Investigative reporters found some Marines are being asked to work 21 hours a day just to keep the aircraft operational. Because normal supply chains are limited, cannibalization of other plane parts has been reported. Marines have begun stripping old equipment from other aircraft in order to service new ones.
Fox News ran an exclusive report Thursday about the impact budget cuts over the past few years have had on the U.S. Marine Corps, forcing men and women in uniform to do more with less.
“Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it a Ferrari,” Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer said days before embarking on his third deployment. “You’re trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it’s still an old airframe.”
Replacement parts for some planes can take up to 18 months to obtain, Fox News reported, because production of new models stopped 15 years ago.
Many of the highly trained mechanics whose job it is to fix the backlog of aircraft have become frustrated. Some have reportedly started looking for jobs in the private sector.
Because of the aircraft shortage, there is less time for pilot training. The norm for aerial exercises 10 years ago was 25 to 30 hours per month. Now the average flight time is just four hours per month. A pilot who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more training hours each month.
U.S. military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015. These cuts occurred right after the planes were returning from long tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, there are 30,000 fewer Marines now than in 2010.
Military leadership has also grown increasingly frustrated with the cuts. Last week, Gen. Mark Milley testified to Congress, saying, “If one or more possible unforeseen contingencies happen, then the United States Army currently risks not having ready forces available to provide flexible options to our national leadership. And most importantly, we risk incurring significantly increased U.S. casualties.”
As the election year continues to unfold, national defense will be a hotly debated topic. Currently, the Obama administration has no plans for increased military spending.
Via Western Journalism