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NanuqoftheNorth

2019 Military Budget: Pentagon Wins, American Taxpayers Lose

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This week President Trump delivered his 2019 military spending budget request. He vowed to rebuild the "depleted" military with a massive increase in spending. Will we be more economically secure with a trillion dollars dumped into military spending? How about our national security, with many more foreign military adventures newly funded?

 

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I like how Trump talks about national security....

Then a day after EVERY Intel head serving under him addresses the Russia issue and then Trump is like, eh I don't know...I'm still thinking about that fat guy on the couch could be behind all this. 

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The DoDs budget could be fully chopped in half while making the requisite improvements for national defense.  It starts with the bloat that has a cozy residence at the Pentagon.

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You guys do realize according to the major news outlets and studies, we are the third world power behind Russia and China in terms of military strength, preparedness, training, equipment and readiness?

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3 minutes ago, Harbingers said:

You guys do realize according to the major news outlets and studies, we are the third world power behind Russia and China in terms of military strength, preparedness, training, equipment and readiness?

RIP freedom :(

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2 minutes ago, SZ James (banned) said:

RIP freedom :(

I’m all for cutting our not equipment based contracts right now and equalizing the military budget. 

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18 minutes ago, Harbingers said:

You guys do realize according to the major news outlets and studies, we are the third world power behind Russia and China in terms of military strength, preparedness, training, equipment and readiness?

Neither of those nations would be able to take on the US militarily.  The only ones that would be close are the EU, and that would be a stretch.  That said, we can categorically improve our readiness while taking a hatchet to the Pentagon's budget.  They haven't been held accountable for the duration of my lifetime with respect to fiscal expenditures.  If anything, DC politicians have been rewarding bad behavior on an absurdly stupid scale.

Case in point is any DC politician entertaining the idea of a military parade.

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44 minutes ago, Harbingers said:

You guys do realize according to the major news outlets and studies, we are the third world power behind Russia and China in terms of military strength, preparedness, training, equipment and readiness?

show a legit study that argues that.  We are the largest military power in the world.

do we have some of those issues? Sure.  Won’t debate that.  So we have some training, preparedness and readiness issues others don’t? Sure.  Part of that is because of how massive we choose to be and how we choose to forever be expanding and everywhere. 

Our problems largely have to do with getting into never ending war and being engaged everywhere.  We should solve that....and it will strengthen us.  Plus I believe the military is horrible in terms of financial responsibly in general. 

we just keep throwing cash at the problem and the problem grows.

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1 hour ago, Harbingers said:

You guys do realize according to the major news outlets and studies, we are the third world power behind Russia and China in terms of military strength, preparedness, training, equipment and readiness?

You actually believe that nonsense? 

Russia's economy is one tenth the size of the US.  Their military spending is one tenth of ours also.  Even in their heyday, the Soviet Union's military was inferior to ours except in numbers of troops that relied on outdated/decrepit equipment.  Don't fall into the trap of believing the propaganda supplied by US war hawks/MIC and their never ending call for increased military spending.  

The only aspect of the Chinese military worthy of comparison is number of troops.  However, neither China or Russia have a deep sea navy or airforce capable of deploying/projecting that military power in a manner that poses a threat to the United States.

Please also note that other than China and Russia the big spenders on this list are our allies, so the military gap between the USA and any potential adversary is actually larger than it first appears.

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So what happened to all of the countries where we spend pulling their own weight as far as their own defense?

Trump made some big accusations and threats to them, but then we just blew up the budget anyway.  Not such a good negotiator on that one contrary to his belief

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10 minutes ago, stirs said:

So what happened to all of the countries where we spend pulling their own weight as far as their own defense?

Trump made some big accusations and threats to them, but then we just blew up the budget anyway.  Not such a good negotiator on that one contrary to his belief

Dotard has never been a master negotiator.  Anyone who voted for him because of that....is no less stupid than those that did because Imof the belief Mexico would pay for a wall.

about the only reason someone can defend voting for Trump is one who wanted him to burn it all down

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Copypasta time! I don't expect to change anyone's views, but if anyone is interested in more than "yeah, take a hatchet to it - other countries survive on less" conversation.
 

Quote

 

The metric that the US spends more on their defense budget than other most other nations combined is an extremely superficial look at military spending and mostly pointless as a comparison of power.

Of course the US spends a lot more than China or Russia: there is a vastly different cost of living in the US versus those nations.

To actually understand where/how the US spends on its military, take a look at the DOD Budget Request for 2018 and Table 5.1 from the Government Publishing Office for historical spending.

