What About SecDef Priorities?

prioriy_listA while back we were agog at the priorities of outgoing Secretary of the Army John McHugh. Since he’s just an Indian in that tribe, we assume some of that nonsense came from higher. We searched in vain for any listing of the Secretary of Defense’s priorities. Unlike McHugh, who boldly admitted his priorities were related only to “social justice” and not to preparing the national defense, SecDef Ashton Carter has not put anything down in writing. He did, however, give a speech shortly after his appointment, from which his priorities may be derived

Mr. Obama would be in need of “the best military support” as he makes tough decisions in the coming months.

It’s all about personal service to the Cult of Personality. We suppose that Carter has discovered now what everybody else in and out of DC has known for a while: the President is not interested in military advice, not from professionals, let alone from another zero-point-zero-zero-miles-under-rucksack politician. Like other famous personality-cult godheads in history, the President knows he’s a better general than his generals. The German acronym for it is Gröfaz. 

The new defense chief made the comments during an all-hands-on-deck meeting in the basement of the Pentagon two days after he was sworn into office. Mr. Carter is Mr. Obama’s fourth defense secretary and the second Pentagon chief to be tasked with destroying and defeating a violent extremist group known as the Islamic State.

Funny… that does not seem to have been something Carter prioritized, or even pays any attention to.

“It’s a rough world out there,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.”

One is reminded of Homer Simpson’s dictum: “Life is a bunch of stuff that just happens.” Emphasis in the next line is ours.

Mr. Carter briefly mentioned the barbaric acts taking place in the Middle East and “historical throwbacks in Europe” as his prime concerns.

whiteflagHistorical throwbacks? Does he mean the mohammedan invasion? Probably not. More likely, he’s referring to fear of a native European backlash. That’s his “historical throwback.” Or maybe he means Vladimir Vladimirovich’s saber rattling? That has been met on the US side solely with determination to raise the white flag higher. How’s that working out so far?

But as miserable as all that may seem, there are “tremendous, bright opportunities” on the horizon for the military and nation, Mr. Carter said.“We are not only the finest fighting force in the world, but I think we’re the brightest beacon of hope in the world,” he said. “If you want evidence of that, take a look at all the friends. … Our antagonists have none or few, and that’s a reflection of the fact that our values and our conduct and our leadership are followed.”

You mean, “friends” like the Iraqis and Afghans, our coin-op BFFs who have already, at least in the case of Iraq, discovered that the USA talks a good game but the Russians and Iranians come to play ball?

That force needs to be protected from financial woes and resource challenges tied to a congressional budget plan known as sequestration, Mr. Carter said. In order to achieve that goal, the Pentagon will have to “convincingly make the case” to the American public for the need to spend more on the military, he said. Sequestration must not be a threat to the Defense Department, Mr. Carter said.“That is unsafe. It’s dangerous. It’s wasteful and it’s unwise,” he said. “You’ll see me doing everything I can, everything a secretary of defense can do to try to bring our country together and get us out of the wilderness of sequester. We don’t belong there. That’s not what our people deserve. That’s not what this institution deserves.”

via Ashton Carter priorities as defense secretary include Pentagon funds, Obama advice – Washington Times.

OK, so that’s his priority, that’s his hill to die on. To fight against Congressionally-imposed budget cuts so that he can implement executive-preferred budget cuts instead.

At least he seems aware that (1) there are wars on that our guys are in, unlike McHugh, and (2) there is trouble on the high seas that we might get into, unlike Mabus. But for somebody that wants to be Secretary of Defense, that’s not exactly high-functioning. It’s more like a partial brain stem function. Most of his own Administration would write him off as a veg and euthanize him, on this basis, if he weren’t useful to them.

For what, we’re not entirely sure.

6 thoughts on “What About SecDef Priorities?

  1. archy

    Maybe the headline at the article announcing the last SecArmy appointment would give us a clue. Something like *New Army boss to crush terror threat* or *Army Secretary appointee will back NATO allies, help counter Russian threat of force*

    Let’s check: Washington Post Obama to nominate first openly gay service secretary to lead the Army https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-nominate-first-openly-gay-service-secretary-to-lead-the-army/2015/09/18/d4b1aafe-5e30-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html

  2. Tom Stone

    No mention of our “Good Buddies” the Saudi’s?
    How soon we forget 9/11…
    This is another symptom of corruption and systemic failure as the American Empire collapses.
    It’s going to get very interesting and very ugly over the next few years.

    1. Buckaroo

      Malicious, obviously. If they were just stupid, they’d accidentally do something good once in a while.

      Never forget that we print the world’s money. The rest of the world has to send us stuff and take scrip in return. No other nation on earth enjoys this privilege. It really makes it virtually impossible to lose…unless losing is the outcome you’re after, of course.

  3. Jjak

    I suspect SecDef didn’t want the job, but took it because neither did anyone else. Doesn’t matter who has the job anyway, there won’t be much progress in meaningful defense policy under this administration.

    Most here want to see better defense policies and plans for dealing with our enemies and rivals. Frankly nothing will improve under this admin.

  4. Distant Thunder

    I’m actually going to defend Ash Carter a bit, since he has pushed for the funds the armed forces asked for, made sure the 30mm cannon upgrade for the Stryker went through when the Army told him it was urgent, and greenlighted the Delta Force / Peshmerga raid on a ISIS prison that saved 70 men from being murdered.

    I think Carter might actually be competent. Obama isn’t, to be sure, but if Carter is smart and careful he may be able to reduce or negate some of the harm Obama would otherwise do. And if he can do that, then we should think him a success.

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