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Thread: The Rumsfeldian Revolution is Over !!!

  1. #31
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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/wa...us&oref=slogin

    WASHINGTON — In a far-reaching critique of the way the Pentagon fights wars and buys weapons, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that the military must understand the limits of combat power and its leaders must be skeptical that technology can bring order to the violent battlefield.


    Mr. Gates criticized the Pentagon bureaucracy for what he called a narrow commitment to buying new generations of conventional weapons, which he said kept it from rapidly developing equipment that would save lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. He cited two projects that he said were forced upon the procurement bureaucracy: systems to detect improvised bombs and heavily armored transports to protect troops.

    Without citing his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, by name, Mr. Gates also cautioned against efforts at reorganizing the Pentagon around buzzwords like “transformation.” To underscore that point, he challenged those who advocate investing in smaller numbers of higher-technology weapons in a belief that war can be revolutionized, fought at long distance with American forces never getting bloodied.

    “Be modest about what military force can accomplish, and what technology can accomplish,” Mr. Gates told an audience of midcareer military, Pentagon, State Department and intelligence officials at the National Defense University here.

    “The advances in precision, sensor, information and satellite technology have led to extraordinary gains in what the U.S. military can do,” he said. “But also never neglect the psychological, cultural, political and human dimensions of warfare, which is inevitably tragic, inefficient and uncertain.”

    Before his departure in late 2006 as defense secretary, Mr. Rumsfeld had, with the endorsement of the Bush White House, championed a so-called revolution in military affairs that said transformational war-fighting techniques — including new generations of precision weapons, radar-evading jets and advanced intelligence — would render warfare faster and cleaner.

    The views culminated in a strategy for invading Iraq with fewer ground forces than some had advocated, a mistake remedied when President Bush ordered five extra combat brigades to Iraq last year. The invasion also relied on extensive air strikes to decapitate the Iraqi leadership and scatter the Iraqi military, in a strategy nicknamed “shock and awe.”

    Mr. Gates urged his audience to “look askance at idealized, triumphalist or ethnocentric notions of future conflict that aspire to upend the immutable principles of war.” In particular, he said, do not base a war plan on a bet that “adversaries can be cowed, shocked or awed into submission, instead of being tracked down, hilltop by hilltop, house by house, block by bloody block.”

    Mr. Gates’s address had the hallmarks of many valedictory speeches of wartime leaders, in a long line from George Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower; it was deeply skeptical of America’s national security institutions, while complimenting the spirit, ingenuity and courage of fighting forces.

    “I have expressed frustration,” Mr. Gates said, “over the defense bureaucracy’s priorities and lack of urgency when it came to the current conflicts — that for too many in the Pentagon it has been business as usual, as opposed to a wartime footing and a wartime mentality.

    “When it comes to procurement, for the better part of five decades, the trend has gone towards lower numbers as technology gains made each system more capable. In recent years these platforms have grown ever more baroque, ever more costly, are taking longer to build and are being fielded in ever dwindling quantities.”

    Mr. Gates said that “apart from the Special Forces community and some dissident colonels, for decades there has been no strong, deeply rooted constituency inside the Pentagon or elsewhere for institutionalizing our capabilities to wage asymmetric or irregular conflict — and to quickly meet the ever-changing needs of our forces engaged in these conflicts.”

    To be sure, Mr. Gates acknowledged that the nation had to adopt a balanced strategy for national defense that prepared for a series of threats: conventional threats from larger, rival nations; irregular, guerrilla-style warfare; potential attack from a smaller rogue state with unconventional weapons; another major terrorist attack; and next-generation attacks, including cyberwarfare.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #32
    Senior Contributor Canmoore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    Not built in the USA. IMHO no country that can achieve military self-sufficiency should EVER rely on foreign-made weapons, no matter how convient. Their interests will not always agree with yours, and when it happens, guess who gets the shorter end? The supplier who have all the production lines? Or the client, who will be left in the cold and can can do nothing about it? If anything Americans absolutely need for the Iraq War is built in France or Germany, can this war go on?
    Protectionist at all?

    Look at the Canadian Forces, hell 90% of our stuff is not just Foreign made, but it is second hand!! A legacy that goes as far back as the dawn of the Canadian Military..

    Yet, I doubt anyone will question the abilities of the CF.
    Last edited by Canmoore; 01 Oct 08, at 17:11.

