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Thread: Obama Guts the Military

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    Default Obama Guts the Military

    Monday, April 6, 2009, 2:32pm EDT
    F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon
    Dayton Business Journal


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    The Pentagon’s $534 billion budget request for 2009 shoots down future production of the F-22 Raptor, the stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Marietta, Ga.-based Aeronautics division.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday revealed the Pentagon’s plans to complete its order for 183 Raptors plus four more. But the U.S. Department of Defense will order no more after that. The Air Force had planned to order 20 Raptors in 2010 and 40 more in coming years.

    Widely acknowledged as the most capable fighter aircraft in the world, the $150 million F-22 has been under fire for years for bleeding away money needed elsewhere. George W. Bush’s administration wanted to kill it, but was overruled by Congress and by the U.S. Air Force, which wanted more of the aircraft. The Air Force originally wanted 750 F-22s.

    While the aircraft is stealthy and can cruise at supersonic speeds, its high cost has raised questions about whether it’s the proper allocation of increasingly limited government resources, especially in a recession.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    Pentagon to end F-22 jets, presidential chopper


    Stefan Rousseau/Press Association,
    via Associated Press

    1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon will end the F-22 fighter jet and presidential helicopter programs run by Lockheed Martin Corp.

    Military analysts widely expected the radar-evading supersonic jet — considered an outdated weapon system designed for the Cold War — would not go beyond the 187 already planned. The planes cost $140 million each.

    But Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed, the nation's largest defense contractor, has said almost 95,000 jobs could be at stake if the Pentagon didn't buy more of the planes.

    The new fleet of presidential helicopters — with a price tag of $11.2 billion that was nearly double the original budget_ also were considered at risk to be cut in the 2010 budget.
    Last edited by vector7; April 6th, 2009 at 20:48.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    The Axis is probably cheering...



    Gates Announces End To Production Of F-22

    In presenting his proposed budget for the Defense Department today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that he planned to end production of the F-22 at the current 187 planes — down from the 381 planes the government was expected to order. The aircraft has been the subject of fierce lobbying in recent weeks, and members of Congress have suggested that they would resist efforts to downsize the F-22 program. As a result of ending production of the F-22, Gates explained that he would increase production of more advanced aircraft:
    GATES: To sustain U.S. air superiority, I am committed to building a fifth generation tactical fighter capability that can be produced in quantity at sustainable cost. Therefore I will recommend increasing the buy of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. […]
    We will end production of the F-22 fighter at 187. Representing 183 planes in the current program plus four recommend for inclusion in the FY2009 supplemental.
    Later, Gates said, “[W]e have fulfilled the program. It’s not like we’re killing the F-22. We will have 187 of them. … The military advice that I got was that there is no military requirement for numbers of F-22 beyond 187.” Watch it:


    The decision is welcome on two fronts. First, the F-22 contributes little to U.S. national security. It has not flown a single mission in the Iraq or Afghanistan campaigns. Further, as the Center for American Progress’s Larry Korb explained in 2005, the F-22 was designed to address threats that the U.S. last faced during the cold war:
    The F/A-22 Raptor is the most unnecessary weapon system being built by the Pentagon. In fact, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tried to do away with it in the summer of 2002 but backed off when his Air Force secretary threatened to resign over the issue. It was originally designed to achieve air superiority over Soviet fighter jets, which will never be built.
    Second, the F-22 has become increasingly costly to operate even as the number of planes on order has decreased. The Pentagon recently announced that they would need $8 billion to upgrade 100 F-22’s which are already in use. The aircraft is “proving very expensive to operate … and it is complex to maintain,” the Pentagon explained. The aircraft’s readiness rate fell to 62 percent last year, which the Pentagon called “unsatisfactory.” Ending the production of the F-22 will free up scarce resources to fund programs more in line with our current security needs.

    And ending the production of the aircraft will likely not result in massive jobs loss, despite claims to the contrary. As David Axe recently noted, the firms that produce the F-22 have many other clients. “A year ago the industry was worried about huge labor shortages. Shutting down the Raptor line would see thousands of workers snapped up for active production lines churning out F-16s, F-35s, C-130s and modernized C-5s for Lockheed,” Axe wrote.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    It got better...I wonder what Zero saw when he looked into Russia's and China's eyes?

    Gates Proposes Big Shift in Pentagon Spending

    By Mark Thompson/Washington and Tony Karon
    Monday, Apr. 06, 2009


    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
    Jason Reed / Reuters


    So here's why Defense Secretary Robert Gates kept discussions on the Pentagon's 2010 budget so secret that he swore the military's high command to silence ahead of its unveiling. Aiming to shift military spending priorities from billion-dollar Cold War weapons to the simpler armored vehicles and spy drones needed for the "wars we are in today and scenarios for the years ahead," Gates on Monday proposed, among other things, to end funding of the advanced F-22 Raptor fighter.

    That cut alone will spark fierce resistance on Capitol Hill, but it's only one aspect of what Gates called his "unorthodox approach" that will align military spending with today's military realities. The $534 billion budget announced by Gates on Monday amounts to a dramatic first salvo in a new war pitting the Obama Administration against the entrenched interests in the services, the defense industry, and among those on Capitol Hill whose districts benefit from investment in big-ticket weapons systems.

    The military currently has 183 of the $140 million-a-piece F-22s on order, and four more will be added to the 2009 emergency war-funding budget.

    But the advanced fighter has not been used in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and Gates believes that, given more pressing spending priorities, the military has as many F-22s as it needs. Instead, Gates will commit to increasing the supply of the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as weapons systems designed to enhance U.S. capability in current conflicts, from unmanned drones to defenses against medium-range missiles, new armored vehicles and even body armor.

    "Some will say I am too focused on the wars we are in and not enough on future threats," Gates told reporters. "But it is important to remember that every defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk — or, in effect, to 'run up the score' in a capability where the United States is already dominant — is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable."

    Besides the F-22, other casualties will be a new search-and-rescue helicopter, and the Army's Future Combat Systems program — a $160 billion fleet of high-tech vehicles and aircraft ideal for waging war against a powerfully armed nation state, but of far less use in the kinds of counterinsurgency wars currently being waged. And the Navy's shipbuilding program, which has been shoddily run for years, will see some cuts.

    Gates also plans to cut spending on missile defense by $1.4 billion next year, while new satellite communications programs are also trimmed. And the Marines' plan to spend more than $13 billion on a new fleet of helicopters to transport the President, which Obama himself had deemed unnecessary, was also cut from Gates' new budget.

    (See the top 10 outrageous earmarks of 2008.)

    Gates has been saying for months that the time has come for a "strategic reshaping" of the way the U.S. military is spending $600 billion a year — a tab that doesn't even include the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Now, he's going public with the 2010 budget proposal he has drafted in secret, before formally sending it to the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. It's a ploy designed to build momentum for Gates' plan before it can be sabotaged by defense contractors and lawmakers (often from districts that benefit from building particular big-ticket items), with behind-the-scenes help from the military.

    "If even a few of the Gates cuts are serious, a pork-crazed Congress will go nuts," says Winslow Wheeler, who spent 30 years working defense issues on Capitol Hill for members of both parties. "The big challenge will then become making any serious decisions stick."

