The Morning After

What say we all?

What does this mean for defense and national security?


  1. UltimaRatioRegis says:

    Take the worst-case scenario and it is downhill from there.

    National Security will be eroded by the fact that our sworn enemies and potential adversaries understand how incompetent, amateurish, vacillating, and devoid of will the current Administration is.

    The Navy will be under 200 ships by the end of the decade, the Army and Air Force will be much smaller, older, and with less options for force deployment. The Marine Corps will look about the same.

    Not sure it matters to this cabal, as they believe their enemies to be domestic political opponents, anyway. You will see DHS and domestic security apparatus grow in size, capability, and authority. So there will be significant firepower, but it will be pointed inward.

    • Dave says:

      On the contrary, I see a smarter use of the entire government to tackle problems as national security isn't just a DOD issue. Yes, the DOD will shrink in budget, which will hopefully mean better ROI from spending and less waste, fraud and abuse if the service chiefs and the establishment as a whole takes the initiative to make the best out of the situation. Hopefully defense contractors will be held more accountable and projects will be better managed, leading to more timely delivery of weapon systems and greater project success rates.

      Outside of the DOD I expect to see the expansion of State, LE and and other agencies (Treasury, USAID, etc.) to tackle national security issues. This expansion is a good thing as that it allows a multifaceted approach to addressing problems and allows us to project power in a way that doesn't commit us to more wars or intransigent engagements. Increased multilateralism is also a plus.

      Likewise, any savings that are reinvested into our education system and economy are really the best national security boon.

      Of course, most of this is contingent more on the House getting their act together rather than the Executive.

      • UltimaRatioRegis says:

        Dave, don't hold your breath. For any of it. Except for piling more money into "education", which was once upon a time a state and local function but now costs us billions for ever-diminishing returns.

        • Dave says:

          You mean like the billions in diminishing returns on things like the JSF or spend-exs or units blowing budgets on random stuff because of a lose it or use it policy? My sister makes 34K a year after obtaining a Vanderbilt degree and contributes to the education of 23 special needs children. I'd say that's a pretty good ROI from federal or state money. Yes, there are a bunch of bad apples for wasting money in all national priorities, infrastructure, education, military, QE3, etc. so I'm not saying that DOD isn't the only one seeing marginal returns. But it's seeing the most and could improve the most.

          Plus, for everyone freaking out about not having enough Navy or M1 modernization, we will still be the most ridiculously powerful, professional and competent force in the world. And more specifically, if you look at trends from military spending cuts, what actually gets hit the least is acquisitions.

          And unfortunately I'm not holding my breath. Because of the overwhelming house if they still want to play ridiculous partisan games like holding a few million dollars hostage for PBS while trumping up some crappy billions of dollars large defense program like MDA, we aren't going to see any real progress. But that's not gonna be the fault of the executive.

          • Scott Dillard says:

            Don't agree. We'll see.

          • VRMarine says:

            @Dave – acquisitions is the area most ripe for defense cuts. Few will argue that the process is broken. Acquisitions is also the best area for reform.

            How will we continue to have the most professional, powerful force when the logistics that support the force will be savaged? During the Clinton era, us logistics types were REQUIRED to to make the maintenance reporting read 98% or better. Anything approaching the truth could subject enlisted Marines to counseling and officers to the door. The go-go-go attitude results in overtired troops, broken equipment, and frustrated commanders.

            Additionally, there is no coherent doctrine that defines how our military should train and equip for the conflicts of the future. What good will it do to have a larger Special Ops force if China makes a play for regional hegemony? How many ships will be necessary to secure the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean? For all the ships at sea, there are others in drydock. Not everything functions at the same time.

            The executive will be at fault for failing to provide any budget priorities and defined guidance. The executive will be at fault for not using the bully pulpit to reform the acquisitions process. The executive will be at fault for not telling the world what America stands for.

  2. Scott Dillard says:

    I agree with Regis plus our economy is likely to worsen before it's over, thanks particularly to Obummercare, and national security will be much worse. The Army is already adjusting and slowing the M1 Abrams tank modernization because of expected funding cuts — with an 80K troop cut coming, can't man the fleet anyway. Soon we won't be able to defend ourselves from an invader with a smaller Navy and truncated land and air forces.

