‘Don’t Get So Joint So Fast,’ Cautions General
The Defense Department may be going too far in pushing the notion that the military
services should be more closely integrated, said a senior official. The inter-service
cooperation seen recently in Iraq proves the value of joint warfare, but that
does not mean any service should give up its unique skills and culture, said
Air Force Gen. Hal Hornburg, head of the Air Combat Command.
“I would like to remind anyone who’s interested in joint warfare
that joint warfare works best with strong service components,” he said.
“Let’s not get so joint so fast, and so joint that we dilute the
core competencies of the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force.”
Naval Aviators Told To Tighten Belt
With the cost of operating aircraft rising at a whopping 12 percent a year,
U.S. Navy aviation leaders are under growing pressure to cut expenses. This
is not welcome news to aviators who traditionally have not had to worry about
“We have to learn to save more and more,” said Vice Adm. Michael
D. Malone, commander of U.S. naval air forces. Naval aviation has become a “business
enterprise where we constantly must know how much things cost,” he lamented.
He said he was pleased that the cutbacks would not affect the Navy’s plans
to stick with large-deck carriers, rather than switching to smaller decks. But
there will be fewer airplanes in the fleet. Each air wing will have 44 strike
fighters, down from 56. Each squadron will drop from 12 to 10 airplanes.
Marines Shifting Non-Combat Jobs to Civilians
The Marine Corps will reassign up to 4,000 jobs currently performed by active-duty
troops to government employees and contractors. The move is intended to free
up more Marines for combat duty, said Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus, deputy commandant
for programs and resources. “Because of the war, we’ve been looking
at rebalancing the force,” Magnus said. With 25,000 troops in Iraq, 4,000
in Afghanistan, 1,500 in Haiti and several hundred in the Horn of Africa, the
Corps cannot afford to keep too many Marines in support or administrative jobs
at a time when they are badly needed to fill the battalions and squadrons. Marine
units in Japan also are considering hiring contractors for duties that don’t
require a Marine or a U.S. citizen with a security clearance. The Corps, for
example, needs more law-enforcement help. It is now short about 800 military
Military Training Programs Could See Cutbacks
Inter-service and coalition training exercises, as well as training-related
hardware projects are expected to see funding cuts in the 2005 defense budget.
Many of these projects are becoming “bill payers” of war-related
expenses, sources said.
Michael Wynne, the acting undersecretary for defense acquisition, logistics
and technology, acknowledged that the ongoing wars are forcing some rethinking
of budget priorities. “We take a lot of lessons learned from current operations,
and we are embedding them in our long-term strategies. … I would say that
it is causing us to examine very closely those things that are actually really
The Army, particularly, is watching long-term spending plans very closely.
According to one official, the Army should not assume that there will be continued
political will, post-Iraq, to spend additional billions of dollars to replace
and repair thousands of ground vehicles and aircraft. “After the conflict,
will there be an appetite to reset the force or will there be a push for a peace
dividend?” he asked.
—Reported by Sandra I. Erwin