Gates Whacks Navy-Marines

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates finished his speech to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo today you could, pardon the cliche, hear a pin drop; a very muted applause finally came after a long silence. Gates went right at the sea services, saying the Marines’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is way too costly and there isn’t much of an amphibious warfare mission, building a new class of boomers, at $7 billion a copy, will bankrupt the shipbuilding budget, and he even went after the holiest-of-holies, saying the Navy has too many carriers.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to 6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers.” His implication was the answer to that question is clearly no. Well, he’s already let the Air Force have it, I guess it was the Navy’s turn.

Some gems:

“We have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again – especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore. On a more basic level, in the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?”

“Our current plan is to have eleven carrier strike groups through 2040. To be sure, the need to project power across the oceans will never go away. But, consider the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys. Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

They must have a class over at the Pentagon where they teach officers and officials to frame any touchy issue in the form of a question. Gates made it clear that the shipbuilding budget is not going up. The funding priority for the foreseeable future is reset – repairing and refurbishing the Army and Marine Corps equipment coming out of Iraq, he said.

Colin’s got more over at DOD Buzz. Bryan McGrath at Information Dissemination has a lengthy rejoinder.

— Greg Grant

  • Ziv

    Maybe the Navy, Army and Air Force could simply put out specifications and get bids. No continuous updates of what the ship/helicopter/fighter is expected to do. No developmental work to be done in the 15 years leading up to production. Build a ship/helicopter/fighter with state of the art now, not 10 years from now? Then the builder would have a remote chance of coming in at the bid price and not 50% over.

  • Jeff N

    If there is no need for amphibious landings, how much need is there for the marines at all? As they are now they’re just being used as another Army. The Navy’s desire to support the Marine mission seems to be zeroing out, maybe the corp is going to become an endagered species.

  • ohwilleke

    Gates is right.

  • Intex

    I worked, briefly, for Gates back around 1980 and was only medium-impressed.

    But the man has sure become one of the best SecDefs in living memory, and maybe in the history of the Republic. Amazing to see an intelligent, informed adult in such a position and willing to say and act on what he sees to be the truth.

    • Das25

      Gates is right and he speaks the truth

  • Russ Koch

    If we lose our maritime superiority, we’ve lost most of our ability to defend our nation. We had a Gates-type movement before and it resulted in what I believe was called the “revolt of the admirals” or something like that. Airborne brigades may transit by airplane but armies travel by sea. They always have. Even absent a direct assault, it is quite a feat to transition a fighting force from sea to land. The next logical step is are you going to let one man with an ak47 stop the landing? No? Well then it becomes an amphibious assault! Make that 1000 soldiers opposing your transition and you have a battle on your hands. I hate to say that Gates is ill-informed or unlearned, but this is all lay man’s knowledge available to any casual reader. Gates is sending political messages from the White house.

  • First of all it is Corps not corp. Second of all if you think the Marine Corps operates like the Army you need a tremendous history lesson and some real life experience within the different branches themselves. I have spent time with both services and they are nothing alike.

    Aside from that you are correct there are no current needs for amphibious landings, but I firmly believe that we need to be prepared for all types of warfare – who know where/what we will be doing next.

  • Aside from all of the politics – the bottom line is this:
    If our federal government stopped spending money on the junk programs that it was never intended to be involved in (i.e. space travel, welfare, farm subsidies, healthcare, etc…) we would have plenty of money for our national defense budget. The “general welfare clause” has been abused in a tremendous manner.

    • Gengiz

      um yea space travel and farm subsidies help feed the military and bring new technology so we can have te baddest stuff around.

      • .45CaliberCure

        Farm subsidies don’t help provide food. They provide artificially higher costs to the consumer via their taxes paid to the government, which in turn gives that money to the farmers, so that the consumers don’t see the increased prices at the store, but rather through the hidden vehicle of taxation. And I’ll agree that aerospace has a Constitutionally supportable place in Federal funding to the extent that it is focused on our national defense at least.

    • Luke

      I think the bidget problem and the national debt would be helped if the government didnt spend a $1000 for one bolt. They pay way to dam much they need to go out and say hey if you cant do it for this then get the hell out of here and get someone who can.

