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Defense Secretary Gates is making some big cuts

January 7, 2011

In an effort to do something really dumb while we are fighting two wars, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is calling for a rash of cuts to the military budget.  Now don’t get me wrong, I guarantee there is a ton of stuff in our defense budget you can cut to save some bucks, like the Alternate Engine Program for the F-35 (which we aren’t cutting but is set to cost us $5.4 billion through 2017), but Gates’ proposals are a little beyond retarded.

The most egregious, a 47,000 cut in troop strength.  While this would not bring us to the level Gates had us before he increased the size of the Army and Marines, it seems a little short-sighted to be doing so while we are fighting two wars.

What else is he cutting?  The Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.  This bad boy is…was pretty sweet, here is a description of its mission and the vehicle it would have replaced:

Launched from a Navy amphibious ship 25 nautical miles from a coastline (beyond the visual horizon), the 39-ton EFV would hydroplane across ocean waves at a speed of 25 to 30 knots while still providing a smooth enough ride for the Marines inside. It would then move ashore without stopping and achieve land speeds up to 45 miles per hour.

Along with its crew of three (vehicle commander, gunner, and driver), the EFV would carry a reinforced rifle squad of 17 Marines during an amphibious landing and then provide them mobility and armor protection during expeditionary operations on land.

The Marine Corps introduced its current amphibious assault vehicle, the venerable AAV7, in 1972. Its slow water speed of 8 knots has limited the operational flexibility of Marine forces and constrained their buildup of combat power ashore.

In response to criticism of the abolishment of the EFV, Gates had this wisdom to intone:

Mr. Gates, moreover, has questioned whether amphibious assaults, which were crucial in World War II and the Korean War, make sense now that adversaries can fire missiles at ships and tanks from many miles away.

Are you freaking kidding me?  Ever heard of Desert Storm Mr. Gates?  The 2nd Marines would have mad an amphibious landing into Kuwait had the Army not kicked ass so quick as to make the landing pointless.  Not to mention, the mere fact we had the Marines sitting off the coast kept many of Saddam’s units tied down to the potential threat of a landing.

Not to mention, now that I look at that quote some more, Gates is a complete moron.  Last time I checked, adversaries can fire missiles at planes from many miles away, but that hasn’t meant we decided to scrap air power, or air assaults (vertical envelopment is the cool term).

The Marines are really getting screwed out of this deal, also receiving a 2 year hold on their version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  I don’t hold a lot of love for Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, but damn, give them a break.  Our Harrier’s are getting old, and the F-35 is the direct replacement for the only organic fixed wing air power our Marines have.  Not to mention their air power is for close support, as in it helps keep Marines alive on the ground.

You wanna cut some money out of the budget Gates?  How about terminating all military charters for congress?  I know that would piss Nancy off, but that should be something to strive for, not to avoid.  What else could we do.  Well, since we truly don’t have to worry about the Soviet Union tear-assing through the Fulda Gap anymore, how about we bring our boys home from Europe – its not like we are wanted there anymore anyway.  Just saying.

Just my two cents…

16 Comments leave one →
  1. JustFacts permalink
    January 7, 2011 7:27 pm

    This from the same administration that was going to make the military pay for their health care, because they knew what they were getting into before they volunteered. Let’s take funding from our military, who go in harms way, and give it to some illegal aliens who have never contributed to our country in any way. Words cannot describe my contempt for these people. But, of course, who would be the first to come begging if their little rear end was in danger from some two-bit tyrant.

    • January 7, 2011 8:01 pm

      You are absolutely correct.

      I am going to have to some research on Gates, I hate to admit I don’t know much about this dude.

  2. January 7, 2011 7:47 pm

    I agree with you that there are probably plenty of areas to make cuts in the military budget, but reducing the amount of troops certainly doesn’t seem like the right place to make cuts.

    • January 7, 2011 8:04 pm

      Here is the problem. Our military currently does not possess a definable overall strategic mission. Are just supposed to defend America proper? Or are we to be the fighting arm of the executive branch who does not possess the power to declare war (even though we seem to not care about that anymore)? Are we the teeth of the UN? What is the military’s mission?

      Once we can answer those questions, then we can make legitimate calls for growing or shrinking the size of said force, until then, their mission is open-ended and that leads me to believe they should never be reduced in size.

  3. January 7, 2011 11:57 pm

    Get our troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan (and Yemen and the Horn of Africa, and, and) and THEN maybe we can talk about some cuts. But even mentioning cutbacks while our countrymen are being shot at really p*sses me off.

    • January 8, 2011 12:18 am

      I just don’t get it. There is so much crap to cut from the defense budget that we don’t need, why go after crap we do need?

      • JustFacts permalink
        January 8, 2011 5:49 am

        Yeah, we could start out by cutting all of the contracts for pork-barrel projects that the military doesn’t want. How many contracts are placed because some congress-person has a pet company back home that he wants to help fund so they can give him/her a nice campaign donation? Or, extending contracts for a piece of equipment that the military no longer wants, in order for the congress-person to help a company back home.

      • January 8, 2011 6:56 am

        That is exactly what is behind the Alternate Engine program for the F-35. The military has said multiple times that they don’t want the damn thing, but congress just keeps putting it in the budget. Its being built in Michigan, so you connect the dots.

  4. January 8, 2011 3:05 am

    Gates listens to lobbys such as the Defense Business Board. Last year they put out a briefing that nearly 40% of our current active duty forces have never been deployed and that we have 340,000 troops actually performing commercial activities. They estimate that 40% of the defense budget is spent on overhead. They don’t see troop reduction as an issue.

    This will lead to a renewed push toward combining departments, likely getting rid of the Air Force and merging them back into the Army.

    I have no doubt that the “initiative” to find more immediate cuts came from Gates’ boss, the Commander-in-chief.

    • January 8, 2011 3:38 am

      Merging the Air Force back in with the Army? I would have to think about that a bit, but my gut reaction is negative. If you want to merge something, the Navy and Marines make the most sense.

  5. January 8, 2011 3:21 am

    What is the back story on cutting health insurance for those in the military? I apologize for not knowing this.

    • January 8, 2011 3:39 am

      Not totally sure on cutting it, but one of Obama’s “ideas” was to have the military pay for their health care.

  6. LD Jackson permalink
    January 8, 2011 5:35 am

    I can’t say that I know as much about the military as some of you, but cutting the size of our troop force, while we are engaged in active combat, strikes me as completely foolish, if not full blow stupid. Where in the world do these people come up with this stuff.

    • January 8, 2011 6:55 am

      We call them pogues, or REMFs (Rear Echelon Mother F****ers), basically a derogatory term for the dudes that don’t actually do the fighting in the military. Gates is a major pogue, his career almost totally dedicated to intelligence analysis. He strikes me as almost like McNamarra, a bean-counter too smart for his own good.

  7. January 9, 2011 8:19 am

    Gates is a traitor to the military and basically this country. He should be “run out” by MOAA. We are in the middle of two wars and this yahoo wants to cut defense spending? Whose side is he on. Let’s band together and demand our rights both active duty and retired. He is a detriment to the United States fighting force. We hated him when he was at Texas A&M and despise him even more now. He has screwed the mililtary.

    • January 9, 2011 9:42 am

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. =)

      I am not sure who’s side he is on, but it don’t seem like the military’s.

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