QDR Panel Dropped Strategy Ball

QDR Panel Dropped Strategy Ball

If Congress was frustrated by the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for advancing a do-it-all approach to strategy, it should be equally disappointed by the Independent Panel’s review of the QDR.

The Independent Panel, a blue-ribbon commission of leading defense experts, serves a valuable purpose: it acts as a check on the Defense Department’s often-opaque internal deliberations that shape defense strategy and capabilities. Moreover it benefits from being conducted outside many of the political and bureaucratic constraints that inhibit frank discussions of and innovative proposals for critical problems, such as ballooning personnel costs and questionable acquisition policies. But the Independent Panel failed to perform its most important function: critiquing the defense strategy laid out in the QDR.

The essence of strategy is prioritization. In a resource-constrained environment, the United States cannot afford to confront every global challenge or purchase capabilities for every contingency. One major criticism of the 2010 QDR was that it failed to identify clear priorities. The primary objectives it laid out to shape the force (such as “prevent and deter conflict” and “prepare to defeat adversaries and succeed in a wide range of contingencies”) were all-encompassing and abstract enough to justify virtually any investment or activity.


At the same time, demands on the force and pressures on discretionary spending from mounting deficits suggest a need to make some hard choices; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced on Monday new plans to trim the Defense Department bureaucracy in hopes of warding off potentially more drastic cuts imposed by Congress. This is the time for the department to be more discriminating, not more expansive, in its capability investments.

Yet the Independent Panel recognized no such limitations. It identified broad “security interests” (such as “providing for the global ‘common good’”) and explicitly rejected any retrenchment from a position of global leadership. Rather than focusing on specific priorities, it recommended doing more of everything. It calls for maintaining the end-strength of the recently expanded Army and Marine Corps while also modernizing and replacing hardware on a one-to-one basis.

The panel’s primary response to the new “anti-access” challenge posed by China and other potential adversaries is to recommend building up more force structure. It called for “an increased priority” on addressing this particular class of threat, along with enhancing homeland and cyber defense capabilities and carrying out an extensive modernization program, while continuing to prosecute current conflicts.

To its credit, the Independent Panel is honest about the cost of its recommendations. It noted, for example, “We cannot reverse the decline of shipbuilding, buy enough naval aircraft, recapitalize Army equipment, modernize tactical aircraft, purchase a new aerial tanker, increase our deep-strike capability, and recapitalize the bomber fleet…[without] a substantial and immediate additional investment that is sustained over the long-term.”

Certainly, if cost were no object, the United States would be able to invest in every capability it could conceivably need for any situation. But resources are always limited, and good strategy is defined by the difficult but well-informed tradeoffs it makes.

For that reason it was disappointing that the Independent Panel had very little to say about the defense strategy enunciated in the QDR. It preoccupied itself, puzzlingly, with proposals for developing civilian capacity in other departments and a new national security strategy formulation process—important issues, to be sure, but outside the purview of the QDR that the panel was to review.

Far more useful would have been the panel’s view of what should and — critically— should not be defense priorities. For example, which of the QDR’s stated areas of focus can be cut, or at least minimized, to intensify efforts on the greatest threats? What exactly is the most significant threat that the armed forces should be sized and shaped against? How should the department prioritize defending the homeland against maintaining a major presence in the Asia Pacific and enhancing cyber security while prosecuting a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan? [Eds note: see the picture of Clausewitz.]

Something is going to get shorted in this equation, and the Independent Panel should have used its position to offer guidance on how to navigate these competing demands. Unfortunately, the Independent Panel’s recommendations do not lead us that way, but instead further down the unsustainable path of trying to buy our way out of trouble.

Brian M. Burton is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Join the Conversation

Guess its time for some fresh blood in the QDR panel. They should have a clear understanding about the strategical views of the military and they should be able to suggest the needed hardware for it (with the costs, and then let the politics decide).
The QDR should give alternatives for the chosen path in order to keep discussions alive and maybe open some eyes for different routes to follow.
Otherwise the panel would be useless.

‘The essence of strategy is prioritization. In a resource-constrained environment, the United States cannot afford to confront every global challenge or purchase capabilities for every contingency.’

??? Why not ???

National security is a core function of government. Obama has constrained amerian security while bailout for gm union thugs etc remain UNconstrained.

That’s a rather lopsided view of how the process should work. It is the duty of the politicians to set out their strategic views. The military have a say, but only a say. lo205’s approach subverts civilian control of the military and, if allowed to happen, would bankrupt us in a heartbeat.

I think lo205’s comments were a little more nuanced than you give him/her credit for.

The Independent Panel served it’s purpose. “Keep your hands off my beloved defense!” This country is going to keep spending on conflicts, defense, and social spending until we are forced to pull back like the British did. It’s just a matter of time.

Good post. I see why you’re the Bacevich fellow at CNAS.

The independent review failed to accomplish its mission and should be replaced. Because of our current economic situation we do need to make cuts to defense spending but it needs to be done in a way that will limit the damages to our overall national security. The Independent review should have presented valid counter arguments to things in the original QDR.

I referenced this blog here:
http://​blog​.usni​.org/​2​0​1​0​/​0​8​/​1​3​/​a​r​e​-​w​e​-​f​o​r​g​e​t​t​ing

During World War Two, Germany kept fighting the World with its back to the wall by picking up and recycling every rusty nail in the dirt, replacing metal (for fighter planes and guided missiles) by wood, German weapons by captured or converted foreign weapons, oil by coal, workers by women, veterans by children, large armour formations by mock-ups, etc. etc., and ONLY lost because it squandered so many golden strategic opportunities to win (right up to the Bulge) on its own.

The U.S.A. have a whole continent at their disposal, the biggest economy of the World, one of the three largest Armed Forces in History, no known or potential enemy in sight, no one who even wants to invade them, and a Defense budget bigger than that of all other countries combined, yet it’s still not enough for them to
1)defeat two separate ragtag guerilla groups measured by the few thousands,
2)on top of that the U.S.A. also want to take on China and Russia for absolutely no proven motive at all. And they’re even the only ones who would want to do something like that.