    • Matt

      i (personnal) agree with you on that; exept on space travel… if we gave up on that we would not have GPS, other satilites, or things like the X37B… my main problem with gates is he cant see beyond insergents/terrorists… china is modernising its forces (or trying to); if the world is sooo damn friendly then why would they do that? just because america is not at war against a country now doesnt mean we never will be… its not like ww2 where car factories can make tanks; modern weapons need years to develope and designated factories…

  • Forrest

    Gates is right. We just don’t have the money to support what we want and we’ll have to get used to what we can afford. Dump two carrier groups, the EFV, the MV-22, the LCS, and maybe the F-35. Cut the number of SSNs and build some SSKs. Build smaller SSBNs. Replace the LCS with a capable OTS foreign frigate. If we retain the F-35, build some smaller air-capable ships. We CAN have a highly capable force at a much lower cost.

    • Saberhagen

      lol, how come SSK is more affordable than SSN? Tell me!

  • Mickey

    Your crazy.

  • Howe

    exactly, we are spending ourselves into oblivion.

    Its time this country learns how to tighten the belt.

  • Atomic Walrus

    An economic historian named Paul Kennedy published a book called Rise and Fall of the Great Powers about 25 years ago. One of his conclusions was that great powers started to decline when they started to bear the cost of garrisoning their empires – the transition from an informal commercial empire to a formal empire. US military power is unrivalled, but it always bears asking what that power truly costs. I don’t think that the British Empire ever had the same degree of military projection as the US does today…

  • joe

    I have to admit, the Marines EFV program is trying to stuff way too much technology into a single platform, Tons of Hydrolic to lift the track system up out of the way and then move boat shaped hull pannels into place,and then unfortionately, you end up with a creature that can’t do any of what is expected very well.
    A Mechanics nightmare in the making…but, if they rethought the program, seperated it into two seperate functions (A combat Vehicle that can float with a really great weapons system) and a Tug that can be attached to the rear of it after it has loaded up it’s Marines, can push the combat vehicle at high speeds and also manouver well, and then within a a 100 yards of hitting the beach releases the combat Vehicle that now makes it’s way to the beach under it’s own power, and the tug swings away and turns back to it’s ship.

  • Brian

    I think is comparing apples to oranges. No other country has a need AND a capability to operate more than one large carrier. We are located in a relatively isolated location, so we need carriers to project power. The basic math is simple, 11 Carriers = 3-4 operational Carriers. Can we meet the necessary security and deterrence levels we need with only 2-3 operational Carriers.

  • Ross

    Mate it is just general inbalance in US finances (including huge overspending on military). Not the laughably (i would go so far as to say criminally) low amount of welfare that exists over there.

    The British Empire maintained an empire of roughly a quarter the worlds population on a military budget that amounted to around 2% of GDP – and that was in the face of far more threats in the world than that which the US faces today.

    Dont get me wrong i appreciate more than most the need for defence and i despise the sorry state of my own country’s forces (UK) but this is hyperbole.

  • Benjamin

    Gates is never happy unless he’s slashing some program and weakening the nation’s security in some way or form.

  • Alex

    Or Margaret Thatcher :)

  • Ross

    This is simply absurd. Islam isnt one great ‘nation’. Iran are not liked by much of the ME and they are partly the reason why the US shares a decent relationship with so many of the gulf states. They fear Iran’s hegemonic goals much as they feared Saddam’s hegemonic goals during the late 80s/early 90s.

    Not even the intellectually controversial clash of civilizations thesis by huntingdon makes such claims as you do.

  • M.G.Halvorsen

    I remember reading about a similar SecDef…his name was Louis Johnson. He bragged about cutting away the “fat in the military budget”. He cut the fat, apparently, right to the bone; so that, in 1950, we were hard-pressed to put together a fighting force to stop North Korea from driving through to the sea. We had a few leaders ( most notably, Douglas Macarthur) that managed to halt that advance at what bcame known as the “Pusan perimeter”. We were able to piece together a single Marine Brigade…Johnson had declared the USMC an “Anachronism from another era of warfare”. Perhaps Mr. Gates should study the lessons of History, lest we be condemned to repeat them.

  • Ross

    This is simply absurd. Islam isnt one great ‘nation’. Iran are not liked by much of the ME and they are partly the reason why the US shares a decent relationship with so many of the gulf states. They fear Iran’s hegemonic goals much as they feared Saddam’s hegemonic goals during the late 80s/early 90s.

