If you have been a long time reader here, you will know that one of my pet peeves is that the Navy has more flag officers than it has ships. A few years ago I picked a fight with one of the Naval Institute's "preferred customers" on this very subject.
Well, it took them a while, but it appears the United States Senate agrees with me:
Sometimes when things aren’t going well, there’s an urge to purge—and Congress seems to be reaching that point with the U.S. military, sputtering along in Afghanistan and Iraq after more than a decade of inconclusive fighting. Late last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee sent a shiver through the Pentagon when it proposed a 25% cut in the number of generals and admirals fighting the nation’s wars.
That’s 222 of the Defense Department’s 886 generals and admirals. “This provision is necessary because the size of the general and flag officer corps has become increasingly out of balance with the size of the force it leads,” the committee said in its summary of the action it wants to take in the 2017 defense budget. “Over the past 30 years, the end-strength of the joint force has decreased 38%, but the ratio of four-star officers to the overall force has increased by 65%,” said the committee, chaired by Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., a son and grandson of Navy admirals.
Part of the problem is that every time a major problem is discovered, rather than forcing the system to work the way it was supposed to; witness Uncle Vern's many screwed up reorganizations and the whole creation of CNIC; the services just created another command. Thus we have Cybercom being created, Stratcom brought into existence, Africom, 4th fleet, etc, etc, etc…
You have 1 stars doing the work of CAPT's, CAPT's doing the work commanders should be doing, and worst of all GS-15's running divisions that should be run by military.
The whole thing is a mess-and I stand by my arguments from 2011. Michael Junge remains 100% wrong.
This week has been so full of information, I don’t know if I can remember any more. Important safety tip-make sure when you accept a job you are not going to work for engineers!
Thus my current prediciment. I have found out the people that I will be working for and whose interests I will be representing -are primarily engineers. The problem with that? I am not an engineer. Therefore I do not have an abiding fascintation with how the electrons in a radar beam get to a target. My interest is simply that they do, the target gets destroyed, and I get to the bar before 5pm.
So you can see my concern-these guys are smart-I’m not so smart, technically. Never have been. There was a reason my minor was in political science and my Masters was in International Relations. These guys have been knee deep in the hard core technical stuff for years and they are very good at what they do.
Out of here tomorrow and back to Shopping Mall. Like that is going to be an improvement. I need a vision of Hari’s! That’s not happening any time soon.
However on the good news side-the Secretary of the Air Force got fired. And the Chief of Staff. Is this a great country or what?
The Patriot Express is running again. Much to every-one’s chagrin who actually has to take the plane.
The Patriot Express is the name of the Air Mobility Command charter plane that runs from LAX to the bases in Japan. For several years now the AMC was trying to kill the service in order to save money. For equally as many years the Navy and Marine Corps have whined and whined about the need to keep the service running. I’ve never understood why. For someone PCS’ing out of Japan having to take the aircraft was nothing but a royal pain in the ass. Same is true if you were coming into Japan PCS.
At least in this interation it is being run by Northwest-so perhaps the experience of the traveler is better than it used to be. Before it was run by lowest bidder airlines, left at an ugodly hour from the states and arrived at a bad time over here. Any one who could work the system did-to avoid having to use it. ( I know because I was one of those people).
Arriving at Yokota from Okinawa on Thursday, Staff Sgt. Angelo Bryant said Northwest’s Patriot Express was problem-free and things ran “really smooth” even though he had four small children in tow.
“Compared to riding in the back of a [military aircraft], this was heaven,” he said.
Maybe-but you have an entitlement to an commercial air ticket that does not cost much more than the Express does. And I’ll bet would have made your travel time a lot less and more comfortable.
Problem is, it is still the USAF and AMC running the boarding and debarking, and you still have to show up 4 and 1/2 hours before your flight. So that you can sit around and log J-time in the terminal. Even having to go to Narita by bus is not that bad.
If one is stationed in the Kanto Plain there is no benefit to using the aircraft. For Misawa based personnel there is some, less so for Iwakuni and or Kadena based personnel. Flying into and out of Osaka pretty much negates any advantage of using the aircraft for those folks. And, as I mentioned-the advantage of being able to go direct to the East Coast outweighs any other advantage that taking the aircraft creates-if one is moving to the East Coast. (Or east of Denver…).
So this is nothing to celebrate. The thing to celebrate is the day that AMC and the USAF cancels the route for good.
Refueling American ships is not the only thing the JSDF is going to stop doing. They are going to stop flying US cargo. I say good, its about time the USAF was made to own up to the truth.
Namely that it has enough airlift here in Asia-but it is horribly mismanaged. This quote for the a USAF officer is pretty amazing when you think of it.
Graham said losing Operation Freedom Lift will mean an increase in payloads on Air Force planes, primarily those at Yokota and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
“This just relieved us of some of the load of what we had to take down there,” he added. “Now, there’s another load we’re going to have to pick up. Does it stop the mission? No. But every partner we have helping is an important piece.”
Why? Most cargo under 150 pounds can be moved at a cheaper cost using DHL or Yamato Takubin. To get heavier items to Iwakuni they can be overnight trucked from distribution points in Japan and cut out the Yokota middleman.
The USAF does not offer enough airlift of either pax or cargo between Guam and / or Korea so too many pax go commercial. Which is just as well because the commercial tickets actually prove to be cheaper in some cases than what the USAF charges.
Which is really what makes this little exchange the lie that it is. The simple fact is that if the USAF would be more flexible and not charge an arm and a leg to other components it could move all the cargo requirements in Japan and have capacity to spare.
The airlift crews do a great job generally. They are underutilized though and the thing really falls apart in its administrative piece because of stupid USAF rules. The worst part is that the JASDF folks were just as inflexible as their USAF counterparts. Ask anyone who used their services going down to Iwo Jima. They could have learned it from only on place. Another Mission Canceled (and charged!).
That’s the inconvenient truth they don’t want you to know. Gotta have money for those F-22’s!
Middle of the road kind of guy. Love living in Asia and will be back there as soon as I can. I lived 8 and a half grand and glorious years in Asia traveling from one end to the other and generally having a really good time. Despite my best efforts to stay, I was "Quantum Leaped" to a 3 and 1/2 year exile in the USA to pay for my sins - suffering through the lunacy that is life in the American South. I am now back overseas, living the expat life again, working my way around the world- taking the long way home to Asia via the path of living in Germany. Like Dr. Samuel Beckett, I am hoping my next leap will be the leap that brings me home to Asia. Always on the lookout for my next ex-wife.