(Continued)

(Continuation)

And when Congress asks two different “independent” panels to prioritize all those megalomaniacal arms orders a bit for every improbable battleground on Earth and beyond, to prevent a national economic meltdown on an unseen scale (Soviet Union II ?), these super-objective experts literally recommend… purchasing more of everything!

Perhaps the best way to solve the inherent stability problem which the U.S.A. pose to the World is
1)to secretly finance their most demented presidential candidates (tough choice… although I still see room for creative expansion),
or
2)simply not to intervene at all: Let them spiral downwards in their delusional states of mind, without the slightest reality check, outside help and appeal to their conscience, unlike what’s even done with every newly discovered cannibal community in Papua New Guinea, and wait until the house crashes down for good… Nature always corrects its mistakes.

It’s close now.

FreeFallingBomb, the fact that your blaming defense spending of all things for a potential economic collapse is the stupidest thing I have read on here in a long while. Defense spending is not the problem, and when the latest QDR came to discussing procurement and modernization they were 100% on track. The problem is that their view, conflicts with that of our “brilliant” political leaders in Washington who simply don’t want to buy what our military needs and want to waste that cash on buying votes and dead end “stimulus” projects.

Despite your cowardly Anti-American BS, we have always been a resilient people and I trust some true Americans will get our country back on track somehow.

Also recorded enemy losses alone show these guerrilla groups we are fighting are far more numerous than a few thousand, and in Iraq they are virtually destroyed outside of some occasional suicidal cowards.

Compared to entitlements defense is chump change. If we wanted to save money that’s where we ought to scale back.

Sferrin’s comment — “Compared to entitlements defense is chump change. If we wanted to save money that’s where we ought to scale back.” — got me wondering;

What do those of you who agree (or disagree) with that statement think would result from that policy? Are you basing those beliefs on data, or anecdote?

The flipside; What does having 60k troops in the western Pacific, and about that number in Germany, do for America?

Your basic premise, that Germany only lost because of squandered strategic opportunities, is of course absurd. Germany lost because it took on an opponent against which it would NEVER be able to muster the resources and infrastructure to match. Lots of “squandering” went on at many levels of both sides of the war. In a sense, Germany is lucky it surrendered when it did; the atomic bomb was built with Hitler’s name on it… Germany hastened its own defeat, but in any event it was only a matter of time.

The government lumps benefit expense of our troops in with entitlement figures, so it can be hard to figure out exactly how much of entitlement spending is just for Medicare, Medicaid, etcetera, but the amount is likely sizable.

I know “provide for the common defense” gets thrown around alot as a justification for keeping defense at current (or even higher) levels, but I think we have taken the meaning of that preamble way beyond what our Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the Constitution.

Seems like Conservatives and defense spending advocates behave like hysterical Liberal trying to defend inefficient entitlement programs, when you try and have a reasonable conversation about scaling back the amount we spend on defense, defense commitments, and the exploding cost of weapon systems.

You might be interested in this link: http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​F​i​l​e​:​U​.​S​.​_​F​e​d​e​r​a​l​_Sp

Basically, the idea would seem to be that (depending on how you want to figure it) entitlements/mandatory spending are in the range of 56–65% of the Federal budget. Defense spending is at 23% of the federal budget for 2009.

So yes, it seems to me that if defense spending is substantially less that 1/2 that of of entitlement spending that it could be reasonable to call it “chump change”.

What’s more, if you take a look at the historical progression, defense spending is shrinking as a percentage of the federal budget while mandatory/entitlement spending is constantly growing as a percentage of the budget.

Entitlement/mandatory spending is the obvious target if you want to get the budget under control. I think that the DOD has huge bloat and an abysmal acquisition system that must also be fixed. But if you turn the DOD into a lean, mean, efficient, and superbly led organization — entitlements will still bankrupt us. If you fix entitlements and you don’t fix defense spending — you could argue that we will not go bankrupt. So the focus really does have to be on the bigger problem which are the entitlements.

re:”…defense spending is shrinking as a percentage of the federal budget while mandatory/entitlement spending is constantly growing as a percentage of the budget.”

Truth. But the federal budget is also much larger, and we’re spending more real dollars on defense than at any time since the end of WWII. Who are we defending against?

No doubt there’s fat that we can cut, but it almost sounds like you expect no negative consequences from the entitlement side. That was the important part of my question– what happens when you start making those cuts?… Good, bad, or whatever.

Isn’t it also a little dangerous to project surpluses *and* deficits (or peace or war) out too far into the future?

Good points. And what happens if we make some “reasonable” cuts to defense?

These days wars are come as you are which is why defense spending levels need to be where they are. Most entitlements should go. People need to realize the gov isn’t their mommy and grow the hell up. Unfortunately that will never happen because that’s how the pols buy votes.

Break down the actual DoD budget and you would see how very small the portion that goes to actually procuring new equipment is. This is unacceptable. We should have been easily able to afford as many F-22As as we need. Lets determine what we need (like this latest QDR) and set our mind towards buying it while cutting costs elsewhere.

Old people should grow the hell up and stop needing medical care…they are so selfish, why can’t they just keep working. Impoverished children should grow the hell up and move to richer districts where they can get a better education. Clean water and a safe food supply are absurd non-priorities, why do we even spend on such regulation…a little melamine in your baby formula is the price of freedom against the imminent Chinese invasion. Disabled Americans would be more productive members of society if we force them out on the streets, let’s call it “Operation Grow Up and Get Able.” Veterans with PTSD, don’t even get me started…if our soldiers don’t have balls enough to stay mentally healthy after a combat tour, they need to grow the hell up and get over themselves. You’re so right, there’s no reason for all this wasteful spending, just don’t ask defense contractors to stay on budget, that would be a dangerous foray into letting the terrorists/liberals win!

The problems are many. One is defense contractors continue to rape and pillage the government and we often are not getting what we pay for; especially when it relates to services contracts.

Second is there is far too much spending in this nation on pork projects like the Ted Kennedy Center in Boston (or whatever the hell it’s going to be called) and all of the garbage in West Virginia named after Byrd.

Third is there are too many entitlement programs. Welfare should be a temporary aid (and only available to citizens) and not a way of life.

