Question of the Week

December 2008


What are your national defense predictions for 2009?

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Homeland Security

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • I predict a steep drop in enlistments and re-enlistments, and a spike in retirements. None of the services will meet their quotas in the last three months of CY 2009.

  • Rubber Ducky

    Perhaps maybe, just maybe, some serious people will take a serious look at the stunningly un-American character of the All-Volunteer Force. Coupled with the outsourcing of combat-zone functions to private firms, we have a military instrument in the hands of mercenaries.

    The AVF is an imperial model more suitable of Rome than the USA. Return of the draft would bind the choice for military action to the will of the people.

    Our forefathers abhorred a standing army. We have become the nation they feared.

  • any particular reason for the steep drop in enlistments and re-enlistments?

    Rubber Ducky dont hold your breath though

  • Jay

    I am hoping, but doubtful, that we will see a shipbuilding effort put back on course.

    Given the economy, I doubt we will see a spike in retirements, or recruiting goals missed, prob just the opposite. (Economics trumps politics…if that was Alo’s reason for stating same…) It may somewhat slow the post-first tour Officers departure rate.

    It will be interesting to see how rapidly we can withdraw from Iraq, really, how we can transfer troops & support to Afghanistan. And if it will make any difference in A’stan. My fear is the woeful A’stan “economy”. At least the Iraqis have oil, and can bounce back with that to steady other efforts.

    We’ll see how the hub-bub over Piracy plays itself out, as well as the current Gaza action/reaction.

    Also, how the F-22 and other major systems fare.

  • Brine

    We will continue to see discussions of the “rising military budget” instead of the discussions of the military budget falling as a percentage of GDP. I would be shocked to see any mainstream source take up this discussion.

  • SeniorD

    I see a return of the Carter Years in which the Navy couldn’t get underway due to equipment shortages, fuel shortages, low personnel levels and an increasingly low morale amongst junior enlisted personnel.

    We’ll likely see a continuation of the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy but far fewer discharges and some open same-sex coupling.

    The current recession/depression will see increasing numbers of less qualified enlistees with attendant disciplinary problems.

  • SeniorD

    Oh, to Rubber Ducky, the AVF is actually more traditional and American than the draft ever was.

    We enlist because we want to serve, not because we had to go. The current AVF structure is professional in nature (a condition that has both positive and negative connotations) and disciplined. Your characterization of the AVF as mercenary is wildly off base.

  • Jay

    SeniorD — I read RD’s post about mercenaries as related to the private firms only, not the AFV. Call them what you want, Mercs, PSCs, Privateers (haven’t seen those…yet).

  • SSG Jeff (USAR)

    I’ve already seen actions in the reserves that cause me to wonder about our re-enlistment rate in the USAR.
    1. Bonuses are the same amount, but instead of being paid at the reenlistment, they are paid on the effective date – the USAR has very few “immediate” reenlistments, so that means they may not be paid a reenlistment bonus for up to a year after raising their right hand.
    2. Careerists can no longer get lump sum reenlistment bonuses – it’s half of it the first payment, the rest paid out on anniversaries. Among other things, this will restrict a soldier’s ability to change units or train into another MOS without losing the remainder of their bonus.

    I’ve heard other things.. but the sanctity of the confessional has nothing compared to a reenlistment interview. The Catholics can’t send blabbing priests to jail. The Army can.

  • Dee Illuminati

    I predict the unexpected will happen. I predict that predictions will be useless when you look back a year from now.

    I oughta at least get neat mug for that accurate summary

  • Jim, my prediction is based on the military’s distrust of liberal Democrats, who will dominate all national defense decisions for at least the next two years. It’ll be Jimmy Carter 2.0 (sadly). Welcome to the hollow force.

  • ALCON, Thanks all for commenting! We will take a look again at these predictions a year from now. Should be interesting

  • Rubber Ducky

    “SeniorD Says:
    I see a return of the Carter Years in which the Navy couldn’t get underway due to equipment shortages, fuel shortages, low personnel levels and an increasingly low morale amongst junior enlisted personnel.”

