Billions Spent On Afghan Army Ultimately Benefited Taliban
WASHINGTON Built and trained at a two-decade cost of $83 billion, Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly and completely in some cases without a shot fired that the ultimate beneficiary of the American investment turned out to be the Taliban. They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower guns, ammunition, helicopters and more.
The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend district centers. Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed, topped by capturing the biggest prize, Kabul, over the weekend.
A U.S. defense official on Monday confirmed the Taliban’s sudden accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment is enormous. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The reversal is an embarrassing consequence of misjudging the viability of Afghan government forces by the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies which in some cases chose to surrender their vehicles and weapons rather than fight.
Money can’t buy will. You cannot purchase leadership, John Kirby, chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, said Monday.
AP writers Nomaan Merchant, Lorne Cook in Brussels and James LaPorta in Boca Raton, Florida, contributed to this report.
An American Bomber Visited Malaysia A Bizarre Mix Of Local Jets Rose To Meet It
Against that backdrop, the Trump Pentagon launched a multiphase process to rebuild the military. In 2017, it would increase spending on readiness. In 2018 it would sustain funding for readinesstraining, maintenance, etc.while filling holes in the military posture such as inadequate stocks of precision munitions. In 2019 it would begin making down payments on increased lethality to cope with the challenges posed by Russia and China, and in 2020 it would go full-bore on buying a new generation of weapons. Trumps team saw it would take years to return to a high state of readiness, and so thats where its plan began.
Investment in core warfighting systems. When President Trump took office, the U.S. military was suffering from decades of under-investment in new technology. The Air Forces fleet of bombers, fighters and tankers was the oldest it had ever been. The Armys helicopters and armored vehicles consisted largely of programs begun during the Reagan years . Some warfighting systems had grown so decrepit that the military services were proposing their retirement despite a lack of newer weapons with which to replace them.
Several major defense contractors contribute to my think tank. Some are also consulting clients.
The Roots Of A Fifth Warhead Program
One of the most vulnerable Trump nuclear programs in the Biden era might be a request this year for congressional approval to start work on a new warhead, a program that fulfills a controversial, long-held ambition by the three major government-owned, privately run nuclear weapons laboratories.
Since the U.S. halted its nuclear explosive testing in 1992, many weapons engineers at the nations key laboratories in Los Alamos, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., have chafed at policy restrictions on the creation of warheads with novel designs a limitation that crimps their business income and, in their view, undermines the scientific excitement underlying their work.
Their discontent has found resonance in Republican administrations, including that of President George W. Bush, who tried but failed to get congressional approval of a new nuclear warhead design the labs sought. Advisers to President Barack Obama spurned such appeals, arguing that making warheads with novel designs would alarm other nations and cause them to do likewise. We see no need for additional nuclear weapons of a new type, either in capability or in capacity, Gen. James Cartwright, then-vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 2010.
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Trump Failed To Ask Putin About Russias Bounty On The Troops
In June it was reported that American intelligence officials had concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit had secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan, which includes American troops.
On July 29, when the president was asked if he had pressed Russian president Vladimir Putin on the intelligence from his own government, Trump simply dismissed it as fake news.
Nuclear Manufacturing Ramps Up
Besides the ramp-up in warhead production, hundreds of new strategic missiles and bombers and a dozen advanced submarines all designed to carry nuclear weapons to targets in Russia, China, North Korea or Iran are under intensifying development by Defense Department contractors and private laboratories across the country. The Air Force signed a contract on Sept. 8 to begin spending at least $93 billion on new land-based, nuclear-tipped missiles, for example, and the Navy has been accelerating its spending for new missile-carrying submarines that will cost a total of $128 billion. The projected spending on all these systems has been estimated by congressional experts at roughly $50 billion a year over the next decade alone.
A nuclear warhead ordered into production by Trump and his advisers a three-foot tall, cone-shaped weapon with roughly half the explosive force of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, using a modified existing design was built last year, and has begun to be deployed. The administration also reversed an Obama-era decision to retire the largest nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, the B83, keeping roughly 100 warheads, each with the power of 1.2 million tons of TNT, or 80 times the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, in active status.
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Nato’s Prescription For Trench Warfare And Other Commentary
NATO touted a significant uptick in defense spending by Canada and its European members following President Trumps years-long call for more nations to pay their fair share.
This is unprecedented progress, and it is making NATO stronger, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the 4.6 percent spending hike by those nations in 2019.
NATO announced the ramped-up defense spending ahead of a summit of its member nations leaders Tuesday and Wednesday in London.
Stoltenberg also noted that by the end of 2020, those nations will have spent $130 billion more since 2016 the year Trump was elected.
Trump has repeatedly accused other member countries of shirking their financial responsibility for their self-defense even as they expect American aid in times of need.
More members of the 29-nation coalition are now meeting the guideline of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, Stoltenberg said.
Nine members will meet the mark this year, up from three just a few years ago.
A majority of allies are set to meet that goal by 2024, he added.
We are on the right track, but we cannot be complacent, Stoltenberg said. We must keep up the momentum.
Economic Downturn Leads To More Nato Members Passing The Spending Target
Nearly all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization saw their military burden rise in 2020. As a result, 12 NATO members spent 2 per cent or more of their GDP on their militaries, the Alliances guideline spending target, compared with 9 members in 2019. France, for example, the 8th biggest spender globally, passed the 2 per cent threshold for the first time since 2009.
Although more NATO members spent more than 2 per cent of GDP on their militaries in 2020, in some cases this probably had more to do with the economic fallout of the pandemic than a deliberate decision to reach the Alliances spending target, said Lopes da Silva, Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.
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Chinas Military Expenditure Rises For 26th Consecutive Year
Chinas military expenditure, the second highest in the world, is estimated to have totalled $252 billion in 2020. This represents an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2019 and 76 per cent over the decade 201120. Chinas spending has risen for 26 consecutive years, the longest series of uninterrupted increases by any country in the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database.
China stands out as the only major spender in the world not to increase its military burden in 2020 despite increasing its military expenditure, because of its positive GDP growth last year, said Dr Nan Tian, SIPRI Senior Researcher. The ongoing growth in Chinese spending is due in part to the countrys long-term military modernization and expansion plans, in line with a stated desire to catch up with other leading military powers.
Many Military Experts Reject Increases In Spending
Supporters of these unprecedented increases argue that they are necessary because the Budget Control Act of 2011 reduced projected levels of defense spending by $406 billion over the past five years. According to the military chiefs, this undermined the readiness of the nations armed forces to deal with their current challenges and prevented the United States from dealing adequately with the increasing military capabilities of Russian and Chinese strategic competitors. On the campaign trail and since taking office, President Trump has talked often about the need to rebuild the nations military and claims that he has actually given it more money than it needs.
However, these claims are rejected by many members of the military or by other outside military experts. In a late November 2017 press briefing, the top enlisted leaders of the armed forcesthe people on the front lines who suffer the most casualties in warmade it clear that Washingtons talk of a readiness problem was overblown.
As a chart from the Congressional Budget Office makes clear, the base defense budget, measured in constant dollars, under President Obama was actually higher than those of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Budget Summary For Fy 2021 With Projections For Fy 2022
|Treasury Receipts for Current Medicare-Eligible Retirees||11.1|
The MHS offers, but does not always provide, a health care benefit to 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries, which includes active military members and their families, military retirees and their families, dependent survivors, and certain eligible Reserve Component members and their families. The Unified Medical Budget , which comprise the funding and personnel needed to support the MHS mission, consumes nearly 9% of the Departments topline budget authority. Thus, it is a significant line item in the Departments financial portfolio.
Hidden In Bill Passed Over Trumps Veto: Limits On Police Militarization
But local cops can still receive Pentagon equipment, including automatic rifles.
All but hidden in the military spending bill that Congress enacted in its first override of a Trump veto is a new restriction on police militarization. The provision bans grenades, bayonets, weaponized combat vehicles and weaponized drones from being transferred from the military to local police departments.
Opponents of the militarization of police have long criticized the federal 1033 program that allows excess Pentagon equipment to be distributed to state and local police. This summer, Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, snuck a clause into the expansive defense bill, called the National Defense Authorization Act, limiting the practiceand a version of that language remained in the legislation up until its passage last week.
These reforms will help take weapons of war, Sen. Schatz said, out of our communities.
The 1033 program dates to the Clinton era, and allows any weapons and gear that the U.S. military is not usingincluding Humvees, scuba-diving equipment and even marching band instruments, according to reporting by The Marshall Projectto be passed along to local law enforcement, contributing to scenes of police equipped as if for war when confronting peaceful protests in Ferguson in 2014 and elsewhere. More than $6 billion in federal battlefield supplies has gone out to more than 8,000 police departments since the early 1990s.
