Army and National Guard Equipment Levels

In an ideal world, every nifty thing someone sends me, or I stumble across online, would be worthy of it’s own post. Alas, a lot of stuff is noteworthy or deserves to be shared, but I really can’t manage to write more than a few sentances about it. Since I’m going for substance over style, I’ll try and lump a few vaguely-related things together.

First up this evening, a fun presentation from January 2007, on the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act. Written by Colonel Richard Parker, Chief Counsel for the National Guard, the presentation (720kb PowerPoint file) includes the extension of retirement ages, revisions to the Insurrection Act as it applies to the National Guard, and much more. As is increasingly common, and increasingly worrisome, the entire document is marked “FOUO – Do Not Release Under FOIA“. An Adobe PDF file (313KB) is available here.

One slide in the presentation talks about equipment transfers, stating the Army must report to the Secretary of Defense each time it withdraws or transfers equipment from a reserve unit to a mobilized one, or when a mobilized unit’s equipment remains in theater. It adds that such a report must include plans to repair, replace, or recapitalize the equipment in question.

That’s somewhat relevant to recent news, about National Guard equipment needed for tornado recovery efforts not being available, and brings us to the next fun military document – the Army’s 2007 Modernization Plan (1MB PDF.) This report, among other things, explains the new terminology used to describe the Army’s “equipping initiatives”. Those “initiatives” include “reset” – restoring the readiness of equipment that has been damaged, destroyed, or worn out, which takes one of three alliterative forms – repair, replacement, and “recapitalization”. Of the latter, the plan notes:

Recapitalization is the Army’s long-term investment strategy to sustain Army readiness by rebuilding and/or repairing combat-damaged equipment, or returning equipment to a “zero mile/zero hour” level with original performance specifications… The Army plan to recapitalize major combat systems is part of its reset strategy. Part of that plan includes reset of equipment forward to ensure required capabilities are available for the next fight.
…Since engaged in GWOT, the Army has reset and returned over 1,900 aircraft, 14,000 tracked vehicles, and almost 111,000 wheeled vehicles, as well as thousands of other items to operational units. At the end of FY06, the Army placed approximately 290,000 major items of equipment into reset. Over 280,000 major items will remain in theater and will not redeploy to be reset until a drawdown is implemented. (Emphasis mine.)

If I’m reading that correctly, what the Army is saying is that over a quarter-million “major items of equipment” are going to remain “in theater” and will not be removed for “reset” – that’s repair, replacement, or recapitalization to you and I – until a drawdown is implemented. Which, as I think we all can agree, is going to take place on or around the fifth of never.

That’s part of the problem with reading incomprehensibly-worded military documents, though; all too often it seems as if they’re trying to dazzle you with bullshit. Am I reading the above correctly, or am I mis-interpreting the jargon? While we’re at it, anyone want to take a stab at this item from the Modernization Plan: “Embedded prognostics and diagnostics to achieve capabilities for prediction-based/anticipatory logistics that will preempt a variety of logistical requirements and reduce the logistics footprint in theater.” What the hell? Did nobody tell the Army that the whole fad for throwing around impressive-sounding buzzwords went out of fashion a couple years ago? Anything described by a single sentance that uses “logistics” or “logistical” three times seems pretty much doomed to be implemented late, cost more than was expected, and never actually do what was claimed…

Call me cynical, but when I read something like that, I begin to suspect a concerted, synergistic team effort has been put into place by rapidly-responsive managerial personnel utilizing advanced, cutting-edge technology to efficiently produce demand-based quantities of premium bovine execrement for logistically-adaptive just-in-time distribution to qualified end-users.

As a footnote, is anyone else worried by the initiative to explore, and I quote, “Genomic, DNA-based vaccines to sustain Soldier and unit combat effectiveness”?

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on May 11th, 2007| Comments Off on Army and National Guard Equipment Levels

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