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  #21  
Old 5 December 2018, 12:24
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Originally Posted by Shark0311 View Post
I believe that a good amount of waste exists in the daily operation of the Navy e.g. an E4 throwing a $30,000 part overboard because they have a surplus of parts.
No doubt. The whole concept of September shopping sprees with the unused budget to avoid future budget cuts feeds the problem like gas on a fire.
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  #22  
Old 5 December 2018, 14:24
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As for increasing the size of the reserves and decreasing active duty forces I'm not sure what the financial impact would be. I'd have to see the numbers.

If I was responsible for downsizing I'd start with identifying institutional redundancies, scope creep and performance nonconformities. Then I'd eliminate them which is what I believe the OP is seeking to identify.
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  #23  
Old 5 December 2018, 14:39
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Well, if you want to take emotion out of it, consolidate all branches into one "army". The redundancy, mission creep, ambiguous mission sets, could be eliminated. But it'll never happen.
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  #24  
Old 5 December 2018, 15:45
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Let's start simply...

One service.

Period.

The Armed Forces of the United States of America.

No more four separate everything.

One service / one system / one uniform etc.

Within that system you can have specialties and some things will be more selective / harder than others but the days of having four totally separate personnel systems and uniforms and military academies and unnecessary duplication are over.

Truman should have fought this to the death after World War 2 and prior to the National Security Act of 1947.

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  #25  
Old 5 December 2018, 16:04
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Originally Posted by Stanley_White View Post
Truman should have fought this to the death after World War 2 and prior to the National Security Act of 1947.
Truman had a hard-on against the Marine Corps. If he couldn't get it done, it won't get done. But if you really want to have the conversation, right-sizing the military and increasing efficiency while decreasing costs, it is the way to go.
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  #26  
Old 5 December 2018, 17:41
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Here's one from my corner of the world. Get rid of most of the CONUS military hospitals. Keep enough medical to provide combat medical support and a tail for casualty evacuation, e.g. theater to Landstuhl to Walter Reed or Brook (San Antonio), maybe Norfolk, San Diego, Madigan (Lewis-McChord).

Either outsource or just get rid of the rest and go fully commercial medical. Wouldn't be much of a push to outsource the smaller clinics and hospitals to commercial the same way DoD has outsourced post housing and transient quarters. Think Urgent Care and your local hospital system.

Those of us who are retired already know there's some reorg going on in medical. There's no more retiree dental program as of this year - we're now headed into the same plans used by our DoD civilians. I'm approaching the age where I'm pushed into Medicare B with TFL as a secondary payer and DoD has been pushing 65+ into Medicare for a while now.

BTW, if the change in dental is news to any of you retirees, you need to get to the health.mil website soon and get your dental (and vision) care updated via FEDVIP. There are only a few more days left in the open season to get signed up.

Healthcare is a huge chunk of DoD budget. Some of these ideas may not reduce the budget directly but I'm betting there's some efficiencies to be had.
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  #27  
Old 5 December 2018, 18:25
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Originally Posted by Stanley_White View Post
Let's start simply...

One service.
Period.
The Armed Forces of the United States of America.
No more four separate everything.
That could conceivably work better.
There are good reasons it hasn't been seriously tried:

1 = Close air support is the realm of Army and Marine helicopter pilots, Air Force A-10 pilots, and Marine fighter pilots. Navy helicopter pilots and fighter pilots from both the Air Force and Navy want nothing to do with the mission and have tried to find ways to get rid of it, while the Marine and Army infantrymen desperately want it to not only survive but become more of a point of emphasis in pilot training and aircraft acquisition. The Marines want their own air wing so they can ensure that planes and pilots will still do the mission and be available to support Marines. Consolidation could work, but try convincing an infantryman that the Air Force general who used to fly the F-22 will make sure that the new combined service will see to it that close air support will still be available when needed.

