HOW IS OUR MILITARY DOING?
February 1, 2010
This past Saturday, my son left for a seven-month long deployment to the Persian Gulf. In fact, he will be stationed in Bahrain aboard a Mine Sweeper, running sonar in the waters which traverse the coasts of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and , of course, Iran. Iran's shores make up 45 percent of the Persian Gulf coastline and there is no doubt that the Iranian military performs suspicious maneuvers in the region.
As of this date, no mine sweeper has been blow up or its crew held hostage. But there is always a first. It's every parents nightmare.
It's my nightmare considering who heads up our military in the role of Commander-In-Chief. He is, without saying, the most inexperienced leader our country has ever elected. In addition to having no executive experience, he never spent one day in uniform (not that that qualifies anyone for the Presidency) but he also has a looming contempt for our military the likes of which even the far-left loons at the New York Times has noticed.
Despite the fact that Barack Obama believes otherwise, the U.S. government's primary job is to provide for the common defense. The most important element to protecting vital national interests is not providing stimulus packages or creating a larger entitlement for the people. The most important element is the U.S. military, which reinforces America's diplomatic initiatives, acts to deter threats, and, when necessary, fights and wins the nation's wars.
Two primary components determine a strong military: the quality of its service members, and the modern, technologically advanced equipment available to them.
After nearly a decade of continuous warfare--and coming off a previous decade of underinvestment in next-generation equipment and systems in the 1990s and dramatically reduced force levels--America's military personnel remain exceptional but are stressed, experiencing reduced readiness levels and lacking diverse training. The military's equipment is old and getting older in part because it is employed at breakneck wartime rates.
The range of potential missions facing today's military is vast. While winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remains a central mission, regional combatant commanders must also respond to humanitarian disasters, protect sea lines of communication and free trade, deter rogue states through a credible extended deterrence posture, and hedge against the future uncertainty that accompanies the rise of powers like China and Russia.
Regrettably, the tools required to sustain all of these efforts are in jeopardy. The collective decisions by Congress and both Democratic and Republican Presidents over the past 15 years have left the U.S. military using equipment that is extremely old and, in many cases, outdated.
While compensation for military personnel continues to rise necessarily and deservedly, defense investment in modern systems to replace the vast arsenal of the military's high-end platforms, like ships, planes, and tanks, is falling. Not only is investment in modern equipment declining, but the military in general has been buying less for the past 15 years.
After the Cold War ended, the Clinton Administration believed an era of peace was at hand. Consequently, the President and Congress cut both the size of the military and the funding for modernization far below what was necessary to sustain American capabilities.
While President George W. Bush increased spending on the military, it was not enough to remedy the shortfalls of the 1990s, particularly with ongoing operations overseas since 2001. As a result, the military's capital inventory has become largely outdated.
The impact of collective decisions made over the past 15 years and the operations tempo of U.S. forces abroad means that today America is in danger of losing vital core security capabilities without increased investment. This includes the potential loss of core defense capabilities such as air dominance, maritime control, space control, and projecting power to distant regions.
How does that make a parent feel when he or she has a son in harms way? My first thought is "Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?"
The main policy issue I see here is the need for more money to go for national defense and the strengthening of our military with arms and equipment necessary to do their jobs. It is not to provide health care for 35 million, the majority of whom either do not want it (due to youth, or whatever) or who refuse to work.
If Mr. Obama wants to dole out money to create "public sector jobs" many of which would require a "pledge of allegiance to the government" then why not dole it out to a government paying job of sorts that would inspire more young men and women into service, via the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines? There is no greater or glorious calling to duty in this nation than to serve in uniform!
Given the fact that ours is an all-volunteer service, our government should be giving incentives to serve while parents should be encouraging our children to do so. Right now, the Commander-In-Chief is only giving servicemen and women, like my son, to bid their time until their enlistment is up so they can get out.
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.