The Myth Of The M-IC

I have written many times on the power that the Military-Industrial Complex (M-IC) holds over our nation….and I have even gone so far as to agree (some what) with accusation from Trump that the generals are in the pocket of the M-IC…..

Here are my thoughts on the M-IC…….https://lobotero.com/2019/01/28/what-is-the-military-industrial-complex/

And there is more……https://lobotero.com/2019/03/20/the-military-industrial-complex/

Then there is the shock that I agreed with Trump on anything…….https://lobotero.com/2020/09/09/in-defense-sort-of/

To be fair not everyone agrees with me about the M-IC top heavy with generals and they they are influenced by the corporations.

The rebuttal comes from the American Enterprise Institute, a group that gets donations from the M-IC and in this case is being used as a PR weapon to counter the opinions voice by me and the president…..

It is hard to think of any U.S. president that Donald Trump resembles less than Dwight D. Eisenhower. Yet Trump managed to evoke the comparison this week, when he charged that senior American military officials are more interested in serving the interests of arms manufacturers than in serving the interests of the U.S. The military, he said, advocates war “so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

For some observers, the allegation brought to mind Eisenhower’s farewell address in January 1961, in which he cautioned that a mighty “military-industrial complex” could “endanger our liberties” and strangle the American economy. Since then, Eisenhower’s speech has been cited by critics who warn that an expansive foreign policy will ruin the nation’s prosperity and freedom alike.

Yet just as Trump was wrong in arguing that Pentagon officials are motivated by greed rather than patriotism, Eisenhower — a far wiser leader — was more wrong than right about the military industrial-complex.

Trump, Ike and the myth of the military-industrial complex

I wonder how much that rousing defense of the M-IC will cost the industry?

Just a point here….where do you think that retired generals go to work after their retirement?….I mean after they write their book….that is.

Go to the corporations website and look at their officers…..they are heavy with generals…..how do you think certain weapon systems make it through the process even when they are proven to be waste of money (think F-35)?

Not all generals are in the pocket of defense contractors but the ones thinking of retirement are thinking of a way to make cash out of their service.

Once again….I will agree with Trump on this (on principle that is)…..

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Closing Thought–23Sep20

We all know about the so-called stim plans that the government has put forward to help the nation survive the pandemic.

Of course the Wall Streeters made out the best from the different plans….now news has come out that the Pentagon got stim cash to help fight the virus in the military….instead they do what they do best…pissed it away.

Back in March, Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to combat coronavirus and build up the country’s medical supplies. But instead, the Pentagon diverted most of the money to defense contractors to make things like jet engine parts, body armor, uniforms, and other military equipment.

The money was part of the Cares Act, a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It was allocated to the Pentagon under the Defense Production Act, which allows the president to direct companies to manufacture certain products.

The funds were given to the Pentagon to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” The Washington Post reported that shortly after the stimulus was passed, the Pentagon began funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to defense contractors.

Some of the awards the Pentagon handed out were disclosed by the Post. $183 million went to companies including Rolls Royce and ArcelorMittal to maintain shipbuilding. $80 million went to a Kansas aircraft parts business, tens of millions went towards satellite, drone, and space surveillance technology, and $2 million went to a domestic manufacturer of US Army uniforms.

Some companies that accepted this hand out from the Pentagon also received money from another bailout fund, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Post found that at least 10 of the 30 companies that received money from the Pentagon also received PPP money.

Portions of the money were dolled out to smaller firms, including a group of companies that work on drone technology. But larger firms also received bailout money, like GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric, that received $75 million in June.

(antiwar.com)

More reading…..https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/09/22/2-million-funds-earmarked-covid-19-went-buy-army-greens-uniforms.html

The Pentagon should have the money returned from their budget……and then the generals making the decisions should be jailed for misappropriation of funds.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Could The US Lose The Next Big War?

Yes I know that I am an antiwar blogger and am always going on about this fact or that about our many armed conflicts.

I have spent many years studying and analyzing war and the conflicts that the US has gotten itself into over the decades.

The question I asked is not my way of belittling the military as some unthinking morons will believe….I am just passing on a thought by a well respected US general, Gen. Dunford……

The United States could well lose the next big war — not because it lacks the right capabilities but because it has not done the hard intellectual work to know how to win. This is a central conclusion of the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission in its November 2018 report. It goes on to argue that defense planners understand neither the fundamental characteristics of regional conventional wars against adversaries capable of all-domain, transregional escalation nor how to shape the dynamics of such wars to safeguard U.S. interests.

