Posts Tagged ‘Army’

Reset Defense Bulletin: Small Changes for the Army and Navy

PDA Review
from 20 Janaury 2014 Reset Defense Bulletin

In the last issue of the Reset Defense Bulletin we reported that the Pentagon will likely pass up one of the best options for greater strategic efficiency — that is relying more on a strong and capable strategic reserve for large and medium scale wars.

The size of the Total Army has been declining and will be down by about 100,000 this decade. However, the relative size of the active and reserve components has not yet been decided. Sydney Freedberg in Breaking Defense reports of the National Guard leadership complaining of being cut 10% t0 315,000 while the active component Army is hoping to remain as close to 490,000 as they can. Reportedly many in the Army expect there will be a further 8% reduction (to 450,000) in the active component before the end of the decade. By way of comparison the study Reasonable Defense from the Project on Defense Alternatives calls for 420,000 in the active component and 325,000 in the Guard.

In a sign that the Pentagon may face up to a small part of their fiscal reality, Bloomberg reports that the Navy will order 32 rather than 52 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

Navy experts Eric Labs of CBO and Ronald O’Rourke of CRS have long caste doubt the affordability of the Navy’s 30 year shipbuilding plan. Indeed, in an odd budgetary gambit, the Navy has lobbied to get the $90-100 billion cost of replacing their aging ballistic missile subs paid from some Pentagon treasury outside Navy’s regular shipbuilding budget (Frank Oliveri of Roll Call and Ronald O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service offer details.) Christopher Preble and Matt Fay suggest that the Navy buy the SSBN[X] with funds saved from eliminating or curtailing the Air Force’s ICBM and Bomber legs of the strategic nuclear posture.

Now it looks like a small portion of the Navy shipbuilding budget deficit will be paid for by producing fewer than planned of the over-budget and under-performing LCS.

Coincidentally, a Defense News editorial praises the flexibility and affordability of frigates, calling particular attention to Denmark’s Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates as “long-range, efficient but highly flexible ships that come equipped with considerable capabilities.” Perhaps the Navy will now replace some retiring frigates with modern frigates proven by allied navies, instead of the much more expensive LCS.

Frigate_Iver_Huitfeldt

Danish Ivar Huitfeldt Class Frigate

There has been several calls for disbanding the Air Force (Carroll, Farley) and for folding its roles and missions back into the other services. This is surely a ‘non-starter’ with a White House that has been consistently reluctant to take on anything held very dear by the Pentagon brass or their supporters in Congress. However, radical proposals such as this one will sometimes open space for discussion of other changes to strategic ambitions and to now calcified service roles and missions — which too often excessively and wastefully overlap. One such area is the strategic triad, jeaslously protected by the Navy and Air Force.

Reuters reports that the Pentagon is considering additional educational and financial incentives for Air Force officers who guard and operate the nation’s ICBM force. There have been a number of recent incidents of misbehavior which has to be worrisome given the extraordinary responsibility these service members have to prevent an unintentional nuclear war. “The scandals are raising questions about how to keep up morale of the force in the post-Cold War era…” Is it possible that the mission of maintaining such a large nuclear arsenal no longer makes good sense to those who are closest to it?

In a related piece Walter Pincus reports:

An unpublished Rand Corporation study done between December 2012 and February 2013 found that those in the nuclear missile force ‘have low job satisfaction and often feel job-related burnout.’

Pincus then laments:

Despite problems among the U.S. strategic nuclear force personnel, questions about the role of nuclear deterrence in the age of growing cyber and terrorist threats, and current budgetary pressures in defense spending, Hagel did not propose that the Obama administration would seek to reduce further the new START level of deployed warheads, cut the number of stockpiled warheads or eliminate one leg of the triad.

Winslow Wheeler has contributed a good analysis and comment on how national security spending fared in the ‘Omnibus’ spending bill that just passed through Congress. Wheeler sums it up this way:

The bill attempts to build a bridge to a future time when higher defense budgets are politically feasible. In the meantime, the congressional appropriators will use gimmicks and dodges to keep spending higher while appearing to be lower.

