Author Topic: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War  (Read 406486 times)

Body-by-Guinness

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Females Add No Value to Special Operations Forces*
« Reply #1300 on: February 22, 2024, 03:29:08 PM »
This could be filed under gender issues too, and certainly will cause egalitarian purists to clutch their skirts. Be that as it may, if operational effectiveness of tip of the spear forces is the goal, then there is no justification for including females in those forces merely to assuage egalitarian sensibilities:

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/reconsideration-womens-role-special-operations-critical-questions-mooted-decade-after-fact

*Females do add value in roles that ONLY females can fill (it would be illustrative to have a transgender soldier try to fill one of these search-Muslim-women roles).

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
« Reply #1301 on: February 22, 2024, 03:59:59 PM »
I'm posting this one around.  Be interesting to see the responses.

Body-by-Guinness

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Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
« Reply #1302 on: February 22, 2024, 04:04:57 PM »
I'm posting this one around.  Be interesting to see the responses.
Anticipate autistic screeching from some quarters.

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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Lessons from Ukraine
« Reply #1304 on: February 25, 2024, 06:57:06 AM »
It is the age of paradox in warfare: where de rigueur total dispersion of forces appears to make high casualty densities obsolete, yet the entire length of the battlefield is overwatched by the most unprecedentedly powerful and accurate systems in history, like Iskanders, Kinzhals, Zircons, HIMARs, etc., which allow the carrying out of near-instantaneous kill-chains—from detection to transmit/distribution, to fire order within moments.

This is why the only way to fight and advance has come down to dispersing your strategic operations over the widest possible scale, so that the end goal becomes the totality of victory rather than specific operational objectives like: “Capture this area of cities.” Such a task requires the concentration of forces, from divisions, brigades, battalions, whose every staging action is monitored with almost total transparency by the enemy.

This ‘war of the future’ will be won by the most flexible, resilient, and adaptable force—the force which can pull punches, use feints, and reorientations all along the entire combat line in the most expedient manner. Russia is showing this today by utilizing a confounding rotation of active fronts to not only unbalance the AFU, but to stress their mobility and logistics to the extreme. When you have the advantage in logistical infrastructure and facility, you can ‘daze’ your opponent by conducting small operations across a scattered range of fronts, causing them great stress in trying to keep up.

In the Avdeevka battle, we saw Ukraine being forced to pull significant amounts of elite units from several fronts like Zaporozhye and Bakhmut to reinforce the crumbling Avdeevka lines. When that finished, Russia launched a Zaporozhye attack, overrunning depleted AFU positions there as a result, with AFU unable to reinstate reserves fast enough. The same goes for the Kupyansk and Kremennaya regions: reports spoke of AFU’s desperate troop pulls from Kupyansk to bolster defenses in northwest Bakhmut, where Russia has likewise started a series of attacks.

It’s like pricking a spinning drunk with a needle from every side—he hardly knows where he’s being hit, nor has time to orient himself correctly. Lacking logistical mobility—in the form of physical haulers like HETs, transports, etc.—Ukraine gets the worst of it in being forced to constantly run around plugging leaks in the flooding deck.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: US Merchant Marine is pathetic due to protectionism-- suggestions
« Reply #1305 on: February 27, 2024, 10:37:56 AM »
When I was an attorney I worked on a case that was Jones Act related:  Shipping between US and Puerto Rico had to be US ships which gave the Federal Maritime Commission rate setting power.   I still remember the torpor I experienced walking into the FMC to pick up some papers.

====================


Protectionism Kills U.S. Merchant Shipping
Competition can revive an industry stuck in the 18th century.
By Colin Grabow and Scott Lincicome
Feb. 26, 2024 6:37 pm ET


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Washington is waking up to the perilous state of U.S. commercial shipping. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, recently lamented the U.S. merchant fleet’s dwindling numbers and lack of mariners, while Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) and Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet, cited the fleet’s diminutive size as a national-security vulnerability. Mr. Kelly was one of 19 congressional signatories of a January letter to President Biden calling for improvements to the U.S. shipping and shipbuilding industries.

We’re heartened that policymakers are finally paying attention to the U.S. commercial fleet’s long-term decline and its dire national-security implications. But for the most part they’ve ignored the sector’s heaviest policy anchor—protectionism. Almost since America’s founding, the federal government has relied on subsidies and protectionist laws to develop the maritime industry. Numerous such measures remain in place, including both the 1920 Jones Act’s prohibition on using foreign-built vessels to transport goods within the U.S. and a 50% tariff on foreign repair and maintenance.

These and related policies have failed to create a vibrant maritime sector and have instead degraded it by handing U.S. shipping and shipbuilding industries a captive domestic market and discouraging scale, efficiency, innovation and specialization. After more than two centuries of protectionism, the U.S. maritime sector has gone from being one of the world’s most competitive to one of the least.

U.S.-built tankers cost about four times as much as those constructed abroad. The commercial fleet has lost hundreds of oceangoing vessels since the 1950s, and the few that remain are on average significantly older than their international counterparts.

While U.S. allies churn out scores of ships each year, you can count U.S. shipyards’ annual deliveries on one hand. Last year they collectively delivered one large oceangoing merchant ship, and the next won’t arrive until 2026. A recent Journal article described the country’s shipbuilding industry as being in “disarray.”

The government protections U.S. shipyards and the broader maritime sector enjoy have proved far more effective at funneling money to special interests than fostering a healthy industry. Adversaries would be hard-pressed to come up with a more effective formula for sabotaging the U.S. fleet.

Subsidies alone can’t fix these problems, and they’ve been tried. Massive “construction differential subsidies” in the 1970s and early 1980s yielded underwhelming results. Given the gaping price differences between U.S. and foreign-built ships today, more subsidies would cost taxpayers a fortune at a time of record budget deficits.

Instead of more industry coddling, systemic reform is needed, and this means tackling protectionism, injecting competition into the U.S. market, and engaging allies’ impressive shipbuilding capabilities. Congress should move away from a maritime policy rooted in 18th-century norms.

The starting point is reforming the Jones Act. To encourage the fleet’s growth and modernization, American firms need to be able to purchase new oceangoing ships from allied shipyards. Japan and South Korea are among the world’s foremost shipbuilders. Letting Americans use their advanced shipyards would generate an influx of new ships, boost U.S. mariner employment, motivate U.S. shipbuilders to innovate, and increase U.S. supply-chain efficiency.

Congress should also scrap the 50% tariff, which U.S. shippers pay because repairs at domestic shipyards are so expensive, or at least exempt allied shipyards. Both reforms are hardly radical, particularly given the U.S. Navy’s reliance on foreign-built sea-lift ships and recent attempts to expand its use of allied shipyards for maintenance needs.

For too long Washington has ignored the decline of the country’s maritime sector. Mounting international challenges have brought much-needed scrutiny and should prompt an overhaul of the country’s antiquated shipping policies. Any such effort must include the removal of protectionist measures that have long held the U.S. fleet back.

Mr. Grabow is a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. Mr. Lincicome is Cato’s vice president of general economics and trade.

Crafty_Dog

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Body-by-Guinness

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The Coming Crippling Blow
« Reply #1307 on: February 28, 2024, 09:14:37 AM »
If you ever have a need to lay awake at night I’ve got your piece right here. Thank goodness all our federal agencies are focused on pronouns and DEI rather than the trivial matters discussed here:

“Crippled At The Starting Gate”

America’s Achilles Heel In Future Conflict

By Martin Stanton

INTRODUCTION

            I recently finished Kurt Schlicter’s excellent book THE ATTACK which is written as a retrospective on a massed October 7th style terrorist attack on the United States that occurs in the late summer of 2024.  Schlicter’s book is a page turner, both easy to read and compelling.  The premise of THE ATTACK is simple:  Large numbers of terrorists’ infiltrate across our open southern border (past our distracted, improperly focused, and politically hamstrung law enforcement and intelligence agencies) amidst the current flood of illegal aliens.  They assume hiding positions within the US and wait for the “GO” order.  Their attacks happen over several days and cause mass casualties and crippling economic damage.  THE ATTACK captures the savagery of Oct 7, 2023, and transfers it to an American setting on a far broader scale.  Schlicter’s descriptions of the atrocities committed by the attackers are not for the faint of heart but are basically taken directly from both testimony of Israelis who survived the Hamas attack on October 7 and the captured Hamas footage of what happened to those who did not.  The balance of the book is about the various reactions to the attack across America.

Schlicter makes no secret of his political leanings, but no one can deny the plausibility of his scenario.  THE ATTACK is a well written and thought-provoking book.  It certainly caused me to freshly consider my own community and how it would react to such an event.  It also got me thinking about how vulnerable the US is; not just to non-state actor “terrorist” attacks, but to attacks by conventional and special operations forces of enemy nations in the event of hostilities with the US.

IT NOT WW2 ANYMORE – THE OCEANS NO LONGER PROTECT US

            The United States has almost no living memory of an attack by the forces of an enemy nation on our mainland.  The closest we have left are the few 90–100-year-olds, who can recall the handful of Japanese submarine gun attacks on the Pacific coast and the ferocious U-boat campaign off our Atlantic shores in early 1942.  The last time we faced an enemy capable of stopping our maritime traffic and projecting power into the continental United States was in the war of 1812.  None of our modern enemies in the 20th century had the capability to conventionally attack military targets on the US mainland in any meaningful way.  America was too far and their ability to project power too limited.

            In the 21st century this is no longer the case.  We have long lived under the “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) deterrent when it comes to nuclear threats to the US; but MAD has no counterpart in conventional war.  There’s no “Cosmic Law” against conventionally attacking the continental United States.  In almost every plausible major war scenario the US faces today WE will be bombing potential enemies on their respective mainland’s.  It’s only reasonable to assume they will look at ways to respond (or to pre-empt).  The combined impacts of vastly improved and expanded international transportation, massive amounts of commerce that defy comprehensive inspection, the miniaturization of weapons, emergent military drone technologies, cruise and ballistic missile proliferation and launch system diversification, unchecked mass migration and open borders makes the US vulnerable in ways we have not previously seen in our history. Our adversaries are starting to wake up to this.

AMERICA’S POWER LIES IN ITS ABILITY TO PROJECT ITS FORCES

Excluding its considerable arsenal of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, what makes America powerful is not only it’s highly trained conventional forces but its ability to project those forces rapidly (relatively speaking – more quickly than our adversaries) anywhere in the world.  We maintain some forces in certain theaters (CENTCOM, EUCOM, PACOM) but even there, were war to break out these would have to be reinforced by considerable forces from CONUS.  All the ground forces will deploy from a relative handful of ports of embarkation (air and sea) on either coast.  The air forces are more flexible but depend heavily on static air bases and the tanker fleet for quick strategic mobility.  Naval forces too rely on a small number of large bases on each coast.

Putting my “Red Team” hat on, if you’re going to fight America, attacking our ability to project forces and sustainment is job # 1.   This will especially be true in scenarios such as Taiwan or Korea where even a delay of a few days or weeks in America’s force flow can tip the scales in the outcome of a campaign.

