Thursday, April 1, 2010

Three percent

One of the advantages of living outside the U.S.A. but in a place where the U.S. military has a large presence is that Armed Forces Radio is available. Back in CONUS (the Continental United States) there are on-base media sources and the local media in towns with large bases do try to report things, but there is nothing like being able to listen to what the troops are being told directly unless one is part of those currently serving. So, while this author is fairly well informed as to what the current DoD budgetary requirements are, nothing drives home the fact that the U.S. military is on the edge of another drawdown like hearing the announcement for Air Force personnel to prepare for a 3% reduction in manpower (personnel; jobs) and mandatory realignment from overmanned to undermanned specializations.

In fairness, there have been ongoing realignments in the USAF to support the GWOT for some time. There just isn't much need in-theater for most of what the USAF (or the USN for that matter) bring to National Defense. But that's almost beside the point... the main job of both the USAF and the USN is to confront peer- or near-peer- level opponents; The ground forces have to be full-spectrum all the time (even if that was a forgotten lesson for several years). Not that they are going to be getting any fat budgets either... so much for fixing the "exhausted army" problem the mass media loved to shout about during the mid-decade.

Doesn't that turn the old saying on its head? Trillions for domestic programs but not a cent for Defense? That overstates it, but not by too much.

It feels far worse than the Bush (41) - Clinton realignment in the post-Cold War. Frankly, the mood of it all feels more like the "hollow army" of the late 1970's. That's not a good thing; the effect on morale was far worse that time.

The only thing that comes to mind is that who needs much of an Air Force if one is not going to have enough airplanes? Or more like if many of the airplanes you will (eventually) have may not be up to the job?

(**Wonk Warning: the last link is rather technical**)

No comments: