Gates Says “Money Spigot” Closing; Refuses to Endorse FCS

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made clear that the era of defense spending largesse is over. “The spigot of defense funding opened by 9/11 is closing. With two major campaigns ongoing, the economic crisis and resulting budget pressures will force hard choices on this department,” Gates said, “we will not be able to do everything, buy everything.” New budget realities will force DOD to “critically and ruthlessly separate appetites from real requirements – those things that are desirable in a perfect world from those things that are truly needed in light of the threats America faces and the missions we are likely to undertake in the years ahead.”

Gates also signaled he wants to return to a real and honest net assessment: “Our procurement and preparation for conventional scenarios must, in turn, be driven more by the actual capabilities of potential adversaries, and less by what is technologically feasible given unlimited time and resources.”

“I believe that the FY 2010 budget must make hard choices,” he said, I will pursue greater quantities of systems that represent the “75 percent” solution instead of smaller quantities of “99 percent,” exquisite systems.” He also highlighted a number of problematic weapons programs: “The list of big-ticket weapons systems that have experienced contract or program performance problems spans the services: the Air Force tanker, CSAR-X, VH-71, Osprey, Future Combat Systems, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, Littoral Combat Ship, Joint Strike Fighter, and so on.”

“Efforts to put the bureaucracy on a war footing have, in my view, revealed underlying flaws in the institutional priorities, cultural preferences, and reward structures of America’s defense establishment – a set of institutions largely arranged to plan for future wars, to prepare for a short war, but not to wage a protracted war. The challenge we face is how well we can institutionalize the irregular capabilities gained and means to support troops in theater that have been, for the most part, developed ad hoc and funded outside the base budget.”

In his prepared statement, Gates signaled his concern with the Army’s Future Combat System: “One option is to continue to spin out components of large-scale, long-term modernization projects in real time for early field testing and use in ongoing operations, then fold the results into longer-term product development. We are doing so in Afghanistan and Iraq with Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles, a component the Army’s Future Combat Systems used to clear caves, search bunkers, or cross minefields. Such field testing ensures that a program like FCS – whose total cost could exceed $200 billion if completely built out – will continue to demonstrate its value for both conventional and unconventional scenarios.”

FCS champion, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.) pressed Gates to profess his commitment to the program, which he refused to do. “We’re going to have to take a close look at it… see what can be made available what is useful in this spectrum of conflict from what I would call hybrid complex wars to those of counterinsurgency.” Gates has spoken before about his belief that in the future American troops will face “hybrid” enemies, opponents who will fight as irregulars but equipped with advanced precision guided, man-portable weapons. “I don’t think anything’s off the table at this point.”

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I just hope that both the Congress and Dod will take into account the steady buildup of the Chinese naval and missile capabilities and the Russian resurgence in tactical aircraft and strategic missiles.

China and Russia to include Iran when the U.S. pulls out of Iraq. Don’t think for a minute that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t have deep desires to over run the Iraqies and turn it into a annex complete with nukes pointed at the U.S. and Israel.

i dont see how we can ever pull out from there. that would be the worst misteake we could make.

I think R.Gate’s new approach of is inline with the new administration’s policy.the bush adminstration time was the one with ups and down.the new one should just assess with whom the can talk and handle with.meantime Russia china and Iran will still remain a threat. they will consolide their collaboration as a block. Iran and Syria will be controlling the middle east after having wiped away Israel, while Russia will claim back alaska and come brutally against its former block countries and EU countries to exercise its militry muscles, while China and North Korea will invade Japan and all the nearby islands and continent like Australia, talkless of extremism and Islamic expansionism remain a permanent THREAD at the treshold of every single citizen’s LIFE. Quoting the Russian ” President ” MEDVEDEV.’ Speech and one the russian daily news paper after President Obama took an oath.
This is the new Threat of the coming Century Starting now.
So I think the US should not be dupe and naive… about these details so apparently insignificant but real…
MARK MY WORD!!!!!!!!!

I think R.Gate’s new approach is in line with the new administration’s policy.the bush adminstration time was the one with ups and downs, the new one should just assess with whom they can talk and handle. meantime Russia, china and Iran will still remain a threat. they will consolide their collaboration as a block. Iran and Syria will be controlling the middle east after having wiped away Israel, while Russia will claim back alaska and come brutally against its former block countries and EU to exercise its militry muscles, while China and North Korea will invade Japan and all the nearby islands and continent like Australia, talkless of extremism and Islamic expansionism which remains as a permanent THREAt, at the treshold of every single citizen’s LIFE. Quoting the Russian ” President ” MEDVEDEV.’ Speech and one the russian daily news paper after Obama took an oath for the office.
This is the new Threat of the coming Century Starting now.
So I think the US should not be dupe and naive… about these details so apparently insignificant but real…
MARK MY WORD!!!!!!!!!