    Gates' aides explain that his budget is presented as a single, holistic proposal — rather than being leaked dribs and drabs that build resistance changing specific programs — it will stand a better chance of winning approval from Congress. But although he urged lawmakers to rise above "parochial" concerns in responding to the budget, resistance will be fierce on Capitol Hill, where those who see any retooling of the military budget as a recipe for a weaker America, when allied with lawmakers who simply want to keep defense-contractor jobs in their districts, could yet trump a highly-regarded Defense Secretary and President.

    Still, Gates has the backing of President Obama, and also of Senator John McCain, who on Monday released a statement signaling his "strong support" of the Defense Secretary's proposed cuts. Convincing the rest of Capitol Hill to follow suit, however, will be a major battle.
    Last edited by vector7; April 7th, 2009 at 00:01.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    This is nothing short of complete and utter insanity. We literally have our F-15s falling out of the sky due to age and we've now killed the only replacement.

    As soon as I heard this news I was instantly reminded of this line from The Hunt For Red October, "You arrogant ass. You've killed us!"

    We will be in serious trouble...

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    I know the Air Force intends to keep the various F-15 varients in the air until 2025, but we've got to have a modern replacement in the pipeline ASAP.

    This makes no sense. The F-15 air frames are racking up a lot of hours. I just don't see how enough of them can make it to 2025.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    Quote Originally Posted by Toad View Post
    I know the Air Force intends to keep the various F-15 varients in the air until 2025, but we've got to have a modern replacement in the pipeline ASAP.

    This makes no sense. The F-15 air frames are racking up a lot of hours. I just don't see how enough of them can make it to 2025.

    What we need in the pipeline are good Conservative type politicians who can put an end to this kind of crap in 2010 and at least one more strong Conservative in the WH pipeline for 2012.
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    Hey liberal!

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    You can't handle the truth!

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    Pentagon Chief: Why I Tore Up the Army's 'Future'

    By Noah Shachtman April 07, 2009 | 6:41:00 PMCategories:



    Of all the hard choices Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to make in his radical overhaul of the Pentagon's arsenal, the toughest, he tells Danger Room, was the decision to gut Future Combat Systems, the Army's $200 billion effort to design a fleet of next-generation tanks and troop carriers.

    For nearly a decade, the Army has worked on a set of lightly armored, deeply networked combat vehicles to speed U.S. soldiers into battle. It's the service's signature effort to upgrade its forces for the wars of tomorrow. But ultimately, Gates says, the Army made the wrong call about how it could wage war in the future. So he eliminated all the vehicles in the Future Combat Systems, or FCS, project.

    "Most difficult of all of these for me was the FCS program," Gates says in a Pentagon conference call (.wma). "I actually didn't make up my mind once and for all on it until this weekend."

    Today, the Army uses 6-ton Humvees, designed to bring a few soldiers through uneven terrain; 18-ton Stryker troop carriers, to haul infantrymen around an urban battlefield; and 72-ton tanks, optimized for destroying another big army. Under Future Combat Systems, all of these would've been replaced with one family of vehicles, each 27 tons big.

    "Trying to build that range of capabilities into a single vehicle — really we hadn't gotten there yet. And the question is whether you even can do that," Gates says.

    The vehicles originally featured a flat bottom that made them perfect targets for roadside bombs, added Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright. "They were adding on armor that was starting to weigh it down and make it questionable whether the axles, the transmissions, all of those things, would be able to function for extended periods of time during a heavy configuration. All of these started to bring into question whether one class of vehicle could in fact cover the range of operations that we envision are going to be the reality of the future."

    The Army theorized that if it picked a midpoint between the heavy tank and the light Humvee, between all-out conventional wars and insurgencies, its all-in-one vehicle would work in any situation. Not so, Cartwright says.

    Other big forces would tear through that relatively light armor, and so would the metal-shredding bombs wielded by today's militants. Those explosives "are very lethal, and they're very able to be employed by non-nation states in counterinsurgencies. And just bringing that fat reality into the equation makes it very difficult to come with a single class of vehicle."

    Gates says he still believes it's "critical" for the Army to get a new ground fleet to replace its trucks and tanks and cannon. But it's going to take time — "15 years or more to implement," he says. The military establishment needs to come to "broad agreement on what that program ought to look like, and then build it out. Start bending steel just as soon as we can."

    UPDATE: Gates says he understood that many of his decisions "did not leave smiles on the face of different services, clearly." But now it's time for the admirals and the generals to fall in line, he says: "I don’t want to see any guerrilla warfare on this.... We have a chain of command."

    [Photo: U.S. Army]
    Listen to the whole conference call here.

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    Default Re: F-22 Raptor axed by Pentagon

    Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    The secretary's new budget will leave us weaker to pay for the president's domestic programs.

    By THOMAS DONNELLY and GARY SCHMITT

    On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a significant reordering of U.S. defense programs. His recommendations should not go unchallenged.

    In the 1990s, defense cuts helped pay for increased domestic spending, and that is true today. Though Mr. Gates said that his decisions were "almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books," the broad list of program reductions and terminations suggest otherwise. In fact, he tacitly acknowledged as much by saying the budget plan represented "one of those rare chances to match virtue to necessity" -- the "necessity" of course being the administration's decision to reorder the government's spending priorities.

    However, warfare is not a human activity that directly awards virtue. Nor is it a perfectly calculable endeavor that permits a delicate "balancing" of risk.

    More often it rewards those who arrive on the battlefield "the fustest with the mostest," as Civil War Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest once put it. If Mr. Gates has his way, U.S. forces will find it increasingly hard to meet the Forrest standard. Consider a few of the details of the Gates proposals:
    - The termination of the F-22 Raptor program at just 187 aircraft inevitably will call U.S. air supremacy -- the salient feature, since World War II, of the American way of war -- into question.

    The need for these sophisticated, stealthy, radar-evading planes is already apparent. During Russia's invasion of Georgia, U.S. commanders wanted to fly unmanned surveillance aircraft over the region, and requested that F-22s sanitize the skies so that the slow-moving drones would be protected from Russian fighters or air defenses. When the F-22s were not made available, likely for fear of provoking Moscow, the reconnaissance flights were cancelled.

    As the air-defense and air-combat capabilities of other nations, most notably China, increase, the demand for F-22s would likewise rise. And the Air Force will have to manage this small fleet of Raptors over 30 years.

    Compare that number with the 660 F-15s flying today, but which are literally falling apart at the seams from age and use. The F-22 is not merely a replacement for the F-15; it also performs the functions of electronic warfare and other support aircraft. Meanwhile, Mr. Gates is further postponing the already decades-long search for a replacement for the existing handful of B-2 bombers.

    - The U.S. Navy will continue to shrink below the fleet size of 313 ships it set only a few years ago. Although Mr. Gates has rightly decided to end the massive and expensive DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program, there will be additional reductions to the surface fleet. The number of aircraft carriers will drop eventually to 10. The next generation of cruisers will be delayed, and support-ship projects stretched out. Older Arleigh Burke destroyers will be upgraded and modernized, but at less-than-needed rates.