You'll see the actual budget breakdown:

  • Military Wages - $141.7B
  • Operations and Maintenance - $223.3B
  • Procurement - $114.9B
  • Research and Development - $82.7B
  • Management - $2.1B
  • Military Construction - $8.4B
  • Family Housing - $1.4B
  • Overseas Contingency Operations (war funds) - $64.6B

That's right - 25% of the base (day to day non-war funds) budget of the DOD is spent on JUST wages (22% if we include funds spent for war operations). That's just military personnel wages - contractor wages fall under the other categories they get contracted for (e.g. maintenance contractors fall under Ops/Maintenance).

Why does this matter? Compare this to China, where their soldiers are paid a tenth of what the US pays its soldiers. Or South Korea, a first world nation with conscription, which pay its soldiers $100 a month.

If the US paid its personnel what the Chinese do, we'd save nearly $130 billion overnight!

Obviously that's not feasible in an all-volunteer military in the West, nor does that nominal spending tell us anything about actual military capability.

This goes beyond just wages: every aspect of spending is affected.

Military equipment isn't sold on the open market. China and Russia are largely barred from buying Western military equipment. Likewise, Western nations don't buy from China or Russia for obvious reasons.

End result? Chinese/Russian equipment is made by Chinese/Russian domestic arms manufacturers (like MiGs), employing Chinese/Russian workers, at Chinese/Russian wages.

This is how Russia can sell the Su-34, a fighter-bomber converted from an air superiority fighter, for $36 million an aircraft in 2008, while the US equivalent - the F-15E Strike Eagle, also a fighter-bomber converted from an air superiority fighter - cost $108 million a plane in 2006.

Does costing 3x as much automatically mean the Eagle is 3x better? No, you can't figure that out strictly by cost. You must look at the levels of training, support, capabilities, etc. and a whole confluence of quantitative and qualitative factors to know who is actually better.

Moreover, we have to look at what we in the country want to do. It's easy to say Iraq was a mistake or that we should get out of the Middle East. However, most people are very supportive of NATO, want to maintain our alliance with South Korea and Japan, and in turn many nations in the world expect the US to come to their defense. And a huge chunk of the world prefers the US to back them in case of conflict.

Inevitably people say "but the US has 11 aircraft carriers and thousands more planes than the next nation! That's a huge disparity!" But the what we want to do answers a lot of that: we want to be involved in world affairs in Europe and Asia/Pacific. What good are commitments if we can't bring our forces to those parts of the world? If Australia needs help, what good is our word if we can't actually sail the ships and move the planes we need to there? Hence we have a large force of air transports, aerial refueling tankers, carriers, and bases overseas and we have enough to sustain them (equipment gets put into routine maintenance to last).

More than half of US troops overseas are stationed in JUST 4 countries: Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Italy. We have defense treaties with all 4 of them. 3 of those 4 nations happen to be the defeated Axis foes of WW2. There's some history there.

That's the thing: military spending isn't as haphazardly put together as people think. The National Security Strategy of the US is put out by presidential administrations which outlines their major foreign policy goals. During the Cold War, the military policy was straightforward: win two major wars at the same time, believed to mean beating the Soviets in Europe and China/North Korea in Asia.

When the Cold War ended, Pres. Clinton revised this to 'win-hold-win': win one major war, hold the line in another, then win that one when the first one concludes. The military resized accordingly: it went from 3 million active duty and reserve to 2.1 million. That same proportion of cuts was felt widely across the board: the US aircraft carrier fleet, for instance, went from no fewer than 15 in any given year in the Cold War and was phased out to the 11 we have today.

But spending isn't just about today's operations. Note that procurement and R&D make up a big chunk of spending, and that's because we're not just looking at today or yesterday's threats, but tomorrow's too (no, we can't simply wait to innovate as we did in WW2 - weapons and the nature of warfare are too complex to wait until hostilities start to develop. I can go into excruciating detail on this)

China isn't static. It might not care about a blue water navy right now (it has few distant overseas interests), but that's changing rapidly: it just opened its first overseas base in Djibouti. April 2017, it launched its second aircraft carrier and has not only a third but also a FOURTH aircraft carrier under construction. The balance of power today is NOT the balance of power in a decade.

Spending differences also ignore that the US is committed to far more than any other nation in the world. The US, a two-ocean country, is simultaneously committed to both Europe (through NATO) AND Asia (through treaties with South Korea and Japan as well as Australia). That makes us unique in comparison to a UK or France, which is focused almost entirely on only Europe and its backyard.

And simultaneous is no joke: the US getting involved in a crisis with Russia in Europe doesn't absolve us from fighting alongside South Korea if North Korea decides to go to war.

The US has goals that other rivals don't care about. Let's see, what do we the US people demand?