2 = Within the Navy, the fast track to promotion to high command runs through billets including command of either an attack submarine, or a surface combat vessel, or a squadron of combat aircraft. Being the commander of a supply ship or an AWACS unit or a squadron of minesweepers or a training command or an amphibious assault ship is a respected position from which your chances of ever making admiral are slim. The high command regimes of the submarine fleet and the surface vessels do not trust and seldom even understand or respect one another. Aboard carriers, the ship's crew and the embarked air wing don't see each other as equals, an attitude shared by the crew of amphibious ships and their embarked Marines as well as submarine crews and their embarked SEALs. If those people don't trust each other, and know that there is a hierarchical pecking order they are stuck in, do you think that intra-service cooperation will be better when all these people are thrown into the same mix with every intra-service rivalry from the other branches with whom they already had inter-service rivalries? Consolidation to overcome duplication and inter-service rivalries can only achieve so much when the pre-existing intra-service rivalries will survive. Instead of four service chiefs jockeying for funding while each manages a half dozen competing interests, you will have one service chief with two dozen competing interests. Using that logic, a general commanding an infantry division would no longer need brigade, regiment, or battalion staffs because the general's staff could efficiently handle each company and separate platoon themselves from one unified command. What looks like efficiency on paper becomes chaos in reality.
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  #28  
Old 5 December 2018, 18:30
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Here's one from my corner of the world. Get rid of most of the CONUS military hospitals. Keep enough medical to provide combat medical support and a tail for casualty evacuation, e.g. theater to Landstuhl to Walter Reed or Brook (San Antonio), maybe Norfolk, San Diego, Madigan (Lewis-McChord).
I think a lot of the medical personnel that staff the deploying hospitals work at the CONUS hospitals when they're not deployed.
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  #29  
Old 5 December 2018, 18:52
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  #30  
Old 5 December 2018, 18:57
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  #31  
Old 5 December 2018, 19:03
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IMHO, as a nation we need to agree first on what type of capabilities do we want our military to demonstrate (effectiveness) - based on that goal, one can optimize (efficiencies). However, structural changes to behavioral concerns is a long running approach to change management in our country, with not a lot of clear benefits. Our answers to issues often revolve around reorganizing. Hell, the DoD has a gerbil running in cage somewhere spitting out new org codes shuffling the deck on a 2/3 year basis. Ultimately, people are still at the heart of the system and some behaviors go back to the very founding of our nation. Fighting those behaviors is about cultural attitudes rather than structural changes.

My perspective is from the acquisition corps, I'm in no position to discuss the warfighting aspect itself. I concur with what ET1/ss nuke has stated on the technology front. For context, I strongly recommend reading Ian Toll's Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the US Navy, B.H Liddell Harts biography on Sherman, and Robert Coram's biographies on John Boyd and Victor Krulak. It will provide perspective of what conversations were occurring through big changes in our military capabilities, particularly the acquisition system. Common themes:

1) The size/composition/MIC issues associated with the military goes back to arguments when the Dept of Navy was established, shipyards were allocated in six locations, and funding arguments started between congress/exec branch. (Ian Toll's book) Adams and Jefferson had very different views, ultimately history showed in this case, Adams and people he asked to get a capable Navy going were right. Jefferson's small gun boat approach did not work.

2) There is an esprit de corps/cultural lineage going back 200 years, in a direct line of lessons learned (or not learned), stories, culture for the various services. They each have their strengths and weaknesses from an acquisition corps perspective. It should not be whole sale discharged without strong consideration as the culture of the services is a strong contributor to the intangibles. I've thought a lot about it and despite corrections by maverick/iconoclast type people (Boyd for example), historical trends are hard to shake. Boyd's approach to systems engineering and getting product out the door on a war against scope creep worked. Variants of platforms evolved over time, but weren't gold plated out the gate. Culturally though, we're horrible about scope creep and gold plating. Shows up in every era. Platforms where scope creep is hard by design with real world constraints or we have long term plans (subs for example), our acquisition system generally does well. With the recent addition of the Space Force, trend is towards more specialization versus collapsing our forces into one (USA, USN/USMC, USAF/SF, & SOCOM in many ways operates as another service element). Krulak and the Higgins boat saga of WWII is another example. Almost seems without the ying you can't have the yang.

3) When push comes to shove faced with a real adversary, we do get things moving. Consider it parkinson's law effect when faced with a deadline vs. not; irrespective of the era, our history shows we are slow to be proactive, but great counter punchers once we get going. It's the nature of our representative republic. An example - a big stink gets made about anti-ship missile capabilities recently and low/behold, all of a sudden in a short time multiple solutions show up. Current conversations within the Navy are speed to fleet in acquisition and getting rid of red tape. Went through that in the build up of OIF. Pendulum swing, again. Until someone screws up, the public reacts, congress gets angry, everyone pays the penalty and it becomes "compliance first". Rinse and repeat.

