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Thread: SECDEF's DoD Budget Proposals

  1. #41
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    Default The Q & A...

    was the most interesting part, especially when compared to previous reporting.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/transcrip...nscriptid=4396

    One good exchange:

    GATES: For me, it was not a close call. And the basic conclusion was that, first of all, we have fulfilled the program. I mean, it's not like we're killing the F-22. We will have 187 of them. That has -- the 183 of that has been the program of record, as I recall, since 2005. So we are completing the F-22 program. And the military advice that I got was that there is no military requirement for numbers of F-22s beyond the 187.

    Q: What about the Air Force advice? They've been (allegedly ?) badgering you with all sorts of analysis that they need 60 more.

    GATES: That was their advice as well.

    Q: Excuse me. It was their advice as well that --

    GATES: Yes.

    Q: -- that you didn't need more than 187?

    GATES: Yes.
    Which is even more interesting when you compare it to this interview by the CSAF (by law responsible for military advice to SECDEF):

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...F22s021709.xml

    “We looked at this in a dispassionate and analytical way” and produced a number that “I feel is credible,” Schwartz said during a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast this morning in Washington. The general said he would not release his new number until presenting it to Defense Secretary Robert Gates - but he noted he would not disagree with statements from Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told Congress 60 more F-22s were needed.
    Hmmm... it seems like there is a disconnect somewhere. I will be curious to see what the congressional testimony by the uniformed folks ends up being.

    Also interesting to look at the National Military Strategy and its requirements vs. the air superiority assets we will have with 187 F-22s and 250 less F-15Cs/F-16s...

    I fully agree on the need to re-orient and have a "full spectrum" force... but if your strategy results in you needing X aircraft, X-310 = strategy-capabilities mismatch. A lot of risk is going to be accepted if this goes through.

    Anyone out there involved in QDR/know when a new NMS might be out?

    V/R,

    Cliff

  2. #42
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    187 (now 186 with the recent crash) F-22's are enough, I think, for the next ten years or so. Beyond that, no one can say with any certainty, but that is true for pretty much system. That's the funny thing about the future - it's hard to predict!

    What I think the most zealous opponents of the F-22 fail to consider, however, is that a modest number of aircraft means the follow-on to the F-22 could come a lot sooner than it otherwise would have.

    The real risk with this plan is that the DoD is betting on the F-35, which is still a program in development. It seems to assume there will be no more problems and the aircraft will reach IOC on time, with all the advertised capabilities at the advertised cost (which keeps rising).

  3. #43
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    Yes. The only two tanks that the Abrams would have difficulty against are the Leopard 2A6 and the Challenger2.




    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    A bit off topic, but a question for you armor guys: Is the Abrams still competitive today against the latest from the Russians and others?
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

  4. #44
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That may have very well been considered by

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    What I think the most zealous opponents of the F-22 fail to consider, however, is that a modest number of aircraft means the follow-on to the F-22 could come a lot sooner than it otherwise would have.
    said zealous opponents -- not to mention the SecDef, his minions and the Chief of staff of the whole USAF who allegedly acceded to the new lower number...
    The real risk with this plan is that the DoD is betting on the F-35, which is still a program in development. It seems to assume there will be no more problems and the aircraft will reach IOC on time, with all the advertised capabilities at the advertised cost (which keeps rising).
    I really doubt anyone has other than the expectation of teething problems. All new equipment has them. All. If that equipment pushes the state of the art, and the F-35 does, then it's beyond certain such problems will appear. We really know that and long time watchers know that by far the best way to get those problems fixed is to get the equipment in service. Long time watchers know that -- even if the GAO and the ignorant media and most in Congress do not.

    On another note, the CSAR and WH bird decisions are most likely simply a time out to await the S-92 fixing the bugs in the CH 148 program. Buying American always sells; the Hook is good but dated and BIG and that other bird has mek-a-nickel probs out the wazoo...

    Strategy is as necessary inside the beltway as in the broader world.

    Only thing I disagree with is stopping C-17 buys. Now let's see what Obama and his and our 535 (elected) thieves do...

    On another note. Okay, Steinbeck -- enjoy watching the Sea Otters off the pier after your Abalone steak...

  5. #45
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Alls fair...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    On another note. Okay, Steinbeck -- enjoy watching the Sea Otters off the pier after your Abalone steak...
    Dude just remember you started it....as we descend into childish games....

