The US Military Catch-All Thread


#323

It hasn’t. You need a BSc and still have to knife fight for an Officer’s job.

THOSE types of offers, off the street for a 19 year old? Say an NROTC full scholarship in exchange for 8 years as an Officer?

Pretty F****** competitive.


#324

It’s a super intensive course, but not quite the same as a degree. Getting into nuc school or subs as an office is competitive. The enlisted failure rate from Nuclear Power School was over 50% when I went through. It was better as an officer, but not much.

It is very important to know that failing out of Power School means going to the fleet and finishing your commitment. As was said above, this is a real possibility.


#325

BREAKING NEWS: Turns out the US isn’t spending enough on its military.

The money quote:


#326

This is a bipartisan smoke and mirrors game.

Ever since the end of tee Cold War/Gulf War 1, the Democrats have advocated (when cotrolling the Executive…where you drive the train on Defense) for 3.0% of GDP on Defense in the Base Budget. The GOP wants 3 1/3 % in the Base Budget. That sets permanent capabilities. So both parties are equally guilty of skin-flinting out on what capabilities are needed as proven by global and regional events. For 25 years.

Mission has always far outstripped that.

To the Libertarian-sh type out there, sure, sure…wasteful…need savings…yeah…hear all that. But 3 or 3 1/3 % are both grossly inadequate.

Now Bush II Spent more (for dubious reasons in Iraq, but I’m not talking partisan stuff here, just policy/capabilities and Dollars.), but always out of a supplemental Budget. Stuff that wasn’t seen as more than a year to year expenditure. Disingenuous.

Same for Obama, but they tried to cut everywhere and stretched us thinner (Africa, for example) despite the fact that we declared victory in Iraq (prematurely, again) and had to go back. Again, forget all the partisan back and forth, and who shot John, I am just talking dollars and capabilities.

So here we are, now, Kevin, with your WaPo article, that’s kinda spot on.

We’ve been talking about having “Ready forces to deter Russian Aggression in the Baltic States and Poland.” Since 2014. You know, when the Eighties did call, and told us we had to keep their Foreign Policy. And at the end of the day what can we send?

A two BN BDE Task Force. A Speed Bump. And that takes all out efforts to get 'em there.

I think Stalin once said something about the Pope and Divisions.

I’m sure the Chinese agree.


#327

Any analysis which predicts that we’re in danger of losing any conceivable conventional war vs Russia is just a hack job meant to frighten people.


#328

And to paraphrase that old Republican chestnut, it’s not a budgetary problem, it’s a spending problem. If you are playing chicken little saying that the country with the huge drop in life expectancy, bleak economy, has 1/10th the defense budget, and who can’t even restore their one lone aircraft carrier to service is going to beat you, perhaps you need to look at how you allocate your $700+ billion dollar budget and how many places you choose to occupy or bomb into oblivion.

Just sayin’.


#329

I would calculate in your equations as you guys smoke your “expert” pipes and ponder our Defense spending, the fact that Russia and China do not spend market prices for their capabilities. The costs are State-demanded costs. Only the Western nations pay market price (which can be inflated due to stupidity. political shenanigans, etc).

No one thinks we’ll lose. Deterrance is another matter. Ask the Crimea/Ukraine/(Grateful) Assad Regime.


#330

I’m just quoting the story.

Commission evaluating defense strategy warns United States “might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia.”


#331

Oh, I agree with you there Scott. WaPo is really just…I diunno…TANTAAFL may apply to newspapers now.


#332

Oh I’m no expert, obviously. Just awfully skeptical.

Look, I’m not opposed to investing in the military. I’m just saying that if we spend as much as we do every single year and Russia is trotted out as a boogeyman that might spank our star-spangled bottoms in a fight, perhaps we should start by taking a real hard look at how we prioritize our military spending.

I’m not familiar with the acronym, but just in case it wasn’t clear that quote comes directly from the report, not the WaPo.

I also have some problems with the phrasing. If we’re going to fight a war against a superpower like China or a nuclear armed power like Russia, what are “unacceptably high casualties”? How could more spending possibly make them “acceptably high” casualties? And how much would we have to spend to avoid “loss of major capital assets”? I mean, if you go to war with a titan that’s going to happen.


#333

I don’t think we can blame the WP here. They’re quoting the executive summary of the report, which does indeed say that the US might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,

Edit: Ah, I see your clarification. Sorry!


#334

“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”.

Oh, I know. My snark wasn’t meant to be mean-spirited. But the stuff gets pretty complicated. Are US spending equivalents the same as Chinese/Russian equivalents? Sorta?

That’s why I didn’t talk real dollars. GDP percentages are the way General Staffs and Departmental and Ministry-Level Defense Policy Makers look at it. Hell, the fact that they are talking in dollars and not percentages makes me suspicious of that report in the first place.

But our capabilities have eroded and we are having our bluffs called. That needs to stop. Both Parties are being disingenuous. 3 versus 3 1/3% is a Kabuki-play.


