Military

Arguments for Military Sequestration for Conservatives

Arguments strong enough for a conservative, but made for everyone.

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Kevin D. Williamson at National Review hits the right with a message they need to hear, delivered in a manner that might be more convincing to them. He wants the right to support letting the U.S. military take its lumps in any sequester.

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Michael Ammons / Foter / Public domain

Williamson stresses, for example, things such as money wasted on untracked arms to the Middle East that maybe/probably end up in the hands of forces we might end up fighting, and money wasted on diversity training.

But the nub for patriots of all parties to heed, and act on:

Does the Pentagon spend its money wisely? Nobody knows — especially not the Pentagon. It has a long and inglorious history of book-cooking and accounting that alternates between the incompetent and the criminal: a half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts here; untold sums lost to outright theft and fraud there; shocking waste; voguish nonsense like spending $150/gallon for environmentally friendly fighter-jet fuel so that we can blow stuff to smithereens and kill people in an environmentally responsible fashion, etc…..

There's billions and billions and billions of dollars of that — and that is the small stuff. The big stuff is strategic. Or not exactly strategic: Benjamin Friedman of Cato makes a compelling case that what we have does not quite deserve to be called a "strategy," inasmuch as a strategy requires the intelligent and deliberate ranking of priorities, a project that we pretty much categorically refuse to engage in, instead indulging in threat inflation spurred by what he calls an "overly capacious definition of security." Which is to say, our definition of "security" is driven not by actual threats but by hope, a naïve belief that every good thing in the world that might be accomplished with the assistance of the U.S. military brings with it goodwill and therefore contributes to our security….

Republicans are looking to lift the military half of the sequester in the hopes of shunting a few hundred billion dollars more into the gazillion-dollar stream of appropriations that flows through the war-fighting apparatus. The Democrats' alternative is lifting both sides of the sequester. Until somebody can explain why we're mothballing ships while minting admirals, the sequester should stay — every last farthing of it.

Peter Suderman from last month on the sad fact of bipartisan support for no military sequester.

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  1. Does the Pentagon spend its money wisely? Nobody knows

    Well now that’s not true. Ask anyone who’s ever had anything to do with the DoD.

    1. He answers the question later in the same paragraph. untold sums lost to outright theft and fraud there; shocking waste; voguish nonsense like spending $150/gallon for environmentally friendly fighter-jet fuel so that we can blow stuff to smithereens and kill people in an environmentally responsible fashion

      How is that not a definitive answer?

    2. It surely doesn’t, but sequestration, as a tool to affect change, will never result in the meaningful change that needs to happen. Its turned into an annual budgetary uncertainty ritual that wastes even more money. The DoD just creates two budgets every year now and hopes it gets the bigger one, but can only obligate for the smaller one. And while that might seem like a first world problem, it actually puts a shit storm of churn in an otherwise smooth–bloated, but smooth–process. It’s driving good people out and resulting in even more expensive contract starts/stops, etc. Meanwhile congress won’t let the DoD BRAC or make the force structure changes needed to execute a sequester budget, much less the sequester-free budget. Plenty of us inside the system would like to see it reigned in, but it’s just become a self-licking ice cream cone that is beyond the Pentagon’s control to fix.

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  2. The Sequester remains Obama’s best idea.

    1. He sure doesn’t think so.

  3. Can the F22, mothball the F35 for a decade, take a fraction of that money and reinvigorate the A-10 platform. That would save several hundred billion right away, and we would be no less capable of handling our adversaries. Problem solved.

    1. This. Hell, we could start making new F-15Es and F-16s at a fraction of the cost of F-22s and still establish air superiority in any part of the world we wanted.

      1. But then we wouldn’t have new and shiny tools of war which can be produced in various Congressional districts. By the way, that’s something that goes back to the original six frigates of the US Navy.

      2. The problem is that we’d almost certainly be re-importing our F-16s from Turkey and Japan because Lockheed I believe finally shut down the last domestic line building the US versions of the aircraft. Turkey builds them on license, while Mitsubishi builds a variant for their F-2…also on license, I believe.

        I doubt Boeing has anymore lines putting out F-15Es. They MIGHT have some here putting out F-15SAs before too long, but they might actually license those out somewhere else.

        1. F-16’s still in production for at least 2 more years…

          http://www.reuters.com/article…..3T20131214

          F-15’s still in production for at least 3 more years…

          http://defense-update.com/2012…..QxrFo7F98E

          1. All the orders are foreign. Spinning back up for further US orders would still be extremely difficult, especially since Ft. Worth is also where they’re doing the F-35. It’s a big place, don’t get me wrong, but their F-16 production is vastly reduced.

            There’s not much difference with the F-15. Foreign orders. Domestic sales are almost exclusively upgrades. The SA is going to be cranked out in St. Louis, but I’d bet that that is ALL they’re going to be producing there due to number of orders.

      3. In other words, it’s far from easy. The USAF and the two big remaining manned-jet manufacturers sort of mutually painted themselves into a corner.

