Home » Sea » AirSea Battle » Gates Whacks Navy-Marines

Gates Whacks Navy-Marines

by Greg on May 3, 2010

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates finished his speech to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo today you could, pardon the cliche, hear a pin drop; a very muted applause finally came after a long silence. Gates went right at the sea services, saying the Marines’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is way too costly and there isn’t much of an amphibious warfare mission, building a new class of boomers, at $7 billion a copy, will bankrupt the shipbuilding budget, and he even went after the holiest-of-holies, saying the Navy has too many carriers.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to 6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers.” His implication was the answer to that question is clearly no. Well, he’s already let the Air Force have it, I guess it was the Navy’s turn.

Some gems:

“We have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again – especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore. On a more basic level, in the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?”

“Our current plan is to have eleven carrier strike groups through 2040. To be sure, the need to project power across the oceans will never go away. But, consider the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys. Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

They must have a class over at the Pentagon where they teach officers and officials to frame any touchy issue in the form of a question. Gates made it clear that the shipbuilding budget is not going up. The funding priority for the foreseeable future is reset — repairing and refurbishing the Army and Marine Corps equipment coming out of Iraq, he said.

Colin’s got more over at DOD Buzz. Bryan McGrath at Information Dissemination has a lengthy rejoinder.

– Greg Grant

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{ 130 comments… read them below or add one }

Ziv May 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Maybe the Navy, Army and Air Force could simply put out specifications and get bids. No continuous updates of what the ship/helicopter/fighter is expected to do. No developmental work to be done in the 15 years leading up to production. Build a ship/helicopter/fighter with state of the art now, not 10 years from now? Then the builder would have a remote chance of coming in at the bid price and not 50% over.

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Jeff N May 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm

If there is no need for amphibious landings, how much need is there for the marines at all? As they are now they're just being used as another Army. The Navy's desire to support the Marine mission seems to be zeroing out, maybe the corp is going to become an endagered species.

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Rucktaschel May 11, 2010 at 7:41 am

While I would agree somewhat that the amphibious element of the Marines has gone away somewhat, there is still a great need for this specific type of warefare. Once all the missiles are gone we still will need ground pounders on the beaches. All objectives will have anti-ship defenses. Also think back to Iwo Jima and Normandy….heavy air compaigns did little to soften the beach heads. As far as being used as another Army…The Marines will never just be another Army. The Marines have and will still continue to operate as a smaller scale more elite strike force carrying out operations with speed and intensity not achieveable by the other servives. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it. Our constant training keeps us on the top of our game. Sgt. USMC 2002-2007

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kyler rittenhouse May 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm

you my dumb ass friend are a fucking idiot, who goes and kills everybody to protect your fucking ass and this great country the marines will never become an endangered species there will always be a need for marines every where in the dam world so go fuck yourself and die in a fire

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ohwilleke May 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Gates is right.

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hwestfall May 9, 2010 at 3:32 am

Here is another vote. YES, GATES IS RIGHT! Billion dollar boats are ridicules.

I served in submarines, destroyers and a carrier. They can do it effectively for

less money.

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Intex May 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I worked, briefly, for Gates back around 1980 and was only medium-impressed.

But the man has sure become one of the best SecDefs in living memory, and maybe in the history of the Republic. Amazing to see an intelligent, informed adult in such a position and willing to say and act on what he sees to be the truth.

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Das25 August 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Gates is right and he speaks the truth

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Russ Koch May 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

If we lose our maritime superiority, we've lost most of our ability to defend our nation. We had a Gates-type movement before and it resulted in what I believe was called the "revolt of the admirals" or something like that. Airborne brigades may transit by airplane but armies travel by sea. They always have. Even absent a direct assault, it is quite a feat to transition a fighting force from sea to land. The next logical step is are you going to let one man with an ak47 stop the landing? No? Well then it becomes an amphibious assault! Make that 1000 soldiers opposing your transition and you have a battle on your hands. I hate to say that Gates is ill-informed or unlearned, but this is all lay man's knowledge available to any casual reader. Gates is sending political messages from the White house.

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MikeP May 9, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Uh, when was the last time an American army traveled by sea? Korea?

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RandyL May 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

It's apparent you have not a clue about past and present operations. Did you in your ultimate wisdom somehow loss your memory of the Kuwaitt Invasion on August 2, 1990.

Somewhere in your clouded existance you fail to realize that in order to project peace, you need all the tools to complete the mission(s) assigned.

But of course, with your armchair thoughts, and your desk bound attitude, you'll never realize the errors of your ways.

But, you sure in the hell will cry foul when someone you care for is killed, maimed, or far worse tortured.

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Jacob Phillips May 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm

First of all it is Corps not corp. Second of all if you think the Marine Corps operates like the Army you need a tremendous history lesson and some real life experience within the different branches themselves. I have spent time with both services and they are nothing alike.

Aside from that you are correct there are no current needs for amphibious landings, but I firmly believe that we need to be prepared for all types of warfare – who know where/what we will be doing next.

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Jeff N May 4, 2010 at 10:18 am

My apologies, my spell checker keeps switching it automatically.

I know Marines are not the same as the Army and I know they operate differently. My point was that it seems there is a push to move them towards being more Army like. That one of the primary functions of the Marines is being elimated is one of the most dramatic steps in the direction of being made more Army like.

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Mark May 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

*Just as a disclaimer, I'm not trying to bash, call anyone stupid, or anything like that, I'm just trying to provide a little insider insight into the matter.

The Marine Corps' amphibious doctrine is not dead. True, the Marines have been fighting a land war since 2003 and less emphasis has been put on amphibious operations, but the doctrine is still there. When a MEU goes afloat, the Marines train at amphibious landings. The Marine Corps will continue to train as an amphibious and expeditionary force, and it is currently developing more doctrine to combat the improved shore defenses. So while we haven't made a landing on hostile shores in some time, the Marine Corps still has the capability to conduct amphibious operations. The Marine Corps will remain the nation's force-in-readiness.

As for being more Army-like, the Marines still operate as an expeditionary force while ashore. The Army is built for large, conventional warfare and rely on FOBs and their logistics units to sustain operations. The Marine Corps is organized into self-sustaining units, MAGTFs, that can go out into a hostile area and conduct combat operations without the support of a FOB or a long supply train. The fighting styles and doctrine of the Army and Marine Corps are vastly different, and they won't change anytime soon.

