Monday, January 10, 2011

SECDEF's First Strike a Success

More evidence by SECDEF Gates is the right man at the right time.

If you have not already read his speech on the DOD budget and efficiency drive, read the
SECDEF's speech and then come back.

Here is what I want to discuss.

First let's look at manpower. The Salamanderesque glory of it all just makes my new year. Coming budget crunch or not - these are exceptionally solid proposals.

There is a little bit of the standard issue boilerplate for those who just came in from Planet Claire and needed a refresher.
... eliminate wasteful, excessive, and unneeded spending.

...invest in key priorities critical to the core mission while cutting or reforming programs that are outdated, duplicative, or ineffective.

The military services were instructed to find at least $100 billion in savings that they could keep and shift to higher priority programs.
Yawn ... but then we get into the glory.

For the Navy:
The Department of the Navy proposed savings of more than $35 billion over five years. Those measures include:

* Reducing manpower ashore and reassigning 6,000 personnel to operational missions at sea;
* Using multi-year procurement to save more than $1.3 billion on the purchase of new airborne surveillance, jamming, and fighter aircraft;
* Disestablishing staffs for submarine, patrol aircraft, and the destroyer-squadrons plus one carrier strike group staff.

...improving efficiency across the department as a whole – with special attention to the massive headquarters and support bureaucracies outside the four military services.
Yes ... again ... yes. Make Shore hall'r before one more Sailor at sea is asked to sacrifice more. Make Shore prioritize.

Multi-year .... I guess that is push-to-the-right. Will need to see details.

Dumping Staffs ... yes. I would be interested in seeing the C2 diagrams though. No more Sub Staffs - so does that become a N3X somewhere? No Patrol-Reconnaissance (VP/VQ/VPU) Flag Staff? That too a N3X code somewhere? No more DESRONS? Hmmm .... Would like to see the C2 diagram, but good.

Someone has been reading CDRSalamander ....
Fifth, I have approved the elimination of more than 100 general officer and flag officer positions out of the roughly 900 currently on the books. Of those, 28 are billets that were created after 9/11, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they will be reduced as appropriate as major troop deployments wind down. More than 80 general or flag officer billets in the services, OSD, and the Combatant Commands will be eliminated or downgraded. Additionally, I have directed the elimination or downgrading of nearly 200 civilian Senior Executive Service or equivalent positions out of a total of 1,400 civilian executives.
More could be done especially with SES; but I'll take it.

A Republic, not an Empire. WWII and the Cold War are long over. is clear we have excess force structure in Europe. We are looking closely at alternative courses of action, but none would be implemented before 2015 or without consulting our allies. It is also no longer necessary to retain four-star service component headquarters for the Army, Navy and Air Force in European Command, each of which is too large and too senior given the number of troops they lead and the military operations they oversee. These commands will be reduced to the three star-level, with concurrent streamlining in the headquarters and personal staff. The change to U.S. Navy Europe will take place over a longer period because of that command’s unique role in the NATO transformation effort.
So much more could be done here. Yes, yes, and yes.
...we are eliminating nearly 400 internally-generated reports that over the years have consumed vast amounts of staff time and energy, often to produce documents that are of questionable relevance, value, and in many cases, have been rarely read. Nearly a third of the total reporting requirements originated decades ago and in some cases date back to the 1950s.
Declassify INSURV again, please.

This is old news - but again - to make this work for LCS is going to take a lot of USN bucks. Either that - or we are stuck with 57mm and 30mm. Lame. What fail.
... The Army leadership also recommended terminating the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, the next-generation missile launcher originally conceived as part of the Future Combat System.
Now, the wages of Joint as it moves from PPT to Newtonian Physics.
...As a result, I am placing the STOVL variant on the equivalent of a two-year probation. If we cannot fix this variant during this time frame and get it back on track in terms of performance, cost and schedule, then I believe it should be cancelled. We will also move the development of the Marine variant to the back of the overall JSF production sequence. And to fill the gap created from the slip in the JSF production schedule, we will buy more Navy F/A-18s.
Joint as a primary in acquisitions has been a horrible idea from F-111 to ACS to JSF. You know what were great Joint programs? F-4, A-7, C-130 ... wait ... those weren't Joint, they were just made by one service, turned out so good the other one had to have it. Hmmmm.

