Archive for the ‘military spending’ Category

So, you have the former director of the FBI saying this:

“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

And you have the news media following the aftermath of the raid on Twitler’s lawyer’s office, allegations that his fellow oligarchs paid off former mistresses, and so forth.

What to do, what to do….

Oh yeah, that thing.

So, Cheeto Mussolini fired off $224M worth of Tomahawk missiles at Syria to distract from all the bad news coming out about him. Meanwhile, Flint, Michigan, needs only $55M to replace its pipes so it’s no longer poisoning children.

But apparently a dictator poisoning his own people somewhere overseas is more important than our own children getting poisoned. Make America first! TruMp! tRump! TrUMp!

Yeah, are we tired of all this winning yet?

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The GAO reports that undermanning of ships is a major cause of problems with morale, training, and readiness. The GAO reports that the Navy’s “optimal manning” program under-states the amount of work needed to keep a ship operational and does not include the resources needed to properly train new sailors. You can’t send a new sailor on a snipe hunt to find some propeller fluid, incidentally forcing him to go to most of the ship’s departments as the NCO’s send him onward and onward. You don’t have the luxury of mentoring a newbie until he’s fully trained. There just isn’t enough personnel on board to do that. The Navy’s smaller combatants weren’t extravagantly manned even before “Optimal Manning”, and a 6% cut over the already-too-lean manning means that you have a lot of tired, delirious, undertrained sailors.

And tired, delirious, undertrained sailors make mistakes that can cost lives, like the U.S.S. John McCain colliding with a commercial tanker near the Strait of Malacca, or the other incidents that have happened recently.

This isn’t Trump’s fault. This started under Donald Rumsfeld as part of his plan to buy F-35 fighters for the Navy by sprinkling magic technology fairy dust on the ships so they wouldn’t need as many sailors to sail them, thus freeing up money to buy the Gold-Plated Flying Turkey that will be twice the price of the carrier it’s sitting on by the time it’s actually deployed to carriers. Thing is, the magic technology fairy dust didn’t actually reduce manning requirements. Sure, it reduced the need to send sailors to turn off steam pipe valves and shit like that, since that got automated, but there’s a shit-ton of work on a ship that can’t be done by a PC in a closet. Like if one of those valves breaks down, that PC can’t fix it. Some sailor’s going to have to fix it. Assuming that a sailor with sufficient skills is onboard. If not, then someone is going to have to go to the PC in the closet and watch the Navy equivalent of a YouTube video instructing him how to fix it, and then half-ass it trying to figure it out for the first time, where if he’d been trained, it would take literally minutes rather than hours to fix the problem that has the rudder not steering and thus has the ship going in circles in the middle of a busy shipping lane.

That is, by substituting technology for trained sailors, everything takes longer. So yeah, the technology saved time on *some* things, but causes *more* time to be taken on *other* things. For a net wash as far as manning requirements go.

Now, this is a separate thing from the undermanning that was “fixed” during the Obama years. That undermanning was where the Navy didn’t even have enough sailors to meet “optimal” manning. What the GAO is saying is that even the “optimal” manning isn’t enough, because it doesn’t leave enough sailors to handle unexpected events like that valve blowing out and causing the ship to lose steering.

And Cheeto Mussolini wants us to have 12 aircraft carrier task forces? Fuck, we don’t even have enough sailors for the current ones, where the hell would we get the sailors for more of’em?! Not to mention we just don’t have the facilities to build two aircraft carriers in parallel anymore, unless we wanted to build some diesel-powered ones again… a possibility, I suppose, we don’t need a nuclear carrier forward-based in Japan, the Kitty Hawk, an oil burner, did a fine job there for many years, but the chances of the Navy agreeing to have a couple of oil-burning aircraft carriers again is sorta none to none. But hey, reality and the Orange Racist Russian Stooge never have met, right?

– Badtux the Military Penguin

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F-35 fighter in its natural habitat

Which, it turns out, is a huge amount:

“They spend how much on transgender medical services? $8.4 million? My God that’s like four screws and a couple of bolts on my ejection seat,” the F-35 told reporters, in between sips of cognac during its lunch break. “I’m so glad Trump is ending this disgraceful waste of military spending.”

Yeppers, Teh Donald fucked over his queer supporters today, banning transgender troops because of “tremendous healthcare costs”. Which, as the F-35 above points out, is such a huge amount that it could pay for four screws and a couple of bolts on a F-35’s ejection seat.

So much for the notion that Trump wasn’t going to govern as a right-wing religious zealot…

– Badtux the “Wow, what a stupid excuse!” Penguin

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Nothing's too good for our airmen!The Department of Defense has put in a requisition for 500 gold plated F-35’s, the new F-35G, starting delivery in 2020. Thus far they haven’t managed to fly because they’re too heavy. Just like the Navy F-35C model. But they’re sure they’ll have the problem fixed real soon now 🙂 .

But seriously, the F-35 might as well be made out of gold. It’s a lousy dogfighter and horrifically expensive. At $337M apiece for the Navy version (the F-35C) and possibly even more in the future. By comparison, the last Nimitz class aircraft carrier that was built, the USS George H.W. Bush, cost a total of around $7.5 billion in today’s dollars. In short, an airwing of 30 F-35C fighters would cost more than the aircraft carrier that it’s deployed on!

An F-35 weighs 29,300 lbs empty. That’s 468,800 ounces. The current price of gold per ounce is $1,312 per ounce. So a F-35C, if it were made of solid gold, would cost $615,065,600. Or not even twice what it costs made out of aluminum and tupperware. That just goes to show how insane the price of the F-35 is. The 480 F-35C’s being purchased by the Navy will cost more than their entire fleet of aircraft carriers. Figure $100B to buy a fleet of aircraft carriers. The 480 F-35C’s will cost $161 billion.

