Defense Issues

Military and general security

  • Follow Defense Issues on
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 272 other followers

  • December 2012
    M T W T F S S
  • Categories

Archive for December, 2012

Decoding US military spending for the 2013

Posted by picard578 on December 29, 2012

Many US neoconservatives are concerned about “disastrous” defense budget cuts proposed for 2013. by the Obama administration. Thus, I have decided to check how high defense-related spending really will be even after the cuts.

Let’s start with this document. First value is “Department of Defense – Military”. Quite straightforward, and it gives 613.916.000.000,00 USD.

Further, “Atomic energy defense activities” adds 17.975.000.000,00 USD. “Defense-related activities” add,00 USD. Total of above is 639.059.000.000,00 USD.

Now there is “Mandatory spending”. There, “DoD-Military” adds 6.344.000.000,00 USD. “Atomic energy defense activities” adds 1.444.000.000,00 USD. “Defense-related activities” adds 574.000.000,00 USD.

Grand total of above is 647.421.000.000,00 USD of direct military spending.


In “International Affairs”, “International Security Assistance” adds,00 USD, plus 143.000.000,00 USD of discretionary spending.

As such, direct defense spending is 661.619.000.000,00 USD.


“Foreign military sales trust fund” adds,00 USD. “Naval petroleum reserves operations” adds 15.000.000,00 USD.

“DoD Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund” adds 9.727.000.000,00 USD. “Armed forces retirement home” adds 68.000.000,00 USD. “Military retirement” adds 54.759.000.000,00 USD.

In “Veterans benefits and services”, discretionary spending comes to,00 USD, whereas mandatory spending comes to 76.532.000.000,00 USD. Total for “Veterans benefits and services” is thus 137.734.000.000,00 USD.

Interest on military retirement is,00 USD. That on “DoD retiree health-care fund” is 7.430.000.000,00 USD.

Total defense-related spending according to above would be 902.779.000.000,00 USD




Second section gives same data, but different figures.


Discretionary spending for National Defense is as follows: “Department of Defense – Military”: 666.154.000.000,00 USD. There is also,00 USD for “Atomic energy defense activities” and 7.596.000.000,00 USD for Defense-related activities.

Mandatory spending is 6.721.000.000 USD for “Department of Defense – Military”, 1.444.000.000,00 USD for “Atomic energy defense activities” and 574.000.000,00 USD for “Defense-related activities”.

Additional,00 go for “International security assistance”, 6.470.000.000,00 for “Department of Energy science programs”, 24.000.000,00 for “Naval petroleum reserves operations”,,00 for DoD Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund, 83.000.000,00 for “Armed forces retirement home”, 54.561.000.000,00 for “Military retirement”,,00 for “Veterans benefits and services”.

Above results in sum of 927.436.000.000 USD for defense related spending, producing interest (with 3,15% interest rate) of USD.


This document gives total direct defense spending as 702.217.000.000 USD, and total defense-related spending as 956.650.000.000 USD.


According to this document, total DoD spending is 672.879.000.000 USD for direct military spending.

However, Department of Energy defense-related activities add USD, Department of Homeland Security adds USD, Department of Veteran Affairs adds 139.742.000.000 USD, Military Retirement adds 54.561.000.000,00 USD, health care adds,00 USD, educational benefits add 164.000.000,00 USD, Armed Forces Retirement Home adds 68.000.000,00 USD, and Other Defense Civil Programs add,00 USD.

Foreign military financing programs add 6.556.000.000,00 USD, Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability program adds 640.000.000,00 USD, International Military Education and Training adds 104.000.000,00 USD, Peacekeeping operations add 416.000.000,00 USD, Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining, and Related Programs add 604.000.000,00 USD, Global Security Contingency Fund adds 30.000.000,00 USD, Military Sales add,00 USD.

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board adds,00 USD. Intelligence Community Management Account adds 553.000.000,00 USD, United States court for appeals of veteran claims adds 38.000.000,00 USD.

Department of Homeland Security adds further 55.345.000.000,00 USD. Total is thus 1.029.534.000.000 USD.


This document gives total direct defense spending as 672.879.000.000 USD, and total defense-related spending as 1.029.534.000.000 USD.


To these figures, one should add 97 billion USD – how much is war in Afghanistan projected to cost in 2013 – and DoD share of interest on debt (21%; entire interest is 268 billion USD, which makes for 56,28 billion USD).


To sum up:





DoD – Military: 666.154.000.000,00 USD

Atomic energy defense activities:,00 USD

Defense-related activities: 7.596.000.000,00 USD



DoD – Military: 6.721.000.000,00 USD

Atomic energy defense activities: 1.444.000.000,00 USD

Defense-related activities: 574.000.000,00 USD


Total: 702.217.000.000,00 USD




International security assistance:,00 USD

Naval petroleum reserve operations: 24.000.000,00 USD

DoD Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund:,00 USD

Armed forces retirement home: 83.000.000,00 USD

Military retirement: 54.561.000.000,00 USD

Veterans benefits and services:,00 USD

Health care:,00 USD

Educational benefits: 164.000.000,00 USD

Other Defense Civil Programs:,00 USD

Intelligence Community Management Account: 553.000.000,00 USD

Court of Appeals of Veteran Claims: 38.000.000,00 USD

Departments’ defense spending:

– Department of Energy:,00 USD

– Department of Homeland Security: 55.345.000.000,00 USD

– Department of Veteran Affairs: 139.742.000.000,00 USD


– Military Retirement:,00 USD

– DoD retiree health-care fund: 7.430.000.000,00 USD

– DoD share of interest on debt: USD

War in Afghanistan:,00 USD


Total related: 603.276.000.000,00 USD


Total US defense spending request for 2013:

895.527.000.000,00 USD as absolute lowest

1.361.773.000.000,00 USD absolute maximum

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Fast food industry – a threat for national security

Posted by picard578 on December 22, 2012

While people talk about US national security, health care and funds for these, they usually ignore impact that food industry and health education have on them. Yet this impact is large: in 2010, 37,5% of all US adults were obese, and thus illegible for military service. In fact, 23,3% of all applicants are disqualified for being obese. And while US military as-is does not have problem with meeting quota due to unemployment, obesity does impair country’s ability to defend itself. Furthermore, it harms economy, and causes whole new set of expenses to fall on taxpayers. And it is predicted that by 2030, 42% of Americans will be obese.

