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Profile Chris SProject donor
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Message 1183277 - Posted: 6 Jan 2012, 20:29:55 UTC
Last modified: 6 Jan 2012, 20:38:00 UTC

I'd note the rest of Europe is somewhat more pronounced in its rejection of the military than the UK.

Over the coming decade, I expect the US will reduce it's European military investment significantly -- that should thrill folks on the other side of the pond.


The basis upon which the UK undertook its 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was for two main reasons.
    1. The MOD budget simply couldn't afford to maintain the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force, at the then current levels of manpower and equipment.

    2. It was surmised that wars in the future would not be fought between two individual Nations, like the Falklands, but by a coalition of countries against a common enemy. Recent examples being Iraq and Libya. It was therefore concluded that the UK did not need its own independent military deterrent.

The SDSR (1) was a simply a cost cutting exercise, based upon the projections of (2)

If the Argentinians on their own, or with other South American Countries, chose to re-invade the Falklands and rename them the Malvinas, I doubt there is much the UK could now do about it. OK, it is common public knowledge that the UK has a number of Nuclear hunter-killer submarines at sea at any one time, all over the world, and including the South Atlantic Ocean. We might sink another Belgrano, but that would be about it.

The BAOR Germany is basically being shut down and disbanded, quite how it has lasted this long since WWII is amazing. Very much a white elephant.

As for the USA, well we are supposed to have this "special relationship" since 1945, which "forced" Blair to go into Iraq war against many UK wishes. If the USA, as is suggested, cuts back its European military investment, then that will in turn put a strain upon ongoing political dialogue.

Never mind Europe and the Western world, it is the Asian countries and their military build up, and intentions, that worry most of us .....

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Message 1183313 - Posted: 6 Jan 2012, 22:00:34 UTC - in response to Message 1183277.
Last modified: 6 Jan 2012, 22:02:19 UTC

Thanks for starting a new thread, I understand your preference for short and compact threads (I tend to wander myself -- that's my own comfort zone).

Further, the US is reducing its military investment as well -- to something like 4 to 6 times (as a proportion of GDP) of the European countries.

And that would be a good thing but, as you noted, other countries (ie non-European, non US countries) are increasing their investment -- China has company in this regard -- India for one. And in response to Iranian militarism, the Middle East (always inclined to high relative levels of military (or is it militant) response, have joined in the escalation.

Personally, I've no problem with the US reducing its defense budget, but find the reductions of defense spending in Europe, from an already quite low level, a bit troublesome.

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Message 1183500 - Posted: 7 Jan 2012, 15:54:51 UTC

The real problem with Defence budget has been the abysmal performance of the MOD (Ministry of Defence) in procurement, and I suspect similar problems ail the Pentagon. All major projects that I know of have been way over budget and late ( 5, 10, 15 years or even longer).

Most people tend to blame the politicians, but I believe the real problems lies with the bearaucrats. They are not with a project all the time as after two three years they get an automatic promotion and move on elsewhere. The new guy who comes in doesn't like what the first guy did, so starts to make changes. In 70s, most projects carried out on a cost plus basis, which of course is a recipe for being over budget.

In the 80s the Thatcher goverment( I may be wrong here) decided in future that projects would be fixed price, but somehow things did not improve. In fact it would seem have steadily gotten worse to point where the MOD is non functional.




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Message 1183515 - Posted: 7 Jan 2012, 17:16:58 UTC

Luigi you've hit the nail upon the head. The various Government Procurement Agencies, not just the MOD, but across the whole Civil Service as well, couldn't buy or sell a teacup in Petticoat Lane Market, without getting it wrong and losing money. How many times have we seen Millions of pounds of taxpayers money spent on overpriced stuff, only to see it sold off years later for a pittance of what it cost or was worth.

And there are a number of reasons for this. The rules state that any invitation to tender for whatever item, has to go to at least three approved suppliers, and then under the rules they HAVE to accept the lowest bid. This is a foolhardy strategy for two main reasons.

If you are an approved supplier it is a licence to print money, because they know that they are a member of a cosy club, so they simply front load it to maximise their profit. Or the opposite happens, a supplier will deliberately bid low as a loss leader, to gain further work in the future, then go bust as they can't produce the goods at the price quoted. In both cases the Taxpayer foots the bill.

