The NDAA Veto

Lots of pundits have been talking/blogging/pontificating on the President’s promise to veto the NDAA.

The justification offered up by President Obama is that it puts 38 Billion into a slush fund that violates the “spirit” of the budget control act. He’s correct of course, but the budget control act was a particularly crappy bit of legislation that took “10% off the top” and didn’t take into account any of the smarter ways to spend less money such as changing the active/reserve force structure more aggressively.

So vetoing the NDAA will score political points for the President, provide some defense related sideshow headlines not related to Russia or Syria, and generally make life miserable for the bean counters in the Pentagon who have to keep things going, including real world operations across the globe.

In the grand scheme of things getting 81 Strykers into Europe with 30mm cannon systems is an inherently political act in the first place. The disparity of forces between Russia and NATO along Russia’s western border would consider 81 more cannons of any type to be an insignificant rounding error. But since war is an inherently political act, even the equipping of forces to be a slightly more effective speed bump has political consequences.

Other programs will of course be affected, and with the recent elections in Canada the F-35 program will probably get more scrutiny. The Liberal party has a valid point, what does Canada need a first strike capability for? The question whether to equip military forces for expeditionary (offensive) operations or for homeland defense is a valid one, and the F-35 has never been a good fit for Canada. Other arctic countries like Norway, Sweden, and Finland have operated single engine fighter aircraft for decades, but mainly in a “point defense” role because of proximity to Russia. Comparing any of the Scandinavian countries maritime responsibilities in NATO to Canada is a bit tricky.

Although I find it ironic that at least one pundit claimed that keeping other jet fighter (F/A-18 and Rafale specifically) production lines open would hurt the F-35 program because it would offer free market options to consumers. I would say that if your product cannot compete on the free market, that’s your fault and not the market’s fault.

Another point to bring up, about Canada and NATO, is that the alliance plans to fight as an alliance. The fact that Greece doesn’t have a stealth fighter doesn’t mean Greece gets kicked out of the club. So NATO members as a whole have to question the very purpose of their military, and ask whether equipping them with expeditionary focused capabilities will make it easier for a politician to request to use them in an expeditionary manner. The US and Canada are sitting pretty on another continent, but Bulgaria and Romania are intimately connected to Moscow geographically and economically, even if they seek to distance themselves politically.

So in itself, the NDAA veto is just a blip on the screen. But it is an indicator of trouble under the waters, and is not coming at a good time for a less than united alliance.

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4 Responses to The NDAA Veto

  1. dw says:

    Say what you want about Putin, he doesn’t let anyone mess with Russia and he understands when and more importantly when not to use force.

    I don’t see Russia opening it’s borders to the islamic migration into Europe. Putin is smart enough to let islam destroy what is left of Europe with “peaceful migration”, he doesn’t have to do anything.

    It’s actually a very interesting learning exercise to those who understand 4th gen warfare. I don’t see NATO ever firing a shot, at least not at the Russkies.

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    • rthtgnbs says:

      Putin is playing by “Alinsky Rules” so to speak.

      Make your enemy live up to their own rules. If they are all for inclusion, give them people to include that stress their resources and expose their hypocrisy.

      Make your enemy an object of ridicule, it is a radicals most potent weapon. There is no defense against ridicule.

      As far as Russia not being a place where refugees want to go, it’s simply because Russia doesn’t offer generous benefits the way Germany or Scandinavian countries do. Also it sucks being a minority in Russia, even though Russia is looking at having a 20% Muslim minority or more in a few years. Imagine Russia, the next great Muslim world power.

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  2. B says:

    Yeah, another alphabet soup bill that has a kernel of truth wrapped in a thick layer of pork. Hey, I have an idea, how about we just have a merit based allotment of resources….oh wait we did but the people learned they could write themselves checks from the coffers. Franklin is turning over in his grave (half from comedy and half from tragedy).
    You are correct, if you don’t have kryptonite, the only way to defeat superman is discredit him and make him look like a fool. His power relies on the peoples of metropolis as much as his super powers.

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    • rthtgnbs says:

      What you write isn’t wrong, but “the common defense” is one of the Constitutionally authorized reasons for taxation and spending. Doing it badly is probably better than not doing it at all, at least if external threats are taken into consideration. Of course I’d like to see a much smarter spending bill, and a much smarter foreign policy that didn’t rely so much on military adventurism. But you get that by electing better leaders to Congress and the White House, and the worst part about a Democracy is you get the government you deserve…

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