That’s just fucking nuts. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Insanity-scryin’ Penguin

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  • F-35 will need further expensive modifications to be combat-capable.
  • New aircraft carrier will cost $13B and USN requires $20B/year in shipbuilding funds to maintain sufficient fleet strength to be viable.
  • The U.S. decides to buy a number of close-support aircraft from… Brazil. Because the United States is no longer capable of designing a small light fighter-bomber anymore, so they’re buying 20 Embraer Super Tucano close air support aircraft for $10M apiece (note that the total program cost includes parts, maintenance, and training for a number of years too, so it’s more than the $200M you’d expect). The current U.S. defense industry couldn’t design a new hammer for $10M apiece. A single F-35 costs $235 million, or more than those twenty Super Tucanos cost.

The question of how the United States is going to afford all these expensive new weapons is one that nobody seems to be asking. 45% of U.S. children are being raised in financially stressed homes (either below official poverty rate, or just above it), making the U.S. look more like a 3rd world nation demographically, than like a 1st world nation. How a nation maintains a 1st world military with 3rd world demographics is a question that nobody has answered for me, instead they deny the numbers and pretend that the question is nonsense because the US is the bestest, USA, USA, USA! Uhm, yah, but the numbers are the numbers… the U.S. is starting to look like the Soviet Union in its final days, when ideology denied the fact that their demographics and economy were collapsing, and eventually their whole country collapsed under the strain of attempting to maintain a 1st world military with a distinctly second-rate economy…

– Badtux the History Penguin

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Pentagon budget-cutters looking at ending military retirement. You’ll walk away from your military service with the same worthless shrinking 401(k) to be stolen by Wall Street as the rest of us have. Which means people will put in their 20 years… why?

As with all attempts to take pensions away from public employees, the end result is going to be no (zero) cost savings. College-educated public employees currently accept wages approximately 20% lower than they could make in the private sector with their education and experience because of the expectation that they’ll get a pension at the end of their service. Military “lifers” stay in the military, accepting far less money than they could make in the private sector, because they expect that pension at the end of their service. Take away that pension, and you’ll have to pay them far more to stay, or else risk losing critical expertise, because the “lifers” are the institutional memory of the military, the propagators of a military culture that has proven to be extremely effective at killing lots of America’s enemies with relatively little loss of American life. Destroy that military culture, and you destroy the military — you end up with the sort of barely organized rabble that is a typical non-American military (otherwise known as TARGET PRACTICE if they dare take on the U.S. military).

In short, this is a bad idea on top of a bad idea, and just another example of how our Republicans in office (including Republican Obama) mouth platitudes about supporting our troops, but when the rubber hits the road…. uhm… not so much. But hey, yet more taxpayer money needs to be funneled to defense contractors for yet more jets that don’t fly and other such nonsense… ignoring the fact that what makes our military so effective is its people, the advanced weapons are just the icing on the cake. But hey, we have CEO presidents now, who like the CEO’s who destroyed American industry believe people are fungible… SIIIIIiigh!

– Badtux the Military Penguin

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U.S. Marine Corps wants world’s finest rock crawling area so they can train for a mission that’s never been in their organizational goals.

The Corps wants a training area for large-scale, live-fire exercises where three battalions could simultaneously practice assaulting a fixed location. Gen. James Amos, the commandant, considers the expansion “absolutely essential to providing the requisite training area for preparing Marines to meet the challenges of the future security environment.”

At which point, I say, “whaaaaaa?!”. The future security environment is small scale wars where small teams of soldiers fight guerillas, not large-scale unit maneuvers where multiple battalions maneuver armored units through desert terrain. As usual, the Marines are fighting the last war, no, not even the last war, the war BEFORE the last war. There are no — zero — enemies that the United States is going to fight over the next twenty years that have any tanks or any weapons bigger than a Soviet-era RPG. There are no (zero) enemies we’re going to fight over the next twenty years that require three battalions of Marines to assault a fixed position. The EU, Russia, and China are the only three nations with significant military forces, and they have no (zero) interest in attacking America — why should they, when we’re doing such a good job of doing that to ourselves?

The last time the U.S.M.C. fought a large-scale tank engagement was… err…. NEVER. Not. Ever. Not ever in the history of this nation. Not during WW1, not during WW2, not during the Korean War, not during Vietnam, not during Gulf War 1, not during Gulf War 2, not during any action the USMC has ever been involved in. That’s why we have a U.S. Army, to handle that sort of thing. The closest the USMC has ever gotten to a tank battle is during Gulf War I, when they were still armed with the M60 tank, when they were sent into Kuwait to hand-hold the Saudi military units (the fear was that the Saudis would turn tail and run if not bucked up with real soldiers) while the U.S. Army was holding a tank battle (more like turkey shoot) at the Kuwait-Iraqi border a hundred miles away. No USMC tank has ever fired a round of AP in anger. Plenty of HE in support of small unit battle groups, but the sort of mass maneuvering of armor that would need Johnson Valley has never been done in USMC history, and there’s no reason to start now. Not that this is going to stop USMC generals who are lusting for mission creep…

That said, soldiers are trained to be paranoid, and I suppose that with news that the Mexican drug cartels are now building tanks (actually, more armored trucks with machine guns), we might need to invade Mexico with large armored columns and, err… what? Remember that we’ve invaded Mexico multiple times over the past 200 years (the last being Black Jack Pershing’s invasion in 1914) and never stayed for long because the place is a total armpit.

Or maybe the Marines are prepping for the invasion of Canada so we can put an end to the threat of poutine, universal healthcare, and William Shatner. Except if that’s the case, Johnson Valley’s the wrong place to do it. I suggest Nome, Alaska.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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