Gen. Shinseki will lead the Department of Veterans Affairs

Discussion in 'US' started by armchair_jihad, Dec 9, 2008.

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  1. I am glad to see this, the good General was shockingly treated by 'Rummy' and W's other frat boy cronies.

    And given the out-fcuking-rageous scandal at Walter Reed and the like he will hopefully be a terror to uniformed paper shufflers.


    In full

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/opinion/09tue2.html?ref=opinion
     
  2. Oh please... Shitseki was a pocket padding assclown who managed to misuse what budget he had in a variety of nosensical ways. Replacing functional headgear with a beret, forcing the fielding of the Stryker by bypassing both Congressional procedure and competative testing, highering a high priced civilian PR firm to come up with that Army of One nonsense... etc. In the years before 9/11 he managed to rob line units of their training budget which had a severe impact on our ability to react and respond. The man was a failure as ACOS... period. No doubt he will find a way to enrich himself as head of the VA as well.

    Rumsfeld had one saving grace.. he was the right man for a peacetime secretary of defense believe it or not. The guy did wonders in cutting off funding for stupid programs (Crusader anyone?) and cracked down on the freewheeling procurement of non essential gear that was going on. Shinseki was already read the riot act and told to stand in the corner to ride out his last few months before retirement when the brown stuff hit the fan. Yeah, he squeeked off some basic doctrine that Rummy promptly discounted and ignored as he had zero respect for the speaker and no damned sense of his own for any sort of ground operation.
     
  3. Hold on - hasn't Stryker turned out to be the right choice? Medium brigades, rather than an insistence on purely heavy stuff? An attempt to get closer to the Regimental system, rather than a trickle-posted branch system?

    Your ire should be reserved for the pork-barrel morons like Newt Gingrich, whose objections to Stryker were based on campaign funding.
     
  4. The Stryker is a prime example of biased procurement. It is better than a HMMWV for patrolling the streets of Iraq no doubt but the entire manner in which it was fielded violated the law and gave us a seriously over priced combat Winnebego that has many short comings which still haven't been solved.

    First off... the decision to go with an AM General licensed copy of MOWAG's piranha-III was made purely at the top with no comparison testing and without the approval of Congress. Contrary to what many believe, defense expenditures require congressional oversight... and Shinseki pulled a fast one on that body. When noise was made by lobbyists from a rival company, a sham of a comparison test was slapped together to fool the politicians.

    Rather than use examples from all the potential vehicles out there that fit the specifications, the Stryker was put up against only an unmodified ten year old M113A3 from stocks. Two platoons were selected and equipped with the respective vehicles and given a few weeks to prepare for the upcoming tests. Both platoons were from the same company in the battalion slated to be the first to be equipped with the Stryker... exact same chain of command with a guy at the top who's career depended upon a successfull "transformation."

    The events were a mix of tactical mobility and operational capability in a combat enviroment. Things like breaching obstacles, navigating hazards, etc. The OPFOR were also from the same battalion by the way and operated under pretty bizarre rules of engagement. They were required for example to score three hits from a MILES viper to kill a Stryker (viper is a stand in for law's. rpg's, etc.) based on the supposed fielding of MEXES armor for the vehicle (something that never happened as the armor was useless in sub zero temps... got brittle.) Also, no more than one Stryker was allowed to be "killed" during an engagement.

    The M113 outperformed the Stryker in every task except top road speed... it went over the barrier of junked cars the Stryker got stuck on, it crossed the mucky swamp the Stryker sank in, and it maneuver easily through the cluttered MOUT site while the Stryker managed to get itself trapped (pivot steer for the win.) Tests which the Stryker failed were modified and redone... that car barrier was turned into a single small Volkswagon golf already run over by an M1 Abrams for example.

    During the tactical portion there was a serious discrepency with equipment... the Stryker had it's full suite of thermals and other digital gear while the M113 crews had Mk. 1 eyeballs of the TC standing in the cupola and single channel radios. Funny thing was that the M113 platoon perfomed as well in everything except detecting vehicular ambushes... thermals gave the edge to the Stryker in that scenario.