Gates is a suck up! Noticed he didn’t say anything about doing away with any ship programs. As far as the V-22 and the JSF those are a few of the industry jobs that they haven’t sold off to the Chinese, Germans or Mexicans. So naturally they want to do away with them. Remenber, a strong defense not only means being safe at home it means Americans jobs. Gates get a grip! Clinton gave everything away now thru deregulation and NAPTA and Obama wants to sell what’s left to China! PEOPLE WAKE UP!!!

Really this is the Presdential term that Isreal gets taken out for good and Russia along with China do what Japan couldn’t do in the 40’s? Did it ever occur to you that the economic situation we are in determines the Federal Budget as a whole and not just DoD? I kow maybe you think the other Federal services should just suck it up and DoD should continue it’s spending spree. Maybe you haven’t read about the military acquisition syystem and how flawed and out of control it has become. Past history has shown the the military will be able to handle and perform its duty regardless of how money it is left to spend in it’s budget.

As far as the supposed mentioned expansion, do you really think the US (World Police) and the rest of the other countries and have some type of interest in the supposed expansion area, will just stand idle and let this take place? Well, EU might, but I don’t think we or some other countries will allow Japan or Australia to fall.

Gary and Mo…Bingo!! I couldn’t have said it better.

The Government needs to concentrate on in-house training of acquisition system employees; especially those employees responsible for monitoring contractors compliance with contracts. The “buck should stop” with civilian employees relative to any contractor or contracting issue. As it stands now, a contractor doing something wrong or not doing anything at all, at any level, which results in a negative report, has to do nothing more than squeal to the in-house personnel’s supervisor or higher up, who either has connections with the contractor (which results in the employee attempting to do their job being replaced with someone who is less experienced and unable to monitor a contractor as closely and effectively as is required) or has little or no experience in dealing with contractors and are therefore to scared to tell the contractor to sit down and shut up and comply with the contract or be fired.

Next, starting at the top, they need to replace military personnel and civilians who refuse to produce with those who will; then “critically and ruthlessly” get rid of useless non producing contractors that overcharge and refuse to follow through with the contracts they agreed to be paid to complete as well as any contractor that employs ex-military Major and above, and ex-DOD civilian employees in any capacity. That alone will save Billions.

If we were living in “a perfect world”, we wouldn’t need a military or the weapons systems that go along with it. In addition to severely damaging our ability to defend ourselves, like Clinton did, the people hurt by this new/restructured budget will be the troops and “little guy” civilians employed by the Federal Government who are struggling to make a living so that they can have a place to live and something to eat as well as the disabled veterans that are to sick/disabled to work.

Stated in a different way…Before the Federal Government “restructures” DOD’s budget by doing away with current and planned weapons systems projects, reducing the number of troops, or by utilizing a reduction in force that will result in DOD Civilian employees losing their jobs or being down graded, or result in less of a budget for current and potential future disabled veterans and the VA, they should fire useless contractors, then move to the top ranks within the Government and “restructure” the budget by getting rid of high powered lobbyists employed by the Federal and State Government that have connections with those contractors. Leave the weapons systems, our troops, disabled vets and the little WG/WS/GS/GM thru grade 15 employees alone.

Chatryll…I agree with your assessment of the threat. I think you are right on the mark.

I currently work for a large defense contractor. Aquisition and program management really do need to get more “hands on”. Money is needlessly wasted on everything from unneeded travel to flatout poor management. Unfortunately, just like a lot of civil sector industies, the defense sector (including the government itself) must get leaner. Progams that continually spin out of control, must end, or we will all be looking for a new line of work. I do agree with most of the posts in here concerning China, Russia, and the Middle East though. I firmly believe that both China and Russia will quickly turn on us, given the chance, and both countries have always had expansionist policies. If we are not careful in the future we will end up like the Roman Empire, paying tribute to all these nations, and finally sucumbing to them.

I’m a Viet Nam Era Vet (’64-’73)at present work as a Manufacturing Engineer on portions of the C17, V-22, CH60, and GLOBALHAWK (UMA). This Administration as well as the people like me need your input reguarding the performance of our equipment not hear-say Hype from salesmen. The present Bill before Congress will effect all of us to include our Military Budget the so called “STIMULUS PACKAGE” to re-create the WPA will bring us one step closer to socialism the very thing our Military is fighting. You must believe that many of us working on your equipment are prior servicemen and women we stress that every person working on our product to remember who will be using it. Keep providing input if my aircraft is failing you I need to know because it is failing our Nation. Thank You for your service we need you in our industry.

