fight, and direct contact with one another the whole way through."

    That could be seen in July when two A-10s flying out of Afghanistan's Bagram air base protected 60 soldiers who were ambushed after their lead vehicle turned over during a patrol in Afghanistan. As the soldiers lay pinned behind their vehicles, taking fire, the A-10s rained down bullets and bombs until the combatants gave up.

    This month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the "A-10 is the best close-air support platform we have today."

    As good as the A-10 is in close-air support, the military classifies it as a single-role aircraft. That's the problem. Going forward, the Air Force has said it wants to rid itself of one-mission planes in favor of a fleet of multi-role aircraft. These jack-of-all-trades aircraft can blast apart enemies on the ground and in the sky.

    The A-10 can't dogfight. It's not stealthy. It's not supersonic.

    "The Air Force never wanted the A-10, and they've been trying to get rid of it for years," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a website for military policy research. "They are manly men and they want jets that shoot down other jets — even though the last time they had an ace was Vietnam."

    The A-10 replacement is the upcoming F-35 fighter jet. Known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the nearly $400-billion program for more than 2,400 jets is centered around a plan to develop a fighter plane that could — with a few tweaks — be used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

    The idea is that it can take off and land on runways and aircraft carriers, as well as hover like a helicopter. No single fighter aircraft has had all those capabilities. And it is expensive. At $35,200, the F-35's cost per flying hour is twice as much as the A-10's, according to the Government Accountability Office.

    Though few believe the F-35 will ultimately be able to provide close-air support as well as the A-10, the F-35 certainly falls under the Air Force's definition of "multi-role."

    Therein lies the dilemma, said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. If budgets are going to be cut severely, where are the cuts going to come from: expensive new weapons that can carry out more missions, or aging, less-complex weapons?

    The F-35 provides 127,000 direct and indirect jobs in 47 states and Puerto Rico. Someone is sure to be upset if there's a proposal to buy fewer of the planes, Harrison said.

    "Everyone knows there needs to be cuts, but few people in Congress are brave enough to actually make them," he said. "Bottom line is there are going to be a lot of angry people in Congress — no matter what."




    War Over the Warthogs

    November 20, 2013

    It’s old, it’s slow, it’s ugly, and—unlike a Swiss army knife—the Air’s Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II can only do one thing: help grunts on the ground. So think of it as the military equivalent of Grandma’s tarnished turkey-carving knife that only comes out at Thanksgiving. It does a fine job on the old bird, but can a cash-strapped Air Force afford to keep the A-10 flying when its sole mission is to save the lives of U.S. troops in trouble?

    As the Pentagon’s budget vise squeezes the Air Force, it is considering a decision to ground its 326 A-10s forever to save money, including $3.5 billion between 2015 and 2019. The idea has triggered a dogfight between the Air Force and A-10 backers on Capitol Hill.

    Ground-pounders are caught in the crosshairs. “As an Army guy, I will tell you, the A-10s are very close to the Army, and we’re wondering what will do that mission,” General Frank Grass, the National Guard chief, said Tuesday. “But when the nation cannot afford the force it has today, something has to go.”

    The notion is painful to the Air Force’s top officer who spent 1,000 of his early flight hours piloting A-10s. “If we have platforms that can do multiple missions well, and maybe not do one as well as another airplane…the airplane that is limited to a specific type of mission area becomes the one most at risk,” General Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee in September. “I think there’s some logic to this that’s hard for us to avoid, no matter how much I happen to love the airplane.”

    While soldiers love the airplane they call the Warthog, they’ll get over it, the Air Force’s top warfighter believes. “If a bad guy goes away,” said General Mike Hostage, chief of Air Combat Command, “the Army’s not going to argue about how it went away.”