  • Ross

    445jjd was what that was meant to be directed to :/

  • jsallison

    Consider too the absolutely fubar’d naval vessel procurement process (which isn’t alone amongst the services, by any means). Starting with having way too many mid and senior rankers able to force feature creep on the ways, guaranteeing a(nother) budget-busting embarrassment. Too bad it’s not career-busting as well. The perfect as the enemy of the good is a concept foreign to these yops.

  • JAV

    The EFV has been a mess, but implying that it has no mission is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater…

    After the Dardanelles in WWI almost everyone believed that shipborne troops could never successfully defeat an entrenched enemy. Members of the Marine Corps and Navy were the only people, US or otherwise, to study the problem in depth and they established the doctrine to make the landings at Guadalcanal, North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, the Phillippines, Iwo, and Okinawa possible. In 1947 the Army believed that the atomic bomb had made amphibious warfare obsolete and tried to absorb the Marine Corps or render them small and useless. Only three years later a Marine amphibious assault saved S. Korea. In 1991 a large part of the Iraqi army was tied down protecting the coastline from the threat of a landing. Remember Grenada and Somalia? What about the abilities of amphibious ships and troops to assist in disaster relief and humanitarian efforts?

    When was the last time the 82nd Airborne jumped into hostile territory? When was the last time an American sub sank something? We still have plenty of nukes and haven’t used them since 1945. Just because it hasn’t been necessary doesn’t mean the capability isn’t necessary or relevant. Barring significant changes in our foreign policies, we won’t always be able to count on a friendly port or airfield.

    • Atomic Walrus

      1) The ability of amphibious ships and troops to assist in humanitarian operations is nice, but that’s not what they’re for. There hasn’t been a forced amphibious landing since Inchon.

      2) The 82nd Airborne was en route to Haiti for a divisional drop to overthrow the military junta in 1994 when the junta caved, making the drop unnecessary.

      3) American subs haven’t sunk anything recently, although HMS Conqueror made a pretty good demonstration of what a nuclear sub could do when it sank the Belgrano in 1982. American subs are also used to carry a large part of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, and the attack subs are tasked with protecting it.

      Some capabilities aren’t used frequently, but they exist for a reason. Amphibious landings using landing craft haven’t been done in 60 years. Arguments for retaining that capability are similar to arguments for retaining battleships to fight other surface combatants.

    • Atomic Walrus

      1) The ability of amphibious ships and troops to assist in humanitarian operations is nice, but that's not what they're for. There hasn't been a forced amphibious landing since Inchon.

      2) The 82nd Airborne was en route to Haiti for a divisional drop to overthrow the military junta in 1994 when the junta caved, making the drop unnecessary.

      3) American subs haven't sunk anything recently, although HMS Conqueror made a pretty good demonstration of what a nuclear sub could do when it sank the Belgrano in 1982. American subs are also used to carry a large part of the nation's nuclear deterrent, and the attack subs are tasked with protecting it.

      Some capabilities aren't used frequently, but they exist for a reason. Amphibious landings using landing craft haven't been done in 60 years. Arguments for retaining that capability are similar to arguments for retaining battleships to fight other surface combatants.

    • Dave

      Airborne operations have been used for combat operations in both afganistan and Iraq. In addition to shows of force in Bosnia, Africa, and Haiti.

  • Forrest

    No, it’s “you are crazy” or “you’re crazy.”

    Learn to spell.

  • STemplar

    I think taking a hard look at what we can afford and what conflicts we will actually face is healthy. I see no where in here where Gates calls for disarming America. He simply points out some systems are wildly too expensive. You notice he doesn’t make any suggestions about what should be bought.

    I think he points out something as well, maintaining capabilities for the sake of having them is foolhardy. We are never going to launch a major amphib assault of a contested coastline ever again. Never. Will we have to put perhaps a BN sized element ashore to a un-permissive environement? Possibly, but that is an order of difference financially. The technology provides us too many options so that we don’t have too storm a contested coast. If Eisenhower had Chinooks or Sea Stallions he would not have stormed Normandy. Inchon was the last time we stormed a beach.