If you want to see whats rattling around in DoD thinking take a look at this:


Traditionally I believe in peace first, war later. However, sometimes war is the only option. Russia is not a threat to the United States, and historically it really never has been. Americans simply fear nuclear war, not the Russian army. Nether Russia or Iran are strong conventional military threat. Without nuclear weapons both countries could be subdued, readily, which is why it is imperative we strengthen alliances with the ever unstable Russia, and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons at all costs. China on the other hand is a direct threat. Iran and Russia may talk tough, but they don’t have the resources to be a global, without nuclear arms. China not only posses a huge amount of wealth, it has a huge population that is mostly male. China could have a 500 million man army if they wanted. Within the next 50 years China will retake Taiwan, and we need to be ready for a large multi national war.

As a college student and USMCR the FCS seems like the coolest thing ever, however when it comes down to urban close combat with nonconventional enemies, I’d take a ballistic bat suit and a ferfrans S.O.A.R. and 12 gauge pump. Instead of producing million dollar bots that only a few specially trained technicians will have access to in the field, give us soldiers better body armor. Stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars on new jets when the jets they are replacing haven’t been declassified yet. A multi-billion dollar jet won’t stop the carnage in Iraq or Afghanistan. Give use, the soldiers, better gear, packs that don’t tear open, uniforms that keep use warm at night and cool during the day, a side arm that doesn’t suck, P226 > M9. That kind of work is hands on man to man wet work.

Obama may be out sourcing the contracts but the DoD is out sourcing war. A robot will never will be able to do what a marine can do in such little time for such little cost. Give us better armor, give us better guns, and we’ll take care of the problems out there.

I’ve been an engineer in the defense industry for over 20 years. I can assure you that the drive to be lean and effecient is a top priority. But mission assurance is everything to us, and that ain’t cheap. And the products we build are needed for national security and jobs. The so called “military industrial complex” is the last bastion of “Made in America” and is in partner with the military to keep us free.
I agree with Chattryl. Clinton sold us out to the Chinese. I fear that Obama is going to finish the job of selling out our American dream.

Here we go again. President Bush was castigated by the press for not having body armor and up-armored HMV’s that were not purchased by President Clinton. Does this mean we will have to fight WW II all over again when P-40’s were fighting Zero’s. The Democrats never learn, do they.

There are some good points made here as well as some way out left wing. I am a retired VET as well as a Govt. QA, spent many hours at contractors facilities insuring compliance and shutting down production lines when they were not. Big problem is upper management such as program mangers, military brass, and engineering staff’s wont listen to common logic. A lot of the contractors cut corners to reduce costs ( common knowledge ). Most bid on contracts having no clue how they are going to do the job or even have a facility or equipment to do it with ( go out and buy what they think they will need after they get the contract. )This has burned my backside for years and because of it most contractors start off months behind schedule and to make up for it HQ starts accepting items that are not 100% just to build up the stocks,I fought many a battle trying to get them not to accept product that should have been scraped only to be over ruled due to contractor whining about schedule impact if not accepted. yet I could never find a contractor willing to go into battle with his product let alone a non conforming product. Another issue is the upper echelon is stuck in a star wars mode. They acknowledge future wars will be low conflict unconventional, heck they have been that way since Nam ( at least they are finaly seeing the light ) but they havent started gearing up for this kind of warfare yet, still stuck in WW2 tactics only using multi million dollar weapons systems. For unconventional you need old school weapons not space age ( other than higher more accurate sattelite imaging and coms gear. ) you kneed accurate high impact small arms. (7.62mm, 45ACP, 12 ga shotguns ), light weight disposable rockets (LAW’s), fast light weight vehicles ( dune buggies, jeeps, range rovers ) small unit covert operations and recon training, trained to travel light and fast( not carrying 80 lb ruck sacks, video cameras on their weapons so the brass can watch from their offices. ). These littoral shipps are still too big for brown water and costal ops, bring back an updated version of the WW2 PT boat with a towed sonar array, Mk 46 torpedos, bushmaster chain guns, and rocket pods so it can attack subs, surface ships or support spec ops in inland waters, ( build 20 of them for the cost of one 300 ft ship that will have to stay off the coast. ). Stop building million dollar combat robots that can be stopped with a 1 dollar bullet. drop 200 conventional bombs instead of one million dollar bomb. High tech is just high cost and needless spending. Listen to the ground forces and not the arm chair generals who havent packed gear or fired a weapon in the field for years. Listen to the people you hired to insure contractor conformance and not the contractors complain about thier schedule impacts, if they would make it right every time they would have to worry. We need better controls on spending but I bet they cut out what we need for what they want.