Projects under the cost plus basis, or extra overs as it is known, allows suppliers to get paid for their own incompetence in the original bid, and during the contract. Fixed price contracts are not favoured because if the item being procured is that essential, then the Government and the tax payer has to bail the supplier out in the event of a problem.

I spent 25 years trying to convince procurement people of the validity of the "Rover Principle" based on vehicles but also applicable to anything else. They shouldn't buy Ford, it was cheap and cheerful but wouldn't last very long. They shouldn't buy Rolls Royce, it was too expensive for what it was. They SHOULD buy Rover, which gave an acceptable quality, a cost effective life, and good value for money.

I never won the battle and just gave up. The bean counters rule and that won't change in my lifetime.





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Message 1183521 - Posted: 7 Jan 2012, 17:33:52 UTC

I agree with the at least to some degree -- I worked at a defense contractor for 10 years back in the 70's and early 80's. The actual project work seemed quite proficient, but the amount of barely competent (if that) oversight which distracted and diverted resources was frustrating.

So, there certainly are structural issues in working with available funding. This probably is an issue that gets worse the greater a given country's investment in defense relative to its total economy. That is, it might well be more obvious first in the US (with its very high military investment) and then the UK with its lower military investment. But inefficiency as a proportion of the military investment reduction is probably a secondary factor in the rest of Europe. The issue there is simply a lack of investment at the start point.

I suppose it is an understandable reaction to the destruction of two shattering wars in the 20th century, followed by almost 50 years of 'umbrella support via a bipolar standoff. Still, there are stability risks out there, and my sense is that Europe by and large is rather disinclined to position (and pay) for a response to the instability risks.

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Message 1183822 - Posted: 8 Jan 2012, 18:11:41 UTC

The problem here is not the military itself. For every fighting man there is approx. 10 support staff (doctors,nurses, drivers etc). The military are mainly self contained units & most of the time, do an excellent job.

Whenever there are cuts, its always the forces themselves that are reduced BUT does one see the civilian staff cut?

No, because they are all civil servants & guaranteed their jobs & pensions. Start cutting back on those & one will be surprised at the amount of funds that will be available to the actual armed forces.
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Message 1183839 - Posted: 8 Jan 2012, 19:01:55 UTC - in response to Message 1183822.

The similar problem exists in corporate 'down-sizing' -- a reduction in force of say 10% reduces paid out salaries and compensation by less than 5% -- the actual working folks get cut, management finds a way to keep their jobs.




No, because they are all civil servants & guaranteed their jobs & pensions. Start cutting back on those & one will be surprised at the amount of funds that will be available to the actual armed forces.

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Message 1183842 - Posted: 8 Jan 2012, 19:12:59 UTC
Last modified: 8 Jan 2012, 19:13:23 UTC

Interesting reading ....

Proportions

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Message 1183886 - Posted: 8 Jan 2012, 22:26:01 UTC

That has always been the problem, more senior ranks than ships, aircraft or battalions to command.

One other reason for military equipment cost overruns is people not leaving the specifications alone, then building the first development without all the additional bells and whistles. The latter should be the second and third generation, if these are needed.
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Message 1183904 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 0:00:57 UTC - in response to Message 1183886.

Excellent point -- often enough contracts are bid on the original spec and at a low price -- make it up on the ECN (Engineering Change Notice).




One other reason for military equipment cost overruns is people not leaving the specifications alone, then building the first development without all the additional bells and whistles. The latter should be the second and third generation, if these are needed.

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Message 1184049 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 14:54:09 UTC