This report shows that Medicare per-capita spending for obese person is 1.429 USD per year above that for non-obese person in 2010 USD, which translates into 1.535 USD in 2012. This translates into per-year expenditure of 56,8 billion USD just for treating obesity. At least 7 billion USD of that figure is spent on drugs. Just military health insurance system (TRICARE) pays 1,1 billion USD each year for obesity-related health care – which is around half of its annual budget.

190,5 billion USD are spent annually to treat diabetes. While obesity is not the sole cause of diabetes, 30,9% of people with diabetes are either overweight or obese, with obese accounting for 21,1% and overweight 9,8%. As such, obesity could account for up to 30 billion USD of the figure.

Obesity is a problem also because obese people (and, as I have shown before, 35,3% of military-aged males are obese) are not fit for military service. Thus a pool of people from whom military can recruit in need is reduced. In fact, US generals have called junk food a “national security threat”.

It isn’t only US problem. In South Europe, traditional Mediterranean diet of fresh fruit, fish, vegetables and olive oil – one of healthiest in the world – is disappearing under the relentless onslaught of fast food. In European countries, between 10 and 30% of adults were obese. Probably unsurprisingly, Scandinavian and South European countries fared better than others so far, but how long will it last?

So, what can be done about it?

One of main reasons fast food is popular is because it is cheap (not so much in Croatia, but still far cheaper than fish for example). That is a problem, since neoliberal policies have created a large number of very poor and small number of very rich people, with middle class slowly but surely disappearing from US social scene.

Second reason is that it is readily avaliable. In Europe, it is just as easy to find fast food restaurant or pizzeria than a bakery or small shop – in United States, it is probably far easier. Worse, it is found in or near the educational institutions, such as schools and faculties, breeding bad eating habits from early age – literally creating children addicts.

Third, parents are twice as likely to buy fast food if it was advertised by a celebrity. In fact, fast food companies pay 1 million USD per celebrity. As such, sport and other (super)stars should be banned from advertising fast food. In fact, more than half of kids try particular fast food after they have seen it being advertised, with fifth doing it because it was advertised by a celebrity. Just as worryingly, fast food companies specifically target children, in order to make fast food addicts out of them.

Fourth, fast food is filled with aditives, most of which are designed to do what their name suggests – create a chemical addiction (not unlike heroine or cocaine) to a certain food.

Fifth, and probably most important, traditional family is being broken down. If both parents are forced to spend entire day working, they do not have time to prepare healthy meals, and as such have to turn to readily-avaliable food: fast food and sweets. Since shaping of basic habits – eating habits, work habits etc. – is done at young age, lack of parental care often results in unhealthy eating habits. In traditional family, grandparents would have taken care of the child; but already-mentioned breakdown of traditional family means that they are often not around to do it, and fast food provides a cheap and easy solution.

Further, many schools have banned carrying food from home – replacing it instead with food that “reaches nutritional standards”. Such food, in most cases, lacks basic nutritients and is outright dangerous (chicken nuggets being an example). Other schools, due to the lack of funding, have to prepare fast food.

What this means for the Western militaries is that their pool of recruits is likely to get even smaller in the future, and funds harder to get by as health care expenses rise. And while US military has so large budget it is literally drowning itself in money, health education is almost nonexistent.

Also, it has been suggested that fast food reduces intelligence, by around 2 points – and even if it does not, US Appleton school has proven that low-fat, low-sugar food based around whole greens, fresh fruits, vegetables and no beef, as well as no baking, improves performance in school because children find it easier to focus. As such, military’s pool of highly qualified recruits is going to get ever lower.

It must be understood that preventing problem is both far cheaper and far more effective than solving it afterwards. Thus, fast food problem cannot be ignored. It does not represent only a social risk – it is a serious security risk for any country, and has to be dealt with accordingly. Unfortunately, fast food companies’ lobbysts have, as did defense industry lobbysts on issue of ineffective weapons, made sure there will be no major changes. These lobbysts have friends in US conservative political scene, according to which Government should only provide for defense. However, that is illogical – Government’s business is to take care of the state, which involves handling all security threats – including fast food industry. And while US are making moves to combat obesity, conservatives are mocking these moves, clearly showing that they do not care about US national security, but only about corporate accounts. Addict has to have a professional help to recover. Kid must be taught how to choose right food – and it must be given a choice.

But it must be done in correct way. For exaple, while Coca-Cola with its high sugary content certainly isn’t good for health, Diet Cola is far worse, replacing mostly natural composition of original Coca-Cola with artificial ingridients.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 18 Comments »

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.

Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.

Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.

While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply lie in order to make torture stop, if even for a moment.

It is even more detrimental in long term: during Iraq occupations, soldiers have often observed that, if they caught and tortured someone not harboring any ill will towards the occupational forces, that quickly changed. Abu Ghraib prison has become seed-plot for resistance fighters, while tactics used by US and Iraqi troops in hunting potentional Taliban fighters have increased number of Taliban even more.

In fact, when torture has been used on people who have previously cooperated, in effort to either get more information or confirm information already given, it has failed. It also has a long history of failure, hailling from Middle Ages at the very least.

If person can be made to talk with normal methods, they will; if it doesn’t work, torture won’t work either. 90% of intelligence comes from spying, collaborators and similar sources, and even in case of remaining 10%, Colonel Stuart Herrington said that 9 out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk without the stress methods at all.

In fact, FBI documents from US naval base of Guantanamo Bay show that a prisoner who has been tortured by military intelligence has started cooperating with FBI, but would be uncooperative whenever military personnel were nearby.

Use of torture can be seen as a sign of institutional and moral decay of the side using it, and it in itself accelerates that decay by helping to turn country into the police state.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

AIM-120D vs MBDA Meteor

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Design requirements

AIM-120 was started as a project to replace painfully ineffective AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-54 Phoenix (which are only effective against heavy bombers and (in case of later-iteration AIM-54) non-maneuvering fighters). It was to be relatively small BVR missile, so as to be able to be carried by the F-16.

Meteor is a result of joint European project to develop BVR missile to replace BAe Dynamics Skyflash. It was to be capable of shooting down a variety of targets, including low-RCS UAVs and cruise missiles, as well as maneuvering fighters of Flanker family. Another requirement was compatibility with Typhoon’s semi-recessed fuselage hardpoints, originally designed for AIM-120.


AIM-120D is a further evolution of US AIM-120 BVR AAM series. It uses classic fuel+oxygen combustion mix, and does not rely on air flow from outside. In fact, it uses the same engine as AIM-120C, with improvements being mainly in electronics. However, it has been reported that engine malfunctions in cold environments – exactly where it is most likely to be used.

