(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
The United States is ranked as the most powerful country in the world:
But the U.S. spends more than the next 7-8 countries COMBINED!(See below chart from Forbes 2016)
In fact, military spending is more than half of all U.S. federal discretionary spending.
So the question is why are we spending so much more than everybody else, is the United States getting its money’s worth, and most importantly are we able to defend ourselves?
The U.S. defense budget is going up and has been approved at $717B for 2019.
All the other 28 NATO countries together spend less than half ($296B) as much as the U.S. alone.
If you add NATO spending as a complement to the U.S. then the total spend on our mutual defense approaches $1 trillion!
Russia ($69B) China ($146B), North Korea ($6B), and Iran’s ($16B) military spending in total pales in comparison at just $237B.
NATO as a whole is outspending Russia + China + North Korea + Iran by a factor of 4 times yet these countries are still considered major threats to us!
Despite all the truly incredible brave, hard working, and excellent men and women that serve with distinction in our military,
Therefore, again why is it that the U.S. is spending more on what others seem to get for cheaper? Is there significant fraud, waste, and abuse in the system? Are we as a rich capitalistic nation simply getting fat, lazy, and stupid?
Notwithstanding the outsized spending by the United States, incredibly from today’s Wall Street Journal, there is another article about our inability to defend ourselves:
“These are admissions that the U.S. cannot proportionally and equally defend itself in space, cyber, and response to tactical and nuclear weapons except through the threat of escalation and intrusion into other domains.”
Some poignant examples given:
– Our stationary land-based nuclear missiles are no match for Russia and China’s mobile-based ICBMs.
– Our ten busiest U.S. ports do not have an adequate defense against an underwater nuclear missile launch.
China and Russia variously are beating us out in:
- Quantum Communications
- Anti-Satellite Weapons
- Directed Energy
In fact, it was just reported that China conducted its 8th hypersonic test of a plane–with this one said to capable of Mach 10–and that it is capable of carrying nukes!
Further, our carrier group fleet and land forces are at risk with respect to Russia and China’s hypersonic weapons.
Of course, EMP weapons can fry our electrical grid and a large cyber attack could disable our critical infrastructure.
Let’s not even talk bioweapons–think Black Plague from the Middle Ages that wiped out 30-60% of Europe.
Yes, some of these are asymmetric warfare, but why are we still thinking and fighting so kinetic and conventionally.
If we are fighting the wars of yesteryear instead of the battles of today and the threats of tomorrow then what good is our military investments and assets.
To become a more capable fighting force that is less vulnerable, more capable of defending this country, and making better use of our large investment dollars here are 10-steps we need to take to transform our military; we need to transition as follows:
- From static land-based nuclear missiles to a fully mobile platform.
- From vulnerable fleets of large ships and planes to “unstoppable” swarms of miniaturized lethal drones.
- From a preponderance of earth-based kinetic weapons to space-based energy directed weapons.
- From having to generally choose between speed or power to using the power of speed as an “unstoppable” force of nature.
- From projecting a time and space bound visible presence to a persistent invisible existence.
- From attempting to defend limited points of presence to establishing a “impenetrable” umbrella shield of multi-layered defenses.
- From reactively identifying and stopping cyber threats to proactively hunting and destroying them.
- From knee-jerk instinctive putting of human lives in harm’s way to matter-of-factly sending milbots (military robots) to the front lines.
- From relying on the heroics and genius of individual human brainpower to harnessing in realtime “the collective” augmented by artificial intelligence into a hive.
- From relying on escalation of a “bigger, badder gun” to being able to fight capably in every battle arena, win in each and dominate holistically.
Over $700B per year should buy us a lot of defense, hopefully in the future we can really use it to defend ourselves. 😉
Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!
The things that get focused on, get accomplished.
Space is the “final frontier.”
And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind’s very survival.
It’s time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!
Russia and China get it–hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other “kill vehicles” in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond.
Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?
Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars’ Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.
Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing…losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!
I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn’t run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force.
We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
This was funny-sad on the train in Washington, D.C.
This couple–a man and women–are sitting together.
The man (on the right) is completely sprawling out.
The women (on the left) is squishing almost off the seat.
So what is it with men–a testosterone, macho thing–exerting sexuality, power, and dominance–or it is just carelessness and callousness in how to treat women?
For women–is it reticence and modesty or are they accepting being mistreated or even abused?
People’s weight aside, it seems that men and women should each be given their own and equal space on the Metro or otherwise in life.
This presumed gender power struggle is not a good thing–love should be equal in feeling, giving, and in time, and space. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
So what is this with the big orange X on the street in downtown Washington, D.C.
Is this the site for something really big and grand going up here–maybe the next big monument or tower (hehe)?
Hopefully, (G-d forbid) not the next ground zero for the Iranians who have once again tested their long-range missiles in violation of UN resolutions and have called us their “main enemy.”
Can anyone out there really understand why we’ve abandoned a decades long relationship with Sunni-Saudi Arabia (and related other friendly Sunni states in the Persian gulf) and instead replaced it with a deal with Shia-Iran that hates the U.S. and is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction and the ballistic missiles to deliver them?
Since an estimated 10-13% of the Muslim world is Sunni, renouncing the relationship with Saudi Arabia–and by extension the 1.5 billion Sunni Muslims (of a total 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide)–seems like a very risky proposition.
Indeed, 1) going into Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Husseim and liberating the 70% of the Iraqis that are Shia, then 2) lifting sanctions and aligning ourselves with Iran, the largest Shia country, and 3) now allowing Iran and Hezbollah to go into Syria to support the Alawite-Assad regime (the predominant Shia group) presumably has us taking sides in the Sunni-Shia Muslim worlds.
However, why in the world would we choose those that explicitly hate us, support and conduct terror, and vow to destroy the U.S. over those like the Saudis that have in some ways worked with us in the past (even if we don’t need their oil as much now)?
Just a hypothetical, but perhaps could we be strengthening the smaller, thereby weaker Shiites as a counterbalance to an otherwise overwhelming Sunni majority Muslim world and a potentially dangerous and developing radicalized powerful ISIS state.
And if this is our strategy, at what risk are we playing this hand with a dedicated Iranian foe that has it’s own schemes for hegemony with a powerful Caliphate and the nuclear weapons to match. 😉
(Source Photo: Danielle Blumenthal)
My beautiful wife and daughters.
Also my beloved mother and grandmothers A’H.
As well as friends and colleagues.
I still remember the saying I used to hear growing up that girls are “sugar and spice and everything nice!”
In the bible, women are men’s “ezer kenegdo” literally translated as helpmates, and figuratively as companions.
There is a nice Jewish teaching that the word “kenegdo” has a double meaning that if a man is good then the women stands as his aide, but if he is bad that she stands against him–so men have to merit the love and kindness of their wives, and not just expect it, dutifully.
An interesting article written by Melvin Konner in the Wall Street Journal says that with women taking over more and more leadership roles in the workplace and in politics, the world will be a better place!
What served men well in a hunter-gather society–the male testosterone-driven biology–prepares men well for physical aggression, reproduction, and dominance, but also leads to overreaction to small threats, exaggerated violence, and recklessness that has brought “war, corruption, and scandal.”
However, in the current information technology society that we now live in, men’s physical strength and prowess is largely obsolete replaced by machines, robots, and drones. And women’s emancipation and rise to positions of power has led to situations where saner heads and compromise prevail, and as Senator Susan Collins (Maine) said:
“While male colleagues cross their arms and sulked, women crossed the aisles with phone calls, emails, and social media.”
From my experience, women can actually be the fiercer gender (testosterone or not), and a wise man does not mess with them! 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)