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Jerks

Scout at First Draft has been reporting on the problem of missing National Guard equipment for some time. The Department of Defense knows about it; the governors know about it; the GAO knows about it. Apparently the only people who don’t know about it all work in the White House.

CNN’s Political Ticker has the latest effort to shift blame: White House v. Kansas governor on storm response

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general, said the Kansas National Guard was equipped at only about 40 percent of its required levels, down from the 60 percent that it had at the start of the war.

[snip]

Snow said “I’m not aware of any prior complaints,” and said it would be “standard procedure” when a tornado hits for a state to consult its disaster plan and start making assessments about where the federal government needed to step in.

“We are certainly going to try to clean up any misunderstandings about how this works,” Snow said.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback also disputed Sebelius after visiting the destroyed town on Monday. Brownback, a Republican candidate for president, said local officials and the Kansas National Guard commander all told him they have the resources needed to respond.

“That’s what really got me, is her saying that,” Brownback said of Sebelius.

But Sebelius said she asked the Pentagon in December to replenish lost resources. She also said she spoke about the issue at great length with Bush over a year ago, in January 2006, when they rode together from Topeka, Kansas, to a lecture in Manhattan.

“What the Defense Department said then and continues to say is that states will get about 90 percent of what they had,” Sebelius said. “Meanwhile, it doesn’t get any better. I’m at a loss.”

The states only have an average of 50% of the equipment they are supposed to have. This has been the case for the last 6 years and nothing has been done about it. A major portion of what the Guard does have is sitting in Iraq, so the normal procedure of borrowing from neighboring states is no longer an option.

Suggesting that a state contract equipment from a private company is stupid – you need it immediately, not whenever. You can’t do disaster planning when someone else is making off with your equipment and people.

9 comments

1 RTO Trainer { 05.08.07 at 11:13 pm }

Where have all you hyperconcerned people been?

I’m a National Guardsman. In my 13 years, we’ve never had anything like all or even most of our equipment.

But now that it’s political hay, it’s important?

As for people, leave that out when discussing the current situation in Kansas. They have no units on deployment. Only ~500 Gurdsmen are deployed on individual orders, and some of those will be stateside schools and other TDY deployments, not OIF or OEF.

2 University Update { 05.08.07 at 11:19 pm }

Jerks…

3 Bryan { 05.08.07 at 11:44 pm }

Excuse me, RTO Trainer, but I’ve been complaining about it since 1976 when it impacted my department’s disaster plans in upstate New York. Not only were my people headed off to the Guard, but they needed to take department equipment with them because the Guard didn’t have it.

I got really loud when they pulled out local forces and equipment and we started to get scoured on the Gulf Coast with hurricanes, but when your governor is named Bush and your Congressman is a Republican nothing gets done.

Maybe politics is all you think about, but my military roots in this country go back to the French and Indian War in the middle of the 18th century. I’m a veteran of service in a line that goes back to the beginnings of this country and I don’t appreciate my motives being questioned by you. My Dad had more time in grade as a Master Sergeant than you have in service.

I saw the military pulled apart by the politicians during Vietnam and it’s happening again.

4 Steve Bates { 05.09.07 at 2:04 am }

Bryan, don’t fret about anyone whose blog name contains the substring “leer” … you know what that means in English, and you know what it means in German. Your family’s military pedigree, including your own, is impeccable, and anyone who has trouble with your politics can go plenty of other places on the web… and there’s another place I suggest they go as well. Let your visitor eat his acronym soup if he’s hungry for adventure.

In all my years as a peace activist, I have never verbally abused the military. Well, OK, there were individual fools among the highest ranks who deserved my criticism on the issues; I wasn’t shy about saying so, and the DoD has frequently caught hell from me… but I never said a word against our serving rank and file. It’s people like your visitor who see fit to give you grief, and would surely give me grief if they got the chance. Who really has a political ax to grind here? Not you. Not me. In our very different ways, we serve the compatible causes of peace and security. And neither of us suffers fools gladly.

5 Bryan { 05.09.07 at 10:53 am }

The guy can’t recognize his friends or his enemies, which is pretty damn dangerous when you come under fire. This administration is not a friend of the military. It’s the same old crap: billions for toys and nothing for the boys, when it comes to Repubs spending money on the Defense Department.

