Undertoad Sunday Feb 10 05:08 PM
2/10: Defense spending over time
blase Sunday Feb 10 11:15 PM
I wish this graph continued back to cover WW2, from what it does show it looks like 1945 defense spending was equivalent to a trillion dollars. Incredible!
juju2112 Monday Feb 11 12:02 AM
I was looking at the 1945 spending, too. It says it's in 1996 dollars, but somehow it just doesn't seem right unless they're adjusting it for inflation.
MaggieL Monday Feb 11 12:39 AM
Stating it in 1996 dollar *is* adjusting it for inflation. Bear in mind there was not much doubt anywhere that WWII was a battle for *survival* against the Axis Powers. Anything since then has been a brushfire by comparison. That's why the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan (the Soviet one) fell under the rubric of "The Cold War".--with The Soviet Blok and NATO staring each other down across Western Europe with enough nukes on standby to destroy the planet many times over, it kinda made folks too nervous to actually have flat-out no-holds-barred war like that again.
Hubris Boy Monday Feb 11 02:38 AM
CharlieG Monday Feb 11 08:26 AM
Part of the reason....
Part of the reason for cycles in the defense budget is a factor that few think about, and is actually hard to break.
tw Monday Feb 11 07:10 PM
Re: Part of the reason....
A more valid speculation would be that the military spent big bucks on irrelevant nonsense such as air craft carriers, B-1 and B-2 bombers, and Apache helicopeters. Then spent the next decade (or over a gneration in the case of the B-1 bomber and Apache helicopter) to make them work. Other things such as planes for the aircraft carriers, troop support aircraft, radios so that navy ships could talk to army troops and get air tasking orders, etc all were forgotten. Yes we have the Apache helicopter delivered to the army well over a decade ago and it still cannot fly in Kosovo. We have aircraft carriers full of planes that cannot get out to the battleground without multiple mid-air refuelings - tankers must be in country for carrier planes to function.
However the military is not all that bad. That above reasoning still does not justify all the big run up in defense spending. To appreciate the problem, well, did you read Collin Powell's warning as reported by the AP in that NY Times article? If not, then why not. It explains the military buildup. I suspect you don't appreciate the Ronald Reagan attitude - the extremist right wing - 'make war with anyone who disagrees with America' atttitude in this adminstration lead by a low intelligence president.
We don't have enemies everywhere. Most enemies are of our own creation. Pax America will only create more enemies. Pax American is a fundamental concept of intolerant, right wing, extremist Republicans. That is why we have this outrageous military buildup.
We now have dangerous politician in government. What good is an aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine or a missile defense system against terrorism. Nothing. No help. Not valid. Rediculous. But terrorism is a good excuse to arm the US to the teeth - since extremists are so paranoid.
Names? I should not have to mention anyone as example. This one is so obvious. Anyone with any political / military knowledge knows this name right out - top of the list. We are going to war with an evil empire - as demonstrated by a budget. It is why we are suddenly building 9 major military bases around the Middle East. We want to be the world's policeman. We want to act unilaterally. Our low intelligent president who also hid from VietNam service is also being manipulated into building unnecessary weapons so that we can do another VietNam in the Middle East. The name - why don't you know this man after so much above description. I even reported his name when he tried to get us to attack China - Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense.
We don't need these exotic weapons such as anti-ballistic missiles. We need leaders who will not make Middle East extremists popular. Our current leaders will make Middle East war necessary because he advocates the destruction of Palestinian victims AND we openly support a dichead who almost got the US and USSR into a nuclear war (BTW did I also mention he also had 5,000 women and children massacred).
Learn history now before it is too late. We are setting ourselves up to be the world's policeman. We are encouraging extremists in the Middle East. We are getting ready to attack Iraq unilaterally. We are setting ourselves up to invade parts of the Middle East that we don't like. That is why we are rearming for more than just defense.
'Things wear out' is simply to be a stooge of people with a dangerous agenda. Be aware that we are intending to attack other nations unitaterally - in vilolation of EVERYTHING American stands for.