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Mark Ewers May 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

Not to mention having a few Marines off a coast line and our rep of tearing up beaches makes a few peeps think twice before getting froggy. A few of my freinds was off the coast during the Desert Storm- They had Ol Saddam sweating bullets for weeks.
If memory serves me they tried to axe my Marine Corps like three times… they can't do it as no one can do what we do how we do it.
Only time the Marines was truely disbanded was just after the Revolutionary War, but brought back in existance less then a decade later. Also the US Army was basically nonexistant during this same time period.

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Jacob Phillips May 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Aside from all of the politics – the bottom line is this:
If our federal government stopped spending money on the junk programs that it was never intended to be involved in (i.e. space travel, welfare, farm subsidies, healthcare, etc…) we would have plenty of money for our national defense budget. The "general welfare clause" has been abused in a tremendous manner.

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Gengiz May 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm

um yea space travel and farm subsidies help feed the military and bring new technology so we can have te baddest stuff around.

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.45CaliberCure May 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Farm subsidies don't help provide food. They provide artificially higher costs to the consumer via their taxes paid to the government, which in turn gives that money to the farmers, so that the consumers don't see the increased prices at the store, but rather through the hidden vehicle of taxation. And I'll agree that aerospace has a Constitutionally supportable place in Federal funding to the extent that it is focused on our national defense at least.

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Luke May 8, 2010 at 2:26 am

I think the bidget problem and the national debt would be helped if the government didnt spend a $1000 for one bolt. They pay way to dam much they need to go out and say hey if you cant do it for this then get the hell out of here and get someone who can.

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Matt May 30, 2010 at 1:18 am

i (personnal) agree with you on that; exept on space travel… if we gave up on that we would not have GPS, other satilites, or things like the X37B… my main problem with gates is he cant see beyond insergents/terrorists… china is modernising its forces (or trying to); if the world is sooo damn friendly then why would they do that? just because america is not at war against a country now doesnt mean we never will be… its not like ww2 where car factories can make tanks; modern weapons need years to develope and designated factories…

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Forrest May 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Gates is right. We just don't have the money to support what we want and we'll have to get used to what we can afford. Dump two carrier groups, the EFV, the MV-22, the LCS, and maybe the F-35. Cut the number of SSNs and build some SSKs. Build smaller SSBNs. Replace the LCS with a capable OTS foreign frigate. If we retain the F-35, build some smaller air-capable ships. We CAN have a highly capable force at a much lower cost.

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Saberhagen May 5, 2010 at 7:59 am

lol, how come SSK is more affordable than SSN? Tell me!

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Mickey May 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Your crazy.

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Howe May 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

exactly, we are spending ourselves into oblivion.

Its time this country learns how to tighten the belt.

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Atomic Walrus May 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm

An economic historian named Paul Kennedy published a book called Rise and Fall of the Great Powers about 25 years ago. One of his conclusions was that great powers started to decline when they started to bear the cost of garrisoning their empires – the transition from an informal commercial empire to a formal empire. US military power is unrivalled, but it always bears asking what that power truly costs. I don't think that the British Empire ever had the same degree of military projection as the US does today…

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Brandon May 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

Are you saying that Britain didn’t spend as much on its military because your wrong. They had at the high point I belive 40 1st rates which when you take into account inflation a 1st rate cost I do believe its 1.5 as much as a modern carrier. They also had at this time 120 2nd rates which cost as much or a little under depending on the ship in comparsion to a modern carrier. And non of that is including its massive number of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rates which numbers can only be guess at and those stand very high.

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Atomic Walrus May 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm

That was wartime spending, not peacetime spending. During the Napoleonic era, Britain would rapidly draw down its fleet (i.e. place it in ordinary) whenever a peace was achieved. Few if any of the first rates would be kept in commission during peacetime. Britain also didn't spend much on naval forces later in the 19th century. Its presence overseas might not be much more than a couple of gunboats.

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Atomic Walrus May 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm

That was wartime spending, not peacetime spending. During the Napoleonic era, Britain would rapidly draw down its fleet (i.e. place it in ordinary) whenever a peace was achieved. Few if any of the first rates would be kept in commission during peacetime. Britain also didn't spend much on naval forces later in the 19th century. Its presence overseas might not be much more than a couple of gunboats.

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joe May 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I have to admit, the Marines EFV program is trying to stuff way too much technology into a single platform, Tons of Hydrolic to lift the track system up out of the way and then move boat shaped hull pannels into place,and then unfortionately, you end up with a creature that can't do any of what is expected very well.
A Mechanics nightmare in the making…but, if they rethought the program, seperated it into two seperate functions (A combat Vehicle that can float with a really great weapons system) and a Tug that can be attached to the rear of it after it has loaded up it's Marines, can push the combat vehicle at high speeds and also manouver well, and then within a a 100 yards of hitting the beach releases the combat Vehicle that now makes it's way to the beach under it's own power, and the tug swings away and turns back to it's ship.

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drm May 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Yeah – totally batshit insane.

You would almost be better off with a giant boat-shaped foam cradle for the thing, and disposable booster rockets on the side.

At any rate, separating the High Speed Boat function from the Armored Land Vehicle function seems like a good idea. You'd still want the Armored Land Vehicle to be amphibious, just not with the long range, high speed, high sea-state handling.

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drm May 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Yeah – totally batshit insane.

You would almost be better off with a giant boat-shaped foam cradle for the thing, and disposable booster rockets on the side.

At any rate, separating the High Speed Boat function from the Armored Land Vehicle function seems like a good idea. You'd still want the Armored Land Vehicle to be amphibious, just not with the long range, high speed, high sea-state handling.

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Chimp May 5, 2010 at 4:12 am

Go COTS. Here's a good product for the Marines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMP-3

You can even save money by buying the knockoff version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZBD-97

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Pete May 5, 2010 at 10:52 am

Take no notice of the nay sayers Joe, its not a bad concept and we are working on a similar project. You are onto it.

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Brian May 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I think is comparing apples to oranges. No other country has a need AND a capability to operate more than one large carrier. We are located in a relatively isolated location, so we need carriers to project power. The basic math is simple, 11 Carriers = 3-4 operational Carriers. Can we meet the necessary security and deterrence levels we need with only 2-3 operational Carriers.

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Bob May 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Yes.

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Ross May 3, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Mate it is just general inbalance in US finances (including huge overspending on military). Not the laughably (i would go so far as to say criminally) low amount of welfare that exists over there.

The British Empire maintained an empire of roughly a quarter the worlds population on a military budget that amounted to around 2% of GDP – and that was in the face of far more threats in the world than that which the US faces today.

