Ten Questions for Defense Secretary Nominee Leon Panetta
9:41 AM, Jun 9, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz has stated that the present fleet of 187 F-22 fighters creates a high risk for the U.S. military in meeting its operational demands.
(9) U.S. Navy
The U.S. Navy has the fewest number of ships since America’s entrance into World War I. Yet the Navy is being tasked with arguably more responsibilities than ever before. Our fleet is undoubtedly the finest ever put to the seas, but quantity has a quality all of its own. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen has said, “You are what you buy.”
(10) U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps
Current budget plans -- even prior to the latest announced defense cuts -- were premised upon a complete withdrawal from Iraq and a dramatic drawdown in Afghanistan by 2014. They did not anticipate the prospect of a continued, residual presence in Iraq nor the possibility of a requirement for maintaining a sizeable force in Afghanistan. And, the plans were made before the events of the “Arab Spring,” including the conflict in Libya. The current budget plans, and current realities, make it all but impossible to achieve adequate “dwell times” (or rest at home for reset, training and time off) between rotations for combat and support units, and will necessitate continued heavy deployments of the National Guard and Reserves.
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