The military is the most efficient activity of the Federal government. So, any can tell you in a tirade larded — pun intended — with examples, it only wastes about 70% of its money.
Responsible Reset Task Force, come on down.
The RRTF is, pace the Washington Times, charged with triaging the thousands of vehicles that Big Green dragged along to the desert. Some vehicles and mobile weapons (Tanks, APCs, SP Artillery, etc) will come home as the
craven bug-out brilliant retrograde operation contiuues. Those that are useful to the kinder, gentler and much smaller Army envisioned in the President’s and SecDef’s budget proposals get refurbished and shipped home. Those that might have utility in a future Mid-East scenario will get refurbed and mothballed in situ. And those that would cost more to move than the Army feels like spending get scrapped in place.
This may irritate people who consider the millions upon millions we spent on these vehicles, which will now go to China as scrap metal — or to form a Han version of the Btandenberg Division for future use, pick one), but there’s real business sense behind it. Compared to the future cost stream of maintaining mothballed vehicles, and the immediate cost of moving them, past costs are “sunk costs” and have no impact on future budgets. In other words, the money’s already wasted, so the objective at this point is not to waste more.
The Army is responsible for about 15,000 vehicles at four U.S. military bases in Kuwait, some with a dozen lots. About 9,000 vehicles will stay with the U.S. forces in Kuwait, but up to 6,000 will be shipped home, Col. Carra said.
They include Humvees, trucks, trailers, cranes, bulldozers, tanks, personnel carriers and howitzers. One Humvee can cost more than $1 million, and a tank, a couple of million.
“I’m sure it’s over a billion dollars,” Col. Carra [former RRTF operations officer] said of the value of the military vehicles in Kuwait.
One thing they do — emphasis added — is reminiscent of an aspect of the Vietnam War
Before a vehicle can come stateside, it needs to stripped of extra equipment, washed, sterilized and brought to a port. It will spend more than a month at sea before arriving in the United States. Roughly 5,000 vehicles that came out of Iraq are now en route to the United States.
In Vietnam, the Army discovered that the standard M59 and M113 APCs were death-traps that couldn’t defend themselves against enemy dismounted infantry, armed with the RPG rocket-grenade launcher. This led to development of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in due course, but in Vietnam it produced a locally-developed kit that protected the track commander and his .50 MG, and added two armor-shielded light machine guns on the flanks of the track. As part of its deliberately self-inflicted institutional amnesia about the Vietnam war, those ACAV kits were ruthlessly stripped off the Army’s M113s, and for 20 more years troops prepared to go to war in the crummy, defenseless vehicles, the inadequacies of which were exposed in 1962 already.
That last quoted example makes it clear that the successful improvisations and all memory of them are destined for the same physical and informational knacker’s yard, as the conventional Army returns to its usual peacetime rhythms and “prepares” to be caught utterly unprepared for the next war.
Meanwhile, if anyone wants some used military vehicles, some hastily cut-off combat improvements to same, and the reputation of the Army, maybe RRTF will be putting them up on ebay Motors.