    Damn NCO academy, aren't you supposed to be cutting your grass as a hallmark of discipline?

    v/r

    Mike

  6. #46
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Of course it is...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Damn NCO academy...
    Never attended one nor that SGM academy that's lost its way (Thank all the gods!!! Thanks for my non-attendance, not that the Academy has lost its way... ).
    ...aren't you supposed to be cutting your grass as a hallmark of discipline?
    That was always something Co / Trp Cdrs and Team Leaders worried about back in my day; not my yob -- that yob was training. Grass cutting or police call were not included in my little list of things to train or do.

    Nowadays my Wife does that. Worry about the grass, that is. Been known to cut it as well. Whenever she gets tired of doing it, we just screw some barb wire pickets in the ground, fence the area with engineer tape and hang signs that say "Seeded: Keep Off" around the perimeter. Stops the neighbors muttering and backs off the Neighborhood Watch.

    Whatever works...

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    I watched the NCAA championship last night. I'm a huge Carolina fan. Does that make me an expert on basketball?
    No. But if you had played a basketball game on an XBox or Playstation, then that would make you an expert basketball player. At least, that is what I infer from claims that violent military-like video games are a conspiracy to turn kids into killing machines for the military.

  8. #48
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Sarcasm reigns....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Nowadays my Wife does that. Worry about the grass, that is. Been known to cut it as well. Whenever she gets tired of doing it, we just screw some barb wire pickets in the ground, fence the area with engineer tape and hang signs that say "Seeded: Keep Off" around the perimeter. Stops the neighbors muttering and backs off the Neighborhood Watch. Whatever works...
    I suppose love is simply finding someone to endure one's endless transgressions and faults.

    Back to reality, it is refreshing to have a SECDEF that actually listened to Ike's musings on the military industrial complex...Rather right in choice, at least he listened.

    v/r

    Mike

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    Entropy, PM sent on tank question.

  10. #50
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    From The Economist, A Daring Punt: Robert Gates Changes the Pentagon's Priorities

    MORE men at the expense of machines; more drones rather than top-end fighter jets and future bombers; more helicopters for combat troops rather than a replacement for the presidential chopper; more coastal vessels and fewer aircraft-carriers; better cyberdefences, but scaled-back missile defences and laser weapons. In short, the new American defence budget would spend more on today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and less to stave off future threats from China or Russia.

    The proposals have delighted those who think America will fight irregular “small wars” for the foreseeable future, and horrified those who believe it must be ready to fight big conventional ones. (emphasis mine)
    I still don't understand the fear over the conventional capability. While I understand, but do not share, the concern that we do not train enough on conventional, BDE/DIV warfighting, I think it takes irrationality to a new level in worrying that this budget, too, will somehow diminish our conventional capability. The real or imagined diminishing of that capability is due to allocation of training time, not material resources.

    NOTE: The comment sections of a news outlet's website are generally not the place to find intelligent discussion, but this story in the Economist bucked the trend. Check out the first 10 or so comments (click this link instead of the one at the story, to see the oldest comments first). This is one of those rare instances where reader comments actually add worthwhile commentary to the story.

    In particular, see the comment by System Planner (4th comment from the top):
    Mr. Gates has started a resource reallocation process without really affecting the top-line. There will be no net jobs impact. He has cleared the deck and seized the moral high ground prior to the QDR and the PR 2011 budget. In POM 2012, expect to see major surgery. His most important change is remanning the DOD civil service to provide competent acquisition oversight and a substantial in-house R&D capability. That move make DOD the master of its own fate. The day of the huge system integration contractor is rapidly passing. It really has failed miserably.
    Can anyone vouch for the accuracy of that comment?
    Last edited by Schmedlap; 04-11-2009 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Added more stuff

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post

    I also believe we not only forget reconnaissance is a mission, we don't even generally do reconnaissance.
    ...
    That's why current Cav units are too small, they're not scouts (or dragoons) nowadays, they're sacrificial lambs.
    I genuinely miss being on here everyday. It's statements like these that warm my heart and make me feel not so alone.

    We have abdicated our moral authority in the realm of reconnaissance in the hopes that technology, sensors, and gizmos will provide us with what we need to win the battle. We've become obsessed with technologies replicating or replacing the senses of the Soldier. We've hosed ourselves in that arena. Thankfully Secretary Gates maybe saving us from ourselves.

    We're bad enough with reconnaissance. We're even worse with security operations. We did this to ourselves when we neglected to remember that R&S is recon and security, not recon and surveillance.
    Example is better than precept.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    In particular, see the comment by System Planner (4th comment from the top):

    Can anyone vouch for the accuracy of that comment?
    I have read in several places that the official word now is that the contractor workforce is too large in comparison to the rest of DOD, and that it will be reduced, and the ranks of the civil service will increase. I believe that the acquisition workforce will be entirely civil service.