Boomer — I don’t doubt your experience, but it isn’t mine. Admittedly, half of my experience is limited to the largest aerospace company in the US, and the other half at perhaps the largest sophisticated weapon system manufacturer. And it sounds like you are my senior in years (sorry). But from my level, senior staff and first-line management, I can tell you that I trust my son (4th ID in Iraq) to these weapons we build (Javelin for one). Nothing made by man is perfect. But, given the natural limitations of man and machine, I’m pretty pleased with what we do. I disagree with you about high-tech weapons. We need superior weaponry, not equal. Yes, we need conventional, but we also need well designed and built high-tech. And we need a lot of it. We must not let China, Russia, Iran, Korea … get above us in weaponry. And you can be sure they are working very hard at it.

I do not pretend to understand the technical end (weapons, etc). I do know as a WWII AF Pilots child and a retired DOD employee that common sense will tell you that “Secrets” detrimental to our country need to be kept secret (The Media today is ignorant of the truth). Secondly, the de-regulation of the government from Reagan Admin. and worsening by Clinton Admin. have caused the lack of follow-up on contractors being hired without the bidding process. There apparently has been no bidding for the lowest “High Quality” Contractor’s. We can also thank the idea that “Micro managing worked”. It did not, not to mention that too many non english speaking are both managing and paying contractors. There has been entirely too much flagrant spending and buying for the last 18 years much less having a workforce that does not have to even stay the “Pledge of Allegiance” and mean it. All I do is “fume” and pray. Does that make me stupid? This may be simplified but it comes straight from the heart. I am genuinely concerned about our freedom and our future as a country. God Bless America and our “Armed Forces”. Thank you whom truly give for our freedoms, present, past, and future.

My two cents.

Eddie, Gates mentioned LCS as a program in trouble so he’s looking at ALL the services.

Chartryll, I’m sure you thing the israelis bombed the WTC also. Russia’s economy is in the tank and they can’t even afford to send their navy to sea. Their ships are old and poorly maintained. Still I’m sure they could put up a fair fight for a short time. But they don’t want Alaska. You might as well say they’re going to invade Canada. And you’re nuts if you think they will work with China as a block. Russia has been invaded by China too many times to go all in with them.

China’s not going ally thenselves with N Korea in a war. Why? NK can’t even put up lights in it’s cities let alone fight a major war with Japan, Phillipines and Australia. They would just be a burden on China. Besides, China is much more interested in reunification with Taiwan, whether by force or diplomacy, to think about the other island states. They would rather build up their trade with those countries taking over as the dominant trading partner from the US. That’s real power.

Iran/Iraq will be interesting when we get out of Iraq but we will have a presence in the area for years that will keep Iran from getting too out of control. With a big US presence in Afghanistan on their border we would become a second front they could not handle.

Boomer, Re LCS — they’re designed to operate in ten foot depths so that is definitely coastal but not brown water. The navy is redeveloping it’s riverine forces and is acquiring the boats and weapons for them. But you’re right that we do need to get rid of non-performing people. However, it is just as much in the rank and file as it is in the top management. It’s virtually impossible to get rid of someone who is doing a crappy job for the government. There are also, I think, a lot of abuses in the contracting world — in the awarding of the contracts and in the management of the results — but I think just as much we are trying to do too much high tech in the wrong areas.

We are fighting asymmetrical wars and we will for a long time ahead. We already have the best all out conventional fighting force in the world and don’t really need to get more firepower. What we really need to do is learn to do is deny the enemy the ability to achieve their goals. We already know how to blow stuff up. We don’t know how to keep the enemy from using things like IEDs and car bombs but we can learn to mitigate their effects so the enemy doesn’t achieve the intended results. And mostly those are low tech solutions. Hardening transportation and buildings. Better personal armor. Traveling different routes every day so attacks can’t be scheduled. Being unpredictable.

But this is about acquisition and I’ll tell you who one of the biggest culprits is — Congress. Congress has it set up so that bad programs get spread out over many districts and states so that lots of reps and sens benefit their constituents when they vote to approve those programs. Who’s going to vote against a crappy product when it brings money to their district or state? And even one congressman can get special projects rammed through that are essentially useless but gets money to their district. I’ve seen it where I work (naval engineering facility) more than once. Being a congressman’s friend can make you rich.

Maybe it’s time we really thought about bringing everyone home from Europe. Build our Nuke deterent,and use it every time someone pushes us to far. No foriegn aid, no foriegn entanglements.

