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Streamline the U.S. Military Budget
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Streamline the U.S. Military Budget:

scratching at .8, just hopin'
Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The U.S. of A. spends a lot on its guns. Maybe not in the best manner. In the meanwhile, soldiers can make more money under less oversight by becoming PM Cs, and defense contractors are trying to make billions by selling Humvees that fly or Star Wars anti-missile programs or other stuff. How do we fix this? And if you're not from the U.S., do you know of any success stories from your country in making the military work well for the money invested in it?

I'd like to turn the thread over to our military tropers, and most of all I'd like to ask if there's a reliable source for info on military spending (that's not classified, of course).
They see me troll'n
In another time, when the threat of the cold war was still around, I think the star wars program was justified.

Now?

Not much.
Failed Comic Artist
I'd be more concerned about a nuke being smuggled INTO the country by terrorist groups at this point. Did the Star Wars program even work?
I dont know why they let me out, I guess they needed a spare bed
 4 Mark Von Lewis, Wed, 16th Feb '11 10:18:34 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Yeah if any nuke strike is going to happen, it'd likely be in the form of a suitcase device than a warhead on a missile.

Probably built with plutonium bought from Libyans in a parking lot. Which I don't recommend; the price is alright but the product is subpar at best and the customer service is atrocious.
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
Failed Comic Artist
Plus, they shoot at you at a drop of a hat! Just ask Doc Brown!
I dont know why they let me out, I guess they needed a spare bed
They see me troll'n
[up][up][up] It wasn't ever finished. The technology is only now beginning to become practical.

Moar and Moar and Moar
In general, unless there is an insane amount of waste, generally contracting out essential government services is going to end up costing the economy more, either in higher costs or lower wages.
Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 8 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 10:45:57 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
In another time, when the threat of the cold war was still around, I think the star wars program was justified.

Now?

Not much.

It's worth continuing, they test the YAL-1 out here sometimes. Used it to shoot down a UAV last year, I hear it worked pretty well.

It wasn't practical for anything other than PR back then, but it's actually viable now.

Ok, so here's my spiel:

Military Contractors. These need to go with the exception of the ones that provide a specialized service that the military does not have in its skillset, here are some examples:

Cooks: Every branch has a cooking career field, but they don't cook. For instance, in the Air Force we have Services. Their entire job is MWR(Morale, Welfare, Recreation), and cooking, there are lots of Services people. But we don't use them to cook unless we're in the field, and even now in Afghanistan and Iraq, they aren't cooking. They are running the gyms and conducting recreational programs. Instead we pay people to be cooks for us, and this is also a major security risk.

Security/Law Enforcement: People like me who do the police role in a military uniform on base are quickly fading. We are now using tons and tons of underpaid and undertrained Do D Police, as well as civilian contractors, for base security. We have cops damnit, and damn good ones, they just decided that if they have contractors do it then they can just deploy us constantly.

Administration: It's quickly becoming a problem that instead of high ranking officers being our admins, it's contractors who do the job. I'm not content to have some fucking GS-13 Do D Contractor have authority over me or an entire department of soldiers, that's bullshit.

Gardening/Upkeep: This is what we have E-1 to E-3 ranks for damnit, there's a pecking order for a reason. It costs us pennies to pay our lowest ranking troops to do this shit, compared to some 60, 000 dollar contract being taken out to have some dudes hedge bushes and trim trees and grass.

Extravagant Research Programs: Flying humvees with helicopter rotors? Give me a fucking break, we'll never use that. We need less focus on super high-tech toys, because then they don't teach troops how to maintain them, only how to use them. We then hire civilians with expensive contracts to come out and perform basic maintenance on these toys, which are hardly ever in working order... BECAUSE NONE OF OUR TROOPS ARE ALLOWED TO FIX THEM! The budget for one of these projects could keep my entire base open for several years most of the time!

Construction: We have an entire Corps of engineers in every branch who can do this shit, but instead we hire civilian construction companies to do it. Their work is often shoddy, and it takes 4x as long for them to do the work, they purposely drag it out so they can milk us for more cash. Military engineers finish the job fast, because they get paid on salary anyway, and the quicker they get that shit done, the quicker they can relax and not have to work so hard. They also take pride in their work.

Then there's also the cycle of how we spend money for our wars... When we cut spending on the military, the first thing they cut are troops. They don't cut most of the contracting, they don't cut all the expensive ass doohickeys, they cut troops. Despite what they make you think with all the bullshit about medical bills, we really aren't that expensive to maintain. During peacetime, they keep us with an undermanned force, then when a war kicks up, they spin everything up and start hiring the shit out of people, luring them in with huge 60, 000 dollar bonuses for critical career fields, most of these folks are brand new young folk who have no experience and will get out within one to two contracts.