    The Air Force would eventually fill much of the A-10’s troop-support mission with its new F-35 fighter, which has been plagued by problems and cost overruns. “The Air Force is growing increasingly desperate to eliminate competition in its force structure to the F-35,” says weapons-watcher Winslow Wheeler, who spent 30 years monitoring Pentagon procurement on Capitol Hill and at the Government Accountability Office, and now runs the nonprofit Straus Military Reform Project. If the Air Force prevails, “the biggest cost will be in the Defense Department’s ability to support soldiers and Marines engaged in close combat on the ground—a mission no aircraft can perform as well as the A-10.” Other Air Force planes that the service says could be tapped to help ground troops include the AC-130, F-15E, F-16, B-1 and B-52.

    In contrast to the F-35’s woes, the A-10 stands as a poster child on how the nation should buy its weapons.

    “Close attention to key mission characteristics (lethality, survivability, responsiveness, and simplicity) allowed the concept formulation and subsequent system design to result in an effective close-air support aircraft, and design-to-cost goals kept the government and contractor [Fairchild Republic] focused on meeting the critical requirements at an affordable cost,” a candid 2010 Air Force report said. “The A-10 did not meet all its cost goals, but it came much closer to them than most major defense development programs did in that time frame or since then.”

    The A-10’s titanium-clad cockpit and self-sealing fuel cells protects its lone pilot. Manual flight controls back up its hydraulic system. These give the A-10 pilot the confidence to fly low and slow to take out enemy armor or troops with the eye-watering seven-barrel GAU-8 Gatling gun protruding from under its nose.

    It made its combat debut in the 1991 Gulf War, where it flew more than 8,000 sorties while destroying a big chunk of the Iraqi military: 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 501 armored personnel carriers, and 1,106 trucks. Only six A-10s were lost. It has since flown in action over Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, again. Tales like this have made it the grunts’ best friend.

    “The A-10 was somewhat forced on a reluctant Air Force by the needs of the Army,” that 2010 Air Force report said. “The Air Force believed that fighters that were not otherwise engaged could take on close-air support when needed.” The Army disagreed: it “needed an aircraft that could carry a great amount of ordnance, loiter in the area for some time with excellent maneuverability, and had the ability to take hits from enemy ground fire.” Ultimately, the Air Force agreed to field the A-10, many experts believe, “to keep the Army from taking over the close-air support mission.”

    Last week, 35 lawmakers told Pentagon leaders they would “oppose any effort” by the Air Force to ground its A-10s beginning next fall because it would “unnecessarily endanger our service members in future conflicts.”

    One of the leaders of the effort is Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a member of the armed services committee. “Many soldiers and Marines are alive today because of the unique capabilities of the A-10, as well as the focused close-air support training and dedicated close-air support culture of A-10 pilots,” the lawmakers’ Nov. 13 letter said. Ayotte should know: her husband, Joe Daley, flew A-10s in the first Gulf War.

    In some ways, the F-35’s woes could be the A-10’s salvation. Ayotte is readying an amendment that would order the Air Force to keep its A-10s flying until its F-35s are fully operational. That’s currently slated to happen in 2021.

    The Air Force, apparently, isn’t taking any chances. On Tuesday, the Northrop Grumman Corp. announced it had landed Air Force contracts totaling $24 million “required to keep the A-10 weapon system viable through 2028 and beyond.”

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    US Army Forecasts Shrinking Squads, Smaller Vehicles

    November 25, 2013

    For the US Army, everything is on the table.

    During the service’s yearly senior leader seminar Nov. 20, the Army’s top uniformed leadership for the first time called for a look at cutting the size of the squad from nine soldiers to as low as six, while reminding subordinates that the service is shrinking and likely won’t be able to afford new leap-ahead technologies in the near future.

    And briefing slides referenced vehicles half the weight of the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), which enjoys dwindling support among the brass.

    Going smaller while focusing investments on increasing the combat punch a small unit can bring to bear will “make us more affordable, yet as capable” as the service is now, one leading general said. A key point is also to become faster and more expeditionary.

    One senior leader said that in coming years, the Army will have to “reduce the size of our formations but increase the capability of our formations. ...If we can be more effective with less people it will make us more expeditionary.”