Meteor is a ramjet BVR AAM. As such, it does not carry onboard oxygen, but rather uses oxygen from surrounding air, allowing it to hold more fuel. Result is better acceleration, top speed, and range for a given missile size.

While Meteor may not have as large maximum range as AIM-120D (only figure I have for Meteor is “more than 100 km”, with 100 km being “optimal range”, versus public figure of 160 km for AIM-120D), it is faster, and thus more deadly at any range it can reach. This is important, as BVR missiles are never fired at maximum range due to meager Pk against fighter aircraft. However, range varies on altitude, with best range for both missile types being achieved in high-altitude rare-atmosphere conditions, where maneuverability is almost nonexistent; at sea level, range is not much more than visual. Velocity loss after burn-out also varies with altitude, with 25% of current velocity being lost every 150 s at 24 km, 25 s at 12 km and 5 s at sea level.

Range can be reduced even further if enemy uses jammers. Thus, large NEZ (no-escape zone) is far more important. (To explain terminology here, NEZ is NOT a zone where a hit is guaranteed; rather, it is a zone where enemy aircraft cannot outrun missile, waiting for it to run out of fuel, but rather has to outturn it). Higher speed allows it to reduce time to target, and thus opponent’s reaction time, as well as to retain energy for longer after engine has burned out.

In fact, Meteor’s NEZ was to be three times as large as that of AIM-120B. Active version of missile is equipped with radar Aster, designed to shoot down cruise missiles, which thus can be used against targets with low RCS.

However, both missiles are BVR, making their actual value questionable. In fact, jamming and IFF issues mean that BVR missiles are far more likely to be used as a WVR weapon than in their intended purpose. While AIM-120 did achieve 6 BVR kills out of 13 firings, all but one were against non-maneuvering targets with no ECM and no awareness of missile. By comparing difference in Pk between maneuvering and non-maneuvering targets for AIM-9, it can be concluded that AIM-120 will achieve Pk of at most 11%; however, it is larger and heavier than AIM-9, as well as more vulnerable to countermeasures, so even that is an optimistic estimate.

EDIT: Meteor is estimated to have a range of 250-300 km with ballistic flight path, which suggests an improvement over initially cited goal. That being said, best option is to wait for performance figures after it enters service.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Vympel R-27

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Vympel R-27 is a Russian medium-range missile, normally used by Flanker and Fulcurum families of aircraft (Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35 are called Flankers and MiG-29, MiG-35 are called Fulcrums by NATO).




Length: 4,08 m

Speed: Mach 4

Warhead: 39 kg

Range: 200 m – 80 km

Fuzes: radar proximity and impact

Launch platform: Fulcrum (MiG-29, MiG-35) and Flanker (Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35) family aircraft; MiG-23, Yak-141



R-27R – semi-active radar homing

R-27T – infrared homing

R-27ER – semi-active radar homing

R-27ET – infrared homing

R-27AE – active radar homing

R-27EM – semi-active radar homing, naval version

R-27P – passive anti-radiation

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Canada may cancel F-35 purchase

Posted by picard578 on December 8, 2012

Federal Government cancels F-35 purchase

It seems that Canada has had it enough with F-35s cost increases, performance shortfalls and defense decisions that have nothing to do with actual defense.

After Chief of Defence Staff Thomas Lawson was called before the comittee, Canada has cancelled its F-35 purchase. Decision is especially important since Canada is one of members of consortium producing the F-35 strike aircraft. As such, its decision could make other members cancel or reduce their own orders of stealthy strike aircraft, starting a reduction avalance and burying F-35 programme.

Actual Canadian cost estimates for F-35s life cycle are 30 billion USD for 30 years. Evaluation which led to the selection of F-35 in the first place was a “paper evaluation”, made by comparing performance predictions – ones which F-35 is consistently failling to achieve, often by very large margins.

F-35s “ace card”, stealth, is overrated. F-35 itself is only LO against X-band radars; HF and VHF radars, as used by United States, Australia, China and Russia at least, can easily detect it over large distances. Even L-band radars (used on Russian PAK FA stealth killer) can detect it at long range. Non-LO aircraft, making no effort to hide, can rely on jammers for defense, which can be upgraded as threats evolve – stealth F-35, meanwhile, is furever stuck with its current RCS, which is dictated by airframe shaping and stealth coating.

F-35 can be detected at ranges of over hundred kilometers by fighters using QWIP IRST, even while subsonic, while its lack of maneuverability compared to Eurocanards, as well as threat aircraft, renders it unsurvivable against IRST-equipped fighters and SAM systems equipped with aforementioned stealth-detecting radars. Its huge IR signature puts it at risk against both airborne and ground IR detection systems, as well as making evasion of IR missiles far more difficult. Range performance is also nothing extraordinary, as its combat radius is lower than most rivals, including all Eurocanards, and Flanker variants.

It is incapable of generating enough sorties per day for its combat presence to actually matter against stronger opponents (as in, stronger than BiH), and many safety measures have been removed so as to reduce the weight increases. As such, it can be destroyed by a sniper rifle shot, and is very unsurvivable (and completely useless) in CAS role, as well as in any other role not involving destruction of large static targets. Its single engine also puts it at risk during ground attack operations.


As I have checked it better, it seems that Canada cancelling F-35 purchase is not certain. However, it did come under review, and it seems that Italy may cancel, or at least reduce, their own F-35 order.

Posted in news | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Tyranny of Defense, Inc

Posted by picard578 on December 8, 2012

I ask you to read, and think about, this article:


AMERICAN POLITICS IS typically a grimy business of horses traded and pork delivered. Political speech, for its part, tends to be formulaic and eminently forgettable. Yet on occasion, a politician will transcend circumstance and bear witness to some lasting truth: George Washington in his Farewell Address, for example, or Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural.

Fifty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower joined such august company when, in his own farewell address, he warned of the rise in America of the “military-industrial complex.” An accomplished soldier and a better-than-average president, Eisenhower had devoted the preponderance of his adult life to studying, waging, and then seeking to avert war. Not surprisingly, therefore, his prophetic voice rang clearest when as president he reflected on matters related to military power and policy.

Ike’s farewell address, nationally televised on the evening of January 17, 1961, offered one such occasion, although not the only one. Equally significant, if now nearly forgotten, was his presentation to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16, 1953. In this speech, the president contemplated a world permanently perched on the brink of war—“humanity hanging from a cross of iron”— and he appealed to Americans to assess the consequences likely to ensue.

