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Old 02-24-2014, 09:31 AM  
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Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/us...evel.html?_r=0

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

The proposal, described by several Pentagon officials on the condition of anonymity in advance of its release on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

The officials acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.

“You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Outlines of some of the budget initiatives, which are subject to congressional approval, have surfaced, an indication that even in advance of its release the budget is certain to come under political attack.

For example, some members of Congress, given advance notice of plans to retire air wings, have vowed legislative action to block the move, and the National Guard Association, an advocacy group for those part-time military personnel, is circulating talking points urging Congress to reject anticipated cuts. State governors are certain to weigh in, as well. And defense-industry officials and members of Congress in those port communities can be expected to oppose any initiatives to slow Navy shipbuilding.

Even so, officials said that despite budget reductions, the military would have the money to remain the most capable in the world and that Mr. Hagel’s proposals have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Money saved by reducing the number of personnel, they said, would assure that those remaining in uniform would be well trained and supplied with the best weaponry.

The new American way of war will be underscored in Mr. Hagel’s budget, which protects money for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. And in an indication of the priority given to overseas military presence that does not require a land force, the proposal will — at least for one year — maintain the current number of aircraft carriers at 11.

Over all, Mr. Hagel’s proposal, the officials said, is designed to allow the American military to fulfill President Obama’s national security directives: to defend American territory and the nation’s interests overseas and to deter aggression — and to win decisively if again ordered to war.

“We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” the official said. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.”

Mr. Hagel’s plan would most significantly reshape America’s land forces — active-duty soldiers as well as those in the National Guard and Reserve.

The Army, which took on the brunt of the fighting and the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, already was scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the Army would drop over the coming years to between 440,000 and 450,000.

That would be the smallest United States Army since 1940. For years, and especially during the Cold War, the Pentagon argued that it needed a military large enough to fight two wars simultaneously — say, in Europe and Asia. In more recent budget and strategy documents, the military has been ordered to be prepared to decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there.

The Guard and Reserves, which proved capable in their wartime deployments although costly to train to meet the standards of their full-time counterparts, would face smaller reductions. But the Guard would see its arsenal reshaped.

The Guard’s Apache attack helicopters would be transferred to the active-duty Army, which would transfer its Black Hawk helicopters to the Guard. The rationale is that Guard units have less peacetime need for the bristling array of weapons on the Apache and would put the Black Hawk — a workhorse transport helicopter — to use in domestic disaster relief.

The cuts proposed by Mr. Hagel fit the Bipartisan Budget Act reached by Mr. Obama and Congress in December to impose a military spending cap of about $496 billion for fiscal year 2015. If steeper spending reductions kick in again in 2016 under the sequestration law, however, then even more significant cuts would be required in later years.

The budget to be presented Monday will be the first sweeping initiative that bears Mr. Hagel’s full imprint. Although Mr. Hagel has been in office one year, most of his efforts in that time have focused on initiatives and problems that he inherited. In many ways his budget provides an opportunity for him to begin anew.

The proposals are certain to face resistance from interest groups like veterans’ organizations, which oppose efforts to rein in personnel costs; arms manufacturers that want to reverse weapons cuts; and some members of Congress who will seek to block base closings in their districts.

Mr. Hagel will take some first steps to deal with the controversial issue of pay and compensation, as the proposed budget would impose a one-year salary freeze for general and flag officers; basic pay for military personnel would rise by 1 percent. After the 2015 fiscal year, raises in pay will be similarly restrained, Pentagon officials say.

The fiscal 2015 budget will also call for slowing the growth of tax-free housing allowances for military personnel and would reduce the $1.4 billion direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, which would most likely make goods purchased at those commissaries more expensive for soldiers.

The budget also proposes an increase in health insurance deductibles and some co-pays for some military retirees and for some family members of active servicemen. But Mr. Hagel’s proposals do not include any changes to retirement benefits for those currently serving.

Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft would be eliminated. The aircraft was designed to destroy Soviet tanks in case of an invasion of Western Europe, and the capabilities are deemed less relevant today. The budget plan does sustain money for the controversial F-35 warplane, which has been extremely expensive and has run into costly delays.

In addition, the budget proposal calls for retiring the famed U-2 spy plane in favor of the remotely piloted Global Hawk.

The Navy would be allowed to purchase two destroyers and two attack submarines every year. But 11 cruisers will be ordered into reduced operating status during modernization.

Although consideration was given to retiring an aircraft carrier, the Navy will keep its fleet of 11 — for now. The George Washington would be brought in for overhaul and nuclear refueling — a lengthy process that could be terminated in future years under tighter budgets.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:35 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
I agree that military spend should be needs based. I do, however, find it difficult to believe that our current need could be quite so high when compared to the needs of the Cold War era etc.

Let's just say that comparisons to other timeframes can provide a rough framework of reasonability for military expenditures.