  3. #33
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    Yard workers forced to log overtime hours, labor costs increased by 50% just to ensure carrier named after daddy is completed by the time Dubbya leaves office. Disgusting...

    Construction of Bush carrier behind schedule
    Northrop Grumman is making a number of moves to ensure that the carrier is completed on time

    By Peter Forst
    October 8, 2008

    NEWPORT NEWS - With time winding down in the George W. Bush presidency, shipbuilders at Northrop Grumman's Newport News shipyard are working around the clock to ensure the ship named after the president's father will be completed by the time he leaves office.

    The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush is running behind schedule, and the shipyard is scrambling to put the final touches on the last ship of the Nimitz Class so it's ready for a planned Jan. 10 commissioning in Norfolk.

    The Bush was originally scheduled to be complete in April, but the schedule was adjusted in December 2004 to reflect a Nov. 11, 2008, delivery. Now, Northrop says, the ship won't be delivered until the end of the year.

    To expedite the final stages of construction, the company is requiring many of its hourly workers to log mandatory overtime hours and has ratcheted up its number of contract workers on the ship.

    Alton Glass, president of United Steelworkers Local 8888, the union that represents the shipyard's 8,000 hourly employees, said some workers are being asked to work six- and seven-day weeks for periods as long as two months. Other workers, he said, have been asked to work 12-hour days. Those workers, he said, have little recourse — it's either show up for work or don't bother coming back.

    "No question, (mandatory overtime) is difficult on the workers," Glass said. "You can't schedule anything in your private life, to spend time with your family ... they would lose their job if they don't show up to work."

    Since earlier this summer, non-salaried workers have been asked to put in longer hours, for which they're paid 1.5 times their regular hourly wages. Some workers welcome the extra hours and extra money; others would rather keep it to 40 a week, especially in summer months, Glass said.

    "It's not that I'm bitter or anti-shipyard," Glass said. "This is a job. But this mandatory overtime is driven by some ships' schedules getting out of skew because of bad planning and required re-work."

    A Northrop spokeswoman declined comment on the reasons the Bush is off schedule, but said in a written statement: "Building an aircraft carrier is an extremely complex process, and the final months leading up to delivery are particularly challenging ... . Working overtime is a normal part of our operations leading up to delivery of any aircraft carrier."

    Neither the company nor the union would give the number of employees working mandatory overtime hours.

    While other states have laws that dictate how many hours a non-salaried employee can be required to work in a given time frame, Virginia does not, said David Kushner, an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law for Wilcox & Savage in Norfolk.

    The prevailing thinking in the commonwealth, Kushner said, is "if you're not willing to work overtime, there are lots of others who would with the current economy. That's not to say I don't empathize with them."

    On the issue of contract workers, the union would like to see the company hire more union-eligible, full-time employees. Local 8888 has made reducing the number of contract workers a goal of its ongoing labor contract negotiations with Northrop.

    Yard officials have said that leased and contract employees help fill gaps in the work force and reduce the need for layoffs during the normal ebb and flow of shipbuilding.

    And, with portions of four carriers under construction or in maintenance in Newport News, the demand for labor is at its highest point in years. Following the commissioning of the Bush in January, the yard plans to re-deliver the USS Carl Vinson in March after a 40-month mid-life overhaul. The USS Enterprise follows in August, just as work ramps up on the next-generation carrier, the Gerald R. Ford.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    It was. And that was one of the reasons given for canceling it.

    Lack of Strategic mobility.
    But it makes a dandy static display at FT Leavenworth!!!)
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    Yard workers forced to log overtime hours, labor costs increased by 50% just to ensure carrier named after daddy is completed by the time Dubbya leaves office. Disgusting...
    Given the current direction of the economy, these workers should be happy in case they end up with all of the free time they can possibly use . . .
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Given the current direction of the economy, these workers should be happy in case they end up with all of the free time they can possibly use . . .
    I have to say that I have zero...repeat ZERO...sympathy for the workers at Newport News.

    The country is in the worst financial crisis in years - possibly decades - and they're complaining about 'forced' overtime, which happens to be nice fat union-negotiated double-time (or better) hourly wages I'm sure.

    I can only imagine what they're raking in right now while so many other people are out of work entirely and the world financial markets are doing their best Three Mile Island/Chernobyl performance.

    And from the looks of things, there's no end in sight: They're fat on carrier work for the forseeable future.

