Hagel warns that defense is breaking down

| July 23, 2013

Yes, the Secretary of Defense is losing confidence in his troops. And it’s all Congress’ fault because they won’t make the cuts in defense that he wants to make, according to Politico;

“Strengthening readiness will ultimately demand that we address unsustainable growth in personnel costs, which represent half of the department’s budget and crowds out vital spending on training and modernization,” he said. “If trends continue, we could ultimately be left with a much smaller force that is well-compensated but poorly trained and equipped. That would be unacceptable.”

Yeah, cut personnel costs and your force will be smaller than you wish. Jimmy Carter cut personnel costs and then when faced with national security threats, he reimposed draft registration in anticipation of having a hollow force if he had to deal with the Iran or the Soviet Union which had just invaded Afghanistan.

Members of Congress have so far blocked most of the Pentagon’s cost-saving proposals, including its requests for smaller pay increases, higher health care fees and base closures. Congress also has not been able to end sequestration, which Hagel said was already hurting readiness.

I have no doubt that it’s already hurting readiness. But it’s only because everyone is focused on cutting defense instead of whacking away some of the fat in the rest of the government. Because no one has the political will to tell colleges to slow down their 7%/year inflation of tuition costs, or to whack away some of the EPA, or cut some of the redundancy in agencies at the Commerce Department or cut some grants from the Education Department to states that have enough money for education but misspends it on administration instead of teaching.

No, it’s always Defense that suffers, and defense is one of the things that government is supposed to do, according to the Constitution, not the rest of that ancillary crap.

And, oh, yeah, while Hagel is crying the blues about money, Joe Bite Me and his family are touring India for four days on our dime. How does that help anyone?

Thanks to Preston for the link.

Category: Military issues

Comments (21)

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  1. PintoNag says:

    Bread and circuses, Jonn. It’s our path to ruin, but it’s what the majority of voters want, apparently.

  2. thebronze says:

    I guess this is what happens when a Specialist is SecDef…

  3. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    I need some asprin after reading this!

  4. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Oh Lord, I served during Carter then Reagan….talk about your hollow forces…

    This is what comes when those who depend on the 1% figure they don’t need the 1%….it’s okay if the 1% get f#cked as long as they get theirs…

  5. NHSparky says:

    And when you show the guys the door who have been fighting the wars and actually, you know, DEPLOYING for the last 12 years versus finding ways of staying in the Pentagon, getting tickets punched, etc., you’ll end up with a bunch of drones who have been benumbed by endless Power Point presentations who can’t do much else besides play yes men.

  6. Hondo says:

    VOV: as the old song said

    Tax the rich
    Feed the poor
    Till there are no
    Rich no more . . .

  7. Open Channel D says:

    It always comes down on the backs of the troops and their families. ALWAYS. I served from 1975-2012. I watched the benefits erode to almost nothing. I watched the devolution of the Military Health System. The Pentagon decision makers, all SES’s and Flag Officers who will never need the benefit package a retired E-6 or 03E or CWO2 needs, is always ready to carve another slice off of that benefit to fund weapons and fuel.

    Here’s the deal Congress and Pentagon: if you don’t have enough money to take care of your troops, get more money! Weapons systems cost what they cost. Guess what? So does healthcare. BTW, the Tricare program is showing a surplus, which means the internal cost cutting and efficiencies might actually be worth replicating in other parts of the budget.

    The military is getting gutted, make no mistake about it. If the Flags and SES’s get their way, military retirees will be shifted into Obamacare healthcare exchanges and will have to fight for access with the rest of the rubes and freeloaders who thought this pathway to a single payer was the answer to all their prayers.

    Fuck it, who wants pie?

  8. USMCE8Ret says:

    @7 – We’re not allowed to have pie. But we can have the leftover crumbs, apparently.

  9. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    I have been saving MRE’s.

    Crackers and cheese spread vs. Pie!

  10. B Woodman says:

    Another nail in the coffin of the once-greatest military on earth. Thanks for nothing.

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    MCPO, you sound desperate. MREs? Crackers and cheese? OK, there’s a poem in there somewhere. Just grow a garden, Master Chief.

    I really, seriously, want my tax money back. I could have bought a huge house on 40 acres instead of this little one I’ve been living, with the money the gubbmint has been getting out of me. I could probably have bought my own aircraft carrier, too. They really no how to waste it, too. They’re good at it, because it isn’t theirs. And they think there’s more where that came from.

    They’ll be sorry. Something will happen that will smack them upside the heads, and wake them out of the comas they’ve fallen into. Everything is NOT just fine, everything is NOT A-OK. Being complacent is nothing more than falling into a trap.

  12. PintoNag says:

    @11 I wish we would see the day that they’ll be sorry, Ex-PH2. Unfortunately, it won’t happen. When this nation finally implodes, those most responsible will take the last of the money and step on a plane bound for Switzerland…or Ecuador…or wherever displaced former heads of state go these days.

  13. OWB says:

    Well, I am sick of it. Sick of it, you hear?

    Then again, not willing to give up the fight quite yet.

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    PN, we will see that day. And no, they won’t be on a place to anywhere. No one wanted Nixon as a neighbor, if you recall.

  15. PavePusher says:

    Whack the F-35 debacle. Tell the contractors “We’ll buy it when you’ve got it meeting required specs. Until then, no money for you. Heck, maybe we’ll even take some back….”

    Update and build some proven airframes that we know can do the job.

  16. DaveO says:

    About this time in each election cycle, the SecDef (whomever it is) gives a speech in which:

    1. He bemoans the cost of personnel (see also: retirees)

    2. Whines and gnashes his teeth over the loss of “Readiness” or whatever that is. Seems we’re never really ready. We went into Iraq thinking it was Panama. Or some such shit – BLUF we’re never ready for the war we have to fight next.

    3. Holds a gun to the head of retiree healthcare, and buttf*cks the VA into taking on more of the post-service care than it is capable of handling.

    4. Winks and nods at LockMart and Raytheon and GE over cocktails that evening.

    Or, shorter Hagel: I’ll jump! I swear I will! And I will take Retiree Benefits with me! Don’t make me do it Congress! Veterans’ groups – heel! my bitches!

  17. headhuntersix says:

    Sequestration? Let me tell u how they’re handling it where I work. The money saved by not paying our sizable DOD workforce is being put back into the command. They get to keep it…so they sent out a UFOR list to spend money because they have a surplus of funds…I shit u not. So we’re buying copiers, coffee machines and other crap on the backs of the DOD folks.

  18. Fjardeson says:


    I think Atlas is getting pissed off, and is about to dump the load!

  19. MAJMike says:

    @17: Wait for the End-of-Fiscal Year spending spree on the last day of September. All kinds of crap will be purchased just to “execute the budget.”

  20. Ex-PH2 says:

    @Fjardeson, major shift is slowly taking place.

  21. Devtun says:

    Sounds like Detoilet needs a bailout….