As commissions come and go frequently inside the Washington beltway, their impact on public policy is typically short-lived. But this report struck a nerve — and rightly so. At a time when the risks of such regional wars are rising, the United States has lagged behind in the development of the needed new strategic thought, which has magnified risk. It is time for the U.S. defense community to put its intellectual house in order about modern major-power war and especially its strategic dimensions.

Lest anyone think that the criticism emanates from a single cranky commission, consider the judgment of Gen. Joseph Dunford, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2016 declared that “we’re already behind in adapting to the changing character of war today, in so many ways.” Or consider the views of the director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Peter Roberts, who wrote in 2017:

“Potential adversaries … have reconceptualized warfare and reimagined conflict without the boundaries the West imposes upon it. … A belief in Western conceptual or intellectual superiority remains deeply entrenched in the Western orthodoxy; such hubris has distinct dangers.”

On the Need for a Blue Theory of Victory

Too many generals and planners are still fighting World War 2….those days are gone and until we realize that the chances of a defeat is highly likely.

Just to fan the flames……

By 2030 there will be several armies strong enough…..other than the US…..

The focus of ground combat operations has shifted dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Relatively few operations now involve the defeat of a technologically and doctrinally similar force, leading to the conquest or liberation of territory. Preparation for these operations remains important, but ground combat branches also have a host of other priorities, some (including counter-insurgency and policing) harkening back to the origins of the modern military organization.

 

What will the balance of ground combat power look like in 2030, presumably after the Wars on Terror and the Wars of Russian Reconsolidation (more to come on this idea below) shake out?

Predictions are hard, especially about the future, but a few relatively simple questions can help illuminate our analysis. In particular, three questions motivate this study:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/starting-2030-these-5-armies-will-be-unstoppable-167703

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Closing Thought–21Sep20

Those hated immigrants!

DoD cost cutting program…..

I am always going on and on about the money that is wasted by the Pentagon in the name of national security….but I never considered this as a way to do so…..

A Democratic lawmaker wants the Pentagon to buy American when it comes to its Military Working Dog program.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut included an amendment in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the U.S. Air Force, which oversees the Pentagon’s program, to conduct a business case study on what it would take to purchase dogs from U.S. breeders instead of European sources.

“I was surprised to learn from the Air Force that the vast majority of our working dogs are actually born and bred in Europe, which raises costs and puts us in competition with other countries,” Blumenthal said in a statement to Military.com on Wednesday. Bloomberg News was first to report the story.

“I wanted to do what I could to help establish a strong program to breed working dogs here at home, where we already have an expert training program. Our provision in this year’s NDAA takes the first step toward that goal by assessing what resources are necessary for the Department of Defense to meet increasing demands for military working dogs by supporting American breeders,” he said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/09/18/us-military-working-dogs-should-be-american-born-senator-says.html

You know I have a better idea and it will save a lot more cash than worrying about the immigrant status of our canine soldiers.

Try ending all these goddamn useless wars that we have been fighting for two decades…..this would save trillions not some piddling amount in the millions.  But as usual when it comes to the Pentagon it is chump change and not real cost cutting.

Just A Thought!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

It Is All So Much Bullsh*t!

It is election time and Trump has gone on record as promising to end our endless wars…..he likes to call himself the “ender of endless wars”.

Sorry sports fans but it is idle bullsh*t…just election rhetoric that holds on truth…..

I wrote a piece recently about all these promises…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/14/ender-of-endless-wars/

Nice rhetoric too bad it is so much bullsh*t……and now why would I make such a claim?

Trump may be moving troops around and out of Iraq and Afghanistan….but those are not the only wars we have going (in case you were unaware)……what a bout Syria?

Glad you asked!

The US is sending additional forces into Syria after a series of incidents between US and Russian troops in the country, according to three unnamed Pentagon officials speaking to NBC News. The force will consist of six Bradley Fighting Vehicles and fewer than 100 soldiers, who will be operating in northeast Syria on a 90-day deployment.

The US-led anti-ISIS coalition Operation Inherent Resolve said that the Bradley Fighting Vehicles arrived in eastern Syria on Friday.

The unnamed officials told NBC that the additional soldiers and vehicles will serve as a “show of presence” to discourage Russia from entering the eastern security zone where US forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces operate.

US troops have had multiple encounters with the Syrian government and Russia inside Syria throughout the year. Some of the more serious confrontations occurred last month.