The reduction of military expenses it’s occurring all over Europe and not only in UK, for me this is a very serious point, as most of European countries are compromising the armed forces ability of operate.
It seems that Europe is still living with the Idea that the US will come to the rescue in the case of a military threat.
Unfortunately, If for some stupid reason, the UK has problems with the Falkland’s, I have serious doubts that the UK will be able to give a proper military response like has done in the 80ths’s.
The recent operations in Libya where the US only had a logistic role showed how fragile and uncoordinated the European armed forces are operating, in fact after a few days the bombers didn’t had any bombs and the US had to provide Europe with the proper ammunition so the combat missions could be carried out.
Europe still has to much trust in OTAN/NATO agreement, and that the US will respond to any threat in Europe, from the latest statements of Obama related to the defense us strategy Europe could not be more wrong.
Europe needs to build first a proper common defense policy and also to start thinking about having proper common defense armed forces.
Now with the ark royal being discontinued, and the Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales still being build at the shipyard, the royal navy has lost any blue water capability.
France continue to have problems with the carrier Charles de Gaule, and it’s operation capability still very dubious.
All other countries have only brown water capability, what seems to poor.
In conclusion, the European leaders all over Europe are not seeing investment in the armed forces as an important thing, and think that Europe will be invulnerable to any military action.
I think this idea is incorrect, armed forces have two roles, one to defend from external threats other against internal enemies, it’s proven that in times of extreme crisis, only the armed forces are capable and are organize to operate.
Europe, and with this European politicians, need to have the courage and to assume that a strong common defense system is possible, and that the US will not be watching over them like a daddy, as has been doing since WWII.
Without vision europe will have serious problems in the future.

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Message 1184053 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 15:39:10 UTC

It seems that Europe is still living with the Idea that the US will come to the rescue in the case of a military threat.


Maybe, but it should not be forgotten that in the Iraq war, President Bush wheeled out the "Special Relationship" with the UK, as one of the means to convince Blair to join forces with the USA. The inference being no reciprocal support in the future if we didn't.

Don't forget also that the BAOR is being brought home. Thousands of tanks have been kept in readiness since WWII, and with the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, there is seen as no continuing need.

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Message 1184067 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 16:34:15 UTC
Last modified: 9 Jan 2012, 16:37:55 UTC

Back in the mid 1960's, when LBJ was increasing spending on both the welfare state of his 'Great Society' set of programs and on the military with his escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam War, a common thread of political discussion was that we could afford both 'guns' AND 'butter'.

As we start the new year, here in the 2010's, it is rapidly becoming clear that we can, in a very real sense, afford neither 'guns' NOR 'butter'.

The government's budget deficits are eating us alive, and taxes are too high (to the point of being punitive). Spending must be cut. But, even if we did the VERY unwise measure of cutting ALL military spending it would still not be enough to end the deficit. Enough cuts in only social programs to remove the deficit would provoke at the least massive civil unrest, if not actual civil war.

Sometime last year, I proposed a 50%, across the board, cut in ALL spending. Combine that with elimination of ALL tax deductions, exemptions, credits, and any other special interest stuff in the tax code. Make it a truly flat tax at a reasonable rate. Everyone pays the EXACT same rate. This would give the bottom 50% of taxpayers that currently pay no income tax, and even worse the bottom 25% of taxpayers that currently pay a negative income tax, some 'skin in the game' to restrain spending, with the lion's share of the taxes still being paid by the wealthy. Add to the mix a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that forbids deficit spending except during a war with a foreign nation that is properly declared by Congress, AND with ongoing active hostilities.

Dedicate the budget surplus to paying down the national debt. Interest on the debt isn't really affordable now, even with interest rates at or very near historic lows. The Fed is keeping them artificially low. If interest rates returned to double-digit territory such as they were during the Carter presidency, great would be the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Even if none of this is done, there are various automatic triggers that have kicked in that will drastically cut our military spending. We need all of our remaining war toys back here at home to do what they are ultimately for... to defend ourselves. For decades since WWII, we have been providing much of the defense for a good-sized chunk of the world, especially Europe. We can no longer afford it. Europe needs to handle its own defense bidnizz. I sincerely doubt that the USA will be able to help much in Europe the next time a crazy Austrian decides he wants to own all of Europe, like we did the last time.

Moral of the story: Don't bring horse Calvary to a tank fight, like Poland did back in 1939. You will lose.
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Message 1184083 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 17:27:47 UTC - in response to Message 1184067.

Federal taxes, as a proportion of GDP are at their lowest rate in over 60 years. I would not describe that as punitive. I agree that spending in various areas (including the military) should be cut. But suggesting that taxes are punitive sounds the mantra set forth by Faux and Norquist has been taken up without inspection here.


The government's budget deficits are eating us alive, and taxes are too high (to the point of being punitive).

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Message 1184191 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 22:33:26 UTC - in response to Message 1184083.