    Anyway... this whole sham was conducted and a very biased report was sent to the appropriate people in Congress who then gave a nod and a wink and viola! The Styker was born. Yeah... what a bargain... it costs a little bit less per unit than an M2A2 Bradly IFV, is jiust as difficult to transport. Okay... one will fit in a C-130 if you dismount the RWS and deflate the tires but the crew have to fly with a differant a/c.

    Speaking of the the RWS... total piece of crap. It is unstabilized so only accurate from a a complete stand still which is rather unpractical in today's RPG rich enviroment. Funny that we have the CROWs which is totally stablized mounted on HMMWVs yet this vehicle which costs so much more per unit and is meant to actually drive into a fight doesn't have a better set up.

    Anyway... my point is this... the Stryker decision was a totally biased one and potentially great competitors were locked out of the procurement process. Shinseki received quite a nice salary as an "advisor" to AM General after his retirement. It was meant to be an interum vehicle... replacements were already well into the R&D process before the first Stryker was in service so a cost efficient vehicle should of been explored. Mind you... I'm no fan of the M113 for many reasons but we had several thousand in storage and upgrading them to do the job (ie. armor packages, digital comms, CROW's mouting, and band tracks) would have been what, 12% of the cost of the Stryker? There were other potential vehicles out there as well... the Buffalo, the VAB, etc. None were even looked at. We are talking about 1998-2000 here... the US Army had a very small budget and the Stryker took up so much of it that many other R&D programs were scrapped and training monies were non existant. Infantrymen couldn't even get blanks during those days and were yelling "bang bang."

    Ah well... end result is this... we broke M113's out of stocks and provided them to units over in Iraq where they funtioned quite well for localized situations. Strykers have been maintenance nightmares and are requiring three times their cost per year to keep in the field. Far as Shinseki's "transformation" goes... most of it turned out to be a useless as the man himself and was discarded. We aren't getting rid of our "legacy" heavy armor period... it's just too valuable in a fight and instead have fielded new ways to get it into theater quickly (that new Navy transport for example.) The only real thing left is the absurd brigade organization left in light infantry (two line battalions backed up by a useless RSTA or light cavalry squadron) which has been being changed by commanders in the field to suit their needs.

    Well... I'm rambling now. Hope I got across how much I dislike Shinseki for what he did to my Army. No doubt he will be just as bad to the VA system once he figures out how to profit from it.
     
  5. Shinseki? Khyros- that sort of silly sh1t has been par for the course in DoD procurement for at least 50 years.
     
  6. Of course shady stuff has been going on before but Shinseki was the most blatant violater I have ever seen... and his competitors for the "most corrupt COS" title managed to keep their personnel motivated and didn't let their greed directly impact readyness. Oh... they also didn't try to cut deals with Chinese manufacturing for headgear.
     
  7. I always took that to be a complete red herring from those with an axe to grind - you'll be insisting that the US Army only buys from US suppliers next. It's only a hat, why not go to the cheapest supplier? Unless you mean that the "US Beret Manufacturers Association" is a critical defence capability which the Army cannot afford not to support.

    PS If the Stryker was such a corrupt choice, how does it stack up against those politically-mandated screwups and pork barrels such as the V-22, the ARH, the USAF tanker requirement, or repeated attempts to waste money on the IOWA class? Next you'll be telling us that the M4/M16 haven't got reliability problems...

    PPS If the basic Piranha design is so bad, why have the USMC been using it for nearly twenty years? What exactly were the "potentially great" competitors - and how "potential" (as opposed to available) was that competition? These "rival lobbyists" you mention, were they just as honest and straightforward as Boeing and their lobbyists?

    Sounds like you've got a big axe to grind. Apparently, the actual users say something different.