The waste in government is astounding. We’re going broke fast and unless an entirely new generation gets into Washington and removes the entrenched and clueless group in there now, America is doomed.

As much as it is popular to blame the defense contractors, plenty on the government’s side of things leads to cost increases in all of these projects. The sheer number of different government agencies a company like Lockheed or Boeing must work with is astounding. Back when the CH-47 was about to enter service I think it had to be cleared by 2 or 3 agencies, the V-22 had to deal with well over a dozen back in the early 1990s. Also changing requirements always bring up the price. IIRC the ATF (F-22) was going to originally have some ground attack capabilities, yet this was removed, and then later re-added during development due to shifting requirements.

In 2009, Defense spending was 23% and “social” was 48% (excluding Social Security). So what would you cut — be specific and add amounts. Who is more deserving and who is less? Please inform us all.

Part 3 / 11

And free estatal healthcare – though expensive – was LOOONG overdue anyway: On 23.3.2010, while Obama celebrated this law, the most famous tweet of the day was the memorable, priceless

“Hello America! Germany says: Welcome to 1883! Great Britain says: Welcome to 1911! France says: Welcome to 1930!”

Unless, of course, you’re one of those who defend that every cent spent on helping national civilians is a waste, but every cent spent on killing international civilians is well spent.

All of which makes me wonder… which century do you really live in?

(Continued)

Part 4 / 11

You wrote: “Defense spending is not the problem, and when the latest QDR came to discussing procurement and modernization they were 100% on track.”

And everybody else around them (including some “Military​.com” editors, imagine!) who entertained the slight suspicion that the U.S. Defense budget was bloated, mismanaged and inefficient, like so many of its creations (for example the F-35), was wrong, of course. Would it offend you if I asked you for any concrete results of the Q.D.R.‘s c procurement rules and modernizations?

(Continued)

Part 5 / 11

Read and weep: Had the D.o.D. just paid the F-22’s development cost of 65 billion $ to the Russians, because we foreigners are much better at managing the U.S.A. than you are (you NEED us), then for the same 65 billion $ you could already have BY NOW :

1) The entire Sukhoi PAK FA program (development cost: ~ 8 – 10 billion $ . And Sukhoi PAK FAs pick at least F-35s to pieces like cotton candy), http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​S​u​k​h​o​i​_​P​A​K​_FA

2) the entire Sukhoi KR-860 program (program cost: 10 billion $ . Meant to be the biggest passenger jet ever built, for 1.000 passengers), http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​K​R​-​860

(Continued)

Part 6 / 11

3) the entire Antonov An-225 “Mriya” program (development cost: LESS THAN 1 [ = O-N-E ] BILLION $ for the largest cargo plane EVER built!!! Why so cheap? Because it’s basically an enlarged Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft), http://​www​.wingweb​.co​.uk/​a​i​r​c​r​a​f​t​/​T​h​e​_​A​n​t​o​n​o​v​_​Gia

and

4) the entire Soviet / Russian “Energia” / “Buran” Space Shuttle program as a cheap, ready-to-use, off-the-shelf successor for the retired U.S. American Space Shuttle program (development cost: 16 – 17 billion $ ) http://​www​.k26​.com/​b​u​r​a​n​/​I​n​f​o​/​S​i​t​e​_​F​_​A​_​Q​_​/​b​u​r​a​n_f

(Continued)

Part 7 / 11

Now sum everything together:

8 – 10 billion $ (Sukhoi PAK FA development)
10 billion $ ( Sukhoi KR-860 development) +
1 billion $ (Antonov An-225 “Mriya” development) +
16 – 17 billion $ (“Energia” / “Buran” Space Shuttle development) =
_________

35 – 38 billion $ (total)

(Continued)

Part 8 / 11

That’s almost H-A-L-F of the F-22’s 65 billion $ development program for 4 MAJOR Russian aeronautical programs! With the rest of these 65 billion $ the U.S.A. could probably pay additionally (for example) the complete development programs of the coming Russian S-400 and S-500 anti-aircraft missiles, of the old but fast Soviet / Russian Sukhoi Su-25 ground-attack aircraft (for C.A.S., a current issue) and of the modern Russian T-90 main battle tanks, etc.!

And now comes the hammer: What marvelous foreign arms technology could / would the U.S.A. buy next with the… 323 (3–2-3 !!) BILLION $ WASTED – so far – on developing a few failed, untested F-35 prototypes? Are you completely out of your mind?! These are HARD NUMBERS , these are easily compiled FACTS !

(Continued)

Part 9 / 11

And I was just talking about the DEVELOPMENT costs of one or two fighter models of dubious value, NOT EVEN about the acquisition cost of all their desired units and about their life-cycle costs, etc. ! Can you imagine with what other foreign weapons (in quantity and quality) the U.S. Armed Forces could stuff all its branches for the development costs (or even for the acquisition costs, etc.) of all its OTHER U.S. American weapons? The chronic waste is simply mind-boggling.

(Continued)

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Wtf am I even delving into stupid figures: Since the U.S.‘s Defense budget is bigger than that of all other nations combined, Europe, Russia and China included, if the U.S.A. simply handed over just A PART of its annual Defense budget to Europe, Russia and China, Robert Gates could have the ENTIRE EUROPEAN , RUSSIAN AND CHINESE ARMED FORCES ( ALL BRANCHES OF ALL THESE COUNTRIES INCLUDED ! ) formed in front of his office window, waiting for orders, and STILL get “small change” back from the bargain! Or would all this concentrated miltary power still not be enough for the U.S. American strategic concept?
Hyper-Power citizens: Are your scalps even minimally permeable to what you’re LOSING all your lives by buying “made in USA” ??? “…procurement and modernization were 100% on track” my @$$ : You’ve got a true technical, managerial and fiscal (and moral) NIGHTMARE at hand, but judging by your deep imperturbability you can’t even tell the difference!

(Continued)

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You wrote: “Despite your cowardly Anti-American BS, we have always been a resilient people and I trust some true Americans will get our country back on track somehow.”

Sure. Somehow.

Bet accepted.

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You wrote: “Also recorded enemy losses alone show these guerrilla groups we are fighting are far more numerous than a few thousand…”

You gotta try harder, man. This way you’ll never be able to invade France.