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Fact Check: Donald Trump’s Claim Us Left $85 Billion Of Equipment With Taliban
At one point, Trump said: “We left $85 billion worth of equipment in the hands of the Taliban.”
Trump has made this claim previously, and in a statement on August 30 said: “Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost.”
The figure touted by Trump is near those which came from a July 30 report from by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction .
This detailed that “as of June 30, 2021, the United States government had appropriated or otherwise made available approximately $144.98 billion in funds for reconstruction and related activities in Afghanistan since FY 2002.”
Breaking down these funds, it detailed “$88.61 billion for security .”
That figure, minus the counternarcotics initiatives funds, would be $84 billion for security.
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What Has Trump Done For The Us Military
A round up of US Presidents Donald Trump most important statements regarding military operations.
8th November 2016
Since his inauguration in January, Donald Trump has been far from quiet about military matters.
Now, after a string of controversial announcements, the Commander in Chief has declared that he will be sending more troops to Afghanistan in an effort to combat terrorism.
Before even coming into office, he promised 90,000 more soldiers, 42 more ships and 100 additional fighter aircraft.
He said at the time of his campaign:
“I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less.”
But how far has he achieved the goals he set out in his campaign?
Heres a timeline of his important military decisions throughout the last eight months:
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Top Five Steps Trump Has Taken To Prepare The Us Military For Whatever Comes Next
Last weeks domestic reaction to the killing of Irans top military commander was predictably partisan and speculative. Nobody can say for sure what will happen next in the Persian Gulfjust as we dont know what lies ahead on the Korean Peninsula, in Eastern Europe, or in the Horn of Africa.
In such circumstances, the only prudent posture for Americas military is to be prepared for a diverse array of challenges. That is the vector President Trump put military plans on when he took office. Whatever you may think of Trump the man, he installed a highly capable defense team that systematically addressed military deficiencies inherited from the Obama years.
The Obama Administration badly misread global security trends, failing to anticipate Russias military resurgence, the rise of ISIS, and various other challenges. As a result, Washington took a number of steps such as the drawdown of forces in Europe and Iraq that later looked misguided. It fell to Trump to reverse course and revitalize the nations defense posture.
He did this first and foremost by increasing defense outlays 25% between 2016 and 2020an increase in funding greater in size than the entire military budget of any nation other than China. But the president didnt just throw money at the problem. From its first months in office, the administration always had a plan for recovering ground lost during the Obama years.
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service
Trudeau Commits To $623 Billion Increase In Military Spending
The Trudeau government has announced it is committed to increasing military spending by $62.3 billion over the next 20 years. Over the next five years alone this would mean an increase of $6.6 billion in military spending.
CBC reports, “The Liberal government’s new defence policy lays out a plan to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade… Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced details of the plan during a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.”Last month, Garneau claimed that the Canadian military – which has an annual budget of $18.9 billion – is “chronically under-funded”. The spending announced today by the Trudeau government would increase that to $32.7 billion by 2027.The article highlights, “The Liberal government has been under pressure, notably from the Donald Trump administration, to increase defence spending to meet the NATO benchmark standard of 2 per cent of the gross domestic product .”NATO has said Canada contributes .98 per cent of its GDP to military spending, but the Trudeau government says it spends 1.2 per cent of GDP and that this new spending will increase that to 1.4 per cent of GDP.According to the CBC, the new spending includes:
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Colossal Rebuilding Of The Military
Rebuilt the military and created the Sixth Branch, the United States Space Force
- Completely rebuilt the United States military with over $2.2 trillion in defense spending, including $738 billion for 2020
- Secured three pay raises for our service members and their families, including the largest raise in a decade
- Established the Space Force, the first new branch of the United States Armed Forces since 1947
- Modernized and recapitalized our nuclear forces and missile defenses to ensure they continue to serve as a strong deterrent
- Upgraded our cyber defenses by elevating the Cyber Command into a major warfighting command and reducing burdensome procedural restrictions on cyber operations
- Vetoed the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, which failed to protect our national security, disrespected the history of our veterans and military, and contradicted our efforts to put America first
Defeated terrorists, held leaders accountable for malign actions, and bolstered peace around the world
Addressed gaps in Americans defense-industrial base, providing much-needed updates to improve the safety of our country