Defense News provides a summary of how appropriators added more than $5 billion to Overseas Contingency Operations funding to cover procurement and other items that didn’t get funded in the base budget. As a consequence of this maneuver, ‘war spending’ is actually rising in the year that the Afghan war is supposed to end.

There are links to all the literature cited above in the 20 Janaury 2014 Reset Defense Bulletin.

Pentagon hides $3 billion in budget accounting maneuver

Josh Rogin. Foreign Policy, 15 February 2012.
http://defensealt.org/zJViH0

Excerpt:

The Pentagon’s new budget request moves $3 billion of military pay and benefits out of the base budget into the war budget in an accounting maneuver experts and congressional staffers say is meant to get around legally mandated budget caps…

Truth, lies and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis. Armed Forces Journal, February 2012.
http://defensealt.org/zjV1gq

Excerpt:

I first encountered senior-level equivocation during a 1997 division-level “experiment” that turned out to be far more setpiece than experiment. Over dinner at Fort Hood, Texas, Training and Doctrine Command leaders told me that the Advanced Warfighter Experiment (AWE) had shown that a “digital division” with fewer troops and more gear could be far more effective than current divisions. The next day, our congressional staff delegation observed the demonstration firsthand, and it didn’t take long to realize there was little substance to the claims. Virtually no legitimate experimentation was actually conducted. All parameters were carefully scripted. All events had a preordained sequence and outcome. The AWE was simply an expensive show, couched in the language of scientific experimentation and presented in glowing press releases and public statements, intended to persuade Congress to fund the Army’s preference.

…when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.

What happens when ‘demand’ for the Army exceeds its ‘supply’?

Robert Haddick. Small Wars Journal, 29 November 2011.
http://defensealt.org/KAZEeg

Panetta to U.S. Army: Branches Must Cooperate on Cuts

Andrew Tilghman. Defense News, 12 October 2011.
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?c=LAN&s=TOP&i=7935114

Excerpt:

Panetta said the Army should expect reserve-component troops to be a vital part of the future force.

“As we draw down from these wars, we need to keep the Guard and the Reserve operational and gaining experience. This is the best investment we’ve made over the past 10 years,” he said. “We need to continue to be able to maintain that as a valuable asset because the reserve force has a special role to play as a force that gives the nation strategic depth in the event of crisis, access to unique civilian skill sets that can be useful in modern conflicts and as the Army’s bridge to a broader civilian population.”

Army Operating Concept 2016-2028

Army Training and Doctrine Command. TRADOC Pam 525-3-1, 19 August 2010.
http://www-tradoc.army.mil/tpubs/pams/tp525-3-1.pdf

Excerpt:

This pamphlet revises the conceptual and operating focus of the Army from major combat operations to that of operational adaptability employing full-spectrum operations under conditions of uncertainty and complexity.

TRADOC Pam 525-3-1 describes how future Army forces conduct operations as part of the joint force to deter conflict, prevail in war, and succeed in a wide range of contingencies in the future operational environment. The pamphlet describes the employment of forces in the 2016-2028 timeframe and identifies capabilities required for future success to guide Army force development efforts.

Army Data Show Constraints on Troop Increase Potential: Escalation in Afghanistan Could Leave Few Brigades in Reserve

Spencer Ackerman. The Washington Independent, 18 November 2009.
http://washingtonindependent.com/68174/army-data-shows-contraints-on-troop-increase-potential

Excerpt:

[Lawrence] Korb … said a more realistic troop increase for Afghanistan would be 10,000 soldiers until the drawdown of troops from Iraq “begins in earnest.” There are currently 120,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq, almost twice the total in Afghanistan, though Gen. Raymond Odierno, the commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, told Congress in September that he plans to reduce that total to around 50,000 by August 30, 2010. Alternatively, Korb said, Obama could speed up the pace of redeployment out of Iraq in order to relieve the stress on the force… But under current Pentagon policy, soldiers would still need to receive at least 12 months of recuperation time back in the U.S. before potential assignment in Afghanistan.

Generals want faster, focused procurement

Megan Scully. Government Executive, 09 October 2009.
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1009/100909cdpm2.htm