    Quit whining and go cash your paychecks.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I have to say that I have zero...repeat ZERO...sympathy for the workers at Newport News.

    The country is in the worst financial crisis in years - possibly decades - and they're complaining about 'forced' overtime, which happens to be nice fat union-negotiated double-time (or better) hourly wages I'm sure.

    I can only imagine what they're raking in right now while so many other people are out of work entirely and the world financial markets are doing their best Three Mile Island/Chernobyl performance.

    And from the looks of things, there's no end in sight: They're fat on carrier work for the forseeable future.

    Quit whining and go cash your paychecks.
    Dam straight gentlemen, Be happy you have a good paying job. Especially as the holidays are closing in.:P
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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    It's easy to get down on workers but....they didn't make the commitment date...OT drives up OUR COST and the company they work for is getting a 10% return on equity.... who wouldn't kill for that in this market and economy? Where will people work more hours that are able to do the job? it's easy to kill the workers as well as simplistic. I wonder how much of the slowdown is a result of offloaded work being overdue?
    Last edited by Roosveltrepub; 09 Oct 08, at 20:54.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    It's easy to get down on workers but....they didn't make the commitment date...OT drives up OUR COST and the company they work for is getting a 10% return on equity.... who wouldn't kill for that in this market and economy? Where will people work more hours that are able to do the job? it's easy to kill the workers as well as simplistic. I wonder how much of the slowdown is a result of offloaded work being overdue?
    You're right, it is easy to get down on the workers, very easy.

    Especially when they're working - a lot - and so many others are not.

    You gotta make hay while there's hay to be made.

    I'll say it again: Complaining about virtually unlimited overtime during the worst economic downturn since the late '90s? STFU. Most workers probably don't know what overtime even is right now.

    Can't make family plans because you're working too much? STFU. Consider yourself fortunate that your plans don't consist of looking at your children and having to tell them that Daddy still doesn't have a job.

    I recall a few months ago (when things were "better") there was pizza delivery guy telling me that real estate agents, white-collar execs and the like, all of them out of work, were applying for jobs just bring some money in.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

  10. #40
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    More taxpayer money down the drain :

    U.S. Department of Defense
    Contract Announcement No. 858-08
    October 09, 2008


    Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $173,000,000 modification to a previously awarded cost plus award fee contract (N00019-05-C-0030) for the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter.

    The SDD Phase will consist of engineering design and integration activities for the various communications, navigation, and mission systems required for the Presidential Helicopter support mission.

    Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., (28 percent); Owego, N.Y., (26 percent); Yeovil, United Kingdom, (20 percent); Cascina Costa, Italy, (15 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill., (3 percent); Lynn, Mass., (3 percent); Clifton, N.J., (2 percent); Denton, Texas, (1 percent); Grand Rapids, Mich., (1 percent); and Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in Sept. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

    The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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    More *transformational* vaporware :

    U.S. Eyes Reaction Force That Rockets Into Space
    By TOM VANDEN BROOK, USA Today
    Published: 14 Oct 15:51 EDT (19:51 GMT)

    WASHINGTON - The Pentagon wants to rocket troops through space to hot spots anywhere on the globe within two hours, and planners spent two days last month discussing how to do it, military documents show.

    Civilian and military officials held a two-day conference at the National Security Space Office to plan development of the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) program. The invitation to the conference called the notion of space troopers a "potential revolutionary step in getting combat power to any point in the world in a timeframe unachievable today." Attendees included senior Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force officers.

    The next steps toward getting troops in space: addressing the technological challenges and seeking input from the military, said Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Brown, a space office spokesman. No further meetings have been scheduled.

    Marines launched the concept after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. They needed the "capability to transport small, mission-tailored units through space from any point on the globe to a contingency at any other point on the globe" within minutes of an order, according to a Marine document.

    Some critics are skeptical. The concept defies physics and the reality of what a small number of lightly armed troops could accomplish in enemy territory, said John Pike, a military analyst who runs Globalsecurity.org.

    "This isn't even science fiction," Pike said. "It's fantasy."

    Private rocket pioneer Burt Rutan says the plan is technologically possible. Rutan's SpaceShipOne was the first privately financed vehicle to carry people into space. It won the $10 million "X Prize" in 2004 for flying into space twice in five days.

    "This has never been done," Rutan said in an e-mail. "However, it is feasible. It would be a relatively expensive way to get the troops on the ground, but it could be done."

