The Congressional House Armed Services Committee slammed the White House and Obama earlier this month for saying completely opposite different things on military readiness showing that the White House either doesn’t know how to properly address and lead on the issue or that they purposefully don’t want to.
The Committee send out an email on May 9th, with the following which exposes a dramatically hypocritical position:
On Friday, the White House Press Secretary described House efforts to restore military readiness as “grossly irresponsible.” House efforts to invest in readiness in the near term, while providing the next administration the flexibility to determine their own strategy and funding for ongoing operations are very similar to the approach a Democrat-led Congress took in 2008. President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, and Senator Sanders all voted for this approach. (Senate Roll Call Numbers 161, 162; H.R. 2642; June 26, 2008)
- While the White House spins from the podium, here is a snapshot of our Military’s readiness crisis:
- Of the 271 strike aircraft across the Marine Corps, 87 are available for flight operations.
- Last year, the Navy had a significant carrier gap in the Persian Gulf.
- Army units are not achieving equipment maintenance standards due to OPTEMPO constraints.
- The Air Force is short 4,000 maintainers and more than 700 fighter pilots this year.
What brought this about?
The White House Press Secretary has described a readiness solution that Obama actually voted for in the past as “grossly irresponsible.” The attack on Obama came after he approved an insufficient readiness plan for the second time during his presidency.
The solution recently approved by the Obama administration is strikingly similar to the solution passed in 2008 that led to the current readiness crisis. The House Press Secretary believes it will continue to negatively affect our military and blames Obama for passing a blatantly ineffective solution. A lack of funding, resources and personnel are leading the military’s “readiness” down a steady path of decline.
Years of budget cuts and troop cuts are starting to have a visible effect on our military. Cannibalizing, or tearing apart similar aircraft to salvage the parts, has become a common practice. Air planes that are supposed to fly for 6,000 hours are having their lifespans extended to 8,000 hours to accommodate the lack of new aircraft and aircraft parts being supplied to our soldiers. One service member provided this analogy to Fox News to describe the predicament:
“Imagine taking a 1995 cadillac and trying to make it a ferrari.”
Experts blame the lack of readiness on wars that lasted longer than originally planned, an ever-aging air fleet and massive budget cuts. The Marine Corps air fleet has been severely effected. Only 30% of their F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters and 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are air-ready. This is in part due to the U.S. Military budget dropping from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015.
Marines have been so desperate for parts that they have scavenged parts from aircraft on display in museums rather than wait the standard 18 months it takes to receive specific parts. They have recently gone as far as taking a door from a display aircraft located on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown.
The constant repairs have forced operational units to take on some of the responsibilities of maintaining the aircraft. This has caused pilots, who should be using the time to practice flying the aircraft, to spend their time performing standard maintenance procedures on the planes. Several service members claim that this gives an edge to Chinese and Russian pilots who are now flying more hours than their U.S. counterparts.
In 2014 Fox News traveled to several Marine Aviation Squadrons to interview service members on the issue. The video can be seen below.
How can we end continued budget cuts to our military forces? Share your ideas in the comment section below!