    Clearly the anti access measures governments are taking demonstrate the limitations of carrier groups. Those measures are considerably cheaper as well. We need to stop buying arms in numbers to overcome the anti-access efforts of our adversaries and start having a procurement system that is more nimble and able to leverage OTS tech to simply by pass the anti access efforts of others.

  • William C.

    Your damn right the Marines and Navy should be pissed at this. Gates is so focused on COIN warfare he is going to seriously hurt the Navy and USAF if he keeps this up.

    11-12 carrier battle groups is a good number but dropping below this would be very foolish.

    The USS Ohio, lead ship of it's class is over 30 years old. While this may not seem a huge number, submarines can't be expected to serve as long as surface ships. It makes sense to lay the groundwork for our next SSBN today, and begin low rate production sometime before 2020.

    The EFV may not be the answer but the USMC needs some sort of replacement for the AAVP-7A1. The USMC must also maintain some sort of amphibious assault capability, even if it isn't a modern enemy with modern anti-ship missiles.

    Pete, based on your previous posts all you care about is reducing US military power. All it takes is a single shot for a percieved threats to become a real threat, and we must maintain the capability to win a conventional war against any opponent. French bashing will continue and ass-kissing doesn't make any friends Pete. And the militants and radicals we are fighting can't win unless we choose to leave and the Afghan government fails. And even if that happens. What will they have won? All they will have done is ensured Afghanistan remands a 3rd world wasteland for the next 1000 years.

    • praetorian

      Well put sir.

  • MAJclem

    Army – Stop tring to jump ahead 3 generations of tech with the GCV. First, re-engine the entire M1 fleet with new lighter, more fuel-efficient turbines. They already exist, Lycoming made I think. Keep the Bradley. Whack the GCV program until somebody can provide a working prototype on their own dime.

    I could go on for hours…

  • bobbymike

    Wise words defense spending is not the problem the US could easily spend $1 trillion on defense rather than adding another entitlement program.

  • Patrick

    Sounds like the guys between the two World Wars who just didn’t see a need for tanks.

  • Nadnerbus

    One thing, Americans are paranoid about defense after the long separated but twin shocks of Pearl Harbor and September 11th. We know we are target numero uno, and fear any move towards lesser defense (or offense) capability. Even if it is needed.

    The fact that we have eleven CBGs when no one else has more than one is not an apt comparison. No one else feels the need to project the power, they just relax, confident in the knowledge that the US Navy has it covered. If we move away from this role due to budget cuts for the long term, it could have a destabilizing effect.

    Lastly, any money saved from cuts in military spending will be simply sunk into more domestic government programs, not less overall government spending. Meaning that the next time there is a war or a simple need to project more power, the ability to raise the funds to do so will be more difficult, if not politically impossible.

    I actually agree that the military probably needs to go on a diet, and that procurement is broken. I am just worried that saving money will come at a hefty expense to capability.

    • adkiiuyr

      America is a big island compared with Eurasia, so US needs powerful carriers. Without carriers, US will be out of the game.

  • I don’t agree with all of this, but I appreciate the spirit of the message. Systems are too expensive, and we are upgrading capabilities that have no short-term foreseeable need. I’d never be so asinine as to suggest that Marines sit out through any non-amphibious campaign, but the Corps also has to uphold its side of the deal and be able to fit on the assault boats, regardless of the current mission.

    The Navy needs to get its rear in gear and figure out what it is going to look like in thirty years. Railgun-equipped battleships? Arsenal ships? Improved carriers? On top of that, it also needs to square itself away and stop building custom hulls for every mission under the sun. Take the savings and put it into something more generally useful, like infantry equipment.

    Finally, it makes no sense to have massive forces abroad to fight terror cells; expand SOCOM and build the infrastructure to support them across the planet (network to fight a network), and refine the Air Force’s global strike capability. Terrorism is a plant that humanity doesn’t have the political will to burn up yet. Accordingly, we should build policy that allows us to prune it regularly, effectively, and sustainably.

  • JAV

    “In 1966 the British defense minister
    declared that British armed forces would never again
    have to face another opposed land, and never again have
    to operate on their own. ”

    Remember the Falklands?