One incident took place on August 17th at a Syrian army checkpoint and resulted in US attack helicopters firing on the position, killing at least one Syrian soldier. A few days after the checkpoint incident, US and Russian military vehicles collided, injuring at least seven US soldiers.

US commanders blame the encounters on Moscow and Damascus, but while the US maintains its presence in the country against the will of the Syrian government, confrontations are bound to happen. These additional forces will only make similar incidents more likely.

(antiwar.com)

These wars are not ending…..just a reallocation of troops to give the appearance of a cessation of hostilities.

Dear Mr. Trump…use your magic pen and end these goddamn wars!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

P.S.

Citing increased complexity in the US operation in Syria, the Pentagon has announced they will send a small contingent of mechanized infantry, and several Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles back into NE Syria.

Officials are describing this as a “force protection” mission, and are linking it to an incident last month in which a US vehicle was side-swiped by a Russian vehicle. The US forces in Syria are confined to a small area, and officially they are there as part of a mission to take Syria’s oil.

There are currently an estimated 500 US troops in Syria, and this deployment will see an estimated 100 more troops sent to the country. Though media reports are calling this a show of force, it’s not clear that an extra 100 troops are going to mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

These troops will be moving in through Kuwait. Though the US presence in Syria is fairly small, even 100 additional troops could be quite expensive, and make this war for oil even less economical for the Trump Administration.

“Ender of Endless Wars My Ass!

Ender Of Endless Wars

That is what Trump billed himself as in the 2016 election…..and yet most…scratch that…ALL are still raging and Americans are still dying.

We get lots of lip service and even a bit of shuffling troops around so that it can be said that the president is keeping his campaign promise of 4 years ago.

Let’s start with Afghanistan.

The US has brought some troops out of the country and Trump’s new ambassador has lots to say about the troops….

In a move the could have major implications for the longest running war in US history, the Trump administration is planning to nominate Will Ruger to be the next ambassador to Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Ruger, an anti-interventionist conservative, has long championed an immediate withdrawal of American troops from that country.

Ruger’s planned nomination, which a source familiar with the matter confirmed to Mother Jones, speaks to President Trump’s desire to remove troops from Afghanistan as quickly as possible. Though the United States signed a much-criticized peace deal with the Taliban in February, the administration has been hazy about when to expect a full withdrawal of troops. Trump reportedly wants troops home before Election Day, but the Pentagon has advocated for a much “slower withdrawal schedule,” the New York Times reported in May. 

Trump’s Pick for Afghanistan Ambassador Wants to Withdraw US Troops Immediately

On the surface sounds like a good deal…but is it?  Or is it just talk?

Next is our second longest war….Iraq.

There has been some talk about removing our troops from Iraq and so far it has been just that…TALK.

The U.S. will be reducing the number of troops it has stationed in Iraq by about a third, reports The Wall Street Journal, leaving behind roughly 3,500 men and women. This news comes after a long series of brags at the Republican National Convention that President Donald Trump is succeeding in ending America’s foreign wars.

“Unlike previous administrations, I have kept America out of new wars, and our troops are coming home,” said Trump in his acceptance speech last night, promising that in a second term he would “strike down terrorists who threaten our people and keep America out of endless and costly foreign wars.”

Trump, Self-Proclaimed Ender of Endless Wars, Is Reducing the U.S. Troop Presence in Iraq to Where It Was in 2015

Let us not forget our footprint in Syria.

We went for dual reasons….eliminate ISIS’ progress and to rid the country of Assad,  WE did a fair job on the first but failed miserably on the second.

Why are there still thousands of American troops in Syria? The government offers up an official counter-terrorism justification for maintaining an illegal military presence in the country, and the president will sometimes talk about “keeping the oil” there, but the real answer is that no one with any authority or influence in Washington wants to bring them home. The usual mix of inertia, cowardice, and ideology that defines so many of our foreign policy debates also creates perverse incentives for politicians in both parties to defend an illegal, unauthorized mission that has nothing to do with American security.

U.S. troops are in harm’s way in Syria, and they are occasionally engaged in hostilities with pro-regime forces. Four American soldiers were injured in a collision last Wednesday between their armored vehicle and a Russian one. That was just the latest in a string of clashes between U.S. forces and Syrian and Russian government forces that has been going on for months. Last month, a group of American troops came under fire from Syrian government forces. The Syrians claim that a U.S. helicopter had attacked a Syrian government outpost and killed one of their soldiers. There was a bigger clash in February of this year that also resulted in at least one Syrian fatality. These have all been minor incidents, but they show how potentially dangerous it is to keep these troops there.

