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The Pentagon’s Lame Defense Hike

February 3, 2008

Its not nearly enough. From the Associated Press:

The Pentagon is seeking more than $20 billion in its 2009 budget to
increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps as the military struggles to
fight wars on two fronts, according to documents obtained by The Associated
The proposed budget, which will be unveiled Monday, will call for
$15.5 billion to boost the size of the Army by 7,000 soldiers, to a total of
532,400. And it will propose spending $5 billion to add 5,000 Marines to the
Corps, for a total of 194,000.
Separately, the budget will call for nearly
$11 billion to cover the costs of training, recruiting and retention.

A disproportionate amount of funds is then lavished on the defense industry:

Spending on aircraft, weapons, and research and development
defense-wide would total close to $184 billion, an increase of less than 5
percent over the current year. The Army alone is requesting $24.6 billion for
weapons and aircraft programs, an increase of $2 billion over its current
spending level.

I previously supported former presidential candidate Fred Thompson’s call for a “million-man army” and marine corps, which I think is the bare minimum for the insurgency type warfare the West continues to find itself embroiled in. Great Power Conflict, the kind we generally prepare for with our massive and expensive fleets of fighters, bombers, aircraft carriers, and armored devisions, have been obsolete beginning with Korea 1950, with the end coming after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The military is reaching a point of desperation, especially the USAF as their fleets of fighters built in the Reagan Era, helicopters from the Vietnam War, plus bombers, transports and air tankers designed in the Korean Conflict are falling from the skies and dieing of old age. The Navy as well is unable or unwilling to restore even Cold War era ship numbers when they increasingly plan for a shrunken fleet as threats multiply.

Their is hope, however, to salvage America’s fallen military fortunes, if we act now. My version of the defense budget would entail:

  • A rush order of some 500 late model F-16s, bought off the shelf to replace older aircraft from the 1980’s. If necessary, take over orders currently under contract for our allies. The need is that urgent
  • A freeze on all large ships for the navy including aircraft carriers, stealth destroyers, and amphibious ships. Purchase large numbers of littoral type warships like fast catamarans, corvettes, and patrol ships, to restore vital numbers to the fleet.
  • Cancel outright the bloated and hi-tech Future Combat System. Replacing it with wheeled vehicles like Strykers, MRAPs, and armored Humvees boought off the shelf. FCS technology could be added to these later if the technology proves viable.

All of the above is deemed vital to build up the ground forces, which have proved indispensable in dealing with Al Qaeda insurgents, who have proved so adept at countering our hi-tech and equipment heavy combat forces.

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