To the poster “Iron U” :

—————————-

You wrote: “Your basic premise, that Germany only lost because of squandered strategic opportunities, is of course absurd. Germany lost because it took on an opponent against which it would NEVER be able to muster the resources and infrastructure to match.”

and

“Germany hastened its own defeat, but in any event it was only a matter of time.”

If Germany hadn’t committed dozens of fatal strategic mistakes (and almost survived them all!), then the Second World War would have been over in 1942, or even right after the Normandy landing in 1944 (unlikely to be attempted twice), and Roosevelt would have sliced the World with his new chum (uncle Adolf) into two natural hemispheres of influence, and now you wouldn’t dare to talk like that about Pan-Germania. But to my visible relief, plan I didn’t entirely work out as projected…

(Continued)

(Continuation)

You wrote: “In a sense, Germany is lucky it surrendered when it did; the atomic bomb was built
with Hitler’s name on it…

Racist Truman would never have dropped the Bomb on fellow Whites, no matter how much its resentful djoosish inventors prodded him to do it. It was always meant to be dropped on different people.
Anyway, after Alamogordo the U.S.A. only possessed 2 (two) more A-bombs during the remainder of 1945, with not nearly enough kilotons to destroy Germany (nothing did), and you’re also forgetting about the Nazis’ sizable stockpiles of chemical weapons which weren’t used even ONCE over Britain, not even in the Reich’s last hour!

(Is it just my impression or do the comments of various posters keep popping off and on every hour?)

Listen FreeFallingBomb, I don’t have time to respond to every part of your long-winded rant which is not only incredibly pointless but wrong on so many factors as well. The QDR did it’s job by highlighting the military’s needs, regardless of the cost factor. It we gut our military it will take much longer to rebuild that capability than this economic depression will last.

he military has been asked to do more with less for 20 years now, we need to put an end to this and stop viewing the DoD as one giant piggy-bank that can be smashed everytime an administration needs to fund something. Fund something like your great “universal healthcare” which will only increase the strain on the common citizen like myself. Who the hell cares what Europe is doing? There is a reason the armed forces of so many European nations are in abysmal states! There is a reason countries like Greece are hopelessly in debt! This “healthcare reform” will only benefit those living off the system as opposed to those who actually pay taxes.

Now onto the rest of your uninformed nonsense. Your beloved PAK-FA isn’t nearly as stealthy as the F-22 or F-35 and is still many years and billons of $s away from completing development despite what the Russians would tell you. Despite APA nonsenese the PAK-FA would have a very hard time dealing with any Block 5 F-35s which would be in service long before the first PAK-FAs achieve IOC.

The AN-225? The Russians only built one of them. A $1 billion price figure might be impressive if they had built more than one and if it was actually useful outside of carrying certain bulk loads. There is a reason the AN-124 is preferred.

The Buran space shuttle? You mean the shuttle that accomplished ONE unmanned flight for three hours in space? The Space Shuttle may have had it’s flaws (Buran would too) but at least it made over 130 missions.

The KR-860? Paper project that never flew. Who knows if the $10 billion estimate would have been accurate. I would rather stick with the largely Boeing funded 787 program.

So for $38 billion we get an uncompleted fighter program without Western avionics and with a lower level of stealth, one space shuttle, a big airliner not funded by a private American company, and one huge transport aircraft. I think I would stick with the 187 F-22As.

I’m not going to deny that plenty of money is wasted and lost in the whole process. Naturally this should be reduced, yet destroying our technological and industrial basis, and reducing the amount of funding that goes to procurement and R&D is unacceptable. Again the QDR’s recommendations of what we need to procure and modernize were on track. The problem lies in the waste that occur.

What you fail to see of course is that the United States is leading aerospace and many other defense related fields in terms of R&D. Despite the costs I think we should continue to do so. Also labor costs continue to be cheaper in China and Russia (whose defense industry isn’t as healthy as you might believe). Regarding Europe, if their big projects like the A-400M and Typhoon have proven anything, they have shown the Europeans waste money on just as much red-tape and politics as we do.

We do have a nightmare on our hands when it comes to financial management, our debt problem, and morals (although that in particular is completely disconnected from defense procurement) but the rest of the world is hardly in perfect condition either.

I don’t know what 3rd world hellhole you live in, but even if your wish came true and America collapsed as a world power, you would end up regretting everything you said.

Under what circumstance would you support a cut to defense spending?

I don’t think the level of overall funding that goes to the DoD should be cut. It should just be spent wiser. I see no reason to keep armored divisions deployed in Germany, and large forces in Japan. With the exception of a limited force in South Korea and some critical airbases, I don’t see the need to have American personnel hanging around in many countries.

I may disagree with Gates on many things, but I agree with how he is trying to cut overhead costs. And the sooner we stop spending money on trying to move Afghanistan out of the stone age, the better.

Part 0 / 6

First post, expendable, ignore it completely. “D.O.D. Buzz” developed the bizarre habit of always eating my first post, but letting the next ones live.

To the poster William C.:

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Part 1 / 6

You wrote: “The QDR did it’s job by highlighting the military’s needs, regardless of the cost factor.”

But judging by their finantial needs, they must be gearing up for total war. And nobody is even threatening America…

(Continued)

Part 2 / 6

You wrote: “It we gut our military it will take much longer to rebuild that capability than this economic depression will last.”

Why should every nation need to develop every conceivable weapon technology individually? Is this the current political climate? Can’t you spend the same bottomless funds in (much more productive!) civilian R & D, like Energy (where is that God-damned fusion reactor??), mass transports, materials science, Medicine and Astronomy, or even Space programs? When was the last time you developed anything together with Europe? (Please don’t say: “We threw the limeys the F136 bone”)

Isn’t it way more patriotic to buy the best armament out there on the global markets for your soldiers than to buy local, always from the same shopkeeper?

Many European nations have no complexes about buying expensive U.S. American toys like F-35s, F-18s, Trident missiles and Patriot missiles etc., but look at the hue and cry in the U.S.A. when a half-European consortium wins the KC-X contest! “Free global market economy”, huh? Shame on you.