    A handful of reporters were allowed to sit in on the briefing under the condition that names not be used.

    This talk about moving faster comes in response to the fact that the Army will primarily be a domestically based force in the coming years. The idea that rapid deployability to hot spots around the world will be a key to future conflicts is one that the Army is taking very seriously.

    This new push has generated a new Army catchphrase: “Speed that matters.”

    The thinking goes that speed can act as a deterrent to adversaries. The idea was also floated during the seminar that having a rapidly deployable force provides civilian leadership with more leverage and “decision space” in which to politically exploit an adversary’s weakness.

    While leadership has “latched on to this idea that we need speed to buy time for decision makers, I don’t see the policy makers saying the reason I can’t make decisions is because the Army isn’t moving fast enough,” said Maren Leed, a frequent Army adviser and analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    One general complained that “our Army is too heavy and reliant” on the other services for lift to other parts of the globe. The answer for the future, he said, is to “tailor our heavy forces into smaller, more capable force packages. ...The Navy and Air Force are both reducing strategic lift.” Without upgrading heavy lift capabilities, it will take the Army weeks to get all of the necessary gear overseas.

    But getting to the fight only means so much. It’s what you bring to the fight — and the way you fight — that worries the service.

    “We have about a five-year gap in our modernization” plan on the horizon, one four-star estimated, and the coming gap “means we have no choice: We have to go to the innovative approach. Our budget is driving us that way.”

    The “innovative approach” will lead the Army away from simply building on existing platforms and technologies and toward a search for new armor and other technological advances that may pan out in coming years as the service pinches its pennies by placing some key modernization programs on hold.

    Chief among them is the GCV program, on which the Army has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars but can’t reduce the vehicle’s weight to less than 70 tons — a weight that would make it heavier than a fully loaded Abrams tank.

    For comparison, the Bradley fighting vehicle, which can carry about seven soldiers — less than a full nine-man squad —weighs about 33 tons, while the 19-ton Stryker can carry a squad.

    One GCV-unfriendly slide sketched out the path that the Army wants its heavy troop carriers to go. Tellingly, the vision for 2030 showed a platform that weighed 30 tons, less than half of the GCV, which has been scheduled to go into production at the end of this decade.

    The Army has publicly walked back its support for the program in recent weeks, saying that it will likely continue work on the GCV for several years longer than it had originally anticipated in order to get the requirements right.

    Two Scenarios

    The seminar at Fort Lesley J. McNair was not only to hash out future operating concepts but also for senior leadership to be briefed on the latest iteration of the yearly Unified Quest war game, which pits the projected Army of the near future against a problem.

    Last year’s fight was against a nuclear-armed failed state that was a thinly veiled stand-in for North Korea. The 2013 version looked much like Syria, with the fight taking place in the failed state of “Sasani,” which had lost control of its chemical weapons. Terrorists smuggled the chemicals out of the country and attacked the mainland United States with them, causing several divisions of American troops to invade in order to secure the remaining weapons, while providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.

    The Army gamed the fight out in two ways.

    One was to use the current investment approach to project what technologies would exist in 2030, and the other was to follow a path that would lead to leap-ahead technologies, like the 30-ton protected ground vehicle and huge advances in tilt-rotor vertical lift and “significant investments in joint strategic mobility.”

    It’s no surprise that the team that represented the vision the Army would like to sketch out for itself performed superbly, while the fiscally constrained force faltered.

    The less modernized force took seven weeks to begin ground operations, while the “innovative” force was on the ground in two weeks, with the opening assault involving a Stryker brigade being airdropped into the country.

    But one general took exception to some of the assumptions under which planners labored. He made one briefer stop in the middle of his presentation, complaining that there simply won’t be enough money in coming years to invest in big advances in new cargo airplanes and helicopters that would get troops to a hot spot as quickly as the game allowed.

