Two serious storm warnings, one national, and one local *UPDATE*

There are two storm warnings I want to give you, one of which requires action on your part, the other of which, depending on where you live, falls into the “sit, watch, and thank God you’re far away” category.

First warning:  Drastic cuts to the military, courtesy of Bawney Fwank, that noted military expert.  (And yes, I am being incredibly sarcastic describing him as such.)  The Navy Times provides some details:

Cut two carriers and 40 percent of new ballistic-missile subs, then slash the fleet to 230 ships and eight air wings. Terminate the F-35, Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and V-22 Osprey. Drop down to six expeditionary strike groups, eliminate the maritime prepositioning force and place greater emphasis on surging smaller naval groups as needed.

These are but some of the eyebrow-raising recommendations provided to Congress on June 10 by the Sustainable Defense Task Force. The group was formed at the request of Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Walter B. Jones, R-N.C.; and Ron Paul, R-Texas; and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The task force proposal amounts to $1.1 trillion in defense cuts over 10 years. Slightly more than half of that amount comes from personnel budgets; the rest comes by cutting research, development and procurement of weapons systems.

And that’s just cuts to the Navy.  As I understand it, the proposals are far-reaching, and involve drastic cuts to every aspect of our military.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea how the military feels about these cuts.  Maybe they worked with this committee, and honestly tried to trim out deadwood made unnecessary by technological advances.  However, given the committee’s composition, and given the Navy Times own raised eyebrows, I have a suspicion that the military might be less than sanguine about those suggestions, especially given that the world’s bad guys, seeing a weak man in the White House, are acting up like crazy (that would be Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, the Norks, Syria, etc, etc, etc).

Given my suspicion that the military may have its own ideas about the virtue of these cuts, and the coming storm they may bring about, it occurred to me that concerned citizens might want to make sure that groups that have the military’s interests at heart are sufficiently funded to make their presence known on Capitol Hill.  As you know, my pet group is the Navy League, a non-profit organization dedicated, in significant part, to “foster[ing] and maintain[ing] interest in a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as integral parts of a sound national defense and vital to the freedom of the United States.”

As I said, the proposed cuts may still leave us with a “strong” military as part of a sound defense for a free United States, but, well, I’m just not so sure.  I therefore urge you to join the Navy League or, if you have a pet military organization that provides a voice for the military before Congress, by all means, send money to that organization.

The second storm warning is for Oakland, California, residents.  If you remember the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, you might want to batten down the hatches in case similar rioting strikes in Oakland.  Here’s the problem, as Zombie describes it:

Nearly everyone in the Bay Area agrees that a major Oakland riot is brewing if the verdict in the trial of policeman Johannes Mehserle, accused of murdering BART passenger Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day, 2009, comes back anything other than “GUILTY!” The problem for Oakland’s sense of security is that Mehserle is almost certainly not guilty of murder, and the jury is likely to give him a comparatively light sentence or even let him go completely.

You should, of course, read Zombie’s entire article, which goes to the impending lawlessness in Oakland, a city on the verge of cutting 80 positions from its active duty police officers.

UPDATED:  It doesn’t quite belong here, but since there is a storm brewing in the Gulf, this seems like the best place to put Ace’s post about the way in which overreaching government bureaucracy destroys all functioning.  One of the stepping stones on my journey across the Rubicon to conservatism was Phillip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, in which he describes the way in which government bureaucracy, by aiming for some elusive perfection and by working to keep itself funded, destroys efficiency, innovation, and basic functionality.

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Comments

  1. gpc31 says

    Historically speaking, the proposed military cuts are entirely predictable during a debt crisis.  Niall Ferguson gave a video lecture entitled “Fiscal Crises and Imperial Collapse” (worth a google).  Many cogent points, but his conclusions:
    a) Military spending is the first cut
    b) Cases of default bring conflicts (wars)
    c) Prolonged currency depreciation eventually causes the loss of reserve currency status (good luck with the timing, though).

    Obama’s weakness and disasterous policies both domestic and foreign are going to invite war on all fronts.  D*** him to h***.

  2. Mike Devx says

    Speaking of Obama and weakness – but I repeat myself – this video is wonderful.   (I found it via Ace Of Spades.)
     
    Is it too dramatically harsh?  Hell, no, not to me.  I think it lays out the case against Obama and his Administration very well.  It’s damning.  It’s harsh.  And it *ought* to be damning and harsh.
     
    http://vimeo.com/12933322
     

  3. Bill Smith says

    AS for your update about suffocating govt regulations, never forget this simple rule:
     
    Don’t let the Perfect become the enemy of the Good — as we are certainly doing now in the gulf.

  4. Jose says

    The cuts outlined above dig deeply into operational capability.  I wonder if Barney & Co have considered closing unnecessary installations or weapons programs that the military is forced maintain due to political reasons? 

  5. Oldflyer says

    I wonder if the panel included recommendations for cuts in commitments.  This is a recurring theme; cut the “bloated” capability, but for some reason there is never anyplace that commitments can be reduced.
    David Foster, you are singing an old refrain.  I have seen the effects.  During Viet Nam when we had six carriers in the Tonkin Gulf, NATO would not release us from our commitment to keep two in the Mediterranean.  Consequently, we had pasted together, second class, or worse, weapons systems meeting those commitments. During the Yom Kippur war, my carrier’s deployment was extended to face off with a huge Soviet Fleet which was threatening (bluffing?) to enter the fight, but the key air defense radar (I was responsible for air defense)  had been inoperative for weeks–no parts.  During the Carter years we were virtually deploying hollow shells. So called all-weather fighter squadrons had to cannibalize aircraft to fly a few with operating radars.  No spare parts, but plenty of commitments.
    Force levels for the Navy are always open to debate.  Ships, especially mission capable carriers, are very expensive, and during good times they may  go for many years without facing a real threat.  But, then when you need them there is no real alternative. You can say the same about submarines.
    Before the country thinks of cuts in force level it better achieve consensus on international affairs philosophy and  national strategy for the long-term. It must also make a realistic evaluation of threats. Once  decisions are made about Naval force levels, it will take a very long time to affect change. + It takes an excruciatingly long time to develop a modern weapon system even if you have the capability to do so.  But, one of the recurring themes in debates of air and naval force levels is industrial capacity. Once you degrade the national capacity capacity to design and produce modern ships and aircraft you are stuck with the decision.  Budget cutters do not want to acknowledge this fact, but it is indisputable.  The public sometimes wonder why new ships or aircraft are purchased when there seems no real need for increased numbers, but the maintenance of certain production lines, and the design/production expertise  is a national priority.
    One cut that is absolutely untenable right now is the F-35.  The Navy has limped along for  decades without a seriously improved tactical aircraft design.  The FA-18,  which is now the only tactical plane in the fleet, was originally forced on the Navy, although it did not meet many of the  performance specs.  Performance of the plane has been improved  incrementally, but the  basic design is  about 30 years old.  Now Putin has announced a fifth generation fighter, which he brags already exceeds our own, F-22 and F-35.  Hopefully he exaggerates.  The Chinese are also working hard to upgrade their force.
     
     

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