Interesting! Is the Obama era finally ending in the US Navy?

Under the Obama administration, the US armed forces were starved of funds and resources, and a determined effort appears to have been made to get rid of as many combat veterans as possible.  The results have been plain to see for the past few years.  The standards of the Army, Navy and Air Force appear to have declined dramatically.

President Trump appointed retired General Mattis, USMC, as Secretary of Defense to turn things round.  The latest Strategic Readiness Review from the US Navy appears to demonstrate he’s doing just that.  CDR Salamander, prolific Navy blogger, has a good article examining the Review.  Here’s an excerpt.

It is time to digest the Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review that came out late last week.

BLUF … and I will repeat myself a few times from here … this is an exceptional document. Well written, substantive, educational, blunt, and something we can build a great future on – if we have the institutional courage to do so.

Once you get past the Executive Summary, you get to a rather informative but peculiar body of work. It is structured in a way to inform people who may not really know what goes on in the Navy but have the ear of decision makers. I think this is smart. The people who control real power in DC do not wear a uniform.

. . .

We lost 17 Sailors, and two front line warships are out of the game so we could get this review. I hope everyone will get their copy and digest it. It is almost everything we wanted.

I am not exaggerating. This document is exactly what I hoped for.

I’m going to try to keep this as simple and straight forward as possible; this document represents and institutional repudiation of the last 30-years of Navy leadership. Full stop.

There’s more at the link, including a link to the full document.  It’s long, but well worth your time if you’re a military or naval veteran, or interested in the subject.



  1. "Starved of funds"? Really? Between 2010 and 2015 military spending never dropped under 600 Billion dollars. It never came close to the 506 billion spent in 2005. Was the military starved for funds in 2005? 2006? 2007? Was the military starved for funds back in 2000 when we only spent 304 billion?

    You could cut military spending in half and not harm the defense of the United States. But it would harm the plans of the NeoCons to police the world.

    1. Average work week at sea is 104 hours. Maintenance has been deferred. As far as the NeoCons? Might want to list Obama in there as well. Troops in Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Yemen. And oh we supported a coup of a democratically elected president in Ukraine while funding ISIS. Not bad for a non-NeoCon. Oh, and I forgot Syria.

  2. Excellent article – wow!

    Because the US polices the world allowing free trade, we have a huge economy. Before it was UK that did this.

    I’m surprised at it being released the Friday before Xmas. I wonder why on the timing.

  3. The US military has had a high rate of wear for longer than you mention, Mr. Mallory. Starting in the '90's, we've been using more than we've been replacing, both in equipment and personnel. Clinton was big on the peace dividend, but happily sent the military all over the world. Bush II spent our blood and treasure on futile 'nation-building' and Obama continued that while adding lots of mandatory diversity and PC stuff.

    You're not wrong about the cost of being the world's policeman and getting involved in everyone's crusade. I won't argue about that a bit. It's just that the military doesn't get a choice. They get told to go there and do that, and here's what you have to do it with. It's the point of having elected civilians in charge.

    Read that report, or at least Salamander's review of it. The US Navy ships have regularly been shorted on parts and repair downtime, while the sailors have been shorted on training, in order to save money. With half the ships, they had to do the same missions as in the 80's, which doubles the load and halves the projected lifetime of the ships. Me, I'll talk about people.

    The reserves and NG have been all but used up, the most skilled especially so. Pilots and doctors were called up for 179 days (more means they get active duty status and retirement), sent back for a month or two, then called up again. All the reserve doctors resigned – they were losing their practices, not to mention going broke. Companies came up with ways to dump returning veterans instead of taking them back like the law says, and then the VA did their best to avoid treating anyone. The experimental anthrax vaccine really did a number on some friends of mine, still no help for them.

    Finally, to add insult to injury, diversity training was turned to 11 and women were put everywhere. When you have had 3 hours sleep in the last 3 days and won't get any more until the air search radar's back up, spending hours being lectured about white male privilege just doesn't sit well. Instead of getting to take some of that two year's backlogged leave to see the family, you have to set up berthing for women in a place that was never designed for them and integrate them somehow while keeping the guys who haven't gotten any for a loong time from effing up, literally.

    Qualified sailors get out instead of reinlisting. Always being deployed, standing port and starboard watches, off-watch trying to keep equipment going that should have been replaced or overhauled in that last repair period that got canceled… getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night at best makes you old fast. Your children are growing up without you, your wife drifts away or divorces you because you're never there. New sailors don't have the experience, and often didn't go to school for the equipment they're supposed to use and fix – the school manning was cut to save money. OTJ training, but who's going to train them, and on what, given that the equipment has to be kept running?

    Yeah, the US Navy is in trouble. So far, Trump hasn't made things easier. 3 carrier groups off of North Korea and another alternatively trying to keep an eye on the mad mullahs and China/Tiawan continues the insane pace. I feel sorry for my shipmates, but not enough to go back in!

  4. One correction tweel.

    "Port and Stupid"

    because 6 on and 6 off plus 4 hours of sleep plus training/repairs your other "off" shift render you the latter.

    And yeah, I remember watching news of fighter jet training mishaps when repair and training funding was cut to the point we were reusing shit on the boat that should have been replaced, having needed non-mission critical maintenance pushed back , etc.

  5. And all of this speaks to the absolute disloyalty of the officer corp.

    Loyalty includes telling the truth. Imagine flag and command officers resigning en masse when ordered to conduct diversity training (a bellwether symptom of all of the rest). The problem is that many do not have a problem with it.

    Instead they place their career goals ahead of being loyal to truth, and consequently lead the force into the maws of Abaddon.

  6. The Navy has been running hind-tit on repairs and replacements since, really, the Viet Nam war. Only by raping the mothball fleet did the Fleet stay on line as long as it did.