    Where I work (JFCOM), we have started hiring more GS (well, NSPS) and have been slowly cutting down on contractor work force via consolidating contracts, so far. So maybe it is a trend. There is certainly plenty of rumors that this will gear up in a big way.

    Also, there is a big push to get anybody having anything to do with acquisition DAWIA certified, including yours truly.
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

  13. #53
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Helos and Contractors

    Entropy: Not so much a reduction to the budget. It's being couched as a “re-balancing” and I would be surprised if there wasn't a net increase in the Defense budget for POM-10. As to CSAR-X, I wouldn't necessarily say goodbye to it. Together with the cut to the Presidential helos I believe what the SecDef is getting at is we have to stop reinventing the wheel (or helicopter) every time we want to make a system better. IMO he feels we should leverage on the existing airframes to fill the requirement, i.e. build more of X rather than create a whole new Y. As it says he doesn't want to buy “another single-service solution with a single purpose aircraft.” The C-130 is a prime example of one airframe that is built with an eye towards fulfilling a plethora of roles. Ken's belief that both program will rise phoenix like from the ashes in much more expensive mode should also be of concern to the SecDef. Better to get both programs realigned with existing airframe designs as soon as possible.

    Stevely – The contractor reductions are initially targeted at those who work in the Building. I agree that the contractor force in acquisitions should completely be GS. Can you say conflict of interest. As to the others, and those outside of the P'gon, it is a tough call reducing them until the government personnel system is revamped and the union rules change.

    Two issues IMO drive the government's appetite for on-site contractors. First is speed. Most contractors can reply to an RFP in a week or two, a contract can be let, and people in place (if they aren't already) in a much shorter time than the existing personnel system. Sometimes it is just a matter of adjusting an existing contract, then folks are on site with an even quicker turn. Second is divestiture. Once a contract requirement is fulfilled, or even before, the contractors can be let go, since most fee for service contracts are written with the Government as an “at will” employer. Try getting rid of a GS in a day, a week, a month. Some who have nearly criminal conduct can take years to get rid of (ask almost any lawyer in the DoD GC).

    The fear mongering has already begun: Heritage Foundation fired a nice propaganda salvo and it's posted over at Abu Muqawama. Can't wait to see who's next.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umar Al-Mokhtār View Post
    As it says he doesn't want to buy “another single-service solution with a single purpose aircraft.” The C-130 is a prime example of one airframe that is built with an eye towards fulfilling a plethora of roles.
    If CSAR-X/HH-60G is a single-service, single purpose aircraft, then the C-17 must be too. Since OEF began, USAF CSAR assets have rescued a handful of downed or isolated pilots and hundreds (if not thousands) of ground and SoF personnel. Doctrinally, each component is responsible for it's own personnel recovery, but many missions fall on USAF CSAR because the other components lack the capability (either in equipment or training) to make it happen. There are a lot of soldiers and marines who are alive today as a result. If the SECDEF intends to make CSAR a joint effort, then that's great, I look forward to hearing those ideas.

  15. #55
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    I still don't understand the fear over the conventional capability.
    I read a recent memo from JFCOM CCDR to Sec. Gates. He specifically points out that in making IW a core compentency we will not sacrifice conventional capability or nuclear forces. I believe the last sentence of the intro paragraph reads (paraphrased):
    "avoid giving the impression that, if implemented, the Department was going overboard vice achieving balance with IW as a (not "the") core compontency of the Department."

    Hope this sheds some light.

    Boot

  16. #56
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default I hope so too...

    remember, Gates had no control over the adoption of the C-17, which does seem to be a more versatile replacement for the 141. The Bush/Rumsfeld days of profligate spending are perhaps over. CSAR is a very important capability that perhaps should be a more joint effort since all the services benefit from it. Plus there were other issues with the proposed CSAR-X.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  17. #57
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Well, no doubt in my mind the C-17

    is a single service and single purpose aircraft -- that provides service to all the Armed Forces and therefor is joint and multipurpose in that sense. I don't think he or anyone else is saying the HH-60G * is a single service single purpose aircraft -- but there is no doubt the VH71 would have been such.

    Could there have been an HH 71? Sure but the USAF for whatever reason opted for an HH 47 (to achieve multi service commonality??? As a result of USSOCOM pressure to reduce aircraft types??? ** Maybe Gates is torqued at GAO for sustaining the protest and LM for protesting ) so the 71 became the one-off item he was citing. I'm sure he also considered that the EH 101 from which the VH 71 was derived has multiple problems in wolrdwide service; I believe ALL operators are having mechanical problems with varying models of the a/c.