(Continued)

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You wrote: “There is a reason the armed forces of so many European nations are in abysmal states! There is a reason countries like Greece are hopelessly in debt!”

There will always be poorer and even poor countries in the World, even in Europe. But since you were talking about whole continents: Which continent on Earth has less problems than Europe?

———————————–

You wrote: “This ‘healthcare reform’ will only benefit those living off the system as opposed to those who actually pay taxes.”

Good. If it depended on them, the rich would never build schools and hospitals for the whole country. You just NEED Communism.

(Continued)

Part 4 / 6

You wrote: “So for $38 billion we get an uncompleted fighter program without Western avionics and with a lower level of stealth, one space shuttle, a big airliner not funded by a private American company, and one huge transport aircraft. I think I would stick with the 187 F-22As.”

OK, let’s talk complete(d) fighters then. You asked for it, you got it.
1 F-22 costs as much as 3,5 Sukhoi Su-35s flying exactly the same kind of missions (their fuselages become even cheaper if you order them without Russian avionics), so for the initially sought 381 F-22s the U.S. Airforce could have had 1.335 Sukhoi Su-35s with American markings in the skies BY NOW . Instead, in some years from now you’ll be looking at a proud 187 F-22s… Would the U.S. Airforce even have enough missions for 1.335 4,5th generation fighters, even in the opening hours of a war? Honestly: Does the F-22’s half-stealthiness alone (an advantage or even a disadvantage?!) justify acquiring only 381 interceptors instead of 1.335 interceptors?

(Continued)

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You wrote: “I’m not going to deny that plenty of money is wasted and lost in the whole process. Naturally this should be reduced, yet destroying our technological and industrial basis, and reducing the amount of funding that goes to procurement and R&D is unacceptable.”

Don’t you get it?? They CAN’T DELIVER (Boeing, Colt and so many others), so f%&@6king drop them already!!
You’re the archetypical, hypocritical Anglo cigar Capitalist who preaches that “the market should weed out the weakest players naturally”, except of course when it comes to banks, cars, or, in your case, to the military-industrial complex, because somehow these losers are always “too big to fail”, so let the stupid taxpayers bail them out.
(But God forbid that a single tax money dime goes to healthcare: “Fund something like your great ‘universal healthcare’ which will only increase the strain on the common citizen like myself” !)

(Continued)

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You wrote: “Regarding Europe, if their big projects like the A-400M and Typhoon have proven anything, they have shown the Europeans waste money on just as much red-tape and politics as we do.”

Having three or four countries tinker around the same planes can be messy, but whatever Europe makes, it makes perfect, from the Tornado to the Ariane 5 launch rockets. (How are the U.S.’ latest Space launchers going? Haven’t heard from them in a while)

———————————–

You wrote: “I don’t know what 3rd world hellhole you live in, but even if your wish came true and America collapsed as a world power, you would end up regretting everything you said.”

Wait until there is no more middle class left in the U.S.A., like before the Second World War. Then we talk about hellholes.

Actually, if you read the report, you’d notce that he just reiterated what the Independent Panel said, almost using the same words. To be more analytic, he should have offered some alternatives or a way to map the problem. He didn’t.

Freefallingbomb is right on in his criticisms. We get far too little for far too much cost. His analytics on who’s the threat are even better. 1.2 million men (and women) in arms and we can’t beat two rag tag groups of insurgents! What a disgrace. The best we can do is rotate a bunch of armchair generals (I say that because they should be on the font lines with a rifle with their men and not hiding in some back area command post looking at their video screens) back and forth with “new” but ineffective strategies, complaining they need more troops. OMG! What would we have done if the Russians really had attacked?

That would not be a compliment in some circles. CNAS + Bacevich pretty much equals neoisolationism. No offense to the author of this article. Grand strategy is the elephant in the living room. No one wants to talk about it. Much easier to don the green eyeshades and talk about money.

I’m sorry, Im finding it very difficult to take this seriously when you said “you just NEED communism.” But give me some time and I will respond to the non-insane things you said.

The U.S.A. frequently complain that Europe and Japan “don’t throw in enough of their weight” (another form of “MOOOOOOOOOOOOORREE!”). But this news article here highlights another aspect: While in the U.S.A. the brass can affect and distort the country’s annual budget with its opaque choices and strident demands, even when asked to be modest and self-critical (answer, after a deep auto-analysis: “MOOOOOOOOOOOORREEE!”), in Europe the brass doesn’t even dispose of its own budget! Just read the recent “D.O.D. Buzz” article about the castrating cuts to be carried out in the proud British war machine…
If the U.S. American brass was at least more idealistic and brought home only victory after victory, like in Rome’s glory days (it certainly has the men and the means to do that, AT LEAST against a few flip-flop-wearing one-eyed camel-breeders), or even less than that: If they bought only the most cost-efficient equipment, or even less than that: If they bought O-N-L-Y functional stuff, expensive or not, they would at least have a partial justification for always moaning “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRREEEE!” like a colony of beached walruses.

(Continued)

(Continuation)

But during the Dragonskin-versus-Interceptor polemic in 2006 I saw “Youtube” videos where a measly U.S. American two star general in charge of that specific “evaluation” (no, not McChrystal) scathed his superiors, who apparently preferred Dragonskin for their troops, saying to the interviewer that “four star generals sometimes make mistakes too”. That plainly exposed the shocking rottenness of the Pentagon’s weapon choices and the subjacent inversion of values and even of the hierarchy to me, apart from being an unpardonable, punishable act of cynicism, of INSOLENCE , almost of insubordination. If any Euro, Jap or Russki general ever dared to launch such a tirade against his superiors on the TV news, he wouldn’t make it to his next salary, or at least succumb to a deus ex machina staff reshuffling or some other Byzantine intrigue (in Russia: To a mysterious helicopter crash). I’m proud to say that our disciplined post-War, post-Cold-War brass internalized relatively well that in a true Democracy the sole spot for the highest armed public clerk is under the sole of the lowest unarmed public clerk. That’s why an European Prime Minister wouldn’t have the slightest scruple to tell some admiral if necessary to patrol the Z.E.E. ( = the sea border) by bicycle. With all my fascination for things military, it’s a question of principle. That’s why you’ll also never hear the word “Military” in 99 % of all raging European parliamentary budget debates.