    Terrorist threats to the United States, according to a statement of need from the Marines in July 2002, can emerge quickly anywhere in the world. A nearly instantaneous response from a small contingent of troops could snuff them out. Rocketship forces could also rescue troops trapped behind enemy lines.

    "In the end, events around the globe can unfold much more rapidly and in many circumstances call for the earliest intervention if larger conflicts or other negative international implications are to be averted," the statement says. "Space transport and insertion is the only means of attaining the needed speed of response."

    The need to develop technology to get SUSTAIN off the ground was restated in 2005 in a Marine document called the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare Capability List. The list, signed by Gen. James Mattis, presented the space program as a goal to be realized as early as 2019. Mattis, who took over the Joint Forces Command last year, declined to comment.

    Flying troops through space to distant crises is an idea that's been discussed since the early 1960s. In a speech in 1963, Marine Gen. Wallace Greene said such flight could have a "staggering" impact on projecting U.S. power. Greene, later the Marine Corps commandant, hoped to have Marines in space by 1968.

    Emerging technology makes SUSTAIN a possibility, perhaps by 2030, said Baker Spring, a military analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Just as important, he said, is determining what troops could do if they managed to rocket into a crisis.

    Another issue: vehicles must be relatively light to reach space. "It would be wildly vulnerable," said Ivan Oelrich, a security analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. "You can't armor a rocket ship."

    Pike said an enormous amount of fuel would be needed to return from such missions. He questioned what 13 troops could accomplish in a hostile environment without getting killed or captured.

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    Another one bites the dust :

    Pentagon Cancels Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter
    By GINA CAVALLARO
    DefenseNews
    Published: 16 Oct 19:39 EDT (23:39 GMT)

    The Defense Department late today scrapped the $6.2 billion program to replace the aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior with the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, citing cost overruns.

    The Army announced in July that the contract with Bell-Textron was then more than 40 percent over cost, triggering a program reviewunder legislation know as the Nunn-McCurdy statute.

    John Young, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics announced late Thursday that DoD notified Congress that, as a result of the review, it would not re-certify the program because "the fundamental cost and schedule basis underlying award of the ARH is no longer valid."

    "Rather than continue this program," Young said in a news release, "I have decided that the best course of action is to provide the Army with an opportunity to define a coherent, disciplined Kiowa Warrior helicopter replacement program, and to obtain more rigorous contract terms for its development."

    Army Secretary Pete Geren echoed those comments in a press release.

    "We have a duty to the Army and the taxpayer to move ahead with an alternative course of action to meet this critical capability for our Soldiers at the best price and as soon as possible," he said.

    Joseph LaMarca Jr., Senior Vice President Communications at Bell Helicopter Textron, said in a statement, "We are extremely disappointed by this decision and still believe that the ARH-70A is the best replacement for the Kiowa Warrior... The ARH has proven to be a great performing aircraft and we are in the process of evaluating the impact of this decision and our next steps."

    The embattled ARH program has been beset by delays and cost escalation since the program's baseline price tag was established in July 2005.

    At that time, the per-unit cost for a new armed reconnaissance helicopter was tagged at $8.56 million, including research and development, site construction and labor. As of July, the cost of each aircraft was estimated by the Army to exceed $12 million, a cost 43 percent beyond the baseline estimate was reported July 8 to the Defense Department and Congress.

    DoD now estimates that development will cost $942 million and the procurement average unit cost will be $14.48 million. Delivery of ARH to the Army was originally scheduled to take place by 2009, but the current projection is for 2013.

    The Army's chief of operations promised a quick return to the drawing board and sought to reassure Kiowa aviators that their aircraft would be outfitted for their missions.

    "W will rapidly pursue a re-validation of the particular characteristics needed for this capability so that we can restart the process of acquiring a manned, armed reconnaissance helicopter," Lt. Gen. James Thurman said in an Army news release. "Concurrently, we will invest significant efforts into our existing Kiowa Warrior fleet that ensures our air crews and commanders continue to have the best capability possible to perform the mission," he said.

    The Army has 339 Kiowa helicopters dispersed among 10 squadrons, almost half of which are deployed. Most of those are in Iraq.

    Under the original ARH timeline, the new recon aircraft was slated to have begun replacing the Kiowa in June.