    2. Fairchild Republic went defunct in 2003 and I’m nearly certain the A-10 lines closed 20 years or more ago anyway.

    3. The F22 production line has already been shut down. The F35 is worthless now and won’t be worth the jet fuel in a decade.

      1. I’m pretty sure they shut down the F-22 line for good at least 5 years ago.

        1. They shut down production but they are still supported at a significant cost. They are in use over the Middle East right now.

          The F35 should be put on the shelf until they can find an adversary worth having that plane for. There isn’t any nation remotely capable of keeping up with our F18s, never mind the F22’s/F35’s.

          Everyone I’ve ever talked to who spent any time on the ground fighting our various adversaries in the ME and elsewhere all said unanimously that the A-10 was the single most useful aircraft we currently have for air support. And yet they are arguing about retiring it because idiot senators want to make shiny sparkly useless things in their district.

          At least some Senators are getting the message.

          http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.c…..603/+damon

          1. It’s up to 8 Senators now…
            http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?…..se&id=1803

          2. The USAF doesn’t use too many F-18s. They’re almost totally a Navy bird.

            F-35s have too many foreign partners who pretty fervently want them to “put on the shelf”.

            A-10s are excellent for the purpose. It will be sad when they finally have to retire them.

            1. Correction: F-18s are used only by the Dept. of the Navy (including the Marines). Also, the RAAF, Spain, the Swiss, Canada, Finland, Kuwait and Malaysia.

              1. Cool trivia: the F-18 prototype actually lost to the F-16 prototype in the USAF competition that the Viper ultimately won. The Navy took the “loser”, partly because it had two motors, slapped some stronger gear on it and the rest is Navy history.

          3. It’s the USAF Generals who want to get rid of the A-10 and replace it with their shiny $Trillion program.

            1. That’s true, but adding pressure is that there are a crapload of foreign partners who really, really want the thing and are throwing money away on it like we are.

          4. There isn’t any nation remotely capable of keeping up with our F18s, never mind the F22’s/F35’s.

            A. Not true (both Russia and China).
            B. Even if it was true, they are certainly in the works. And as it takes 20-30 years to field a new fighter, scrapping the F-22 and F-35 would put the US two decades behind the rest of the world in technology.

            You don’t design a fighter based upon today’s threat. You design a new fighter against the projected threat 20 years in the future, because that’s as fast as you can crank a new one out.

            Your plan would have 4th gen aircraft fighting Gen 5 aircraft a decade from now, which is a losing proposition.

            1. Doesn’t change the fact that the F35 is a steaming pile of junk that won’t be ready for anything until the mid 2020’s. The F22 actually was ready for combat, but of course they scrapped that the moment it could start producing effective aircraft at a somewhat (compared to the F35) economical price.
              In the meantime, its back to trying to scrap the cheap and amazingly effective A10 in favor of trillion dollar boondoggles…

              1. IOC (Initial Operational Capability) of the F-35 is 2016.

                The F-22 and the F-35 have completely different missions. They are NOT interchangeable.

                The A-10 is a 40 year old airframe. They are falling apart. They are too slow and their mission has been largely replaced by precision weaponry. Keeping an antiquated airframe flying to perform a mission that can now be performed with multi-role aircraft is a HUGE waste of money.

    4. No, you keep the -22 to kick down the doors and gain air superiority, then the bulk of your fleet is ‘4th Gen’ stuff like new build F-16/F-15 and refurbed A-10s, although the A-10’s already went through a recent upgrade. Other than new wings and possibly re-engining, they’re good to go for a while.

  4. I mentioned yesterday hearing a conversation on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show (and, after that, I heard another conversation on the same topic) that was all about OHMYGODNEEDMORESPENDINGBEFOREWEALLDIE!!! Like we don’t have a gigantic military budget already, like we can’t spend more effectively and less wastefully (and less corruptly), like we’re facing a truly existential threat. If the whole Muslim world decided to become terrorists, we’d still survive and could fend off most threats. I don’t get how these people, some of whom worked in government during the Cold War, you know, the one with the hundreds of nukes pointed at us, can act like we’re in some massive crisis.

    Do I think we should drop our guns into the ocean? No. But even if we keep our World Cop hat on, we don’t have to spend more money to do so, nor do we need to avoid some substantial cuts in the existing budget. I’m sorry, but those advocating otherwise are either warhawks of the highest order or are worried about buying votes/money for the party. I don’t see the spendathon for the military much differently than the areas the Democrats spend in to buy votes and contributions.

  5. We had the same discussion the same day this article first appeared.

  6. So we need to audit the military. Not a big surprise, but will never happen. We’d find out that every member of congress and higher up at the DoD is kicking back contracts to everyone they know.

  7. Kevin Williamson is one of the best writers at NR.

  8. So when they retire these A-10’s,can they be de-milled,…ie cannons,etc removed and put on the surplus market like jeeps and other vehicles? The A-10 with its double redundant everything would make it the safest,most bad ass civilian 2 seater for the tech savvy millionaire pilot collector type. That or we just shred them all and sell them for some fractional percent of their metallic commodity value. You know, just like Avis and Enterprise do with their rental fleet when they are “outdated”.

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