Do we have to have a Gold Plated Military?

✯✯✯✯ Several years ago I was one of a few Colonels and Generals involved in restructuring the Air Force and Air National Guard. The result was a very effective new Wing where all the forces worked for the same commander.  In Vietnam the tankers, fighters, bombers, transports and AWACS all worked for different commanders.  Desert Storm was fought with three of these Provisional Wings with great success.  Before I retired I Commanded the Cope Thunder Provisional Wing which is now called Red Flag Alaska.  We have made great strides in the military but there is still monumental waste.

An example of what I believe is a total waste of money is Whiteman AFB and its $2 billion dollar B-2 bombers. The Pentagon claims they cost $1 billion each. Even at that price, each would cost as much as five of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliners.

The Admirals and Generals want the biggest and most expensive. You may remember that while we have very expensive bombers and submarines, our leaders sent our troops into combat without body armor. There is nothing glamorous about body armor except to the solder wearing it.

America is now at a point where we cannot or will not defend our own borders and coastline. Perhaps we should rethink our priorities during these tough times and look at places like Whiteman AFB and other fluff. Did you know that there are five government academies? It costs less to send someone through Harvard Medical School than to a government academy.

Don’t expect the military brass to make cuts that make sense.  Simply find out what the warfighters need and give it to them.  Make sure we don’t pay too much.  What is proving to be a very effective weapon is the Predator Drone.  But even so, we are looking at about $5 million each for a little aircraft powered by a 115 hp Rotax engine like the ones that power tiny light private aircraft that can be manufactured and equipped for well under $100,000.

We need a strong defense but it does not have to be gold plated.  Just because a congressman votes to cut defense spending does not mean he or she is anti-defense, it may mean they are cost conscience.

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