Don’t. It was a sting.

To the poster “HasBeen” :

———————————–

Part 1 / 8

You wrote: “What’s more, if our ‘leadership’ had done a decent job over the years we’d not have had these particular wars at all.”

A good conscience is always the flipside of a bad memory, huh? Your Führership actually WANTED these two particular wars, which could have been averted even in the last minute! The P.N.A.C. architects even plotted them years in advance!

1) Before the Afghanistan invasion, the Talibans only asked for ONE SINGLE shred of evidence that their foreign guest, Osama Bin Laden, was anyhow involved in 11/9, and they would have handed him over to the F.B.I. on a silver platter. That’s official. The Chimp didn’t even bother to answer them. Not nice.

(Continued)

Part 2 / 8

2) Shortly before Iraq II, Saddam too offered to go voluntarily into exile and to hand over the keys of his country to the U.S.A. in exchange for just one billion dollar on his personal account, and promise of legal protection from international war crimes courts.
http://​www​.telegraph​.co​.uk/​n​e​w​s​/​w​o​r​l​d​n​e​w​s​/​1​5​6​4​405
http://​www​.dailymail​.co​.uk/​n​e​w​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​-​4​8​4​1​6​2​/Sa
http://​www​.dailymail​.co​.uk/​n​e​w​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​-​4​8​4​1​6​2​/Sa

(Continued)

Part 3 / 8

1 LOUSY BILLION DOLLARS is all he wanted to instantly accept his own defeat.

Compare this to the running estimate of the “G.W.O.T.” costs N-O-W :
http://​costofwar​.com/
(Iraq and Afghanistan are listed separately, under the total sum)

But this article and book here even says that the total amount will reach almost 5 trillion dollars:
http://​www​.csmonitor​.com/​M​o​n​e​y​/​2​0​0​8​/​0​3​1​0​/​p​1​6​s​0​1-w

Talk of waste by the Military…

Learn that, while it’s time: Next time when an internally and externally much hated Muslim leader (next time: Ahmadinejad?) hides in a deep cave and offers peace to the U.S. American steel wall growing in front of his shores and borders, accept it straight away! He’s really NOT being ludicrous or megalomaniacal. He just knows something you don’t. And it could be another 5 trillion dollar secret.

(Continued)

Part 4 / 8

You wrote: “I have trouble seeing how their capabilities could be even roughly equated — and the idea that we could consider the Russkies to be reliable suppliers when they would really rather sabotage us is just insane.”

I wasn’t talking about importing Russian (or European) planes, but of building them all under license, maybe even after improving their basic design a bit, as you did with the British Harrier jet.
Anyway, you’re too petty to understand that such trivia (as choosing foreign “air superiority fighters”) could be just a small, symbolical means to gradually, tentatively obtain a much larger, much worthier end: Complete trust between these two former Super-Powers, with everything that that entails (total nuclear disarmament, a common military alliance, etc.). And why not invite the Chinese too to the table, before they get too strong and don’t know where to stash all their hardware? It can’t possibly hurt to invite them and to lay out a common “road plan” to global peace, with mutual incentives, treaties, verification, etc. …: World Architecture!

(Continued)

Part 5 / 8

Are the Russians too Asian (too wily, too irrational, too underdeveloped) to be trusted blindly in their present political, economical and social state? I agree. That’s why your great country will really have to stick to this plan, in order to convince them of its seriousness, and to learn (and to want) to seduce them, to educate them, to build a long-term relationship with them, offering serious, instantaneous rewards and punishments to them according to their actions.

But before you get me completely wrong: Presently it’s not Russia, but the U.S.A. and “Israel” that are the two greatest threats to global peace, the biggest wanton aggressors. Therefore, under the present circumstances I would rather side WITH RUSSIA AGAINST THE U.S.A. than the other way around! The truth is that the present, evil U.S.A. even need to change far more than Russia and China do!

(Continued)

Part 6 / 8

You wrote: “Buying hardware from European sources is a much more reasonable proposal and really should be considered when practicable. It could actually lead to a more effective NATO force, but even if you iron out the political garbage that currently largely prevents this you’d still have to closely scrutinize those purchases since they generally develop their equipment for forces and missions which really don’t closely correlate to our own.”

Not only because of that. Although I can’t really accuse European arms industries of producing shoddy weapons, I’m the first one to admit that there are WAY TOO MANY European weapon systems that should never have been designed (let alone built) in the first place, that are a PURE WASTE of R & D money (because of work duplication) and of raw matériels, like all those irritatingly unspecialized, stupid armoured vehicles, light jets and small warships etc. that don’t fill any niche on any battlefield and never even sold a single unit in the Fifth World.

(Continued)

Part 7 / 8

But our Armed Forces regularly order a few of them just to keep some moribund industries in their countries alive (former civilian car companies, aircraft parts suppliers, shipbuilding yards, gunmakers, etc.). Yes, protectionism, State-controlled Economy. It’s obscene, and sooo obvious to everyone. Thanks God we can’t fight a modern war with them, or we would be caught inside them.
I do believe however that Iraq I and II proved invaluable to “test” a lot of the best European weapon systems under (totally unforeseen) desert conditions, side-by-side with the U.S. American ones, and they performed as least as well as the latter.

(Continued)

Part 8 / 8

As a general rule, I think that European weapons are more effective than U.S. American ones, WHEN the Euros and the U.S. Americans make them in the same category. For example tactical weapons are best built by Europeans. But Europeans just won’t build
1)STRATEGIC DEFENSIVE weapons (large ground-, sea– and air-based radars, large anti-aircraft missiles and long-range interceptors, high-flying reconnaissance planes, reconnaissance satellites, etc.)
2)STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE weapons (heavy bombers, a navy with global reach, intercontinental missiles, a credible nuke force, etc.)
because Europe and the U.S.A. simply don’t have the same global ambitions, as you pointed out… but as too many U.S. Americans constantly forget.

freefallingbomb:

I haven’t the time or patience to answer everything you posted, but I think there is some room for common ground.

