Congress, our military is losing the skill to win. Let’s obtain the defense budget right

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 3:46 AM

S. Women’s National Team, the world’s best sports teams are built on three basic things: the best people, the best training, and the best equipment.

Congress, our military is losing the skill to win. Let’s obtain the defense budget right

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Golden State Warriors, the Denver Broncos, or the U. S. Women’s National Team, the world’s best sports teams are built on three basic things: the best people, the best training, and the best equipment. The same is true of defense forces: people, training and equipment are the three legs of a powerful and prepared military. Unfortunately, devastating budget cuts have left the U. S. military brief of all three. Consequently, our armed forces are rapidly losing their skill to win. Here are three pillars of a championship team and world class military

one. People

Since two thousand eleven, the U. S. defense budget has been slice by twenty-five % in genuine terms. Imagine what'd happen to the Denver Broncos if the team’s budget was slice by the same amount. You'd have to slice personnel. You might start with trimming your front office staff and dropping an helper coach or two. But ultimately, you’re going to have to drop players, too.

The U. S. Army is in the process of dropping from 570.000 soldiers to 450.000 soldiers—roughly a twenty % cut. A twenty % slice would drop the Bronco’s roster from forty-six to thirty-seven players. They could still field a team, but they’d be light on subs and backups. During a game, injuries and fatigue would quickly eat through their bench, forcing players to play more than they should, play injured, or play positions they aren’t prepared to play.

In the military, fewer people imply that men and women in uniform obtain stretched thinly to cover all the missions. More deployments, more time far from their families, more wear and tear on their bodies from physically demanding missions. Service members are being asked to do more with less, and at some point that becomes unsustainable.

two. Training

But a twenty-five % budget slice doesn’t just affect the size of the team. At some point, if you still wish to play football, you can’t slice your team any smaller. That means you slice elsewhere. Training dollars are simple to save—just slice a week or two from preseason practice.

But less training means poorer performance. In sports or in combat, practicing together is vital to increasing the team’s cohesion and skill to win. Individual players might be able to hold their skills up by themselves, but the Broncos won’t win another Super Bowl if they don’t spend hundreds and hundreds of hours practicing together as a team. And the same is true of an Army brigade, a Navy ship or an Air Force squadron.

Military training budgets have been slice dramatically, and we're starting to look the consequences. Army and Marine Corps lethal aircraft accidents are increasing, and the lack of training is a primary factor. The Air Force reports that less than half of its units are fully trained, and the Army reports only one-third of its brigades are fully trained. On the battlefield, inadequate training produces unnecessary casualties.

three. Equipment

But even with the cuts in personnel and training, we still haven’t found twenty-five % in total savings. The following stop is equipment. For the Broncos that might imply flying in cramped, cut-rate charter planes and foregoing a new training facility with cutting-edge exercise equipment and monitoring devices. Excellent football teams can play through equipment challenges with Ltd consequences for a while. But in other sports, horrible equipment can doom athletes to nearly certain failure. A horrible car won’t win in NASCAR; an elderly club can slice more than forty yards off a pro golfer’s drive.

In the military, horrible equipment can cause needless casualties and mission failure. Horrible equipment can result from underfunding maintenance, love in the Marine Corps where mechanics presently raid museums for aircraft parts. And even excellent equipment goes horrible with age. The average age of the Air Force’s main bomber, the B-52, is fifty-three years. The Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) used to land Marines on beaches are, on average, thirty-five years old.

And sometimes, the problem isn’t horrible equipment; it’s the lack of equipment, love the Navy’s lack of ships.

A winning team needs excellent people, excellent training and excellent equipment—and all in sufficient quantity to achieve its mission. Budget cuts have already weakened our military in all three areas, and military leaders declare it's only getting worse. Instead of letting our national defense hollow out, Congress should start rebuilding it by getting the defense budget right.

Justin T. Johnson is senior policy analyst for defense budgeting in The Heritage Foundation’s Middle for National Defense

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