In terms of redundancies, I would love to see them go away in the admin side, but the taxpayer and their representatives are equally culpable here on the reactive approach. As such, we are saddled with spending thousands of dollars watching over 50 bucks in spending. One example, GSA exists for general stuff, but then we have DLA for DoD specific stuff, within the DoD we have general supply groups like NAVSUP, and specialized Systems Commands. However since each group has contracting officers and how budgets get allocated, each buys their own stuff unless forced to stay with the primary.

Each layer adds and amplifies their own rule sets at each level, with the QC to it. Its very non-value added. Our travel systems, or ERP systems were supposed to make things more efficient, but cultural behavior re-emerges where instead of me and my supervisor being the submitter/approver, we have layers of QC in between, for automated systems that were supposed to reduce admin costs. Nothing against the people; another artifact of our cultural mindsets.

In conclusion, military capabilities are rarely efficient. IMO, focus should be on effectiveness and avoiding generally accepted big stupid mistakes with are the big money pit issues.

I'd like to see a more effective force, that can operate organically and decentralized without having to be reliant on single system or approach (homogeneity and standardization comes with risks), with more cost conscious budgets tied to funding based on milestone achievement (and Program Managers that are forced to stick around more than 3 years with promotion incentive tied to staying on scope) rather than long running programs of record. Culturally, I'm not sure all Americans are willing to own up to their accountability -what we see is a reflection of how we as Americans manage things as a society. Sometimes it works, others not so much as we like to throw cash at problems, have a short memory, and can react pretty well but are piss poor at planning. We get lost in the sauce on ideology over hard learned pragmatism (irrespective of political alignment).

Lets change the hours in the day
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  #32  
Old 5 December 2018, 19:16
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  #33  
Old 5 December 2018, 19:32
Rich Gause Rich Gause is offline
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Yes!
The book not the movie lol....
I mean who wouldn't want to do a drop from orbit in a powered suit....
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  #34  
Old 5 December 2018, 20:15
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Originally Posted by Stanley_White View Post
Let's start simply...

One service.

Period.

The Armed Forces of the United States of America.

No more four separate everything.

One service / one system / one uniform etc.
Having one service will probably have the exact opposite effect.

One service means no benchmarking/comparing your organisation's effectiveness and efficiency against anyone else, creating stagnation. (This is how we do x, and we are the most awesome force in the world, so why do we need to change?)

Whereas if you have separate organisations, who can track the number of dollars and hours it takes to procure a common item, say a toilet seat, then a comparison will show when an organisation's procurement process is inefficient in comparison.

That's ignoring the complications resulting from internal and external political obstacles, and not making any commentary on warfighting capability - Just efficiencies in procurement, training and the like.
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  #35  
Old 5 December 2018, 20:26
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We're also on the edge of the next industrial revolution with digital manufacturing and what not. That will probably affect how we provision more than any structural changes, toxicity of the MIC, contract law, etc. Massive potential for both effectiveness and efficiency.
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  #36  
Old 5 December 2018, 23:06
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Originally Posted by Gray Rhyno View Post
I think a lot of the medical personnel that staff the deploying hospitals work at the CONUS hospitals when they're not deployed.
Some do. It varies quite a bit from service to service based on the service's need for tactical medicine. There are many medical folks who only move from hospital to hospital across their entire career and never see theater so that portion of military medicine is a self-licking ice cream cone. We have the hospitals so we need to staff them. Beyond that, why do we need specialties like pediatrics and a NICU in a military hospital? Are we expecting to care for babies on the battlefield?

We could keep a trained medical force with just the major medical centers. There are about 150 hospitals in the MHS. Fifteen of those are OCONUS. We could sustain a trained medical force with ~35 of the largest CONUS hospitals. That leaves ~100 to close or outsource.

Here's a prediction - the way military benefits are headed I'm betting medical benefits will be rolled over into commercial health care plans in somewhere between 10 and 20 years. They'll be free for AD (e.g. DoD pays the entire share) and lower cost/portable for reserve, NG, and retirees. Probably coming out of the same plans US gov civilians use today.

I'm not sure how much cost savings that adds up to but I bet it's a lot. Wrap a profit margin around a big chunk of that healthcare and I'm betting the total cost goes way down.
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  #37  
Old 6 December 2018, 00:44
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Originally Posted by Shark0311 View Post
I believe that a good amount of waste exists in the daily operation of the Navy e.g. an E4 throwing a $30,000 part overboard because they have a surplus of parts, XO changing course to get the sun out of his eyes during breakfast, etc.