Once again there are good points here, I never said I don’t see a need for high tech in some areas but when it comes down to unconventional warfare, low tech man with the weapon is what gets things done. I personaly killed a milloin dollar bot a 300 yds to prove my point to engineers but it didn’t stop the program, bomb bots are good but you cant always wait, I took out quite a few in country with a 12 ga BRI round. Why would I working in a small covert unit want to carry a large heavy rocket launcher when I can accomplish the same thing with a NAM era LAW ( as the Marines have started using again for the same reason. ) Surgical strikes or OK at times but in a combat zone during a fire fight as long as it’s not me or my buddies I don’t care who gets hit, we employed as low tech as you can get in country taking with us a number of different cammo patterns, if you didnt look like us you got shot ( we always knew where our support units and rear security were to prevent friendly fire, they were almost always outta sight and outta mind unless we were in a hurt locker. ). Better training, and better small arms and equipment for fast striking forces is needed as well. Also I do not wish to offend anyone working fro a defense contractor who is honestly trying to do his best, but I have had a number of run ins with the big three over product being delivered that should have been in the trash bin. Also on the Govt side a lot of young people have been hired with no ideal what they are working on outside of thier portion of an end item, ( tail fin guy has no ideal what the body or warhead guy is doing ) ammo engineers that have never seen a real M16 let alone fired one. Bottom line is always in the final numbers so everyone looks good on paper. Sorry but that’s simply the way it is until there is a reportable incedent then they say why didnt someone tell me that was possible.

Nuclear War is not an option. Until I see a Chinese frigate off the coast of San Diego I won’t be changing my mind. We hear so many people screaming about protecting American, god bless etc, but the only way to do that is to protect our home front, not by gallivanting around the world policing. I’ll go anywhere i’m ordered to but the might of our military can only conquer armies not people. If the USA wants to be safe from foreign aggression diplomacy is the only options. Marines have been in Iraq for six years, and we still don’t have complete control of that tiny sand box. Killing someones brothers and father doesn’t make them want to surrender, it makes them fight back. The cost of these wars is far to high both in dollars and lives. So as i said before, give the soldiers Ballistic bat suits, and get the politician’s to think before they send us into perpetual war zones.

Boomer, today I coincidentally watched overhead video of Strykers cordoning an Iraqi complex, insurgents jumping a wall without being able to get away, one insurgent hiding on the roof with a suicide vest but was taken out by Stryker infantry. The insurgents preceded to hide in an outlying building of the complex. Presumably UAV video informed the unit where they were hiding. A Stryker 105 mm gun disposed of the problem. Result: 6 dead insurgents and no dead civilians.

Now lets take it from a small highly trained basically armed team standpoint. You come in the middle of the night, blow down a wall or door for entry and simultaneously take out a family sleeping against that wall because you couldn’t see through that wall with tech you didn’t have. Grandpa thinks the Shiites are after him and shows up with weapon in hand only to have your boys blow him away. The five insurgents hop the wall and get away because your team was too small and had no armor to surround the complex. Maybe you see the runners and get off some rounds and they end up in the same exterior building. Is your LAW going to ruin their day with the same effect as two 105mm rounds…let alone an FCS 120mm round?

I also read about lots of small elite teams turning very brave, but also very desperate because they were wandering around Afghanistan mountains…and bit off far more than they can chew. Sure would be nice to have some quick access to fire support and airpower. Like your idea about fast dune buggies…until you hit an IED or leftover Russian mine.

Finally, not sure where you derive that all combat since Vietnam has been insurgency. Seems like we fought Army’s with armor and other far-more-than-hybrid systems in both Serbia and Iraq…twice. Did not Georgia recently involve armor? Care to explain how effective your small highly trained, basically armed team would be taking on Russian tanks with just your LAWs, M4s, and a prayer?

Russia IS a threat to the USA…their jaunt through Georgia was just a trial run…a testing of the waters. They will attack the U.S. via Alaska…(do they want Alaska…No…they want the oil in Alaska and the oil in the Arab countries.…and…they want to split our forces) while they are simultaneously pounding Israel with their buddy Iran and whomever else they can recruit from middle East. Nuclear war? Nope…they are to afraid that we will use ours.

We “gallivant” around the world fighting or policing (whatever anyone wants to call it) so that we wont have to fight a war on our soil. I dont know about anyone else, but I prefer the U.S. fight it’s wars in someone elses country other than our own.

Killing someones Father, Brother, Mother, Sister, wife, uncle, cousin etc…does work…we need to keep killing them until either there is no one else to kill or those who remain give up or quit. We did’nt start this, they did. We should be like Israel, We need to kill 1000 of them for every one of us that they kill, and continue to do it until they run out of people or they quit killing us. To hell with precise strategic bombing. We Should line our planes up wing to wing and blanket bomb every city they have…then send in the troops to kill what ever is left over…including their goats, donkeys, camels, dogs, cats…whatever moves. Leave 100 woman of child bearing age 50 men so we cant be accused
of genocide.

Diplomacy is not an option with people who Hi-Jack airplanes and crash them into U.S. buidings on U.S. soil…My God! People want to attempt to be diplomatic with animals like that?
Thats like attempting to talk to the school bully while he has you flat on your back with your arms pinned down puching you in the face with both fists.….“Oh, uh…lets talk this over…we can work our differences out”.

