Homeland…It is now Empire Security
by reader Ilsm
It is now Empire Security
“Defense Plan For The 21st Century”, Washington Post 1 August ’10, Pg. 19
By Stephen J. Hadley and William J. Perry
This article is another salvo in the military industrial complex war on the taxpayer to keep the pentagon rolling in money at the expense of the needs of society. It ignores Eisenhower’s observation about the opportunity costs of military spending using resources that would be better applied elsewhere and it refuses to adequately define the links between actual threats and expensive tactics described as “national interests” which are nothing to do with the “common defense”.
It is now Empire Security
One of the problems with military industrial complex planning: it starts with the same solutions for the past 70 years; World War II tactics, organization and equipment; apply them to unnecessary strategies which are disguised as “national interests” that must unquestioningly be assured, and never broach debate on the value of their solutions and alternatives. The science of operations research and its later refinement system engineering gets to solutions to problems which are denied informed debate in the inner circles of empire security. The result; only insiders can be expert on the things of war, which is dangerous and leads to all kinds of fraud, waste and abuse. The insiders agree with the expensive war machine and its images of shock and awe, called dominance, or they would be like me; on the outside. Whatever the strategies disguised as “national interests” are and whether they are worth the taxpayers’ money is not to be debated by the uninitiated. Other priorities might be taken into account.
Here are Perry and Hadley’s unsupported solutions which not connected to strategy and do not present the best use of national treasure.
“We deduced four enduring national interests that will continue to transcend political differences and animate American policy: defense of the homeland; assured access to the sea, air, space and cyberspace; the preservation of a favorable balance of power across Eurasia that prevents authoritarian domination of that region; and providing for the global “common good” through such actions as humanitarian aid, development assistance and disaster relief.”
What they suggest is perpetual mobilization of a huge force, expensive spears made instead of ploughshares, that should “animate American policy”? How do they deduce these and how do they use their deductions to then tell us how to build a military?
Yes, defense of the homeland is the common defense; however, in the constitution the main source of this was the militia to be raised by the federal government under declaration of war. There are safeguards against the standing army operating in the states. Their first reason for military force structure is the role of the states’ militias, not standing forces which are deleterious to liberty.
Rdan here…h/t rjs for this recent accounting of US military cost of Persian Gulf force projection
What “assured access to sea, air, space and cyberspace” have to do with the common defense and any strategy to respond to any existential threats is unclear and does not suggest the expenditure of vast treasure to assure the access. Access is not a tactic to do anything for the common defense; it is something that needs to be defined against real operational requirement. It is not clear here, other than US going anywhere in the world it wants to occupy and pursue undeclared wars and assassination for empire security.
What is in US national interest to justify foreign entanglements in the strategy to ‘assure a balance of power across Eurasia’? Is the balance of power in Eurasia definable by someone outside the area, and when does the US stop assuring that balance, after bankrupting the US? Should the US even be there? This “national interest” as vague as it is means the US will both dominate the seas, a theory of naval war devised by Alfred Thayer Mahan in the 1880s mainly to build US battle ships to tilt with the Royal Navy and also do what von Clauswitz discussed about controlling the Eurasian land mass.
Two huge roles, either of which is bankrupting. The land thing is what drove Nazi Germany to invade Russia in 1941 and eventually destroyed them. In addition, the Eurasian thing was warned against by Mac Arthur who was proven in Vietnam and now Afghanistan. The Eurasian land mass is no place to try to be dominant. But it is an excuse to waste 5% of GDP that should be used elsewhere. The sea thing is not justified since there are no competitors to the US Navy and it would be insane to tilt with the Peoples’ Republic in its littorals, where land based air would be as dangerous as land based air over the Persian Gulf. Can the US both occupy the world and also blockade it? Where does the expanding military stop?
At its height the British Empire would do the navy thing what about the US in 2011 is more ambitious than that empire? By 1918 the British were bankrupted by world war and their empire with all the burdens imposed.
The first three dubious missions alone are enough to bankrupt the US, the US war machine needs a humanitarian mission, as well. How about taking care of the US’ old and poor and under privileged?
They then introduce the fear card, threats. For reasons of logic I would have played the fear of terrorist before I sold a bunch of unrelated exorbitant tactical plans.
“We identified the five gravest potential threats to those interests likely to arise over the next generation: radical Islamist extremism and the threat of terrorism; competition from rising global powers in Asia; the continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and the Greater Middle East; an accelerating global competition for resources; and persistent problems from failed and failing states.”
The US has spent more than a trillion on these “threats” and none of it seems to be working. None of these threats demand the force structure they advocate and are largely not addressed by the ill defined national interests which all are excuses to use the fear of fictional threats consuming vast amounts of US resources on World War II formations and wars of occupation. Most of the borrowed to be paid latter by cuts in social programs.
On the threat from the Peoples’ Republics’; $70B in China’s military spending does not define an emerging industrial war peer. Even so the authors do not consider alternatives strategies to threats outside the unsubstantiated strategies and supposed national interests.