  • Commitment to NATO and our allies in Asia across two vast oceans (thus we need the equipment to get us there)
  • Commitment to winning wars (dominance in conventional warfare)
  • Care that our weapons are precise (so we don't kill the wrong people)
  • Care that our soldier's lives aren't needlessly wasted (hence the best training and equipment)

Look at how much a US soldier costs to equip today. These are inflation adjusted: our troops carry equipment with costs 100x more than a US soldier was equipped in WW2. Meanwhile, only 1 US soldier is killed today for every 8.3 wounded, compared to WW2, where it was 1 for every 2.4 wounded. Cost wise, each soldier costs a lot more to equip, but how much would you spend to make sure 3-4x as many live?

Compare that to China or Russia, who don't care as much about collateral damage, can conscript people to serve, and don't need to answer to their populace the way our nation does. Yeah, it might cost a bit more money for us to achieve all that

Thus, if you are looking at spending differences without accounting for costs of living, production costs, and prioritization of spending (the US spends 16-19% of DOD budget on procurement; China is estimated at 30-35% per SIPRI), you're not seeing the full picture: China and Russia are a LOT closer to the US than most people realize (they've spent all their money modernizing their forces with a focus on confronting the US, while the US has a lot of legacy equipment leftover to maintain and years wasted fighting low tech foes).

The Army's mission is easily found on their official website:

The U.S. Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders. We do this by:

  • Executing Title 10 and Title 32 United States Code directives, to include organizing, equipping, and training forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land.
  • Accomplishing missions assigned by the President, Secretary of Defense and combatant commanders, and Transforming for the future.

It wants to fight and win wars. It has to be able to do so promptly (meaning, enough forces ready/active), have sustained (meaning it has the numbers and logistics to actually carry out operations for more than a day or two) land dominance (self explanatory), across the full range of operations and capabilities (meaning it isn't focused solely on one or a couple things, like the Germans being focused solely on tanks, or the Brits during the Cold War being primarily solely on anti-submarine naval warfare).

Its missions as assigned are as outlined in the National Security Strategy and ordered by the Secretary of Defense via annual budget requests that sustain what the Army needs today and what it needs to become the Army we need tomorrow.

In addition, I think you're forgetting that the US military is more than just the Army: the Navy/Marines and Air Force all exist, and they each share a nearly equal share of the pie.

Take for instance, the Navy's official mission:

The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

Maintenance of existing fleets costs money. Training costs money. Equipping and sustaining combat-ready ships aren't free.

And this doesn't require just to be spent during times of war: Deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas is a daily activity around the world.

Lets do a mental exercise here really quick as to the reach of the US, from a Navy perspective. Let's say we start on the West Coast of the US: from here, we go west, and find the US Navy in Pearl Harbor. You have a fleet stationed out of Japan that is specifically focused on being ready for North Korea. You have US Navy ships in the South China Sea making sure China and its neighbors don't get too hostile. You have our ships in the Straits of Malacca, one of the most important and busiest trading routes in the world. Go further west, and you have ships off Pakistan supporting operations in Afghanistan. You have ships in the Persian Gulf, deterring any attempts by Iran or any other country to close the Straits of Hormuz, a vital sea route for oil the world uses. Likewise, the Red Sea has a US presence to ensure access to the Suez Canal is kept. Anti-piracy operations in Somalia are on going still. The US has a presence in the Mediterranean, both against ISIS in Syria and supporting the government of Libya as well.

Now in the north Atlantic, the US has forces in the Baltics and near the British Isles in support of NATO.

Finally, we go all the way west and now to the East Coast of the United States, where Navy warships were sent down to help aid in relief for both Hurricane Harvey and Irma to include search and rescue and evacuation.

How much do you think a military that can do all that, TODAY, at the same time, costs or should cost? Especially one that you want to actually dominate your enemies in, not merely achieve parity (stalemates are bloody affairs. See: Western Front of WWI, Eastern Front of WWII)

The US is the only Western nation with the demographics (population size and age), political will, technological capacity, and economic ability to challenge a surging China or resurgent Russia (which inherited the might of the Soviet Union to build off of) on the world stage.

How many Americans would change their tone on military spending if China or Russia were calling the shots on world issues? On spreading their views on governance or human rights? Or if the balance of power shifted so much that more nations decided it was time for them to get nuclear weapons too (imagine Saudi Arabia getting nukes...)?

 

 

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1 minute ago, Chimera said:

If the US paid its personnel what the Chinese do, we'd save nearly $130 billion overnight!

sounds great actually. make war something you do to defend yourself, not a make-work job. 