Separated in time by eight years, the two speeches are complementary: to consider them in combination is to discover their full importance. As bookends to Eisenhower’s presidency, they form a solemn meditation on the implications—economic, social, political, and moral—of militarizing America.


DURING EISENHOWER’S PRESIDENCY, few credited him with being a great orator. Yet, as befit a Kansan and a military professional, Ike could speak plainly when he chose to do so. The April 16 speech early in his presidency was such a moment. Delivered in the wake of Joseph Stalin’s death, the speech offered the new Soviet leadership a five-point plan for ending the Cold War. Endorsing the speech as “one of the most notable policy statements of U.S. history,” Time reported with satisfaction that Eisenhower had articulated a broad vision for peace and “left it at the door of the Kremlin for all the world to see.” The likelihood that Stalin’s successors would embrace this vision was nil. An editorial in The New Republic made the essential point: as seen from Russia’s perspective, Eisenhower was “demanding unconditional surrender.” The president’s peace plan quickly vanished without a trace.


Largely overlooked by most commentators was a second theme that Eisenhower had woven into his text. The essence of this theme was simplicity itself: spending on arms and armies is inherently undesirable. Even when seemingly necessary, it constitutes a misappropriation of scarce resources. By diverting social capital from productive to destructive purposes, war and the preparation for war deplete, rather than enhance, a nation’s strength. And while assertions of military necessity might camouflage the costs entailed, they can never negate them altogether.

“Every gun that is made,” Eisenhower told his listeners, “every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” Any nation that pours its treasure into the purchase of armaments is spending more than mere money. “It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” To emphasize the point, Eisenhower offered specifics:

“The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities … We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”


Yet in Cold War Washington, Eisenhower’s was a voice crying in the wilderness. As much as they liked Ike, Americans had no intention of choosing between guns and butter: they wanted both. Military Keynesianism—the belief that the production of guns could underwrite an endless supply of butter—was enjoying its heyday.

At the time, the idea that militarizing U.S. policy might yield economic benefits outweighing the costs seemed eminently plausible. The authors of the National Security Council report “NSC-68,” the 1950 blueprint for U.S. rearmament, had made this point explicitly: boosting Pentagon spending would “increase the gross national product by more than the amount being absorbed for additional military and foreign assistance purposes.” Building up the nation’s defenses could serve as a sort of permanent economic stimulus program, putting people to work and money in their pockets. The experience of World War II had apparently validated this theory. Why shouldn’t the same logic apply to the Cold War?

So Americans disregarded Ike’s brooding about a “cross of iron” and a trade-off between guns and butter. The 1950s brought new bombers and new schools, fleets of warships and tracts of freshly built homes spilling into the suburbs.


Eisenhower and his fellow Republicans were more than happy to pocket the credit for this win-win outcome. Yet the president, if not his party, also sensed that beneath the appearance of Ozzie-and-Harriet prosperity, momentous and not altogether welcome changes were taking place. The postwar boom in which the American middle class took such satisfaction was reconfiguring, redistributing, and redefining American power. Washington itself ranked as a principal beneficiary of this process—and, within Washington, the several institutions comprising what some were calling the “national-security state.”

This national-security state derived its raison d’être from—and vigorously promoted a belief in—the existence of looming national peril. On one point, most politicians, uniformed military leaders, and so-called defense intellectuals agreed: the dangers facing the United States were omnipresent and unprecedented. Keeping those dangers at bay demanded vigi­lance, preparedness, and a willingness to act quickly and even ruthlessly. Urgency had become the order of the day.

In his 1956 book, The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills, a professor of sociology at Columbia, dubbed this perspective “military metaphysics,” which he characterized as “the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.” Those embracing this mind-set no longer considered genuine, lasting peace to be plausible. Rather, peace was at best a transitory condition, “a prelude to war or an interlude between wars.”


Perhaps nothing illustrates military metaphysics more vividly than the exponential growth of the U.S. nuclear stockpile that occurred during Eisenhower’s presi­dency. In 1952, when Ike was elected, that stockpile numbered some 1,000 warheads. By the time he passed the reins to John F. Kennedy in 1961, it consisted of more than 24,000 warheads, and it rapidly ascended later that decade to a peak of 31,000.

As commander in chief, Ike exercised only nominal control over this development, which was driven by an unstated alliance of interested parties: generals, defense officials, military contractors, and members of Congress. True, Eisenhower had established “massive retaliation”—the threat of a large-scale nuclear response to deter Soviet aggression—as the centerpiece of U.S. national-security doctrine. Yet even as this posture was intended to intimidate the Kremlin, the president expected it to offer Americans a sense of security, thereby enabling him to rein in military expenditures. In that regard, he miscalculated badly.


DURING THE EISENHOWER YEARS, military outlays served as a seemingly inexhaustible engine of economic well-being. Keeping the Soviets at bay required the design and acquisition of a vast array of guns and missiles, bombers and warships, tanks and fighter planes. Ensuring that U.S. forces stayed in fighting trim entailed the construction of bases, barracks, depots, and training facilities. Research labs received funding. Businesses large and small won contracts. Organized labor got jobs. And politicians who delivered all these goodies to their constituents hauled in endorsements, campaign contributions, and votes. Throughout the 1950s, unemployment stayed tolerably low and inflation minimal, while budget deficits ranged from trivial to non-existent. What was not to like? As a result, Pentagon budgets remained high throughout the Eisenhower era, averaging more than 50 percent of all federal spending and 10 percent of GDP, figures without precedent in the nation’s peacetime history.

For its beneficiaries, girding for war was a gift, and one they expected would never stop giving. The presumption that military capabilities qualifying as adequate today would surely not suffice tomorrow—the Reds, after all, weren’t standing still—generated a ceaseless quest for bigger, better, and more. Every ominous advance in Russian capabilities offered a renewed rationale for opening the military-spending spigot. Whether the edge attributed to the Soviets was real or invented mattered little. The discovery during the 1950s of a “bomber gap” and later a “missile gap,” for example, provided political ammunition to air-power advocates quick to charge that the nation’s very survival was at risk. Alarm bells rang. Congressional committees summoned expert witnesses. Newspapers and magazines nervously assessed the implications of these new vulnerabilities. Ultimately, appropriations poured forth. That both “gaps” were fictitious was beside the point.


None of these developments—the excessive military outlays, the privileging of institutional goals over the national interest, the calculated manipulation of public opinion—met with Eisenhower’s approval. Knowing at the time that the United States enjoyed an edge in bomber and missile capabilities, he understood precisely who benefited from threat inflation. Yet to sustain the illusion he was fully in command, Ike remained publicly silent about what went on behind the scenes. Only on the eve of his departure from office did he inform the nation as to what Washington’s new obsession with national security had wrought.

