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For most of my career, I flew the CH 46 Sea Knight, a Vietnam era helicopter that went through so many overhauls during its 50 years of service that little remains of the original equipment. But it was cheap under $5 million a copy Lv Shoulder Bag
focus on real threats to U
For our military, the bitter truth is that in 13 years of war we have worn out equipment, planes and ships and we are going to have to buy new ones and fix the old ones. Over the same period, we have increased the pay and benefits of the one half of 1 percent of our fellow citizens who are willing to volunteer to serve. With sequester and other actions by Congress and the administration to cut spending, the choice seems to be between cutting personnel along with military pay and benefits or cutting equipment purchases. And both people and equipment are a lot more expensive now than they were a decade ago.
Defending America is hard work. And it is going to take some thoughtful, bipartisan consideration (and Lv Damier
Reducing pay and benefits below current levels may be hard since the pool of eligible enlistees continues to shrink. A sad fact is three out of four 17 to 24 year olds are unfit for military service because of such disqualifiers as obesity, lack of education and police records. Providing pay and benefits commensurate with service and risk will be required to attract the top quality personnel needed for today's advanced weapons technology and heightened military challenges.
America seems mired in a perpetual morass where the words of war are used to describe competitors in political campaigns. The "take no prisoners" mindset pervades the rhetoric and reduces many campaigns to mudslinging forays that routinely attempt to paint opponents as unpatriotic and posing internal threats to our national security. House of Representatives takes up the federal defense budget this week, I would argue that we Tennesseans should forgo the name calling and instead be concerned with the real threats facing America.
The world is not a safer place. In spite of assurances otherwise and after a decade at war, America continues to face the full spectrum of threats ranging from independent actors enabled by advanced technology, to rogue states acquiring nuclear weapons, to functioning nation states aspiring to regional and global hegemony. We have only to look at today's news to see this embodied in the chaos in Iraq, the faceoff with Russia and the increasing friction with China. And our first line of defense remains the world's premier military: our men and women in uniform.
People cost more, as well. Military pay has risen at an average of 3.2 percent per year every year since 2000, and expenditures for health care have more than doubled in the same time frame. Today, spending to pay service personnel, support families, and provide health care and retirement pensions constitutes 25 percent of the base defense budget.
on his family farm.
that hateful term "compromise") to get the right balance of "soft" and "hard" power to keep America safe. It is time stop the rhetoric and instead focus on meeting the real threats to our nation.
But in the vain hope of returning to "normalcy," Congress and the Obama administration are getting into fistfights over such seemingly simple issues as whether or not we should retire the Air Force's 40 year old A 10s. It should not be about old airplanes but about Congress and the administration crafting a coherent national security strategy that brings to bear all the elements of our nation's power (military, diplomatic, economic, cultural, educational, etc.), then providing the resources to carry out the strategy, and supporting those charged with carrying it out. We should realize that we are in a generation long war and prepare accordingly.
at the time and durable. It is now nearing full replacement by the MV 22 Osprey, which costs several times that. The MV 22 is more survivable, goes faster, farther, higher and has more gadgets than the old CH 46; and our Marines definitely deserve it; but it Handbag Lv Original still costs more.
Lt. Gen. John Castellaw USMC (retired) is president of the Crockett Policy Institute, serves on several boards and advises defense related corporations. He lives and works in Crockett County Keepall Lv Bag
Vietnam era CH 46E Sea Knight helicopters underwent many overhauls during decades of service, but the military is near fully replacing them with the more expensive MV 22 Osprey.(Photo: file / associated press)
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