Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Saturday, May 8, 2010 8:43 pm

Good luck with that

Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on the military*:

Before making claims of requirements not being met or alleged “gaps” – in ships, tactical fighters, personnel, or anything else – we need to evaluate the criteria upon which requirements are based and the wider real world context. For example, should we really be up in arms over a temporary projected shortfall of about 100 Navy and Marine strike fighters relative to the number of carrier wings, when America’s military possesses more than 3,200 tactical combat aircraft of all kinds? Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?

These are the kinds of questions Eisenhower asked as commander-in-chief. They are the kinds of questions I believe he would ask today. And they are the kinds of question that we must all – civilian, military, in government and out – be willing to ask and answer in order to have a balanced military portfolio geared to real world requirements and a defense budget that is fiscally and politically sustainable over time.

*And by the military, he, and I, mean Congress.

These are, indeed, the kinds of questions Eisenhower asked as commander-in-chief. These are NOT the kinds of questions that are being asked as the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission begins its discussions, it is reasonable to assume, although it is hard to know for sure because all the promised openness is going on behind closed doors.

1 Comment

  1. Rolling Stone has a good article on our buildup in Astan to run the Taliban out of Kandahar. Karzai’s agenda doesn’t come close to our military’s. It appears to be a complete disaster top to bottom. Meanwhile, the PIIGS may be about to go to war. Under the current set of concerns and obligations, needs assessment is more problematic than ever.

    From what I’ve read, once the Euro goes Tango Uniform, the market for Chinese goods evaporates and the US market becomes dramatically more important.

    Economic problems will also affect our ability to project force as in days of old. I see an increase in low cost drone-delivered intel and ordnance.

    Comment by Fec — Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:48 pm @ 11:48 pm

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