Get Out of Syria

The noise about action to be taken by the US against Iran is still there in the printed word and the spoken as well.

And finally there is the turmoil in Lebanon, a country that the US has placed troops on two occasions, the country is sliding into a civil yet again….and the US is just waiting for the invite…..

A new flashpoint of the wider tension, however, is in Lebanon. Russia, which has an expensive alliance with Iran in Syria, has declined to take on the same level of involvement in Lebanon. Iranian allies in Beirut – namely, Hezbollah – have therefore eyed eyeing Chinese funds and expertise to restore the city and its port after this month’s devastating ammonium nitrate explosion demolished them. The speediness and lack of conditionality that comes with Chinese support would provide a shortcut for Hezbollah to pre-empt any other powers stepping in as the city’s saviour and to bring its dominance of Lebanese politics to the level of a monopoly.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/the-world-s-great-powers-will-soon-face-off-in-lebanon-1.1066963

The Middle East may be out of mind these days but I requires watching closely or we will be ass deep in the region once again.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

DARPA!

Do you know where those taxpayer bucks go?

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

This is where all those special weapons are researched….those secret weapons……some even sound like science fiction…..lab grown blood….or plant eating robots…..etc…….

For every one of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s wild successes, there seem to be a plethora of wild failures – projects like mechanical elephants or telepathy research. What makes DARPA so unique is its ability to go outside the red tape of bureaucracy to innovate. DARPA isn’t subject to the same acquisition rules as other agencies, which means it has fewer restrictions on the scientists and innovators it can hire and the salaries it can offer.

The agency also has fewer financial limitations, enabling it to invest in longshot projects with the hopes they’ll pay off – they’re basically the military’s innovative venture capitalists.

Here are some of the more interesting projects to come out of DARPA’s “high-risk, high-reward” environment.

https://www.militarytimes.com/off-duty/military-culture/2020/09/04/8-weird-darpa-projects-make-science-fiction-seem-like-real-life/

Now this brings me to the interview that Trump gave Woodward…..while the media is focusing on his pandemic comments there are others that should be just as important……like his disclosure of secret weapons systems…..

Trump discussed the weapons system while reflecting on how close the United States and North Korea came to nuclear war in 2017, according to excerpts from “Rage” published Wednesday by The Washington Post, where Woodward is an associate editor.

“I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about,” Trump told Woodward, according to the Post.

“We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before,” Trump added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. “There’s nobody — what we have is incredible.”

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/515700-trump-disclosed-secret-weapons-system-to-woodward-book

Could this “secret” weapon be the one that has already been reported?

The new warhead was first announced in the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review which, unveiled in February 2018, framed the weapons system as “a comparatively low-cost and near term modification to an existing capability that will help counter any mistaken perception of an exploitable ‘gap’ in U.S. regional deterrence capabilities.”

The W76-2 warhead — which, with an explosive yield of roughly five kilotons, has a smaller explosive yield than either of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — was subsequently deployed aboard the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee at the end of 2019, according to Defense News.

https://taskandpurpose.com/military-tech/trump-nuclear-weapons-w76-2-low-yield-nuke

So is this the “secret” weapon referred to by Trump….or are there more that he will blurt out?

DARPA is the bottomless pit of DC……money goes in and no one knows where it goes from there.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq In The Rear View Mirror

Out man in Washington has decided to bring US troops home from Iraq….that is a promise that has been wanting to be fulfilled….and now some will leave the country…..

CENTCOM officials say that the process has been considered for months, and confirmed Wednesday what the administration has said recently, that there will be a US drawdown in Iraq before the election. 2,200 troops will leave Iraq by the end of this month.

At times the Pentagon has resisted major troop cuts by the administration, but seems resigned to it this time, emphasizing that the US has made a “great sacrifice” in decades of Iraqi war, and vowing that the US would continue supporting the Iraqi government.

That is not a small point for them to emphasize, either. When the Iraqi parliament asked the US to withdraw, there was talk of the US cutting ties with Iraq entirely to punish them. That no longer seems to be contemplated


With a pro-US premier now, Iraq isn’t pushing for an immediate pullout, and the US may want to lower troop levels this month, but probably won’t be out of Iraq entirely by the election either, leaving open whether the US is on their way out of Iraq until 2021.