This makes no fucking sense. Cut the contractors and make us self-sufficient again, quit dropping billions on projects that Generals think are stupid, and keep a decent sized force of experienced soldiers who care about their job enough to stick around. Contracting all of our services out is bad for the war effort. If we ever have a surprise threat that doesn't give us time for a spin-up the way we do when we attack, then we're fucked.

edited 16th Feb '11 10:47:22 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 9 Mark Von Lewis, Wed, 16th Feb '11 10:51:54 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Shit, I didn't know outsourcing was that bad in the military.
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
 10 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 10:56:25 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
To us it's the next beubonic plague.

Shit, my job is about ready to be outsourced, I might be forced to take a pay cut and become a Do D Policeman soon.

That also means no rifle, no camo, and no beret, and that makes this job bearable. sad

edited 16th Feb '11 10:56:50 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
They see me troll'n
[up][up][up] Why is this man not more highly ranked? :|

edited 16th Feb '11 10:57:24 AM by CommandoDude

Moar and Moar and Moar
Some people on the left argue that the Iraqi war was in order to funnel massive amounts of cash to private contractors. I can't really argue with this, as that is what ended up happening.
Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 13 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 10:59:36 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^^

I like where I am just fine.

I mean, I wouldn't mind like.. two or three more stripes.. But I can get those at the rate I'm going now, or at least two more.

But that wouldn't put me even close to those levels of decision-making, I don't like officers, and I don't want to be one. Hell, this isn't even General grade decision-making, this is Secretary of Defense level decision making.

^

I think that Cheney piping all that money to Halliburton and KBR through giving them ludicrous contracts was a bonus, not the objective.

edited 16th Feb '11 11:00:10 AM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 14 Mark Von Lewis, Wed, 16th Feb '11 11:01:09 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Seems like the Secretary of Defense has a fiscal policy like a damn rapper - flagrantly spend funds in increasingly asinine ways.

Only a matter of time before our Abrams get hydraulics and 20" rims.
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
 15 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 11:04:51 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
It isn't just him, it's tons of different politicians. There is no specific focal point of this, other than defense lobbyists.

It's Senators approving defense spending bills who are influenced by people, it's the Secretaries of each branch and the secretary of defense who then fight for these bills so they can use the extra money that comes with these contracts for projects that actually do matter... It's complicated.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 16 Mark Von Lewis, Wed, 16th Feb '11 11:05:53 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Ah, so it's gaming the system, kind of? They ask for several mil to make a helicopter tank and siphon the funds into useful things, like ammo and guns that work?
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
They see me troll'n
I would like to propose the following

  • 90% of all nuclear bombers be decommissioned or re purposed. They are useless since ICB Ms and boomers make them obsolete and any need for them for strategic purposes would not require more then a few.

  • 75% of all nuclear weapons in storage be scraped for reactor fuel. These weapons are not ever going to be used ever. Not even in the event of WORLD WAR III. They are not in any kind of active delivery service, they are just collecting dust.

  • 50% of all ICB Ms decommissioned and scrapped. We do not need these, even in the event of WORLD WAR III there are far more then we would even need to obliterate those evil communazis. (Russia) Seriously, compare the stockpiles of America (#2) and France (#3).

  • Mothball 4 Ohio-class nuclear attack submarines. 14 is more then we need.

  • Mothball a few Los Angeles Class fast attack subs while we're at it. There are 54 and none have fired a torpedo in forever.

edited 16th Feb '11 11:10:49 AM by CommandoDude

 18 Mark Von Lewis, Wed, 16th Feb '11 11:12:06 AM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Hey, we'll need those nukes when the goddamn aliens invade one day.

Or when we go to another planet and the working out of mining contracts goes south and we need to stomp a mudhole in some xenos ass.
There is no Zuul, there is only the Bear Jew.
They see me troll'n
Dude, we'd have thousands of nuclear warheads even with my proposal. Especially combined with Russia.

edited 16th Feb '11 11:12:58 AM by CommandoDude

Well generally I take issue with the privatisation of military services when they are vital to your nation's survival.

Aside from things that Barkey already stated what you have at the top are generals who are in the pockets of large corporations because it earns them a good pension. You want new military hardware? It should be government initiatives, not outsourced to private corporations. I'm sorry but "cost-cutting" when it comes to the military will just turn into cost overruns and political push for wars that are totally unnecessary (or done totally wrong to maximise profit). For instance, rather than running the Iraq war like a mlitary campaign, it was basically turned into a corporate campaign of PM Cs doing all sort of shit that the US military should have been doing to maximise profit. For the military, optimally you want good public support, building relationships with the locals and effective combat campaigns. Instead what you got were ways to spend more money, like using experimental hardware, throwing PM Cs all over the place, lighting trucks on fire instead of fixing them, running up costs to get more money from a contract.

  • There should be no reason a soldier buys his own equipment. If a soldier can't get the equipment he needs from the government something is seriously wrong. Either get them the equipment they need, or start cutting out what you don't need if you don't have the cash. Building a new B2 bomber is useless if your basic G Is don't even have flak jackets.

  • Military research should be limited. That kind of money is huge and it would be better off poured into improving your economy so that you can get your soldiers the training and basics that they actually need. It's all well and cool to have a supercruising stealthfighter in low-orbital range, but that kinda does zippo against a bunch of militants in Afghanistan with nothing but ak-47s.