    “The enemy must not know where I intend to give
    battle. For if he does not know where I intend to
    battle he must prepare in a great many places.
    And when he prepares in a great many places, those
    I have to fight in any one place will be few.”
    Sun Tzu

  • MAJclem

    Thoughts from an Army Major…

    EFV – Keep basic vehicle and turret. Kill the speedboat part and buy some “up-armored” LCACs. Big reduction in cost and big increase in firepower and fighting capability. AAV-7 with a MK19 in the turret is not an IFV, The 30mm autocannon in the EFV is needed.

    F35 – As much as it hurts to say this, whack it. Spinoff as mch tech as possible into cheaper alternatives like Silent Eagle and Super Hornet and buy better missiles. Leave a small budget line for R&D. Again, big reduction in cost and increased capability now.

    Carriers – This is tough. I understand that you need forces training, forces deployed, and forces resetting. I've been living that since 2003. I say whack one CBG, but leave the AirWing intact as an available expeditionary asset to take on land-based missions in regular rotation with an Air Force fighter wing. Training and experience value is added without the cost of the CBG.

  • Tony C

    The Navy doesn’t need Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines, Aircraft Carriers, or destroyers. The Marines are no longer a relevant force in the 21st century.
    We need money to pay welfare, but not defend the country. Typical liberal mentality. This man has it right, we can’t afford all of the weapons we developed if we are going to use the money in non-defense areas. This means we have to pull out of the conflicts we are currently figting and become the isolationist country we were before the japanese decided for us that we needed ot enter world war 2. The objective of a strong military is to prevent the need to go to war. The results of a weak military are clear throughout history.

  • Mutantone

    How soon we forget that the reason we are the top military power is that we have our fleets that can make our presences known from afar. When we fought in Iraq we had the fleets stationed on two shores. The reason others do not attack us is that they know we have the biggest sticks with which to hit back. They know that we are the only super power that can and will support the freedom of others with our blood and troops. We are the peace keepers because we have the power to make others know that we are not fooling. If we do away with our show of force what is the deterrent to others and there are others out there look to Iran and the other Terrorist nations that have second and third thoughts about attacking the United States all because they know we have the ships to station off their shores or near by that will be there to keep up the pressure until the job is done. That alone should be the reason to keep our fleets on hand.
    “The truth is more important than the facts.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” — Ronald Reagan
    ID 10 T error in the administration

  • jerry

    Tax all organized religion – TODAY – FOREVER.

  • Saberhagen

    I’m still waiting to the day when Gates says something like: ““At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a 200 mil low-end fighter…”. But maybe I would be disappointed.

  • paperpushermj

    Come on folks we all know that the Dems. will cut the military budget as a way of dealing with the humungous spending they have engaged in. Think of Clintons peace dividend.

    • Ret Guns UMSC

      After Desert Storm President Bush started cutting the military before Clinton took office including the Base closure in Charleston SC at the time the second largest Naval base on the east coast. President Bush G.W. waited till 2007 to allow the Marine Corps and the Army to recruit more war fighters and that was only after his generals warned him of the fatigue of the troops from fighting 2 wars. President Obama has ask for the increase of 104.8 Billion dollars to the 2011 defense budget, which brings it up to 708 Billion. After serving 20 years In the Marine Corps I can tell you that yes there is waste in defense spending and the president should take up the task through his unit commander to cut the waste, but keep the readiness and training up to date. Some weapon systems can be cut but the guys in the suits who decide need to talk to the troops on the ground to find out what works and what doesn’t. Ask the junior enlisted they will give you the strait scoop. (they aren’t yes men). Then look at what defense contractors charge for projects and hold the upper management of the companies responsible for over charges or fraudulant charges. Tell me why a Starter for a helicopter costs 28,000 dollars.

  • Hotel55

    I can think of several big amphibious possibilities… Iran, Korea (didn’t MacArthur have to deal with lack of amphib equipment at Inchon?) In extreme, Taiwan… I’m sure there’s others…

    It would be nice if those in control were the ones that have learned from history, not the ones doomed to repeat it….

  • Hotel55

    I can think of several big amphibious possibilities… Iran, Korea (didn't MacArthur have to deal with lack of amphib equipment at Inchon?) In extreme, Taiwan… I'm sure there's others…

    It would be nice if those in control were the ones that have learned from history, not the ones doomed to repeat it….

  • Sandy

    What is missing guidance is balance….this is the fallcy of the 220 stdy…they look for future threats, but dont understand that we need balance..witness after the first /gulf wa..air poer will rule…well, during the Balkans, we got our butts kicked…we neede balncne, “Danielson, go finda balance”.. the need for an amphibious op willl be there…..we have to be prepared for the whole spectrum….

