Our uniformed military leadership is currently parading in front of Congress, pleading for more money and inferring (actually, flatly stating) that all of the military’s problems are the fault of sequestration. Yes, funds are tight (only on relative basis – the military is still very, very well funded) and, like every family in
, the military is being asked to live within a budget. Like every family in America , they’ve had to make some hard decisions. The difference is, every one of their decisions has been wrong. America
Depot level maintenance is lagging far behind with backlogs approaching 150 aircraft. Depot manning is woefully understaffed. Parts inventories are severely depleted. That’s all due to bad decisions made by the military. Congress didn’t tell the military to let depot capability wither.
But the F-35 is fully funded.
The Marines have told Congress that 20% of their aircraft are grounded awaiting parts and maintenance. Congress didn’t make the decisions to short maintenance and parts inventories – the Marines did.
But the LCS is fully funded.
Surge capability has vanished to the point of non-existence. We are barely getting a reduced level of deploying units out the door. There are no parts and no training for the surge forces.
But 22 admirals are getting a second star.
The fleet is steadily shrinking. Worse, our combat power is being replaced by useless LCSs, non-combat JHSVs, questionable MLPs, and hospital ships.
But the Ford CVN is fully funded.
We have significant sea billet gaps. Minimal manning has proved to be an abject failure resulting in ever worsening maintenance problems, task overload, and spectacular ship performance failures (the Port Royal grounding, for example, was due, in part, to a shortage of personnel).
But the number of admirals is at an all time high.
Tactical training has all but ceased and the Navy is desperately trying to re-establish some form of training (in the middle of the desert!). Our commanders have no idea how to tactically handle individual ships or task groups. No commander has ever practiced combat ops for a multi-carrier group.
But we are at an all time high in diversity, cultural awareness, and gender sensitivity training.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Funds are tight, at least compared to the bottomless well of funding that we used to enjoy, and military leadership is making all the wrong decisions and putting the available funds into all the wrong areas.
Consider fleetwide maintenance. Navy leaders are standing before Congress, right now, stating that because of sequestration, maintenance will deteriorate and that Congress needs to allocate more funds. Well, maintenance has been deteriorating for a couple decades – long before sequestration happened. The truth is that the Navy long ago opted to short maintenance in pursuit of new construction. The decision to cut depot funding occurred many years ago. Sequestration may have exacerbated the problem but it certainly didn’t cause it. Maintenance problems are a voluntary, self-inflicted problem that is wholly the responsibility of Navy leadership. It is simply lying to stand before Congress and blame maintenance problems on Congress and sequestration.
What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is Navy decision making and priorities. Navy leadership has failed