Golf Carts and Paper Plates: Will Military Cuts Force Us to Use Carter Era Military Training Techniques?
The cuts are part of the sequestration mechanism included in the budget.
General Davis, who served during the ‘hollow’ Carter and Clinton years, recounted some of the alarming techniques used to save costs on training:
“I came back from Vietnam in 1971, was on the drill field, left active service and joined the reserves in the late 70s and I was in an infantry battalion headquartered in Chicago and literally we ran through the woods, yelling bang bang during the Carter years because there was no training ammunition. And we were getting ready to do a tank infantry exercise with NATO troops in Europe and we were literally using paper plates to simulate mines because [there were] no training resources.
“We fast forward, now, to Desert Storm and there was a Marine reserve tank battalion that was activated, who were driving M-60 tanks. They got to Saudi Arabia, turned in the keys to their M-60s through M-1s and fought magnificently in the breach and up to Kuwait City. They get back to the reserve center several months later and there's no M-60 tanks cause they had turned them in and there's no M-1 tanks. And literally they were training on tank tactics by driving golf carts around golf courses.”
While these training techniques are laughable, the threats they pose are not.
Unless we act to reverse sequestration, a readiness deficiency similar to that experienced by General Davis may await our armed forces.
Increasingly assertive international actors such as Russia and China, as well as the recent North Korean nuclear missile test, demonstrate a clear need to maintain a well-trained military.
Leaders in the House Armed Services Committee recognized the threat earlier this week when they voting a 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of committee which addresses these threats and by providing the military with adequate funding to prepare our soldiers.
The full House is expected to pass this legislation next week. Hopefully the Senate will place an equally strong emphasis on preserving our national defense when they consider their version of the 2013 NDAA.
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