Defense cuts and the fragile, undefended bubble we now live in

Peace in our time.

What is there to say that most readers even need to hear?  As he did so often, Reagan summed it up nicely in a brief, well-known phrase:

Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.

An especially important point here is that the converse is true.  The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak. Continue reading “Defense cuts and the fragile, undefended bubble we now live in”

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”

Follow the “M” word: More on the “National Defense Resources Preparedness” Executive Order

Money money money money – MONEY.

Not “martial law,” folks.  Not that “M” word.  The other one: “money.”

Ed Morrissey did an excellent job breaking down the few actual differences between Obama’s new defense-resources EO and the previous version from 1994.  Here are the two main differences:

1.  The Obama EO elaborates vague-sounding functions for federal agencies in maintaining defense-resources preparedness (Section 103).  Ed summarizes them as follows:

Note what this EO specifically orders: identify, assess, be prepared, improve, foster cooperation.

2.  The Obama EO delegates authorities under Section 308 to agency heads.  The Section 308 authorities include putting additional equipment in public and private defense industrial facilities, and modifying or expanding private facilities, including modifying or “improving” industrial processes.

Any time I see the Obama administration and “modifying private industry” in the same zip code, Continue reading “Follow the “M” word: More on the “National Defense Resources Preparedness” Executive Order”

Defense Cuts and Political Assumptions

Sort the geopolitical assumptions out first.

Arguments over defense-spending requirements are ultimately disputes over the political conditions that will obtain in future military conflicts. Secretary Gates’s new proposal to cut the defense budget is a fresh example of this axiom. The concept is easy to illustrate: if, for example, you don’t think we need more F-22 Raptors, your assumption is almost certainly that we will not, in the foreseeable future, have to fight a war in which there is a serious threat to our fighter-bombers. The F-22’s principal advantage over the F-35 is its better performance against modern anti-air missile systems like the ones being deployed by Russia and China. The anti-air missile threat has for some time eclipsed aerial combat as the main survival concern of modern air forces. In a conflict involving such missile systems, F-22s are likely to survive and complete their missions at a higher rate than F-35s.

Your assumption might be, alternatively, Continue reading “Defense Cuts and Political Assumptions”