I think, generally speaking, you're against reduced military spending for any reason. My own view is that, when viewed through the prism of the current risks (which do not, in my view, include much chance of a Soviet invasion of Europe or other large-scale war), there is no need for our military budget to exceed that of the Cold War.
When people I trust to evaluate our military needs objectively recommend reducing our military spending and when they can articulate a strategy that makes sense of that reduction, I'll be more likely to embrace the plan than when the administration that has demonstrated incompetence time and again in foreign policy does it.

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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Frankly, we've been spoiling other countries for years by letting them simply rely on us and our budget to fund their defense costs. Effectively subsidizing the safety and security of much of the rest of the world. While there are certain good reasons for doing so, and certain benefits that we derive, militarily and politically, from doing so, it's not at all clear given the current deficit situation that the military and political benefits of this approach make any sense whatsoever.

I'm not of the view that it's our job to police the world, nor our financial responsibility to fund such worldwide policing.
The world won't be a safer place for us if we give dozens of nations an incentive to go nuclear and/or beef up their militaries so they can go it alone in their own regions. This non-polar world that many liberals and RonPauls seem to dream about sounds like a nightmare to me.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:41 PM   #32
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:51 PM   #33
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:08 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
When people I trust to evaluate our military needs objectively recommend reducing our military spending and when they can articulate a strategy that makes sense of that reduction, I'll be more likely to embrace the plan than when the administration that has demonstrated incompetence time and again in foreign policy does it.



The world won't be a safer place for us if we give dozens of nations an incentive to go nuclear and/or beef up their militaries so they can go it alone in their own regions. This non-polar world that many liberals and RonPauls seem to dream about sounds like a nightmare to me.
It is called asymmetric warfare. Reducing troop size doesn't mean we decrease our capability. We could still roll through Iran like butter if need be.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:10 PM   #35
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Domestic police forces have already been militarized for what progressives view as the greatest threat which is anyone who resists their rule.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:13 PM   #36
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Domestic police forces have already been militarized for what progressives view as the greatest threat which is anyone who resists their rule.
This is actually true, the nutballs who approve of Obama are as scared of the Tea Party as Muslims:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/publ..._terror_threat
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:24 PM   #37
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This is actually true, a minority of the nutballs who approve of Obama specifically, 29% of them, are as scared of the Tea Party as Muslims:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/publ..._terror_threat

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Old 02-24-2014, 02:29 PM   #38
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:34 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
It is called asymmetric warfare. Reducing troop size doesn't mean we decrease our capability. We could still roll through Iran like butter if need be.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:44 PM   #40
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What do you disagree with? The vast majority of our threats are\will be the unconventional kind or non-state actors. We also will still have the capability to invade pretty much any country we want and use our technological advantage. We just won't be able to do a WWII style campaign or fight 2 wars. That to me is not a concern because this country has proven it can ramp up quickly if need be.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:47 PM   #41
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:53 PM   #42
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Why the edit? My post was entirely factual. They don't see much of a difference between the two groups, regardless if it's only a minority of them or not. The rest of the country obviously doesn't see it their way.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:53 PM   #43
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I'd agree with not cutting the A-10 completely out. It serves a role not easily served by other air assets. That said, I don't know if the plan is to reduce them or phase them out while replacing them with something that can serve a similar role while being more versatile, etc. or what.

I also, don't know, frankly, if a Spectre gunship (perhaps a further modification of one) could replace the A-10. It would seem to me that, hypothetically at least, it could serve that role if air superiority had been achieved. Just speculating there...
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:54 PM   #44
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Why the edit? My post was entirely factual. They don't see much of a difference between the two groups, regardless if it's only a minority of them or not. The rest of the country obviously doesn't see it their way.

Your post made it seem like all Obama supporters have that view, when in fact only a distinct minority hold that view.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:59 PM   #45
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What do you disagree with? The vast majority of our threats are\will be the unconventional kind or non-state actors.
I disagree with the idea that you're telling me something I don't already know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
We also will still have the capability to invade pretty much any country we want and use our technological advantage. We just won't be able to do a WWII style campaign or fight 2 wars. That to me is not a concern because this country has proven it can ramp up quickly if need be.
I take it you don't remember all the concern about how we were breaking our military in Iraq by over committing and how we were leaving ourselves stretched too thin if trouble erupted in another part of the world. And that was with one major war in Iraq and a 2nd much more limited involvement in Afghanistan. No one has justified, to my satisfaction, the idea that we should change our approach and size our military to "decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there".

Were you one of the people worried that we were stretching our military too thin during the Iraq years? Or that we were demanding too many extended deployments? Or that we were sending our troops to battle with unarmored Humvees (i.e. "the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have"). We should make every effort to have the army we want the next time we need it instead of the army that was left over after we got done paying for a few more years of medicare at unsustainable prices.
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