A SMORGASBORD OF POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR ENEMIES

An enemy nation that wishes to attack our power projection capabilities and facilities in the continental US can avail themselves of an embarrassingly diverse set of options when it comes to striking us.   We’re vulnerable to just about anything.   To keep this essay small, I will focus merely on kinetic options and not include the dazzling array of cyber and information operations options available to our enemies.  Here’s a few of the bigger ones.

Direct Special Operations attack against key facilities/ assets:
Kurt Schlicter’s book THE ATTACK outlines in agonizing detail how our open borders and inadequate immigration and customs enforcement made the US vulnerable to a massed Oct 7th terrorist attack.  This same open border and lack of immigration enforcement / accountability makes us extremely vulnerable to the infiltration of special operations teams from other countries.  Unlike the terrorists described in Schlicter’s book they wouldn’t have to come in huge numbers.  A high three digit or low four-digit number broken into smaller teams with specific assignments is all they’d really need.  These special operations soldiers would join the millions of illegal aliens that have flooded across our border since early 2021 – perhaps they’re already here. They would live as individuals and keep a low profile but would assemble and arm at the appropriate signal (being careful to don the uniform of their country and mark their vehicles appropriately) and conduct attacks designated targets.   

Those targets would be the primary APOEs and SPOEs in our deployment infrastructure as well as key assets such as airlift (C5’s and C-17s) Air refuelers (Tankers) and Fast sealift ships.  Platoon sized groups could easily defeat the gate guards at most installations in early morning attacks (likely through some Trojan horse subterfuge – I.E a mini-van weaving up to the gate at 2 AM with its music blasting like a drunk driver).  If they can secure the gate and the barrier system without raising the alarm, other vehicles can be quickly called forward.  Within a few minutes they’ll be destroying aircraft on the flightline or sabotaging key facilities before any additional security forces could likely react.  Then, having accomplished their various missions, they could simply surrender.  This is the big difference between enemy nation soldiers and terrorists.  Except for those special operations teams with missions to assassinate key leaders or attack C2 facilities, the number of casualties they inflict is incidental to the mission.  Unlike terrorists they’re not out to cause civilian mass casualties.  They are instead uniformed soldiers who have used a valid ruse of war to attack legitimate military targets.  They’re squeaky clean as legal combatants under the Geneva Convention and will be repatriated to their country at the end of hostilities.   In the meantime, we’re down critical force projection assets that either cannot be replaced during the conflict (KC-135s, C-17s, Key sealift ships) or have suffered debilitating damage to key installations.

Drone Attacks
It gets even worse.  With many targets – particularly key aircraft on a flightline-there isn’t even a need to penetrate the perimeter of an installation.  As both the Ukraine war and the ongoing conflict with the Houthis in Yemen have shown us, drone technology is revolutionizing warfare.  Look at any of the aircraft parked closely on the flight line at any AFB.  A commercial drone carrying an incendiary device (like a thermite grenade) landing near the wing root would be sufficient to either outright destroy the AC or make it NMC for an extended period.  Middle of the night drone attacks at the outset of hostilities could cost us whole squadrons of critical aircraft.

Nor do drone attacks have to be short range commercial drones flown from relative proximity to their targets.  The Houthis have shown the world that they can strike Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Yemen with drones.  The Russians are using the same drones for long-range strikes in Ukraine. The Iranian model drones they use are low tech, easily assembled and pretty accurate.  A dozen disassembled drones of this nature could easily fit in a shipping container.  When you take the range fans of the Houthi drone strikes on Israel and superimpose them on the West Coast you find that pretty much every APOE and SPOE on the west coast is within range of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico.  Smuggling shipping containers into Mexico is easily doable.  Northern Mexico is effectively a Narco-state where Chinese money already wields significant influence.  Many parts of it are sparsely populated and no one asks questions if they know what’s good for them.  It’s one big launch basket.

Cruise and Ballistic Missile attacks
            US bases in the Pacific as far as Guam are within range of conventionally armed ballistic missiles launched from China and North Korea.  The Chinese and North Koreans also possess submarines that can fire ballistic missiles that can attack Hawaii or CONUS.   The sub launched ballistic missile threat is not huge because it would require retrofitting a primary nuclear deliver system for a conventional attack, but it is possible.  Of course, they could always shoot the nukes at us.  But that makes it a different kind of war.

            The cruise missile threat, however, is huge.  Unlike ballistic missiles, almost any seagoing vessel can be outfitted to launch cruise missiles.  Cruise missiles launch cannisters can fit easily into modified shipping containers and it is not hard to envision a massive containership leaving a Chinese port with the entire top level of containers carrying cruise missiles in a new and devastating twist on the old WW2 armed merchant cruiser theme.  Cruise missiles can also be launched from modified commercial aircraft.  At the outset of hostilities, a strike of several hundred cruise missiles on key US facilities could eliminate a good portion of our already too small Navy as well as have devastating consequences for our ability to project power.  In terms of impact on our war effort the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 would pale in comparison.  This threat will only get worse over time as cruise missile technology further extends range and increases accuracy.  Intercontinental cruise missiles will likely become a thing.

Naval Special Operations Threat
If the Ukraine war and the Houthis in Yemen have shown us anything in the past year its that you don’t need a Navy to project power in littoral warfare.  Their successful use of drone attack boats is re-writing tactical doctrine for the Navy in real time.   These attack drones are small, long-range, easily transported and pack a ship disabling wallop.  Imagine dozens being launched from a mother ship (or a beach in Mexico) hundreds of miles from a US port or naval base.   These drones have been successful against warships at sea defending themselves. Their PH/PK during a surprise attack in port will be much higher.  Add to this the old stand-by of Block-ships (merchantmen deliberately scuttled to impede traffic in key channels) and naval special operators who have infiltrated the US attaching limpet mines to vessels in ports and its easy to conclude the threat to the maritime aspect of US power projection is as bad (or worse) than that enjoyed by the air components.

THE IMPACT OF SUCH AN ATTACK

            An initiation of hostilities that began with attacks on US installations and organizations in CONUS using some or all, of the methods described here would have a major impact on a short duration campaign (less than 6 months) such as Taiwan and Korea and a significant one on a longer war.  Every Tanker, C-17, C5 or maritime deployment platform destroyed or badly damaged would not be replaced during the duration of the conflict.  This isn’t the 1940’s anymore, our Air Force transports, and sealift platform aren’t as replaceable as C-47s and Liberty Ships.  Neither are our Naval vessels, fighters, or bombers for that matter.  Gone are the shipyards and factories that churned out the mass that gave us victory 80 years ago.  In fact, an enemy envisioning a long war with the US (vice one to establish a quick “fait-accompli” on the ground) would probably attack our few key production facilities as well as our SPOEs, APOEs and existing deployment assets.

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?           

The only good news in this essay is that, as late as it is, we still have time to fix or mitigate quite a few of these vulnerabilities.  It will take political will though and shifting priorities.  Here are a few things we can be doing.

 Recognize that illegal immigration is a Strategic Threat to US security:  No nation can long survive with a border situation such as the one that exists today in the US.  Unfortunately, the failure of our political leadership has moved us past the point where this issue can be resolved easily.  Fixing this is going to be ugly but it’s got to be done.  The solution has two broad components:
 
 Illegal Immigration - Plug the leaks:  Our nation needs to build a border wall with Mexico that looks like the one between Gaza and Egypt.  It needs to man the border with soldiers until this is accomplished.  Zero people come in through anything that is not an authorized point of entry. Next build something less draconian but just as effective on the Canadian border (less volume there).  Adequately resource and staff border patrol customs and immigration officials.  Make provisions to reinforce with federal Marshals and federal troops as required.

Illegal immigration – Bail the boat: Deporting the millions of illegal aliens that have poured across our border since 2021 will be a massive undertaking, but it must be done.  Declare a national state of emergency and suspend immigration law that pertains to asylum or allows illegal aliens to remain in-country.  Task the military to set up deportation camps and control the logistics of deportation.  Use federal law enforcement to roundup illegal aliens and prosecute anyone who employs them.  Deny federal funding to states or municipalities who declare themselves “sanctuaries” and defund / prosecute NGO that facilitate illegal immigration. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War citing national emergency; such extreme measures are equally warranted here to combat the illegal alien invasion and the potential deadly threat they pose from both a terrorist and a conventional war perspective.
 
Refocus the Intelligence Community and Federal Law Enforcement:  The Intelligence Community and Federal law enforcement need to re-focus their internal security priorities towards terrorist and foreign agent infiltration amongst the millions of illegal aliens who have crossed our border.  We have wasted too much time and too many assets chasing cos-play white supremacists and other politically correct bugbears while real threats pass unnoticed under our nose.  We have no idea who has entered our country.  We need to start getting a handle on it.  Start with the immediate environs (30-mile radius) of priority bases and installations – working closely with military counterintelligence.
Similarly, we need to refocus intelligence collection on the areas immediately outside our borders and on the shipping lanes that come within strike proximity of our key bases and installations. In particular, we need to recognize that northern Mexico is essentially an ungoverned space where anyone with money and imagination can operate freely.  This refocusing of collection priorities is going to mean hard choices at the national level in the dedication of ISR assets until more assets can be acquired.

It also means that there needs to be a quick clearing house for the cross leveling of information and reports and algorithms for data analysis so that no key report is lost in the volume.  Much of the Homeland Security apparatus will have to be repurposed and many of its performative (but expensive) functions – such as TSA will have to be either discontinued or significantly downsized to pay for the necessary changes.

Establish defenses at key SPOEs, APOEs and high value target installations:  The massive coastal artillery forts of the Endicott Period of 1890-1920 (whose ruins still overlook key harbors in CONUS) and the Nike Hercules Batteries around major installations and population centers from the late 1950s to the early 1970s never fired a shot in anger.  I doubt we will be so fortunate in the future.  The US needs to establish defenses at our key installations in CONUS. 
 
What’s a key installation?  This is a hard question because virtually everything in the US is vulnerable to the threats I’ve described.  Currently we exist in a topsy turvy situation where the first things we should protect are installations and assets that have direct OPERATIONAL impact on the execution of an overseas campaign – APOEs, SPOEs, Air and Maritime mobility assets as well as major naval and air combatants that cannot be replaced.  STRATEGIC ASSETS (production facilities, refineries, key internal transportation nodes...etc.) will have to be a secondary priority.  If we can’t get the forces we have to theater without disruption, in most cases what we can produce for a long conflict won’t matter – because it won’t be a long conflict.
 
Force structure and acquisition implications:   The force structure of the Army in WW2 gives a hint as to the scope of the issue.  While most popular histories dwell on the expanded number of maneuver divisions in the Army, what’s often neglected is the role the Army units played in defending key SPOEs in CONUS and bases along the LOCs as well as SPODs in theater.  The unit and manpower intensive defense of Antwerp as an SPOD from German cruise missiles (V-1s) in the fall-winter of 1944/45 is a good example of how costly this kind of effort can be.  The potential for attack against our CONUS Bases/SPOE/APOE, Theater Service Area, Communications Zone (COMZ), and LOCs is even greater now than it was in WW2 and in potential conflict against peer competitors / regional threats we won’t have the luxury of years to build the necessary force structure (the units that defended Antwerp in 1944 didn’t exist in 1942).