  • PM Cs should be eliminated as much as possible. The use of mercenaries is insane. You have well dedicated patriotic Americans to do the job at a proper price, with pension and benefits, instead of trying to pass war through congress as a "budgetary matter". The last thing you want is for Americans to have their interests separated from the wars they are fighting. If the war is not just, is not worth it, it should not be fought. You don't have conscription, the populace has no right to send over other people's kids to go die on foreign soil because of their ideology.

  • Allow basic soldiers all the way down the chain of command be able to experiment. I've seen soldiers come up with their own armour for their vehicles to survive better in the theatre of war. That should not be frowned upon. It's free innovation.

  • America needs to focus more on training and less on numbers. There's 1.5 million soldiers and 1 million reservists. The only other country that competes with that number is China, which has six times the population. That's plain stupid. You want smart soldiers doing smart things, especially in terms of peacekeeping (or even peacemaking as US is prone to do). It doesn't help if you have 1000 marines that know what they're doing when some dumbass GI goes off and pisses on a Quran because he thinks it is hilarious.

 22 Barkey, Wed, 16th Feb '11 11:25:55 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Aside from things that Barkey already stated what you have at the top are generals who are in the pockets of large corporations because it earns them a good pension. You want new military hardware? It should be government initiatives, not outsourced to private corporations. I'm sorry but "cost-cutting" when it comes to the military will just turn into cost overruns and political push for wars that are totally unnecessary (or done totally wrong to maximise profit). For instance, rather than running the Iraq war like a mlitary campaign, it was basically turned into a corporate campaign of PM Cs doing all sort of shit that the US military should have been doing to maximise profit. For the military, optimally you want good public support, building relationships with the locals and effective combat campaigns. Instead what you got were ways to spend more money, like using experimental hardware, throwing PM Cs all over the place, lighting trucks on fire instead of fixing them, running up costs to get more money from a contract.

Don't make this about the generals, it really isn't that common for them to be the facilitators of this. Most of the time all they get asked for is an opinion, one that isn't always heeded that much in the first place. Some of them are essentially being paid in the long run, their influence means a high paying job with said company when they retire, but that is by no means the majority or root cause of this.

Don't even get me started on the numbers game, where we're at is fine. We don't need to downsize, we don't need to upscale things. We're fine where we're at, let's keep it this way personnel wise. We still don't have quite enough personnel to do our job.

As for equipment.. Well.. I'm at work right now, and I'm wearing about 250 dollars in personally purchased equipment. A tac vest, a drop leg holster, a fleece sweater that is military issue, but I had to buy from clothing sales since I didn't get it issued to me, a forward grip for my rifle, and a three point sling.

The last two aren't mandatory in any way, those are personal preference items. The other things.. Not so much. Though this is a bitchin vest that I got a great deal for, and didn't mind buying since I get "OMG WHERE DID U BUY THAT!" comments from other cops pretty often.

60 bucks bitch, cheaperthandirt.com
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
They see me troll'n
[up][up] Technically that wasn't the fault of military contractors, but rather that our top brass is incompetent and deluded in the myth of American invulnerability. Completely unwilling to learn.

edited 16th Feb '11 11:27:14 AM by CommandoDude

Well I'm not trying to say all generals are bad. For instance, I really loved Mc Chrystal. I've just noticed that the vast majority of your weapons acquisition program and military research is just filled to the brim with corrupt senators and generals, even if most of your generals are totally fine.

Also, even if you had equipment you wanted out of preference, the military should still pay for it. They're asking you to risk your life, and it has a 450 billion dollar budget. That's like me at work having to buy my own power bar to do my job. That is stupid. You should be able to expense. I mean honestly, do we want a soldier not perform well because he didn't have a particular vest or grip on his weapon all for like a hundred bucks? A soldier costs like 100k just to do the most basic training.

edited 16th Feb '11 11:32:17 AM by breadloaf

scratching at .8, just hopin'
and no beret, and that makes this job bearable
They would take your beret? Oh shit no, you've got to draw a line somewhere.
Technically that wasn't the fault of military contractors, but rather that our top brass is incompetent and deluded in the myth of American invulnerability. Completely unwilling to learn.
Whoever's at fault, that's not what you tolerate in high-level decision-making about the logistical future of the military.

The Millenium Challenge 2002 wargame was more or less the myth of Cassandra taken to the newest century. We ran a wargame, the U.S. with the fanciest toys versus an Iraq-equivalent. The Iraq-equivalent fought like the insurgents and kicked ass. We restarted the wargame, changed the rules so that the Iraq-equivalent had to fight like Saddam Hussein, and ran it again. We kicked Hussein's ass. The extremely competent Marine Corps general running the Iraq-equivalent quits and points out what a load of bullshit that was. Fast forward to the real invasion of Iraq, and look what happened?

edited 16th Feb '11 11:32:45 AM by RadicalTaoist

Total posts: 92
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