CharlieG Monday Feb 11 07:59 PM
Re: Re: Part of the reason....
tw Monday Feb 11 11:03 PM
Re: Re: Re: Part of the reason....
An unknown (maybe 6) helicopter carriers that the Navy did not want. Doubling the size of the Apache helicopter fleet even though the first order would not work. Complete retooling of the F-14 fleet so that it could support standard weapons systems (that's correct - the F-14 was only used for recon because it could not deliver the necessary ground attack weaspons). A complete retooling of the fleet so that it could recieved messages beyond the length of this post (yes, read the facts. In the Gulf war, Navy communications were so archaeic that orders had to be flown out to the ships). Complete replacement of the A-6 fleet with less capable F-18 A /B aircraft. New F-18C/D aircraft. Are we now up to the G version of F-15s? The existing F-16 fleet was completed in the 1990s. Patriot missile systems have been completely replaced. Since 1990s, every cruise missile has been replaced by a newer version that used satellite navigation rather than geographical mapping. A whole new fleet of (estimated) 6 spy satellites. The Milstar system was made operational during the 1990s. Half the fleet of mid-air refueling tankers. The entire fleet of C-17s - desperately needed aircraft so screwed up in production by MacDonnel Douglas. J-Stars, the incomplete prototypefirst appeared in the Gulf War in 1991. A new production of C-130s that the Air Force did not want. Refurbishing of the last of the conventional powered aircraft carriers was completed in the late 1990s complete with new steam catapult systems (a fully integrated part of the ship and quite top secret).
I know very little of what the military has produced. And yet the list is still so long. However another would have us feel that the military has produced nothing in the past decade? Just the many rediculous and unnecessary aircraft carriers and Seawolf subs makes his comment embarrassingly naive.
Then there are the sneaky programs. One would have us believe that these military programs have done nothing. Silly when their budget alone is larger than any other military in the world. I did not even list a single item from the sneaky budget. Is the military doing nothing? Their budget is larger than combined budgets of the next five largest world militaries!!! How naive to say that the military has produced nothing in the last decade. Even an MBA can contradict that fact. Provide even the numbers - and thou shalt see the truth.
MaggieL Tuesday Feb 12 12:25 AM
dasviper Tuesday Feb 12 01:51 AM
...how nice it is to follow an informed, rational, grown-up discussion, rather than that nasty business over in the Niger/Nigger thread!
jaguar Tuesday Feb 12 02:54 AM
try a few of the threads in politics =)
jaguar Tuesday Feb 12 02:57 AM
I'd imagine even things like routing upgrade of computer systems every year or so would add up to billians, but unless there is some far larger "black" projects than the ones that are known, such as delta force, the money must be going somewhere.
CharlieG Tuesday Feb 12 08:52 AM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Part of the reason....
Yes, the F-14 got upgraded - in 1990! (Bombcat upgrade), and now they are aging out of the fleet, to be replaced with the F18, which has no legs (supposed to be fixed with the F18e/f this year, but we'll see). Most of the f-18 airframes were produced Pre 1987. Remember, with aircraft (particularly NAVY aircraft) the electronics really don't count - it's airframe hours and landings. - the A-6 going away was a crime, but with the budget cuts, something had to go, and the fighter maffia wasn't going to cut anything, so we gave up the Navy's only long range all weather ground attack birds
The F-15C is the latest US version of the F-15 FIGHTER - the Bomb Eagle (Beagle) the F-15E is the latest we've got, and their perfomance is degraded as a fighter - the F and G are degraded export models.
Have you LOOKED at the AGE of those Spruance class ships that were sold off?
The LA class subs were built 3/year, and the last was commissioned in 96 (No starts since 1991) - the Seawolf was really built to keep the shipyard open.
I WILL agree that the B-2, the V-22 and a few other things are a waste of money
The other thing you have to realize is that something like 45% of the budget goes to pensions and benefits, and right now, the pay for the LOWER grades just does NOT cut it (That big raise went disproportionately to high ranking officers - figures, right?)