We will have to build a military now that can fulfill its role in defending our power projection from day-1 of any conflict.  For the Army this means developing hybrid air defense units that can protect assets across the spectrum of air threat from small drones to ballistic missiles.  For the Air Force it means increasing base security and developing hardened dispersal sites to avoid the close parked “Wheeler-Field-1941” syndrome so prevalent on many of today’s Air Force Bases.  For the Naval forces and Coast Guard it means re-evaluating naval bases and SPOEs for updated Naval Special operations threats and acquiring/ configuring their defenses accordingly.  This is going to be a big bill. It’s an uncomfortable thought to consider having to defend places like San Diego SPOE and Travis AFB in California or Hickam AFB in Hawaii from conventional enemy cruise/ballistic missile, drone or UW attacks over three dimensions (land, sea and air), but that’s the world we live in now.

SUMMARY

            Due to the decisions of our elected leadership America of 2024 is more vulnerable to outside conventional and unconventional attack than it has been in over 200 years.  We’re also in a position where the possibility of conflict with nations who can conventionally and unconventionally attack us grows greater with each passing year.  Our open borders, inattention to the illegal alien invasion and inability to monitor our own Western Hemisphere neighbors effectively could cost us hugely, both as open highway for terrorists to attack us and an open flank for enemy nations to exploit.  We (the US) need to fix this, fast.


About the Author(s)
Martin Stanton
Martin Stanton is a retired Army officer currently residing in Florida.  The opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect any official DOD or USG position.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/crippled-starting-gate-americas-achilles-heel-future-conflict


ccp

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Body-by-Guinness

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Preparing for the Next Land War
« Reply #1310 on: February 29, 2024, 06:51:24 AM »
Fascinating piece out of West Point examining a number of emergent factors divisional commanders need to consider to make sure their commands survive the next war:

https://mwi.westpoint.edu/preparing-to-win-the-first-fight-of-the-next-war/

Crafty_Dog

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ccp

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Failure to read the intelligence correctly pre 1973 Yom Kippur war
« Reply #1313 on: March 07, 2024, 09:43:48 AM »
" Israel’s failure to correctly identify Egypt’s intentions in 1973 was a maelstrom of faulty judgments—a result of cultural, organizational, and cognitive biases."

Interestingly the American Intelligence at the time fell into the same trap of closed door thinking.


https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-fog-of-certainty-learning-from-the-intelligence-failures-of-the-1973-war/

Body-by-Guinness

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Go Woke, Get Smoked
« Reply #1314 on: March 07, 2024, 11:02:14 AM »
This one ought not be filed under a "military" header as it's not about the military, it's about beating back "Progressive" efforts to inculcate a "Progressive" ethos in organizations meant to unceremoniously smoke America's enemies, a notion "Progressive" can't abide unless those getting smoked are those those that stand between "Progressives" and their regressive goals.

The Good News About Our Failing Military – Trump Can Fix It
Kurt Schlichter

Mar 07, 2024

We need to elect President Trump if only to unscrew our screwed-up military – and he can. The situation is getting worse. The other day, Twitter came alive when a video dropped of a male Space Force colonel pretending to be a female lecturing at the Air Force Academy, and you look at this and realize that our military has become ridiculous under the current crop of generals and admirals. Not content with not having a single unequivocal major military victory in the last 30 years, they have presided over the descent of America’s once most respected institution into a laughingstock. No matter how hard they order troops to believe in the power of trans transformation, the troops will not believe. In the words of Austin Powers, a ridiculous fictional character who has won as many wars in the last 30 years as our generals and admirals have, it’s a man, baby. And our troops know it.

You cannot lie to a soldier’s face and expect him to follow you. That used to be Officer 101. Now just saying it is probably a hate crime.

And the results of this transformation speak for themselves. Recruiting is at rock bottom. Veterans like me now refuse to recommend military service, which is heartbreaking but necessary. To tell young people that they should join the military and be subjected to the indignity of having to call someone with beard stubble “ma’am” is a bridge too far – a reference that most of our generals probably wouldn’t get, judging from their track record of failure. And another recent disgrace involves forcing female urinalysis drug test observers to watch men pretending to be women whip it out to fill their cups. Disgusting.

Who the hell wants to sign up for that? If you want to be exposed to indecent exposure you can avoid the inconvenience of military life and just walk through a Democrat city, though you’ll probably get shot at there too.

Now, some young people still join the military, and they deserve our respect. They are, as always, fantastic. They are the best of America. I’m always humbled by the fact that our country allowed me to lead them, and I’m outraged that our country allows the platoon of failures at the Pentagon to lead them.

Some people may scoff that a few men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men within the fighting force is no big deal, and that to object is a manifestation of some repressed hangup. But it is a big deal. It’s a symptom of a rot at the heart of our military that has rendered what was once the world’s most formidable fighting force, a force that achieved a victory three decades ago in Operation Desert Storm on the level of Hannibal and Julius Caesar – again, historical references our present military leadership probably won’t recognize. Today’s military is about promoting social pathologies, not winning wars. Today, we get pushed around by freaking Houthis, whatever they are. We don’t avenge our murdered troops in Jordan, instead flattening a few desert huts after giving the local terrorists several days’ warning to get clear. We got run out of Kabul, carrying 13 caskets, by a bunch of pedophile tribesmen. And now our airmen are subjected to the indignity of having to airdrop supplies on the same people who just murdered 30 Americans and are holding nearly a dozen more hostage.

Oh yeah, give me those enlistment papers!

The American military is a lot of things, but it should never be a joke. Yet, when you have a grown man made up – badly – like a grown woman lecturing future officers, it is a joke. This frivolous nonsense would be a little more tolerable, barely, if the military were doing its job. But today, we have a Navy that sets fire to its own ships when it isn’t running them into other boats, an Army with officers dressed up as Doberman pinschers canoodling with subordinate officers, and now a Space Force that channels Bangkok after dark.

It’s an embarrassment. But more than that, it’s a total abdication of the military’s responsibility to be a lethal fighting force that deters our enemies and destroys them when deterrence fails. No, diversity is not our greatest strength. Strength is our greatest strength.

Beyond the fact that our political generals and admirals are conforming to the mores of the Wellesley faculty lounge is the fact that they learned a lot of bad lessons from the global war on terrorism. They are over-lawyered, over-bureaucratized, over-briefed, and under-effective. They’re not swashbuckling warriors. They’re craven bureaucrats who would fit in at the local university, having proven their willingness to submit to whatever bizarre cultural fads the local activists are demanding.

What’s the name of the general or admiral who publicly resigned in protest against this nonsense? For that matter, name one fired for incompetence. I’ll wait.

These perfumed princes, princesses, and non-binary royal scions (Hat Tip: Colonel David Hackworth) are certainly are not ready for war in 2024. Skirmishing with scruffy bands of guerillas in the desert and the mountains from inside relatively luxurious bases is not good training for the kind of high OPTEMPO killing that will happen in a contemporary peer-to-peer battlespace. What’s going on in Ukraine demonstrates that many things we used to think were true no longer are. Drones have changed the battlefield. Cyber has changed the battlefield. Electronic warfare has changed the battlefield. The tanks and airplanes that used to dominate are now highly vulnerable. But have our tactics changed? Who cares about tactics? Everybody, fall into the auditorium because we have another mandatory transgender awareness seminar!

The military won’t fix itself. The current leadership is all in on this failure, and that’s by design. Right now, the purpose of the war colleges is not to teach strategy but to make senior military officers socially acceptable to the limousine leftists in our ruling class. True story from not too long ago – a bunch of colonels assembled for a pretty routine war college exercise where, on Day One, they identify America’s greatest strategic threat, and on Day Two, they brief on courses of action to address that threat. So far, so good. Except half of these colonels identified climate change as America’s greatest strategic threat. When you have a bunch of military officers who think that America’s biggest threat is the weather, you don’t have a real military. You have a woke joke.

No wonder so many young people won’t join. And that’s especially true of the kind of young people who traditionally formed the backbone of the American military, the cold-blooded killers who won our wars back when we won wars. A lot of them were country boys. A lot of them were farmers. Very few of them have weird pronouns. All of them are considered bad people by the uniformed MSNBC viewers wearing stars and their civilian overlords.

No, those young people wanted to fight and win for their country. That’s who you want in your military. But that’s not who the current leadership wants in their military. These young people won’t conform. These young people won’t comply. All they will do is kill the enemy, but that’s not important. What’s important is submission and obedience to the woke agenda, except the guys who are the best combat arms soldiers aren’t the kind of guys who are good at pretending men who are pretending to be women are actually women.

Oh, and they also aren’t the kind of folks who would fulfill the current commander-in-chief’s sick fantasies about turning our soldiers on dissident Americans.

It’s a disaster, but it can be fixed. We just need a president committed to doing it. See, the military is a hierarchical organization. It takes on the tenor of its commander. We have a chance to get President Trump back in 2025. He’s been burned bad by our current crop of generals and admirals before, so this is personal. If he devotes the time, the effort, and the political capital to do it, he can change the current pseudo-military back into a real military very quickly. He can fire the failed generals and admirals, ban the wokeness, reject the transsexual insanity, and reconfigure the United States military into the deadly killing machine that it should be. But right now, our military leadership is more likely to get its own soldiers killed than to kill our enemies. And that’s a disgrace.

For those of you who don’t like Donald Trump and don’t want to vote for him, remember that your failure to support him means leaving our troops in the hands of these incompetent bureaucrats. Pull the lever for Trump for their sakes.

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2024/03/07/the-good-news-about-our-failing-military-trump-can-fix-it-n2636179



Body-by-Guinness

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SOTU Senile Sabre Rattling
« Reply #1317 on: March 08, 2024, 03:28:05 PM »
I fear that if Dems can’t find enough votes to mail in and hence overcome all the voters they are alienating they will opt instead to involve us in a European war merely to introduce a variable to the electoral equation and see what shakes out:

https://weapons.substack.com/p/biden-and-macron-threaten-ukraine?r=1qo1e&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&fbclid=IwAR0Jvqfglam4u7znRMkrKHPVbV5l-2_gMiTdWZTPzghc6L0TssVx3plqKOU&triedRedirect=true

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Harboring Hamas: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
« Reply #1318 on: March 09, 2024, 07:44:04 PM »
This gent devastatingly dissects Biden’s Palestinian harbor plans. Indeed, do we really want the same administration that brought us the ignominious Afghan retreat to demonstrate it’s forgotten the lessons on the Marine barracks in Lebanon and the lack of armor in Somalia to place a bunch of logistics troops in Gaza? Are they even unable to grasp the basest self-interest: they will be entering the home stretch of an ugly election season where they will be a single VBIED away from the mother of all October surprise? In exchange for what, Michigan’s Electoral College votes?

I know! Let’s raise needing to fill an inside straight … and blame Trump if it doesn’t pan out.

