As such, the ADF, which receives $22 billion in taxpayer funds each year, cannot conduct any high-level operations without substantial support from coalition forces such as the US.
Former Defence official Allan Behm said: "I think the public would be absolutely astonished and gobsmacked to think we spend so much on defence every year and yet we can't send much of it into harm's way because it won't work or it will not survive in a contest."
Defence experts say none of the RAAF's soon-to-be-retired F-111 strike bombers nor the majority of the 71 F/A-18 Hornet fighters can be used against modern air defences because they lack sufficient electronic protection.
[Note: The F-111 sucked even in the days of John Boyd and was retired from the US Air Force nearly 20 years ago. These guys get my respect for flying the F-111 for so long]
Similarly, they say the navy's eight Anzac frigates cannot be sent into a hotly contested war zone because of a lack of defensive weaponry, while the four other frigates, the FFGs, are still unavailable after a bungled and delayed $1.5 billion upgrade.The army cannot deploy any of its 33 Blackhawk helicopters into warzones, including Afghanistan, because they remain vulnerable to shoulder-launched missiles.
An army insider says that despite having 27,000 members, 15,000 of which are in the combat force, the army would struggle to deploy more than 1000 extra troops overseas on a sustained basis on top of its deployments in Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Timor and Solomon Islands.
"Despite official denials, the army remains stretched," one insider says. Another defence insider says there are other problems with army deployment capabilities.
"The army also has a shortage of blue force tracking transponders, which allow friendly forces to know where our troops are and help avoid friendly-fire incidents. This would limit the number of elements we could deploy into a coalition environment."
In the field, Australian troops cannot be supported by the army's Black Hawks because they do not have infrared shields over their exhausts, making them vulnerable to shoulder-launched missiles. The entire fleet of 33 choppers - a core part of the army's capability - cannot be safely deployed to Afghanistan, much less to a more intense war.
This means Australian troops deployed in Oruzgan province are still relying on NATO helicopters rather than their own Black Hawks to evacuate wounded soldiers.
(1) Victory in XXXX is a Vital U.S. Interest
Which is probably the correct position for the military to take: "how do we achieve what we have been asked to do?"Counter-terrorism against Al Qaeda and counter-insurgency against the Taliban, blended with heavy doses of counter-narcotic warfare, leads to "hybrid war". There, just by using that term, I should get about a hundred or so hits--it's worth at least one Megan Fox picture.
The many smaller bases strung in between are surrounded by enormous Hesco barriers, concertina wire, and guard towers. No one is allowed on the base without being badged and interviewed by base security, and in many places delivery trucks are forced to wait in the open for 24 hours before completing their trips to the dining halls, clinics, or technology offices.
There are other ways in which Coalition Forces are separated from the people of Afghanistan beyond their heavily fortified bases. Most transit - on patrol, on delivery runs, or on humanitarian missions - is performed through Mine Resistance Ambush Protection, or MRAP vehicles. These enormous trucks, thickly plated with metal blast shields on the bottom with tiny blue-tinted ballistic glass, make it near-impossible to even see the surrounding countryside from another other than the front seat.
On the narrow mountain roads that sometimes collapse under the mutli-ton trucks, soldiers drive, too, in up-armored Humvees, which are similarly coated in thick plates of armor and heavy glass windows they aren’t allowed to open.
When soldiers emerge from their imposing vehicles, they are covered from head to groin in various forms of shielding: thick ceramic plates on the torso, the ubiquitous Kevlar helmets, tinted ballistic eye glasses, neck and nape guards, heavy shrapnel-resistant flaps of fabric about the shoulders and groin, and fire-resistant uniforms. A common sentiment among Afghans who see these men and women wandering in their midst is that they look like aliens, or, if they know of them, robots......These are the sorts of questions that cannot be answered while holed up on a large base. Military bases are societies in miniature: they have their own politics, their own players, a separate culture, and even their own language. When focused on themselves, they develop into a so-called “garrison mentality” - a focus on rules, administration, and process, rather than accomplishing any larger strategic objectives [ed. note, isn't that the truth?].
Suicides for Marines were also up in 2008. Marines had 41 suicides in 2008, up from 33 in 2007 and 25 in 2006, according to a Marines report
The numbers did not surprise Kevin Lucey, whose 23-year-old son, Jeffrey M. Lucey -- a former Marine -- hanged himself on June 22, 2004 -- 11 months after returning from Iraq.
