Defen$e: Or Why I Don’t Miss the Clinton Years.

Ah the ’90s….me in college, dial-up Internet, DOOM, and the military that was stretched to the breaking point. Army recruiting numbers were so low DA gave diploma waivers (and watched the quality go down). During the Clinton years, we had various panels and experts who hallowed out the military. They said it was to save money. They used the end of the Cold War as an excuse to gut the military. It was common to cannibalize two air craft to get a third into the air. As out leadership was busy with other things, our enemies began to build themselves up. Pay and benefits suffered too. That was the age of soldiers on food stamps.

And now the country is at another fork in the road. We’re broke (or close to it).
Two fellows at the USNI
try to come up with a cut. They want to see the big deck super carrier gone.

With smaller and lighter unmanned aircraft coming into the mix, the United States can also deploy smaller and lighter—and less expensive—ships to carry them.

We can’t know for sure in what ways future adversaries will challenge our Fleet, but we can assess with some certainty how technology is affecting their principal capabilities

Of course there is a rebuttal. XBradTC makes a good case for the large, big deck carriers many want to see cut.

The Navy has operated smaller carriers almost since they started operating carriers. But every time they have, they have relearned the lesson that bigger is better, both from a warfighting perspective, and in fact, in spite of the mindboggling up-front price tag, cheaper in the long run.

Every time there is a new technology, every new administration, every time the seasons change we have a host of “pundits” who have a “solution.” Cut this, kill that. Fred Kaplan wanted to kill the AH-64 Apache helo. POGO just hates the military. Eric Palmer is a loon. Everyone has the right to an opinion, especially if they are wrong. POGO’s damming report on the M-1 Abrams was proven flat out wrong during Operation Desert Storm . The less Kaplan says about defense the better. Eric Palmer is one of those special loons. When he’s wrong is dead wrong. But when he’s right, watch out…

The truth is that while the DOD does pull off some mighty bad foul balls (SGT YORK, I’m looking at you), the brass doesn’t just burn cash. Things change, threats change. XBrad points out that the drones those two chaps love so much don’t exist yet. Big carriers are still 4-5 acres of sovereign US territory. That can attack most of the countries of the world. A carrier is part of a battle group, always has been.

Same with missile defense. We do what the pundits said is “impossible” every day. Tanks were supposed to be on the way out (not happening, if anything combat vehicles will be heavier and have treads). And the list goes on.

Most of the time it’s people who think they have an answer. Other times its lefties with a axe to grind. They want to see the US become a has-been. What I fear is that the coming SecDefs listen to the “experts” and gut our military. That is the danger. Scott O’Grady was shot down because he did not have the ASPJ that would have stopped the SAM that got him. Thankfully he lived and left Bosnia. Thank you POGO and GAO for taking that piece of equipment from him.

Let’s see what the future brings, I was in the field the past week. I hear we may have a new SecDef.

Till then let the pundits murder electrons and kill trees. It’s a free country. We’ll defend them with the weapons they hate so much.


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