Disarmament?

Pentagon Said to Offer Cuts in the Billions,” by Eric Schmitt, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/30/politics/30military.html, 30 December 2004 (from Democratic Underground).

News at first troubling

Under the proposal, the Navy would retire the carrier John F. Kennedy – one of the oldest carriers in the fleet, having first been deployed in 1968 – next year. The Kennedy, based in Mayport, Fla., recently completed a tour in the Persian Gulf, where its air wing was flying 60 missions a day, including flights to Iraq.

The Kennedy’s retirement would, for the first time since the mid-1990’s, reduce the size of the Navy’s carrier fleet.

The proposal also calls for reducing the number of new LPD-17 San Antonio-class amphibious landing docks, which are designed to transport Marine assault vehicles, amphibious landing craft and Osprey aircraft, to trouble spots around the world. The Navy had originally planned to buy five of the ships over the next five years, at about $1.2 billion apiece. The vessels are built by Northrop Grumman in New Orleans.

Another major change would be to build fewer new Navy destroyers than planned over the next six years. A team of contractors, led by Northrop Grumman, is building the ships, currently called DD(X), at a cost of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion per vessel, in Pascagoula, Miss., and in Bath, Me.

In addition, development of the Army’s $120 billion Future Combat System would be delayed. The system is designed to link soldiers by computer with remotely piloted aircraft and combat vehicles

But signs that Donald Rumsfeld has been pushing for this for a while

When Donald H. Rumsfeld became defense secretary in 2001, he took aim at costly weapons systems that he and his top aides said were relics of the cold war. Since then, the Army has canceled the $11 billion Crusader artillery system and the $38 billion Comanche reconnaissance helicopter program.

But the armed services have until now resisted deeper cuts and have been buoyed by big increases in military spending since Sept. 11.

No comment. This is a big change happening under the radar. But to what end, and how effective will it be?

4 thoughts on “Disarmament?”

  1. Well – as for Communities – I think I like my “blog” listing better! Tried to get to you by the “community” door – you were missing! Iraq – your “posts” do lean that direction more than most! Good choice. I'm much happier with my “private” list than with the some of the people I've run into in the community breaks. I guess there will be a lot of changing going on until “the dust settles!” since we are only permitted to settle in three places! I thought of joining knitting even because I'd like to learn – but I have nothing in reference to knitting to offer?!?! Who knows 🙂 For now – all I have to offer is words.

  2. The funny thing about defense cuts is that the public (and even many bloggers) often aren’t aware of the whole story in very critical ways.

    The JFK was long known as a maintenance beast (it had a very high turnover rate of Commanding Officers in its last decade, often largely due to problems in the yards stemming from maintenance delays, contractor screw-ups, and absurd design failures in wiring, piping and habitation reqs), but the average citizen and even reporter who didn’t know how to do their homework and couldn’t interview people who’d worked on the ship in the late 90’s/early 21st century would have thought it was a case of DOD just cutting corners blindly.

    I comment on this because I wonder if some of the pending criticism of cuts in the defense budget (and ramping up of spending in other defense areas) will once again occur amid a vacuum of very relevant, not so Top-Secret information.

  3. Definitely.

    Proponents correctly perceive that opponents who cannot argue against the strategic wisdom of a plan will attack it at different levels (operational, tactical, etc) in an effort to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and so often discount the value of non-strategic arguments.

    Still, as the old saying goes, amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics.

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