The National Defense Authorization Act for FY22 just passed this week. While there are some nice changes, like a 2.7% pay increase (sadly offset by rampant inflation) and some additional baby leave, there is a lot that is left to be desired.
Now, given looming war with China and Russia, our gaps in hypersonic technology, space, bioweapons, and cyber, and our poorly maintained “battle” fleet that seems to barely limp along from extended deployment to extended deployment, you would think anyone writing the executive summary of this bill would want to reassure the public that its going to make us stronger and ready for war with the hopes of deterring it to make peace.
And well, you’d be wrong. Here’s the highlighted portion of page one of the summary:
The FY22 NDAA builds on previous attempts to close the pay gap by authorizing support for a 2.7 percent pay increase for our service men and women in uniform, makes historic and sweepingHouse Armed Service Committee NDAA FY22 executive summary
changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault in the military,
authorizes record funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, contains
measures to ensure our military is diverse and inclusive, and makes key investments to
address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency across the Department
of Defense, and takes full advantage of our diverse talent pool to meet the complex national
security challenges of today and tomorrow.
What the heck is this? HBCUs? Diversity? Climate Change? Seriously?
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have got to be laughing at this.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about getting research money to HBCUs to support weapons and tactics development. Why not? It would be awesome to see an HBCU open a cyber center, or contribute to space warfare, or some other highly technical area. That would have long reaching benefits, encouraging young black kids to aspire to be great engineers and scientists. There is a lot to love with ideas like that, and its a win-win for the Department of Defense.
But how is that the highlight? Defense is about combating our enemies and helping our policy makers negotiate peace from the best possible position. Think about World War 2. Could we have negotiated a lasting peace with Hitler or the Japanese Emperor without being in a position of strength? I’d argue that half of the reason Hitler rose to power in the first place was that he saw weakness and pushed against it. The same could be said for Putin today as he gazes at Ukraine, challenging the US and its NATO allies to do something.
Nothing in those opening paragraphs radiate strength. As you dig through the document, the increases in equipment are buried, but they are paltry. We’re getting 13 additional ships, if they can be built on time. We really need another actual shipyard, yet that piece of vital infrastructure isn’t in the bill, since it would compete with companies that already have a lock on shipbuilding (and the Congress-people on their payroll to prove it). If you need proof of how bad it is, just check our CDR Salamander’s blog.
But most disingenuous is that military personnel are going down in numbers. Yup. Hidden away in the actual text is a decrease in manpower:
With regard to military end strength, the number of Army soldiers would drop by 900 (to 485,000) compared to this year’s levels and the Marine Corps would cut its troop numbers by 2,700 (to 178,500). That’s in line with White House end strength plans. The Navy’s end strength total would drop by about 900 (to 346,920), about 700 more sailors than the White House requested. The Air Force would see a decrease of about 4,200 personnel (to 329,220), about 1,000 more airmen than the administration requested.From Military Times
If we’re already not doing a good enough job keeping up with China, how on earth will we do that with less people, specifically less people in the Navy and Air Force, the services that will take the brunt of any Pacific conflict?
This year’s NDAA is a joke. It’s laser locked on social justice issues while missing all the important items needed for any future conflict. Sadly, it’ll likely take a war where we lose thousands of service members before Congress will shelve the pet programs and get serious about winning.
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