Dont get me wrong i appreciate more than most the need for defence and i despise the sorry state of my own country's forces (UK) but this is hyperbole.

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Benjamin May 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Gates is never happy unless he's slashing some program and weakening the nation's security in some way or form.

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Alex May 4, 2010 at 12:00 am

Or Margaret Thatcher :)

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Ross May 4, 2010 at 12:08 am

This is simply absurd. Islam isnt one great 'nation'. Iran are not liked by much of the ME and they are partly the reason why the US shares a decent relationship with so many of the gulf states. They fear Iran's hegemonic goals much as they feared Saddam's hegemonic goals during the late 80s/early 90s.

Not even the intellectually controversial clash of civilizations thesis by huntingdon makes such claims as you do.

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M.G.Halvorsen May 4, 2010 at 12:17 am

I remember reading about a similar SecDef…his name was Louis Johnson. He bragged about cutting away the "fat in the military budget". He cut the fat, apparently, right to the bone; so that, in 1950, we were hard-pressed to put together a fighting force to stop North Korea from driving through to the sea. We had a few leaders ( most notably, Douglas Macarthur) that managed to halt that advance at what bcame known as the "Pusan perimeter". We were able to piece together a single Marine Brigade…Johnson had declared the USMC an "Anachronism from another era of warfare". Perhaps Mr. Gates should study the lessons of History, lest we be condemned to repeat them.

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praetorian May 4, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Thank you, another one well put sir.

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mike May 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

You should read the book "The Coldest War" to see how useful McArthur really was.

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Ross May 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

This is simply absurd. Islam isnt one great 'nation'. Iran are not liked by much of the ME and they are partly the reason why the US shares a decent relationship with so many of the gulf states. They fear Iran's hegemonic goals much as they feared Saddam's hegemonic goals during the late 80s/early 90s.

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Ross May 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

445jjd was what that was meant to be directed to :/

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jsallison May 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Consider too the absolutely fubar’d naval vessel procurement process (which isn’t alone amongst the services, by any means). Starting with having way too many mid and senior rankers able to force feature creep on the ways, guaranteeing a(nother) budget-busting embarrassment. Too bad it’s not career-busting as well. The perfect as the enemy of the good is a concept foreign to these yops.

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JAV May 4, 2010 at 12:59 am

The EFV has been a mess, but implying that it has no mission is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater…

After the Dardanelles in WWI almost everyone believed that shipborne troops could never successfully defeat an entrenched enemy. Members of the Marine Corps and Navy were the only people, US or otherwise, to study the problem in depth and they established the doctrine to make the landings at Guadalcanal, North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, the Phillippines, Iwo, and Okinawa possible. In 1947 the Army believed that the atomic bomb had made amphibious warfare obsolete and tried to absorb the Marine Corps or render them small and useless. Only three years later a Marine amphibious assault saved S. Korea. In 1991 a large part of the Iraqi army was tied down protecting the coastline from the threat of a landing. Remember Grenada and Somalia? What about the abilities of amphibious ships and troops to assist in disaster relief and humanitarian efforts?

When was the last time the 82nd Airborne jumped into hostile territory? When was the last time an American sub sank something? We still have plenty of nukes and haven't used them since 1945. Just because it hasn't been necessary doesn't mean the capability isn't necessary or relevant. Barring significant changes in our foreign policies, we won't always be able to count on a friendly port or airfield.

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Atomic Walrus May 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

1) The ability of amphibious ships and troops to assist in humanitarian operations is nice, but that's not what they're for. There hasn't been a forced amphibious landing since Inchon.

2) The 82nd Airborne was en route to Haiti for a divisional drop to overthrow the military junta in 1994 when the junta caved, making the drop unnecessary.

3) American subs haven't sunk anything recently, although HMS Conqueror made a pretty good demonstration of what a nuclear sub could do when it sank the Belgrano in 1982. American subs are also used to carry a large part of the nation's nuclear deterrent, and the attack subs are tasked with protecting it.

Some capabilities aren't used frequently, but they exist for a reason. Amphibious landings using landing craft haven't been done in 60 years. Arguments for retaining that capability are similar to arguments for retaining battleships to fight other surface combatants.

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Atomic Walrus May 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm

1) The ability of amphibious ships and troops to assist in humanitarian operations is nice, but that's not what they're for. There hasn't been a forced amphibious landing since Inchon.

2) The 82nd Airborne was en route to Haiti for a divisional drop to overthrow the military junta in 1994 when the junta caved, making the drop unnecessary.

3) American subs haven't sunk anything recently, although HMS Conqueror made a pretty good demonstration of what a nuclear sub could do when it sank the Belgrano in 1982. American subs are also used to carry a large part of the nation's nuclear deterrent, and the attack subs are tasked with protecting it.

Some capabilities aren't used frequently, but they exist for a reason. Amphibious landings using landing craft haven't been done in 60 years. Arguments for retaining that capability are similar to arguments for retaining battleships to fight other surface combatants.

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Dave May 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Airborne operations have been used for combat operations in both afganistan and Iraq. In addition to shows of force in Bosnia, Africa, and Haiti.

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Forrest May 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

No, it's "you are crazy" or "you're crazy."

Learn to spell.

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William C. May 4, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Nobody likes a grammar Nazi.

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uscg blaze May 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm

so? no one really likes an idiot either, he did the man a favor.

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STemplar May 4, 2010 at 1:21 am

I think taking a hard look at what we can afford and what conflicts we will actually face is healthy. I see no where in here where Gates calls for disarming America. He simply points out some systems are wildly too expensive. You notice he doesn't make any suggestions about what should be bought.

I think he points out something as well, maintaining capabilities for the sake of having them is foolhardy. We are never going to launch a major amphib assault of a contested coastline ever again. Never. Will we have to put perhaps a BN sized element ashore to a un-permissive environement? Possibly, but that is an order of difference financially. The technology provides us too many options so that we don't have too storm a contested coast. If Eisenhower had Chinooks or Sea Stallions he would not have stormed Normandy. Inchon was the last time we stormed a beach.

Clearly the anti access measures governments are taking demonstrate the limitations of carrier groups. Those measures are considerably cheaper as well. We need to stop buying arms in numbers to overcome the anti-access efforts of our adversaries and start having a procurement system that is more nimble and able to leverage OTS tech to simply by pass the anti access efforts of others.