Cole, What you are defending is the same thing I have been talking about. I mentioned we had support units and security availability during operations. And what you are describing is still conventional forces which I am all for. Yes when you go in with small unit strike forces you rely on speed and superior firepower, anyone standing or percieved as a threat is taken out. But the same thing happens with mechanized units as well. What I am debunking here is all the money being spent on exotic stuff like remote operated combat robots. millions are being spent on this program instead of on what the troops are asking for. as for your comments about IED’s, just as we warned them in the beginning, you make it public we are putting armor on vehicles and they will just make more and bigger IED’s and they have, so we in turn build vehicles too big and too heavy for practicle use to counter them again so the IED’s are getting bigger again. Yes we did go up against tanks in Serbia, Kosovo, desrt Storm, and now, for a short period and did extremely well, no one could have done it better. But we get hit hard in the urban arena. better training is being conducted but it is still lacking in a lot of areas, mostly because the equipment which worked well in the open is too much of a henderance in urban warfare. No I don’t like the M4 you mentioned me depending on, I carried a Galail ARM 7.62mm (improved Ak variant) got a but chewing from a Col. about me trying to start an international incident with my guys carrying Isreali weapons to kill muslims. and yes I would rather carry a ruck full of compact LAW rockets than try to manuver over walls and under obsticles quickly with the oversized heavy modern stuff. I am not implying that only SPECOPS people will be fighting future wars, our guys (everyone in the military) are capable of carrying out these duties once properly trained and equipped with out having to be spec ops trained. Bottom line is E-1 to CPT. should be the ones deciding what projects need to go foward and which ones need to be scrapped, not the Cols and Gens and GS-14 & 15’s sitting in program manager seats. The QA reps at contractors facilities need to be held more accountable and given more authority, if they say the product is non conforming then so be it, it should not go over his head or behind his back to get it accepted into the supply system so schedule can be met. Stop preparing for the 25th century till we have what we need to defend the 21st.

Wow, where did ya get the Galil’s? The Israeli’s rifle is head and shoulders above the AK, and comes in different sizes. I think there are plenty of options out there, the 6.8mm being my choice. Yes, I have fired Bushmasters version and it is a good compromise between 5.56 and 7.62. As far as urban warfare goes, setting charges to go house to house, avoiding the street is an Israeli tactic. The M-4’s gotta go.

Rhyno327, They were part of the many open purchased or confiscated weapons in our arsenal. and you are right, possibly the best weapon ever built and cost 1/4 of the cost of an M4, although any collecter that has one in his inventory is asking a premium for it these days ( used to buy them for 300.00 now over 1,000.00 for a used civilian model. ), I agree in this type of enviroment and enemy the IDF has the most experience and you can see the dificulties they are still having. But back in the 80’s we were fighting different kind of conflicts in the jungles of central America, I’m taking it that now you can watch these untold stories on the military channel they cant come after me for saying anything. and with Hugo Chavez these days we might be covertly back there again, or look at what is happening in the congo right now, a good chance Obama will send us in there soon as he can get us out of Iraq. so we cant focus on urban warfare solely, and in Afgahnistan it’s taking place in valleys and wide open areas. we have to be versitile but we have a habbit on focusing on one type of fighting at a time. Logisticly 6.8 wont happen, best we can hope for is 7.62mm since Lake City Army Ammunition Plant already has the equipment and capability to keep making it in large numbers. Hold back is we convinced everyone else to switch to our ammo and weapons from thier FN and H&K 7.62mm weapons they were happy with. US has to admitt they were right to start with and you know our politicians dont like to addmitt ever being wrong.

It’s true that defense spending has gotten wildly out of control. But some of these projects really are good National Security investments, such as the LCS, the F35, and perhaps key parts of the FCS. But if these projects cant stay on budget, there’s really no point in going forward with them.

Boomer, very well said. E-1’s through Captain’s in the field should and do report circumstances, situations and incidents to aid in determining which projects move forward; and that works very well. One of the areas that gets us into trouble and over budget is in accepting and funding unsolicited contractors proposals for weapons systems of the futre that no one has ever conceived of…those need to looked at much more closely and compared against the real threat.

The problems with that is that in order to save lives on our side, the threat must be assessed before we meet it and it is used against us in the field. Covert operations to help determine the threat are necessary.

Unfortunately, determining the threat requires higher ups reviewing data to determine which systems are most needed to counter a threat. Program managers are not GM-14’s and GM-15’s; they are usually high ranking military officers or Senior Executive Service civilians. Civilians work for the military, not vice versa. You may see a 14/15 issuing orders to action officers, but those orders came from much higher up. (sorry gotta go eat dinner..wife is chewing on me)

Continued.…Covert operations to help determine the threat as well as input/data provided by E-1’s through Captain in the field to aid determining the threat and to report on how effective and how well our systems function against our enemies weapons and weapons systems.

