Wars Wearing Down Military Gear At Cost Of About $2 Billion A Month

November 29th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Wars Wearing Down Military Gear At Cost Of About $2 Billion A Month

USA Today
November 29, 2006
Pg. 1

By Matt Kelley, USA Today
WASHINGTON — About $2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps equipment — from rifles to tanks — is wearing out or being destroyed every month in Iraq and Afghanistan, military leaders and outside experts say.
That's equal to about a quarter of the $8 billion per month in military war costs. The wear and tear may lead to future equipment shortages and cutbacks in more advanced weapons, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being developed with allies around the world and the Army's new, high-tech family of weapons and equipment, says William Cohen, secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001.
Pressure to keep spending under control can lead to cuts in both current maintenance and future weapons, Cohen says, but “the longer we defer on that, the more expensive it's going to be.”
The Pentagon needs $50 billion to $60 billion to re-equip and restore units returning from Iraq, says Leon Panetta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff and member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.
On Monday, the Pentagon said it had issued more than $1.7 billion in equipment repair and replacement contracts during November alone. This summer, the leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said their services rack up a combined $23 billion a year in repair costs.
Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker and Marine Gen. James Conway told Congress that repair money comes only in special requests for war funding, not in annual budgets. That, they said, makes it hard to plan for future needs.
“They've been falling badly behind,” says Winslow Wheeler, a former congressional budget analyst now at the independent Center for Defense Information.
The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests for war funding next year.
Vehicles and other equipment are far more complex now than they were in previous conflicts such as Vietnam, making repairs and replacements even more expensive, Wheeler says. The Congressional Research Service says the entire Vietnam War cost an estimated $650 billion in today's money, while the global war on terrorism, including the conflict in Iraq, has cost more than $500 billion.
The Army and Marines have reported using about 40% of their ground combat equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Units departing Iraq leave much of their heavy equipment behind, which further delays major maintenance and leaves holes in training for future missions, the report says.
A separate GAO report this month urged the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress to investigate the Pentagon's planning for repair, maintenance and replacement of war equipment.
If the United States entered another war, “it would be difficult for us to accomplish anything,” says retired lieutenant general Donald Kerrick, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Clinton and Bush.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged the problem and said he is working with the White House to get more money for repairs.
“I think we have some reasonable understandings about the coming year and the importance of not having a two- or three-year lag,” Rumsfeld said last month.
Vehicle contracts
Among the largest awarded by the Pentagon this month:
•$1.2 billion to BAE Systems to rebuild Bradley armored vehicles, and for spare parts.
•$380 million to General Dynamics for upgrades to M1A2 Abrams tanks.
•$152 million to a Boeing subsidiary to replace AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
November 29th, 2006  
The war takes it turn but never turning back. What else to expect? War is money.
November 30th, 2006  
iam with you sunb war is always going to be costly in life and in the pocket we're just going to have to step up to it.
December 1st, 2006  
Compare the percent of our GDP spent during WWII and %GDP spent nowadays, it's embarrassing quite frankly.

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