  3. VRMarine says:

    We're screwed in many ways. Already, we have seen that this administration has no plan to deal with the competition now brewing between Iran and Turkey for regional influence in the Middle East. Unfortunately, countries such as Israel, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon will be caught in the cross-fire. Furthermore, both China and Russia will see their influence rise further in both the Middle East and Africa because they are willing to do things economically that the United States is not. For example, both China and Russia are willing to outsource, pay lower wages, and do whatever it takes to increase their share of the economic pie. Accordingly, we will continue to see US interests placed second and third as the Administration and the Senate push to have Americans more "liked" than "respected."

    On the home front, national security will continue to be more window dressing than anything else. We are not more safe; instead, we are simply permitting ourselves to be eaten from within. Political correctness will continue to prevent reasonable, needed discussion about what is happening in America. Until the Administration can call Major Hasan a terrorist, instead of an incident of workplace violence, we are no further along in recognizing what the actual problem is. Additionally, regardless of whether the Administration realizes it, oil is the critical resource for sustaining our national security and law enforcement apparatus. Nothing drives without gas and oil; similarly, weapons do not function properly if there is no lubricants. Moreover, can we realistically rely on alternative energy sources to power our most important systems? Do you trust the NSA computers to solar panels?

    Dave – we have not seen the smart use of government in any civilian endeavor for decades. There is no evidence that our government will be any better with USAID than it has been with the post office or Amtrak. It is our government that exacerbates many of the financial and social problems in America.

    Obamacare is probably the ultimate disincentive to providing employer-based insurance and educating new physicians. The taxes that have been created in Obamacare will further the decrease in household income, which will in turn reduce the funding to the government, which under this Administration will mean a call for even higher taxes.

    In sum, while we are arguing the economic issues at home, the rest of the world will likely disregard our opinions. America is already looked at as a country will no resolve. With the status quo maintained (Obama, Reid, Boehner) can we really expect that the next 4 years will be any different than these last four?

  4. Matt says:

    Things will get worse. Like a long term alcoholic, things will not improve until rock bottom is reached. I think rock bottom will hit about 2 years from now. The voters did not only vote for Obama, but voted for ever increasing government intrusion, continued welfare/warfare state growth, continued failing foreign policy, continued educational and economical stagnation. Why worry about a trained and educated work force when there aren't jobs for them to take?

  5. ETP0802 says:

    I agree with URR completely.

    Weakness on the world stage, coupled with crippling economic debt, is going to tee us up for threats from China and non-state actors.

    Where our strength was once a stabilizing force, our weakness – at home and abroad – will now be a signal for the jackals to come out of the shadows.

    I am *not* a black helicopter, conspiracy-theory guy, so actually typing those words about an American decline is very hard to connect with reality, but there it is.

    I can't believe that I am about to witness this in my lifetime.

  6. Dave says:

    I think there is a bit of an overreaction here. First, sequestration was something that CONGRESS agreed upon, and its not like the U.S. is going to be some puny little thing on the world stage even with sequestration. Likewise, I would disagree that our foreign policy over the past four years has been a failed one. For the most part, I think it has been a success on a lot of fronts including CT, disengagement, increasing alliances and even though I disagree with the move, pivoting towards the China that everyone fears. I feel we could have done more in Mexico and Iran remains to be seen, but sanctions have crippled them and now its up to those nutbags to decide whether having a nuke is more important than their own economy.And mind you, the sanctions wouldn't have worked unilaterally, which only supports a multilateral agenda.

    VRMarine – I agree that private sector endeavors tend to be much more productive for the obvious reasons, but would you suggest that they should go without gov't grants? I was more speaking to the better allocation of our own budget in other implements of national security. Anecdotally speaking, having gone over from DOD to other civy agencies and back, I've seen ridiculousness at both places but have felt that in the much smaller other agencies the returns are better. This is simply what is to be expected when you have a million man organization that already does a darn good job vs. a 150 man organization with the budget of an F-22's cost plus support.

    I don't really want to stir up the Obamacare pot, suffice to say that I'm pretty much a closet socialist Keynesian that happens to also love his guns. Take that as you will.

  7. USMC Steve says:

    The military will continue to get screwed over as massive spending cuts are thrust upon DOD. That money will go into bogus social programs to support democrat special interest groups and projects rather than reducing the budget though. It was bad under Klinton, and it certainly will get worse under this toad. Look at the Tricare debacle as further proof that since the military votes decidedly conservative, they are going to get messed with as a source of revenue for dem projects.