Granted, this is not as likely to happen on smaller vessels that are continually held together with a shoe string budget and elbow grease but I'm sure that efficiency could be improved there as well, for example the recent collisions in Japan and the Strait of Hormuz.
From what I've read, and granted, I wasn't there, those collisions had a lot to with piss poor training (as in not enough), and a lack of leadership (as in not enforcing the standards) by many of the people whose job it was to make sure these guys were trained and doing their jobs.
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  #38  
Old 6 December 2018, 09:14
Devildoc Devildoc is offline
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Some do. It varies quite a bit from service to service based on the service's need for tactical medicine. There are many medical folks who only move from hospital to hospital across their entire career and never see theater so that portion of military medicine is a self-licking ice cream cone. We have the hospitals so we need to staff them. Beyond that, why do we need specialties like pediatrics and a NICU in a military hospital? Are we expecting to care for babies on the battlefield?

We could keep a trained medical force with just the major medical centers. There are about 150 hospitals in the MHS. Fifteen of those are OCONUS. We could sustain a trained medical force with ~35 of the largest CONUS hospitals. That leaves ~100 to close or outsource.

Here's a prediction - the way military benefits are headed I'm betting medical benefits will be rolled over into commercial health care plans in somewhere between 10 and 20 years. They'll be free for AD (e.g. DoD pays the entire share) and lower cost/portable for reserve, NG, and retirees. Probably coming out of the same plans US gov civilians use today.

I'm not sure how much cost savings that adds up to but I bet it's a lot. Wrap a profit margin around a big chunk of that healthcare and I'm betting the total cost goes way down.
Who is deployed vs not deployed depends on several different factors...NOBC/SSC (for Naval officers in the MC/NC/MSC; not sure how the Army does things), secondary billets, ever-present "needs of the service." Most hospitals have civil service providers (docs and nurses), so about 60-70% of the personnel in uniform have a deployable secondary billet (2013 figures, when I got out). Back-fills come from the reserve.

Your prediction has been turning into truth for 20+ years; most MTFs have outsourced 90% of its care and services. The writing was there (literally, it was in the language) with CHAMPUS, evolving with Tricare.
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  #39  
Old 6 December 2018, 16:44
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The problem is that the reserves and National Guard is so political - a fight for money - versus a true strategic view of what is in the nation's best interest.
Good discussion. Just want to point out that this is not exclusive to the Guard and Reserve. It's alive and well throughout all of DOD.
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  #40  
Old 9 December 2018, 10:42
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What Military Organization Should The US Actually Have?

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Originally Posted by Devildoc View Post
Well, if you want to take emotion out of it, consolidate all branches into one "army". The redundancy, mission creep, ambiguous mission sets, could be eliminated. But it'll never happen.
First off, I never served in the armed forces, so my opinion here may not have much value. I went right into cop work when I entered the workforce.

I do remember my father telling me that when he was in the Army during World War II there was a ton of waste then. For example, if you had certain extra supplies he was ordered to throw them in the ocean so that it wouldn't look bad during an inspection.

I have certainly known a number of guys and gals that served, or have served in the past, that ended up in law enforcement. Most of them, too, can offer stories of fraud, waste and abuse. A couple of CID dicks that I trained with said it wasn't unusual for bases of a certain size to have some guys that basically lived off of stealing from nearby bases!

Police work specifically and criminal justice in general, and even other public safety organizations could be made more efficient. A local fire department near me has reported a spike, over the past year, or "lift assist" calls. The group homes, that seem to be the main source of these calls, should probably train their staff to be able to do it themselves. The fire department is rolling a pumper with four firefighters to deal with this.

There certainly could be much more resource sharing in cop work, too. If you have a four man department, do you really need to send a guy to the FBI National Academy for training? Do you really need your own K-9 unit?

There has been a lot of "mission creep" in cop work a lot of places. Some/much of it seems to be in response to the post-Fergadishu world we live in. I have seen many agencies take on the role of essentially social workers to help the homeless, become taxi services, bring meals to the elderly, etc. in an effort to boost public relations.

I also think that many places could make better use of volunteer resources. Many places near me have uniformed, unarmed police reserves that essentially drive around aimlessly looking for excitement. You need an agency to actually use them for things they can help with. There are a lot of BS tasks that get assigned to sworn deputies/officers/troopers that could be done by civilians.
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