In 1961, as in 1953, his central theme was theft. This time, however, rather than homes or schools, Ike suggested the thieves might walk off with democracy itself.

The Cold War, he emphasized, had transformed the country’s approach to defending itself. In the past, “American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well.” But this reliance on improvisation no longer sufficed. The rivalry with the Soviet Union had “compelled” the United States “to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” As a consequence, “we annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.”

The “economic, political, even spiritual” reach of this conglomeration was immense, Eisenhower explained, extending to “every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government.” Although the president could not bring himself to question explicitly the need for this shift in policy, he warned of its implications. “Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved,” he said. “So is the very structure of our society.” With corporate officials routinely claiming the Pentagon’s top posts, and former military officers hiring themselves out to defense contractors, fundamental values were at risk. “In the councils of government,” Eisenhower continued,

“we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.”

Having defined the problem, Eisenhower then advanced a striking solution: ultimate responsibility for democracy’s defense, he insisted, necessarily rested with the people themselves. Rather than according Washington deference, American citizens needed to exercise strict oversight. Counting on the national-security state to police itself—on members of Congress to set aside parochial concerns, corporate chieftains to put patriotism above profit, and military leaders to hew to the ethic of their profession—wouldn’t do the trick. “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Reaction to the president’s speech was tepid at best. The headline in TheBoston Globe reported “Ike Says Farewell After Half Century in U.S. Service” and left it at that. With the country agog over Jack and Jackie, the mood of the moment did not invite introspection. Eisenhower’s insistence that citizens awaken to looming danger attracted little attention. His valedictory qualified, at the time, as a one-day story.

So Ike departed, but military metaphysics survived intact and found particular favor in the upper echelons of the next administration. On the campaign trail, Kennedy had promised higher defense spending, enhanced nuclear capabilities, and a reinvigorated confrontation with Communism. Once in office, he proved as good as his word.


IN THE FIVE decades since Eisenhower left the White House for his retirement home in Gettysburg, much has changed. The Soviet Union has disappeared. So too, for all practical purposes, has Communism itself. Yet in Washington, an aura of never-ending crisis still prevails—and with it, military metaphysics.

The national-security state continues to grow in size, scope, and influence. In Ike’s day, for example, the CIA dominated the field of intelligence. Today, experts refer casually to an “intelligence community,” consisting of some 17 agencies. The cumulative size and payroll of this apparatus grew by leaps and bounds in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Last July,TheWashington Post reported that it had “become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” Since that report appeared, U.S. officials have parted the veil of secrecy enough to reveal that intelligence spending exceeds $80 billion per year, substantially more than the budget of either the Department of State ($49 billion) or the Department of Homeland Security ($43 billion).

The spending spree extends well beyond intelligence. The Pentagon’s budget has more than doubled in the past decade, to some $700 billion per year. All told, the ostensible imperatives of national security thereby consume roughly half of all federal discretionary dollars. Even more astonishing, annual U.S. military outlays now approximate those of all other nations, friends as well as foes, combined.

In Ike’s day, competition with the Soviet Union provided the rationale for such outsized expenditures. Today, with no remotely comparable competitor at hand, devotees of military metaphysics conjure a variety of arguments to justify the Pentagon’s budgetary demands. One such, usually made with an eye toward China, is that relentlessly outspending any and all would-be challengers to U.S. preeminence will dissuade them from even mounting an attempt. A second transforms modest threats into existential ones, with the mere existence of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Osama bin Laden mandating extraordinary exertions until the United States eliminates every last such miscreant—a day that will never come.

The threat inflation that led to the bomber and missile “gaps” of the 1950s remains a cherished Washington tradition. In memos written after September 11, then–Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged his staff to “keep elevating the threat” and demanded “bumper sticker statements” to gin up public enthusiasm for the global war on terror. The key, he wrote, was to “make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists.” What worked during the Cold War still works today: to get Americans on board with your military policy, scare the hell out of them.

In the meantime, the revolving door connecting the world of soldiering to the world of arms purveyors continues to turn. For those at the top, the American military profession is that rare calling where retirement need not imply a reduced income. On the contrary: senior serving officers shed their uniforms not merely to take up golf or go fishing but with the reasonable expectation of raking in big money. In a recent e-mail, a serving officer who is a former student of mine reported that on a visit to the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army—in his words, “the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Military Industrial Complex”—he was “accosted by two dozen former bosses, now in suits with fancy ties and business cards, hawking the latest defense technologies.”

If anything, Eisenhower’s characterization of the cozy relations between the military and corporate worlds understates the contemporary reality. C. Wright Mills came closer to the mark when he wrote of “a coalition of generals in the roles of corporation executives, of politicians masquerading as admirals, of corporation executives acting like politicians.” Add to that list the retired senior officers passing as pundits (often while simultaneously cashing the checks of weapons manufacturers), policy wonks pretending to be field marshals, and journalists eagerly competing to carry water for heroic field commanders. Throw in the former members of Congress who lobby their successors on behalf of defense contractors, and the serving members who vote in favor of any defense appropriations that send money to their districts, and one begins to get a sense of the true topog­raphy.

With what result? Not peace, and not prosperity. Instead, American soldiers traipse wearily from one conflict to the next while the nation as a whole suffers from acute economic distress. What has gone amiss?

In the wake of 9/11, when the George W. Bush admin­istration committed the United States to a global war on terror, it was blithely confident that the U.S. military could win such a conflict handily. Events in Iraq and Afghanistan have since demolished such expectations. The irrefutable lesson of the past decade is this: we know how to start wars, but don’t know how to end them. During the well-armed Eisenhower era, American weapons were largely silent. Today, engagement in actual hostilities has become the new normal, exacting a steep price. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost at least $1 trillion—with the meter still running. Some observers estimate that total costs will eventually reach $2 trillion or even $3 trillion.

Furthermore, military Keynesianism has proved to be a bust. In contrast to the 1950s, military extravagance is depleting rather than adding to the nation’s wealth. In the Eisenhower era, the United States, a creditor nation, produced at home the essentials defining the American way of life—everything from oil to cars to televisions. Today, we import far more than we export, with ever-increasing debt as one result. Furthermore, in the 1950s, we were mostly at peace; today we are mostly at war—and, as a result, more of the resources provided to the military go abroad and stay there.