    But a year ago, when it became apparent that the summer 2008 timeline would not be met, the Army began enhancing the existing Kiowas with updated avionics and safety measures at about $2 million an aircraft. The airframe is 40 years old.

    Seven squadrons now have the reset Kiowas. The aircraft in the remaining three squadrons, which would have been the recipients of the first ARH to be fielded, are also being reset.

    Bell officials issued a written statement July 9 stating that "we remain confident that that we can produce the ARH at an affordable price. Bell Helicopter and its team of suppliers are ready to begin low-rate initial production of the ARH, and we are dedicated to producing a world-class weapons system for the Army's warfighters."

    Thurman further stated that an armed recon helicopter was a critical capability for ground combat commanders and that the decision to discontinue the Bell contract "does not, in any way, diminish the imperative for this capability. Our operational tempo, attrition, and losses of six aircraft per year underscore the need to fill this requirement as quickly as possible," he said.

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    The Rumsfeldian Revolution, 2000-2007 : a retrospective

    Pentagon Says 5 Weapons Had $206 Billion Cost Growth
    By Gopal Ratnam and Tony Capaccio

    Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Cost increases on five major weapons programs accounted for $206 billion, or 22 percent, of the total jump in spending for new arms so far this decade, a Pentagon commissioned report found.

    Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and Boeing Co.’s Future Combat Systems each contributed more than $65 billion in higher costs, the Defense Business Board said in its latest report, which examined programs from 2000 to 2007. The report was issued yesterday.

    The report is designed to help U.S. defense officials identify transition issues for the next U.S. president in January. The next defense secretary must personally get involved to reverse the trend in program cost increases, the report said. Some $919 billion was added to the programs in the years studied, bringing the total for new weapons to $1.7 trillion.

    “There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to continue to push toward getting a better deal for the taxpayers,” Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s director of procurement, said about the report in an interview today. “We know that across the board we need to improve our pricing skills,” he said. “For many years, the pricing capability in a number of our commands had deteriorated.”

    Assad said the Defense Department is asking U.S. contracting officials to negotiate realistic prices in initial contracts with suppliers to avoid unplanned cost increases later.

    Breakdown

    Of the $919 billion, $401 billion was for cost increases, including the five large programs and 91 smaller ones; Pentagon- requested changes to requirements added $328 billion; and brand- new programs were $190 billion, the report said.

    “Estimating, engineering and schedule changes are responsible for over 80 percent of the cost growth from 2000 to 2007,” the report said.


    Then-Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas told a defense conference April 22 that the $401 billion in program growth “is a stunner -- we have got to do better in managing costs.” That rate of growth “will have a significant impact” on the next administration’s decisions on military programs, she said.

    Programs

    Boeing’s Future Combat Systems contributed $69.7 billion of the increase, while Lockheed’s F-35 added $66.8 billion. The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle -- a joint effort between Lockheed and Boeing to launch rockets --accounted for $18.5 billion.

    Virginia-class attack submarines, which are built by General Dynamics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., ran $27.3 billion above estimates, and a collection of awards called the Chemical Demilitarization program added $23.4 billion.

    “Cost growth in weapons acquisition is a huge problem for the Defense Department,” said Steve Kosiak, a defense budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis in Washington. Military services must rein in costs to avoid “significant cuts in their modernization plans” because of rising U.S. budget deficits, he said.

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    Last edited by Shipwreck; 25 Oct 08, at 19:05.

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    Gates enbraces Clinton's nuke doctrine :

    Gates: Future for U.S. Nuke Arsenal Looks 'Bleak'
    By JOHN T. BENNETT
    Defense News
    Published: 28 Oct 16:43 EDT (20:43 GMT)

    Potential threats make it necessary for the United States to maintain a nuclear arsenal for many years to come, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Oct. 28, and called for steps to ensure the nation has the ability to build such complex weapons.

    Gates, in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, embraced former President Bill Clinton's "lead and hedge" nuclear approach. Under this approach, Gates said, the United States should take the lead in seeking to eliminate such weapons while also hedging its bets by maintaining a deterrent nuclear arsenal.

    He pointed to the nuclear programs and ambitions of nations like North Korea, Iran, Russia and China as reasons Washington must take steps to ensure the nation's existing nuclear force is ready for launch, and also make sure industry and government have the technical expertise to build new versions.

    Gates quickly added the Pentagon does not consider Russia or China to be U.S. foes. But, he said, "we cannot ignore these developments."