  • Mark

    Like others have said in previous comments, Gates is sounding like all the detractors of amphibious warfare and the Marine Corps from the past. But guess what, the Marine Corps proved it could land on hostile shores and win battles time and time again. Without the Marine Corps and its amphibious warfare doctrine, the war in the Pacific would not have been won, the landing at Inchon would not have happened, and the numerous other amphibious operations done since would not have happened. The Marine Corps wins the nation’s battles.

    The fact is, the Marine Corps is here to stay. Why, you may ask. Because the Marines have proven time and time again that they can adapt to any combat situation and overcome it. The Marine Corps is the nation’s force-in-readiness, and they need to have the right equipment to be able to deploy immediately when need be. Taking away their ability to project power from over the horizon would not help the US in any way.

  • Del

    This is the same guy that want to take the SEAL's down. He must be an ***hole.

    Who picked him as SECDEF???? Shame on you!!!

    • blight

      Bush picked him. Ta da!

  • devilpup

    HEY GATES!!! MARINES ARE AMPHIBIOUS YOU STUPID MOTHER FUCKER!!!!! STOP RIDING THE BIG O’s DICK AND WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!! and yes, other nations of the world may only have one or two carriers, so mothball a few of our older ones, but keep the new ones on track!!!! now i agree, alot of our systems are too damned expensive, but telling the Marines there is no need for amphib operations is a sure fire way to piss them off. Most of the worlds nations have a coast line, and how the hell else are you going to invade a country that we cant laucnh attacks from land, YOU STUPID FUCKING DICKLESS SON OF A BITCH!!!!!

    • blight

      Obviously, by sending ships ashore in a country neighboring the target that is friendly to us, and then moving across the border by land. Can you imagine Gulf War1 with only a few miles of coastline in Iraq and Kuwait and only having those areas to defend?

      In the context of modern warfare, amphibious landings by themselves rarely have the immediate effect of “the left hook” of GW1. Look at Operation Neptune. Amphibious forces land but in the end it takes a truly massive buildup to get anything done. In a hypothetical landing, the marines land, but can they drum up the troops to make anything decisive out of that landing?

      Incheon required landing at a weakened beach, with extreme overmatch with real armor on the beach.They also put 50 thousand men on the beach. Can the Marines do this anymore? In all honesty, the Marines use large epic-scale campaigns to justify their existence, and practice their landings at the smaller scale. And even with the success of Incheon, it turned into a conventional slogfest.

      We should not stop at the “yay, we can land troops on a contested beach” and simply preserve the capability for the sake of saying “yes, we still have it”.

      And if we return to Incheon, the real lesson is that yes, an amphibious assault can turn the tide. However, the campaign depended on conventional forces afterwards and the amphibious training of the Marines was irrelevant /to the rest of the campaign/. Marines could easily act as a doorbuster for Army, provided that a perfectly suitable port is captured, or mechanisms exist to ship Army to wherever the marines bust the door in.

  • Mike

    Thank God somebody in the pentagon has a clue. Our Navy is so much larger then rest of the world’s. How much safer do we feel? The waste in our military is outrageous. I don’t know why we even bother to budget, they are just ignored.

  • c.c

    Gates the expert has spoken. has this man ever read a single page of history? “Never will we have to conduct a sea-borne assault”. These words have been spoken and eaten numerous times in history. How do you invade an island Mr. Gates? Airborne troops? Wrong! They do not possess sufficient firepower and cohesiveness to attack entrenched positions. Would the invasion of Kuwait have ben possible if the Iraqi’s had taken Saudi Arabia? Yes! Air superiority and firepower would have made an amphib operation very doable.

    • Mark Ewers

      Least we forget Saddam and his generals FEARED the amphibious assault to such a degree that most of crack Iraqi divisions was on the shore line defense lines. Just having Marines and the capability just off shore influenced the whole war not just one battle.

  • Tyler

    I hate Robert Gates. It would be bearable having Obama as president (though only because I don’t expect him to be re-elected) for the next 2 years if only someone with half a clue was the defense secretary. While I know Gates’s mission charged to him by Obama appears to be to leave the United States in a horrible position, couldn’t he be just a little less competent?