Certain enterprises flourish, notably private security firms such as DynCorp, MPRI, and, of course, the notorious Blackwater (now known as Xe). At MPRI, they like to say “We’ve got more generals per square foot here than in the Pentagon.” But even if those generals are doing fine, the grandchildren of Ozzie and Harriet, coping with 9.8 percent unemployment and contemplating the implications of trillion-dollar deficits, see little benefit from our exorbitant Pentagon outlays. If paying Pashtun drivers to truck fuel from Pakistan into Afghanistan is producing any positive economic side effects, the American worker is not among the beneficiaries.

In short, the guns-and-butter trade-off that Eisenhower foresaw in 1953 has become reality. To train, equip, and maintain one American soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan for just one year costs a cool million dollars. Meanwhile, according to 2010 census figures, the number of Americans falling below the poverty line has swollen to one in every seven.

Thanks to its allies and abettors, the military-industrial-legislative war complex remains stubbornly resistant to change­—a fact President Barack Obama himself learned during his first year in office. While reviewing his administration’s policy in Afghanistan, the president repeatedly asked for a range of policy alternatives. He wanted choices. According to Bob Woodward of TheWashington Post, however, the Pentagon offered Obama a single path—the so-called McChrystal “surge” of additional troops. As recounted in Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars, the president complained: “So what’s my option? You’ve given me only one option.” The military’s own preferred option was all he was going to get. (Just months before, Woodward himself had helpfully promoted that very option, courtesy of a well-timed leak.)

No doubt Dwight Eisenhower would sympathize with President Obama, having himself struggled to exercise the prerogatives ostensibly reserved to the chief executive. Yet Ike would hardly be surprised. He would reserve his surprise—and his disappointment—for the American people. A half century after he summoned us to shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship, we still refuse to do so. In Washington, military metaphysics remains sacrosanct. No wonder we continue to get our pockets picked.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Aircraft combat presence comparision

Posted by picard578 on December 8, 2012

Aircraft combat presence = total sorties per day = aircraft bought for a cost * sortie rate

Aircraft bought for 1 billion USD (using flyaway costs):

F-22: 4

F-35A: 5

EF-2000 T2 Luftwaffe: 9

EF-2000 T2 RAF: 8

EF-2000 T3 RAF: 8

Rafale C: 12

Rafale M: 11

F-15 A: 23

F-15 K: 10

F-16 A: 38

F-16 C: 16

YF-16: 62

F-18: 14

Gripen C: 25

Gripen E: 18 – 27

Sorties per aircraft per day:

F-35A: 3,5

F-35B: 6

F-35C: 4

(above figures are USAF estimates and are not reliable)

F-22: 0,5

F-35A: 0,6 (estimate)

EF-2000: 2,4

Rafale: 2,7

F-15: 1

F-16: 1,2

F-18: 1,2

Gripen C: 2,2

Gripen E: unknown, assuming 2-2,5

Total sorties per day for number of aircraft:

F-22: 2

F-35A: 2,5

EF-2000 T2 Luftwaffe: 21,6

EF-2000 T2 RAF: 19,2

EF-2000 T3 RAF: 19,2

Rafale C: 32,4

Rafale M: 29,7

F-15 A: 23

F-15 K: 10

F-16 A: 45,6

F-16 C: 19,2

F-18: 16,8

Gripen C: 55

Gripen E: 36 – 67,5


As it can be seen, it is absurd to suggest that stealth aircraft are strenghtening defense of any country. In fact, more stealth aircraft means weaker combat capability, due to far smaller number of aircraft, as well as number of sorties single aircraft can perform in certain time, as opposed to the non-stealth aircraft. It is failure to find the balance between cost and performance that leads to the weaker defense, and F-22/F-35 projects can be rightly blamed for reduction of USAF’s combat capability.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Is the F-22 really superior to all other fighter aircraft

Posted by picard578 on December 1, 2012

USAF often touts F-22 as being the best fighter aircraft in the world. Is that really so? What are requirements for a good fighter aircraft?

By analyzing past wars we can see that following requirements have never changed:

  1. high agility at dogfighting speeds (currently in the medium subsonic to transsonic regime)
  2. superior situational awareness
  3. low cost
  4. high sortie rate
  5. capability to convert any split-second opportunity to the kill

High agility requires good acceleration, good turn rate, low energy loss and quick transients. Good acceleration and low energy loss require high thrust-to-weight ratio and low drag; good turn rate requires low wing loading, and quick transients require both. Energy state is important for gaining positional advantage and evading missiles.

Superior situational awareness requires not only having good situational awareness yourself, but denying it to the opponent. These requirements can only be met through use of passive sensors.

Low cost and high sortie rate are required for establishing a crucial numerical superiority over the opponent. Both are achieved by making the design as simple as possible.

Capability to convert any split-second opportunity to the kill is crucial in the dogfight, especially if multiple aircraft are involved on both sides, as it allows pilot to deny opponent the opportunity to reverse positional advantage, and allows him to kill more targets in the same timeframe.

With standard loadout of 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM, F-22 has wing loading of 313,5 kg/m2 and thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,29. For comparision, with same loadout, Eurofighter Typhoon has wing loading of 284 kg/m2 and thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,28; Dassault Rafale’s values are 276 kg/m2 and 1,22. Su-27s values are 324 kg/m2 and 1,24. Thus, F-22 is inferior in wing loading to both Eurocanards, and has only slightly superior thrust-to-weight ratio compared to Typhoon. It is also only slightly superior to the Su-27 in wing loading, and somewhat more in thrust-to-weight ratio.

As such, it has slightly better turn rates than Su-27, and worse turn rates than Eurocanards. Its large weight will make it more difficult to F-22 to make transit from one turn to another, and its thrust vectoring will, if used, cause major energy losses. More about that later.

As mentioned, superior situational awareness requires not only having good situational awareness yourself, but denying it to the opponent. What this means is that aircraft must be capable of detecting and identifying the enemy completely passively. Currently, IRST and optical sensors are only types of sensors, except for Mk 1 eyeball, to posses such capability. F-22 lacks both, and as such has to either have an uplink to another platform – and such uplink can be detected and jammed – or to carry out both tasks World War II style, with pilot doing detection and identification visually. While F-22 was supposed to have FLIR, it was deleted as the cost-saving measure, and there are no plans to fit it.

Moreover, while some measures have been taken to reduce F-22s thermal signature, no major reduction was (or could have been) achieved, especially from the front. F-22 is also very large, increasing its detectability by the IRST. Thus, F-22 will be easily detected at ranges exceeding 80 kilometers by opponent using QWIP IRST.