    The good news is that Mr. Gates will not to reduce the purchases of the Littoral Combat Ship, which can be configured for missions from antipiracy to antisubmarine warfare. But neither will he buy more than the 55 planned for by the previous Bush administration. And the size and structure of the submarine fleet was studiously not mentioned. The Navy's plan to begin at last to procure two attack submarines per year -- absolutely vital considering the pace at which China is deploying new, quieter subs -- is uncertain, at best.

    - Mr. Gates has promised to "restructure" the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, arguing that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan have called into question the need for new ground combat vehicles. The secretary noted that the Army's modernization plan does not take into account the $25 billion investment in the giant Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. But it's hard to think of a more specialized and less versatile vehicle.

    The MRAP was ideal for dealing with the proliferation of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq. But the FCS vehicle -- with a lightweight yet better-protected chassis, greater fuel efficiency and superior off-road capacity -- is far more flexible and useful for irregular warfare. Further, the ability to form battlefield "networks" will make FCS units more effective than the sum of their individual parts. Delaying modernization means that future generations of soldiers will conduct mounted operations in the M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles designed in the 1970s. Finally, Mr. Gates capped the size of the U.S. ground force, ignoring all evidence that it is too small to handle current and future major contingencies.

    - The proposed cuts in space and missile defense programs reflect a retreat in emerging environments that are increasingly critical in modern warfare. The termination of the Airborne Laser and Transformational Satellite programs is especially discouraging.

    The Airborne Laser is the most promising form of defense against ballistic missiles in the "boost phase," the moments immediately after launch when the missiles are most vulnerable. This project was also the military's first operational foray into directed energy, which will be as revolutionary in the future as "stealth" technology has been in recent decades. The Transformational Satellite program employs laser technology for communications purposes, providing not only enhanced bandwidth -- essential to fulfill the value of all kinds of information networks -- but increased security.

    Mr. Gates justifies these cuts as a matter of "hard choices" and "budget discipline," saying that "[E]very defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk . . . is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in." But this calculus is true only because the Obama administration has chosen to cut defense, while increasing domestic entitlements and debt so dramatically.

    The budget cuts Mr. Gates is recommending are not a temporary measure to get us over a fiscal bump in the road. Rather, they are the opening bid in what, if the Obama administration has its way, will be a future U.S. military that is smaller and packs less wallop. But what is true for the wars we're in -- that numbers matter -- is also true for the wars that we aren't yet in, or that we simply wish to deter.

    Mr. Donnelly is a resident fellow and Mr. Schmitt is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. They are co-editors of "Of Men and Materiel: the Crisis in Military Resources" (AEI, 2007).

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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Barack Obama: President Pantywaist - new surrender monkey on the block

    Posted By: Gerald Warner at Apr 10, 2009 at 10:20:05

    President Barack Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. You name it, he blew it. What was his big deal economic programme that he was determined to drive through the G20 summit? Another massive stimulus package, globally funded and co-ordinated. Did he achieve it? Not so as you'd notice.



    Barack Obama in Prague on his astonishingly successful tour

    Barack is not the first New World ingenue to discover that European leaders will load him with praise, struggle sycophantically to be photographed with him and outdo him in Utopian rhetoric. But when it comes to the critical moment of opening their wallets - suddenly it is flag-day in Aberdeen. Okay, put the G20 down to inexperience, beginner's nerves, what you will.

    On to Nato and the next big objective: to persuade the same European evasion experts that America, Britain and Canada should no longer bear the brunt of the Afghan struggle virtually unassisted. The Old World sucked through its teeth, said that was asking a lot - but, seeing it was Barack, to whom they could refuse nothing, they would graciously accede to his wishes.

    So The One retired triumphant, having secured a massive contribution of 5,000 extra troops - all of them non-combatant, of course - which must really have put the wind up the Taliban, at the prospect of 5,000 more infidel cooks and bottle-washers swarming into the less hazardous regions of Afghanistan.

    Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l'il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.

    "Rules must be binding," declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. "Violations must be punished." (Sounds ominous.) "Words must mean something." (Why, Barack? They never did before, for you - as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show.)

    President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America's missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.

    Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Senator: Expect Painful Cuts In Pentagon Budget
    A Senate defense committee chairman says Pentagon budget will include large, painful cuts. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said Tuesday that major program cuts will not be pushed off until the 2011 budget, but will be included when Defense Secretary Robert Gates sends his spending plan to the president later this month.

    Levin's comments confirmed what many contractors and military leaders have expected, but he offered no details on which programs may be axed. He said Pentagon officials have indicated they will not be able to submit the much-anticipated spending plan by April 21, as initially hoped.

    The Michigan Democrat also told reporters at a breakfast meeting that he is reserving judgment on whether the multi-billion-dollar contract for replacement of the Air Force's aging refueling tankers should go to one company or be split between two rival bidders. Other key lawmakers have suggested a split.

    The Air Force selected Northrop Grumman/EADS over competitor Boeing Co. for the aerial tanker project last year, but reopened the bidding after the Government Accounting Office found flaws with the decision.

    Levin said that if the Pentagon recommends a winner-take-all strategy for the tanker contract, he believes Congress would go along with it if the argument is powerful enough.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    The Axis is pleased with these developments making their military build up very effective in the near future.

    Gates Clips Air Force Wings


    By Rowan Scarborough

    04/16/2009

    President Obama's broad plan to cut weapons spending strikes particularly hard at tactical aicraft and relies on a yet unproven futuristic fighter to fill the gap.

    As the Obama White House looks to ring more money out of the Pentagon to offset huge domestic increases, the Air Force has offered up a plan to retire 250 fighters and light bombers in a single year -- 2010. Defense Secretary Robert Gates gladly accepted, declaring there is an "excess" of F-16s and other fighters.

    But experts say such a huge wound in the inventory will surely force the Air Force to take down some of its active and Air National Guard fighter wings. In other words, Gates' defense budget press conference April 6 did not tell the full story of a shrinking military under Obama.


    What's at stake? In the post-September 11 world, the Guard does most of the flying to protect domestic U.S. air space. Plus, the Pentagon has called on its F-16s and F-15s to mobilize repeatedly for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The Governmental Accountability Office warned earlier this year that, “If aircraft are not replaced by 2020, 11 of the 18 current air sovereignty alert sites could be without aircraft. The Air Force has not developed plans to mitigate these challenges because it has been focused on other priorities." This report would seem to contradict Gates' assertion there is a figher "excess."

    On the active force side, fighter wings have specific war missions in the Middle East and Asia, where a beligerent North Korea and a muscle-flexing communist China could one day trigger a military crisis. There is no more important goal in the early days of a conflict than commanding the skies -- called air superiority. Without sufficient F-16s and F-15s, Air Force combat pilots would assume much more risk of failure -- and death.

    Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a fighter pilot in Vietnam who has commanded aircraft units and bases, told HUMAN EVENTS the 250-aircraft reduction means the service will, at the least, be forced to take down four to five wings.

    "When you take down that many airplanes you have to take down complete organizations to get the dollar savings," he said.

    The problem, he said, is that there is no assessment that the U.S. faces any lesser enemy threats today than a decade ago, yet the Air Force will lose a big chunk of its fire power.

    McInerney, who frequently speaks with active duty officers, said "It drastically decreases our capabilities and creates more risks in the Middle East, Asia or Georgia [the country invaded by Russia]."

