sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Spear

Viva Trump!

Mexico understands that they must deal with President Trump because they (and the US) have a symbiotic relationship. 

My sense is that three years from now, things will be working like clockwork...the wall will be built, etc. However there's a chance that the PRI party (center left - Partido Revolucionario Institucional) will be out and the PRD party (communist - hard left - Partido de la Revolución Democrática) will take the presidency and the legislature. It's going to take a lot of cash to keep the PRI in place.

Military Spending

There is an old adage that a nation can make guns or butter but has difficulty in doing both at the same time. I think that's true in the USA today. There is inherent vast expense in running a military. This blog has many veterans who read it and I thank you for your comments, for your experience and for your service. 

There is the tip of the spear where kinetic action takes place in the military. Then there is the logistics and support mechanism (the shaft of the spear), heavily populated with staff, general officers and their (bloated) staffs. At the moment, it's a very long spear with a very short (but razor sharp) point.

Making changes to this vast human machine is always fraught with challenges. The bureaucracy which created the machine, fights like the third monkey on its way up the ramp of Noah's Ark when it's starting to rain. 

Encouraging redundant generals and admirals to retire and then quietly retiring their billets when they're gone may be a prudent step in the right direction, but I don't think that President Trump will take that approach in draining the swamp. Maybe Vice President Pence will do that in his first term as President, 8 years from now?

To me simply getting the assets we have pushed through maintenance schedules until we're all caught up, replacing spare parts and munitions and rotating people who need to be rotated would be a huge victory.

I recall a Naval Special Warfare Command environment when we were still using World War 2 surplus in the 1980's. That all changed when the Army started running the SEAL Teams (through JSOC) and they understood the need for modern equipment. My point is that before we start talking about new toys, we need to fix the operational matrix that we have and that along with funding, will likely take a couple of years at a peacetime military tempo.

Vetting Visitors

There is the eight year old child standard that needs to apply to national policy.

If you ask any eight year old child whether you should check out somebody before you let them into your house, they will likely tell you that they don't let strangers in without telling a parent.

Neither should your teenage girl pick up hitchhikers strange to her on a lonely highway at night. The eight year old will set you straight on that too if you ask.

The protesters who are upset at a TEMPORARY travel ban from seven countries where those countries of origin can't keep track of who received a passport need to consult an eight year old...and listen to the advice.

14 comments:

  1. You and Mad Dog Mattis think alike. That's a good thing.

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    1. General Mattis is tall enough that his presence blots out the sun for insignificant old frogs such as myself. Thus I can't respond beyond saying that if Mad Dog thinks we should do it, we should do it. I've been very occupied with other things lately and haven't had time to think about what I'd do if I was SECDEF - but the job is massive and needs to be worked out at both that global level while insuring that the granular details support the global roof...if that makes sense and if I'm not rambling.

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  2. In the 1980's, my primary job as an army E-6 staff sergeant was to keep a 1955 Studebaker 2.5 ton truck from falling into such disrepair that it became 'red lined.' Too broke to fight.

    And this was a major league challenge. This truck was the vehicle, among several other similarly aging vehicles, that my squad depended on to haul our 12 soldiers and all of their gear, and all of our intel electronics, etc. into the battlefield. While this truck was solid enough, this deuce and a half was still as old as I was at the time (27 or so). With no plans on replacing it that I was told of.

    I am guessing that these old antiques have been upgraded by now, maybe. But old equipment works most of the time, and when it doesn't bad things happen to the mission.

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    1. Every generation or so, we as a nation have to fix what we've neglected. One day, we won't and somebody will call our bluff. The Trump Administration is determined to set things right, and we will have to borrow money to pay for it.

      I see a lot of people lining up with construction projects to fix America for a trillion or so, thinking that President Trump will be the same sort of rube that Barack was when he "stimulated the economy" and a trillion vanished into those four or five dozen shovel-ready jobs.

      The nations economy has been neglected for so long by the Reps and Dems working together (but we can build transgender bathrooms) that doing all of this is a significant challenge. One way to fix it in part is to fix trade deficit issues and bring jobs back to the US. President Trump is aware and the progressive curs are clueless.

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    2. 1964, Hanau, Germany I drove a 5 ton truck that had welded over bullet holes from WWII. I doubt we had any 5 ton newer than 1950.

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    3. Fool: I got drunk in Hanau a time or two. I was stationed near Frankfurt (Hochst), and the division guys got those nice 5-ton units...yes, from the 1950's. I was at the battalion level, we got stuck with the duece and a halfs.

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    4. Lots of places to get drunk in Hanau. My choice den of iniquity was the Jolly Bar, just a twenty minute stagger back to Pioneer Kaserne.

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  3. Trump is getting the job done. As to the military, and the third monkey analogy, you are spot on. I remember reading the late Col Hackworth's warnings about perfumed princes. If still alive, he would add perfumed princesses.

    Regarding maintenance my late father's mantra was, "Grease is cheaper than machinery".

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    1. Your father's wisdom echoes through the ages.

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  4. The B-52 has been kept useful through upgrades. There are great grandkids, I am sure, piloting or working on them.

    The Wart Hog - A-10, was ahead of its time, and I think still the best support aircraft around.

    The Air Force has been cut a lot, as drones and the threat have changed. I wish they would bring back SAC - with the right people; and do away with TAC - which I never liked. Haha. But that is just me. I liked SAC.

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    1. The venerable B-52 lacks the defensive capacity for deep penetration gravity bombing but they can carry a lot of cruise missiles, the B-1B is a good aircraft but there aren't many of them and thy are aging. The B-2 is so vastly expensive that the loss of one would be catastrophic. Finding the right mix for SAC in this age is difficult. Being a dinosaur I am not trusting of drones to survive in a high 'static' combat environment but they could guide in the way cruise missiles do without outside telemetry.

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    2. If we can get a solid 8 years out of this admin, I'm hoping our procurement strategy can finally turn the corner and be more like the Russians, and produce cheaper, more plentiful and inherently more sturdy aircraft.

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  5. Boeing knocked it out of the park when they designed and built the B-52.

    The thing is a dump truck for bombs, and works very well.

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