the War Gods of the Copybook Headings are not happy with us
Though this article is about the Army, and spot on, I very much fear that our Navy is just as bad--if not worse--in its own way.
"Follow him who seeks the truth. Beware of him who has found it."
Not sure who said it. Might have been Eric Hoffer.
Donald Rumsfeld and Harold Brown got away with sacrificing current readiness to develop future capability in the 1970s (the Strategy of Technology), but it was a gamble. And they knew it. If the Soviets had made a move in 1978, NATO would have been toast.
The DOD leadership for the last 20 years has been making similar gambles, but don't seem to realize it. Nor to understand that in the mid-'70s, there was a whole raft of weapons in the offing that exploited the then-new microprocessor technology. What equivalent breakthrough are they proposing to exploit today?
This has become rather like the calls for another BRAC round...people not understanding the costs, the risks, or the actual savings. Just spouting slogans because it fits a politically dictated top-line budget.
Maybe the Roman Republic had it right when they required that their leaders spend time in field command.
Oh, how glibly the Army procurement man dismissed the vast array of risk factors of cutting spending on 155mm. Hey, it's just another spreadsheet exercise of course. We have enough? (no, we never have enough). We can keep the industrial base warm? (ah yes, those facilities constructed in early 1900s, with machinery dating from WWII and Korea, staffed by aging Baby Boomers who are pensioning off in droves). Yeah, right.
Characteristic to the US pol-mil machine, lack of ammunition is a strategic failure at the highest levels... by politicians and even generals/admirals who don't understand war very well, let alone the "way of war" of US opponents, now or in the future. Because again & again, war after war (US or non-US), we are always "shocked, shocked!" that ammo consumption rates are through the roof. Israel 1973, Falklands 1982, Iran-Iraq 1980s, Desert Storm 1991, Serbia 1999, Afghan 2002-02 etc., Iraq 2003 - 2011... Everybody, everywhere ALWAYS used more than planned. And now comes Ukraine, a Niagara of ammo consumption. And still, once again, the Suits are Shocked!
And do you really think it's any better for just about everything else? Have you tracked procurement and the industrial base for, say, Mk-48? SM-variants? Tomahawk? Even basic aircraft defensive kit like chaff & flares?
‘ But Jack Daniels made me cut the budget! ‘
Well that makes a ton of sense. JD has made me do some stupid stuff over the years too
People who "mean well" are given too much consideration. Generally they are idiots, but that's not nice to say in polite conversation.
Not trying to denigrate the overall accuracy of the post as applied to munitions in general, but speaking as an ex-combat arms type, how useful would a huge stockpile of dumb 155mm shells do if sitting in Iowa?
- can we get, say 800,000 (the number we sent Ukraine in 6 months) to the West side of the Pacific in time to do any good anywhere?
- where, other than Korea, would/could they be used?
- Taiwan? would they get there? When you got them there, how would you land them?
I can make the case for most all of the air delivered munitions, most Navy ones, but only the GPS Army missiles or ADA
We didn't know the Ukrainians would fight in 2021, nor that the Russians would be so incompetent; hence, why send them arty when it becomes the enemy's possession.
All ordnance must be shot or demil'd. The latter is expensive.
Regarding China and Russia, both on the Asian landmass, we have no war plan that involves invading either nation or immediate indigenous use of 155 rounds; see references attributed to either Bernard or Dwight circa WW II.
We have CVNs and DDG behind in schedules, Comanches not built, future combat systems that never reach IOC, yet no defense industry is working double shifts...we have a history of doing when needing done.
We are pushing a defense budget into the $900B/year range...now let's talk about where we are lacking. Oh, and the comment about generals and admirals not understanding warfighting needs...well, we didn't win the last few but it was never because we didn't have the resources.
If Ukraine had all the arrows in our quiver they wouldn't need as much 155. That said, we need more anyway. Ukraine won't be the only proxy war.
"they didn’t, mostly, get to where they were by being wrong"
Right or wrong is irrelevant. Team players who go along get along.
"Good leaders with sound ideas and well developed plans will welcome hard questions and informed challenges.
Bad leaders with weak ideas and compromised plans will be defensive, flinty, and more often than not will resort to appeals to authority or credentialism. Those are your warning signs."
Somewhat off-topic, but these statements are always true. I try to apply them in all matters of public policy, even, dare I say, experimental therapeutics. When one is not allowed to question, perhaps even actively censored by the government/technocrat complex for asking a question or publishing data, concerns may be appropriate.
Applause. Now do Army EW
As long as "with Fire and Terror return" on someone else's watch, it's okay- most leadership.
155mm projectiles, loaded or not, are not very useful if you lack fuzes for the projectiles or primers for the bag charges.
Both of which use small amounts of old fashioned blackpowder. The ONLY remaining U.S producer of black powder quit after a plant explosion a couple of years ago, but sold the facility to Estes, the model rocket folks. Estes is rebuilding the plant, and expect to be back in limited production soon. Environmental and safety issues are huge impediments to rebuilding and operation in the future. It is well known that making black powder is NOT a risk free business, and with so many underemployed lawyers it gets even more expensive.
Another non-sexy but essential bit of military supply chain which we have largely ignored.
Meanwhile, just hope no one on our side gets hurt in a war. A lot of our medicine and medical supplies come from CHINA. I predict supply chain interruptions!
Asking questions that no one wants to hear ensures you will not promote in any job. (Unless you're a staff wienie of an unusual boss. Last I checked we ain't got no Nimitz or Halsey types, but plenty of Redman brothers.
60,000 tons worth?
a 155mm shell is about 95 pounds. the powder bag in its can another 25