America is the richest nation in the world. America is the most free nation in the world. The American military is the strongest in the world, is effectively invincible, and will always be so. Slashing its budget can therefore do no real harm, and there is no chance of anyone daring to take advantage of any erroneous perception of decline and weakness on our part.
The U.S. Navy doesn’t have enough amphibious warships to effectively support the Marine Corps in training for combat operations, according to senior Pentagon officials.
Marine Lt. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations, said Friday the current fleet of 32 amphibious assault ships falls short of the number needed to meet operational requirements. He said this negatively impacts the ability of joint naval forces to train, particularly in large-scale formations, which harms readiness.
Beaudreault, testifying before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, said the training shortcomings have left at risk the “core competency” of the Marine Corps and Navy to move a combat force from ship-to-shore to rapidly penetrate enemy battle space.
“We can do some training…through virtual systems, but at some point you have to put the ships to sea and go through a mission rehearsal,” he testified. “The ability to generate the number of ships required to train at a Marine expeditionary brigade level just simply isn’t there, so we take it in bite-size chunks.”
The Navy has said it needs as many as 38 amphibious ships to meet rising operational demands, but the service likely won’t be able to reach that number until 2030 due to budget constraints.
That’s okay, it will be fine. I’m sure it will.
A US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon, marking at least the sixth apparent accident involving a Navy asset in East Asian waters this year.
The C2-A Greyhound transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers to an aircraft carrier when it crashed into the Philippine Sea, the Navy said. As of Wednesday evening, eight people had been rescued, and three were missing.
Wednesday’s crash comes three weeks after a Navy and civilian panel recommended sweeping changes in a comprehensive review of the Japan-based US 7th Fleet, which covers East Asian waters.
The review found that two deadly accidents — the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain with commercial ships in June and August, respectively — were avoidable.
No worries. Things will work themselves out. They always do, right?
The two US Navy destroyers involved in deadly collisions in the Pacific this summer both had lengthy records of failure to fulfill key training requirements, according to Government Accountability Office data provided to Congress and obtained by CNN.
The USS Fitzgerald had expired training certification for 10 out of 10 key warfare mission areas in June, and the USS John S. McCain had let its certifications lapse in six out of the 10 mission areas, the data show.
The training records of the McCain and Fitzgerald were worse than the average warship in the Pacific, but they weren’t the only ones with training problems. GAO testimony released last week revealed that expired training certifications for the Navy’s 11 cruisers and destroyers based in Japan had skyrocketed five-fold from 7% in January 2015 to 37% in June. Two-thirds of the certifications had been expired for at least five months.
No problem. Let’s just all remain calm and complacent here, okay? No need to fret. Really.
The number of Marine Corps aircraft ready to fly on any given day has plummeted in the last sevenyears, leading to serious questions about the safety of the service’s aircraft as leathernecks continue to wage war on terrorists and respond to crises around the world.
Mission-capable rates for all but one of the Marine Corps’ 12 fixed-wing, rotary and tiltrotor airframes have fallen since the end of fiscal 2009, according to data obtained by Marine Corps Times via Freedom of Information Act request. While officials stress that the number of flyable aircraft fluctuates daily, the downward trends have alarmed Marine leaders and members of Congress.
Of the Marine Corps’ 276 F/A-18 Hornets, only 87 are currently flyable, Marine Corps officials said on April 20. That is less than one-third of all the service’s F/A-18A-D variants that can be used to strike the Islamic State group, provide close-air support or fly reconnaissance missions.
By comparison, 73 percent of F/A-18As were mission capable in fiscal 2009 along with 77 percent of the C-variant and 76 percent of F/A-18Ds.
Marine helicopters have seen the biggest drop in readiness. Only 42 of the Marine Corps’ 147 CH-53E Super Stallions are flyable, or about 28.5 percent of the CH-53E fleet, according to Marine aviation officials. At the end of 2009, the CH-53E’s mission-capable rate more than doubled that at 63 percent, with 39 percent of the helos fully mission capable.
“In the typical squadron … the remaining six are not able to fly tonight due to a shortage in parts, long-term fixes or need some kind of attention that the squadron doesn’t have the ability to provide,” Salene told Marine Corps Times.
Hm. What might have happened in 2009 that could have caused all this, I wonder?
Oh yeah. I remember now.
President Obama would like the American people to believe that his lower spending caps on defense are only about eliminating waste at the Pentagon. He expressed this idea quite succinctly during a White House press conference on June 29, 2011: “I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to have difficult conversations with the Pentagon saying, you know what, there’s fat here; we’re going to have to trim it out.”
Undoubtedly, there are areas of waste in the Department of Defense (DOD), but by the Administration’s own admission, the President’s defense budget is overwhelmingly about reducing U.S. military capabilities. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has stated that this budget will reduce defense spending by $487 billion over 10 years, with $259 billion of these cuts applied over the next five years against an undefined baseline. Of the $259 billion in savings over the five years, he acknowledged that only $60 billion would come from increasing efficiency in the Department of Defense. Thus, according to Secretary Panetta’s statement, less than a quarter of the proposed savings over the next five years will come from increasing efficiency and more than three-quarters will come from reducing military capabilities.
Gee, it would seem elections really DO have consequences after all. Thank goodness there won’t ever be any more wars, eliminating any need for preparing ourselves to cope with the unexpected or unforeseeable.