    With regards to your accusations against the selection process, the GAO report says different.

    With regard to your claims of reliability, the GAO again says different - 5 million miles driven, and a 96% availability rate.

    Perhaps you would like to read the actual GAO summary as to why General Motors and the Stryker should have been chosen instead of United Defence and the M113?

    Maybe, just maybe, Stryker was the right choice? Because faced with those reports, and your claims, I know which looks more plausible.
     
  8. Gravelbelly,

    I read those reports when they came out and guess what, they are a total white wash that contradicts what I have heard from both soldiers on the ground and an officer in charge of maintenance for said Strykers (field grade who overseas reconsitution efforts.) It's better than a HMMWV no doubt as I have stated (which by the way is the only other vehicle the troopies quoted as loving it had experience with as they are light infantry by trade) but at the cost per unit we are paying it falls far short in capability. The USMC uses it's LAV's in a very limited reconnaisance role... roll up to a vantage point and watch a sector till you see something coming then call indirect and air assetts in before running off. In no way do they imagine the LAV's to be part of a maneuver force to close in a meet with the enemy like the US Army has. Like I said as well... I'm no huge fan of the M113 but it would of been a hell of a lot cheaper to implement as an interum vehicle.

    What we needed was a lightweight armored vehicle that provided protection against small arms and mortar shells to provide mobility to light infantry... not a massive and expensive gee-whiz toy like the Stryker. The armor/anti-armor game has long since gone over to the AT side with even the premier MBTs being vulnerable to toys like a PG-7VR rocket so imagining anything short of a Challenger or Abrams would have a chance in today's RPG rich enviroment is delusional.

    p.s Even though I "grew up" with an M16A1 then M16A2, I have no illusions concerning their reliability. Direct gas impingement was a major flaw in their design and should have been replaced with a gas piston long ago... also the magazines were never meant to be used so heavily... about half the malfunctions one encounters are from the lips being bent or not enough tension in the spring after decades of use (the other half being a failure to extract as the slot on the extractor is filled with carbon.)
     
  9. [​IMG]

    Looks better than that monstrosity that passes for a beret that your blokes wear and, with the addition of the 'tache, definitely more hetero.

    Besides- what's wrong with buying Chinese? I know for a fact that's where mine and my boss's CIA coffee mugs came from. Says so on the bottom. :wink:
     
  10. Khyros:

    I minor nitpicky thing but the Army Chief of Staff is usually appreviated "CAS" not ACOS of COS

    Other than that you make some good points.
     
  11. Sparky! Is that you?

    Stryker costs 14 USD to run per mile, M113 costs 38USD/Mile.
    Military Times

    And the troops seem to like it.
     
  12. CSA is how the Army officially abbreviates it but COS or ACOS has been commen terminology for many years. Nitpicking is good though... keep us honest.

    Far as the fellow referring to me as "sparky." Haven't got a clue what your referring to and really don't care. I have seen that same article and guess what, it negates to mention the cost of tire changing. As it stands now, Strykers go through 100% turn over with there tires every two to four weeks. Also... the statistic quoted for the M113 is for standard metal tracks rather than those nifty band tracks (which are going to be standard on the FCS if it's fielded in tracked form.)
     
  13. Khyros:

    You are right and I was wrong. I knew it was not COS but screwed up the order.

    Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa
     
  14. Do you feel that the US should just have bought a shed-load of BTR-90 to give light forces some cheap mobility, taken the M113 as cheap not-as-mobility, or should it have stuck to a "heavy infantry only" M2/M3 approach?

    He's referring to a monomaniac US type called Mike Sparks, who is convinced that the M113 is the ultimate combat vehicle - apparently it swims like a fish, is airdroppable with ease, and should really be called the "Gavin".

    His arguments are somewhat punctured by his insistence on referring to himself as the "1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)", along with such bright ideas as insisting that mountain bikes are the ideal solution to the mobility issues of paratroopers; bring back the cyclists' battalions!