6 RTO Trainer { 05.09.07 at 4:39 pm }

I don’t appreciate my motives being questioned by you.

Perhaps you should reconsider making your statements in public?

I reread your post and my reply and I can’t find where I was anything but cordial. As for your pedigree with this issue, you don’t mention that in you rpost and sice only “the last 6 years.”

So, I suppose if you’ll tell me where the disconnect is and where I was supposed to have known better, I’ll appologize.

7 Bryan { 05.09.07 at 5:17 pm }

“Where have all you hyperconcerned people been?”

You think that’s cordial, RTO? I think it’s condescending.

The link to my military service and my direct line back to one of my great grandfathers is in the sidebar where it has always been. It’s not exactly a secret to people who stop by here, and it’s the reason there are blogs by vets on my blogroll.

In the last six years there have been major increases in the Defense budget, but the equipment issues of the regular military, Reserve, and National Guard have not been addressed. We went “to war with the Army” we had, and nothing has been done to fix the problems.

We apparently have money to throw at aircraft we don’t need, anti-missile systems that don’t work, robots with no function, but we can’t seem to provide a basic rifle that fires reliably in field conditions or troop transports that offer some protection.

8 RTO Trainer { 05.09.07 at 9:20 pm }

So if your service makes you untouchable, why doesn’t mine do so for me?

Yeah, it’s cordial. Not friendly, not even especially polite. Just cordial. If you get condescending, then I’ll appologize. I know I don’t like being treated like a dupe or idiot just because I serve–which is the usual vibe form the war opponents I’ve dealt with.

The rifle is a red herring. Nothing wrong with the M4. The 416 is better? Maybe. I know I wouldn’t mind less time doing maintenance. But the M4 is a recent purchase. How much fiscal sense to dump a load of brand new weapons in favor of the next better thing? Let these get worn a bit and then maybe there’ll be something even better then. The XM-8 is based on a HK platform that uses the same piston drive bolt as the 416 and Congress skewered the money spent on that ordering more open comptetive tests just a year or so ago.

The M1114 ofers a lot of protection–in a platform that will last maybe half as long precisely because of the extra protection. The M1151 is just a bit better in both regards. But armor vs. threat firepower is the classic arms race. We add twice the protection and they add twice the TNT. At some point the ability to move and move quickly has to be factored in as well.

I agree that the Air Force should dump the F-22 and stick with the F-35 if only because the 35 is a joint platform (and far cheaper). I also think it’s a mistake to stop production on the C-17 when there’s no replacement in the pipe, that the Army should have more of it’s own tactical airlift, that axing the Crusader and the Commanche were probably good ideas (not so sure about Commanche), that the Army shoudl do it’s own CAS if the Air FOrce can’t be made to put any priority in it, that FCS is a major overreach no matter how cool it is, that there should me more Stryker brigades, that there should be more brigades, period, and that the current proliferation of uniforms amon the services is really stupid. So if we earn bona fides by disagreeing with the Pentagon, do I get any credit here, or does my support for the war and my mission cancel it out?

FWIW, I haven’t seen your sidebar, as I came straight to this post via Google blog search.

9 Bryan { 05.10.07 at 10:31 pm }

RTO, I’m not ignoring you. I’ll be posting on the issues you raise because of a number of things that have happened that go directly to the point.

Quickly, the M16 was originally purchased by the Air Force and later adopted by the Army. Rifles should be bought based on the qualities required by the Infantry, not the Strategic Air Command. A weapon that is used to guard aircraft on a flight line and only sees use on a range, may not work in the Infantry world.

The whole up-armoring deal is a band-aid. Armor has to be designed in, not added on.

For a lot of reasons the two engine short field cargo aircraft is an Army aviation bird, the Air Force should mind its own business. The Air Force doesn’t have a mission that requires it.

We should have increased force size beginning on 9/12/01 as a prudent first step. It takes time to train people, and if you don’t need them, they can be released to the Reserves.

There’s more, as I say I be writing a post as soon as I can find the time to organize it.