    Then Carter came along, and gutted what we had.

    Reagan and Bush I worked on rebuilding, but to achieve the ship levels, they also brought back ships from the Active Reserve, further depleting what few 'spares' were left in storage and in mothball.

    Comes Clinton, Bush II and Obama, hind tit for repairs and replacement would have been golden, but instead a steady drink from sewer water and special 'high-tech' sewage fluids have left our vessels in the state that the Soviet Union's fleet achieved right before the Soviets fell apart.

    Yes. It is that bad.

    Just look at Marine F-18 availability.

    And that's not taking into account the tremendous 'brain trust' that was pissed away in the search for foppish worshipers in uniform of C and O. Of misplaced personnel issues, not the least of which was 'diversity.' Of loss of trust in the system as 'management' has stabbed every decent sailor in the back.

    And then there's the speed of war in these high-tech days. When we were a young country, we had time and distance to serve as our primary protection, giving us a chance to build a fleet and arm troops in response to outside threats.

    Today we have the ability by evildoers to build or buy subs, to push their ships into or close to our waters, to reach our shores with long range weapons or to push their insurgents into our population with ease. Today's threats are a moment away, with no chance to fall back and build like we did during WWII. Build? With what? Our shipyards are gone Our metal processors are gone. Our workforce is 'stupid' from 'new math' and 'common core' and the bastard liberalization of our schools. All the while weapons systems are getting more and mofe complex. And the powers that be have gutted the troops that fix the magic sparky stuff.

    Just look at the cluster fisk that embodies the whole Littoral Combat System that has private civilian contractors supposedly doing the repairs aboard the LCSs when they break down. And how is that working for us?

    Our navy is broke. We are trying to use 'The Great White Navy' to fight WWII (meaning old, tired ships from previous generations to fight in a modern world.)

    And then there is all the money the Navy spent on $26 a gallon 'green fuel' instead of much cheaper and more available fossil fuels.

    Our fiscal and political policies have broken the back of our Navy. Once the finest in the world. Once the largest and most powerful in the world. We are now stretched thin. We are running at 100% on all fronts. There is no reserve left. The barrel is empty. And there are few to none replacements ready (the days of launching a major combatant in less than a year are long gone, looooong gone.)

    And, yes, I blame Clinton and Obama and the Dems in Congress who stalled and stopped Bush II from building up the navy needed to fight the new wars. I blame Carter, and LBJ and the Dems for funneling money from NASA and the Military into the cesspools of social engineering.

    We need to spend, and spend big, and spend wisely to fix the past's mistakes. And to pave the way to a better future.

  7. True, Last Redoubt. You know it's bad when you pull into Singapore and instead of going ashore for booze and fun, most of the guys roll back into their rack. They say that being up for over 24 hours is functionally equal to being drunk, makes sense to me. It's the Navy way: "Don't tell me you didn't have time! If you slept, you d@mned well had time!"

    It's worse when you leave the ship – to go to Sim Lim towers to buy components and IC chips for systems you can't get replacement boards for, a roll of solder and some tips for your soldering iron. The main fire control radar is down and the backup is acting squirrely, FC's have no one with a clue, so Ops has dumped it on you.

    Hey, at least I could do that, felt sorry for the MM's and such that couldn't. I could fix those boards, more or less (the components weren't mil-spec and we weren't supposed to do anything but swap boards out, but you do what you have to). How does a MM fix a valve that's leaking by without parts?

  8. Meh.
    When you hear that they've cashiered 300 admirals and eliminated their billets overnight in perpetuity, along with anything related to Equal Opportunity and Diversity, you'll know they're serious.

    This is whistling past the graveyard, walking a toothless hound.

    Anyone can recognize the problem. (Salamander et al have been doing that for decades.)

    Actually doing something to fix it is another kettle of fish entirely.

  9. 1st: "Neocon" used to mean a liberal who saw the light and switched to conservative values. There should be another word for those who use "conservative" as mere camouflage for their leftist hearts.

    2nd: This isn't just a Navy problem. For years, the Air Force has also been the victim of "deferred maintenance" — to the point that mechanics were moving parts from one airplane to another so that each could have enough flight hours in their log books. So the commander's reports would show the force at 85% ready, when really, less than a third could be put into combat immediately.

    3rd: The report reminded me of a situation I observed in the early 80s.

    To provide a little insight as to how long this has been going on, I offer the following account:

    In 1980, I was a field tech for one of the major computer companies, servicing equipment at a major Naval research facility. Just before I joined the company, the Navy had purchased a large number of the new "smart" video terminals. As things tend to go, over time, the terminals began to need maintenance and the parts weren't exactly cheap. In fact, when the next generation of terminals was introduced, the main logic module for the old ones cost about 3x the price of a whole new terminal. We approached the Navy about just retiring the old ones as they failed and buying the newer ones which were not only lower in cost, but more durable AND cheaper to repair when they did need maint.

    The Navy's answer? We don't have money for capital acquisitions, only money (apparently unlimited) for "maintenance".

    The company I worked for was what might be called a "good citizen" today (or maybe just a "sucker"). We wanted to save the D.O.D. some not inconsiderable money — but how? During a brainstorming session at the local service office, someone suggested, "why don't we just assign a field service part number to the new terminal, and call it a "VT-nnn repair kit"? It took a couple weeks to get approval, but that's what happened; an "FS-nnnnn-01" part number was created, and suddenly the Navy's cost for repairing the old VT dropped by 2/3. (and our local unit's parts costs dropped similarly). Plus, the Navy's ongoing maintenance costs for (the new) video terminals dropped, too. Win – win.

    But it should not have been that difficult to make the right thing happen. Apparently, that sort of attitude is still prevalent.


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