Skip to comments.Militaryís top general offers grim outlook on nationís defense
Posted on 03/05/2014 3:32:19 PM PST by SkyPilot
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“They can get and keep similarly talented people for much less money, so they can have more of them, so they get more for their $.”
Cost of living is way down for them, so, they are able to pay less comparatively and, yes, they get what they pay for—non-thinking drones. Want a million illiterate coolies for your army, have at it. Fodder for modern weapons, technology and tactics.
“So even if their annual military budget is 1/3 or 1/4 of ours, it buys them as much or nearly as much.”
I’d say not in leadership and initiative and independent thinking company and field grade officers, and things, hardware, cost so much less over there (closed economic system) that can buy whatever they want at whatever price they care to pay. We don’t have that option.
“Which makes them more dangerous than a simple $ comparison would lead on to think.”
Dangerous? More numerous, for sure, but more dangerous/lethal? Not so much.
“As for the US procurement mess - there have been many studies on this - we waste between 1/2 to 2/3 of our procurement funds on non-productive paper pushing.”
I’d like to read that. Where can I find that number/study?
“Between having way too many office jockeys, regulations, delays, and etc.”
Acquisition reform is certainly much needed. The number of acquisition personnel in uniform is quite small, actually. Most acquisition is done by civilians, you know, those dedicated civilians in the federal GS world that belong to a union.
Regulations are made by congress and congress causes most of the cost increases and delays.
A contract is signed with a defense manufacturer and they start to build to the contracted number. They contract with second and third teir suppliers for parts and such. . .and many parts and materials are ‘long lead’ items requiring the contractor commit to purchase for many years. . .requiring the contractor to go on risk, to bet that congress will continue to fund the original amount.
The suppliers also sub-contract to get the raw materials so they can build the parts. All at a set price and for a certain muber.
Congress steps in and mucks it up by reducing the numbers (see F-22 of most recent example) and the cost-per-unit sky-rockets because the company must recover their non-recurring R&D investment, and this means they spread that cost over fewer platforms and this raises the costs and then people that don’t know any better complain about the kit being too costly and then congress reduces the number again, thereby increasing the cost-per unit-even more. . .and so on. Repeat.
It’s like Ford designing an entirely new car and the development cost is spread over hundreds of thousands of vehicles and no one really notices the cost for development when it is added to the cost of the car. However, if Ford is contracted for only a few hundred vehicles then the cost would be enormous.
“I dont know whether the Chinese and Russians are as inefficient as we are, but they could hardly be worse.”
Oh, they are very much worse. Not only are they building crap, they are building lots of it.
Just my humble opinion. Others may disagree.
Both China and Russia have effectively 100% literacy these days, which I don’t think the US can truthfully claim.
And having worked with numerous Russian and Chinese technical people, albeit immigrants to the US, I don’t think that we can assume the ones still at home are incompetent.
They can hire qualified experienced engineers, who can be excellent, for less than we pay a private.
Both countries also have semi-free markets and particularly for technical and manufacturing industries, have much lower barriers to entry than we do. In most relevant ways China has a freer economy than we do. You can set up and operate a CNC machine shop in China for much less, and with lower political risk and government oversight, than in most of the US. Lets not even talk about heavy industry. There is no facility in the US that can compete with Chinese shipyards. You also have better logistics facilities in much of China than in comparable parts of the US. That’s a fact. We are paralyzing ourselves industrially.
We still have an edge in some high quality manufacturing, such as jet engines, but they are getting better fast.
As for our procurement problems, there are dozens of studies. I have seen many estimates and articles in the USNI Proceedings. There is a recent McKinsey report out too.
It does not matter for this discussion whose fault it is, its just a fact.
They have not caught up yet, because we have enormous accumulated investments “in the ground” so to speak, because of our many years of accumulated material, technology, expertise, and experience, but at the rate they are investing they are quickly overcoming this.
I, too, met many from the ‘other side.”
I do think most that remain behind are incompetent because they will act that way to survive in that cesspool of ignorance they call socialism/communism.
“Both China and Russia have effectively 100% literacy these days, which I dont think the US can truthfully claim.”
And you think their claim is legitimate? Reminds me of something I read a long time ago, and I paraphrase: socialism, communism, no human rights. . .but hey, at least they can read.
Ref acquisition; you specifically called out military staff and such for the broken system and having too many military filling those billets. I pointed out there is a shortage of military acquisition personnel and it is congress and civilians running procurement causing problems. That is where the frustration should be directed. I am sure your reading indicated this as well.
No human rights, but way less bureaucracy over there getting in peoples faces.
They really arent “communist” that way. They are into real private enterprise in a way we no longer are. Believe it, I have been in the machine tool business and I know how it goes. If you want to set up to manufacture over there its easy peasy. If you want to source parts its also ridiculously simple.
I made no distinction of military vs civilian in our system. The system as a whole works badly, no matter who is at fault.