  • Now is the time for massive Defence building. The eqiment is old. No better way to boost the economy. WAKE UP GATES.


  • reese cushman

    i have followed marine corp history since 1981 when i decided to join the marine i was 15 at 17 i was on delayed entry .there has always been somebody who either wanted to disband the marines or make them a unit that would not beable to respond properly ,and as always the marines were needed and have done the job that they were given , maybe we need to stop outsourcing jobs to private security companies and let the military do there job im just an old infantry nco and dont understand all the politics of the white house and pentagon but im sure cuts can be made without taking from the military,but no matter what the marines will always be there if armed only with weapons made by them selves and our brothers and sisters from the other branches will be with us,cause we love this country and will always defend it and its leaders and citezens .last the higher ups should talk to the troops not the poll takers and military persons with political ambitions should decide who there gonna seve the military or congress and other elected positions .man can only serve one master

  • bob,b

    hell, lets just give the troops airsoft guns

  • An American Vet

    This guy was a flake when he was DirCIA and now he is an obama style flake selling out the US and our troops. I am not surprised.

  • grudney

    troops are unemployable and expendable morons- their deaths improve the gene pool- robotics would be a way of saving money and troop lives -flying drones etc.
    war is a particularly stupid way of resolving conflict or imposing wiil. military budgets deprive millions of water health and life. usa needs to pay billions in compensation for it’s aggressive attacks murder and left over landmines and nuclear projectiles.

  • rhys

    I know this isn’t the same thing, but it reminds me of the Total War video games when you overbuild your armies and then your treasury goes broke. Then, you either have to use your armies to kill them and get plunder, or disband them.

  • rhys

    I know this isn’t the same thing, but it reminds me of the Total War video games when you overbuild your armies and then your treasury goes broke. Then, you either have to use your armies to kill them and get plunder, or disband them.

  • Adamwestiii

    I just read in our local newspaper today where Gates is complaining too much money is going to troops to include medical care. He further stated money is needed to buy equipment. He is getting some opposition from Congress stating the troops deserve the best care possible, and fortunately I have to agree with Congress. The politicians take us to war and expect the young to defend the country.

    • Question String

      Yeah buddy, your “local newspaper” is such an authoritative source. And how insightful your newspaper just happens to capture the SecDef saying money is being wasted on equipment and medical care for those in combat.

      You and your “local newspaper” are not believable.

  • Ernie

    mage= made
    oun= own

  • Kickapoo_Tracker

    [b]… At what point is the human race going to establish that which brings about our best in longevity in which we all prosper. It is all fesible and possible. We need these points throughout all of our planet. But greed, hype and those pushing delusion hold us to this downward spiral in which humanity will find it’s downfall.[/b]
    [b]… I wish this had come in my email sooner. There is already 3 pages or more ahead of me. [/b]

  • Ernie

    If Mr Gates would like to hear what is really needed, Ask the people who are using them. This could improve what is alreally being produced and cut costs. Just consister how the men mage their oun changes to the Hum V in Iraq. Their are many technical and tactical ideas out there with our forces, I am sure.

  • Gregory Romeu

    Don't go after the specific forces, go after the thugs that are doing the wheeling and dealing with the contracts. Whenever these dumb masses get their heads out of their butts they may even discover that Lockheed Martin has been riping them of BILLIONS over the years…

  • Jeff

    This is sad! Most of you must have a mess in your house with all the bleeding hearts. Gates is a idiot!! He is Obama in a uniform. SAD!!! He will ruin the military. I am tired of the change, fix the problems and move on. Every branch has its special project that somebody wants to cut, and says that it is a waste of money. Then we need it and we don't have it. If you do not like living under the safety of our military. Move to Canada and live under it for free.

  • MikeP

    DoD has to start the cutting within it’s own agencies which now take up nearly 25% of the defense budget and have been nearly immune to cuts. Not just 3% off the top of everything (salami slicing) but cuts to entire programs that will make Congressmen stand on their desks and scream. Remember, DoD is inefficient because Congress likes it that way…as long as the inefficiency means jobs in their district. And we, the people, keep voting these clowns back into office because they bring home the bacon for us.