Idiot(s):

Cynical Publius
@CynicalPublius

I have been trying to explain the folly of the Gaza humanitarian aid port mission in several prior piecemeal Tweets, but I think I owe it to my followers to put all the issues in one place, so that is what I am doing in this Tweet.

First of all, please know that I have a ton of lifetime experience with expeditionary military logistics, in terms of establishing lodgments as part of 82nd Airborne operations, establishing sea ports of debarkation for moving heavy US equipment into areas of operations and linking them up with their soldiers, and working with the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) through various operations (although I never served in that unit directly).  I rarely call myself an expert on anything, but I am an expert on Army and Joint expeditionary logistics, so I speak here with some authority.

Here are some facts you need to know:

1. The 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) (“7th Trans”) is a unique strategic capability in the US military’s inventory.  Think the Mulberries on D-Day in WWII—these guys have the ability to establish functioning seaports in austere areas, bringing supplies and equipment across the shore in undeveloped areas, and they are very, very good at it.  Despite their incredible skill at building floating ports and bringing supplies ashore, they lack the organic capability to defend themselves against high intensity attacks by enemies. They need and rely on external security elements, both in the form of Navy or Coast Guard patrol boats, but also in the form of ground combat arms forces (Army or USMC) securing the beachhead across which supplies will be delivered. 

2.  The port that 7th Trans will develop has a doctrinal name: Joint Logistics Over the Shore, or “JLOTS.”  JLOTS has its own doctrinal publication for all services, called Joint Publication 4-01.6, the cover of which is shown below.

3.  JLOTS potentially brings all of the military services into play depending on the scenario.  Joint Pub 4-01.6 does a good job of highlighting each service’s role, and if you are really interested in this, the pub is available online.

4.  Alarmingly, the news coming out of the White House and the Pentagon suggests that no U.S. beach security will be present.  Today, the Pentagon Press Spokesman, USAF Maj. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, stated that the current U.S. plan will "avoid U.S. forces from having to be on the coast” and that "partners will be on the shore to receive the causeway and anchor it.”

5. Having read that, I want to point out a section of Joint Pub: 4-01.6, from Appendix J, Section 3: "Beach Security: The provision and execution of beach area security is completely scenario-dependent. In the early post-assault phase of an amphibious operation, security of the beach reception area may be carried out by air, ground, and naval combat forces. At the other end of the spectrum, as would normally be expected in a JLOTS operation, security in a nonhostile overseas environment may be provided largely by the host nation.”

6.  What I just posted above is super important.  The US military is a slave to its own doctrine, and it is clear that we are choosing to believe that this operation is in a "nonhostile overseas environment” so beach security protecting our troops as they deliver supplies across the shore will "be provided largely by the host nation.”  It is abundantly clear that the Biden Administration wishes to characterize this operation as purely humanitarian in nature, hence the constant refrain of “we won’t have boots on the ground” (tell that to the 7th Trans soldiers whose boots will hit those Gaza beaches, BTW), which leaves us only with the doctrinal idea of such security being "provided largely by the host nation.”  What does that mean here?  Will Hamas be the beach security?  Or maybe the IDF?  (Who will be constantly under fire from Hamas, BTW.)

7.  Both of these “host nation” beach security concepts spell disaster for US troops.  If Hamas is security, supplies will be stolen and the Iranian-backed Hamas will figure out how that “security” can be turned into a way to kill massive numbers of Americans.  IDF security will be only slightly less problematic, as Americans will come under the same fire as the IDF, and the linkage between IDF and US forces will be used for all kinds of Pallywood propaganda, linking the US to every fake, staged killing of a Gaza child.

8.  IMO, the only way to do this AND protect American lives is to deploy an Army or USMC infantry battalion task force to secure the beachhead, equipped with robust air defense, military intelligence, indirect fire, combat engineer and medical capabilities.  Anything less puts American lives at grossly unnecessary risk, but POTUS won’t do this as he needs to pretend there are “no boots on the ground.”

So those are kind of the underlying, key facts I want you all to know, but some other high level issues/thoughts are important I thinkalso:

-Biden is doing this solely to win 100,000 Muslim votes in Michigan, and the troops are purely political pawns in this wretched game.  This is despicable.

-The idea of minimizing combat unit footprint for political reasons in what is ostensibly a “humanitarian aid” mission is exactly what happened in Somalia, with disastrous results.

-7th Trans is a unique, one-of-a-kind, strategic combat capability of the U.S. military.  Why are we squandering this essential unit in a mission that does nothing to promote U.S. national security?  While 7th Trans is doing this mission, it is unavailable for deployment to actually strategically important areas like the South China Sea or elsewhere.

-If this mission goes in, we will be supplying Hamas AND Israel.  What sort of malevolent nation supplies both sides of a bloody war?

My final thoughts are this:

(a) There is no way we should be doing this JLOTS deployment.

(b) But if we INSIST on doing this mission, beach security needs to be provided by US combat forces, or a lot of our troops will die.

I encourage you to call your Senator or Congressperson and tell them you are against spilling more American blood in this hapless, witless, half-brained, purely political boondoggle, and offer the solutions (a) or (b) above.

Thank you.

https://x.com/CynicalPublius/status/1766622447112016233?s=20

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Weapon Exports
« Reply #1319 on: March 11, 2024, 01:51:27 PM »
U.S. Dominates Foreign Weapons Market as Russian Exports Plummet
American arms sales abroad total three times that of second-place France, annual report says
By
Brett Forrest
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Michael R. Gordon
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Updated March 11, 2024 11:38 am ET


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The U.S. is shipping Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs to Ukraine, according to a U.S. defense official. While analysts say the GLSDBs won’t be Kyiv’s most powerful or longest-range weapon, here’s how they could add significant flexibility and capacity to military operations against Russia. Photo illustration: Mia Hariz
The U.S. bolstered its position as the world’s dominant arms exporter, accounting for more than 40% of the global trade in weapons over a recent five-year period, while Russia saw its sales abroad drop by more than half because of the war in Ukraine, according to a new report.

The latest data, released Sunday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, reflects, in part, the global conflict in Ukraine. Russia has reoriented its defense industry to support its war there, while the U.S. has sent weapons in large quantities to Kyiv. Concerns over China’s military ambitions are also fueling U.S. sales to its partners and allies in Asia.

SIPRI, a global authority on arms trade and production, releases data annually in five-year blocks, since arms deals between states run on multiyear cycles of ordering, production and shipment. Sunday’s figures cover the five-year period ending in January and are based on weapons deliveries.

“The U.S.A. has increased its global role as an arms supplier—an important aspect of its foreign policy,” said Mathew George, the director of Sipri’s arms transfers program. “This comes at a time when the U.S.A.’s economic and geopolitical dominance is being challenged by emerging powers.”

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Russia, at one point a U.S. peer in arms exports, has fallen to third place, while France leapfrogged to second place in the rankings. China was fourth, Germany fifth. The five top countries on the SIPRI list accounted for 75% of all arms exports.

U.S. exports grew 17%, with the American share of global exports expanding to 42% from 34%. The U.S. sent arms to 107 countries, more than the total for the next two largest exporters combined.

Amid expanding global conflict and instability, and a resultant hunger for weapons, the U.S. has used domestic defense production to strengthen alliances and partnerships.

Ukraine, until recently a limited importer of U.S. arms, accounted for 4.7% of U.S. weapons exports in the study’s time period and 17% of those that the U.S. sent to Europe.

In the past two years, according to SIPRI figures, Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest arms importer, receiving transfers of major arms from more than 30 countries.

As has been the case in recent years, the largest share of U.S. arms exports—38%—went to countries in the Middle East; 28% went to European countries. For the first time in 25 years, the U.S. was the largest arms supplier to Asia and Oceania, reflecting Washington’s rising concern over China’s designs on Taiwan and the region broadly.


The Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Scranton, Pa. PHOTO: MATT ROURKE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were the top three weapons importers.

Russia’s war with Ukraine—principally the expansion of that war two years ago—has withered Moscow’s defense-export business. Russian export volume plummeted 52% from 2022 to last year.

Russia’s arms sales have fallen from the Soviet Union’s Cold War highs, and “the internal needs of the war against Ukraine has contributed, more recently, to the decline in Russian weapons available for transfer,” said Richard Grimmett, an expert on arms sales who served for decades as an analyst at the Congressional Research Service.

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In 2019, Russia shipped major weapons to 31 countries. Last year, that number fell to just a dozen, as Russia exploits its production capacity for use by its own forces.

China’s arms exports decreased, as did its weapons imports, the figures reflecting a squeeze in the availability of Russian arms and Beijing’s need to replace them with domestic systems and munitions. China, which accounted for nearly 6% of global arms exports, sent major arms to 40 states, although 61% of these exports went to Pakistan.

“China is making a great effort to improve the technological sophistication and capabilities of its systems but items such as the J-20 aircraft are not ready for export,” said Trevor Taylor, a director at the Royal United Services Institute, a London defense and security think tank. 

China’s growing military power appears to be driving U.S. arms sales to allies and partners, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia. Over the past five years, according to the report, U.S. arms exports to Japan increased by 161%.

SIPRI figures show that for the first time, France is the world’s second-largest arms exporter. Its exports nearly doubled because of a sharp increase in transfers of Rafale combat aircraft, mostly to countries in the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, which have sought to avoid dependence on either the U.S. or Russia.

Write to Brett Forrest at brett.forrest@wsj.com and Michael R. Gordon at michael.gordon@wsj.com

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Our woke military
« Reply #1320 on: March 12, 2024, 10:49:16 AM »


Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Biden's Budget neglects the military
« Reply #1324 on: March 15, 2024, 09:17:05 AM »
Biden’s Budget Neglects the Military
Sequestration and chronic underfunding have opened a yawning gap in American strength and readiness.
By Michael J. Boskin and Kiran Sridhar
March 14, 2024 5:41 pm ET


President Biden has again proposed a vastly inadequate Defense Department budget. His proposal for 2025 is a mere 1% increase from this year’s agreed level. Adjusted for inflation, it’s about $140 billion below the 2010 budget that many analysts, including these pages, deemed insufficient in far less challenging times. While America’s military remains the strongest and most capable in the world, our advantage over potential adversaries has been shrinking rapidly. We must do better if we are to deter our enemies.

For decades, the nation expected the military to be able to fight and win two wars simultaneously. That expectation has been gradually reduced to winning one war while deterring “opportunistic aggression” elsewhere. The Biden administration has placed less emphasis on military capability and more on tools such as sanctions. Yet at a Hoover Institution conference we convened in early 2023, a bipartisan group of three dozen former top leaders from the Pentagon, Congress, think tanks and academia agreed that insufficient and inflexible budgeting ensures the military will struggle to meet even this diminished standard. As Colin Powell once put it, “Show me your budget and I’ll show you my strategy.”

The Navy can’t send ships it doesn’t have to keep sea lanes open. The Army can’t deploy troops it has been unable to recruit and train. The budget is the basis for modernizing technology, replacing old equipment and restoring the defense industrial base with capacity to supply needed stockpiles.

