Friday, May 10, 2019

Lockheed Martin's worst fear. Trump nominates Shanahan for SecDef...

via Breaking Defense.
The longest acting defense secretary in US history has finally and officially been nominated for the job.

Patrick Shanahan, a 30-year Boeing executive with no prior government experience before coming to the Pentagon in 2017, will now start preparing to face the music on Capitol Hill, where he has received a pretty mixed reception during his 17 weeks as Acting Defense Secretary.

Since taking over from Jim Mattis on Jan. 1, after the former Marine general resigned due to differences with President Trump over Syria policy, Shanahan has mostly held the line on policies already in place, keeping an emphasis on modernization and the National Defense Strategy released last year.

The nomination comes at a challenging time for the Pentagon as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on Iran and Venezuela, while keeping an eye on a new round of ballistic missile tests in North Korea and scrambling to maintain the US military advantage over China and Russia. Over the past year, Shanahan has also pressed the case for standing up a Space Force, while managing almost 25,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

That is a full plate for any policymaker, but particularly one who had had no relevant foreign policy or military experience since becoming Mattis’ deputy less than two years ago.   
Story here.

This is interesting on several levels.  The biggest is that the Pentagon will now act more toward Trump's instincts which are to end endless wars, cut the defense budget, to stop subsidizing allies that won't pay to defend themselves and to use the military to defend the southern border.

The biggest procurement issue for the Pentagon is the F-35 and Shanahan ain't a fan.

The propaganda campaign against this man had been nothing if not impressive and coordinated.

But he's thru the fire of the IG inspection, just has a Senate confirmation that he'll probably hit a little turbulence and get thru....and then its on to slicing the defense budget with the biggest hanging fruit being the F-35.

My recommendation to the incoming SecDef?

1.  Cut the F-35C NOW!  It's a boutique fighter that does not fit the Navy strategy.  Kill the thing and force the USMC to buy Super Hornets for the carrier mission.

2.  Focus on deep strike missiles.  A conventional Pershing 2 is needed asap.

3.  Get a handle on the aviation maintenance issue across all services.

4.  Consolidate cyber in the Navy and Air Force.  Cyber warfare is a strategic function, not one for ground forces engaged in combat.

5.  Prioritize Electronic Warfare.  The Navy is on the right track.  The USMC should be forced to buy E/A-18's and the Air Force should be made to develop a version of that plane based on the F-15E.

That's a start.  Then the hard stuff....

6.  Cut the number of General/Admiral billets.  When we have more generals/admirals than divisions, fleets, and squadrons then you have bloat.  Cutting the bloat should come before cutting troops.

7.  Take a serious look at manning levels.  Does the USMC need to be 180K?  How about Army, Air Force and Navy numbers?

8.  Revitalize our nuclear strike.  It's a must if we're actually back in super power competition.

9.  End the building of infrastructure in allied nations.  Not one penny of that construction should come from US taxpayers.

That's a start but its obvious that this dude has a tall hill to climb.  Good luck bro!

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