Clinton did the proper amount of post-Cold War military cuts, IMNSHO; the current level is pretty good. If anything, the USA is running a little short on manpower, though not technology, under its current doctrine -- there is a lot of reliance on reserves now.
One very important thing (often overlooked I think) is the vast benefit the world receives from the ridiculous supremacy of the US military -- the end of the global arms race. Other countries do not even try and compete militarily, which frees up vast sums which they might otherwise spend if the US military was much weaker. Also, US allies -- Western Europe, Japan, etc -- are freed from the need to build up their own regional/global military presences because the USA does the important stuff for them. In essence the US is subsidizing these countries' defense budgets; I have no problem with this and again think it's rather a good thing.
See http://www.economist.com/surveys/displayStory.cfm?Story_id=1188823 -- good article.
I think we could still slash the military budget by 10% or so, and still be in good shape. Slash it by 20% and increase the number of troops, even. My problem is that when politicians say 'support teh military', they mostly mean hand over cash to military contractors for obsolete, unsafe, or just plain lousy high-dollar gadgets. Even Rumsfeld has been forced to clamp down on some of the specific spendings that some congressmen wanted. We need to get teh troops good gear, not $9 billion worth of Ospreys that are notoriously trouble-prone. It is fiscally irresponsible how the military budget is spent.
Don't you like the idea of Rumsfeld's high-tech lean, mean killin machine. Smaller units, more flexibility, more ability to strike first and overthrow whoever the heck you choose?
That pretty much describes all government spending, though. Government agencies are not known for their efficiency or fiscal prudence. It is part of the price you pay for taking a given service out of the market. I am all for increasing efficiency in principle, but cutting the DoD budget will probably just decrease its size, not its bloat.
As far as detailed spending numbers, I don't think any of us here know nearly nearly enough to say exactly how much would be harmful.
And incidentally, Rumsfeld has been proponent #1 of your proposal to slash useless high-tech gadgets and "slim up" the military. The Crusader artillery project, heavy Army divisions in general, etc. It's earned him a lot of dislike from military types who are attached to their pet projects and units. Remember when they stopped his comprehensive review in, what, early 2001?
From a UK point of view (which applies somewhat to the US as well), we definitely need to increase military spending - spending on upgrading and improving equipment and increasing troop numbers (quite drastically)
I do. Still think a larger overall quantity is needed though.
Yeah...he pork has to stay, while useful projects go...
That Crusader was a particular example that made me mention Runsfeld...when ever a raving, slobbering hawk like Rumsfeld sees a problem, it must be HUGE.
I was going to post my opinion, but I can't compete with facts like those.
For all its flaws, western democracy is the best deal going. We must never be in a position where we can be bullied by dictators, terrorists and alliances of tyrants. Having a powerful modern military is the price you must pay to ensure that the whole world can keep drinking Coca Cola.
As good and true the above sounds, you
still need to remember that only the US
actually pays the bill. So, there's the
problem - you can't have an adequate
international force to protect the west
because the west believes in democracy
(and hence we have this pathetic - when
it comes to military action and tough
descisions, organization called the UN.)
But otherwise, part of the west has to
pay for it all and do it and thus seem
undemocratic to many on its own and the
other sides. Oh well...
Live long and prosper.
All the talk of security and safety is great and whatever...until another helicopter falls out of the sky. Another $14 million helicopter, with a full crew of troops that people claim to support so much.
10 or 20 percent of the military's budget could easily be cut, and we would still have an army completely unchallengeable. That money could be freed up for any number of things--better education, national health care, whatever.
I would like to see an army of fewer troops, but better technology.
We could even have MORE troops and better technology...if so much money wasn't tied up in bad contracts with political cronies.
^^^ OK, well then, make it so. :) And while you're at it, fix the DMV so I don't have to wait in line for 8 hours just to get my driver's license renewed.
PA now has licenses by appointment. A buddy of mine got there 15 minutes early and was taken right away.
As for cuts for the military, the restructuring of our overseas forces is a good start. More needs to be done, but they need to be REASONABLE cuts that don't conflict with the demands on the military. Example: I was attached to a frigate with two primary missions: counter drug ops in the pacific and caribbean and flag waving with a NATO task force. Flag waving is pretty useless and CD ops are a coast guard function being shared by the Navy (actually, when you do an interdiction, the coasties take over command of the ship). The whole frigate class needs to be scrapped. NOW. Meanwhile we have carrier battle groups spending nearly 10 months at sea.
The navy is also way behind in stealth, UAVs, cruise missile platforms, and submarine mission capabilities.
The navy might be the worst when it comes to force structure, but its not the only service with that type of problem.
edit: oh, and did I mention I navigated the ship...BY HAND!!! They gave me a friggin medal for setting up a computerized navigation system. And commercial ships have been using them for more than 10 years.
Way behind WHOM?
I doubt Bin Laden has cruise missile platforms, submarine mission capabilities, stealth weapons....
Way behind in the 'Small Penis Sweepstakes'?
Seriously, though...the quest for the neatest new toy is not the goal of the government, or the military. Actually, that is a huge part of the military spending problem; the rush to buy the latest toy, for no practical reason, or before it has been proven to work.
Yeah, russ, I took that to mean the Navy is way behind the other services in UAVs, etc, and.... submarines??? Do the Army or the Air Force have submarines?
What's the role of frigates -- or what was their role, and what rendered them obselete?
BTW, Zero, you were in the armed forces too, right? -- which service?
Yeah, some DMVs aren't bad... KS and WI are actually pretty efficient, but CA's sucked, and I heard horror stories about MN's.
Then instead of pumping more cash into the navy, you can cut funding to the other services for the navy to catch up. Why do we need to opt for the highest cost approach?
The air force and the Army: and several of our allies' navies have more stealth on the water than we do.
In 1991, it took 12 times as many bombs to take out a target as it did last month. Thats due to GPS bombs (which could easily have been deployed 12 years ago). UAV's? No comment needed. Stealth? No comment needed. Cruise missiles? No comment needed. These technologies are thoroughly proven and their need is clear.
I also meant behind ourselves - behind what we are capable of and behind what our efforts could accomplish. The Navy is still developing bigger, better, badder SSN's to counter the Soviets. What we need are spec ops/cruise missle subs.
Frigates are missile/torpedo sponges. Their role was creating a picket fence around a carrier battle group in an effort to shoot down as many incoming planes and missiles as they could to sacrifice themselves for the carrier they were protecting. They also have good anti-sub capabilities to do the same thing with subs. One major problem - with a top speed of 29kts (cruise speed of about 18), they were far too slow to be a part of a carrier battle group. So they never really worked for their intended task.
I don't think its necessary to increase funding to the navy to accomplish modernization. Besides getting rid of unneeded ships and programs, another of my pet peves with the navy is they have far too many people on a ship. When underway (even in the middle of the ocean doing nothing but steaming), there are generally 8 people on bridge watch (on my ship anyway). On a civilian ship 1 or 2. When pulling into port there are at least 20. You could EASILY cut the manning of a typical ship in half and the automation would probably INCREASE the combat effectiveness.
Another example is our aegis destroyers and cruisers. They were designed primarily to shoot down incoming aircraft and missiles - still a decent purpose, but clearly today most of what they do is fire tomahawks. Great ships, but when the fighting gets the toughest (say for example you have 100 incoming missiles) all you do is flip a switch to put it in AAW Auto (Anti-Air Warfare) and watch the fireworks. The computer does EVERYTHING.
i'm 100% behind you, buddy. i think it's ridiculous to spend so much money on military when there are so many other, more worthwile things to do.
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