Defense Drumbeats

Sep 16, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
On Wednesday, Nathan Hodge of the Wall Street Journal warned of the rising costs of a rapidly aging military in a piece entitled “Geriatric U.S. Arsenal Needs Expensive-Lift.”

Hodge describes an Air Force worn by age and stress, along with a shrinking, aging Navy:

Sep 8, 2011 Defense Drumbeat

WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) released “Provide for the Common Defense: The U.S. Military 10 Years After 9/11”. The video highlights the human face and strategic costs of defense decisions motivated by math, not strategy.

Aug 29, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
The Defense Department recently released a report on the Military and Security Developments in China, specifically referencing Beijing’s increasing assertiveness and military capabilities. In an article for Real Clear Politics, Jed Babbin in “China's Economic Sword” writes that “the Beijing regime thinks the first two decades of the 21st Century are a ‘strategic window of opportunity’ in which China’s ‘comprehensive national power’ can be enhanced. A close reading of that report reveals that the continuing the US economic crisis is a principal reason for that belief.’” “The prolonged weakness of the US economy is a double-edged sword for the Communist Chinese. Though they are advantaged by the Obama administration’s increasing unwillingness to fund our defense, our economic instability threatens one of the foundations of the regime. As the Pentagon report says, continued economic development is, to Beijing, a “bedrock of social stability” as well as the means of underwriting the rapid expansion of Chinese military power. They believe that any economic slump could undermine their hold on domestic power. … “According to House Armed Services Committee sources briefed by the Pentagon, any threat to the continued growth of the Chinese economy is considered of ultimate strategic importance to Beijing. China’s economy -- threatened by our economic weakness and Europe’s -- faces a rapid contraction caused in part by a diminution of trade. “But the other side of China’s economic sword poses a great danger to the United States. China watchers have, for nearly a decade, observed Beijing’s enormous military buildup with concern. It’s been more than 500 years since China built a deep-water navy, and it’s well on the way to having a force that can effectively block US intervention in defense of allies such as Taiwan and Japan. China’s air forces are also building to an effective area denial force. The Chinese chose to unveil their new stealthy J-20 fighter while then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was visiting China, a gesture timed to cause Gates – and the United States – to lose face. The Chinese see themselves as a rising power and America as a global has-been. And they believe that is true in both the military and economic spheres. “However great China’s conventional military buildup is (and we don’t really know because their military spending is well-concealed) China’s dedication to the development of asymmetric weapons is even more intense. In cyberwar, China is probably the world leader and is, as the report cites, responsible for a massive cyberespionage effort. Though the Pentagon report alludes to the likelihood that China is behind major cyberattacks (principally espionage) against the US and other nations, other sources have told me repeatedly that China is clearly behind those and other cyberattacks – some successful – which were aimed at disrupting of destroying US classified computer networks.” … For the remainder of the article, visit Real Clear Politics.
Jul 29, 2011 Defense Drumbeat

** Due to the cancellation of the legislative session for the remainder of the week, the Committee hearings scheduled for the week have been postponed. **

