Friday, 6 January 2012

My Job

Up until two months ago in my work place....the Pentagon....we had this building-wide requirement involving safety masks.  You were issued these $250 masks which would provide around three hours of safe air....just a filter, not a tank.  Besides being issued a mask.....you had a couple hundred of these cabinets that hung off the walls of the building....where extra masks were stored.....mostly for visitors.  Toward the end of 2011....some bigwig in DC made the decision that these were no longer needed.

So in the building, the decision was made to take down these cabinets (all hung by four screws, mounted into the wall).  The two guys came by yesterday.  I had one cabinet in my vault.  It took around 30 minutes for them to remove the cabinet....fill in the holes made with putty....and do a neat job.  Painting comes later.

I asked the guy....how much this one act of removal would run?   His response....$75.  So you can figure you paid $75 last year to mount this cabinet, and $75 this year to remove the cabinet.

I then asked the guy....how many of these would be taken down.  He figured in the ballpark of two tractor-trailer loads....all palletized.  Then I asked what become of these cheap metal cabinets....three foot by three foot.  He figured they'd end up at the Defense sales lots.

So you can imagine these sell in four months.....forty-odd pallets of these cheaply made cabinets (likely all made in Mexico, and already showing some rust signs)....bought up by some guy from Mississippi who trucks them back and puts them into a warehouse.  The end use?  Who knows?

Probably over a million was expended in this 18-month long episode, with nothing gained.  The positive side is that we are keeping people actively employed....fixing and unfixing things like this.

The Solo War

We have returned to an era that hasn't existed since 1941....a one-war capable country.  To be honest, with the exception of WWII and the Iraq/Afghanistan war period.....we haven't ever needed the two-war capability.  Because of all of the budget issues and lack of action by Congress and the Senate....we are validating the one-war capability once again.

How does this all relate?  Fewer tanks, aircraft, and Army troops.  Fewer generals.   Fewer rifles and bullets.  Fewer bases.

The truth is that we really don't have a comparable opponent in the world.  China might be a worthy opponent, but why would they fight the country that they literally own?  Russia?  They haven't maintained their military and would be lucky to look good against the country of Georgia.  Iran or Iraq?  They aren't exactly the mother-of-all-opponents.  In our own hemisphere?  Venezuela is about the only country that might raise a fuss or do something stupid.....but half the population would welcome us onto their shores.

So you are left with terrorism, narco clubs or gangs, and serving as rescue help.  The truth is....if you admit these things....then a one-war capability is all you need.

Acceptance of this deal?  Well....that's a different story.  Republican candidates will make a big deal out of this.  A bunch of fancy pants think-tank guys will show up on TV and mount up on the horses to defend the two-war idea.  Radio commentators will fan out across the heartland and defend the ability to fight both Tonga and Libya at the same time.

So a couple of years from now.....someone will stand up to count all the generals within the military and find that we mostly have the same exact number of them but a huge decrease on the enlisted side.  A think-tank will convene and simply say that you need a bunch of high-ranking generals....to think over serious problems....like a one-war fighting strategy.  The generals will all wink at each other, and the matter will just drift off.

Only in America.