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William C. May 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Your damn right the Marines and Navy should be pissed at this. Gates is so focused on COIN warfare he is going to seriously hurt the Navy and USAF if he keeps this up.

11-12 carrier battle groups is a good number but dropping below this would be very foolish.

The USS Ohio, lead ship of it's class is over 30 years old. While this may not seem a huge number, submarines can't be expected to serve as long as surface ships. It makes sense to lay the groundwork for our next SSBN today, and begin low rate production sometime before 2020.

The EFV may not be the answer but the USMC needs some sort of replacement for the AAVP-7A1. The USMC must also maintain some sort of amphibious assault capability, even if it isn't a modern enemy with modern anti-ship missiles.

Pete, based on your previous posts all you care about is reducing US military power. All it takes is a single shot for a percieved threats to become a real threat, and we must maintain the capability to win a conventional war against any opponent. French bashing will continue and ass-kissing doesn't make any friends Pete. And the militants and radicals we are fighting can't win unless we choose to leave and the Afghan government fails. And even if that happens. What will they have won? All they will have done is ensured Afghanistan remands a 3rd world wasteland for the next 1000 years.

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praetorian May 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Well put sir.

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MAJclem May 4, 2010 at 2:42 am

Army – Stop tring to jump ahead 3 generations of tech with the GCV. First, re-engine the entire M1 fleet with new lighter, more fuel-efficient turbines. They already exist, Lycoming made I think. Keep the Bradley. Whack the GCV program until somebody can provide a working prototype on their own dime.

I could go on for hours…

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bobbymike May 4, 2010 at 12:01 am

Wise words defense spending is not the problem the US could easily spend $1 trillion on defense rather than adding another entitlement program.

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Patrick May 4, 2010 at 4:15 am

Sounds like the guys between the two World Wars who just didn't see a need for tanks.

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Nadnerbus May 4, 2010 at 4:23 am

One thing, Americans are paranoid about defense after the long separated but twin shocks of Pearl Harbor and September 11th. We know we are target numero uno, and fear any move towards lesser defense (or offense) capability. Even if it is needed.

The fact that we have eleven CBGs when no one else has more than one is not an apt comparison. No one else feels the need to project the power, they just relax, confident in the knowledge that the US Navy has it covered. If we move away from this role due to budget cuts for the long term, it could have a destabilizing effect.

Lastly, any money saved from cuts in military spending will be simply sunk into more domestic government programs, not less overall government spending. Meaning that the next time there is a war or a simple need to project more power, the ability to raise the funds to do so will be more difficult, if not politically impossible.

I actually agree that the military probably needs to go on a diet, and that procurement is broken. I am just worried that saving money will come at a hefty expense to capability.

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adkiiuyr May 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

America is a big island compared with Eurasia, so US needs powerful carriers. Without carriers, US will be out of the game.

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@Earlydawn May 4, 2010 at 4:34 am

I don't agree with all of this, but I appreciate the spirit of the message. Systems are too expensive, and we are upgrading capabilities that have no short-term foreseeable need. I'd never be so asinine as to suggest that Marines sit out through any non-amphibious campaign, but the Corps also has to uphold its side of the deal and be able to fit on the assault boats, regardless of the current mission.

The Navy needs to get its rear in gear and figure out what it is going to look like in thirty years. Railgun-equipped battleships? Arsenal ships? Improved carriers? On top of that, it also needs to square itself away and stop building custom hulls for every mission under the sun. Take the savings and put it into something more generally useful, like infantry equipment.

Finally, it makes no sense to have massive forces abroad to fight terror cells; expand SOCOM and build the infrastructure to support them across the planet (network to fight a network), and refine the Air Force's global strike capability. Terrorism is a plant that humanity doesn't have the political will to burn up yet. Accordingly, we should build policy that allows us to prune it regularly, effectively, and sustainably.

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JAV May 4, 2010 at 2:24 am

"In 1966 the British defense minister
declared that British armed forces would never again
have to face another opposed land, and never again have
to operate on their own. " http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/re

Remember the Falklands?

"The enemy must not know where I intend to give
battle. For if he does not know where I intend to
battle he must prepare in a great many places.
And when he prepares in a great many places, those
I have to fight in any one place will be few."
Sun Tzu

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adkiiuyr May 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Yes, Sun Tzu has reason:

"he must prepare in a great many places" wich means "US must prepare in a great many places, not only COIN", must prepare to confront powerful nation-state also.

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MAJclem May 4, 2010 at 2:42 am

Thoughts from an Army Major…

EFV – Keep basic vehicle and turret. Kill the speedboat part and buy some "up-armored" LCACs. Big reduction in cost and big increase in firepower and fighting capability. AAV-7 with a MK19 in the turret is not an IFV, The 30mm autocannon in the EFV is needed.

F35 – As much as it hurts to say this, whack it. Spinoff as mch tech as possible into cheaper alternatives like Silent Eagle and Super Hornet and buy better missiles. Leave a small budget line for R&D. Again, big reduction in cost and increased capability now.

Carriers – This is tough. I understand that you need forces training, forces deployed, and forces resetting. I've been living that since 2003. I say whack one CBG, but leave the AirWing intact as an available expeditionary asset to take on land-based missions in regular rotation with an Air Force fighter wing. Training and experience value is added without the cost of the CBG.

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Tony C May 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

The Navy doesn't need Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines, Aircraft Carriers, or destroyers. The Marines are no longer a relevant force in the 21st century.
We need money to pay welfare, but not defend the country. Typical liberal mentality. This man has it right, we can't afford all of the weapons we developed if we are going to use the money in non-defense areas. This means we have to pull out of the conflicts we are currently figting and become the isolationist country we were before the japanese decided for us that we needed ot enter world war 2. The objective of a strong military is to prevent the need to go to war. The results of a weak military are clear throughout history.