Following mandatory sequestration cuts and endless continuing resolutions, U.S. defense spending has never returned to that 2010 level. Even sizable supplemental aid for Ukraine and Israel wouldn’t get it close this year. The cumulative funding gap since 2010 totals about $2 trillion in today’s dollars (and Mr. Biden’s 10-year plan fails even to keep up with inflation). While only some of that money would have enhanced current readiness, the shortfall has still battered the military’s capabilities. With an average age of 28 years, only 70% of combat aircraft are mission-ready. The Navy is retiring a submarine every two years, while China, which already has the world’s largest navy, recently deployed advanced subs that can run silent.

What’s necessary to catch up? Sustained yearly increases of $100 billion or more—about 0.4% to 0.5% of gross domestic product. The Reagan-era buildup that helped win the Cold War peaked at 6% of GDP, about twice the current level, which is near a historically low point.

Among the most urgent priorities: a larger Navy with greater sea-lift capacity and advanced submarines; modern air- and missile-defense systems; a larger Army; expanded forward-basing capabilities, especially in the Pacific; modernized nuclear deterrence; upgraded fighters and bombers in a portfolio matched to mission needs; a rebuilt defense industrial base; and increased capabilities in cyber and space, where Russia threatens to disable our satellite communications.

Fiscal constraints from excessive deficit spending in recent decades, and a deteriorating outlook driven by Social Security and Medicare, mean the defense buildup will need more bang for the buck as well as more bucks. Some allies must step up their spending and integrate their forces better with ours, as Japan is doing. But there is no substitute for American military supremacy.

The public and lawmakers will justifiably demand accountability. The Pentagon is hardly a paragon of efficiency. Despite progress, the Defense Department recently failed its sixth straight audit. Three reforms, among many possibilities, would make the Pentagon much more efficient.

First, around $100 billion of the defense budget funds activities not closely related to national security—including environmental, educational and healthcare programs. Many of those programs should be shifted to different agencies, with some of the current funding reallocated to core military capabilities. Second, the military should buy more up-to-date and less expensive commercial technology. Third, we should trim congressional micromanagement, which hamstrings the Pentagon from operating more efficiently. In 1970 the National Defense Authorization Act was 10 pages long and passed in one day by voice vote; today, it is 100 times as long and filled with onerous requirements. Pentagon leaders should have more flexibility, with appropriate accountability.

Congress also should separate the investment account from the rest of the budget, the better to highlight new capital investment, depreciation and inventory depletion. Borrowing to acquire assets, as a family does with a mortgage or car loan, is far more sensible than borrowing to finance regular continuing expenses. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s huge military investment for World War II and Ronald Reagan’s buildup that convinced the Soviets they couldn’t win the Cold War are historic examples of wise debt financing.

We see reasons for optimism. Over the past three years, bipartisan majorities in a Congress with growing numbers of recent veterans added billions of dollars to Mr. Biden’s inadequate requests. The 2024 NDAA enables the Pentagon to employ some multiyear contracts for critical munitions and missiles. Polling suggests that while the public greatly overestimates the defense share of the budget, it wants more information and backs increased spending.

But episodic supplemental appropriations are no substitute for a consistently adequate budget. And as Reagan showed, only a determined president can persuade a war-weary public and wary Congress to support the sustained investment in national security that is the foundation of freedom, peace and prosperity. The next president will have a lot on his plate, but rebuilding the nation’s military must be job No. 1.

Mr. Boskin is a Hoover Institution senior fellow and economics professor at Stanford. He served as chairman of the president’s council of economic advisers, 1989-93. Mr. Sridhar is an investment affiliate at Shield Capital and a senior fellow at the McCrary Institute for Cybersecurity. They are co-editors, with John Rader, of “Defense Budgeting for a Safer World: The Experts Speak.”

Crafty_Dog

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Drone Swarms and AI
« Reply #1325 on: March 15, 2024, 09:41:20 AM »


Drone Swarms Are About to Change the Balance of Military Power
On today’s battlefields, drones are a manageable threat. When hundreds of them can be harnessed to AI technology, they will become a tool of conquest.


By Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis
March 14, 2024 10:00 am ET



The Shahed-model drone that killed three U.S. service members at a remote base in Jordan on Jan. 28 cost around $20,000. It was part of a family of drones built by Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center, an Iranian company run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. A thousand miles away and three days later, on the night of Jan. 31 into the morning of Feb. 1, unmanned maritime drones deployed by Ukraine’s secretive Unit 13 sunk the $70 million Russian warship Ivanovets in the Black Sea. And for the past several months, Houthi proxies have shut down billions of dollars of trade through the Gulf of Aden through similarly inexpensive drone attacks on maritime shipping. Drones have become suddenly ubiquitous on the battlefield—but we are only at the dawn of this new age in warfare.

This would not be the first time that a low-cost technology and a new conception of warfare combined to supplant high-cost technologies based on old ways. History is littered with similar stories. A favorite comes from the time of Alexander the Great. His conquests are as much a technological story as a political one. When Alexander’s army stepped onto the battlefield it was not only with a new technology—the sarissa, a 16-foot spear—but also with a new conception of how to use that weapon in tight, impregnable phalanxes. These heavily armed formations allowed Alexander to repel Persian armored chariots and Indian war elephants and to march deep into the subcontinent.


The most formidable element of American power-projection has long been the warship. After the Oct. 7 attacks against Israel, the Biden administration sent two carrier battle groups to the region to deter Iranian aggression. One of those carriers, the USS Gerald R. Ford, was on its maiden voyage, having recently been completed at a price tag of $13 billion. This makes it the most expensive warship in history.

For that same sum, a nation could purchase 650,000 Shahed drones. It would only take a few of those drones finding their target to cripple and perhaps sink the Ford. Fortunately, the Ford and other U.S. warships possess ample missile defense systems that make it highly improbable that a few, or even a few dozen, Shahed drones could land direct hits. But rapid developments in AI are changing that.

Drones are simple, cheap and available to militaries the world over—they’re the sarissas of today. But what those militaries have yet to achieve is the conception of war that will fulfill the potential of these unmanned systems. Much as the sarissa changed the face of warfare 2,000 years ago when employed in a phalanx of well-trained soldiers, the drone will change the face of warfare when employed in swarms directed by AI. This moment hasn’t yet arrived, but it is rushing to meet us. If we’re not prepared, these new technologies deployed at scale could shift the global balance of military power.


The future of warfare won’t be decided by weapons systems but by systems of weapons, and those systems will cost less. Many of them already exist, whether they’re the Shahed drones attacking shipping in the Gulf of Aden or the Switchblade drones destroying Russian tanks in the Donbas or smart seaborne mines around Taiwan. What doesn’t yet exist are the AI-directed systems that will allow a nation to take unmanned warfare to scale. But they’re coming. 

A few Shahed drones are mostly a hassle, easily swatted from the sky except in the rare case when they score a lucky hit. They are best at blinding radars, disrupting communications and attacking small numbers of troops, as they did tragically in Jordan. But dozens or hundreds of drones in AI-directed swarms will have the capacity to overwhelm defenses and destroy even advanced platforms. Nations that depend on large, expensive systems like aircraft carriers, stealth aircraft or even battle tanks could find themselves vulnerable against an adversary who deploys a variety of low-cost, easily dispersed and long-range unmanned weapons.


Small inexpensive “off the shelf” drones like those Ukraine is using against Russia, and Hamas is deploying against Israel, are transforming modern warfare. To train American soldiers to counter this threat, the U.S. military recently opened a specialized drone warfare school. Photo: Christopher Wilson/Fort Sill Public AffairsAt its core, AI is a technology based on pattern recognition. In military theory, the interplay between pattern recognition and decision-making is known as the OODA loop—observe, orient, decide, act. The OODA loop theory, developed in the 1950s by Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, contends that the side in a conflict that can move through its OODA loop fastest will possess a decisive battlefield advantage.

For example, of the more than 150 drone attacks on U.S. forces since the Oct. 7 attacks, in all but one case the OODA loop used by our forces was sufficient to subvert the attack. Our warships and bases were able to observe the incoming drones, orient against the threat, decide to launch countermeasures and then act. Deployed in AI-directed swarms, however, the same drones could overwhelm any human-directed OODA loop. It’s impossible to launch thousands of autonomous drones piloted by individuals, but the computational capacity of AI makes such swarms a possibility.


This will transform warfare. The race won’t be for the best platforms but for the best AI directing those platforms. It’s a war of OODA loops, swarm versus swarm. The winning side will be the one that’s developed the AI-based decision-making that can outpace their adversary. Warfare is headed toward a brain-on-brain conflict.

The Department of Defense is already researching a “brain-computer interface,” which is a direct communications pathway between the brain and an AI. A recent study by the RAND Corporation examining how such an interface could “support human-machine decision-making” raised the myriad ethical concerns that exist when humans become the weakest link in the wartime decision-making chain. To avoid a nightmare future with battlefields populated by fully autonomous killer robots, the U.S. has insisted that a human decision maker must always remain in the loop before any AI-based system might conduct a lethal strike.

But will our adversaries show similar restraint? Or would they be willing to remove the human to gain an edge on the battlefield? The first battles in this new age of warfare are only now being fought. It’s easy to imagine a future, however, where navies will cease to operate as fleets and will become schools of unmanned surface and submersible vessels, where air forces will stand down their squadrons and stand up their swarms, and where a conquering army will appear less like Alexander’s soldiers and more like a robotic infestation.

Much like the nuclear arms race of the last century, the AI arms race will define this current one. Whoever wins will possess a profound military advantage. Make no mistake, if placed in authoritarian hands, AI dominance will become a tool of conquest, just as Alexander expanded his empire with the new weapons and tactics of his age. The ancient historian Plutarch reminds us how that campaign ended: “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.”


Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis are the authors of “2054,” a novel that speculates about the role of AI in future conflicts, just published by Penguin Press. Ackerman, a Marine veteran, is the author of numerous books and a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs. Admiral Stavridis, U.S. Navy (ret.), was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and is a partner at the Carlyle Group.

ccp

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"bullying and extremism "
« Reply #1326 on: March 22, 2024, 06:15:39 AM »
of course unless it is politically correct @ air force academy:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/to-combat-bullying-and-extremism-air-force-academy-turns-to-social-media-sleuthing/ar-BB1kl831?ocid=msedgntphdr&cvid=9d56a4d5d4404088de18f6d1b6118a3d&ei=23\\

VDH has pointed out that the deficit in military recruitment is primarily due to decrease in white males signing up.
Well white males have been the predominant members of the military and of those who died defending this nation.

Wokesters:

US enemy -China, Russia, N Korea, Iran, Jihadis, and white males.


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West Point’s Unforced Error
« Reply #1327 on: March 23, 2024, 03:49:45 PM »
My suspicion is that creeping PC/DEI foolishness was behind this change, not that anyone involved would cop to it:

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 9:32am
 

Tone Deaf at West Point

Once again, the Army fails to “read the room.”'

By Martin Stanton

 

I wasn’t commissioned out of the United States Military Academy / USMA (given my habitual truancy and dismal academic record in high school, I wouldn’t have been accepted even if I’d applied) but I have a lot of respect for West Point as an institution.  Sadly, it’s gotten to the point that whenever I see that the USMA is in the news, I inwardly cringe before I even read the story.  Watching West Point step on rake after rake these past few years has been painful.  Nobody likes to see an old friend fallen on hard times.