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
(3:00 pm – 2118 Rayburn – Open)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jul 28, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
“It’s so big [the defense budget] that you can make relatively modest changes to defense that end up giving you a lot of headroom to fund things like basic research or student loans or things like that.” - President Obama, July 6, 2011 “We are the only Army in the world, where if [a soldier] is asking for something, anything, he knows he’s going to get it. And that is a level of trust we have with the soldiers of the United States Army. We just need to make sure, that whatever we do, we never take away his ability and his belief that if in combat, he asks for it, he’s going to get it.” -- General Peter Chiarelli- Vice Chief Of Staff, United States Army According General Martin Dempsey, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it would be "extraordinarily difficult and very high risk" to cut $800 billion from defense spending as is proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as part of efforts to reduce the national debt. General Dempsey accurately points out that "national security didn't cause the debt crisis nor will it solve it.” Despite this fact, Senate Democrats and the President continue to insist on cutting defense to pay for deficit reduction anywhere from $400 billion to over $800 billion. Service Chiefs Wary of Deep Cuts This sentiment was underscored by four senior military officers at a Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday where all four leaders told the subcommittee that they are “currently unable to meet all the needs of the military’s regional combatant commanders,” according to the Hill. The Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant all stated on the record that they could not withstand additional, significant defense cuts without fundamentally altering force structure and strategy. They offered a chilling, but realistic view of their current readiness status and what might happen to U.S. national security strategy should cuts be enacted on this level. United States Marine Corps, Assistant Commandant General Joseph Dunford: “Marines and their gear at their home stations were in a ‘degraded readiness state,’ thanks to their decade of war, meaning they’d be late to ‘respond to unexpected crises.’ “Dunford, told a House subcommittee that he had enough Marines to service the needs of CENTCOM (Central Command) but not the other commands. In other words, the Marines are stretched thin, a point that McKeon says applies to the entire military,” according to Fox News. “The Marines would face challenges in absorbing its share of a $400 billion cut. If cuts go beyond that, ‘we would have to start making some fundamental changes in the nature of the Marine Corps,’ Dunford said. United States Navy, Vice Chief Admiral Jonathan Greenert: “Greenert said the Navy needs more ships to meet demands of combatant commanders worldwide.” "The stress on the force is real," Greenert said. "and it has been relentless." United States Air Force, Vice Chief General Philip Breedlove: “Air Force Vice Chief Gen. Phillip Breedlove said defense cuts larger than $400 billion would force a ‘fundamental’ change in how the service meets its part of the military’s mission, and force it to reduce ‘capacity,’ meaning equipment.” “Some portions of the Air Force, he said, ‘are right at the ragged edge.’ United States Army, Vice Chief General Peter Chiarelli: “The Army is also stretched too thin, Chiarelli warned,” and noted that the Army is still hasn’t met goals for dwell time at home for American troops. Chiarelli, also said “bigger reductions would require his service do a ‘major reassessment’ of how it carries out its missions.” According to the Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant, the logical conclusion is that drastic defense cuts will require a new national security approach. The question is – will we force our military to do more with less? The President has not made the distinction between cuts and military strategy, instead proposing defense cuts while expanding the military’s mission (Libya, Japan, Haiti, fighting pirates off the coast of Africa) and expecting our troops to maintain their current duties. If enacted, defense cuts discussed by the President and Senator Reid mean that our Armed Services will have to do a “major reassessment” of how they carry out their missions, as the Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant acknowledged.The President should be frank with American people about the condition of our military and recognize the potentially disastrous consequences of his proposed cuts. Media Coverage: Vice chiefs bemoan readiness in bid to save budgets -- DoD Buzz http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/07/26/vice-chiefs-bemoan-readiness-in-bid-to-save-budgets/#ixzz1TIzR7nJ1 POLITICO Morning Defense -- Politico http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/ Military brass warns against deep cuts -- Daily Press http://www.dailypress.com/news/military/dp-nws-forbes-military-hearing-20110726,0,7907019.story Top Brass Unloads on Austerity Plan -- Wired http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/top-brass-unload-on-austerity-plan/ Joint Chiefs chairman nominee warns against $800 billion in Defense cuts -- The Hill http://thehill.com/news-by-subject/defense-homeland-security/173509-joint-chiefs-chairman-nominee-warns-against-800-billion-in-defense-cuts Budget Cuts Will Further Damage U.S. Combat Readiness, Senior Officers Say -- CQ http://cq.com/doc/news-3916669?wr=eFF6UlQqRXM3azNqREZ3eFpyZW9nUQ General Dempsey warns against deep defense cuts -- Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/27/us-usa-defense-dempsey-idUSTRE76Q0NF20110727 DoD Brass Warn of Impact of More Than $400 Billion In Security Cuts -- Defense Daily (Subscription Required) http://www.defensedaily.com/publications/dd/14663.html Forbes: 'I Worry About Our State of [Military] Readiness' -- Weekly Standard http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/forbes-i-worry-about-our-state-military-readiness_577623.html Right at the Ragged Edge -- Air Force Magazine http://www.airforce-magazine.com/Pages/default.aspx Panetta Reviewing Air-Sea Battle Plan Summary, Greenert Says -- Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-26/panetta-reviewing-air-sea-battle-plan-summary-greenert-says.html House Armed Services Chairman Opposes Major Defense Cuts -- FoxNews http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/07/26/house-armed-services-chairman-opposes-major-defense-cuts#ixzz1TJ7FGYme ###
Jul 26, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
On Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing, “Ten Years After the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: CurrentStatus of Legal Authorities, Detention, and Prosecution in the War on Terror,” to examine legal issues surrounding the continued fight against terrorists at war with the United States.

An Updated Statute for an Evolving War

Jul 25, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
Several Armed Services Committee members took to the opinion pages Monday to draw a line in the sand over more defense cuts and highlight the dire consequences of cutting an already strapped force.

On the offense over Defense cuts

Jul 21, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
“It’s so big [the defense budget] that you can make relatively modest changes to defense that end up giving you a lot of headroom to fund things like basic research or student loans or things like that.”    -President Obama, July 6, 2011
Jul 19, 2011 Defense Drumbeat
"It’s so big [the defense budget] that you can make relatively modest changes to defense that end up giving you a lot of headroom to fund things like basic research or student loans or things like that.”    -President Obama, July 6, 2011

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