28 January 2009

SECDEF Gates Says Military-Industrial Complex is Fucked

The Secretary of Defense is testifying to the House Armed Services Committee where he noted that things have not been going well in Afghanistan (thank you Mr. Obvious). Wired has pulled an interesting quote from his testimony regarding the DoD bureaucracy and how it has handled modern warfare:

Efforts to put the bureaucracy on a war footing have, in my view, revealed underlying flaws in the institutional priorities, cultural preferences, and reward structures of America’s defense establishment – a set of institutions largely arranged to plan for future wars, to prepare for a short war, but not to wage a protracted war. The challenge we face is how well we can institutionalize the irregular capabilities gained and means to support troops in theater that have been, for the most part, developed ad hoc and funded outside the base budget.
Can anyone not say that acquisitions/procurement have been an absolute disgrace during the last 8 years? Last week, Lt. Col. Yingling took note of the type of officer culture of trying to get costly, but ineffective, weapons systems into production to support big defense contractors from bellwether states. The legacy of the last 8 years is hillbilly armor on humvees, an FBI raid on Murtha's buddies that he gave money to, and billions of dollars down the drain. Maybe the whole Cold War-era concept that the Defense Department should only exist to "create jobs" should be scrapped in light of COIN conflicts that have been going for over 7 years, but the GS-13s working for Uncle Sucker in DC have failed to notice.

Blackfive has more on the conventional vs. irregular warfare debate, and they suggest that we should be prepared for both. I agree! But that's not what Gates is griping about. He's talking about the faceless bureaucracy that is completely opposed to do anything differently based on strategic threats and continues to advocate this obsolete view of the world. We're paying for this government, might as well try to get them to do a good job.


olgreydog7 said...

IMO it's because we send all our brass to get PhD's. War should be waged based on what the guy on the ground sees/thinks. Not with mindless data streams that some pencil head can analyze. All you have to do is look up the Battle of Minorca where Byng was trounced by the French while trying to adhere to the strict Fighting Instructions. He was later courts-martialed and shot for his loss. Strict rules in warfare did not have a place then, and they certainly don't now. At least Byng's enemy faced off to him and he knew who/what they were. I also tend to think that the procedure for procurement has some how created more black holes, when it was supposed to get rid of them. Not all of this is to blame on a Cold War mentality. Remember, alot of this has to do with Post Cold war though that there will not be a large, multi-nation conflict to prepare for, therefore, we can save money by cutting supplies.