So this topic is an offshoot from another topic which really deserves it’s own discussion. The status/health/capabilities of the United States armed forces. It comes from this claim: “The US is in no shape to fight any size battle, much less a war.”
An interesting topic. This could be a megathread about all kinds of aspects of our military forces and capabilities. FY23 looks like the defense budget was $857 billion. And then there’s supplementary funding too. But even that $857 billion is about 14% of the US budget. Someone may want to check those numbers but that’s what I found online and seems about right. But what is the state of our military? There are any number of ways to look at this. I think this would be a really good topic to talk about people’s concerns, their own personal experiences, their opinions and what we can do to improve things. Below I’m just spit balling some possible topics:
Recruitment: Which is difficult now and has been an issue many times in the past depending upon the era.
Procurement: F-35/K-46/LCS issues. There are a million of them. Things that aren’t working and things that are. An example of things that seem to have gone well would be like P-8 production and operations. Not counting the one that’s currently sitting in the ocean off of Hawaii.
Military Personnel Mental Health: Suicides is a very large problem.
VA resources and performance: Speaks for itself. This has always been an issue.
Readiness levels: How many of our ships/planes/army and marine corps units are actually ready to actually see combat.
Pentagon Audits: These are never good. We waste so much ■■■■■■■ money. Sorry, my opinion.
Allies: Ones that work and ones that don’t. I’m incredibly interested in the US-UK-Australia cooperation. We’ll be having our own Virginia class subs based in Australia soon as the AUKUS program takes shape. A really interesting commitment. Ones that don’t really seem to work. Looking at you Turkey.
Production: The Ukraine war has shown how much more capacity we need to refill ammunition stocks. Artillery, SAMS, ATGMs…
The ridiculous changes in the battlefield that Ukraine has shown us. Things that are obsolete(A-10s) and things that are the future(probably fleets of thousands and thousands of drones)…
So stuff like that. Personally, I have a lot of confidence in our ability to handle military threats. Not sure how a fight over Taiwan goes, but no one really does. But even in connection to that I really like what our policy has been in firming up ties and cooperation with South Korea, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Philippines(we have access to I believe now 9 more bases for military use there).
So again, this might be a good place to talk about those things and the hundred other ones I didn’t even mention. But it’s important to talk about considering how vital our military is to our nation and all of our foreign policy. So lets talk about some ■■■■■
If I were going to wage war against the US all that needs to be done is to send one’s army to the Southern border and simply tell CBP that they are asylum seekers. At that point we would have no choice but to let them all in as we are legally obligated to allow them to go anywhere in the US they wish until we can adjudicate their asylum claim. Over a few years they could easily build an army of 20-30 million strong.
It’s not just the military. It’s also the American civilian base that supports the military.
A 20 year long mid intensity war just ended. And like Vietnam before it it ended in a way that hasn’t left anyone satisfied with its consequences and results. Either in the military, the government, or the civilian world.
Both the military and the civilian sector need a mental rebuilding period. Similar to what happened in the 70s and early 80s. Eventually things will get better. But when you look at low recruitment rates as well as the high rates of guys who would usually be lifers leaving service early it’s clear that we aren’t ready for another adventure like Afghanistan right now. The country as a whole just can’t do it right now.
It’s going to be a long mental and physical rebuilding period. Just like how things were after Vietnam.
The most disturbing thing to me is just how many experienced NCOs have left service early before their twenty year mark.
That’s thousands of combat experience hours lost. Guys who would normally stay in for life (like a friend of mine who did two full combat tours in Afghanistan) got out way before they hit that 20 year mark. Guys who could have passed on what they learned to the next generation of recruits once they got integrated into their units.
When I was in, our leadership training (I am a PLDC, BNCOC and ANCOC graduate) was Battle Focused. What battle Focused meant was that everything we did was to be viewed through the filter of did it support our mission to fight and win on the battle field.
I concur that this is a huge problem. Going back to the Unit Status Report (USR), the personnel portion looked at not just if the unit had the right number of warm bodies to fill the positions on the unit’s Military Table of Organization & Equipment (MTOE), but were the individuals holding key positions, by grade and training, matched to the requirements of the position. We were required to report positions not filled, or filled with untrained/under grade personnel. Just because you have a body in the slot doesn’t mean you are capable of performing expected battle tasks to standard.
many military experts worried that the constant deployments would “break” the force since they expected that fewer young Americans would volunteer to serve in a wartime military. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.