Money and the Military

We are headed down a tough road during the period of budget cuts starting this year and extending to a time where the budget is a whole lot closer to balancing.  I want to address a part of the cuts that I hold near and dear.

The question is and always been a balance of Active and Reserve forces in light of the cost.  Here is a reason for both:

A Large Active Force is a deterrent to the enemies of our Country.  It is a requirement from the Constitution and not always a bad thing.  The large force keeps a portion employed that might be at the lower end of the job skill scale.  A common cannoneer, infantryman and truck driver are a much needed labor that keeps the force running.  It also provides some of the people at the bottom of the Socio-economic scale an entry level place to get started in life.  If you add the GI Bill and benefits to that, it helps raise the workforce of our country.  I benefitted from my time in the Military and think there is a need for a lot of that in our society.

The Guard and reserve is a force that helps our enemies see that we are not just a paper tiger and are willing to bring forces to bear on military problems that  confront us.  We are a heck of a lot cheaper than the active forces and I think we are a good bang for the buck.  There is also the offsetting factor that they provide a first job in a lot of places and an entry into many educational markets by providing benefits.  In addition to many college scholarships, there are programs that allow people to attend trade schools at a discounted rate.  I would be remiss if I didn't point out that  the drill pay is a good thing.

The real problem is being kicked around Washington and is like the mating of elephants.  It occurs at a high level and takes a long time to see the results.  It is my hope that the cooler heads prevail and we can find a balance of Active and Reserve forces that makes sense and fits the budget.

In my perfect world (or as I see things)  we need to have a revamp of the forces.  I would have a Land Force, an Air force and a Sea Force.   All the components that don't support a force directly need to be rolled into the appropriate force.  I can not even begin to understand why the Marines need an Air Force like component.  Same for the Navy Aviation.  The coast guard is a Navy job.  In the Reserve, the Ground component needs to go to the Guard.  In the flying mission needs to go to the Air Force Reserves.  I would simplify and consolidate. 

In my example, I want you to know about a Marine Gunnery Instructor I had at Fort Sill, OK.  He was selected for Aviation out of OCS and went entirely through flight school until the check landing on an air craft carrier.  He hit a patch of bad weather and washed out of the program.  In My world, he would have just not been qualified for Aircraft Landings and gone on to a long career in Aviation. I would pay those that land on ships an additional pay and not wash those that can't qualify out of the program.  I'll bet we spent millions and millions of dollars on teaching people to fly that would have been great fixed base pilots and had a long career.  To add insult to injury, this Pilot was then assigned to teach gunnery at Fort Sill like the Artillery was a set of second class citizens that were the dregs and got only what was leftover. 

I wish our Congress well and hope they figure this all out.   I say that they need to do a great job and we should give them a chance and throw them out if they don't do what is needed.


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