If you believe that the Taliban would have handed over OBL and his cohorts if we’d provided one shred of evidence — you are being far too naive. These were allies who were also under the protection of the Taliban regime and they just don’t behave that way. Also, the evidence that Al Qaida was actually quite clear. It took me about 5 seconds after the second plane hit the WTC to identify Al Qaida as the culprit. There was such a plethora of information about past behaviors and goals as well as their method of operation, training, etc. that it did not take any special training or intel access to know what organization was responsible. What is more, the Taliban are still in existence and they now have compelling evidence that Al Qaida was responsible and they are still in league with them.

Anyone who would have given Saddam Hussein $1 billion on the promise that he’d leave Iraq would have been certifiably insane and/or moronic. He was thoroughly untrustworthy under all conditions.

To elaborate a little further on leadership? You do understand that Jimmy Carter deliberately sucked the Soviet Union into Afghanistan? You do understand how we (especially Britain and the U.S.) protected, employed, and somewhat fostered the Muslim Brotherhood from so much of Islamofascism has spawned (including Al Qaida in some sense, Hamas, etc.)? When it really comes down to it, the current Islamofascism/Islamic radicalism is a direct descendant or continuation of Nazism. The lack of determination on the part of American and other leaders to eradicate fascism is the primary reason for the current mess.

Anyway, we need intelligent ROEs and need to drop the idea of a polite war. We need to drop the fiction that the Taliban are separate from Pakistan’s ISI and that Iran is not a major supplier and trainer for them as well. And this backs us into what may be most important to understand.

Unless we remove the current Iranian regime we will not eradicate the current predominant version of terrorism/fascism.

In that case, we’re going to need alot more bullets.

The United States could not possibly field a Russian aircraft. IIRC Russian military aircraft use the metric system and our toolboxes would not be compatible.

You may be right, but if Obama had encouraged the Iranian uprising last year (IIRC) it is possible the Iranian people would have taken care of the regime themselves. Instead, he seemed to be working to discourage them.

To the poster “HasBeen” :

—————————-

Part 1 / 4

You wrote: “If you believe that the Taliban would have handed over OBL and his cohorts if we’d provided one shred of evidence — you are being far too naive. These were allies who were also under the protection of the Taliban regime and they just don’t behave that way.”

All they wanted was 1 (one) fax with some proof, or a few pictures, or to talk to some witnesses, etc., to avoid having to defeat the third Super-Power in a life-time.

And frankly, I’m CONVINCED that their offer still stands! It’s the U.S.A. who still can’t come up with the evidence.

(Continued)

Part 3 / 4

You wrote: “Anyone who would have given Saddam Hussein $1 billion on the promise that he’d leave Iraq would have been certifiably insane and/or moronic. He was thoroughly untrustworthy under all conditions.”

What happened to the world-wide trustworthiness of you Anglos after your W.M.D. claim?

—————————-

You wrote: “When it really comes down to it, the current Islamofascism/Islamic radicalism is a direct descendant or continuation of Nazism.”

The Muslims are merely defending their properties against Anglo and djoosish trespassers.

(Continued)

LOL ! Good one.

Part 0 / 4

First post takes the bullet.

Part 4 / 4

You wrote: “Unless we remove the current Iranian regime we will not eradicate the current predominant version of terrorism/fascism.”

By hazard, the general picked YOU to be the first grunt to cross the Iranian and Pakistani border! If you need encouragement, think of W’s Vietnam adventures.

——————————

You replaced your personality with a cause. That’s a sign of the weak.

Where to begin. First the idea of buying Su-35s. The Su-35 isn’t nearly as capable as the F-22A and certainly wouldn’t meet many US standards for logistics and other factors. Adding Western avionics would add a couple million per plane for sure, all of the support equipment and facilities would be very costly, it would share no common components with other aircraft, would require all sorts of new pilot and maintenance crew familiarization, all of which would add plenty of cost in the end.

Now lets look at the economic factors. Even if it was fitted with an American radar and avionics systems, the vast majority of the aircraft would be built overseas. With the Raptor you have people employed at Lockheed, Boeing, people building the engines at P&W, and building other components for the aircraft at many smaller companies.

There were several reasons for the F-22 program’s cost growth, one was changing requirements, another was the evaluation and production being purposely streched out over a larger time-frame. Despite this if more F-22s were bought in quantity the price would have gone down per unit. New F-22 variants could use some of the stealth measures developed for the F-35 which are less costly and more resistant to abuse.

One of the reasons Russian aircraft have a lower sticker price is that their defense industry is still largely state run and export orders are key to keeping everything running. Yet Russian aircraft don’t have the best maintenance record which has caused the Indians plenty of headaches.

In regards to your criticism of the US government not spending enough on civilian R&D, what we do in the realm of military and aerospace technology is very useful and often funnels back into the civilian world. Look at GPS and other technologies we now take for granted. In regards to nuclear fusion, the government has a rather spotty record with nuclear development due to the crazy environmentalists on the left.

You say we don’t work with Europe enough, but what would you have us work with them on? You speak of buying the best equipment for our soldiers but more often than not the best is made or can be made here. The way KC-X turned into a mess is unexcusable, but there were legitimate reason for Boeing’s protest. And over the years we have bought much foreign equipment or the rights to produce such equipment.

Look at the M249 SAW (FN Minimi), M240 (FN Mag), MP5, UH-72, Stryker, LAV-25, and many other examples.

It sounds to me that you simply want all of our defense spending shifted to your Europe while causing our own industrial base for such manufacturing here in the United States to rot. This does not benefit us in either the short or long terms, and again I don’t think a single dime should be taken away from procurement and R&D, even if means we can’t fund some botched universal healthcare plan.

Your crazy paranoid conspiracy theories are not even worth comment on. Can’t you find somewhere else to preach that sort of nonsense?

To the poster William C.:

———————–

Part 1 / 10

You wrote: “The Su-35 isn’t nearly as capable as the F-22A”

Are you talking B.V.R. or dogfight? B.V.R. myopia has a cure, you know?

————————

You wrote: “Adding Western avionics would add a couple million per plane for sure, all of the support equipment and facilities would be very costly, it would share no common components with other aircraft, would require all sorts of new pilot and maintenance crew familiarization, all of which would add plenty of cost in the end.”