Undertoad Tuesday Feb 12 09:17 AM
How much is felt to be wasted in maintaining all those unneeded boondoggle bases all over the country?
tw Wednesday Feb 13 04:54 AM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Part of the reason....
23.5 years is quite young for those ships. Especially when most of those ships have been completely rebuilt numerous times to really be less than 10 years old. Especially when those ships have been so ineffective. Previously posted was a damning summary entitled "In the Navy... You can spend a pretty dime". Maybe others would like to mention how pathetic carrier tasks forces have been?
As for F-14s, they were mostly useless in the Gulf War (1991). The A-6s were even worse - taken off almost all targets. F-18s required too many tanker refueling making them useless. So the Navy conceded - finally sent carriers into the Gulf, so at least some planes could do something. After 1991, F-14s could not deliver ground support weapons. After 1991, all F-14 were refurbished so that they perform ground support - which is the primary function of all military aircraft. This program was still going on in 2000 as I have personally witnessed.
The A-6s were so pathetically worn out that all had severe wing cracks even during the Gulf War. But instead, Admirals built more useless carriers and nuclear subs. Again misallocation of funds. All F-18 C/D, the only true ground attack planes, were built entirely in the 1990s after production of F18 A/B were finished about mid 1990s. But again, we have many more, expensive weapons systems all in the 1990s when the military is spending massively for an enemy that does not exist - except in someone's minds.
Then there is the F-15E, a plane with performance equivalent to the F-16 at three times the cost. But who else has anything nearly approaching either plane - or in quantities? Why do we need so many more fighter bombers? We are getting them anyway only because our planes must 2+ times obsolete an enemy's? At what point do we then have enough? We have no shortage of fighter planes especially if a more responsible political agenda was used. Instead the current administration needs fighters for their political agenda - unilateral, unprovoked attacks on other nations.
We need better when even the F-15 and F-16 are unchallenged by anyone in the next 10+ years? Where are all these terrrorists that will shoot down F-15s in the next 25 years? And again, where did most of the current planes come from? 1990 spending when the DoD was building "almost nothing."
More military is not to solve a terrorist problem. More military is so that war hawks can unilaterally attack other nations without any allied support. Why? Even our allies cannot be trusted? Who did we elect? Ohh... we didn't elect them - sorry.
Remember those Gulf War units such as the 24th Mech? Where is it? Gone? Nope. Many of those units have been completely retooled and given whole new unit numbers. In the 1990s, while spending "almost nothing", we have created a whole new fast response task force known as XVIII Airborne Corps. Much of this include fast response ships and C-17 aircraft - all built since 1990 while we were spending "almost nothing".
The V-22 Osprey - desperately needed. Like the C-17, B-1, B-2, F-15, and all carrier naval aircraft, was screwed up in design. V-22 was a major management failure both in Philly Boeing and the Marines.
Remember the 24th Mech from the Gulf War? Where is it? Gone? Of course not. Completely reequiped and renamed, I believe, 3rd Infantry Mech. All this while we spend "almost nothing".
Again we are back to the same point. Even during that low spending of the 90s, we have way too much military. How do you know? Every other country, except maybe Japan, has severely cut back on military spending because the US has too much. No other allied nation need bother to spend on military since we do it for them for free. Keep military spending in perspective. We spend more than the next HOW MANY nations combined? We have way too much military which is why allied nations don't bother. An now we have the sharpest military budget increase since what war? Why? Where is the enemy?
Where? In Washington. In the minds of those same planners who did not provide Schwartzkopf with necessary support at the end of the Gulf War. In the minds of Dick Cheney who was going to abandon Kuwait to Saddam. Yes, you read that correctly. He said we could not do anything (paranoid?). Then the legendary Margaret Thatcher put a backbone into George Sr while both were in Denver. We have too much military and now have inferior leadership in Washington.
We don't have a shortage of military. We have a presidential staff that sees enemies everywhere. We call them insecure extremists. No wonder they are the friendliest administration that Israel has ever had. They think like the 'mass murder' Sharon?