    He added, "Nowhere in Gates' decision process does he talk about a decreased threat in the future. I think the overarching discussion should be, why is the defense budget being cut in time a war?"

    Couple this with other pull-backs Gates announced, and you get the picture of a stretched military unable to carry out what is still its overriding strategic mission -- fight two wars at once.

    Gates wants to reduce the Navy's 11 aircraft carrier battle groups from 11 to 10, meaning there will be fewer American ships at sea; bring the number of planned active Army combat brigades from 48 to 45; and freeze construction of new anti-missile ground stations in Alaska -- the very weapon that would shoot down a North Korean nuclear weapon aimed at our continent.

    Not only is Gates retiring 250 tactical aircraft, he is cutting the Navy's buy of all-purpose F-18 Hornets from 40 to 31 in 2010. In another blow to the Air Force, Gates is stopping production of the Air Force's future top-line fighter, the F-22, at 187.

    To justified his risk-laden decision, Gates is gambling on the Lockheed F-35, a single-engine all-purpose fighter to be flown by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. It will one day replace the venerable F-16, which will make up most of the 250 tactical jets to be jetisoned next year.

    But according to the Government Accountability Office, Gates is making the wrong decision. In a report finished a few weeks before Gates April 6 press conference, the GAO said the F-35 remains a troubled program. Lockheed has been late in delivering test aircraft. This means Gates will be accelerating the purchase of 513 planes over the next five years without sufficient testing. There are also problems in manufacturer enough spare parts.

    Warned the GAO, "Procuring large numbers of production jets while still working to deliver test jets and mature manufacturing processes does not seem prudent, and looming plans to accelerate procurement will be difficult to achieve cost effectively .... Under the accelerated procurement plan, DoD may procure 360 aircraft costing an estimated $57 billion before completing development flight testing .... The program is still recovering from earlier problems that resulted in design changes, late parts deliveries, and inefficient manufacturing."

    What's more, the Air Force F-35 will not reach operational capability until 2011 at the earliest, a year after the Air Force loses 250 jets. And overall, the Gates plan buys no more than 2,443 F-35s, 13 less than planned.

    The Air Force is not commenting on how it will retire so many planes so fast. A spokesman at the Pentagon issued this statement to HUMAN EVENTS:

    "The Air Force supports the holistic, strategic approach to next year’s budget adopted by the Administration and the Secretary of Defense, and we will continue to provide our best military advice to DOD and Congress as they propose and approve a fiscal year 2010 budget. As a Service, we understand the need to balance current and future requirements and to exercise fiscal discipline. We’re ready to move forward with the guidance Secretary Gates has provided to make the most of the resources we’re given and to work as a member of the joint team in accomplishing our nation’s military objectives."

    Insiders say Gates would not have gotten his way -- at least not without a fight -- if Gen. T. Michael Moseley still ran the Air Force. But Gates fired Moseley over poor oversight of nuclear assets.

    He replaced fighter pilot Moseley as Air Force chief of staff with Gen. Norton Schwartz, a career cargo flier and one of the few non-combat pilots ever in that post. It was Schwartz who offered up the 250 retirements and agreed to cap the F-22 at 187.

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

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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Lockheed Won't Fight Pentagon on F-22 Plan
    Lockheed Martin will accept the Pentagon's plans to phase out the F-22 fighter jet and will not lobby Congress to build more of the expensive planes, a top executive said on Tuesday.

    Bruce L. Tanner, the company’s chief financial officer, told stock analysts that the company had received “a full hearing” from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and top Air Force officials, and “we’ll accept those decisions.”

    Mr. Tanner made the comments in discussing the company’s first-quarter results. Net income fell nearly 9 percent, to $666 million, or $1.68 a share, compared with $730 million, or $1.75 a share, in the period a year earlier, the company said.

    Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest military contractor, said growing pension costs had cut into its profit. But it still beat analysts’ consensus forecast of $1.64 a share. Sales rose 4 percent, to $10.4 billion, just below the analyst forecast of $10.5 billion.

    Legislators from Georgia, Connecticut and other states with major suppliers are still likely to push for more planes, saying they are concerned about job losses.

    Mr. Tanner said that under previous contracts, F-22s would be assembled at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta, Ga., until 2012. He added that most of the workers there would be able to shift to expanding production lines for other planes.

    Mr. Tanner also disputed a report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that said computer hackers had downloaded “sizable amounts” of data on a program to build another fighter plane, the F-35, from the computer systems of two or three of the contractors.

    Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor for that plane. Mr. Tanner said that the company thought the article “was incorrect in its representation of successful cyberattacks on the F-35 program.”

    “I’ve not heard of that, and to our knowledge there’s never been any classified information breach,” he told the analysts.

    When asked about cyberattacks on the F-35 program, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “I’m not aware of any specific concerns.”

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Officers Quiz Gates On F-35 Buys, CSAR Future
    Air Force officers got their first shot to ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates why he chose not to continue the F-22 program, but not one at Air War College fired a single question about the Raptor.

    Gates defended his decision to cut prominent Air Force programs such as the F-22, the C-17 and the new combat search and rescue helicopter (CSAR-X) in a speech to the college, based at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

    The Maxwell appearance came a little more than a week after Gates announced his recommendations for the fiscal 2010 budget, which include wide-ranging cuts for all services, and two days after the Air Force's top two leaders, Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, publicly supported capping production of the F-22 at 187 aircraft.

    Instead of the F-22, though, the officers quizzed Gates about the future of the service's combat rescue mission and the logic of buying thousands of F-35s but no more long-range bombers.

    On the CSAR-X recommendation, Gates explained he opted to cancel the program because the requirements for the helicopter make no sense to him.

    "Frankly, the notion of an unarmed helicopter going 250 miles behind enemy lines by itself to rescue somebody didn't seem like a realistic op-con," he said.

    Gates acknowledged a need for more combat search and rescue capabilities but described the acquisition process for CSAR-X as "out of control."

    The Defense Department would continue to look to improve CSAR but as a joint operation, Gates said.

    "We need to take a hard look at it, and a joint look at it, and then go ahead and do something we can bring to fruition," he said. "But again I think it needs to be a joint capability."

    As proof of his support of the CSAR mission, Gates pointed to the addition of 10 HH-60 CSAR helicopters to Afghanistan to ensure severely wounded troops get to a hospital within the "golden hour," the first hour after they're injured.

    A lieutenant colonel wanted to know why the defense hadn't proposed buying more long-range bombers such as the B-2 and fewer of the F-35s.

    Gates told the officer that upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, a four-year blueprint for the military, would address the requirements for more long-range bombers. He went on to explain the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft has a range of 3,000 miles, similar to a B-2, and the ability to carry the same weapons load as an F-16.

    Bombers will be reviewed, but cyber defense is a mission area that Gates made clear needs immediate action. The defense secretary wants to quadruple the number of students graduating from cyber schools from 80 this year to 320 by 2011.

    "The service chiefs have been told that filling all the slots in the cyber schools is their first priority," he said. "We are desperately short of people that have capabilities in these areas in all services."

    The Defense Department also is considering a sub-unified cyber command within U.S. Strategic Command to put more emphasis on the mission, Gates said after an officer asked if a cyber command could be possible. The Air Force initially decided on a major command for cyberspace, then decided to make the mission a numbered Air Force. Standup of the 24th Air Force is set for this summer.