    He called the existence of nuclear weapons a "genie that cannot be put back into the bottle."

    As for America's existing stockpile of nuclear munitions, he said those are "safe, secure and reliable."

    But, Gates said, "the problem is the long-term prognosis - which I would characterize as bleak."

    That's because the nation's existing set of nukes is decades old and costly to maintain, he said. Additionally, Gates noted, the United States has not designed such a weapon since the 1980s, built one since the 1990s, or tested one since 1992.

    With many scientists that worked on that last generation of U.S. nuclear arms past, at or nearing retirement age, Gates said the nation is suffering from "a brain drain" in this realm. He raised doubts about whether the U.S. industrial base in coming years will even be able to take on the task of designing and building a new nuclear force.

    He urged Congress to alter its recent practice of stripping money in annual Pentagon budget requests for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program, which he said would "reinvigorate and rebuild our infrastructure and expertise."

    Under the RRW initiative, the military would attempt to build a warhead Pentagon and administration officials say would be more secure than the ones that make up Washington's current force.

    Lawmakers have raised serious concerns about the Bush administration's RRW plans, leading them to withhold funds for the effort.

    Many skeptics argue pursuing a new program would hurt Washington's ability to keep other nations from getting "the bomb." They say because of this, and because the nation's existing arsenal can be maintained for 50 to 100 years, the RRW program should be delayed for some time. Still other critics simply oppose all nuclear weapons.

    Gates said Pentagon and administration officials take more time to "sit down with individual members" of Congress and explain why the military considers the RRW effort a critical one.

    Asked by an audience member if the Pentagon would build an RRW without new tests, Gates tersely replied, "Yes."

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    The Danaides' barrel needs more water :

    DoD Plans To Spend $360B More Over 6 Years
    By William Matthews
    Defense News
    Published: 17 Oct 14:37 EDT (18:37 GMT)

    As President George W. Bush prepares to leave office in three months, his budget writers at the Pentagon are planning to dump a giant budget increase on the team that replaces them.

    Bradley Berkson, the Pentagon's director of program analysis and evaluation, confirmed that defense budget officials are preparing spending plans for the next six years that add about $60 billion a year to the "base" military budget.

    That would push the planned 2010 "base" defense budget to $587 billion, up from the previously proposed $527 billion. It would add $360 billion to Pentagon spending over six years.

    In addition to the base budget for 2010, the Defense Department will need "supplemental" funding to keep fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Berkson said during an interview on the television show "This Week in Defense News." The interview is slated to air on Oct. 22.

    Berkson said wartime supplementals have been adding about $150 billion a year to total defense spending.

    For a departing president to propose giant defense spending increases on his way out the door "is very unusual," said Steven Kosiak, chief of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "The time for the administration to present a budget with these changes was in February, not now."

    Each February, the Defense Department sends Congress a defense budget request for the next year and a future year defense program, or FYDP, that projects defense spending for six years into the future.

    "It's not clear what has changed since February when the last FYDP was released that would indicate a need for extra money," Kosiak said.

    Berkson said the funds are needed because the U.S. military is adding 92,000 soldiers and Marines.

    "We are preparing a budget consistent with force structure President Bush has announced," he said.

    The additional troops will require "operations and maintenance support and capital support," Berkson said. That is, money to maintain equipment, to train troops and to buy new weapons.

    An extra $60 billion a year "will be sufficient to sustain those forces," he said.

    "The last FYDP was supposed to include money for the additional manning and equipment. That's what they told Congress," Kosiak said.

    What has changed in the nine months? Kosiak asked. There is no additional force structure and no new, costly programs, he said.

    "Were the estimates from February way off?" Or possibly, "this is an attempt to lay out a marker for the next administration to have to deal with when they come into office," Kosiak said.

    By adding $60 billion a year to the long-range defense spending plan, the outgoing administration could put pressure on the new administration to boost military spending that was scheduled to level off after a decade of substantial increases. Any defense spending proposal that is lower than Bush's 11th-hour bulked-up budget could be assailed as a defense spending cut.

    "I'm not sure how seriously this will be taken by the next administration," Kosiak said.

    Bush's successor should conduct a careful examination of the military to determine how much money is needed in the base budget, how much extra is needed for the wars and what kind of a military is needed for the future, he said.

    "This is not a flattering picture of the administration's management of budgeting in general and of defense budgeting in particular," Kosiak said.

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