We don't have a military problem. We have a leadership problem, whose solutions are classic MBA solutions - spend more money like a grenade. Then we have a public that has no idea how much was spent in the 1990s. We spent in the 1990s more than HOW MANY countries combined? And yet would would call that "almost nothing"! Go figure... the numbers.
Sorry, but "almost nothing" can only come from one totally out of touch with reality. Is that also why the Supreme Court voted for George Jr?
CharlieG Wednesday Feb 13 08:19 AM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Part of the reason....
It's obvious you and I are never going to agree on what the proper level of defense spending is
(BTW, you say the F-15E has the same performance as the F-16 - Have you looked at the payload and RANGE figures? You sure did on the F-18 (Lot's of tanker support) - That's why the F-15E works better thean the F-16)
jaguar Wednesday Feb 13 03:22 PM
I jsut had a look though defence spending myself, two things stuck me as kinda useless
MaggieL Wednesday Feb 13 04:42 PM
The pilotless jets are best for dogfighting...against an enemy with no air force they're not as useful. But the current fighter jocks are really going to drag their feet around this technology
jaguar Wednesday Feb 13 06:41 PM
Well i pulled the weight stats from time magazine yesterday - a reasonably trustworth source, mabye they are out of date but i doubt it.
MaggieL Thursday Feb 14 12:28 AM
I think we're talking about two different programs here. One is for low-speed loitering craft, medium-altitude for the Predator and higher for the Global Hawk (which is still very experimental). The Hawks are still unarmed and recon only, but the CIA has Hellfire antiarmor missles on their Pedators. That's what's flying in Afghanistan ( and probably a few other places that haven't been announced yet). Predator i sbasically based on ultralight tecnology; Global Hawk is a bit more like a tiny business jet. Still not built for speed, though; there's no point to it.
Another quite separate program is to develop supersonic, remotely piloted fighter aircraft. The advantage that remoting these (other than nobody being on board when they're blown up) is that a human pilot is the limiting factor on how much acceleration (basically meaning how tight a turn) the airplane can take. F-16 flight control systems are designed to limit the max acceleration to nine gravities, mostly to protect the airframe. But the pilot can't stand 9Gs for very long, and even though she's got a G-suit squeezing blood from her lower body up to her brain, eventually the intracranial blood pressure will drop low enough that she'll faint, a phenomenon called GLOC.
An unpiloted fighter doesn't have this problem, and thus can be built to maneuver at much higher accelerations...making it more agile, a tremendous advatage in air-to-air combat. Air Combat Mauevering ("dogfighting") has become a game of turn rates, both to dodge missiles (which have limits to their own turning rates) and to evade other aircraft.
This is definately post-Raptor technology, and as I said, many fighter jocks will not take kindly to it. But it won't be ready in time to take Raptor's place, so Raptor will probably still be needed.
tw Thursday Feb 14 12:35 AM
Also making the tanker problem acute is that previously noted conversion of so many units into joint strike, fast response, combat commands. The tanker shortage is so accute that squadrons have been kept separate from those various combat groups - so that the few tankers can be quickly reassigned to activated combat groups.
BTW, Europe is upset with how Bush has decided to unilaterlally solve this tanker problem. Many Boeing 767s, now without customers, are being converted to air tankers - in a contract that had no bidding. In direct violation of agreements we have with other Nato countries. Airbus could have obtained this contract but was denied. Bush has decided to solve Boeing's problem and DoD tanker problems in one stroke - free market competition and international agreements be damned.
Another aircraft short in supply are Awacs especially since we tried to solve drug addiction with Awacs planes - but that is another topic about misallocations of funds.
MaggieL Thursday Feb 14 12:23 PM
I just meant there are many KC-10s relative to how many C-5's there are. Crusaders *can be* (once some are built) deployed by air; jag's quote made it seem like you had to deploy them by driving them down the autobahn.
Maybe we should un-mothball the KC-135s, if they're not all beer cans already. I logged an hour pilot time (including one landing) in a KC-135 simulator on a SAC base once.
CharlieG Thursday Feb 14 01:33 PM
More KC-135s flying around than you might think (well, at least a couple of years ago when I last checked)
MaggieL Thursday Feb 14 01:50 PM