The right call for EFV and a thorough forensics of this program must be done. Of note - LPD-17 will have to get its Tiffany a55 a lot closer than 25nm from shore.
Today, I am also announcing my agreement with the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. This program is of great interest to the Marine community so I would like to explain the reasons behind what I know will be a controversial decision.

The EFV’s aggressive requirements list has resulted in an 80,000 pound armored vehicle that skims the surface of the ocean for long distances at high speeds before transitioning to combat operations on land. Meeting these demands has over the years led to significant technology problems, development delays, and cost increases. The EFV, originally conceived during the Reagan Administration, has already consumed more than $3 billion to develop and will cost another $12 billion to build – all for a fleet with the capacity to put 4,000 troops ashore. If fully executed, the EFV – which costs far more to operate and maintain than its predecessor – would essentially swallow the entire Marine vehicle budget and most of its total procurement budget for the foreseeable future.
This isn't USN but USAF - but is such the right call I had to mention it.

If for no other reason than a technology-risk hedge against our assumption that we own the EM spectrum - this is a win.
Finally, a major area of investment for the Air Force will be a new long-range, nuclear-capable penetrating bomber. This aircraft – which will have the option of being piloted remotely – will be designed and developed using proven technologies, an approach that should make it possible to deliver this capability on schedule and in quantity. It is important that we begin this project now to ensure that a new bomber can be ready before the current aging fleet goes out of service. The follow on bomber represents a key component of a joint portfolio of conventional deep-strike capabilities – an area that should be a high priority for future defense investment given the anti-access challenges our military faces.
More on USN cuts.
The Department of the Navy, as a result of the efficiency savings, is proposing to:

* Accelerate development of a new generation of electronic jammers to improve the Navy’s ability to fight and survive in an anti-access environment;
* They’ll increase the repair and refurbishment of Marine equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan;
* They will develop a new generation of sea-borne unmanned strike and surveillance aircraft;
* They will buy more of the latest model F-18s and extend the service life of 150 of these aircraft as a hedge against more delays in the deployment of the Joint Strike Fighter;
* And finally, the Navy will purchase additional ships over the next five years – including a destroyer, a Littoral Combat Ship, an ocean surveillance vessel and fleet oilers.
LCS money sponge. besides that - I can't find an issue here. What must be done, must be done.

Perhaps it was the RAF getting rid of its Nimrod MPA that brought up a series of dots. Getting rid of the P-3 Flag Staff. Pushing production to the right (P-8 is starting production). New unmanned surveillance aircraft (follow-on to BAMS?). Hmmmm, P-3 bubbas watch out.

Well .... not unexpected. I hope we can recapture some in the Reserves.
And fourth, more than $6 billion was saved by our decision to reduce the size of the Active Army and Marine Corps starting in FY 2015. Under this plan, the U.S. Army’s permanent active duty end strength would decline by 27,000 troops, while the Marine Corps would decline by somewhere between fifteen to twenty thousand, depending on the outcome of their force structure review.
Can't have it all.

This isn't a blood bath though - it could be worse. There will be more. Before you throw too many stones at Gates, I would ask you to review the below.
In recent weeks there have been calls from various quarters for major reductions in defense spending – to include substantial cuts in modernization, force structure, troop levels and overseas bases. I consider such proposals risky at best and potentially calamitous. For more than 60 years the United States, backed up by the strength, reach and unquestioned superiority of our military, has been the underwriter of security for most of the free world. The benefits – in terms of stability, prosperity, and the steady expansion of political freedom and economic growth – have accrued not only to our allies and partners, but above all, to the American people. We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril, as retrenchment brought about by short-sighted cuts could well lead to costlier and more tragic consequences later – indeed as they always have in the past. Surely, we should learn from our national experience, since World War I, that drastic reductions in the size and strength of the U.S. military make armed conflict all the more likely – and with an unacceptably high cost in American blood and treasure.

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