  8. Maj W says:

    The greatest national security threat is the loss of the fighting will of the people of the country; the will to fight for themselves, to fight their hardships with personal effort, and the will to fight the urge of over-indulgence in the fruits that are sustaining them now, which, were deliverd by their ancestors fighting for and sustaining core beliefs and principles of self reliance and accountability.

    We are breeding a culture of citizens who would rather "be taken care of" rather than "take care of it".

    No one is disputing that times are not hard right now – as a business owner I know that more than most – but I hear more and more people believing someone else will ride to the rescue or provide what they need. I had one of my crew members ask why a client did not purchase a larger set of products; when it was explained that the client could not afford it, in all honesty, the young man said they needed to call Obama for him to send more money and take care of it.. said that Obama will be sure and feed us all and make everything right. Besides being preposterous, it's unsettling that someone would actually believe this. We're witnessing the conversion of an independent people into sheep.

    I'm reminded of a couple qoutes: "When one makes a Revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go FORWARD…." (seen that phrasology before in Pres O's campaign material?)

    As opposed to what our parents grew up reading in the papers: "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

    The last qoute is from Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first qoute is Vladimir Lennin.

    For what it's worth.

  9. DaveO says:

    Here's the thing:

    1. When it comes to Acquisitions, the defense sector is running scared enough for its profits that it threw the election in Northern Virginia to Obama. One example was LockMart:… The latest bacon-flavored rumor has it that the companies were offered a combination of immunity from criminal prosecution and White House cash to defend against civil litigation, and the chance to compete for future contracts in exchange for withholding the layoff notices.

    2. The Pentagon is behaving as if there will be neither sequestration nor cuts to its budget. Manpower layoffs are to be realized by normal attrition and going after fatties. Guys like me are being refused retirement pay at age 60. Am I an outlier or just an exception? Wah, snivel. Investments in refit and restock of all classes of supply to bring units up to something better than the infamous Rumsfeldian "army you have at the time" will be kicked down the road to the next Congress in January 2015 to handle.

    3. Historically speaking, we won't see sequestration but we will see budget cuts – even the most marxist Democrats feed at the Acquisitions trough. What we will see, in the Army, is the usual: Human Capital and Real Property accounts will be sharply cut to pay for the latest gadget. Medical and psychiatric/psychological care? That's the VA's problem. Rise in suicides? Rebaseline. Families endure real property health hell like the Marine families endured for years in their bases in North Carolina? Today's generals went through the Hollow Army Period of 1976-1982. Good times, good times…

    • DaveO says:


      1. Boeing announced big cuts in its Defense sector:

      2. News report on the radio (didn't catch the channel) here in Northern Virginia announced 95,000 contractor jobs to be cut, and up to 65,000 government jobs. According to law, only men can be fired.

      If #2 holds true, the housing market in NoVA and SoMD should collapse by late April. Not that the prices will drop, just that the banks will own outright lots of real estate in the area.

      Who knew?!

  10. herodotus says:

    Nothing good will come this way. Just channeling money away from national defense into ever-expanding domestic federal programs will only waste really huge amounts of resources. As for education, I've taught in Catholic schools for 37 years, at a lot less pay than many of my public school peers, and value education immensely. But the federal government should stay out of the education business. It belongs to the states. Defense belongs to the federal government. Don't cut defense.

    • UltimaRatioRegis says:

      The subsuming of education by the Federal Government was no random act. Carter put in place an exceedingly effective indoctrination program for America's youth, and it is bearing fruit for the far left. Which is how Maj W gets to hear the addle-headed nonsense he does. Try getting an education degree with middle-to-conservative views. And if you manage, get and keep a job at a college or university. The Ivy next to me here voted 97% one way in 2008. I expect the numbers to be identical in 2012. Diversity of thought? Not a chance. And it starts in the education camps of the Public School System.

  11. Mike Burke says:

    I'm on your side, Dave–thanks for the rational point of view. But what do I know–I'm just a retired Army officer who is still at the public trough–teaching English in a community college. I'll have to ask my homeless college students sometime how they feel about defense budget cuts. Or my student veterans (I'm the sponsor for our vet organization–200 of the nicest people you've ever met, almost all with VA disability ratings) who can't afford to get an education, even with the new GI Bill, because they have families to support.