    Another officer wanted to know how Gates thought the much-maligned defense acquisition process could be fixed.

    Just as he remarked April 6 in releasing his budget recommendations, Gates told the officer he plans to cut the number of contractors controlling acquisitions and replace them with uniformed officers. His goal is to add 4,500 acquisitions officers in 2010 and 20,000 over the next five years.

    Gates also emphasized that service chiefs must make it a priority to fund current wars in their base budgets.

    "It's a matter of leadership and making the system take into account for the warfighter today," Gates said.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Report: JCAs Cut From Army Budget

    The first C-27J Spartan completes its maiden flight over Turin, Italy. A defense official has confirmed that Army funding for the cargo plane has been cut from the fiscal 2010 budget.

    The Joint Cargo Aircraft is no longer joint.

    Army funding for the C-27 Spartan — the small tactical airlifter intended for both the Army and the Air Force — has been stripped from the budget, a defense official familiar with the decision said Monday.

    The Air Force will retain its 38 planes under the revised plan, but the Army, which wanted 40 C-27s to replace its aging C-23 Sherpas, will receive none.

    The 40 Army planes were to be assigned to the Army National Guard, many to districts at risk of losing their Guard missions due to base closures in 2005.

    The cutting of the Army program, first reported in The Hill newspaper, likely would create a political firestorm for the states slated to receive the planes.

    Guard leaders have talked up the Spartan as a panacea to airlift problems in Afghanistan. The Army relies heavily on aging CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to ferry troops. Guard leaders have said the Spartans would be able to carry more gear faster onto forward areas and austere runways, easing the wear and tear on the Chinooks.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    General Says Marines Open To Fewer V-22 Purchases
    A senior Marine general said for the first time Wednesday that the service may consider buying fewer V-22 Ospreys than planned and instead add more helicopters to its aircraft fleet.

    The Marines have long held they need to buy a minimum of 360 V-22s, built by Bell Helicopter and Boeing, to replace their aging fleet of Vietnam-era transport helicopters, and were not interested in buying less-costly helicopters instead.

    But in a conference call with defense reporters, Lt. Gen. George Trautman III, deputy commandant for aviation, eased away from that position when asked about defense think tank recommendations that the Marines should buy helicopters as well as V-22s.

    "I don't think this is an urgent question, but we're prepared to discuss it going forward," Trautman said.

    The Marines were the only service whose prized weapons programs escaped largely unscathed from the major defense budget overhauls that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed. Those measures will be in the budget the Obama administration is expected to release Thursday.

    But Gates let it be known recently he also plans to challenge the Marines to better justify some of their costly future weapons buying plans.

    A number of defense analysts and insiders, including some former think tank officials who have received appointments in the new administration, have written studies suggesting the Marines need a mix of transport helicopters and V-22s. Modern helicopters could be bought for $20 million or less, compared to the roughly $80 million initial price tag of the V-22.

    The Pentagon is just beginning its Quadrennial Defense Review, a long-range study for determining future defense needs and strategies. Analysts have suggested this process will give Gates and like-minded Pentagon officials an opportunity to further reshape future plans for buying aircraft, ships and other weapons systems.

    Trautman said the Marines "are very open-minded" and willing "to study that issue in the QDR if that subject comes up." The general, who heads the Marines aviation branch, said the V-22 had surpassed expectations in 19 months of operations in Iraq, although the reliability of the aircraft still needed improvement.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    A long but informative read.

    F-22 Termination: America's Self-Induced Strategic Death Spiral
    The F-22 is the only US fighter capable of defeating modern "anti-access" weapons. Without a sufficient number of F-22s a US President will be denied credible conventional weapons options in a nation state conflict (US DoD).

    When Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced on Monday last week his intended recommendation to Cabinet that the US cease further production of the F-22 Raptor fighter, it came as no surprise to many observers of the Pentagon bureaucracy. This recommendation is unprecedented as it amounts to a unilateral choice by the United States Office of the Secretary of Defense to opt out of the business of defending American forces, allies and interests against industrialised nation states. In an era of rising industrialised regional powers across Asia, this choice amounts to a self-induced strategic death spiral.

    The ground truth of current times is that "anti-access" technologies capable of denying access to all US combat aircraft other than the F-22A Raptor and B-2A Spirit have been the hottest selling items in the globalised arms market. These technologies include advanced digital technology fighter aircraft and long range Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), and a range of supporting systems such as radars, passive sensors, computer networks, data fusion systems, radar decoys, radar / communications / GPS jamming equipment and point defence weapons designed to shoot down US smart munitions in flight.

    Advanced Surface to Air Missiles are a particular concern since they are relatively cheap, often highly effective, and unchallenging in personnel training demands. Russia has exported large numbers of the S-300PMU / SA-10C, S-300PMU1 and PMU2 Favorit / SA-20, and is set to export the new S-400 Triumf / SA-21, which includes a 200 nautical mile range missile built to kill AWACS, JSTARS and jamming aircraft like the EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler. These missile systems are often described as "Patriot class" and are similar to the US Patriot in basic design, but employ more refined radar designs, longer ranging missiles, and are much more mobile than the Patriot, making them vastly more difficult to kill compared to legacy Soviet era or Patriot SAM batteries. An opponent operating SA-10C/12/20/21/23 SAM systems can play the same "shoot and scoot" game even better than Saddam did with Scud launchers in 1991, or Serbia did with SA-6 SAM batteries in 1999, and evade US fighters most if not all of the time.

    Cold War era tactics of inundating enemy SAM batteries with HARM anti-radar missiles are effectively bankrupt. Not only are missile battery and search radars protected by smart decoys and other countermeasures, but they are also defended by advanced short range missiles and radar directed gun systems, the latter similar in concept to the US Navy Phalanx CIWS, designed to shoot down incoming US missiles or smart bombs.

    The Cold War era tactic of high power jamming against missile battery radars is also approaching bankruptcy, because the new generation of more powerful digital frequency hopping phased array radars are very difficult to jam, but also because SAM batteries are now equipped with missiles of sufficiently long range to kill a standoff jamming aircraft. The ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System in both the US Navy Prowler and Growler lacks the power to permit jamming from outside the range of the newer SAMs, and both aircraft are too slow to outrun SAM shots.

    In the air, US forces will have to confront a new generation of high performance fighters, such as the fully digital supercruising Su-35-1/Su-35BM Flanker, and over the coming decade the stealthy PAK-FA. The only Western combat aircraft with the combination of performance and stealth sufficient to decisively defeat these new aircraft is the F-22A Raptor.

    While Russia remains the global leader in producing and exporting sophisticated "anti-access" weapons, China is now entering this market with a range of indigenous products, and derivatives of Russian products. This year China announced the export of the HQ-9/LD-2000, an improved Chinese derivative of the Russian S-300PMU/SA-10C SAM system, which includes the option of the FT-2000 passive anti-radar missile, designed to home on the radar emissions from an AWACS, JSTARS, U-2 or Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, or on emissions from jamming aircraft like the EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler. To defeat US smart munitions in flight, the LD-2000 is on offer, a clone of the European Goalkeeper radar directed Gatling gun, carried on a high mobility truck. Other Chinese built anti-access products include Missile Approach Warning Systems for SAM batteries, and jammers, as well as a wide range of modern digital radars including low band designs with some counter-stealth capability, and phased arrays derived from the Russian S-300P series.

