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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Go Ahead and Fund the Military:

Trump wants a massive spending increase for the military.  I agree.

Right now only about 1/3 of our planes, trucks or tanks can actually fly or drive anywhere.  All the rest are scrap heaps which can't even move for lack of endless working parts.  This is ridiculous.  Why did we spend endless trillions of dollars purchasing all of these planes, ships and tanks if none of them are actually operational?  Now that we've built this armada, at the very least we should keep it in good repair.  In addition, there's no point hiring all these soldiers and airmen if they can't get any training in their vehicles because they're all broken.  The average airman now gets four hours of flight training a month.  Yeah, that'll keep his skills up.

Just to keep our armed forces back to operational levels will take an enormous spending increase.  Obama was happy to use the military all over, but refused to make up for all the wear and tear damage this caused.  Everything was just allowed to go to ruin.

In addition, all of our equipment is antiquated and would lose miserably against the more modern militaries of China and Russia.  I'm not kidding here.  The Russians and Chinese have better planes, tanks, guns, everything than us.  All of our equipment dates back to the 1980's.  That's just not good enough in the modern era.  That's 40 years ago folks.  Who, going into World War II, felt that equipment from 1900 was serviceable and there was no need to invest in any updates?  If there was such a retarded country I suspect they lost rather quickly and miserably, like the Poles who thought cavalry charges with lances against tanks was a good idea.

The latest Russian battle tank, the Armata, just came into service last year.  By 2020 they plan on having 2,300 of these tanks in service.  We're using the same tanks that fought in Desert Storm.

But who needs tanks when you have air power, right?  Tanks are just sitting ducks to fighter bombers.  Well here's the problem.  The F-35 fighter still isn't ready, and there's no telling when it will be.  It is riddled with all sorts of performance and maintenance flaws.  So we're still using the F-15 and the F-16 from the 1980's.  This is like relying on bi-planes in World War II.  The envelope has long since moved forward, but we're still stuck in the past, because we haven't hired enough people to actually get the F-35 work done and actually into the air.  It was supposed to have replaced all our old fighters already.  Now there's really no telling when that will happen.

Russia's 5th generation fighter, the Sukhoi PAK FA, is slated to begin its production run this year.  We are out of time to be tinkering around with our F-35's.  A fifth generation fighter can out dogfight 20 or so 4th generations.  It's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Once this PAK FA gets in the air, like ironclads versus wooden ships, our entire air force will be rendered obsolete aside from our F-22 Raptors, which aren't equipped to bomb enemy positions.

Meanwhile, we recently retired the USS Enterprise after 51 years of active service.  Yes, we relied on the same boat for half a century.  We have no replacement.  This is because the USS Gerald Ford, which was supposed to be ready by now, is finding that about 1 in every 200 launches fails using its new electric system.  There's also tons of other problems, but basically the carrier doesn't work.  You can not reliably get on and off the carrier alive, with a plane that costs over $100 million a piece.

The Navy needs however much money it takes to get the Gerald Ford class carriers working and operational.  Our current carrier fleet is, again, approaching 50 years old.  This is the 21st century.  Our entire carrier fleet should be Gerald Fords.  Instead we can't get even one afloat.

We don't need a surge into Afghanistan or Iraq.  We need a surge of investment into our future weapons systems which will protect us in the era of the 21st century.  We need all of these weapons online and working.  China and Russia are not taking a break.  They aren't sequestering their military budgets.  They aren't scrounging around for missing parts because only 1/3 of their vehicles can actually start their engines.

Nothing we say or do on the world stage will be taken seriously unless we have a formidable military that can actually succeed at the missions we give it.  If we want to use diplomacy we need a credible threat underlining it.  The world doesn't take us seriously because we've lost every war since World War II.  We lose every war because we have not put enough effort into maintaining readiness in troop training, equipment failure and modern weapons systems.  The Russians are not quaking in their boots that we've deployed some tanks to Lithuania.  They're laughing at us.  They could destroy all those tanks in a few minutes with their infinitely superior and more numerous weapons waiting just across the border.  If we tried to fight a conventional war with either Russia or China right now, we'd flat out lose.  In addition, Russia has more and better nukes than us, so if we tried to win that way we'd lose too.  We are the laughingstock of the world because we keep imperiously giving orders to people while our billion dollar destroyers just sink on their own without even being touched.

"Zumwalt’s breakdown was just the latest in a long chain of mechanical problems afflicting the Navy’s newest ships—in particular, the roughly 400-foot-long Littoral Combat Ships that are on track to become one the fleet’s most numerous vessel types.
New Littoral Combat Ships, each of which cost around $500 million to build, have broken down no fewer than fives times in 2016 and late 2015. Most recently, on Sept. 13, the USS Montgomery suffered two unrelated engineering casualties while sailing from Mayport, Florida, to its new home port of San Diego via the Panama Canal. The Montgomery had officially been in service for less than a week when the breakdowns occurred."

Rather than putting Iran 'on notice,' or demanding China stop developing South China Sea islands, we should be doing whatever it takes to get our air force, navy and army equipped with vehicles that are actually land-worthy, sea-worthy and air-worthy.  We should be hiring however many people it takes to make the spare parts we need, to repair things which are broken, to redesign things that don't work, to add in all the missing software, to do whatever needs doing so that we can actually field a military in the real world and not just on paper.  We should be spending whatever it takes to actually purchase all the vehicles we've been spending decades planning and blueprinting around, so that all of that time and money and effort isn't just thrown away for nothing.  We can't afford to just scrap everything and start over. We're already 50 years behind schedule.  What are we going to do, take another 50 years to design a new working system and keeping flying the F-16 for a century?

The military is in a ridiculous situation right now that never should have been allowed to get this bad in the first place.  But those mistakes have already been made.  Now all we can do is try to salvage the system by adding in yet more money.  It's too late to start over now.  We need a full speed ahead, all hands on deck surge to get this ship upright again.

Once all of our vehicles are at full readiness, our troops receive regular training, and we have completed producing all of our planned future weapons' systems, we can start cutting back on military spending again.  Then we'll have a 'peace dividend' where we don't need to update anything because we're caught up with all modern innovations and we don't need to replace anything because everything is up to date, brand new, and fully repaired.  Cutting the military is a noble idea when we have more than enough of everything.  Right now, though, we essentially have nothing.  Just WWI crap trying to hack it in WWII.  In fact, the B-52 is still in use, despite being initially deployed in World War II.  It's just a joke at this point.  Our military is a joke, and yet our foreign policy is insanely belligerent towards everyone else on Earth.  This is not sustainable and it just plain isn't working.

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