    As for the CSAR assets picking up Medevacs and lost SOF troopies, why not? You've got a capable bird with trained crews as you point out and other, equally capable birds and crews are (one would hope) doing other mundane haulage things and it makes little sense to let that CSAR cape just sit. As I know you know, there are also a few pilots picked with non CSAR assets here and there. LINK, LINK. I think we're all on the same side...

    Oh -- and keep your eye on the newer Sikorsky bird...

    * Not least because the HH 60G is used by the USAF for other things and the entire 60 series is about as joint as one can get with only the Marines insisting on a less capable bird and figuring that the lower cost to buy and operate compensates for the lack of more capability (that they don't need as the CV 22 fills that requirement for them -- and for AFSOC. For future CSAR also? I've read all the arguments; we'll see...).

    ** If so, somebody forgot the rotor disks and fitting them on even the big decks...

    P.S.

    Last I thought I knew, the USAF was the DoD proponent for CSAR (and thus also responsible for some oversight) but each service was indeed responsible for its own CSAR -- anyone know if that has changed or is planned to do so?
    Last edited by Ken White; 04-12-2009 at 08:36 PM. Reason: P.S

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    Ken,

    As I think you know, I spent several years in the CSAR community. There is a lot of speculation about the HH-47 pick because, frankly, most CSAR folks much prefer either the 92 or the 101. There are some legitimate advantages to the 47, of course, but the same can be said for the other airframes and the 47 comes with some significant CSAR-specific disadvantages. Anyway, the speculation is that the 47 was picked with the intent to simply roll the CSAR mission into AFSOC's ball of wax as simply another mission in the AFSOC set. As you probably know, CSAR WAS tranferred, briefly, from ACC to AFSOC. The AFSOC people were 100% for the 47 and most of their excitement seemed to come from all the missions those aircraft could perform that weren't CSAR. Again, that is simply the perception of a lot of people in the CSAR community. They don't want to see their CSAR skillset diluted too much with other tasks, which isn't an unreasonable fear, IMO, given the OPTEMPO of AFSOC and the other SoF components.

    As for the CSAR assets picking up Medevacs and lost SOF troopies, why not? You've got a capable bird with trained crews as you point out and other, equally capable birds and crews are (one would hope) doing other mundane haulage things and it makes little sense to let that CSAR cape just sit.
    I agree completely and the CSAR folks do too, for the most part - the units in theater are pretty aggressive about advertising their capabilities and very rarely turn down a potential mission. Birds were OPCON'd to the land component to assist their efforts. For the most part, the HH-60's are used on those missions that are too risky for others, which makes sense.

    As I know you know, there are also a few pilots picked with non CSAR assets here and there. LINK, LINK. I think we're all on the same side...
    Agree totally there too. My main point in all this is simply to suggest the DoD needs a dedicated personnel recovery capability, and currently USAF CSAR is the only force that meets that requirement. I worry that Sec. Gates and others see PR as a secondary mission that does not require a dedicated force. If true, I think that's a mistake. That has been tried before and didn't work out too well in many cases (like the Navy in Vietnam, for example).

  19. #59
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Perhaps...

    he's just torqued at Boeing...

    JFCOM is the DoD Executive Agent for personnel recovery although the USAF certainly has the most robust CSAR capability. But I agree with you Entropy that perhaps there is not a true appreciation for CSAR at the SecDef level. That may be due in part to the misperception that CSAR only goes after downed pilots, and since we have not had a significant amount of those type rescues in the current wars that may color their vision.

    CSAR needs a stronger advocate at the DoD level but that would also require the USAF to agree. Seeing as they have seemingly lost the F-22 fight perhaps they will pitch in on behalf of CSAR.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  20. #60
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I think you're both right...

    I have little doubt that SOCOM was the driver on the HH 47 and I totally agree that CSAR is not and should not be a SOCOM mission -- though they will fight for it (and not for altruistic reasons) and have a lever in the PR and validation mission they have long had. Also agree that it will not be good for CSAR and would lead to their fragmentation and misuse. I'm with you on all three points.

    He probably is torqued at Boeing -- and they deserve it -- I think he and even the Bean Counters at DoD understand the need for the CSAR mssion but just believe the current capability situation can wait a bit for improvement.

    Not to mention that LM can stand the F22 hit...

    I still think Buy American, the S-92 and the CSAR and Prez Flight missions are remarakbly synergistic.

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