Saturday, November 01, 2008

America's Defense Meltdown

The summary section of this upcoming report is well worth a read in full.
Here are some quick takeaways:

  1. America's defene budet is now larger in inflation adjusted dollars than at any point since the end of WWII, and yet our Army has fewer combat brigades than at any point in that period, our Navy has fewer combat ships and the Air Force has fewer combat aircraft.
  2. Cost overruns in weapon systems are higher today, in inflation adjusted dollars, than any time ever before. not a single major weapon system has been delivered on time, on cost and as promised for performance.
  3. In assessing the leadership of the Pentagon going into the Middle East, most of the military heirarchy dd not even comprehend the difficulties of those missions and misperceived that the key issue was the number of military personnel sent to invade and then occupy an alien land in the Middle East. An then many of them publicly complained that the civilian leadership had made a mess of things, saying so from the comfort of a retirement pension.
  4. No one has been held accountable.
  5. Pursuing a national strategy that has torn us apart domestically, isolated us from our allies, made us an object of disrespect in the eyes of those uncommitted t our cause and caused our enemies to find motivatio nfor greater action on their own part.
  6. Congress has got to reassert itself into all aspects of policy making.
  7. Lead people first and manage things second.
  8. Change seeking individuals are the ones who best adapt and prevail in humankind's most stressful circumstance: war. They are the war winning leaders and must be cultivated.
  9. Harmonize the army and the marines - Inchon landings are over with.
  10. Bring the navy into the 21st century instead of still preparing to fight the Japanese imperial fleet.
  11. Get the air force into close air support.
  12. Decrease the size of the officers corp.
  13. Subs are the capital ships of this era. We need to focus surface ships on brown water fights and moving large quantities of material.
  14. Develop clear air to air capabilities in a cost effective manner. Drop the focus on strategic bombing.
  15. Gut the current tanker program and the Osprey program for more cost effective alternatives.
  16. "A fundamental source of DOD's problems is the historically long pattern of unrealistically high defense budget projections combined with equally unrealistic low estimates of the costs of new programs. The net effect is for DOD's leaders to claim that they can afford the weapons they want to buy. Thus, there is no urgency to face up to the needed hard choices on new weapons systems."
  17. Analytical integrity based on real world combat history must be applied. In the absense of objective, independent assessment of weapons program cost, performance, and scheule (especially at the beginning of any program), DOD decision-makers have no ability to manage programs with any competence whatsoever.
  • A new panel of independent, objective professionals (with no contempraneous or future ties whatsoever with industry or other sources of bias and self-interest) should be convened by the president to assess:
  • The extend to which DOD programs and policies do or do not fit with current world conditions.
  • The president's national security strategy, and
  • A realistic assessment of the reduced budget that will be available for the DOD.
  • This panel should provide the Sec. of Defense his primary advice on how to proceed with DOD program acquisition and management until such time as the military services and the regular civilian bureaucracy have demonstrated sufficient competence and objectivity to re-assert primary control.
  • The president should expect strong protest. Most will refuce to adapt. Those who can adapt, especially in the military services, should be brought back into the decision making structure. Those who cannot should anticipate a career outside the DOD.

1 comment:

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