3 minutes ago, Chimera said:

Inevitably people say "but the US has 11 aircraft carriers and thousands more planes than the next nation! That's a huge disparity!" But the what we want to do answers a lot of that: we want to be involved in world affairs in Europe and Asia/Pacific

yeah im fine with ending that bullshit too

4 minutes ago, Chimera said:

 

More than half of US troops overseas are stationed in JUST 4 countries: Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Italy. We have defense treaties with all 4 of them. 3 of those 4 nations happen to be the defeated Axis foes of WW2. There's some history there.

don't care. remove them imo. bring those welfare queens home and make them take a real job

5 minutes ago, Chimera said:

That's the thing: military spending isn't as haphazardly put together as people think. The National Security Strategy of the US is put out by presidential administrations which outlines their major foreign policy goals. During the Cold War, the military policy was straightforward: win two major wars at the same time, believed to mean beating the Soviets in Europe and China/North Korea in Asia.

When the Cold War ended, Pres. Clinton revised this to 'win-hold-win': win one major war, hold the line in another, then win that one when the first one concludes. The military resized accordingly: it went from 3 million active duty and reserve to 2.1 million. That same proportion of cuts was felt widely across the board: the US aircraft carrier fleet, for instance, went from no fewer than 15 in any given year in the Cold War and was phased out to the 11 we have today.

yeah this aggressive foreign policy is extremely expensive. we should change the policy and stop throwing away trillions for illegal wars imo

7 minutes ago, Chimera said:

But spending isn't just about today's operations. Note that procurement and R&D make up a big chunk of spending, and that's because we're not just looking at today or yesterday's threats, but tomorrow's too (no, we can't simply wait to innovate as we did in WW2 - weapons and the nature of warfare are too complex to wait until hostilities start to develop. I can go into excruciating detail on this)

"threats"

11 minutes ago, Chimera said:

China isn't static. It might not care about a blue water navy right now (it has few distant overseas interests), but that's changing rapidly: it just opened its first overseas base in Djibouti. April 2017, it launched its second aircraft carrier and has not only a third but also a FOURTH aircraft carrier under construction

don't care

13 minutes ago, Chimera said:

Spending differences also ignore that the US is committed to far more than any other nation in the world. The US, a two-ocean country, is simultaneously committed to both Europe (through NATO) AND Asia (through treaties with South Korea and Japan as well as Australia). That makes us unique in comparison to a UK or France, which is focused almost entirely on only Europe and its backyard.

nice way of saying "imperialism" imo

14 minutes ago, Chimera said:

The US has goals that other rivals don't care about. Let's see, what do we the US people demand?

  • Commitment to NATO and our allies in Asia across two vast oceans (thus we need the equipment to get us there)
  • Commitment to winning wars (dominance in conventional warfare)
  • Care that our weapons are precise (so we don't kill the wrong people)
  • Care that our soldier's lives aren't needlessly wasted (hence the best training and equipment)

we're pretty good at killing the "wrong" people from what i've seen reported in iraq and afghanistan over the years. maybe stop bombing countries for bad reasons if you're worried about killing the "wrong" people imo. seems cheaper too.

16 minutes ago, Chimera said:

Look at how much a US soldier costs to equip today. These are inflation adjusted: our troops carry equipment with costs 100x more than a US soldier was equipped in WW2. Meanwhile, only 1 US soldier is killed today for every 8.3 wounded, compared to WW2, where it was 1 for every 2.4 wounded. Cost wise, each soldier costs a lot more to equip, but how much would you spend to make sure 3-4x as many live?

don't care. i would spend exactly $0 to make sure a troop is more likely to live while waging wars of aggression for Real Bad Reasons

17 minutes ago, Chimera said:

Compare that to China or Russia, who don't care as much about collateral damage, can conscript people to serve, and don't need to answer to their populace the way our nation does. Yeah, it might cost a bit more money for us to achieve all that

lol who wrote this orientalist bullshit

yeah the swarthy horde just feed themselves into the grinder unlike us nice enlightened americans who actually value our own lives as well as the lives around us. (pay no attention to those who have starved to death or died of treatable illness in iraq and yemen)

19 minutes ago, Chimera said:

Thus, if you are looking at spending differences without accounting for costs of living, production costs, and prioritization of spending (the US spends 16-19% of DOD budget on procurement; China is estimated at 30-35% per SIPRI), you're not seeing the full picture: China and Russia are a LOT closer to the US than most people realize (they've spent all their money modernizing their forces with a focus on confronting the US, while the US has a lot of legacy equipment leftover to maintain and years wasted fighting low tech foes).

don't care but would be interested to see how different military spending around the world would be if basically the entire planet outside of western europe wasn't faced with the threat of cia coup, american-backed proxy war or direct intervention.

 

anyway im bored with this. i know you didn't write it so don't take this as an attack. i know this type of fw:fw:fw:fw will appeal to the type of people who believe the US military is a fundamentally good thing that fights good battles worth winning. the author makes a lot of assumptions that will go unquestioned by most and really that's the biggest problem here.

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also i see that this was posted in response to "cut it because other countries get by on less" argument which i agree is a bad argument so yeah im just arguing with whoever first wrote that thing at this point

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