(antiwar.com)

A friend asked me who would fill the void created by the departure of US troops……the answer to that question is….France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared a raft of aid and support packages to assist the beleaguered Iraqi government, as reports indicate that the United States is planning further troop reductions in the embattled country.

President Macron arrived in Iraq last Wednesday as the first foreign head of state to visit the war-ravaged country since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office in May. 

Speaking from Baghdad, Macron said that Iraq had to assert its “sovereignty” despite being caught up in US-Iran tensions. “Iraq has been going through a challenging time for several years, with war and terrorism,” Macron said.

He noted that the country was still struggling to revive its economy, improve its education system and bring “military elements and militias” under state control. 

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/9/9/the-iraq-report-france-asserts-itself-as-us-withdraws

France has been asserted itself into the region again…..Macron is trying to fill the hole that US is creating by its departure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Closing Thought–10Sep20

There is a ton of speculation with the rise in our abilities with AI. Recently I posted on the war game where the AI beat our best pilots in a scenario……https://lobotero.com/2020/08/29/remember-top-gun/

Since AI is getting better and better when we have robot generals will they make better decisions than humans?

With Covid-19 incapacitating startling numbers of U.S. service members and modern weapons proving increasingly lethal, the American military is relyingever more frequently on intelligent robots to conduct hazardous combat operations. Such devices, known in the military as “autonomous weapons systems,” include robotic sentries, battlefield-surveillance drones, and autonomous submarines. So far, in other words, robotic devices are merely replacing standard weaponry on conventional battlefields. Now, however, in a giant leap of faith, the Pentagon is seeking to take this process to an entirely new level — by replacing not just ordinary soldiers and their weapons, but potentially admirals and generals with robotic systems.

 

Admittedly, those systems are still in the development stage, but the Pentagon is now rushing their future deployment as a matter of national urgency. Every component of a modern general staff — including battle planning, intelligence-gathering, logistics, communications, and decision-making — is, according to the Pentagon’s latest plans, to be turned over to complex arrangements of sensors, computers, and software. All these will then be integrated into a “system of systems,” now dubbed the Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control, or JADC2 (since acronyms remain the essence of military life). Eventually, that amalgam of systems may indeed assume most of the functions currently performed by American generals and their senior staff officers.

Robot Generals Will They Make Better Decisions Than Humans…Or Worse?

I know most everyone has seen Terminator one through 50 and that a computer called Skynet took over and decided that we humans were not worth saving…..recall those days?

There are questions and scenarios that are not all that rosy…..

Last week’s lopsided showdown between a human F-16 pilot and an artificially intelligent one — the robot won 5-0 — was just the latest sign that we need to be thinking harder about the changes that smart machines are bringing to the battlefield. Among them: as relatively cheap robots play larger roles, the focus of warfare will shift to attacking and defending the humans that operate, maintain, and even build them.

Now and for the foreseeable future, military robots still need humans. Robots are not (yet) capable of the complex thinking required for warfare; advances in speed and computational power do not automatically bring basic common sense. A robot cannot tell the difference between a farmer with a gun and a soldier. 

So the military frequently focuses on the concept of human-machine teaming: the machine does what it does best, and the humans do the rest. 

In the short term, humans are needed to make decisions on the use of force. Autonomous systems can beat an F-16 jockey in a dogfight, but they cannot decide whether a target is worth striking. Current Department of Defense policy does not allow autonomous weapons to make decisions on the use of force without appropriate human judgement. 

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/08/robot-war-kill-humans/168038/

I realize that this is not something many Americans will spend any time thinking about….but maybe they should.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Does The Army Have a Gang Problem?

Closing Thought–09Sep20

I have written in the past about the waivers that gang members can get so they can serve in the US Army…..how has that worked out in the last decade or so?

The most recent report from the Army on street and outlaw motorcycle gang activity in the ranks shows both trending upward, while incidents of domestic extremism remain roughly constant.

An internal report, obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that gang members were tied to dozens of Army felony law enforcement reports and more than 100 criminal investigations in fiscal 2018, the latest year for which data is available. 

While these reports and investigations make up less than 1% of all Army law enforcement incidents, the new report shows that the little-discussed problem of military gang activity continues to be a headache for base commanders and other service leaders.

The Gang and Domestic Extremist Activity Threat Assessment from Army Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, is a regular report compiled at the behest of Congress. 

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/army-gang-violence-on-the-rise

Is the Army so desperate for recruits that it will take violent gang members to fill the quotas set for signing up new bodies for our wars?

This is a problem of their own making.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”