    It’s time to take on this canard about Carter. His administration produced 4 budgets: ’78, 79, 80, and ’81. Defense spending in constant dollars in these years was respectively $286B, $295B, $303B, and $317B. Carter consistently raised defense spending in each successive year he controlled.

    As, among Cold War Commanders-In-Chief, did Truman, Kennedy, Johnson. Defense spending was lowered under Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford. You see a pattern here? Whatever the folklore, the Democratic presidents raised defense spending and the Republican lowered it from the beginning of the Cold War to its end. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0904490.html

    I was on sea duty for the entire period of Carter’s time in office. I saw no underway delays, no lowered morale, and no manning problems. The 3 submarines I served in during this time never missed a commitment and never had one problem that could be assigned to problems flowing from senior leadership. If skimmers were troubled then, the witch-hunt should focus on skimmer leadership, not the national administration.

  • Byron

    You missed those Reagan years, Ducky? Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot, you were making a point.

  • Rubber Ducky

    Reagan/Bush: Up, then flat, then down. if you plot Carter and reagan, it forms a sine curve.

  • b2

    Ducky- You were on subs. I was on carriers during the same time frame and longer. I saw different-Real Time. “The Hollow Force”.

    re Manpower- I predict re-ups will be higher and enlistments for all services will surge. All indicators, even at this early stage, show the same trends. It’s the economy …., of course. Inevitably, more social engineering will take place during an “O” administration… but of course being a dinosaur my opinion doesn’t count on that set of issues. Y’all will live with your decisions too…When folks like me or Jeb from Tennessee who served, can’t advise their own sons about a stint or a career in the military, WE as a nation are in trouble. Keep that in mind, “leaders”…..It hasn’t happened yet.

    BTW, Navy Times had an interesting set of 2009 predictions today on their website for the US Navy.

    My own? For defense I predict the USN will still follow their schizophrenic surface ship building fiasco, suffer through the ongoing aviation ‘convergence of events’ leading to big time GAPs/omissions with no end in sight, and while sub building is strong it will remain the Navys only procurement bright spot. The USAF will continue to morph as directed and F-22 will be capped, the F-35 (A & C) will face more delays. The Marine Corps will remain strong and healthy although some of it’s expensive new toys like V-22 and F-35B will have to be scaled back (can anybody say NO to the men in green?)….The Army will stay solid through ’09 although it will still display all the wear and tear of the last 8 years; at least I hope so.

    Happy New Year!


  • My 2009 Predictions:

    1 – Marine recruiting will stay exceptionally strong; by Dec 2008 they were 2 years ahead of the goal set for them (increasing their numbers from 177 -202,000) by 2010. In decthey hit 200,000.

    2 – With the decline in the economy, and the Army’ws recent waiver of most wieght requirements (in addition to accepting felons); they might make their numbers more reguarly.

    3 – As the economy continues to tank and money gets tight, Sect Gates will begin to halt the more over-budget projects like the litoral combat ship and will cap some of the Air Force jet projects like the F-22 and F-35.

  • Tenn Slim

    Served 23 yrs during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford admins.
    Carriers, Islands, and Logistics were the locales.
    My Predics.
    1. For the next 4 to 8 years, a diminised DOD, USN continuing to dally along with large decks, punishing the small boys build process.
    2. For the USMC, a re group, still able and strong. Osprey will be thier weapon of Logistics and FEBA Aircraft.
    3. For the USAF, F22s will emerge as the Primary weapon of Forward Offense, just as advertised. F35s will be testing till the end of the decade, not a force to be concerned with, from an enemy’s point of view.
    4. For the Submarines of the USN. No predictions, just glad they are STILL on station. A Force Deterrent, that plays under the Political Radar, but is a factor.
    5. Overall budgets, down in all areas, a diminishing number of actual dollars to play with, in the procurement arena.