Posts Tagged ‘USN’

Outside In: Defeating Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threat

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 17 January 2012.

A Frugal Fleet to the Rescue

Michael E. O’Hanlon. New York Times, 14 November 2011.


By keeping a ship abroad for a couple of years and having two crews share that vessel as well as a training ship at home, the Navy could improve its deployment efficiency by up to 40 percent per ship, accomplishing with about three and a half ships what, on average, might have required five. Focusing on the Navy’s large surface combatants, cruisers and destroyers, this approach could theoretically allow roughly 60 ships (with slightly less than half of them deployed abroad at a time) to maintain the global presence that the Navy says it needs, rather than the 94 ships it is currently pursuing.

U.S. CNO: For Navy, Asia Is Priority

Dan de Luc. Agence France-Presse, 19 October 2011.


“Asia will be clearly a priority and we will adjust our operations accordingly,” Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told reporters in a teleconference.

The Navy now constantly maintains an aircraft carrier – either the Kitty Hawk or the George Washington – in the Pacific, compared to 10 years ago when a carrier was available only 70 percent of the time, he said.

Panetta must fight four wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, waste

editorial. Boston Globe, 30 June 2011.

When Leon Panetta takes the helm at the Defense Department tomorrow, he will be facing difficult choices about the US military efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. But an equally pressing — and potentially even more intractable — problem is the Pentagon’s budget and spending. Outgoing secretary Robert Gates was good at paying lip service to the need to control spending; he noted recently that “the United States should spend as much as necessary on national defense, but not one penny more.’’ But the department’s baseline budget has risen every year since Gates took over — from $450 billion to more than $550 billion four years later. This year alone, the Pentagon is seeking a 3.4 percent increase from its 2010 budget.

It’s not just the wars; they represent less than 30 percent of the Pentagon’s enormous budget request. In the context of other government spending, the Pentagon is a behemoth. For every $100 of government discretionary spending, over $30 goes to non-war defense expenditures. The scope is overwhelming; the need for more than piecemeal cuts of failed systems is urgent.

Gates recently claimed that the Pentagon has already cut $300 billion, but the math suggests otherwise. That money came from programs already scheduled to be terminated. The savings were simply put into other military priorities. After noting that the Navy’s 11 carrier battle groups were excessive, Gates refused to eliminate a single one.

Panetta will need to take a more disciplined and systemic look at the budget. There is no shortage of advice from influential think tanks and independent studies, including last year’s report of the Sustainable Defense Task Force, a bipartisan group convened by Representative Barney Frank. Their recommendations would trim $960 billion between 2011 and 2020, if only the Pentagon would act on them.

Cutting the number of deployed nuclear weapons by half — to 1,000 warheads — is consistent with a reduced emphasis on nuclear warfare and the efforts of arms control advocates. This move alone would save over $100 billion over 10 years. Reducing conventional forces by 50,000, which would still leave 100,000 personnel deployed in Europe and Asia, is more realistic force structure. Cancelling just a few systems that are neither cost-effective nor essential would save more. The MV-22 Osprey and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle are long on trouble, and short on capability. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office both have proposed changes to support efforts, such as maintenance, supply, and infrastructure, that could save $100 billion in the next decade.

All this could be accomplished without compromising national security. Panetta needs to push back on the political forces that claim any cuts make the nation vulnerable to various enemies. The deficit is a much greater security risk.

Unfortunately, the Pentagon remains the largest federal agency that simply cannot pass an independent auditor test; when subjected to the normal bookkeeping procedures, it cannot, with any accuracy, track spending, fraud, waste, or redundancy. It has given itself a September 2017 deadline for audit “readiness.’’ That’s not soon enough. Panetta, who, as the former head of the Office of Management and Budget, has a reputation as a rigorous fighter for fiscal discipline. He will need to get the Pentagon’s house in order on day one.

Joint Strike Fighter Delayed? Not a Big Deal for the U.S. Navy

Sandra Erwin. National Defense Magazine, 24 November 2010.