The night before, "Jeffrey asked if he could sit in my lap and if we could rock," Lucey said. "It was about 11:30 at night. And I rocked him for about 45 minutes. Now here you have a 23-year-old, 150-pound Marine that I'm just rocking and his therapist said it was his last gasp. It was his last place for refuge, and then the next time I held him in my lap was when I was taking him down from the rafters. He had put the hose around his neck double-looped and he was dead."After sitting through the mandatory suicide prevention classes, I now felt it necessary to weigh in on the subject. I'm always one to believe that correlation does not automatically imply causality, but in this case, I have to believe that there is definitely a relation between combat rotations--particularly multiple combat rotations--and suicides. Even Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent town hall meeting in Fort Campbell that he felt that multiple deployments were contributing to suicide.
The Army released frightening new suicide statistics Thursday, but suggested the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have little to do with this alarming trend.
In fact, the vice chief of staff of the Army said that after reviewing suicide statistics for 2008, multiple combat deployments actually make soldiers less likely to commit suicide.
"The rational person might think the more deployments, the more likely you are to commit suicide, but we saw exactly the opposite," said Gen. Peter Chiarelli. "A certain resiliency seems to grow in an individual who has multiple deployments."
Chiarelli and other Army officials released the February statistics on a conference call with online journalists Thursday. Last month, the number of Army suicides nearly equaled that of soldiers killed in combat. Among active-duty, National Guard, and Reserve soldiers, there were 18 unconfirmed suicides and 20 combat-related deaths in February.Again, not one to automatically jump to the "correlation/causality" bias, but something doesn't seem right. Any psychiatrists care to comment? Is there a point of diminishing returns where one deployment makes one want to commit suicide, whereas four tends to build some sort of resistance?
"I wish we could show you Beyond the Front [the interactive suicide prevention video], because what you described, the Beyond the Front video, the interactive video, that is serving as the centerpiece for our current stand-down, gets at those issues," he said.
The video was good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, as the Army seems to have been touting it.
Oh, and by the way, when you get to the option where you have to tell the potential suicide victim to see mental help and are given the option to take the guy to the shrink by force (in the middle of a Burger King), definitely take him by force. It's funny, and mistakes are the best ays to learn...
Coinciding with the American military’s “surge” over the last two years, the Awakening movement is given broad credit for helping quell most of the violence in Sunni communities.
The program was never meant to be permanent, however; the idea always was to find them jobs and bring Sunnis into the security services and government.
General Ferriter said he was not concerned about the low number integrated so far, predicting that all 94,000 members would have government jobs by the end of this year. He said that so far, 3,000 jobs had been promised by the Health Ministry, 10,000 by the Education Ministry and 500 by the Oil Ministry.
But other American officials are not so sure, given the far weaker financial condition of the Iraqi government because of falling oil prices. “Do we really think the Iraqi government is going to bring 100,000 new employees in at a time when their revenue stream is taking a nosedive?” asked an American military official knowledgeable about the program, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
“You have to realize the Iraqi government may have an S.O.I. transition program, but Al Qaeda and all those groups have their own S.O.I. transition program,” the officer said, using the abbreviation for the Sons of Iraq.No one has ever doubted that many of the recipients of the American money were once insurgents, some aligned with Al Qaeda at one time. Essentially, they were paid to change sides. They have paid a price: More than 500 were killed in the fighting that ousted Al Qaeda from their neighborhoods and villages in 2007 and 2008.
Consider Mexico. Its recent population explosion was engineered by the Mexican oligarchs who waged a massive propaganda campaign to convince Mexicans to have enormous numbers of children at an early age (see “The Mexicans: a personal portrait of a people”, by Patrick Oster). They actually gave medals to women with large families! Ostensibly to make Mexico “bigger and better”, the only reason I can think of for this policy is to ensure that wages stay low.
It’s working. It’s working so well that Mexico is in danger of becoming a failed state.
Consider Iran, where the ayatollahs encouraged large families so that they could use human wave attacks against Iraq rather than hire competent generals. As usual, after population growth rates picked up the Iranian standard of living began falling, and dealing with the unrest caused by all those unemployed young men became a major problem for the state.Look for a failing state, and you are more likely than not going to find a rapidly growing population. Look for a rapidly growing population, and if you dig enough, you are likely to find government policies dating a generation or two prior.