Federal taxes, as a proportion of GDP are at their lowest rate in over 60 years. I would not describe that as punitive. I agree that spending in various areas (including the military) should be cut. But suggesting that taxes are punitive sounds the mantra set forth by Faux and Norquist has been taken up without inspection here.


The government's budget deficits are eating us alive, and taxes are too high (to the point of being punitive).




Well, BarryAZ, there you go again....

Well, comparatively speaking, taxes ARE at a punitive level now. While the economy might be able to better tolerate taxes during good, boom times, right now as we are struggling with recovering from the worst economic furball since the Great Depression (at least according to politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington, it is), they are exceedingly high. And even in the best of times, high taxes do put a brake on the economy. Let us examine the data behind one of your favorite metrics.

Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist.pdf -- Table 1.2, pages 24 and 25.

Year Total receipts as % of GDP
1930 4.2
1931 3.7
1932 2.8
1933 3.5
1934 4.8
1935 5.2
1936 5.0
1937 6.1
1938 7.6
1939 7.1
1940 6.8
1941 7.6
1942 10.1
1943 13.3
1944 20.9
1945 20.4

2010 14.9 (the last year that is not an estimate in the table)

The average from 1930 to 2010 is about 15.9%.

The 2010 total receipts as a % of GDP is about 1% lower than the average value for this time period, ok, true. BUT the 2010 value is about double what it was during the Great Depression, and we did not surpass our current value until AFTER WWII had been going on for over 2 years in 1944.

Remember, taxes act as a brake on the economy. Taxes on businesses reduce profits, which reduces money available for expansion. Supply of goods and services and demand for labor does not increase as fast or as much under higher taxes as it would under lower taxes. So higher business taxes produce higher prices for goods and services and lower wages.

Taxes on individuals reduce the money that individuals have to spend on goods and services and to invest. This reduces the demand for goods and services and the overall investment pool businesses need to expand. The net result of this is lower business profits and lower wages.

Budget deficits drain money out of the investment pool as the government needs to sell treasury bonds/bills to pay for the deficits. Again, this produces lower business profits and lower wages, not to mention the increasing interest payments reduce the portion of what the government takes in it has to spend on everything else.

Ever wonder why wages have virtually stagnated over the last several decades? High taxes, that is why. The brake on the economy caused by the taxes has outweighed gains in worker productivity.

We need to drastically cut spending across the board, today. We need to run a sizable budget surplus so that we can pay down the national debt to free up money from interest payments in the future. And we need to do a drastic overhaul on the tax structure to both decrease rates, AND quit punishing the unpardonable sin of being a successful individual or business.

The title of another thread is 'who is to blame'...

If you believe in a massive government tax-and-spend policy, and if we can't extort enough money from taxes on the populace then just print more, then *YOU* are to blame for the mess we are currently in.

Now, some amount of government is necessary... Along with the small amount of taxation necessary to fund it. But this bloated mess we have now is an abomination.

We have three choices at this time. We can do nothing to solve the status quo and pass the problem on to the future where undoubtedly it will be even more painful to solve.

Or, we can do *part* of what I propose, and it would undoubtedly make things worse. Remember how everyone says that 'Reaganomics' didn't work? It was not totally implemented. Sure, Congress agreed to the tax cuts. But they absolutely refused the required spending cuts. This made the deficit worse, which over time brought on a host of problems.

Or, we can do all of what it takes, as I have outlined it, and work together towards a more prosperous future.

If anyone tells you that all these steps are not necessary, they have a vested interest in the status quo, and are lying to you.
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Message 1184193 - Posted: 9 Jan 2012, 22:56:20 UTC - in response to Message 1184191.

Major, I didn't note 80 years, I noted 60 years.

From that same table for 2010 - 14.9%. The last time that number was less than 15% was 1950. You might note that was 60 (Sixty) years ago. (This is GDP tax receipts).

I accept that the projects show an increase (since the 2001 tax cuts go away without any action after this year).

Further (I believe this is correct) the numbers include Social Security and Medicare payments -- these clearly have increased big time as. (from near 0 for Social Security and absolute 0 for Medicare) in the past 60 years.

I agree that 70 years ago and before (ie before WW II) the numbers were much lower indeed. I guess I'd submit the world and the economy and government were very much different back then.