  • Secondtonone

    Yes the military does need to go on a diet. There are plenty of ways for the military to trim the fat. One way would be for a military wide audit of all military units to invesitigate what they are spending money on….especially around SEPT and OCT. Every unit BURNS and wastes so much budgeted money around SEP and OCT in fear of loosing budget for the next year.. we are talking about PLASMA TVS and PS3 games system in some training rooms …on an on.. cut the big fat and then loom harder to find all the grisle to cut out also. Of course when we cut the military over spending


    Of course when the military over spening is cut we should focus on domestic plans. It is about time we take care of OUR nation and stop spending so much fighting to take care of the rest of the world when they dont want us to.. And someone said it would hard to get more money when we needed it…. Then how did Bush JR get hundrerds of billions extra from a democat majority congress for military spending ? iT IS OBVIOUSLY POSSIBLE:

  • mk2

    Hey, everybody! Let’s let America’s enemies know that we will no longer be evolving our military to compete against constant threat’s to our citizens’ safety and security because according to Sun Tzu, “An even playing field is the key to success”. Superiority?! That’s for suckers. God bless you, Sec. Gates. In case you could not tell i was being sarcastic. Also, that quotation is not real but i think you get the point. There is a type of ant in South America whose colonies mulch leaves into paste and grow their food. Researchers were puzzled as to why their food was not over grown with bacteria. Well it turns out that the ants kept the bacteria in check with their own penicillin. That’s right. Ants discovered it first. Anyway, For thousands of years their penicillin evolved to stay ahead of the bacteria to keep it from destroying their “crops”. I think you get that point too, but to sum things up, Mr. Secretary. You’re an asshole.
    Go F*** yourself
    MK, Cpl.
    Former, USMC

  • Lost Cause

    CVN78 (Ford Class) is called the next generation aircraft carrier, but is it? The EMAL catapult system is a total failure and it cost $1 billion to back fit the 40 year old Nimitz Class steam cat system. The new arresting gear system is a total failure, so they had to back fit the 40 year old Nimitz Class system. A new state of the art protection system was a totaly failure and not installed, but they had to add dead weigth ballast to compensate for it's loss. And it has only 3 A/C elevators to cut costs and not 4 as on the Nimtiz class. All this for nearly twice the price of a Nimitz carrier- PRICLESS!!

    • blight

      Really? That sounds pretty damning…links please.


      I think we are using the procurement system of Nazi Germany: Tiger tanks galore instead of what we know works. And while the Tiger is light years ahead of the enemy, one is simply outnumbered, negating the advantage of superior technology.

      • Lost Cause

        It should be noted that all three of these failed state of the art systems where to be furnished to the shipbuilder as government furnish equipment (GFE). The shipbuilder was in no way responsible for the design, performance, manufacture, or costs of these systems.


    Hey he works for the Comunist in Chief…….What would you expect?????? He i9s a ******************* flip floping loser!

    More is coming, gutting the military, the border and our industrial strength, dismantleing the financial and health care systems…….Just where do you think this is taking us?????

    Wake up America!

  • This Vet

    This has been coming since Korea and should not really surprise anyone.
    The longer the US carries the rest of the world cost of military,
    The more broke and desperate we become,
    And the more the rest of the world resents America.

    It’s down to simple/effective economic military choices VS Welfare for an off the shelf Military Industrial Complex Ike described 50 years ago.

  • Blunderbuss

    This a welcome development. No more largesse for these heavily armed welfare queens and their seagoing Cadillacs.

    All you republicons screaming about smaller government should be kissing the SecDef’s feet!

  • Tom Robinson

    Gates needs a new job. He's an idiot !

    T.M. Robinson
    USA (Ret)

  • Just another communist who’s after the downfall of the GRAND USA. GET RID OF HIM>

  • Day

    i dont agree with the downsizing of the navy/marines, but is everyone who has an opposing view really a commie trying to bring down the US?, seriously.

  • -J-

    Dear Lord, Where is Donald Rumsfeld when we need him.

  • rock

    Ya know, its really cut and dry. politician shouldn’t have the say in what goes on in the military. they know nothing about war fare. war is always started because of politics in one way or another. Politician should not be aloud to have an opinion in what the military needs or doesn’t need. it should be the top generals and top enlisted that make the decisions. for they know whats really going on. Washington DC and all there wisdom keep worrying about every other countries problems when we have plenty of crap to work out here on our home front.