As to the competition for resources, this implies keeping the oil addiction going at the expense of the US taxpayer using the US military. It is far cheaper and better for global warming to go to alternative energies and not assure the easy flow of oil to the Pacific Rim.
This article followed from Max Boot’s is an installment in the propaganda war to keep the military bankrupting the US. There is nothing here that justifies spending a $150B, much less robbing social security by spending three quarters of a trillion a year. It is empire security, and no one should argue with the cost or tactics.
Past Washington Post articles are viewable if you sign up free on the web site.
The U.S. Military Spends Trillions for Oil – The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reminded Americans that the price at the pump is only a down payment; an honest calculation must include the contamination of our waters, land, and air. An innovative approach comes from Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Princeton University who in April published a peer-reviewed study on the cost of keeping aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf from 1976 to 2007. Because carriers patrol the gulf for the explicit mission of securing oil shipments, Stern was on solid ground in attributing that cost to oil. He had found an excellent metric. He combed through the Defense Department’s data — which is not easy to do because the Pentagon does not disaggregate its expenditures by region or mission — and came up with a total, over three decades, of $7.3 trillion. Yes, trillion.
737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire
I hope you feel better, nice class A rant.
A few points.
Minot to Moscow with a Minuteman III is 34 minutes (low trajectory). Your state militia (which I assume you mean the Guard) is basically useless in todays day and age. Gulf War I pointed that out fairly clearly and they had 6+ months of warm-up. They make great follow-up forces, but won’t hack it in a come-as-you-are fight. Draftee’s even more so.
And you know full well how long it takes to build something as small as a destroyer, a few aircraft, or heck even order a bundle of M60 machine guns. The days of having yeras to mobilize are long gone.
“assured access to sea, air, space and cyberspace” – This has been US policy since Washington. (with the addition of air, space, and cyberspace as technolgy grew). We blew up the Barbary Pirates over this and entered WW I for the same reason. Basically Freedom of the Seas. Changing this would be a major change in US policy that no one in the mainstream of US politics advocate. Your out on the far fringe here….
“It is far cheaper and better for global warming to go to alternative energies and not assure the easy flow of oil to the Pacific Rim.”
There are only three energy sources on the planet that can fuel a modern industrial society: Coal, Oil, and nuclear. We use all three, as does the world in differing amounts.(France gets 80% of its electricty via nuclear for example). Alternative energies, in their present form will not get us there. Not even close. If your worried about GW and beleive carbon is the culprit you should be whole-hog for building nuclear reactors. I don’t see you pushing that solution…
Until that time the US Navy is about the only thing that can assure global movement of energy (oil) from the ME to the industrial western nations. But maybe we need to encourage the development of the Imperial Japanese Navy again? Or maybe get the Chinese to cash in those T-Bills and build a deep-water navy?
You have continually make the mistake (as did the article’s writer) that a reduction of US power, creating vacuums where we left, would result in everyone singing Kumbaya and getting along with kids flying kites and playing in the flowers. Unfortuanately that vision has never occurred in the entire historical record of the human race. If the US leaves that power vacuum WILL be filled by someone. The question is who…
What you are (continually) advocating for is Buchanonite Isolationism. Something that is not in the mainstream of either political party. You are out in the fringe radical left/right (?).
How does it feel out in the cold?
Islam will change
‘Mainstream’ of the empire, going broke.
Either political party are in the thrall of military industrial complex bagmen PACs.
Nothing you say justifes a fraction of the $708B in the 2011 DoD budget request.
“What you are (continually) advocating for is Buchanonite Isolationism.”
Is it a clear dichotomy: isolation versus empire?
Then advocate something in between. So far you’ve never advocated for anything except isolationism.
And they idea that the state militia can defend the US, our allies, or our interests is laughable on its face…
You want to cut the DoD by 50%. Lets see the cuts. What $350 B are you going to take out (BTW, remember to start with mil retirement and medical benefits already in your budget).
Islam will change
Heck you get a good part of the way right off the bat by eleiminating all OCO funding. $159 B to start. So all you need to cut is $200B!
BTW cutting ALL tactical aviation upgrades will only get you $15B closer.
And you have to keep the Gd and Reserves ($50B) and Med and family stuff (mostly med) another $80B.
Go for it!
Islam will change
The OPM retirement fund took in some cash. The military retirement fund is indeed an accounting whim.
Don’t worry gutting military pensions is top of the list for a new commission being formed; cat food for mil retirees.
And the return to redux (40% at 20) since the great recession means there are too many recruits. A guard or reserve formation, i.e. an aviation unit costs less than 20% an active duty unit.
How about 233B for Lightning II? TAC upgrades? Cut that.
How about implementing GHW Bush’s ideas of just building a few systems not 12 San Antonio Class amphibs?
How about closing all those bases in Korea, Japan, UK, Europe and Persian Gulf area. Deactivate 6 and 7 fleet.
There are so many thing that are not justified by strategy other than the one pulled from the bagmen in a PAC.
Great, but once again you just argued for isolationism. Its that simple. $233B for the F-35 is its projected lifetime costs (F-16 is still around after 30+ years), not 2011. Next year ALL tactical Aircraft upgrades will cost $15B. So you have $185B to go.