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Mutantone May 4, 2010 at 10:50 pm

How soon we forget that the reason we are the top military power is that we have our fleets that can make our presences known from afar. When we fought in Iraq we had the fleets stationed on two shores. The reason others do not attack us is that they know we have the biggest sticks with which to hit back. They know that we are the only super power that can and will support the freedom of others with our blood and troops. We are the peace keepers because we have the power to make others know that we are not fooling. If we do away with our show of force what is the deterrent to others and there are others out there look to Iran and the other Terrorist nations that have second and third thoughts about attacking the United States all because they know we have the ships to station off their shores or near by that will be there to keep up the pressure until the job is done. That alone should be the reason to keep our fleets on hand.
“The truth is more important than the facts." – Frank Lloyd Wright
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” — Ronald Reagan
ID 10 T error in the administration http://www.pjtv.com/v/3353

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Pete May 5, 2010 at 6:37 am

The reason that no one attacks you, is because you have nuclear weapons. The reason you don't attack Pakistan, China, Russia and NK, is that they have nuclear weapons. Everything esle is bullshit

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Pete May 5, 2010 at 6:37 am

The reason that no one attacks you, is because you have nuclear weapons. The reason you don't attack Pakistan, China, Russia and NK, is that they have nuclear weapons. Everything esle is bullshit

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Pete May 5, 2010 at 10:37 am

The reason that no one attacks you, is because you have nuclear weapons. The reason you don't attack Pakistan, China, Russia and NK, is that they have nuclear weapons. Everything esle is bullshit

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jerry May 5, 2010 at 2:24 am

Tax all organized religion – TODAY – FOREVER.

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Saberhagen May 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

I'm still waiting to the day when Gates says something like: "“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a 200 mil low-end fighter…". But maybe I would be disappointed.

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paperpushermj May 5, 2010 at 4:13 am

Come on folks we all know that the Dems. will cut the military budget as a way of dealing with the humungous spending they have engaged in. Think of Clintons peace dividend.

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Ret Guns UMSC May 30, 2010 at 12:37 am

After Desert Storm President Bush started cutting the military before Clinton took office including the Base closure in Charleston SC at the time the second largest Naval base on the east coast. President Bush G.W. waited till 2007 to allow the Marine Corps and the Army to recruit more war fighters and that was only after his generals warned him of the fatigue of the troops from fighting 2 wars. President Obama has ask for the increase of 104.8 Billion dollars to the 2011 defense budget, which brings it up to 708 Billion. After serving 20 years In the Marine Corps I can tell you that yes there is waste in defense spending and the president should take up the task through his unit commander to cut the waste, but keep the readiness and training up to date. Some weapon systems can be cut but the guys in the suits who decide need to talk to the troops on the ground to find out what works and what doesn't. Ask the junior enlisted they will give you the strait scoop. (they aren't yes men). Then look at what defense contractors charge for projects and hold the upper management of the companies responsible for over charges or fraudulant charges. Tell me why a Starter for a helicopter costs 28,000 dollars.

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Hotel55 May 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I can think of several big amphibious possibilities… Iran, Korea (didn't MacArthur have to deal with lack of amphib equipment at Inchon?) In extreme, Taiwan… I'm sure there's others…

It would be nice if those in control were the ones that have learned from history, not the ones doomed to repeat it….

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Hotel55 May 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I can think of several big amphibious possibilities… Iran, Korea (didn't MacArthur have to deal with lack of amphib equipment at Inchon?) In extreme, Taiwan… I'm sure there's others…

It would be nice if those in control were the ones that have learned from history, not the ones doomed to repeat it….

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Sandy May 6, 2010 at 12:35 am

What is missing guidance is balance….this is the fallcy of the 220 stdy…they look for future threats, but dont understand that we need balance..witness after the first /gulf wa..air poer will rule…well, during the Balkans, we got our butts kicked…we neede balncne, "Danielson, go finda balance".. the need for an amphibious op willl be there…..we have to be prepared for the whole spectrum….

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Mark May 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Like others have said in previous comments, Gates is sounding like all the detractors of amphibious warfare and the Marine Corps from the past. But guess what, the Marine Corps proved it could land on hostile shores and win battles time and time again. Without the Marine Corps and its amphibious warfare doctrine, the war in the Pacific would not have been won, the landing at Inchon would not have happened, and the numerous other amphibious operations done since would not have happened. The Marine Corps wins the nation's battles.

The fact is, the Marine Corps is here to stay. Why, you may ask. Because the Marines have proven time and time again that they can adapt to any combat situation and overcome it. The Marine Corps is the nation's force-in-readiness, and they need to have the right equipment to be able to deploy immediately when need be. Taking away their ability to project power from over the horizon would not help the US in any way.

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Del May 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

This is the same guy that want to take the SEAL's down. He must be an ***hole.

Who picked him as SECDEF???? Shame on you!!!

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blight May 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Bush picked him. Ta da!

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devilpup May 7, 2010 at 3:30 am

HEY GATES!!! MARINES ARE AMPHIBIOUS YOU STUPID MOTHER FUCKER!!!!! STOP RIDING THE BIG O's DICK AND WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!! and yes, other nations of the world may only have one or two carriers, so mothball a few of our older ones, but keep the new ones on track!!!! now i agree, alot of our systems are too damned expensive, but telling the Marines there is no need for amphib operations is a sure fire way to piss them off. Most of the worlds nations have a coast line, and how the hell else are you going to invade a country that we cant laucnh attacks from land, YOU STUPID FUCKING DICKLESS SON OF A BITCH!!!!!

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blight May 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Obviously, by sending ships ashore in a country neighboring the target that is friendly to us, and then moving across the border by land. Can you imagine Gulf War1 with only a few miles of coastline in Iraq and Kuwait and only having those areas to defend?

In the context of modern warfare, amphibious landings by themselves rarely have the immediate effect of "the left hook" of GW1. Look at Operation Neptune. Amphibious forces land but in the end it takes a truly massive buildup to get anything done. In a hypothetical landing, the marines land, but can they drum up the troops to make anything decisive out of that landing?

Incheon required landing at a weakened beach, with extreme overmatch with real armor on the beach.They also put 50 thousand men on the beach. Can the Marines do this anymore? In all honesty, the Marines use large epic-scale campaigns to justify their existence, and practice their landings at the smaller scale. And even with the success of Incheon, it turned into a conventional slogfest.

We should not stop at the "yay, we can land troops on a contested beach" and simply preserve the capability for the sake of saying "yes, we still have it".

And if we return to Incheon, the real lesson is that yes, an amphibious assault can turn the tide. However, the campaign depended on conventional forces afterwards and the amphibious training of the Marines was irrelevant /to the rest of the campaign/. Marines could easily act as a doorbuster for Army, provided that a perfectly suitable port is captured, or mechanisms exist to ship Army to wherever the marines bust the door in.

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Mike May 7, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Thank God somebody in the pentagon has a clue. Our Navy is so much larger then rest of the world’s. How much safer do we feel? The waste in our military is outrageous. I don’t know why we even bother to budget, they are just ignored.