Modern heat-seeking missiles also do not have to rely on engine exhaust for locking on the enemy aircraft, but can rather lock on to aircraft itself.

F-22 also isn’t undetectable to the modern radar, despite what some accounts say. While F-22s RCS of 0,0001 and 0,0014 m2 reduces detection range considerably, Typhoon’s radar (which has detection range of 185 km against 1m2 target) can detect it from distance of 18 to 35 kilometers. On the other hand, modern RWRs can detect LPI radars from ranges two or three times greater than such radars can detect target with RCS of 1 m2 at, thus making any use of radar an unwise course of action for F-22 (and any other fighter aircraft).

Low cost and high sortie rate are where F-22 feels least at home. Its flyaway cost is 250 million USD per unit, which is twice (205%) the flyaway cost of the most expensive non-VLO fighter aircraft – Eurofighter Typhoon – and has maintenance downtime of 45 hours per hour of flight, compared to the 8* hours for Rafale, 9* for Typhoon, 10 for Gripen and 19 for the now-ancient F-16 (* have to be confirmed). However, flyaway costs of these fighters, which are, respectively, 33%, 49%, 16% and 11-24% of F-22s, mean that it will be at 10:1 numerical disadvantage compared to Typhoon, and 26:1 disadvantage against Gripen.

F-22 is also incapable of converting split-second opportunities into kills. Reason for that is the fact that it carries all its armaments internally. It takes around half the second for gun doors to open; for missile bay doors it takes at least that much, and possibly more. Worse, Sidewinders it will be using in visual range dogfight are not simply ejected into air, but have to be lowered by mechanism; however, it is possible that such action will be performed while doors open.

Gun itself is the Gattling design. It offers maximum rate of fire of 6 600 rpm (110 rps), compared to 1 700 rpm (28 rps) for BK-27 used in Typhoon and Gripen, and 2 500 rpm (42 rps) for GIAT-30 used in Rafale. However, firing rate alone cannot be used as a measure of effectiveness.

First, Gattling gun takes some time to achieve full firing rate. While M-61A2 takes 0,25 seconds to spin up to its full firing rate, fact that F-22 has to open bay doors to fire increases that time to 0,75 seconds. For revolver cannon, time is 0,05 seconds. Thus, in first second, F-22 will have fired either 13 or 68 rounds (depending on wether gun doors were opened before or after press on trigger); Typhoon would have fired 27 rounds in the same time, and Rafale 40 rounds.

Second, aircraft now are highly resistant. Thus, per-hit damage and weight fired may be more important than number of projectiles. At projectile weight of 100 g for M-61, 260 g for Typhoon and 244 – 270 g for Rafale, F-22 fares worst in per-hit damage category. For total damage, in first second F-22 will have fired 1,3 to 6,8 kg, Typhoon 7 kg and Rafale 9,8 to 10,8 kg of ammunition.

Third, rotation of gun barrels creates vibrations, which means that Gattling design will be less accurate (more spread) than single-barreled designs, and problem will only increase as gun keeps firing.

While F-22 is supposed to kill opponent at BVR, it only carries 6 BVR missiles. With usual 0,08 Pk ratio against same-era threats, it will take two F-22s to kill a single enemy aircraft. That is made even worse by the fact that F-22 not only has to radiate in order to lock on the enemy aircraft, but has to get close enough to penetrate any jamming – distance that was regularly around 1/3 of maximum radar range; in F-22s case, it will be 50 – 80 kilometers against 1 m2 target, such as Typhoon or aircraft with comparable frontal RCS (J-10?) in air-to-air configuration.

F-22s maximum speed of Mach 1,8 – 2,25 and supercruise speed of Mach 1,5 – 1,7 are better than those of most competitors, as Eurofighter Typhoon – the second-fastest supercruiser – can achieve “only” Mach 1,3 when in combat configuration. Thus, F-22 can choose to run if it finds itself outnumbered too much, but if it does choose to attack, it will most likely be forced to engage the opponent in the visual range.

How maneuverable F-22 is

Many say that F-22 is the most maneuverable fighter aircraft by virtue of its thrust vectoring. So, I have decided to take a closer look at various claims about F-22s agility.

F-22 is the most maneuverable fighter aircraft out there

Some claim that F-22 is the most maneuverable and agile fighter aircraft out there, due to the thrust vectoring. That claim, however, is false.

To execute a turn, aircraft requires lift to pull it around the turn. Even civilian jets make sharper turns this way, by banking. Amount of lift can be roughly estimated through wing loading figures, with the caveat that LEX and close-coupled canards do provide the additional lift during high-alpha maneuvers by strengthening vortices created by the wing.

However, while F-22 does have LEX, it is not the only one. Dassault Rafale has both LEX and close-coupled canards, Saab Gripen has close-coupled canards, and Eurofighter Typhoon, while not having either, does have vortex generators at sides of the fuselage.

Thus, actual lift at high AoA could be estimated by comparing length of forward portion of the wing to the aircraft’s weight. This method is only of limited accuracy, however, it is more accurate than standard wing loading figures for high alpha maneuvers, as large portion of wing stalls in such circumstances.

F-22 has combat weight of 24 883 kg and combined wing leading edge length of cca 12,58 meters, which becomes 20,56 meters when LEX and air intake leading surface are taken into account. Thus loading value will be 1210 kg per meter. However, LEX-generated vortices will improve value.

Eurofighter Typhoon, on the other hand, has combat weight of 14 483 kg and combined wing leading edge length of ~18,3 meters along with canards. Thus its loading value will be 791 kg per meter, or slightly higher, but as with F-22, vortices will improve value – this time vortices generated by strakes at sides of Typhoon’s hull. Both Typhoon and F-22 have similar wing sweep and high-lift devices, so actual lifting area per meter will be the same, except maybe for canards.

At lower angles of attack, when entire wing area is used, F-22 will have wing loading of 319 kg/m2 in standard combat configuration, and Eurofighter Typhoon will have wing loading of 283 kg/m2. Thrust loading ratios will be 1,28 for F-22 and 1,25 for Eurofighter Typhoon.

We can thus see that, while F-22 has thrust-to-weight ratio advantage, Eurofighter Typhoon has both lower combat weight and lower wing loading at combat weight, and thus has better maneuvering performance. Dassault Rafale will have similar advantages, although its canards act more like F-22s LEX, which makes it for two aircraft that have better maneuvering performance than F-22.