    The existence, performance and capabilities of these weapons are well documented in a plethora of unclassified Russian language and Chinese language literature, ranging from professional journals, academic journals, manufacturer's literature and marketing documents, and also numerous public interviews and statements by the research scientists and engineers who developed these systems.

    Any nation which deploys a sufficient density of these modern high technology "anti-access" weapons will be able to put up a defensive umbrella which is impenetrable to legacy US combat aircraft like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 series. Moreover, these weapons can be used to effect an "ISR lockout", driving US surveillance systems like the JSTARS, AWACS, Rivet Joint, U-2 and Global Hawk away and blinding US commanders in the field.

    Of no less concern is that the design specification for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter was written around the generation of potential threat radars, SAM systems and fighter aircraft which preceded the current generation of products now in the global market. The result is that the F-35's stealth design, defensive systems and performance are completely inadequate to deal with modern "anti-access" systems. The F-35 would be shot down in combat almost as frequently as the legacy jets. The F-35's poor aft hemisphere stealth and lack of supercruise capability make it highly vulnerable to long range SAM shots during escape manoeuvres and egress after weapons release.

    Whether the troubled F-35 meets its stated design specifications is now irrelevant, as that specification itself has been overtaken by opposing systems.

    The inadequacy of the F-35's basic design specification against current threat systems continues to be ignored by senior US decision-makers despite the overwhelming volume of hard technical evidence proving this is so.

    One recently retired US Air Force strategist, upon receiving a technical briefing on the new generation of "anti-access" systems, observed that this painted a "scary picture". It is a scary picture. Twenty years of clever scientific and operational thinking, motivated by profit rather than Soviet ideology, and access to sophisticated Western computer and software technology in a globalised market, has produced a deep generational change in Russian built weapons technology. The Chinese in turn have licensed or "acquired" this technology to build their own derivatives.

    The US has never confronted 1980s generation Soviet SAMs and radars in combat, nor has it ever confronted the 1980s generation Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter. The derivatives of these weapons now in the market have two more decades of maturity and refinement in their designs, and digital weapon systems which are mostly of the same generation of technology seen in operational US weapons.

    The current generation of "anti-access" weapons are in techno-strategic terms a "check mate" play against US Cold War legacy weapons, and due to its poor design definition, also a "check mate" play against the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    Where does this leave the United States in operational terms?

    The planned force of 187 F-22A Raptors is numerically insufficient to deliver the required number of sorties to effect an air campaign on the scale of Desert Storm, and would be challenged to cover the demands of a campaign on the scale of the bombing of Serbia in 1999. This can be easily proven by a simple throw weight calculation based on precision guided weapon capable fighters deployed in the 1991 and 1999 air campaigns. Between 500 and 700 F-22s are needed to preserve America's historical advantage in air power.

    The notion that F-22s can quickly kill off opposing SAMs and carve corridors through an enemy's SAM belts was predicated on the poor mobility of a preceding generation of SAM systems. This model is now also bankrupt. Linked by radio networks and using satellite navigation, modern high mobility SAM batteries and radars may take weeks to kill off in a sustained air campaign. Legacy fighters and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter cannot be flown into such airspace, due to the very high risk of ambush SAM shots killing the aircraft.

    The result of having only 187 F-22s will be air campaigns limited in size and the rate at which critical targets can be attacked and reattacked, resulting in opportunities for opponents to play shell games with assets, evading attacks.

    If legacy aircraft or insufficiently stealthy F-35s are employed, combat losses are apt to mount quickly, and the few surviving aircrew become politically exploitable hostages for propaganda and political extortion purposes. Even at combat loss rates of only several percent, the "half life" of a fighter fleet would be measured in weeks even at modest sortie rates.

    Overuse of the small F-22 fleet will burn out airframe life much faster than planned for, seeing the fleet run out of life possibly in less than two decades, leaving the US without any credible tactical air capability.

    Where does this leave the United States in strategic terms?

    The inability to project power on an effective scale against even a regional nation state opponent in the class of Saddam's former Iraq, equipped with modern "anti-access" weapons, without unsustainable losses in aircrew and aircraft, severely limits strategic options available to the United States.

    Confronted with a regional crisis in which force must be used to prevent a US ally or US forces on the ground from being overrun, a US President will be left with two wholly unacceptable choices.

    The first choice is to accept high losses in expensive to replace combat aircraft and even more expensive to replace aircrew, with the enormous political costs that entails with US voters and Congress, and the strategic, political and fiscal costs of replacement.

    The second choice is to threaten the use of, or to use, tactical nuclear weapons, which carries enormous costs politically, on the domestic and global stages, and which carries very real risks of escalation, especially if the opponent or its ally has a credible nuclear weapons capability. The political costs the US incurred by invading Iraq in 2003 would pale into insignificance if the US were to employ, unilaterally, tactical nuclear weapons to deal with a regional conflict.

    The cost of procuring a sufficient number of F-22 Raptors is trivial compared to the costs incurred by the alternatives. It is worth observing that one half of the current 'on-record' procurement budget for the F-35 would buy well in excess of 1,000 F-22A Raptors, making a complete mockery of any fiscal justifications for the F-35 over the F-22.

    This begs the question of why SecDef Gates opted to make his recommendation on F-22 Raptor termination.

    Basic strategic logic shows that this recommendation produces real and tangible strategic risks over the coming decade that the US will be unable to effectively intervene using conventional forces in regional conflicts involving nation state opponents, driving available military options into politically unacceptable choices such as tactical nuclear weapons.

    The recommendation is all the more remarkable given the President's stated policy aims to "...preserve our unparalleled airpower capabilities to deter and defeat any conventional competitors, swiftly respond to crises across the globe, and support our ground forces"; and "America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons".

    Unilaterally abandoning the capability to use conventional air power against industrialised nation states is simply not coherent with the stated philosophical and practical strategic aims of the Obama Administration. In the words of one senior US strategist, "the recommendation to terminate the F-22 is insane".

    The unilateral grand strategic policy decision inherent in SecDef Gates' F-22 recommendation is also not coherent with the thinking of key US allies in the West Pacific, such as Australia and Japan. Australia's soon to be released White Paper, equivalent to a US QDR, is expected to strongly prioritise regional nation state conflicts over counter-insurgency campaigns. Japan's 2007 Defence White Paper does much the same, also focussing on China's enormous military growth, that being well detailed in the March OSD report to Congress on China's military capabilities.

    As the Rumsfeld/Gates OSD actively discouraged both Japan and Australia from procuring the F-22, and marketed the F-35 instead, both nations are left to rely on the strategic deterrent effect of the US F-22 fleet, and its combat effect if hostilities were to break out. In grand strategy terms, SecDef Gates' recommendation leaves both Japan and Australia "up the creek without a paddle" as a US fleet of only 187 F-22 aircraft is too small for viable deterrent or actual combat effect against China. The long term political impact is yet to be seen, but we should not be surprised if the Japanese start thinking seriously about developing and deploying nuclear armed ballistic missiles. Other Asian allies may change their alignment away from the US, throwing their lot in with China. The Gates recommendation will not be welcomed by Australia's strategic analysts.

