Best Debate Line
October 23, 2012 by Tony Posted in Uncategorized 8 Comments
The best line of last night’s presidential debate came from President Obama who explained to Republican Candidate Mitt Romney that the nature of America’s military has changed.
Check it out below.
8 Responses to Best Debate Line
I reading this article, but it seems a ship count included air craft carriers and submarines.
The report advocates a minimum fleet size of 305 ships. That number is close to what the Navy is expected to recommend in anupcoming “force structure review.
” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said last week that he anticipates the Navy will set a goal of about 300 ships for 2020.
The current five-year budget — which forecasts about $15 billion a year for new ships — keeps the fleet at 285 vessels through 2017.
A 305-ship inventory would include 11 aircraft carriers, 55 Littoral Combat Ships, 50 attack submarines, 12 next-generation ballistic-missile submarines, 38 amphibious ships and several new DDG 51 destroyers. More ships are needed not only for the Navy but also for the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard, the Navy League says. Although the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, its duties are aligned with the Navy’s. “The Coast Guard’s mission portfolio has grown. … And it needs a more robust acquisition budget of at least $2.5 billion per year to continue modernization efforts, particularly a fleet in which the majority of ships are more than 40 years old,” the Navy League says. The entire Coast Guard’s budget for 2013 is about $10 billion.
The number of ships issue should not be too quickly dismissed, unless we are no longer interested in having a US Naval presence world wide. No more humanitarian relief world wide while fighting pirates off Somalia while…. And the Obama Administration adoption of the Bush Administration’s LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) program to buy 55 of those ships may not solve the problem. The LCS is not a universally revered program. And, without escorts of various kinds the Aircraft Carrier is just a target. And, in a hot environment against a strong opponent one needs two Carrier Battle Groups to stay alive 24/7 and three such battle groups to go on the offensive.
It is that old saw, “quantity has a quality all of its own”. While the reverse is also true, the first is not to be too quickly dismissed.
Regards — Cliff
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.
I don’t recommend that we consider increased military spending, only in the context of geopolitical chess. Romney thinks of military spending as an acceptable form of stimulus spending. His voting base understands that projecting power abroad requires BIG spending domestically.
Obama understands this, as well. He understands competing interest in Congress that pull on the Federal Budget, each demanding that their state, their district not be left to starve.
It’s exactly here, in the context of “you didn’t build that,” that Romney’s claims that gov’t does NOT make jobs breaks down. Military spending is eyeball deep in the collaboration between gov’t spending and economic stimulus.
Two important questions emerged for me. Does our civilian leadership simply deliver what the heavily lobbied Admirals and Generals demand or do we sift through all the disparate interests to develop a sound strategy that is in conformance with our Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).
Also, when our defense spending is the world’s greatest, should we refocus limited federal resources to non-military interests or further stoke economy around defense related enterprises.
I favor civilian control and broad federal investment.
Don’t we all favor civilian control of the military. I know I do!
What is our National Policy? That will drive our strategy. And, strategy can be different over time—near term (“you go to war with the Army you have”) and midterm (what are we going to buy this year?) and long term. If you want horses (e.g., for Special Forces in Afghanistan) you can get them quickly. If you want new bayonets (say for the Old Guard) it might take months. If you want a ship or airplane, or a new Armored Fighting Vehicle, it might be a decade from concept to operationally ready.
I recall that NO big deck aircraft carrier not ordered before Pearl Harbor made it to the war—and that was close to total mobilization. Someone once told me that if we “surged” the F-16 production line, to get more produced, faster, at the end of a year we would have produced one less F-16, because the ones produced early would have consumed needed production line parts as spares.
To a degree the budget is the strategy and the FY2013 budget is being implemented now and will constrain us for a decade. But, that budget could be badly disrupted by Sequestration, come the beginning of January.
That said, do we really want to be involved around the world? We are out of Iraq. We are out of Afghanistan in 2014. We are only semi-engaged in Libya and avoiding Syria. Engaged with Somali pirates. What if the new North Korean Leader moves south? What is our commitment to Israel, Iranian nucs or not? And on it goes.
Maybe we should become more isolationist, and cut defense spending. If we do, prudence says cut the Army and Marine Corps first.
At the end of the day every Appropration and Authorization pair is political. That is why major Defense Contractors try to have, for each big program, a subcontractor in every state. That is why Senator Ted Kennedy would fight wasteful defense spending but support a second source jet engine for the F-35—the plant was in Lynn, Mass. (I too supported it, but because the competition would mean better performance and lower cost to the Government.)
Big question is, where do we want to be ten years from now—well into the second term of whoever follows an Obama second term, or, one alternative future, three different presidents from now..
Regards — Cliff
As a zinger I actually liked the line about the 1980s calling and wanting their foreign policy back better. As for reducing hardware we sometimes here that just producing one less…will save enough money to pay for…, so I would say that is often worth it.
The idea that producing one less will save “X” amount has to factor in that (1) the new last article will cost more than the old last article, not being as far out on the learning curve. Not a big deal, but a fact of production, and (2) the R&D costs, and the T&E costs, are now spread over one less item. On the other hand, long term savings in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs (crew, Mx personnel, fuel, spare parts and a slice of the support staff, although that might well be a step function).
In other news, from another forum,
IF the Russian claims that China is now building more combat aircraft than the rest of the world combined, the whole issue of “we spend more than the next 10 countries combined,” never a useful statement, will be further belied by a much more modern PLA, with much greater policy stability at the top.
But, if we dial back our foreign policy, more and newer Chinese aircraft won’t matter.
The Problem is, Presdents are not to be trusted to not change their minds at the last minute—Truman and Korea, for example.
Regards — Cliff
The best zinger in my mind was (paraphrasing) – “When I went to Israel it wasn’t to attend a fundraiser”.
I think you are right.
Regards — Cliff