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View Diary: You won't cut Pentagon budget by targeting troops (90 comments)

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  •  Making the case based on security (10+ / 0-)

    There is a strong case to be made that we need to cut defense spending in the name of defense. That our current military spending is directed so heavily towards cold-war-era systems that it is not just wasting money, it is making us less safe.

    Generals are always planning to win the last war. That's a cliche by now, and the fact that the Pentagon wants fewer tanks than Congress insists they take indicates that we have some right-thinking people in the Defense Department. We need to empower those people by cutting their budget so far they can readily argue for getting rid of the kind of bloated porkbarrell weapons systems we don't need in favor of the kinds of technology we'll need in the future.

    We don't need to start building a bunch of new weapons. We need to be spending our money building the prototypes of the weapons we'll need to build in the future. If we, heaven forbid, end up in a war with a wealthy, technologically advanced nation again (my money is on China) it won't be won by the country with the best tanks. It will be won by the country with the best sattelites and drones. When a five million dollar drone can shoot down our fancy two hundred million dollar F-35, our money is not being spent wisely. When that F-35 can't navigate because a missile has taken down our comm and nav sattelites we are not spending wisely.

    Let's get the Defense Department out of the business of milking the taxpayer so they can focus on actually protecting us.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:28:19 PM PST

    •  If we're at the point.. (8+ / 0-)

      where we're shooting down satellites, then the world is fucked completely. And I don't mean "fucked up", I mean "we're fucked". A lot of modern technology relies on the satellite grid.

      China did an experiment a few years ago where they shot down a satellite. The resulting space debris of just one satellite, located in one of the most populated regions of space, was enough to exponentially increase the difficulties of launching into that orbit.

      What's worse, because of the laws of orbital mechanics, subtle changes in the orbital characteristics caused by, say, a gigantic explosion can cause pieces of a destroyed satellite to fuck things up for stuff that's nowhere near it, if given enough time.

      And what's worst, most of these pieces of debris are so incredibly tiny that they cannot be reliably tracked, as tiny pieces of debris are even more susceptible to atmospheric drag effects than large pieces. (Lower ballistic coefficient, if you're familiar with that.)

      Hi, I'm a rocket scientist, and yes, this kind of stuff really pisses me off, because I'd really like to launch my missions to Europa or Pluto or wherever without having to worry about war debris blowing up my billion dollar spacecraft that I worked on for years.

      TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

      by Le Champignon on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:53:57 PM PST

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      •  I think that's the problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        The weaker space power in a conflict has every reason to develop weapons to destroy satellites. It takes away the opponent's advantage without costing the weaker space power anything strategically. The long term consequences for post-war orbital conditions be damned.

        In any case I'd rather have our smartest engineers and strategic thinkers in the DoD worrying about this question than where to park a hundred Abrams tanks they didn't want.

        There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

        by BeerNotWar on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:34:43 PM PST

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    •  Drones? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Shit, that war will be fought with hackers, attacking key infrastructure with malware, viruses, etc.  

      •  Not so sure (0+ / 0-)

        Security will continue to improve. You think the Iranians are going to blindly trust SCADA software again?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:07:49 PM PST

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    •  Your money is on a war with China, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and you think it's going to be decided by satellites and drones, not the thousands of nuclear weapons?

      Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

      by rhutcheson on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:16:09 PM PST

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    •  don't forget submarines (0+ / 0-)

      superiority in the undersea is crucial for our future defense

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