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c.c May 7, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Gates the expert has spoken. has this man ever read a single page of history? "Never will we have to conduct a sea-borne assault". These words have been spoken and eaten numerous times in history. How do you invade an island Mr. Gates? Airborne troops? Wrong! They do not possess sufficient firepower and cohesiveness to attack entrenched positions. Would the invasion of Kuwait have ben possible if the Iraqi's had taken Saudi Arabia? Yes! Air superiority and firepower would have made an amphib operation very doable.

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Mark Ewers May 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Least we forget Saddam and his generals FEARED the amphibious assault to such a degree that most of crack Iraqi divisions was on the shore line defense lines. Just having Marines and the capability just off shore influenced the whole war not just one battle.

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Tyler May 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I hate Robert Gates. It would be bearable having Obama as president (though only because I don’t expect him to be re-elected) for the next 2 years if only someone with half a clue was the defense secretary. While I know Gates’s mission charged to him by Obama appears to be to leave the United States in a horrible position, couldn’t he be just a little less competent?

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Gen. Woods May 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Now is the time for massive Defence building. The eqiment is old. No better way to boost the economy. WAKE UP GATES.

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Gen. Woods May 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I KNOW I FORGOT THE U

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reese cushman May 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

i have followed marine corp history since 1981 when i decided to join the marine i was 15 at 17 i was on delayed entry .there has always been somebody who either wanted to disband the marines or make them a unit that would not beable to respond properly ,and as always the marines were needed and have done the job that they were given , maybe we need to stop outsourcing jobs to private security companies and let the military do there job im just an old infantry nco and dont understand all the politics of the white house and pentagon but im sure cuts can be made without taking from the military,but no matter what the marines will always be there if armed only with weapons made by them selves and our brothers and sisters from the other branches will be with us,cause we love this country and will always defend it and its leaders and citezens .last the higher ups should talk to the troops not the poll takers and military persons with political ambitions should decide who there gonna seve the military or congress and other elected positions .man can only serve one master

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bob,b May 8, 2010 at 3:37 am

hell, lets just give the troops airsoft guns

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An American Vet May 8, 2010 at 7:55 am

This guy was a flake when he was DirCIA and now he is an obama style flake selling out the US and our troops. I am not surprised.

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grudney May 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

troops are unemployable and expendable morons- their deaths improve the gene pool- robotics would be a way of saving money and troop lives -flying drones etc.
war is a particularly stupid way of resolving conflict or imposing wiil. military budgets deprive millions of water health and life. usa needs to pay billions in compensation for it's aggressive attacks murder and left over landmines and nuclear projectiles.

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rhys May 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

I know this isn't the same thing, but it reminds me of the Total War video games when you overbuild your armies and then your treasury goes broke. Then, you either have to use your armies to kill them and get plunder, or disband them.

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rhys May 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I know this isn't the same thing, but it reminds me of the Total War video games when you overbuild your armies and then your treasury goes broke. Then, you either have to use your armies to kill them and get plunder, or disband them.

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Adamwestiii May 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I just read in our local newspaper today where Gates is complaining too much money is going to troops to include medical care. He further stated money is needed to buy equipment. He is getting some opposition from Congress stating the troops deserve the best care possible, and fortunately I have to agree with Congress. The politicians take us to war and expect the young to defend the country.

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Question String May 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Yeah buddy, your "local newspaper" is such an authoritative source. And how insightful your newspaper just happens to capture the SecDef saying money is being wasted on equipment and medical care for those in combat.

You and your "local newspaper" are not believable.

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Ernie May 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

mage= made
oun= own

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Kickapoo_Tracker May 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

[b]… At what point is the human race going to establish that which brings about our best in longevity in which we all prosper. It is all fesible and possible. We need these points throughout all of our planet. But greed, hype and those pushing delusion hold us to this downward spiral in which humanity will find it's downfall.[/b]
[br]
[b]… I wish this had come in my email sooner. There is already 3 pages or more ahead of me. [/b]

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Ernie May 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

If Mr Gates would like to hear what is really needed, Ask the people who are using them. This could improve what is alreally being produced and cut costs. Just consister how the men mage their oun changes to the Hum V in Iraq. Their are many technical and tactical ideas out there with our forces, I am sure.

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Gregory Romeu May 9, 2010 at 7:27 am

Don't go after the specific forces, go after the thugs that are doing the wheeling and dealing with the contracts. Whenever these dumb masses get their heads out of their butts they may even discover that Lockheed Martin has been riping them of BILLIONS over the years…

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Jeff May 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm

This is sad! Most of you must have a mess in your house with all the bleeding hearts. Gates is a idiot!! He is Obama in a uniform. SAD!!! He will ruin the military. I am tired of the change, fix the problems and move on. Every branch has its special project that somebody wants to cut, and says that it is a waste of money. Then we need it and we don't have it. If you do not like living under the safety of our military. Move to Canada and live under it for free.

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MikeP May 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm

DoD has to start the cutting within it's own agencies which now take up nearly 25% of the defense budget and have been nearly immune to cuts. Not just 3% off the top of everything (salami slicing) but cuts to entire programs that will make Congressmen stand on their desks and scream. Remember, DoD is inefficient because Congress likes it that way…as long as the inefficiency means jobs in their district. And we, the people, keep voting these clowns back into office because they bring home the bacon for us.

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Secondtonone May 10, 2010 at 12:31 am

Yes the military does need to go on a diet. There are plenty of ways for the military to trim the fat. One way would be for a military wide audit of all military units to invesitigate what they are spending money on….especially around SEPT and OCT. Every unit BURNS and wastes so much budgeted money around SEP and OCT in fear of loosing budget for the next year.. we are talking about PLASMA TVS and PS3 games system in some training rooms …on an on.. cut the big fat and then loom harder to find all the grisle to cut out also. Of course when we cut the military over spending

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sECONDTONONE May 10, 2010 at 12:35 am

Of course when the military over spening is cut we should focus on domestic plans. It is about time we take care of OUR nation and stop spending so much fighting to take care of the rest of the world when they dont want us to.. And someone said it would hard to get more money when we needed it…. Then how did Bush JR get hundrerds of billions extra from a democat majority congress for military spending ? iT IS OBVIOUSLY POSSIBLE:

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mk2 May 10, 2010 at 1:46 am

Hey, everybody! Let's let America's enemies know that we will no longer be evolving our military to compete against constant threat's to our citizens' safety and security because according to Sun Tzu, "An even playing field is the key to success". Superiority?! That's for suckers. God bless you, Sec. Gates. In case you could not tell i was being sarcastic. Also, that quotation is not real but i think you get the point. There is a type of ant in South America whose colonies mulch leaves into paste and grow their food. Researchers were puzzled as to why their food was not over grown with bacteria. Well it turns out that the ants kept the bacteria in check with their own penicillin. That's right. Ants discovered it first. Anyway, For thousands of years their penicillin evolved to stay ahead of the bacteria to keep it from destroying their "crops". I think you get that point too, but to sum things up, Mr. Secretary. You're an asshole.
Go F*** yourself
MK, Cpl.
Former, USMC

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Lost Cause May 9, 2010 at 9:48 pm

CVN78 (Ford Class) is called the next generation aircraft carrier, but is it? The EMAL catapult system is a total failure and it cost $1 billion to back fit the 40 year old Nimitz Class steam cat system. The new arresting gear system is a total failure, so they had to back fit the 40 year old Nimitz Class system. A new state of the art protection system was a totaly failure and not installed, but they had to add dead weigth ballast to compensate for it's loss. And it has only 3 A/C elevators to cut costs and not 4 as on the Nimtiz class. All this for nearly twice the price of a Nimitz carrier- PRICLESS!!

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blight May 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Really? That sounds pretty damning…links please.

Anyways:

I think we are using the procurement system of Nazi Germany: Tiger tanks galore instead of what we know works. And while the Tiger is light years ahead of the enemy, one is simply outnumbered, negating the advantage of superior technology.

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Lost Cause May 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm

It should be noted that all three of these failed state of the art systems where to be furnished to the shipbuilder as government furnish equipment (GFE). The shipbuilder was in no way responsible for the design, performance, manufacture, or costs of these systems.

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WGMARTIN May 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Hey he works for the Comunist in Chief…….What would you expect?????? He i9s a ******************* flip floping loser!

More is coming, gutting the military, the border and our industrial strength, dismantleing the financial and health care systems…….Just where do you think this is taking us?????

Wake up America!

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This Vet May 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm

This has been coming since Korea and should not really surprise anyone.
The longer the US carries the rest of the world cost of military,
The more broke and desperate we become,
And the more the rest of the world resents America.

It's down to simple/effective economic military choices VS Welfare for an off the shelf Military Industrial Complex Ike described 50 years ago.

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Blunderbuss May 10, 2010 at 11:48 pm

This a welcome development. No more largesse for these heavily armed welfare queens and their seagoing Cadillacs.

All you republicons screaming about smaller government should be kissing the SecDef's feet!

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Tom Robinson May 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Gates needs a new job. He's an idiot !

T.M. Robinson
USA (Ret)

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George C. Dinmsore May 11, 2010 at 7:24 am

Just another communist who’s after the downfall of the GRAND USA. GET RID OF HIM>

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Day May 13, 2010 at 2:39 pm

i dont agree with the downsizing of the navy/marines, but is everyone who has an opposing view really a commie trying to bring down the US?, seriously.

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-J- May 23, 2010 at 1:45 am

Dear Lord, Where is Donald Rumsfeld when we need him.

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Blight May 23, 2010 at 2:15 am

Wasn't Rummy the one who killed Crusader, tried privatization and sent the troops to war without proper understanding of the counterinsurgency cowpie we were about to put our foot into? Then has the gall to blow away National Guardsmen with "you fight with the arm you have, not the army you wish you did"…and this was at least a few years into the war.

Wasn't it hillbilly armor kits for Humvees and wheeled vehicles until MRAP? And even then we bought so many MRAPs we probably have no clue what to use them for later (tankettes of the future?)

Rumsfeld's also the guy who shook Saddam's hand when we were buddies with Al-Anfal chemical warfare guy. If Rummy can sleep at night after shaking hands with a murderer, is he really the guy we should turn to in "need"?

Anyways. The Repubs never supported foreign military ops during the '90s, one of GWB's promises was that were wouldn't be any more "policing"…until 9/11. (Though I imagine we can portray this as vengeance and not mere policing).

I say we ask Russia and China to spit out more troops for peacekeeping if they want to keep their spots on the UN security council (not! hahahahaha…). I agree that the costs of empire are going up, and perhaps we ought to pull the rest of our ground forces out of Europe along with stockpiles, though commit to military exercises like REFORGER to demonstrate that we can come back to Europe in a timely fashion. The Atlantic is fast becoming less relevant ship-wise except for defense of the homeland, and we should consider more forward-basing for the Navy.

I would say Djibouti is one of the nations that has to be on our radar. It's close to the Middle East but not quite in missile range. It's close to Israel up the Suez (and if Egypt decides to close the Suez, also within striking range of Egypt). It's also in range of Somalia, and as it occupies the Red Sea it puts us in a position to protect/dominate that waterway.

Regarding East Asia we must pull out of Okinawa, which would be cut off and destroyed as easily as the Philippines was in WW2. We may have to consider repositioning troops further east into the Pacific to keep them out of range of first-strike by China or North Korea, and dispersed so an enemy has to spread resources thin to get everything. We may opt to return to the Philippines; just in case Taiwan reunifies with the mainland and we still need to form a cordon sanitaire.

The big issue in the end is the manpower resources designed to sustain the flow of equipment and supplies to most corners of the world. In peacetime it probably is like the logistics effort of Walmart, shipping supplies from manufacturing centers to hubs and to retail centers in turn. In wartime, it's like Walmart on black friday and christmas combined. Procurement is a big cost, but the logistics might be a place worth looking into efficiencies and improvement.

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rock June 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Ya know, its really cut and dry. politician shouldn't have the say in what goes on in the military. they know nothing about war fare. war is always started because of politics in one way or another. Politician should not be aloud to have an opinion in what the military needs or doesn't need. it should be the top generals and top enlisted that make the decisions. for they know whats really going on. Washington DC and all there wisdom keep worrying about every other countries problems when we have plenty of crap to work out here on our home front.

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Steve May 5, 2010 at 3:22 am

It's refreshing to see a European who understands what's happening and yes you are right we've at war with Islam for centuries. To show how dangerous things are just look at the replies to your comment, the usual head in the sand, the self hating anti Jew bigot..being at war with Islamofacists are bad enough but the fact we have to deal with these quislings.

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Mac May 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

ok….445jjd….I pretty much agree with you… and there are points all around, such as "there isnt any money" considering the current dilemma, but I too am of the mindset like others have commented…we NEED to not only maintain our military/Veterans….but GROW it…the threats are mounting, and as one said." it only takes one shot to go from perceived to actual threat"……couldnt have said it better!!