The latest public relations debacle is taking “Duty, Honor, Country” out of the school’s mission statement.

Granted, “Duty, Honor, Country” is still the motto of West Point and it’s carved into all sorts of edifices up there and on uniform patches and for all I know it’s embroidered on each cadet’s underwear.  “Duty, Honor, Country” isn’t going away.

            So why take it out of the school’s mission statement and replace it with “Army Values”?  Sure, mission statements get re-written from time to time, but why drop the school’s motto from the mission statement?  It’s three words and two comma’s – they couldn’t have been that hard up for space on the document.  Here’s the change:

“To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation”.

             Could the authors of the updated mission statement not have embraced the healing power of “and”?  for example:

“To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to Duty, Honor, Country and the Army Values, ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation”.

            More importantly, why change the mission statement now at all?  Why was it necessary?  Day to day nobody looks at the mission statement.  I doubt anyone is doing a thing different at West Point because of this change to mission statement.  Why did they pick this moment to change it?  Did somebody need the OER bullet that bad?

            It’s hard to imagine the leadership at West Point (or on the Army staff) is so out of touch as to not be aware of the mood of the nation.  West Point is a touchstone to the American people.  An increasingly large segment of the population is becoming convinced that the government and its institutions no longer share their values.  A story about “Duty, Honor, Country” being removed from the school’s mission statement at this particular moment just adds to this sense.  The fact that the Superintendent felt it necessary to send out a letter explaining the change to the community of West Point graduates (but not the public at large) only adds to the impression of haughty, elite, insularity.

            In baseball terms – It was an unforced error.  It was a 1962 NY Mets kind of move.

            You have to feel sorry for General Randy George.  He’s a good man playing the bad hand that’s been dealt to him.  His people failed him on this one.   With collapsing recruiting, overextended forces, multiple potential conflicts, diminishing resources and obtuse civilian leadership the Army needs all the friends it can get.  In this election year where the entire country is dialed up to 11 on the rage meter, removing the words “Duty, Honor, Country” from any policy document at West Point was bound to be incendiary.  Holding off on changing the mission statement until next year would not have impacted any aspect of USMA operations.  Now he has this needless distraction to deal with.

            He’s probably looking at West Point and channeling Casey Stengall right about now…

            You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, "Can't anybody here play this game?"

 

(Editor's Note: Also consider the Superintendent's letter at this link: https://sallyport.westpointaog.org/news/1923295)

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/tone-deaf-west-point-once-again-army-fails-read-room



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Biden Hearts Waterloo(s)
« Reply #1329 on: March 28, 2024, 04:34:56 AM »
Current admin screwing the pooch re military & intelligence issues worldwide:

Is Biden listening to any of his military or intelligence advisors?

The Hill News / by Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth / Mar 28, 2024 at 7:28 AM

There is a pattern to the series of bad decisions coming from President Joe Biden’s Oval Office. They are increasingly putting the nation’s security at heightened risk by naively playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Military setbacks in Ukraine, Chinese provocations in the Indo-Pacific and the placating of Iran with the release of frozen and sanctioned funds are all combining to put Americans and our allies in harm’s way. Given the totality of these unforced errors, it is difficult to believe that Biden is listening to the advice of his top military and intelligence advisers.

The Three Horsemen are coming for the U.S. and our allies. Yet Washington seems to be crassly predicating its national security moves based on election-year politics. That may work in a time of peace, but we are in global war right now against totalitarian regimes that reject our way of life and are intent on undermining, if not destroying, our democratic institutions. Hence Russia and China’s multipolar world concept and the formation of BRICS.

Biden is the chief executive now. He is no longer a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he once served as both ranking minority member and as chairman. Political calculus is no longer an option. Rather, the nation’s security must be his one and only guiding star if the U.S. is to thwart our enemies’ ambitions.

To the extent that Biden needs to factor in politics, he needs to do so by overcoming what Obama-era Secretary of Defense Robert Gates penned about him in 2014: "I think he [then-Vice President Biden] has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Fast-forward to today, and Biden is arguably adding to that from a narrow national security perspective. He has created a permissive environment for our adversaries to operate in.

The most damaging of his mistakes have been a tolerance for open borders, surges in fentanyl overdoses and deaths due to Chinese drug trafficking, and the multi-faceted disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, followed by Moscow-backed coup d'états in Sudan and Niger, and Hamas's attack on Israel have put him squarely on his back foot.

Meanwhile, Tehran’s nuclear ambitions continue unabated. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-backed proxy militias are attacking U.S bases throughout the Middle East, and Iran-backed Houthi rebels are attacking commercial and naval shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

China continues to threaten Taiwan and is actively harassing Filipino commercial vessels in the South China Sea. North Korea persists with its gamesmanship and provocations against South Korea and Japan. Yesterday, after hinting at peace talks, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, ruled out any contact or negotiation with Tokyo.

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are dictating the conditions; Biden's Washington is constantly in reaction mode, and as a result, unacceptably failing, which makes the world a much more dangerous place. And election-year politics is making it more perilous still.

This may read as a political take. It is not. Rather, this is a call for Biden and Congress to take the politics out of national security. The letters D and R are secondary to "U.S.A." Our messaging applies equally to Republicans and Democrats and as much to Biden as it does to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Politics simply cannot dictate national security. Nor will politics deliver us from the peril our country currently faces.

As crafted, Biden’s National Security Strategy does not provide a solution either. Biden is absolutely correct in his opening statement: “How we respond to the tremendous challenges and the unprecedented opportunities we face today will determine the direction of our world and impact the security and prosperity of the American people for generations to come.”

It is past time to get on with responding. It is time Washington started setting conditions. As they say in the military, “move out and draw fire.”

As retired Army Lt. General Ben Hodges, the former U.S. Army Commander Europe, recently argued, “We spend too much time worrying about what the Russians might do. Instead, we should make them worry about what we're capable of." The same line of reasoning must also apply to the Chinese, Iranians and North Koreans.

NATO’s newest member has a plan. While focused on Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine, its core principles are globally germane. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in an interview with Euractiv, “We have to create more strategic difficulties for Russia.” Billström is right, as is French President Emmanuel Macron, with his stated willingness to place French troops in Ukraine, if needed, as a redline.

Biden needs to heed the advice and counsel of the career professionals, as his political appointees have clearly taken him down the wrong path. Ice cream cones and "root cause" discussions will solve nothing. Biden needs to leverage his combatant commanders, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the retired Army four-star general serving as his secretary of Defense, as well as retired generals sitting on the bench.

The restoration of America's influence and image in the world begins with a plan, not with a strategy to win a political election. That means playing well with others — and for Biden, that means Republicans. For the Speaker, that means Democrats.

Ukraine does not have the luxury of waiting until November. Nor, quite frankly, do the border states, sanctuary cities and neighborhoods now under siege by criminal gangs. It is that bad, and past time to do something about it.

Col. (ret.) Jonathan Sweet served 30 years as a military intelligence officer. Mark Toth writes on national security and foreign policy\

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/4559925-is-biden-listening-to-any-of-his-military-or-intelligence-advisors/

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F 35 with tactical nucs but a real boondoggle
« Reply #1330 on: April 01, 2024, 07:59:08 AM »
but with design problems
single engine  no durable
too much heat emitted
high cost overruns - not reliable or durable
this sums it up:

"“The F-35 has pretty good range for a single-engine fighter. It is stealth, and so you could obviously get closer to Russian air space before being effectively targeted than you could, let’s say, with an F-15,” noting that with 600 to 700 F-35s in U.S. and allied air forces, “we have hundreds of them, and at any given time, some of them are probably capable of flying.”

You have to be kidding me!  :-o


https://www.theepochtimes.com/article/americas-controversial-stealth-fighter-jet-can-now-carry-nukes-5606846?utm_source=Morningbrief&src_src=Morningbrief&utm_campaign=mb-2024-04-01&src_cmp=mb-2024-04-01&utm_medium=email&est=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYuw4IktV6djJ5LwB8GZWBu1axachNqyXsy29F2zjSh8%3D

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FO: Major ship building program delayed for years
« Reply #1332 on: April 04, 2024, 05:31:59 AM »
(5) NAVY SAYS ALL MAJOR SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMS DELAYED FOR YEARS:

According to a new report from the U.S. Navy, multiple capital ship programs are now facing 12- to 36-month delays after Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro ordered a 45-day comprehensive shipbuilding review in January.

“The supply chain is different now,” and workforce attrition in the defense industrial base and supply chain has doubled since the COVID pandemic in some areas, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) commander Vice Adm. James Downey said.

Why It Matters: This is another sign that the U.S. defense industrial base is depleted, and it will likely be difficult for the U.S. to turn economic power into military power ahead of a conflict with China as soon as 2027. – R.C.


Body-by-Guinness

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Diversity over Meritocracy over Readiness
« Reply #1334 on: April 06, 2024, 04:14:39 PM »
Good thing the Biden admin is picking a fight in Eastern Europe and roiling the Mid-East while its “readiness” policies reduces US military readiness. Perhaps they see the inevitable consequences of doing so to be a feature rather than a bug?

https://thefederalist.com/2024/03/29/if-diversity-is-our-strength-why-is-our-military-so-weak/

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WSJ: The Lessons of Israeli Missile Defense
« Reply #1336 on: April 16, 2024, 10:00:19 AM »
The Lessons of Israeli Missile Defense
Biden hails what he once opposed, but the aerial threat is escalating.
By
The Editorial Board
Follow
Updated April 15, 2024 6:22 pm ET


The performance of Israeli air defenses, combined with assistance from U.S. jets and interceptors, saved countless lives on the weekend. But Iran, Russia and other adversaries are learning from each engagement and probing for weaknesses to exploit. The U.S. needs to do more to deter and protect Americans from future assaults.


It’s no small irony that President Biden is hailing the success of missile and drone defenses over Israel. In the 1980s there was no more dedicated foe of missile defense than Sen. Joe Biden. Democrats have resisted or under-financed missile defenses for decades on grounds that they’re too expensive and too easily defeated by new technology.

Progressives oppose defenses because they think vulnerability somehow makes war less likely. On nuclear arms, the Union of Concerned Scientists and others prefer the doctrine of mutual-assured destruction to being able to shoot down enemy ICBMs.

Israel’s defenses proved how wrong this view is, displaying their practical and strategic value. If the more than 300 drones and ballistic and cruise missiles had reached their targets, Mr. Biden wouldn’t be able to say, as he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, “take the win.” The mass casualties would have all but guaranteed a large-scale military escalation.

The weekend success of air defenses is a tribute to Israeli strategy and decades of investment in defense technology. U.S. assistance was also crucial—an example of alliance cooperation paying off in both directions. The U.S. helped to finance Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which evolved into a co-production agreement that also covers gaps in U.S. missile defenses. The weekend exchange shows that Israel’s defense capability is far superior to Iran’s—at least for now.

