Slow Day…

I’m just moving like pondwater today. I saw the news about the pending defense cuts. The Army’s gonna take it in the shorts, of course, losing roughly 80,000 troops. Call it about 15% of end strength. But I haven’t seen any numbers yet on how many active duty brigades will get the axe, or which ones.

What’s on your mind?

Update: From a conversation with Roamy about Army installations:

“Now Ft. Bliss?

That’s misnamed.”

16 thoughts on “Slow Day…”

  1. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m a lot less concerned about the Army than the Navy. It’s a lot easier to train up a bunch of infantry around an existing cadre of troops than it is to reconstitute lost shipbuilding capability.

    1. While shipbuilding budgets are tight, most of the Navy’s wounds in that regard are self inflicted.

      LCS, LPD-17, DDG-1000? Sound familiar?

      I am now and always have been a proponent of a strong Navy. But that doesn’t mean I’m all for tossing good money after bad.

    2. The shipbuilding programs may suck, but at least they’re still employing and training the people who know how to build the ships, and keeping the equipment and fixtures in use, etc. Once there’s no need for this stuff, it doesn’t just get put in a warehouse somewhere, and the employees all go find different jobs, get old and die.

      Even piece of shit ships like we’re building now keep the skill sets alive and the equipment busy.

    3. A real danger is Electric Boat. They barely have enough work to keep the skill sets now. If it is cut back anymore then they won’t be able to stay open and the skills required to build the Nuke boats we operate now will be gone.

  2. Nothing about what they are proposing is good. It’s just designed to satisfy his base, thumb our nose at our allies, and signal that we won’t do anything if you keep your appetites manageable. Of course, no one who doesn’t like us wil read it that way.

  3. Why must the whole of the cuts to the military always be to the ground-pounders or equipment, and never to the upper levels? One word sums this up: sons-a-bitches! The powers that be will be called to task eventually and it will not be to their benefit.

    1. QM, the real salty guys bring their own tins of smoked oysters in mayonnaise, break ’em out in heavy seas to mess with the NUBs. They don’t sit around the mess decks waiting for MS3 to bring them their grub.

    2. I never liked Smoked Oysters. Sea Scallops were a different story. I never did play with the Nubs either. That was too easy and I found no sport in it at all.

      ‘sides, I thought you were writing in line with the OWS meme.

  4. LT Rusty, you have raised a mighty important issue about skill sets in all of the defense industries. When Dwight Eisenhower talked about the Military–Industrial Complex, he was not facing the same issues that we are facing today. I wonder what his comment would be on this subject if we started to apply it before D–Day, he might just have a different view. The real issue about skill sets is this, we need to be concerned about what is construed to be “acceptable”. We are at a point in time where we have no choices. For what it’s worth, this is just my 2 cents.

    1. I was talking about the Navy specifically, but it’s just as applicable to producing aircraft too, and to a lesser extent ground vehicles too. (There’s enough unemployed auto workers and available unused auto factory space to more quickly tool up to build, say, tanks than to set up a line for a jet fighter.)

      If we found a sudden need today to build another battleship, we could not do it. It would take probably 30 years of work to get to the point where we could even lay the keel. We’d have to build the tools to build the tools to build the tools that we’d need to even THINK about building the tools we’d need to construct a battleship.

    2. I think we could lay the keel of an Iowa class ship, and build it to the point we started needing to make the armor plate. We still have the basic skill set to build an Iowa class ship (it’s basically the same as building any other large ship). If you can build a Carrier you can build a BB. What we don’t have is the steel industry capable of making to armor plate steel needed to build the BB. I’d bet a dollar to a donut, that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world now.

  5. LT Rusty, as we begin to think about this subject, I would like to pull out some very important points that you make.

    If we look at this, in the 2nd paragraph, you make an interesting comment. You say this, “ It would take probably 30 years of work to get to the point where we could even lay the keel.” To start with, you use a landmark, “30 years.”, Then you talk about the laying of keel. The hard thing for most people to understand is that this, they’re starting question, “What is a keel?” Please understand, I’m being a little sarcastic, but even so you’ll see the truth. Sarcastically, I quote you about “30 years”. To most people, that is, to then, forever or older than them.

    In both comments, you bring out good points, don’t forget it.

    1. There were, as I recall, 6 countries that have built Battleships, The US, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Tsarist Russia and Japan. Russia, as I recall, did not build any Post Tsushima. Post WW2, 4 countries have built large ships, the US, Great Britain, Japan, and Taiwan (the real ROC). Italy has produced as large as a heavy Cruiser (The Vittoria Veneto was in commission while I was in). None of that number has the steel mills that could produce armor plate in the class required of BBs.

      Laying the keel is not the most difficult part of building a ship like Iowa, or Wisconsin. The guns and Armor plate are the trick. It would take awhile to make the machines needed to build a 16″ Naval Rifle again (at least 12-18 months) It would probably take as much as 3 years to get the infrastructure in place to produce the steel armor plate again. Building a large surface combatant is not as difficult as building a fast attack sub which takes some pretty high class welding and special handling of the steel to make the sections, then weld them together.

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