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Matt May 30, 2010 at 1:26 am

wow… yes iran wants to kill the usa… but so does NK and they arent muslim… also not every muslim is evil and wants to kill every other person; thats just racism and you r truly a victim of the media… the quaran (which im sure i misspelled) promotes peace just like the bible etc… it is the leaders (osama) that twist it… yes america needs a reagan but to deal with real threats like rising china; not ur own uniformed remarks… the only part that remotely made sense was taht obama is turning america into a weaken state (like europe)… if that happens then who will protect democracy and peoples rights form commusim and oppression??? so stop being bigoted to a mainly peaceful relgion and worry about real threats…

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Saberhagen May 5, 2010 at 3:56 am

German, Japan were once just a perceived threats.

Post-cold war Russia did invade Georgia. Iraq did invade Kuwait. China could invade Taiwan. China could go to war with Japan, Korea or Vietnam over the sea territory dispute. (In fact they did).

Every countries rely on ocean shipping-lanes. But only one of them is able and willing to secure the freedom of movement of waters around world.

You dont need internet, cell phone or whatever modern day gizmo to detect a large invasion force. What kind of military knowledge do you possess?

Which country has more friends in the world than the US now? Russia? China? Venezuela?

"Its why a group of camel stuffers armed with 'legacy-quaint' AK-47s can win a war (Not a battle, but a war) against the US"

What are you talking about? Last time I check, camels dont live in Vietnam.

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Saberhagen May 5, 2010 at 7:56 am

German, Japan were once just a perceived threats.

Post-cold war Russia did invade Georgia. Iraq did invade Kuwait. China could invade Taiwan. China could go to war with Japan, Korea or Vietnam over the sea territory dispute. (In fact they did).

Every countries rely on ocean shipping-lanes. But only one of them is able and willing to secure the freedom of movement of waters around world.

You dont need internet, cell phone or whatever modern day gizmo to detect a large invasion force. What kind of military knowledge do you possess?

Which country has more friends in the world than the US now? Russia? China? Venezuela?

"Its why a group of camel stuffers armed with 'legacy-quaint' AK-47s can win a war (Not a battle, but a war) against the US"

What are you talking about? Last time I check, camels dont live in Vietnam.

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Pete May 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

Russia would NOT have invaded Geogia if it had Nuclear weapons. Iraq and Kuwait did not have nuclear weapons. China invading Taiwan could certainly invovle the US, a nuclear armed nation. China could invade Japan, Vietnam and SK, its biggest trading partners after the US, but that would end its economic miracle.

If 'military knowlege' was needed to win a war, then how come you haven't won one since WW2. You have more officers and intelligence people than the TALIBAN have fighters.

Most of your so called 'friends' especially those who went to Iraq, did so because they were coerced, intimidated, bribed or just arse licking (like the Poles)

and the North Vietnamese did not have camels as you rightly point out, they had jungle porters, with EXACTLY the same weapons you are up against now. You obviously didn't learn anything from that war, so you have to re-learn it all over again

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Christian May 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm

"how come you haven't won one since WW2."
Pete, I would count Desert Storm as a win, wouldn't you? Grenada was a nice "battle-sized" win. Panama was ok. The present "war" in Iraq is going ok after looking pretty grim. You ARE correct in that we as a country lack the will to win a "total" war. If there had been a 24-hour news cycle in the 40's, we would never have won WWII. Imagine the grave-faced talking heads, speaking in somber tones about the slaughter on Guadalcanal, the "senseless" killing that occurred as a consequence of the fire bombing of Tokyo and the bombing of Dresden, not to mention the complete carpet-bombing of the rest of Germany. We would have been talking "cease fire" by 1943, Hitler would have finished off the Jews, and the Japanese would have the entire western Pacific under their thumbs.

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.45CaliberCure May 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

Those "arse-licking" Poles? I don't know where you hail from hot shot, but those Poles are one of the few folks across the pond who are unabashedly friendly to the U.S., in large part due to Reagan's support in their fight against the governmental tyranny of the Soviet Union. A statue of Reagan was erected in 2007 in the city of Wroclaw and dedicated thus, "To Ronald Reagan for his struggle against totalitarianism — from the residents of Wroclaw". I'll take friends like that any day over whining parasitic know-it-alls like yourself.

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.45CaliberCure May 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Those "arse-licking" Poles? I don't know where you hail from hot shot, but those Poles are one of the few folks across the pond who are unabashedly friendly to the U.S., in large part due to Reagan's support in their fight against the governmental tyranny of the Soviet Union. A statue of Reagan was erected in 2007 in the city of Wroclaw and dedicated thus, "To Ronald Reagan for his struggle against totalitarianism — from the residents of Wroclaw". I'll take friends like that any day over whining parasitic know-it-alls like yourself.

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Christian May 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm

And while I'M on a rant…Our TV culture demands quick-fix stuff, even back in the 70's. As you probably know, US forces never lost a battle in Vietnam. We could have bombed Hanoi till it was pancake flat, and that would have ended that war. If the idiot politicians decide to fight a "war," they should have the BALLS to "declare" war, then let the warriors fight it.
Some of the countries that went with us to Iraq did so grudgingly, but many recognize that a stable middle east is in their best interests too. And, maybe, someone in power realized that the US has been protecting their asses for 60-plus years, enabling them to gut most of their military capability to fund massive welfare states. The least they can do is throw a battalion or two our way when we need a SMALL hand.

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.45CaliberCure May 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

The reason for the military belt-tightening is because our federal expenditures increasingly are blown on things in which the federal government has no business involving itself.

There is every reason to remain flexible in shaping our military composition and adjusting the budget accordingly, but it is disingenuous to pretend that the military is what's bankrupting our Nation.

And Gates is no braver for stating these things, than he is a coward for carrying water for the current administration against the interests of the Armed Forces.

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USCG blaze May 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm

so what, idolatry is condemned in the bible. if you read the quaran you should not dismiss so easily that it states that all monotheists(one God- most of christanity, judiasm, islam) are indeed brothers and should not fight w/one another, but enjoy peace under the same God/Creator, if you call him YHWH, Father, Allah, Jehovah, GOD, or etc and he will ask back all innocent blood shed in his name.

keep reading, and allow your mind to grow.

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sizzle May 15, 2010 at 2:15 am

….the military IS bankrupting this country though. don't be naive

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Das25 August 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

idiot bigots , enjoy clutching your and cowering in fear of people who are different from you

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