Someone on this thread mentioned that our QA specs need to be given more latitude…I agree with that 100%. Add DOD employee Contractor liaisons to that and make the higher ups back the decisions those employees make and actions they take against a contractor when a contractor fails to perform IAW specified requirements. That means no contractor crying and whimpering to a QA specs or Contractor Liaisons supervisor or higher up because a line has been shut down for noncompliance.

About Time!
This whole Military-Indutrial Complex is a problem child born of the WWII Manhattan Project.
AND, the lesson of the ensuing Cold War is, you can’t keep a technological edge on anybody without going broke.
There are no secrets anymore.
Furthermore, none of the SuperPowers are going to war-nobody wants a REAL, Global Holocaust.
I can tell you how make VX, GD or a nuclear bomb, and I don’t have any security clearances.
But look at the mess the military has made of nerve agents and nuclear power, and, never used it (besides Hiroshima)
The military has becaome so focussed on “technical edge” that they have forgotten their art and profession. I’ve trained with soldiers who don’t even know basic, counter ambush. A few rag heads have pretty much put our whole, expensive military apparatus to shame with just Aks, RPG 7s, and IEDs. Why not study what they did, learn from it, and keep our wallets in our pockets.
War is actually a game requring intelligence, not hihg priced transformer toys that we have to scrap on a regular basis and go make more.

Future Combat Systems needs to die. It is largely notional technology that has limited near-term employment. Yes, it provides lots of nice defense worker employment, but it is unproven overall and relies too heavily on electronics for basic vehicle protection. The robotic aspect of it is the most employable aspect of it, but you cannot or should not rely on a family of like “armored” vehicles to fit multiple roles. It can’t be a tank, an APC, and HMMWV, and self-propelled artillery and do them all well with the limited armor suite assigned to it. RPV helicopters I can see, most of the rest is just technological window dressing that doesn’t critically fit the types of future wars we will (hopefully not) have to fight. We can’t afford it, it doesn’t have forseeable future use, and Robert Gates is just telling it like it is.

Willie, I agree with your insight and also disagree. I worked at ARDEC for a number of years overseeing products and while there are some Col’s. and Gen’s in the chain of command, the 14’s and 15’s are making most of the decisions and reporting to the military monthly. I know we soloicit data from the field but it is normaly ignored in favor of research funded projects. Such as The infamous M16/ M4 quality issues, Having not only served active duty for 24 yrs, I also worked in the ammo feild and know that the reason these weapons have malfunctions and loss of accuracy is because the ammo guys stopped chamfering the case mouths to save tooling costs since it was not a requirement and now when the projectile is inserted into the case it shaves the jacket which lodges into the rifleing of the barrel and cloggs up the gas tube, Ive seen barrels foul up and loose acuracy after only 700 rds on the test range. So what did they do, a million dollar study to decide the troops need to clean thier weapons more often to help eliviate this problem rather than fixing the actual cause. As for the guy that said we need to study what the rag heads as he called them are doing; They are only doing what we taught them to do against the Russians during the 80’s. technology is good if practical, we need better satalite telemitry and coms gear, strike vehicles and such but we need to know how to act when they are not available or dont work. I ran into a unit in the sand box that had been roaming around lost for two days because thier GPS was not working and not only did no one have a lensatic compass, when we offered them one they werent sure how to use it. They were too dependent on technology as our whole society has become. Technology to protech our selves is good, technology to copy luke skywalker and look cool will get us killed.

I agree with BOOMER in al respects except about us teaching the rag heads about what to do against the Soviets in the 1980’s. The Eastern concept of war is somewhat the reverse of ours-ambush and raids are the norm. : holding ground is pretty a minor consideration. The Mujihideen pretty much beat the Soviets on their own, until the Soviets learned to use rotary wing retaliation to good effefct, and then, the Stingers did make the nut over the RPG 7 volley method of helicopter destruction.
That aisde, however, the military is way tooo focussed on technology rather than training troops in their art. Lots of Reserve Army go to FTX without even an OPFOR. Pathetic! Large, standing peacetime armies are also just an invitation to institutionalization-with the nuts in charge. Too many amateurs crying “what if” and then running blank checks up the flag pole, singing the anthem of patriotism and saving kids lives. Truth is, as Coln Powell points out, conscritps vastly improved the army, in his day. What we need, is a small general staff of intelligent, dedicated professionals, on the von Moltke model, who can field a cadre of professionals over a conscript army, who haven;t had all their initiative bled out by beurocracy. That’s the western ticket to victory. Save your money until you know what you’r up against, and believe that contractors will alsways be there for the buck, if you even need it. We’re entering an age when every increae in speed, capacity or firepower is exponentially expensive. Nothing new since the diesel engine, turbine engine and smokeless powder, really. A little art in maneuvre is a lto cheaper, unless you’re talking about the bomb, in whcih case, it doesn’t matter who wins.