Why do you U.S. Americans always cry immediately? Enjoy the harmonious integration of these two former rival jets (harmony on various levels) :
http://​www​.topedge​.com/​p​a​n​e​l​s​/​a​i​r​c​r​a​f​t​/​s​i​t​e​s​/​m​ats

Now imagine these depicted aircraft with U.S. American colours and markings… If Euro airforces get it done, can’t you Yanks?

(Continued)

Part 2 / 10

Anyway, in face of the hair-rising jumble of plane and helicopter models from all Flight eras serving currently in the U.S. Airforce, U.S. Navy and A.N.G. (another military logistical and financial CATASTROPHE …), you must be J-O-K-I-N-G to complain about the presumed “incompatibility” between U.S. American and Russian aircraft models!
“Incompatibility” implies the existence of some (or many) very different aircraft types, but how many different models do you really need for your wars? Since the future U.S. Airforce only consists of TWO different (basic) frontline plane types, one that makes some sense and one that barely takes off, don’t you think that they could even be BOTH of Russian origin?

Or even of originally European design: Would an Eurofighter-&-Gripen-airforce let you down in a war more than an (equally large) F-22-&-F-35-airforce? Say it!

(Continued)

Part 3 / 10

You wrote: “Even if it (= the Su-35) was fitted with an American radar and avionics systems, the vast majority of the aircraft would be built overseas.”

As a client, YOU would naturally decide that: Client is king! Ahhh, I forgot: In the U.S. it’s the military-industrial complex that decides how the Armed Forces should spend their money…

———————-

You wrote: “Yet Russian aircraft don’t have the best maintenance record which has caused the Indians plenty of headaches.”

Same with passenger jets: Human error, not goods defects.

(Continued)

Part 4 / 10

You wrote: “In regards to your criticism of the US government not spending enough on civilian R&D, what we do in the realm of military and aerospace technology is very useful and often funnels back into the civilian world.”

Actually, precision instruments are the U.S.’ biggest exports and therefore its strongest economical sector. Many people ignore that. That’s why you should really invest LITERALLY a 1000 times more into civilian R & D than you do now! After a while it always pays off as Hell. And I’m not talking just about Aerospace.

(Continued)

Part 5 / 10

Imagine – just imagine… – that some U.S. American chemistry giant or estatal research institution achieves a spectacular breakthrough in the cheap, fast mass-production of large volumes of carbon nanotubes (= a truly futuristic construction matériel for every known application in the World), patents it and only allows U.S. American companies to produce it under license… You would be out of your Recession AND out of your foreign debt hole in less than a year – and all this just with the help of ONE SINGLE discovery! And this is even PEANUTS compared to the never-ending gold shower for the U.S.A. if you just discovered how to let a fusion (reactor) controllably sustain its nuclear flame: All other power plants on Earth would be replaced by this ONE clean-burning, environment-friendly U.S. American fusion reactor somewhere underground, that U.S. American reactor would become this whole planet’s single outdoor generator ( $$$ …), we and all companies could use dirt-cheap energy without ANY restraints anymore and all engines would henceforth be replaced by clean, electrical engines!

(Continued)

Part 6 / 10

You wrote: “In regards to nuclear fusion, the government has a rather spotty record with nuclear development due to the crazy environmentalists on the left.”

And I pay you a hundred dollar bill for EVERY SINGLE crazy environmentalist that you can find that opposes nuclear fusion reactors (if and when they come into existence). Interested ?

(Are you sure you even know what I’m talking about? Crazy environmentalists do.)

(Continued)

Part 7 / 10

You wrote: “You say we don’t work with Europe enough, but what would you have us work with them on?”

That’s mighty arrogant of you…: You talk as if you knew any U.S. American arms industries out there that could easily beat European armsmakers on their own turf. Just try to remember quickly the whole lists of U.S. American weapons

1) copied from European ones,
2) manufactured under license,
3) based on collaborative transatlantic test programs
or
4) developed together

to educate yourself on the advantages of developing AS MANY weapons as possible together with the Euros (and the other way around too, if you wish to share some vast stocks of know-how with us. But you don’t want to. It’s all about “PORK spending” – apt term) !

(Continued)

Part 8 / 10

You wrote: “You speak of buying the best equipment for our soldiers but more often than not the best is made or can be made here.”

I’m not too Euro in my mind to concede that the best was sometimes made in the former Soviet Union…

—————————

You wrote: “Look at the M249 SAW (FN Minimi), M240 (FN Mag), MP5, UH-72, Stryker, LAV-25, and many other examples.”

Just as I said before: I think that European tactical weapons are more reliable than U.S. American ones (sometimes precisely thanks to their SIMPLICITY , not to their obstructive sophistication), whereas strategic weapons are better made (or: ONLY made…) in the U.S.A. .

(Continued)

Part 9 / 10

Some other categories of TACTICAL weapons where Europeans usually outmatch the U.S.A. – and not just in the past 20 years – include: Pistols, shotguns, assault rifles (!), light, medium and heavy machine-guns (!), shoulder-fired rockets and missiles, anti-aircraft guns (!), tanks, helicopters, diesel-electric submarines (!), speedboats and mine-laying and –clearing ships (!).
Alias, I’ve already been thinking for a looong time that the U.S. Armed Forces somehow NEGLECT the equipment of their average infantrymen, with dire consequences if / when these have to fight first-class enemies. Maybe that’s because in the minds of the U.S. brass there is only ONE SINGLE operational and independent branch left in the whole U.S. Armed Forces, for which all other branches sacrifice themselves more or less voluntarily: The Airforce. All other U.S. soldiers don’t even envision anymore fighting without prior air superiority and guaranteed air support = meaning LITERALLY only those 187 (1–8-7) F-22s! HELL OF A PREMISE you gamble your next expansionist wars on…

(Continued)

It seems to be impossible for the QDR or other organizations to suggest strtegic policy. This is primarily because neither the administration, state nor the legistlators have any idea as what we are doing in terms of foreign policy. As a citizen it would certainly be nice to know what we are doing. Oh, I just remembered we “are to provide for the common ‘good’”. That clears things up.

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