An AESA equipped Super Hornet is “generation four-and-a-half,” says [Michael “Ponch” Garcia, a reserve Navy pilot and manager of business development at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems]. “All the sensors are fifth generation. You won’t have super cruise. You won’t have 360 stealth. You lose that. But you’re getting it for half the price.”

Big-War Thinking in a Small-War Era: The Rise of the AirSea Battle Concept

Thomas P.M Barnett. China Security, October 2010.


In sum, ending China’s free-riding is arguably more important for long-term system-wide stability than continuing to deter China’s military invasion of Taiwan. As globalization’s networks continue to expand at a rapid pace, America’s ability to play sole Leviathan to the system naturally degrades dramatically. That means, while the likelihood of China’s military invasion of Taiwan dissipates with each passing year, the likelihood of America’s “imperial exhaustion” most certainly surpasses it in strategic importance in the near term.

History will judge US strategists most severely if our choice to maintain “access” to East Asia by triggering a regional arms race precludes our ability to draw China into strategic co-management of this era of pervasively extending globalization—without a doubt America’s greatest strategic achievement. I cannot fault the AirSea Battle Concept as an operational capability designed to keep us in the East Asian balancing “game.” But my fear is that it will—primarily by default and somewhat by “blue” ambition—serve America badly in a strategic sense, absent a proactive political and military engagement effort to balance its negative impact on the most important bilateral relationship of the modern globalization era.

Editor’s Comment:

Barnett alerts us to a prospective instance when leading with military capability is likely to be a disservice to strategic interests.

Independent QDR Panel Calls For Increasing Size Of Navy, Bolstering Procurement

Jason Sherman, Inside Defense, 26 July 2010.

A bipartisan independent review of the Obama administration’s 20-year blueprint for the Defense Department calls for increasing the size of the Navy to a 346-ship fleet and increasing the U.S. military’s posture in the Western Pacific to counter China’s growing influence in the region, according to a draft report of the Independent Quadrennial Defense Review Panel. obtained a draft copy of the report titled “The QDR in Perspective: Meeting America’s National Security Needs in the 21st Century.”

The 20-member blue-ribbon panel — co-chaired by former Defense Secretary William Perry and Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to President George W. Bush — also finds a significant increase in funding is needed to bolster capabilities necessary to counter anti-access challenges, strengthen homeland defense; and to deal with cyber threats.

The panel’s report argues that a centerpiece of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review — a force-planning construct that downplayed the significance of preparing to fight and win two, nearly simultaneous major wars, a bedrock of defense planning since 1993, in order to prepare U.S. forces to deal with a wider set of possible contingencies — is unreliable. Instead, the independent panel recommends the Pentagon adopt force levels required by analysis conducted 17 years ago.

The “panel recommends the force structure be sized, at a minimum, at the end strength outlined in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review,” an assessment prepared by then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin, which Perry then worked to implement during his 1994 to 1997 term as secretary. “We further recommend the department’s [weapon system] inventory be thoroughly recapitalized and modernized,” states the draft report.

Funding to pay for these capabilities, as well as to recapitalize equipment consumed in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, will require resources beyond the $100 billion efficiency savings recently directed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to the report.

The “panel believes that substantial additional resources will be required to modernize the force. Although there is a cost to recapitalizing the military, there is also a price to be paid for not recapitalizing, one that in the long run would be much greater.”

Tasked by Congress — and composed of members appointed by lawmakers and Gates — the panel’s report delves into nearly every dimension of the U.S. military enterprise — from personnel policy to weapons acquisition to defense policy formulation — and offers an “explicit warning” about the shape of U.S. weaponry after a nearly a decade of persistent conflict.

“The aging of the inventories and equipment used by the services, the decline in the size of the Navy, and the growing stress on the force means that a train wreck is coming in the areas of personnel, acquisition, and force structure,” states the draft report.

The draft document argues that the Pentagon’s force-structure plans “will not provide sufficient capacity” to deal with a major domestic catastrophe while also conducting contingency operations abroad. The panel also asserts that the recently established U.S. Cyber Command should be prepared to assist civilian authorities in defending this domain “beyond” the Defense Department’s current role, to support civilian agencies.

The Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review did not include a force-planning construct that explicitly quantifies the number and type of contingencies for which the U.S. military must prepare, removing a formula the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have relied on since the end of the Cold War to justify their force structures and their investment plans, an omission the independent panel laments.

The Pentagon’s 1993 Bottom-Up Review, the first major assessment of the the U.S. military’s needs after the fall of the Berlin Wall, advanced a requirement to fight and win two major-theater wars nearly simultaneously, a construct that was incorporated in the 1997, 2001 and 2006 QDRs.

“The 2010 QDR, however, did not endorse any metric for determining the size and shape of U.S. forces,” states the independent panel’s draft report. Rather, it put diverse, overlapping scenarios, including long-duration stability operations and the defense of the homeland, on par with major regional conflicts when assessing the adequacy of U.S. forces.”

The current size of U.S. ground forces “is close enough to being correct,” according to the draft report.

In addition, the panel argues that the Army is “living off the capital accumulated” during the Reagan administration. “The useful life of that equipment is running out; and, as a result, the inventory is old and in need of recapitalization,” states the draft report, which calls for inventory replacement on a one-for-one basis “with an upward adjustment in the number of naval vessels and certain air and space assets.”

A larger Navy and Air Force, according to the panel, is needed to protect U.S. interests in the Pacific region.

“The force structure in the Asia-Pacific needs to be increased,” states the draft report. “The United States must be fully present in the Asia-Pacific region, to protect American lives and territory, ensure the free flow of commerce, maintain stability, and defend our allies in the region. A robust U.S. force structure, one that is largely rooted in maritime strategy and includes other necessary capabilities, will be essential.”

The panel advances recommendations to reform the structure and organization of both Congress and the executive branch in order to improve oversight of national security matters. The panel also advances suggestions for the Defense and State departments to shore up “institutional weaknesses of the existing security assistance programs and framework.”

Task force: Budget fix requires extreme cuts

Lance M. Bacon. Navy Times, 28 June 2010.


With an eye on diminishing budgets and rising tensions with Iran and North Korea, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead on June 24 called for continued international partnerships to hone a “just and sustainable international order.” He also continued his call for fiscal restraint, emphasizing that the Navy “cannot afford a tailor-made solution to every need that we have.” But the CNO still is adamant that a 313-ship Navy is needed to maintain maritime security.

Editor’s Comment:

Lance M Bacon quotes from a speech by Chief of Naval Operations Roughead at the Maritime Systems and Technology seminar on June 22nd. These quotes are misleading because Roughead is speaking not about reducing the national deficit, but rather about the Navy’s need to watch its spending in the context of growing fiscal pressures on service budgets.

Roughead remains committed to the goal of a 313 ship battle fleet. He also supports Secretary Gate’s initiative to save $105 billion within DoD accounts over the next five years. Gates’ savings will not contribute a penny to deficit reduction. He plans to plow all savings back into Pentagon programs and it is the Navy’s share of this money that Roughead wants to use to help grow the battle fleet to 313 ships.

Not only is Gates not offering to contribute to deficit reduction, but he is sticking to his goal of real growth of 1 to 2% a year for in Pentagon budgets. This will increase annual national deficits somewhere in the range of $6 to 12 billion.

Gates’ position is untenable and will not hold. If the nation is going to meet its deficit reduction commitments the Pentagon will have to contribute its share — which is at least 40% of the $230 billion a year increase in its base (non-war) budget during the last decade. This is the level of cuts the task force has suggested — it is not “extreme”, but rather responsible and realistic.

In the context of the coming national fiscal restraint, the worst thing the CNO can do is continue pushing to grow the Navy battle fleet to 313 ships. The more success he has in buying now what will prove to be unaffordable new ships, the further the fleet will have to shrink when austere budgeting arrives.

Far wiser is to start reconfiguring and trimming the fleet now and save procurement dollars for a more realistic set of priorities and a more restrained strategic posture. The task force has put forward one set of priorities for lean times. Let others suggest theirs.