Clyde, I’m with you on every aspect except the one you pointed out. But ambush and raids is the norm in unconventional warfare for the US as well, that is how small units effectively engage and demoralize larger forces.Combined sniper teams is another good example of unconventioal warfare, unlike the norm where one sniper hits his target and disappears the combined teams set up a box, when the enemy think they know where the shot came from and start an offensive “BANG” from another direction that trhrows them off again, then before they can gain composure, “BANG” from another direction. you can keep them pinned down and unnerved for hours before slipping out. We have taught these tactics to others as well, wasn’t my ideal and never liked it or thought it was a good ideal, just following orders. and it has come back to haint us more than once. We wound up fighting troops we trained in el salvador and now we are fighting troops we trained in afganistan when we were trying to forge an alegence. High tech is needed but should not be depended upon solely we both agree. But low tech can usualy overcome high tech in combat when properly deployed. sniper teams could put sensors and radars out of operation ( 50 cents vs one million ) you cant pinpoint thier location to use a million dolloar smart bomb, but you could sure as heck carpet bomb the area low tech style and most likely get him. low cost low tech should not be put on a shelf for cool toys, collateral damge is a fact of war, it still happens with the high tech toys as well. The troops need better training, they need to train against unconventional forces and not text book foes played out like a movie script. ( put your people here and die loudly when we counter attack ). If properly trained they will realize they dont need as many gadgets as they thought they did. It’s as easy as this, you set up an ambush, you know the first thing in conventional strategy is to lay down cover fire and flank thier position, but in unconventional warfare you know this so you keep some of your people back and quiet so they can ambush the flankers, it works every time and the conventional guys never seem to catch on or change thier tactics because its not in the manual to watch out for this tactic. They are not trained to expect the unexpected, something that is not written in a manual some where. Proper training can negate some of these high dollar programs in the works.

BOOMER, you are man after my own heart!
I love that combined sniper box-never thought of that!
But in a lot of the OPFOR we play, sniper fire is hard to simulate, so, I guess our thoughts don’t go much into sniping, at all.
And absolutely-low tech can win over hihg tech, if properly deployed-because insurgents have the initiative and can always pick their battles and change their tactics.
Tactics are cheap-high tech isn’t.
trouble is, there aren’t a lot of tactical thinkers.
Over the past 6 years, only one group that we confronted even flanked our ambush! The rest just sat in the kill zone: a big exercise in “how fast can we get off the truck”. I keep harping at my guys to put out flank security and the Army makes a fool out of me, every time, but one!
Put all the technology you want in these guys hands and all you’ll get is a pile of fried silicon chips.
The right technology, like the unmanned drones, yeah-if it fits into a tactical doctrine.
But I don’t see the emphasis on counter insurgent doctrine.
I’m sure that we do it, but the emphasis isn’t on it. It’s on acquiring new “stuff”, in an era when it’s all been done-teh turbine and piston engine arne’t going to give anymore horsepower per pound wihtout a lot of money, there aren’t any “new” rocket fuels, nothing, until someone figures out how to warp space or some other Star Trak thing, and the DoD research programs, with all the security, have pretty much destroyed the sort of scientific community that generated the atomic bomb.
As for the insrugents, however, I believe that they have ambush and raid in their cultural heritage, and that’s why they are so good at it. Most of these tribes couldn’t support a large, standing army in the field for any length of time, so, they bushwack, go home, milk the goats, and wait until the warlord calls another raid or ambush together. It’s cheap and they cultivate people who become really good over the centuries. We have to train that sort thing, and it can be done, but it’s intensive, since we don’t have that sort of life style.
However, there is just no amount of high tech that’s ever going to make counter ambush and raiding into a push button game.
Spend the money we’ve spent the oSprey program to train up as many soliders as we can in bushwhacking, and I’d bet Iraq would have been over, years ago.
We need troops who know where the action is, lay an ambush, be ready for the ambush, raid safe houses, and just keep wearing them down evey time they try to get something together.
And frannkly, i don’t think that we’re that good at it, at least, not good enough.
Not that we couldn’t be, there’s nothing that’s really incomprehensible about it, but it is a lot of work, and our people need to focus on it, rather new MRAP maintainance manuals.
imagine-the rag rappers have started buring MRAPS!
I should have thought of myslef-that’s right out of British 1940’s “how to stop a tank”-if you can’t blow it up, blow the wheels off and torch it.
You got to hand it to them! They’ve got our generals out smarted! Damn! Up armored HMVs, 5 tons, then MRAPS, and what next, to defeat a can of gasoline. Who pays for that?
Go out into the sticks and do them like they do us.
Anyone who thinks that they are going to drive to work in the FEBA might better„„„,


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