But enemies never stand still, and the West’s adversaries are adapting their methods and technology to defeat aerial defenses. One threat is overwhelming defenses with sheer numbers. Israel stood up well against Saturday’s large attack, but it had U.S. and other help. It isn’t clear that Israel could have similar success if Hezbollah unleashed its missile arsenal from Lebanon and Syria while Iran attacked from the west and the Houthis from Yemen.

There is also the question of asymmetric cost. Drones are cheap to produce and easy to transport, but they can be expensive to shoot down. They can also arrive in swarms. That’s why a middling power like Iran specializes in drone production. Iran has been a crucial drone supplier to Russia, which deploys them to deadly effect in Ukraine. Azerbaijan’s drone swarms made the difference last year in its war with Armenia.

Kyiv has built its own drone production line and has bought Turkish drones. But the West will need to innovate to counter the problem of having to shoot down drones with interceptors that are a hundred times more expensive. The U.S. military is experimenting with promising technologies such as high-powered microwave weapons.

Iran’s attack also puts into focus, or at least it should, the shortfall in U.S. interceptor production. The U.S. stockpile is thin, and the Biden Administration had to ask Japan to transfer some of its Patriots so the U.S. could maintain enough for its defenses.

The Senate aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and the Pacific includes money to grow production of the most advanced Patriot interceptor to 650 a year from 550 now. But only 650? The U.S. could exhaust a year’s worth of production in mere weeks of intense fighting, and that figure is insufficient for the growing missile threats around the world.

The U.S. military needs to field new technology rapidly while also shifting closer to a wartime footing to produce more current munitions, including the Standard Missile that handles air defense on U.S. Navy destroyers. That means U.S. defense budgets will have to increase. Saturday night’s events are a lesson in why the U.S. never wants to be low on ammunition to defend itself.

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Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War
« Reply #1337 on: April 22, 2024, 08:45:00 AM »
In that this is about Fort Bragg (Liberty) it is of particular interest to me.  Obviously a heavy prop slant to this article.   

I wonder what the banned symbols actually were , , ,

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/3rd-special-forces-group-s-prior-use-of-nazi-symbol-comes-to-light-after-social-media-post/ar-AA1nqDu8?ocid=msedgntp&pc=DCTS&cvid=71e3eecb5c07487bbd7e86f9a7a8f756&ei=6

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: The Rise of US debt amid geopolitical constraints
« Reply #1338 on: April 24, 2024, 04:31:49 AM »
The Ongoing Rise of U.S. Debt Amid Geopolitical, Financial and Economic Constraints
Apr 3, 2024 | 18:10 GMT



Political, financial and economic constraints will continue to limit the U.S. government's flexibility in adjusting spending in view of rising defense spending requirements, likely resulting in rising debt levels. In its most recent update of its long-term projections released in March, the Congressional Budget Office projected large fiscal deficits and a continued increase of the debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States driven by increasing entitlement and net interest expenditures. It is unlikely that the projected increase in government spending over the next two decades will cause any financing difficulties, let alone a financial crisis. This is because of the pivotal role of the dollar in the global financial system, the relative attractiveness of U.S. assets and a more favorable growth outlook than in most other advanced economies. Continued large deficits could, of course, lead to higher long-term interest rates, which might then lead the government to rein in the fiscal deficit to prevent too rapid an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. The current trend of more modest economic growth, at least compared to two decades ago, and large fiscal deficits will, however, translate into greater constraints on defense spending.

U.S. federal government debt stands at $35 trillion, which translates into more than $100,000 per citizen. U.S. federal government debt has more than tripled since the beginning of the century, increasing from 32% of gross domestic product in 2001 to 96% of GDP in 2023. The CBO currently projects the debt-to-GDP ratio will reach 116% of GDP by 2034 and 166% of GDP in 2054. Federal budget deficits will average about 6% of GDP.

Mandatory spending will increase from 13.9% of GDP to 15.1% of GDP over the next 10 years, while discretionary spending is projected to decrease from 6.4% of GDP to 5.1% of GDP, which would represent a substantial squeeze should it come to pass. If the decline in discretionary defense and nondefense spending were to be evenly split, U.S. defense spending would fall to less than 3% of GDP by the middle of the next decade — close to a post-World War II low.

A fiscal adjustment involving reforms to Social Security would help create more space for significant defense expenditure increases, but such reforms are highly unlikely in the short or medium term. Mandatory spending covers expenditures on entitlement and other programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and several other programs related to health care or the elderly, which require Congress to approve separate legislation and cannot be modified as part of the annual budget process. Discretionary spending, on the other hand, is controlled by the annual budget process and pays for the operations of most federal agencies and national defense. It requires annual authorization. Discretionary spending as a share of GDP has declined gradually over time, while nondiscretionary (or mandatory) spending has continued to increase. An aging population makes it more difficult to substantially reduce entitlement spending, as the elderly account for a more substantial share of the electorate each year. Moreover, U.S. voters regard Social Security as almost on par with constitutionally guaranteed rights, making it very difficult to cut benefits or otherwise reform the entitlement program. At a minimum, this will require any entitlement reform to phase in a reduction of expenditure (relative to the baseline) very gradually so as not to upset actual and potential beneficiaries in terms of their accrued welfare benefits — and even this will prove politically difficult. That neither party supports reforming social security and other programs is evidence of these political constraints, with the last significant entitlement reform that sought to balance the books having taken place in 1983.

In FY 2023, the U.S. federal government spent $6.1 trillion. The U.S. federal government spends more than what the Japanese economy, the world's third-largest, produces.

Mandatory spending accounts for 60% of federal spending, discretionary spending for 30% and interest on debt 10%. Discretionary spending includes defense and nondefense spending with defense spending accounting for 13-15% of federal spending (or roughly half of discretionary spending).

As per the 2020 census, 17% of Americans were aged 65 or older. This share will increase to 23% by 2050. In absolute terms, this age group will increase from 58 million to 82 million.

The political, financial and economic constraints on U.S. defense spending will strengthen over time. Economically, high levels of defense spending are detrimental to long-term growth if spending reduces the availability of national savings and investment, which is typically the case. Even if investment represents a significant share of defense spending, it tends not to have much of an impact on civilian economic productivity. In the short run, however, a sharp increase in defense expenditure can help boost economic growth, particularly in the presence of ample spare capacity. Increased defense expenditures need to be financed through higher debt, increased revenues or budget cuts in other areas. With more resources allocated to consumptive defense spending and no offsets elsewhere, savings and investment will fall, and economic growth will suffer over the medium to long term. Faced with increased geopolitical competition, the need for increased defense spending will make for painful economic, financial and political choices, while increased defense spending (as a share of GDP) will weigh on the longer-term growth outlook. While none of this means that the United States will not be able to increase defense expenditure, it does mean that the economic, financial and political trade-offs and constraints will become more important over time.

In the short run, the government can almost always mobilize massive resources to support defense spending if flanked by appropriate economic and financial measures, such as capital controls, central bank purchases of additional debt issuance, increased taxes or reduced expenditures elsewhere. In 2023, U.S. defense spending (including Department of Energy spending on nuclear weapons) was 3.5% of GDP. In 1953 (during the Korean War), U.S. defense spending reached 11.3% of GDP; in 1968 (during the Vietnam War), 8.6% of GDP. In 1999, it fell to a post-1940 low of 2.7% of GDP before increasing again to reach 4.5% of GDP in 2010 (during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars). Defense spending exceeded 40% of GDP during World War II.

In the long term, however, there are economic limits to defense spending. The reduction of defense spending following the end of the Cold War led to the so-called "peace dividend" that allowed for lower government spending, higher national savings and lower interest rates. Unsustainable defense spending meanwhile drove the USSR into economic stagnation, financial failure and ultimately political collapse.
The United States remains the world's top military spender by a wide margin, but Chinese defense spending has been increasing rapidly on the back of rapid economic growth, which, in turn, is putting increased pressure on U.S. military spending. A decade or so ago, the United States spent more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Today, measured in current dollar terms, U.S. expenditure continues to account for nearly 40% of global spending, while China accounts for less than half of U.S. spending. The size of defense spending matters, but it is not everything. Several caveats apply. First, comparing military spending — even if adjusted for purchasing power parity to capture the effective spending power — is difficult, as different countries include and exclude different defense-related spending categories and items, and some countries' defense expenditure figures lack transparency. Second, even with a purchasing power parity adjustment, it is not obvious that one dollar of defense spending buys an equivalent amount of security. Leaving aside that security is a relative concept, even purchasing power parity is an imperfect metric to compare spending, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, even when adjusted for purchasing power. This is due to differences in terms of what the money is spent on as well as what adjusted dollars can buy, given that advanced military technology is not necessarily traded on international markets and local production costs differ, and sometimes certain defense-related technologies are unavailable for comparison. Moreover, not only what the money is spent on matters, but how it is spent, as well as the ultimate strategic value one gets. For example, directing funds to procurement and development rather than spending them on veterans' pensions or outdated platforms is likely to increase security, particularly in the longer term, and translate to greater military effectiveness.

The United States accounts for almost 40% of global military spending. China and Russia account for a combined 17%, with China accounting for 13% and Russia for 4%. The so-called Big Four European countries account for 9.5%, compared to Russia's 3.9%.
In 2023, U.S. defense expenditure accounted for 3.5% of GDP and China's official defense expenditure for less than half at 1.6% of GDP. Due to much more rapid underlying economic growth, Chinese defense expenditure has been growing much more rapidly in dollar terms without translating into higher expenditure as a share of GDP.

When comparing U.S. and Chinese defense expenditures, it is important to take into consideration differences in terms of force structure and military posture. The U.S. has worldwide commitments and a costly and extensive global security footprint. China does not, and its military forces are geographically much more concentrated. Military spending should therefore at best be seen as a proxy for defense capabilities. In this sense, the political and economic costs the United States faces to increasing defense expenditure act as a constraint. Yet this constraint can be alleviated, at least partly, via means other than increasing defense spending, including better resource allocation. In the long term, however, significant differences in spending will affect the military balance, especially in East Asia.

In current dollar terms, the United States spent a little less than $900 billion and China $300 billion on defense. In 2010, the United States spent $740 billion, compared to Chinese spending of $100 billion. In purchasing power parity terms, Chinese defense spending was about two-thirds of U.S. spending.

In addition to faster economic growth, China has also greater scope to increase defense spending as a share of GDP without jeopardizing its long-term economic outlook because it has excess savings and limited profitable investment opportunities. This should allow it to convert its excess savings into military consumption without unduly undermining the long-term growth outlook; the United States is far more constrained in this respect.


ccp

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Episode 695 - "Episode 695: Nuclear War: A Scenario"
« Reply #1340 on: May 11, 2024, 04:32:46 PM »
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/newts-world/id1452065072

Newt interviews Annie Jacobson

about her book on nuclear war.

two things that stand out to me :

The American military strategy at first was how to win a nuclear war but later evolved to deterrence which has been the strategy since.

If deterrence fails then Armageddon will be upon us in "72 minutes".

Decades of war games all point to once strategic weapons or even tactical nucs are used game is over.
We all die.