    “Let’s assume we’re not going to get a significant investment in joint strategic power projection,” he said. Instead, planners should focus on “making ourselves smaller.”

    The Army can’t control how the Navy and Air Force spend their money, he argued, and in the coming years the other services will be focused on their own combat capabilities and will not invest in getting the Army to where it needs to go. “Like it or not that’s not their priorities. ... We have to control our own destiny, and to control our own destiny, we have to reduce the amount [of troops and equipment] that has to be moved.”

    It was a moment of clarity from a general who, two years after the passage of the Budget Control Act, which made sequestration the law of the land, still has to remind Army planners that the new normal will be messy and may blow apart some long-held assumptions of resetting the force.

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    Putting Military Pay On The Table

    November 30, 2013

    Big-ticket weapons like aircraft carriers and the F-35 fighter jet have to be part of any conversation about cutting Pentagon spending to satisfy the mandatory budget reductions known as the sequester. But compensation for military personnel has to be on the table, too — even though no other defense issue is more politically volatile or emotionally fraught.

    After a decade of war, the very idea of cutting benefits to soldiers, sailors and Marines who put their lives on the line seems ungrateful. But America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is over or winding down, and the Pentagon is obliged to find nearly $1 trillion in savings over 10 years. Tough choices will be required in all parts of the budget. Compensation includes pay, retirement benefits, health care and housing allowances. It consumes about half the military budget, and it is increasing.

    In a speech last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that without serious savings in this area, “we risk becoming an unbalanced force, one that is well compensated but poorly trained and equipped, with limited readiness and capability.” Meanwhile, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a hearing: “The cost of a soldier has doubled since 2001; it’s going to almost double again by 2025. We can’t go on like this, so we have to come up with [new] compensation packages.”

    The Wall Street Journal reported recently that military commanders have agreed to a plan that would curb the growth of pay and benefits for housing, education and health. But it must still be approved by Mr. Hagel and President Obama. In past years, Congress has approved pay raises and benefit improvements and resisted rollbacks. It is possible that politically savvy Pentagon leaders may be hitting the personnel issue hard right now to force lawmakers to end the sequester or to otherwise soften its blow to the overall military budget. Personnel costs are not the only ones rising. Weapons procurement has risen 88 percent from 2001 to 2012.

    But many Washington-based think tanks, spanning all ideologies, are also pushing reform. In June, a group of them — including the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Center for American Progress — called for a comprehensive review and modernization of the military compensation system, which has been largely unchanged for 40 years.

    One problem is that unrestrained compensation costs will edge out funds for training, readiness and weapons. A recent Congressional Budget Office study said that between 2001 and 2012, when private-sector wages were effectively flat, basic military pay rose by 28 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. The study also said that cash compensation for enlisted personnel, including food and housing allowances, is greater than the wages and salaries of 90 percent of their civilian counterparts. And health care costs are projected to rise from $51 billion in 2013 to $77 billion by 2022.

    Where, then, to cut? Reducing the size of the armed forces would have the quickest effect. The budget office suggests giving smaller pay raises; replacing the current retirement system, under which active-duty members qualify for immediate benefits after 20 years of service, with a defined benefit system that partially vests earlier in a service member’s career; and increasing health care enrollment fees, deductibles or co-payments. Military retirees pay only a fraction of what civilians pay for health care premiums, and those with second careers often choose to stay on the government plan. It makes sense that they be asked to assume a greater share. To the extent possible, any changes should affect future recruits rather than current enlistees.

    Soldiers must be adequately compensated. But when programs across the government are being slashed, including those affecting the most vulnerable Americans, no budget account can be immune from reductions and reforms. It is a difficult balance to get right.

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    Default Re: Obama Guts the Military

    Someone asked me yesterday, "Do you think you will get your military retirement pay at 60?"

    My response was, "There are a lot of us who will be turning 60 soon. We own guns. We know how to fight, how to kill. Yeah, we'll get our pay one way or another."

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