F-22 is comparable to F-15C (claim made by Pierre Sprey)

Comparing it to the F-15C, we see two things: wing loading and thrust-to-weight ratio that are very similar, with F-15C having slight advantage. While F-22 is larger and heavier aircraft, it is also unstable, improving its response time and removing resustance of aircraft towards the continued turn. It also has LEX, which improves lift at high angle of attack.

While its internal missile carriage adds weight and frontal area, that is cancelled out by reduced drag due to lack of external stores.

F-22 is worse than F-16

F-22 and F-16 have two major things in common: both are relaxed-stability designs and both have LEX. As such, similar wing loading figures and thrust-to-weight ratios will result in similar maneuverability, especially since F-16 was designed to achieve optimum performance when two wingtip AAMs are present.

With 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder and 4 AMRAAM F-16C has wing loading of 392 kg/m2, thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,186 and weights 10 936 kg. F-22 has wing loading of 313,5 kg/m2, thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,29 and weights 24 579 kg. Thus, while F-22 will suffer maneuverability penalty due to its size and weight, it is unlikely that F-16C will be able to outmaneuver it.

With F-16A it is a different story. With empty weight of 7 076 kg, it has wing loading of 349,5 kg/m2 and thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,29 (figures for 50% fuel and 2 Sidewinder). While its wing loading is higher than F-22s, F-16A is far lighter and smaller, so it is possible that it could be capable of matching the F-22.


To conclude, while Pierre Sprey’s notion that F-22 is no more maneuverable than F-15C is not supportable, those that insist F-22 is the most maneuverable fighter aircraft in the world are equally wrong. Indeed, new fighters such as Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale will have better maneuvering performance with virtue of their better aerodynamics and superior attributes (wing loading, thrust-to-weight ratio, etc). F-22 also does not meet force size requirements.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments »

On US defense budget

Posted by picard578 on December 1, 2012

While Chinese and Russian defense budgets are incomplete, so is the US defense budget. In reality, US defense sprending is between 1 and 1,4 trillion USD a year, that is 6,3 to 8,8 % of US GDP of 15,974 trillion USD as opposed to the base budget of 711 billion USD in 2012 (or 4,5 % of GDP; to compare, Croatian defense budget accounts for 1,7% of GDP). 2012 defense-related budget request was between 1,09 and 1,42 trillion USD, depending on variables.

For another comparision, base UK defense budget was 62,7 billion USD, around 2,6% of GDP, and that of China was 143 billion USD, or 2% of GDP. When adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, base defense budget of China was 228 billion USD, or 32% of US one, while China’s GDP is 48,4% of US one. While it is indeed correct that China’s total defense spending is higher than these figures – up to 250 billion USD, not accounting for PPP – that is, as I have shown above, also true of the US defensu spending, so the ratio remains similar.

In fact, using PPP values, total defense budgets of largest NATO spenders (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey) combined add up to 932,6 billion USD. When major non-NATO allies (Japan, Australia) are thrown in, value goes up to 993,9 billion USD in PPP, with United States accounting for 71,5 % of total value. Thus, United States outspend China 5:1, or 3:1 when PPP is taken into account. However, unless United States are going to attack China first, they will have support of NATO, as well as Japan and Australia. Thus, spending ratio will be – even with PPP – in 4,4:1 neighbourhood. For comparision, take a look at the graph below.

defense spending comparision

defense spending comparision

US major allies alone spend more than China on defense, while United States alone spend more than four times as much as China does. Yet, China has populace of 1,347 billion people, compared to the US 314 million.

In 2011, there have been many developmental programmes. Low-performance bomber F-35 was the most costly at 11,4 billion USD. By cutting it, and other programmes of very questionable usefulness (LCS, UAVs), 16,6 billion USD could have been saved.

Fact is that large US defense budget does not produce military capability that is in line with size of the budget. Reasons for that have to be looked for in how weapons procurement works: contractors in armaments industry are free to work with almost no oversight, and lessons from past wars are ignored. In fact, armament manufacturers are inclined to increase complexity and cost of every single weapons system, as it means that they spend less on raw materials and work force, while receiveing large sums of money on both production and drawn-out R&D. Such complexity increases do not, however, mean that weapon is really more capable. Due to that, we get to the paradox where less defense spending could result in more capable military.

Many spending-defenders argue that defense spending saves jobs. That is not true even when looking only at the defense industry. In fact, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have fired thousands of workers at the same time they were receiveing very lucrative contracts.

While increase in defense spending can indeed create jobs when done right, it is terrible job creator even then. For example, only 1,5% of F-35 program costs goes on workers’ pays. In fact, same amount of defense spending creates 25% fewer jobs than a tax cut; one and one-half times fewer jobs than spending on clean energy production; and two and one-half times fewer jobs than spending on education. It also creates less jobs than public works. For exact figures, consider that every 100 billion USD of a military budget (not spending) creates, approximately, 830 000 jobs in military and military industry. When same amount of money is spent for education, both the number of jobs and the average pay are going to be higher. If it is spent on health care or infrastructure, average pay will be less, but total pay compensation will be more than with military industry, and number of jobs created will be far more (for the same amount of money, health care 151%, education 207%, mass transit 231% and construction of infrastructure 150% as much jobs as defense establishment. All of them have additional benefits: more capable work force, reduced pollution, etc. Also, US infrastructure is currently in very poor shape). Total compensation to economy is also larger than that of defense, at 23 – 124% more.

In fact, “Converting the American Economy” study from 1990s has found that a gradual reduction in military spending, starting with $35 billion in 1990 and reaching $105 billion in 1994, would have produced a net gain of 477,000 jobs within the U.S. Economy.

Yet, only 75 billion USD were spent on education in 2007, and military spending accounts for 50% of total Federal spending.

Tax cuts, however, are the worst option for helping the economy, possibly even worse than defense spending. One of reasons is the fact that tax cuts primarly target the wealthy part of the populace, who accumlate money. As economy is all about flow of money, not its accumulation, result is economy slowdown. Tax evasion has similar effect, however – and major armaments companies are spending large sums on lawyers so as to evade taxes.

Important thing about the defense budget is that it must not be governed by GDP, but by military realities. One reality is that United States should not, as it is doing now, fixate on China as a threat. China does seem to be impatient and agressive, but question remains how much of blame for that goes to the United States themselves. While United States should be able to defend itself, military solution of its issues with China should be the last option. However, there are more powers on work here, such as US military contractors, who need a dangerous opponent so as to justify further defense spending increases, and maintain their influence as well as their peace of the budget cake. As such, realistic assessment of situation cannot be expected, at least from the US Government and weapons contractors.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: