Good Tuesday everyone, and yes, I was indeed at Trump Tower on Monday.I am so very humbled to have been invited by the Trump transition team, and blessed to be under consideration. However, I just continue to pray that God’s will be done. I’m honored at the possibility of continuing my service to this nation in any capacity.
As the Battalion Commander of the 2/20 Field Artillery in the 4th Infantry Division, our motto was “Duty not Reward.” And of course the Ivy Division motto is “Steadfast and Loyal.” However, my primary duty continues to be educating and informing you, our loyal readers, about key issues and noticeable trends…and we have one to share.As reported by CNN Money, “Sales of arms by American defense companies have declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, while European firms saw their sales jump.
Despite the drop, U.S. companies are still dominating the global arms market, selling $209.7 billion worth of arms in 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. That’s 3% lower than in 2014, but still 56% of arms sales globally, as documented by the institute.
The data show European and Asian arms producers are slowly eating into U.S. market share. The drop in U.S. sales is a consequence of government-imposed spending caps. “There are still limitations on military spending, even though the money is there, it is not spent on defense contracts,” said Aude Fleurant, the director of Arms and Military Expenditure Program at the institute.Russian arms sales grew 6.2% in 2015, after skyrocketing over 48% in 2014 and 20% in 2013. Russia is investing heavily in upgrades to its military capabilities. President Vladimir Putin plans to spend more than 20 trillion rubles ($700 billion) bringing equipment up to date by 2025. It now accounts for 8.1% of sales globally.”
Perhaps some of you will say, good, we don’t need to be in the business. However, what we must consider is that this is a key aspect of alliance-building and thwarting the advances of a growing adversarial block in Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
The result was that the Iraqi Army fled, and left countless amounts of U.S. military equipment for the taking by ISIS. When the Kurds were asking for arms support, the Obama administration instead shipped it to the central government in Baghdad, an Iranian proxy, and the Kurds were ill-equipped.
In the Ukraine, instead of supplying quality conventional arms, the Obama administration sent…wait for it…socks. Yep, warm feet will be very effective against the pressing and invading Russian supported paramilitary and military.And we’ve shared here the fact that Russia is employing anti-ship missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, which poses a clear and present danger to Poland and the Baltic States.
No, we don’t have a military that can be everywhere for everyone, so how best to level the playing field for allies than with arms supplies.
Now, let me make myself very clear, this is about equipping nation-states, as I am very leery about providing arms to “rebel” groups which can end up in the hands of the wrong types. Case in point: another folly of the Obama administration in Libya where we outsourced our combat aviation and provided arms to islamic jihadist militias.
I believe it’s very difficult to challenge the assertion that our CIA was in the Benghazi area to conduct a weapons buy back program. And also resupply those arms to “rebel” groups in Syria…a failed endeavor.
One of the key points going forward for our defense industry is that we must tighten up our acquisition and weapons procurement process. As we develop better reforms, then we need also enable these industries to seek out approved purchasers on the global stage.
When we read some of the horror stories about the F-35 and the Littoral Combat Ship, we must do better in being good stewards of the American taxpayer dollar. And we must develop arms and weapons systems that our military needs, not just what the industry, or a Member of Congress decides they should have.
Coupled with that is a FMS program that makes sense and opens up other opportunities for the defense industry in America, and strengthens our allies. A better and focused arms program will reduce the strain on our military and can assist in providing capable military allies in order to create a firewall against the growing state and non-state belligerents.
One of the failures of the so called Iranian agreement is that Russia and Iran are strengthening their arms exchanges and alliance. It’s playing itself out in the Middle East, especially Syria, where we were supposedly arming rebels — who, if you haven’t been paying attention, are losing. And their loss is due to Russian military prowess and arms in support of Iran and Bashar Assad’s army.
Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin has a vision for his military: equipping, and proliferation of arms in support of alliances. It is 2016, and 2025 is not that far away.
Needless to say, Putin has taken every advantage of Obama’s post-reelection “flexibility.” America has a chance now to rebuild its spine, since the jellyfish will soon be departing the White House in 44 days, 23 hours, 9 minutes, and 50 seconds as of this writing.