From Allen B West
The priorities of the Obama administration when it comes to our U.S. military are absolutely delusional. The focus is on social egalitarianism and “fairness,” not on operational readiness and effectiveness. At a time when we just had ten American Sailors on their knees at gun point detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy…Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was sending out memos to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Naval Operations to ensure all duty positions in their forces are gender neutral. We recently reported here that the U.S. Army budget included the affirmation of Soldiers being able to “self-identify.”
We’ve also shared the inane unilateral decision by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to open up all combat duty positions to females in the military and you might recall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, did not stand with the SecDef for that announcement. This is what President Obama deems important as our commander in chief, and we haven’t even discussed the case of Army 1LT Clint Lorance, held in Ft. Leavenworth for charges of premeditated murder while Obama releases Islamic jihadist murderers from GITMO.
And here is the most recent — and disturbing — episode to come from the Obama administration. As reported by Stripes.com, “The general in charge of U.S. Special Operations Command said Tuesday that he is looking into claims that Navy SEALs and other elite forces have shortages of key equipment.
Gen. Joseph Votel assured House lawmakers that the command will resolve any problems that it discovers in equipping special operators, such as a lack of service weapons, in preparation for increasingly common missions around the world. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and other House lawmakers raised the alarm earlier this month on supply shortages in the special operations community, causing soldiers to dip increasingly into their own pockets to purchase basic military gear such as helmets, global positioning devices and medical supplies.
Most concerning, according to Hunter, is SEALs are now asked to hand over their personalized weapons after returning from deployment so they can be handed off to other SEALs who are deploying.
“I look forward to talking to Navy Special Warfare Command about this specific issue and make sure we understand it,” said Votel, who was testifying to members of the House Armed Services Committee. “If there is something that we are contributing to that is impacting the readiness of our operators, we’ll certainly take immediate actions to kind of correct that.” Votel said the issue might be related to maintenance and the high usage of SEAL weapons.”
This comes as the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is hearing testimony as part of the development of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. I’ve also heard back channel chatter about our Warriors having to purchase much of their own gear. In the past I’ve had some parents confide in me that they’ve been purchasing gear for their loved ones deployed – folks, this is unconscionable.
Even the rumor that we have U.S. Navy SEALS “hot cotting” — which means they are handing over and sharing — individual weapons is beyond belief. An individual weapon is calibrated to that individual; it’s called “zeroing” a weapon. And Gen. Votel’s explanation is rather confusing.
If there’s an issue with weapons maintenance due to high usage, then where are the backfill weapons? Does this mean a unit can’t go into a dangerous operational readiness rate because there aren’t enough personal weapons to go around?
The excuse of high usage makes no sense whatsoever. Imagine if there was a mortar or an artillery howitzer a firing an excessive number of rounds in support of combat operations. You don’t just pull that piece off the line for maintenance and tell the crew to share another. I can attest that the goal is to have “float” pieces in the theater to back fill. And so, if our SEALS are returning from a combat deployment, there should be adequate weapons to ensure each member in the team has an assigned weapon.
Now, onto the issue of SEALS having to purchase basic military gear from their own pockets. I experienced the same thing during my time as a battalion executive officer at Ft. Bragg during the Clinton administration. I remember the priority then being on “midnight basketball” programs. There were times when our troops purchased repair tools out of their own pockets.
Ladies and gents, this is what a presidential debate should be discussing — not the obnoxious topics we’ve had to endure, like hand size and perspiration.
I remember talking with senior leaders who had endured the years of the Carter administration and the degradation of our military operational readiness capability. Sadly, it appears history is repeating itself. Consider this: how much will the military have to spend in order to accommodate the mandates of Ash Carter? Facilities will have to be built, improved, how much? And should those funds be used to ensure our Warriors have plenty of weapons being produced and serviced at the depot so this dire situation is reversed?
This is all highly disconcerting, and it should be a topic du jour of the GOP presidential candidates. Once again, I give a special hat tip to the HASC for doing exactly what they’re supposed to do: conduct Congressional oversight of the executive agency under their jurisdiction — the Defense Department. I hope other committees are doing the same in the authorization phase before the appropriation phase.
As for you, our loyal and engaged readers, if you know of specific instances of our men and women in our military having to purchase their own gear and equipment, let us know. We’ll pass the information on to my former colleague, Chairman Mac Thornberry of the HASC and make sure it gets his attention.
Unbelievable… and FUBAR!