#335

For sure a military of this size has built up an impressive bureaucracy and way of doing things that are labyrinthine and overly complex. I’m sure there’s a lot of wasteful spending being done within that military complex. But because it’s so entrenched and has been going this way for so long, I wonder how you would even start in trying to make it more efficient.


#336

I’m not just talking about things like efficiency in bureaucracy, but how and where we apply military force. We are likely going to be in Afghanistan for 20 years. What are we even working towards there, exactly? Is it achievable or are we just throwing money and lives away? Same thing with other adventurism like the occupation of Iraq. Do we need 10 aircraft carriers in 2018? Things like that. And maybe the answer to all those is “we do need 10 aircraft carriers, yeah” or “we do need to be in Afghanistan, yeah” but if our spending isn’t covering it, maybe we should ask what we’re really doing here rather that just throw more money at it.

At the very least, if we’re going to talk about a large jump or unlimited budgets, I want to see a tax passed specifically to cover those costs. We can see how many Americans agree the military needs a massive spending boost over what it already receives when its deducted from their paychecks.


#337

Completely agree. Among other things, what missions are within our political will to undertake? The issue with e.g. Crimea and Ukraine isn’t that we couldn’t stop Russia, it’s that there isn’t an ounce of political will nor any popular support for doing what it would take to stop them. So, what’s the point of all the spending?


#338

There is that. And maybe the Administration that ran things in the 90s should have piped up about where they wanted future NATO expansion to plan for? Instead of sleepwalking East? I mean, is some guy in Oklahoma ready to go to War for Estonia? Because that’s what the treaty says.

I leave you to debate this now, having stirred the pot. I am in a groove with terrain analysis for an upcoming wargame map that’ll be on P500 here soon, so I gotta go back to Vietnam now. :)

Have fun!


#339

Well there are answers, the problem is… they don’t see the light of day.

This is about a report on how some realignment, without requiring any layoffs but through more judicious use of existing resources, could save $125 billion over 5 years.

Now, compared to overall budget, this is small. About 3% of the budget per year.

But it’s saving 3% per year without impacting capabilities

Then the pentagon buried it.

And the procurement process has flaws, flaws the F-35 program highlights, and the sunsetting of the A-10 show. There are ways of improving things, especially on the weapons development side. It just requires the will to do so.

And to @Navaronegun’s mention of things like Iraq, I would say our problem is not one of spending or military capability. In fact the problem with Iraq and Afghanistan is not military at all, it is a political failure. Not one of our military not having the money needed to prosecute the war.

But it was a failure to do the political work needed to stabilize the situation. To forge the required structures and institutions with the people and cultures of the occupied nation. Because things like the Iraq military being cut loose post Sadaam show how the policies failed, and that the political failures led to situations where there was no tactical or military solution to achieve the desired ends.

And that is the oft neglected portion of military spending. The army is a blunt instrument. Drone campaigns may kill a lot of people. Destroying a military is easy. It’s what comes after that is trouble.

And that is why Iraq is a mess. Why Obama’s drone campaign did not end Isis. And why Syria is not a failure of military power being unable to stop a bad actor.

If the US really wanted Assad gone, it could happen easily. The problem is, what then? Not getting involved was probably the right call. There is no level of military spending that would have made a lick of difference there, in terms of removing Assad. It is the political problem that stopped it.

Because the only way to ‘solve’ those conflicts through military spending is by doing indefinite hostile occupations. If you are willing to do that, to become a true imperial force, then military spending can achieve that goal. But short of imperial action, military spending is not the problem.

We spend too much already.


#340

This episode of This American Life really stuck with me. I haven’t seen any follow-ups in the media, and I can only take that as a good thing. If all those problems in the Navy were being caused by the culture that promoted lack of sleep, then something in the Navy must have changed since we haven’t had any more reports of accidents involving the Navy that I’m aware of. So it took a few accidents and the loss of life to finally affect change, but I’m assuming change did come to the Navy as a result.

I hope.


#341

We cannot win against the invading CARAVAN unless we increase military spending by at least 25 trillion dollars - DO YOU NOT SEE THIS? They are COMING.


#342

The real questions should not be about how much to spend, but on what to do. In other words, well-thought out policy goals and clear identification of vital interests needs to precede any discussion of spending. If we don’t have a good idea of what we want, and if that "want’ isn’t grounded in thorough analysis and honest discussion of national needs, no amount of money is going to make much difference.

I would argue that the real problem is that we have defined missions grossly exceeding our ability to complete them, and that many of those missions are unnecessary, unwarranted, and do not actually contribute to the security of the USA as a nation. They may well contribute to the desires of factions within the nation and the government, but as far as bearing on the actual security of the USA, however you want to define it, many of the missions we task the military with (in theory,as they thankfully have not had to execute many of those missions) are in my opinion not things we should be assigning as missions.

We have plenty of resources to guarantee the security of the USA from any reasonable or probable real threat. Much of what we are worrying about not being able to do is, in point of fact, not stuff that we really need to be able to do, because it doesn’t really affect our real security.