    The most likely explanation for SecDef Gates' recommendation is bureaucratic advice based on a combination of very poor technical intelligence on new generation "anti-access weapons"; grossly optimistic assessments of the F-35's procurement costs, survivability, capability, and Initial Operational Capability dates; and a complete absence of deeper strategic thought and operational analysis on the available force structure alternatives.

    There is ample evidence to argue that all three of these toxic ingredients are present in the current, largely Bush Administration staffed, senior Pentagon bureaucracy. It is known from numerous public statements that performance models for Russian and Chinese built weapons used in operational analysis are often ten or more years out of date, and the technical sophistication of these weapons has not been part of any recent Pentagon public statements or documents. There is also abundant public evidence of the F-35's limited capabilities and performance being misrepresented inside and outside the Pentagon. Finally, the detailed force structure modelling required to validate force structure choices will likely not be performed until the Quadrennial Defence Review later this year, if at all given that robust analysis would not validate the current OSD strategic position.

    The weakness of the strategic argument supporting the OSD position is very clear. The idea of "complex hybrid warfare" is simply a renaming of the 1930s Nazi and Soviet practice of using insurgent proxies, which they often armed with state of the art light weapons, and employed to disrupt and destabilise nation state opponents in support of conventional military forces. The post Cold War growth in irregular forms of combat has been a reaction to the overwhelming effect of US conventional air power since the Cold War. Cripple that air power as the OSD intends to do, and opponents will return to the use of conventional forms of combat. A Sukhoi fighter-bomber armed with KAB-1500 satellite, laser or television guided thermobaric bombs can kill American troops far more effectively than any insurgent with a suicide vest could.

    The focus of the 2010 budget proposal, and repeated comments about "next-war-itis", display a clear indifference to the strategic realities of Asia's high technology arms race, which has produced many conventional military capabilities far more potent than those deployed by the Warsaw Pact during the 1980s.

    Gates is a highly experienced intelligence professional, with a doctorate in Russian/Soviet history, robust performance in a range of senior intelligence postings, and a well regarded track record in analytical intelligence.

    It is therefore surprising that he was prepared to make a decision on the basis of advice which is not only contestable, but has been contested, and repeatedly proven wrong in public.

    What is clear is that if the President and Congress agree to the Gates recommendation on F-22 termination, for the next two to three decades the US will be opting out of the business of deterrence and protecting American interests and allies against nation state threats, with all of the enormous strategic and political costs that introduces.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Gates Hails Soldier Snapped in Pink Boxer Shorts

    Friday, May 22, 2009


    AP

    May 11: Spc. Zachery Boyd, far left, wore 'I love NY' boxer shorts in a fire fight with Taliban militants after rushing out of bed to join his fellow platoon members.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday praised an Army soldier in eastern Afghanistan who drew media attention this month after rushing to defend his post from attack while wearing pink boxer shorts and flip-flops, Reuters reported.

    Gates said in prepared remarks that he wants to meet the soldier and shake his hand the next time he visits Afghanistan.

    "Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage," Gates said in a speech to be delivered in New York.

    "I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that: a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his cross-hairs. What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare," he said.

    Army Specialist Zachary Boyd, 19, of Fort Worth, Texas, rushed from his sleeping quarters on May 11 to join fellow platoon members at a base in Afghanistan's Kunar Province after the unit came under fire from Taliban positions.

    A news photographer was on hand to record the image of Boyd standing at a makeshift rampart in helmet, body armor, red T-shirt and boxers emblazoned with the message: "I love NY."

    When the image wound up on the front page of the New York Times, Boyd told his parents he might lose his job if President Obama saw him out of uniform.

    "I can assure you that Specialist Boyd's job is very safe indeed," Gates said in the speech.

    The U.S. defense chief was scheduled to deliver the speech at New York's annual Salute to Freedom dinner in Manhattan.

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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    June 15, 2009
    Obama's 2010 Defense Budget: Top Five Worst Choices for National Security

    by Jim Talent and Mackenzie Eaglen
    WebMemo #2486
    President Obama has submitted a defense budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2010 that, if implemented, will dramatically reshape America’s military.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates often says this budget shifts about 10 percent of funds to irregular warfare. That is a deceptive description: While the budget does shift funding, the far more important truth is that it cuts programs.

    In the short term, the 2010 defense budget—if enacted—signals the beginning of yet another procurement holiday for the military. Over the longer term, the Obama budget blueprint actually cuts topline defense spending in real terms.

    If Congress ultimately gives the Administration what it wants, America’s armed forces will lose capabilities that its leaders and citizens have come to take for granted. Those capabilities include, but are hardly limited to:

    • Strategic defense;
    • Control of the seas;
    • Air superiority;
    • Space control;
    • Counterterrorism;
    • Counterinsurgency;
    • Projecting power to distant regions; and
    • Information dominance throughout cyberspace.

    And this decreased capability will happen in the absence of any careful reevaluation of America’s global mission. The Obama Administration, by its own admission, is recommending fundamental changes for the U.S. military without having conducted a strategic review of defense or foreign policy.

    1. Scaling Back Missile Defense

    President Obama’s 2010 defense budget proposes cutting $1.4 billion from the Missile Defense Agency’s budget. These cuts include scaling back the Airborne Laser boost-phase program, terminating the Multiple Kill Vehicle and Kinetic Energy Interceptor, canceling the expansion of ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, and delaying funding for interceptor and radar sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    It is one thing to carefully oversee the operational capability and technical feasibility of specific ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs; it is an entirely different endeavor to substantially cut the overall missile defense budget when the risk of a ballistic missile launch is palpably growing. North Korea is aggressively testing missiles and weapons, Iran is moving closer to acquiring nuclear capability, and insurgents and terrorists are fighting for control of Pakistan and its substantial nuclear arsenal. A multi-layered missile defense system is the only protection the world has against these growing threats.

    The ideological opposition by many to missile defense dates back to the Cold War, when the left believed missile defense would destabilize America’s relationship with the Soviet Union. That position was at least understandable, albeit misguided. But the Cold War has been over for nearly 20 years, and missile defense today is a clear tool for peace. In fact, it may be the only stabilizing tool available to prevent a global nuclear arms race. As the ballistic missile programs of North Korea and Iran continue to mature, America must invest in a comprehensive, multi-layered missile defense system to stay ahead of the technology curve—instead of deemphasizing and restructuring the program for a more a constrained vision of what the future may hold.

    2. Ending F-22 Production at 186 Fighters

    Over a decade ago, the U.S. Air Force made a decision to build two complementary fifth-generation fighter aircraft to work together and harmonize one another’s capabilities. The F-22A Raptor, with its advanced super-cruise and thrust-vectoring technologies, would provide air dominance, while the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) would be optimized for ground attacks.

    The F-35, a single-engine attack aircraft, was not designed to fulfill certain core missions of the more advanced F-22. Just like shoes need shoelaces, to be an effective conventional deterrent in a 21st-century environment—at least until approximately 2040—the Air Force must have the proper mix of both platforms. Senior Air Force leadership argued through numerous budget cycles over many years that a fleet of 381 F-22s is the minimum requirement for such a mix.

    Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz recently said that 243 F-22s would place the U.S. Air Force at moderate risk during future conflicts, while 183 F-22s would result in “moderate to high” risk. Despite the advice of Air Force leadership, however, Obama is prepared to end production of the F-22 at just 186 aircraft (which is only about 127 combat-ready planes as some fighters will be used for training and testing) while continuing with the planned build of 2,443 F-35s.

    This reduced fleet size—in addition to ensuring that the service life of operational F-22s will expire much more quickly than was originally anticipated—is wholly insufficient to ensure that America’s Air Force can maintain an effective conventional deterrent force in the decades ahead. Indeed, the Chinese and Russians are continuing to acquire large numbers of new generation fighter aircraft. Without adequate numbers of F-22s, the U.S. will lose the ability to achieve air dominance in places like the Middle East and the straits of Taiwan. Considering the implications for the next three decades of American security, no less than a moderate-risk fleet of 243 F-22s should be acceptable to the U.S. Congress and the American public.

    3. Ending C-17 Cargo Aircraft Production
    Even though the C-17 was singled out by President Obama during his campaign as a priority for ensuring America can “preserve global reach in the air,” his Administration is now prepared to end production of this aircraft at 205 frames. The C-17, which can carry 169,000 pounds of equipment, including the Abrams tank and Apache helicopter, is also ideal for operating from austere airfields, including dirt runways.

    Secretary Gates has repeatedly emphasized that he wants a force capable of fighting counterinsurgency operations. If that is indeed the case, then ending the C-17 line makes no sense. Given the danger of rockets, improvised explosive devices, and guerrilla attacks on truck convoys overseas, the C-17 has become the preferred means for moving men and materiel in theaters like Afghanistan.

    Also, with Army and Marine endstrength still growing, there is little chance for a decline in operational tempo in the years ahead. Given the cost to restart the C-17 line after shutting it down (estimated at $5.7 billion), now is the wrong time to end the production of this core capability platform.
    Yet even more disturbing is the repeated trend of the Administration making this sweeping recommendation to Congress in the absence of any analytical justification or security rationale.

    4. Delaying Army Modernization
    The Obama Administration wants to cancel the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, despite the fact that it is the only program through which the Army was going to replace most of its tracked vehicles—many of which date back to the 1970s. Further, the label “future” is misleading, because the Army has already put technologies and capabilities from the program into the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This decision is also troubling because the Army must update its medium-weight forces now. As a result of the procurement holiday of the 1990s, the Army has essentially missed an entire generation of modernization. Over the past two decades, Army leaders phased out the Sheridan—the service’s only light tank capable of rapid deployment—and canceled its replacement, the Armored Gun System. Budget constraints halted research and development of other advanced armor vehicles, including the Future Scout and Cavalry System, the replacement for the Humvee and the Bradley. The consequences of the 1990s defense drawdown first became apparent in Kosovo when the Army struggled to deploy quickly from Germany and later when Turkey denied use of its territory for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Meanwhile, major combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are wearing down the Army’s fleet of heavy vehicles. The Army estimates that the operational tempo of Abrams and Bradleys in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased fivefold and sixfold, respectively. Coupled with harsh environmental conditions, each year of deployment equals about five years of normal wear and tear.

    Canceling the FCS means that the Army will have no modern, medium-weight forces that are useful in a variety of conflicts ranging from peacekeeping and counterinsurgency operations to full-scale conventional combat. FCS is designed to give the Army a capability that it has today only in a high-demand interim replacement vehicle known as the Stryker. Delaying what has already been delayed for 20 years is a disservice to those in uniform.

    5. Delaying the Navy’s CG(X) Cruiser Program
    President Obama has proposed postponing the Navy’s next-generation cruiser, known as the CG(X), in order to revisit both the requirements and acquisition strategy. The CG(X) should be the Navy’s highest acquisition priority. China and Russia have acquired large numbers of carrier-killer and other missiles against which the U.S. Navy currently has no effective defense.

    Delaying the procurement of CG(X) beyond the middle of the next decade will leave the fleet and U.S. forward bases unnecessarily vulnerable while compromising America’s conventional deterrence. Even with the service-life extensions for the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, the retirement age for the remaining 15 cruisers will fall between 2026 and 2034. With just 15 cruisers at sea in 2025 that were originally built in the 1980s, Navy leaders will be forced to operate under unacceptable risk levels.

    Choosing not to build an advanced radar and instead improving the CG(X) radar system incrementally may offer the best course for Navy leadership to move ahead with the program now by reducing near-term technical risks associated with the program.

    Defense Is Not a Zero Sum Game
    The Obama Administration may be cutting defense because the President believes in negotiation and conciliation, and he may think that those tactics are inconsistent with military power. If so, he is making a strategic mistake that will eventually overwhelm his foreign policy.

    The tools of diplomacy and soft power require an atmosphere of security within which they can operate—an environment only American strength can provide. If Members of Congress really want the President to succeed, they will step back, reexamine Vietnam-era assumptions about the American military, and ask themselves whether they really want American power to continue to decline.

    Walking softly in foreign policy is not a new idea nor a bad idea; however, it works only if you also carry a big stick.

    The Honorable Jim Talent is Distinguished Fellow in Military Affairs at The Heritage Foundation and served as a U.S. Senator from 2002 to 2007. Mackenzie M. Eaglen is Senior Policy Analyst for National Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Obama and Gates Gut the Military

    Chambliss: Hill Leaders 'Realize 187 F-22s Is Not Enough'
    Congressional proponents of more F-22 fighters will aim to put extra money for the stealthy jets in the 2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill, a key senator says.

    "The appropriations process is the key right now. ... That is primarily what we're going to focus on," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said May 20. Chambliss is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    "We might not even need the authorization" bill to spend more money on Raptors, he said.

    Chambliss said after a speech at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute that he has spoken with congressional leaders about buying more Raptors with 2010 appropriations.

    Asked whether those leaders had given him any guarantees, Chambliss said: "The good news is we have people in leadership on both sides that realize 187 [jets] is not enough."

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced April 6 that the Obama administration would hold to the Bush administration decision to halt F-22 production. The Pentagon has money for 183 of the Lockheed Martin-made jets; lawmakers are expected to provide four more in pending war-funding legislation.

    But some in Congress - especially those, like Chambliss, whose districts make F-22s and their parts - say a 187-plane fleet would hamstring future presidents. Chambliss said the currently planned Raptor fleet would only be available in one region at a time. That would limit "a future president's options," he told an AEI audience.

    Chambliss said the decision to cap the fleet "is not a one-year or two-year decision; it's a 30-year decision."

    Gates has countered that only 187 are needed, citing internal Pentagon analysis who say peer militaries, like China and Russia, will not be able to field a comparable fifth-generation fighter until the 2020s. When coupled with the Raptor's cost, Gates has said he is willing to take a bit of near-term risk, since all indications are any fighter that could take on the F-22 is decades away.

    F-22 proponents also have touted its ability to take out enemy surface-to-air missile systems. Gates has answered that, too, telling Chambliss during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week that the military has plenty of other aerial systems that can target SAM sites.

    The secretary announced his decision to cap the Raptor fleet on the same day he announced proposed changes to 49 other major weapons.
    But will they do anything about it? Doubt it...

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