January 5, 2016: The U.S. Army has had to make some bold moves to comply with a 2012 order (from Congress) to cut its strength 21 percent (120,000 troops) by 2018. At that point the army will have 450,000 personnel. While the army tried to avoid cutting combat units excessively, 13 combat brigades were disbanded and some were reduced to battalion sized task forces or just headquarters (to be revived as a brigade in wartime using reservists). Some brigades were converted from Stryker units to infantry and some lost one of their three combat battalions. Other brigades gained a battalion and some additional support troops and equipment. The point of it all was to make the most of a bad situation and reorganize so that each unit was best (or better) suited to its future assignments. Most combat brigades are organized and train for eventual deployment in a certain region. They might, as often happens, be sent elsewhere. But in the meantime they have a focus for their organization and training. Continue reading
Britain called in NATO sea patrol planes to hunt for a suspected Russian submarine off Scotland, after the Government scrapped its own similar aircraft in defence cuts.
Maritime patrol aircraft from France, America and Canada flew to Scotland to join Royal Navy warships hunting for the suspected submarine after it was spotted west of Scotland.
At the height of the hunt, in late November and the first days of this month, four allied patrol planes flew to RAF Lossiemouth to join the search, Aviation Week reported.
It came a month after another suspected Russian submarine was spotted off Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago, and with relations with the Kremlin at their worst since the Cold War.
President Obama’s pivot to Asia will lack a crucial military underpinning next year, when for four months, the Navy will not have an aircraft carrier in the region.
Defense cuts have helped shrink the number of available carriers, alarming GOP lawmakers who are fighting the Pentagon’s plan to permanently cut the number of U.S. carriers to 10.
They argue not having a carrier in the region for months at a time will send a signal of U.S. weakness, as China seeks to make territorial claims against several U.S. allies over the South China Sea. Continue reading
“The readiness of our Armed Forces is at a tipping point.”
That’s how General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, began a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee while discussing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget woes.
What effect this will have on specific military programs remains unclear. However, the DOD already has countless readiness concerns to show for years of underfunded modernization efforts. “Not enough people, not enough parts, not enough training, not enough everything,”lamented Vice Admiral Thomas Copeman, commander of naval surface forces for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He put the equation thusly: “[Operational] tempos have increased, resources have gone down.” This conundrum occurred before sequestration has taken effect, it is worth noting. Continue reading