What else are you going to cut?
Why don’t you decide on what the US plans to do with its military, then figure the budget that makes it happen. Oh wait, we do that already! This is Obama’s plan and budget. You know the Dem President?
So why don’t you tell us your non-isolationist national strategy and the DoD budget that goes along with it? You can use your linked as a basic template since they laid it out pretty straight forward. Has its been done during Bush II, Clinton, Bush I etc, etc.
I get it – you don’t like the military. But your ideas put you way, way outside mainstream political thought in the United States. Your ideas about Freedom of the Seas put you well outside the strategic thought of every American President who ever held the office.
basically come back when your within earshot of the fringe looney left. Right now your way, way out in the cold.
Islam will change
Key on the common defense. The rest of those ‘national interests’ are not worth compromising the general welfare of the many.
Each dollar for war comes from the future shirt off the back and from the oncoming sweat of the working US citizen, who needs to be considered. Especially since it is mostly with money borrowed from the PRC and Japan.
Stop arming to force US “influence” on the rest of the world. Don’t worry that the PRC is not bowing to John Bolton’s idea of US hegemony in their own front yard, the list goes on. Divorce the US from Alfred Mahan’s colonial aspirations, at last. Then end the perpetual mobilization, wearing equipment out in eternal training, of a force to fight two simultaneous wars so far from the US as to be no concern for anyone other than to pillage the US to go to those remote places.
You say: “$233B for the F-35 is its projected lifetime costs”.
Not since the Nunn Mc Curdy 80% unit price increase.
Projected costs and estimates. I was an honest commissioned airman; log planner, war support plans etc until 1985 when I got ‘promoted’ to crook in systems acquisitions.
An ilsm is an integrated logistics support manager. I know ownership cost from acquisiton cost.
“The projected [Acquisition] cost of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is now $382.4 billion.
The Pentagon’s cost-analysis office reports that the price per plane — including research, development, and construction costs — is now $112.4 million. The production cost alone of each plane is estimated at $92.3 million, almost 85 percent higher than the $50 million projected when the program began in 2002.”
The ownership costs are estimated using a historical ratio: 382.4/.35 based on average of systems since late 40’s. Or $10930B. Yes that is over a trillion for 20 years’ use. Gulp. The O&M is about $40B a year. And given only one engine design ($100B in engine ownership costs alone) I project the thing will be grounded about 40% of the time. As an ilsm with direct knowledge of flying fighter A/C I can make these predictions.
The USAF/Navy F-35 is not unique, most of the other big ticket items are similarly over running, under performing and late. GAO dumps on these annually.
Once again you don’t answer the question. How do you provide for the Common Defense?
What’s your strategic vision?
You have railed on and on about the evils of the US military. You rail on the acquisition process and all its problems (which are many). Yet everytime you consistantly espouse isolationism as the solution. Every time its basically wipe out the US military, end our technological advantage in conventional and nuclear forces and advocate retreating from the world in some 1800’s isolationist fantasy. Every time.
I’ll make it simple. The state militia cannot defend us in todays world. At all. That concept went to the bottom with the USS Arizona. Join us in the 21st century.
No one even on the fringes of political thought in the US advocates this crap. No one in the R or D party at all. This is stuff from the lunitic fringe. Yet you expect us to take you seriously?
About the only thing I can say is your rants are bi-partisan.
Islam will change
Beat the gold plated unneeded spears into plough shares
Lunatic fringe! The US ought to pay for your fears with taxes, special for the things you want bought.
Spiro Agnew would have been more literate calling me an “effete, impudent, snob”. You do not have his panache.
Cut the fear thing. I am not afraid, so maybe that is your definition of lunatic, one who is not frightened by your boogeymen, and how Pearl Harbor can happen again if the US don’t bankrupt itself buying your scares.
I do not buy the fear you spread about someone to fill the vacuum by US closing down the empire. I do not think anyone in Asia would become like Hitler and go from Versailles disarmed to world war in 6 years.
The threats do not exist, and worrying a vacuum in Europe and Asia is no reason to build the F-35 at 80% overrun on estimates. What for? You tell me why spend money other than good pay for shoddy engineering.
In fact, how about a special tariff on imports from South Korea to pay for the war planned to protect them from NK? And all of the Euro zone for keeping the fictional Red Army off them for the past 65 years? And 30 bucks a barrel of imported oil for the CENTCOM thing?
Almost the whole force structure of WW II is obsolete as a result of the plutonium bomb.
You tell me what is different about the US and Israel that among nations they are the ones spending more than a percent of GDP for militarism.
And there are all kinds of people thinking like me, most of them do not have military pensions.
ilsm will not change
And once again, you duck the question. You really are out on the fringe…
Islam will change
We have assured access to sea, air, space, and cyberspace. The only one that is vulnerable is cyberspace.
As for controlling Eurasia to the extent proposed, you have got to be kidding. First, it is impractical if not impossible, and second, who elected us?
And the US cannot go bankrupt.