I suppose if you define taxes (including Social Security) of 15% as punitive, then indeed the current federal taxes are punitive. But then, that describes taxes under the last two years of the Truman, all of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama as all including punitive taxes. Here we probably differ in our opinions since I don't.

The thing is, for the past 60 years, the per cent of GDP has shifted between 15% and a bit over 20%. Further, the distribution of taxes (primarily since the Reagan 'revolution' has shifted (particularly once you include social security, and health coverage taxes) to the lower and middle class (since payroll taxes for social security do start at dollar 0 for income).

But enough of this sub-thread - we should be talking about military investment(expenditure) investment.

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Message 1184216 - Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 3:08:10 UTC

nice numbers. Needless to say our standing army was pathetic at the start of WWII. We still had actual horse cavalry into the late 1930's Here is the "tank" we used up until the beginning of the war.Notice that taxes began rising after the beginning of the Pacific war and stayed elevated past the end of WWII. Lets not forget we were spending a bundle rebuilding the Europe we just firebombed.

You'd think we'd have remembered something like that before we bombed Iraq into the dark ages by destroying water treatment plant and power plants used for civilian use. But hey whats One big ass war crime among conquerers.

The long story short to be a world power you have to spend like a world power. Ask the Brits, the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, and the Spanish how much it cost to be world powers. It takes a large amount of money. We went from an isolationist country prior to WWII to one that was paying people to agree with us. Nukes didn't hurt as a bargaining chip.

BTW nuclear research isn't cheap and its best to keep your nazi labor happy elstwise you find they are selling their knowledge to the highest bidder.
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But let me jump back to Germany. Wanna know what they've always done right? Education and research. Why do you think so many parts of the body are named for Germans? Science(Technology) and Money make you a leader. The Germans make us look stupid because we spend all our money developing new and interesting ways to kill someone in combat and they are spending their money developing their collective educational minds.

That's right I said it. Americans are fools. We bitch when we can't get the biggest TV yet aren't bright enough to stick it out in college get a degree that will easily pay for itself. Lets build minds people.
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Message 1184232 - Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 4:32:19 UTC - in response to Message 1184216.

That's right I said it. Americans are fools. We bitch when we can't get the biggest TV yet aren't bright enough to stick it out in college get a degree that will easily pay for itself. Lets build minds people.

Just like the idiot woman at the Christmas give away an acquaintance runs. Poverty give away at a Church in the middle of the ghetto - South Central LA. Woman stands in line for two hours to get free gifts for her kids. She is given one present for each kid and nice ones too. She turns to the gentleman running the give away and bitches and screams that it isn't enough. That she wasted all her time for nothing. Entitlement mentality. Yes, American's are fools for letting people like this leach off them year after year. Sink or swim. Best damn lesson that can be taught. Survival of the fit.

Sorry for getting away from the military.


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Message 1184889 - Posted: 13 Jan 2012, 4:28:03 UTC - in response to Message 1183277.


As for the USA, well we are supposed to have this "special relationship" since 1945, which "forced" Blair to go into Iraq war against many UK wishes. If the USA, as is suggested, cuts back its European military investment, then that will in turn put a strain upon ongoing political dialogue.


Don't feel special. It was against the wishes of 80+% of Americans too.

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Message 1185016 - Posted: 13 Jan 2012, 18:44:33 UTC - in response to Message 1184232.

That's right I said it. Americans are fools. We bitch when we can't get the biggest TV yet aren't bright enough to stick it out in college get a degree that will easily pay for itself. Lets build minds people.

Just like the idiot woman at the Christmas give away an acquaintance runs. Poverty give away at a Church in the middle of the ghetto - South Central LA. Woman stands in line for two hours to get free gifts for her kids. She is given one present for each kid and nice ones too. She turns to the gentleman running the give away and bitches and screams that it isn't enough. That she wasted all her time for nothing. Entitlement mentality. Yes, American's are fools for letting people like this leach off them year after year. Sink or swim. Best damn lesson that can be taught. Survival of the fit.

Sorry for getting away from the military.


Lets also not forget that these actions aren't self taught. We learn from each other and from what we watch on TV. I laugh when comedied imitate real life some now think this is how things are in reality because they've seen the behavior on film or TV. Or worse yet on some stupid tabloidish show
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