Even the use of tactical nuc which in theory is to limit the spread will almost assuredly lead to further escalation towards preemptive strikes.

one question I had after the interview is what about a country that only has a few nucs such as N Korea or soon if not already a nuclear Iran?

We can certainly annihilate them while they could not do the same to us.

I was also intrigued about the Reagan reversal.

I still remember the day after I saw the movie "the Day After" during medical school shortly after the Grenada invasion being unable to sleep that night.  I was the only one who I spoke to about it who seemed to be upset by it.
Well it turns out that Reagan after seeing that movie reached to  Gorbachev and so began negotiations that led to reducing nuclear bombs from 70,000 then to around  7,000 today.

(great minds - mine and RR's think alike)



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GPF: Brits to expand navy
« Reply #1341 on: May 15, 2024, 03:15:05 PM »


Sea power. The British Royal Navy is boosting its capabilities following recent operations in the Red Sea against Yemen’s Houthi rebels and in the Black Sea related to the Ukraine war. It will buy up to six new multirole support ships that can carry aircraft, vehicles, insertion craft and unmanned systems, U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said. In addition, its new Type 26 and 31 frigates will have the ability to attack land-based targets. In total, the Ministry of Defense plans to commission 28 new ships to beef up its fleet.

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What Running a Tight Ship Looks Like
« Reply #1342 on: May 21, 2024, 05:04:01 AM »
A nice, and rare, positive report about a well run military group, in this case a ship:

https://cdrsalamander.substack.com/p/uss-carney-ddg-64-bz?selection=727f3ed1-5664-4994-a828-0d66cc574a1e&triedRedirect=true#

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Sweden enlistment very strong
« Reply #1343 on: May 21, 2024, 10:56:45 AM »


Many Armies Struggle for Recruits. In Sweden They Turn Them Away.
U.S. and European militaries are straining to reinforce their ranks to deter Russia. Sweden’s answer is to conscript only the brightest.

A military exercise in Revingehed, Sweden.
By Sune Engel RasmussenFollow
 \ Photographs by Åsa Sjöström for The Wall Street Journal
Updated May 20, 2024 1:46 am ET

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REVINGEHED, Sweden—Deep in the Scandinavian forest, Elin Forsberg’s face is planted in the grass, her arms pinned to her back by two soldiers in mock arrest.

The 19-year-old high achiever is one of the newest members of Sweden’s armed forces and a product of its fiercely competitive conscription process.

“It’s a privilege,” Forsberg says of being chosen for military service—less than 10% make the cut. In this exercise, she is playing an enemy intruder at an arms depot with her new regiment, which later this year will send forces to Latvia as part of Sweden’s first international mission as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member.

To confront and deter an expansionist Moscow, the U.S. and many of Russia’s near neighbors are struggling to attract enough recruits to reinforce their militaries. Not so in Sweden, where each year the armed forces turn thousands of young men and women away.


Conscript Elin Forsberg undergoes a mock arrest during training.
As the newest member of NATO, Sweden is betting that the best way to bolster its defenses against Russian aggression is to stack its military with the country’s top performers. Conscription under the Swedish model now functions as a filter, not a dragnet. 

All young men and women in Sweden must enlist, but rigorous testing sorts the best from the rest. That has created a virtuous recruitment circle where military service, lasting up to 15 months depending on the role, is regarded as prestigious and conscripts compete for spots. Afterward, they join the country’s reservists for 10 years, or until they turn 47.

The system has proved so successful at nurturing talent that former conscripts are headhunted by the civil service and prized by tech companies. It could provide a model for the U.S., which in 2022 had its toughest recruitment year in almost five decades, dragging on America’s military might. As a proportion of its population, Sweden’s annual armed-forces recruitment rate now tops that in the U.S.

For months, Forsberg trained for the conscription tests by lifting weights and braving the blistering cold to run along the seafront in her hometown of Kungsbacka.

“I’ve always wanted to be part of it,” Forsberg said of the army. “If someone says they’re in the military, you look up to them.”


Less than 10% of Swedish military enlistees are chosen for compulsory military service.

Today, Sweden can mobilize around 66,000 uniformed personnel.
Becoming battle ready
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has abruptly reawakened Europe to the necessity of maintaining sizable, battle-ready armies. European intelligence officials say Russia anticipates a conflict with NATO within the next decade, and aims to raise a standing army of 1.5 million by the end of 2026. Russia’s military superiority over Ukraine will continue to grow, “unless Western countries quickly step up,” one intelligence official said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed warnings of a potential Russian attack on NATO members as “complete nonsense.” In early 2022, the Kremlin used similar language to ridicule American warnings that Russia planned to invade Ukraine.

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German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned that Europe should prepare for possible war with Russia by the end of the decade. He also has called Germany’s abolition of conscription in 2011 a mistake, adding earlier this month that it should be reintroduced.

Comprehensive conscription was common throughout Europe in the 19th century when countries such as France and Germany manned their armed forces mostly with men from lower classes; Russia often employed a coercive version. During the American Civil War, both sides had drafts, but the U.S. only reintroduced it, along with Britain, during the two World Wars. After the Cold War, most countries abandoned the practice.


Number of forces

Active armed forces

Estimated reservists

300,000

NATO members

100,000

1,500,000

FINLAND

1,100,000

NORWAY

RUSSIA

U.K.

North Sea

BELARUS

POLAND

GERMANY

UKRAINE

ATLANTIC

OCEAN

FRANCE

ROMANIA

Black Sea

ITALY

SPAIN

TURKEY

GREECE

Mediterreanean Sea

Note: Iceland is a NATO member but maintains only a coast guard service. NATO members U.S. and Canada not shown.

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies
Emma Brown/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
But Sweden, apart from a brief gap during the 2010s, has relied on conscription for more than a century to populate its army. This year, out of about 100,000 young Swedes who had to enlist, just 6,200 made the cut for conscription, an annual increase of slightly more than 10%. The country aims to reach 8,000 conscripts next year, and 10,000 soon after that.

Selection is based on physical and mental fitness, IQ tests and motivation to serve. Health issues such as allergies, asthma or eczema can rule recruits out.

Forsberg did so well on her tests that the army picked her to train for the highly-skilled role of artillery observer for a company of Combat Vehicle 90s in the South Scanian Regiment.

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She began in March, an hour before the blue NATO flag with its white compass was hoisted on the base in Revingehed, marking the country’s accession to the alliance.

Not everyone who meets the military’s requirements wants to serve, and the armed forces have traditionally weeded out such people, to ensure that its soldiers are not just skilled, but also highly motivated. But to further increase its intake, the military might start insisting more of them join up, Swedish officials say. Evading the draft is punishable by a fine or up to a year in prison.




From left, conscripts Elin Forsberg and Emma Jonsson are 19 years old and Ida Carlsson is 20.
Long wars
While Western nations don’t have to match Russia soldier for soldier, the brutal war of attrition in Ukraine has shown that mass armies still matter, particularly in yearslong wars, said Jan Joel Andersson, senior analyst and expert on rearmament at the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

“NATO has far too few trained and equipped coherent units, or force packages, to fight a major war,” he said.

During a recent nine-day military exercise involving 1,000 soldiers and 200 officers, the South Scanian Regiment trained conscripts in Leopard battle tanks and Combat Vehicle 90s, both used by other European militaries, one of several ways Sweden is dovetailing with fellow NATO member states.

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From a hill overlooking the training area’s rolling fields, a group of engineers from the Swedish defense contractor Saab guided a Martlet MI-2 drone above the canopy of a forest, shooting lasers at a CV90 below. The soldiers returned laser fire, hitting the drone, which high-tailed to the hill, lights blinking. Re-creating Ukrainian battlefield conditions, the scenario was meant to give conscripts a taste of modern warfare, where enemy attacks come by land and from the sky.


The U.S. reintroduced compulsory conscription during the two World Wars. Men in New York City registering for the draft in 1917. PHOTO: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION
Shrunken forces
After the Cold War, European nations cut their forces to the bone and replaced large conscription armies with smaller professional forces. Aging populations and expensive social welfare states meant that manning even small armies became difficult.

At the same time, focus shifted from territorial defense to new threats such as terrorism, and support for international missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which along with advances in weapons technology lessened the need for mass armies.

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From 1990 to 2015, Germany—enlarged by reunification—shrank its combat battalion numbers from 215 to 34, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank. In the same period, other European nations followed suit. Italy’s battalion numbers fell by 67% and France’s dropped by almost as much. British battalions were cut by almost half.

The U.S. struggles, too. In 2022, the U.S. Army had its toughest recruiting year since the advent of the all self-enlisted military in 1973, missing its recruitment goal by 25%. After lowering its target from 65,000 to 55,000 recruits, the Army is optimistic about meeting the mark this year. The Navy, however, anticipates a shortfall of about 6,700 on its ambition to recruit 40,000 sailors, the second year in a row that it will undershoot.



Potential Swedish conscripts must undergo psychological and physical testing.
Large-scale demilitarization
When the Berlin Wall fell, Sweden dismantled huge parts of its military infrastructure and reduced its troop strength by more than 90% from its peak in the 1960s. The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces sounded the alarm in 2013, saying the country would only be able to defend itself against an armed aggressor for a week.

Today, Sweden can mobilize around 66,000 uniformed personnel, including some 12,000 reserves and over 20,000 home guards, compared with 850,000 men and women during the height of the Cold War in the 1960s. The aim is to increase the number of active forces to more than 100,000 by 2030.

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“Sweden has gone from being a huge organization in the 1980s with a regiment in every town and city, to an anorexic organization in the mid 2000s,” said Johan Österberg, expert on military conscription with the Swedish Defence University. Rebuilding a military takes more than recruits, and even with sufficient numbers, “we don’t have buildings for them to sleep in,” he said.

Since 2017, about 100,000 Swedes each year must fill out an online questionnaire for the armed forces from which about 20% are selected to undergo psychological and physical testing. Around one-third of them are picked as conscripts.


A military exercise in Revingehed, Sweden.

Sweden has proved so successful at nurturing military talent that former conscripts are headhunted by the civil service and prized by tech companies.
In high school, “I dreamed about doing conscription,” said Ida Carlsson, who arrived at the South Scanian Regiment in March and was selected to become its first female reconnaissance platoon commander in 13 years. “I was very impatient.”

Norway has a similar conscription model to Sweden. Of about 60,000 young Norwegians, the armed forces each year select about 40% for tests and pick about 10,000 to serve. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark also are looking at introducing or updating their conscription programs.

Because Swedish military service attracts the best in class of any generation, civilian employers value former conscripts. After 14 months of military service as a Persian interpreter, Anders Fridén completed a tour to Afghanistan and went straight into a job at the Swedish Embassy in Tehran. The foreign service explicitly advertised for applicants who had done military service, Fridén said.

Since then, he has worked as a management consultant in the U.S., and is now at a tech company in Zurich. The 35-year-old said all his employers had valued the skills his military service had taught him.

“I think there is a recognition in society that this is a useful thing to do,” he said.

Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at sune.rasmussen@wsj.com