Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med

Elephants dance.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has moved to clamp down on Ukraine in advance of the laughably rigged “referendum” scheduled for 16 March, when Crimeans will vote on which way to secede from Ukraine: either as an “independent” state or through annexation by Russia.  Crimeans who want to remain part of Ukraine are out of luck.

The battle for Crimea may be preordained; the battle for Ukraine underway.  There are also indications of a larger battle shaping up in the region, as the aircraft carriers of Russia and the United States perform an elaborate minuet in the Eastern Mediterranean.  If you weren’t convinced that the Russian move on Ukraine would rapidly destabilize the region, consider what has been going on in the last week west of Cyprus. Continue reading “Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med”

About that new Navy readiness policy

State of unreadiness.

 

Make your bullet count...
Make your bullet count…

A piece by David Axe at War is Boring has been flying around the web.  Axe has done a nice job of translating the gobbledygook from this Navy slide presentation into English.  That said, we can add a little focus and precision to his commentary, and a couple of points about the implications of this move. Continue reading “About that new Navy readiness policy”

Just a reminder: Military readiness affects the viability of Syria operations too

Fading.

After U.S. officials agreed last week that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on its people, politicians and pundits resumed making the case for a U.S. intervention in Syria.  And they speak as if the budget cuts affecting the Air Force and Navy won’t affect our ability to launch operations overseas.  Their heads apparently aren’t around that reality yet.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) suggested that enforcing a no-fly zone could be required.  He expressed concern that the administration would maneuver to delay action – and he is no doubt right.  Charles Krauthammer pointed out on Fox News’s Special Report that the president’s credibility is on the line, given his clear identification of chemical weapons use as a “red line” for the U.S. on the Syria crisis.  But no one mentioned the core limitation of military readiness.

You may or may not think it’s advisable for the U.S. to intervene in Syria, even with an operation of minimal scope.  But Continue reading “Just a reminder: Military readiness affects the viability of Syria operations too”

State of unreadiness

Degraded.

My Liberty Unyielding colleague Timothy Whiteman highlighted last Thursday the number of Air Force squadrons that will have to cease training later this year because the Air Force doesn’t have funds for the flying hours.  This is real, and it is astounding.  It will mean that, at a certain point in the near future – as early as this fall, if no additional funds become available – the cost of mounting an operation big enough to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons-related installations is likely to be too high.

This is because there will be no force depth to either sustain follow-on operations or overcome the geographic constraints U.S. forces are increasingly likely to face.  Assuming all of the Air Force’s stand-downs and readiness losses do occur, the available front-line forces would be maxed out with a moderately scoped strike package.  To meet the task, they would require the most favorable basing options that could be available in the Persian Gulf under today’s conditions – but which may not be.  If we don’t have those favorable basing options, and the Air Force squadron groundings remain on track, the Iran strike goes from all-but-under-resourced to impossible.

There will not, after all, be two aircraft carriers on station near Iran, Continue reading “State of unreadiness”

Dead in the water: Obama’s military and the Iran nuclear threat

Promises we can’t keep.

Two to three years ago, the United States Department of Defense had enough military forces on station in, or readily deployable to, the Persian Gulf region (the “CENTCOM AOR” – area of responsibility – or Southwest Asia, as it is called in the military) to execute a limited strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities without asking Congress for special funding.  The military could have performed such an operation “out of hide,” as quickly and seamlessly as the president wanted it to.

Four to five years ago, moreover, the U.S. had the regional political capital to use our bases in the local nations (e.g., Qatar and Bahrain) to launch and direct such a strike campaign.

Both of these conditions have now changed. Continue reading “Dead in the water: Obama’s military and the Iran nuclear threat”