Tuesday, March 07, 2017

APN-6 and Shooting Up the Horse

I almost didn't post on this note from the Air Boss by Megan Eckstein, as it was just very inside baseball. For at least the members of the Front Porch, you always impress me with your knowledge base, so I think we're OK.

Good people in tough jobs have to make hard decisions. You can push a lot of things to the right. As Adam Smith once said,
“...there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”
...there is also a great deal of ruin in a military. You can ignore things in the short term and hope you have the ability to fix them at some point down the road - or hope someone else can. Sure, you know you are doing harm, but you need what you need what you need now and the future just has to take care of itself.

Without much more commentary, here is the bit in Megan article about VADM Shoemaker that stuck with me,
“We’re trying to be smart and efficient in how we apply the legacy readiness dollars versus the new platform readiness dollars,” he said.

“And it’s an ongoing discussion and a tradeoff, but the key piece is applying those lessons to ensure that our most capable forces are ready.”

One major lesson learned likely to be followed going forward is acknowledging the importance of the APN-6 budget line – the aircraft procurement line item that supports “initial outfitting for spares, and it also covers the stock on our shelves on our carriers, our amphibs and also at our shore bases,” Shoemaker said during his panel presentation.

That line item was funded at about 90 percent of the requirement in the early 2000s, about 85 percent just before sequestration hit, around 75 percent since the sequester, and only 71 percent this fiscal year.

“So that’s year on year we’ve kind of been funding less of the requirement, and not surprisingly, not unexpectedly, full mission capable aircraft have come down from 55 percent – we try to work in a band between 50 and 60 (percent) – to less than 30 percent today. That connection’s not hard to make,” he said.

Shoemaker said aviation readiness has been on a steady decline but right now is at its “most acute” since sequestration went into effect and across-the-board cuts were imposed in 2013.
This is more serious than it looks. This is why the balance of any "new" money we borrow from our grandchildren to plus-up the military will just get soaked up like drops of water on a dry kitchen sponge.

We've been shooting up the horse for awhile.

It is what it is.

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