I had been focused on writing about the future of the Air Force but feel I neglected my favorite nincompoop, Secretary Hagel. How can one announce a force reduction not seen since before WWII and then state, "American dominance in the seas, sky and space can no longer be taken for granted"(Daily Mail). You have just confirmed publicly what China and Russia has suspected for sometime…the United States is no longer a threat.
Look at this little graphic that was in the Daily Mail article:
Russia and China have always assumed what they lacked in technology, they more than made up for in sheer numbers. Now with the technology gap also decreasing, what exactly can be done if say Moscow decides to invade Ukraine? Or if China and Japan decide to revisit long existing hostilities?
Hagel slugs on even though his cuts means he knows the US military will become a paper tiger, he states the Department of Defense Strategy "is focused on defending the homeland against all strategic threats, building security globally by projecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression, and remaining prepared to win decisively against any adversary, should deterrents fail". The most obvious criticism of this asinine statement "defending the homeland".
According to the Department of Homeland Security website, "The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards." Looks like the SecDef is allowing his department into mission creep and spending money unnecessarily on defending the homeland.
The next criticism is when he says "...building security globally by projecting U.S. influence". Well Mr. Secretary there is no way to do that when you are closing bases overseas and cutting your force structure. You can't deter aggression if you aren't there! Cuts to aircraft and a lack of reinvestment in surface ships guarantees the US military will be unable to deliver on the Sec Def's assurance of "remaining prepared to win decisively against any advisory". Unless of course he means nuclear forces will now be used. Of course that can't be since Mr. Obama wants to reduce the number of nuclear warheads.
But wait, there is more from this nitwit that makes no sense:
Hagel confirmed that the Pentagon would soon 'shift its operational focus and forces to the Asia-Pacific [region]' while it continue to aggressively pursue global terrorist networks.'--Daily Mail
And how pray tell are troops supposed to get there? Is DHS supposed to be dealing with the terrorists? And most importantly, how are you going to sustain prolonged operations without the troops and equipment for the long haul? The nuclear option keeps coming to mind but of course, we aren't heading that way…except why then all of the fuss about cheating scandals in the nuclear forces?
Many will point to how the small troop strength prior to both world wars heavily contributed to those wars occurring. What many fail to point out is how long those wars actually went on BECAUSE of the lack of troops and equipment. Let's look at just one example from World War II.
When the United States entered WWII, it's primary air-to-air fighter was the P-39 Airacobra. It lacked sufficient speed and performance at high altitude (above 18,000 feet) to be effective against the German and Japanese fighters. The years between 1917 and 1941 saw a decided lack of investment in aviation technology. The result was it would be almost 5 years before the US could field the premier fighter of World War II, the P-51 Mustang.
Yes, we are plowing ahead with the F-35 despite some serious design problems and huge price tag but the supporting systems are no where to be found. The A-10 was almost completely eliminated but saved at the last minute. C-17s are ending their production run. The KC-46 is being given the go ahead but there won't be enough made so at least 200 legacy KC-135s will be maintained. The B-52s are now being flown by the grandsons of the pilots who first flew them nearly 60 years ago.
We can't spend widely on the military but what is so ridiculous about the current Sec Def is how ineffective he has been at organizing his department. Rather then cut spending and making the US more lethal, he has cut spending and made us a hell of a lot more vulnerable.