WASHINGTON – As if to dramatically illustrate repeated claims top generals have made to WND of a purge of senior officers and a degradation of military readiness under President Obama’s leadership, stunning testimony at a recent Senate committee hearing shows America may soon be unable to fight and win a war.
The Air Force is having problems retaining its pilots, even though they are being offered big bonuses to remain, senators learned at the Nov. 7 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
The problem appears to be partly from sequestration, which has imposed budget limitations on pilots’ ability to get in both the requisite flying time and the training needed to fly the next generation of aircraft, according to Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning.
He expressed grave concern about the trend toward budget cutbacks.
Likewise, at a recent Defense One Summit in Washington, Fanning warned that “we’re going to have flying hour issues for the foreseeable future,” a reference to the reality that pilots must fly a certain number of hours to maintain their ratings on various aircraft.
But Fanning said each U.S. squadron will be subject to rolling groundings of two to three months.
However, for the pilots, the issue isn’t just financial, as they have been offered major cash bonuses as an incentive to stay.
However, Fanning said, “pilots aren’t taking them.”
Instead, he said, pilots want to fly and are looking to the private sector where the retirement of commercial pilots is opening new opportunities.
Sequestration, those mandatory percentage cuts set up by President Obama and implemented when Congress failed to address cuts in other areas, has not only cut back operations, but necessary investment in new-generation aircraft.
That’s happening even as older aircraft are being relegated to retirement.
The Air Force has begun to mothball its B-52 bomber fleet, whose aircraft are older than the pilots who fly them.
“That will have a worse effect on morale,” Fanning said. “It’s not just compensation that keeps people in the military. It’s mission.”
All of this uncertainty is having a negative effect, said Fanning.
“Morale is really as bad as I’ve seen it on the civilian side and the uniformed side,” Fanning said. “But it is better than you think it is, and better than we deserve it to be, because we’ve got an amazing mission.”
Sequestration cuts aren’t limited to the Air Force.
The Army is shrinking the number of troops to 380,000. Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff, in the same Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, expressed particular concern that force reductions have greatly affected its readiness capability between 2014-2017.
The Marine Corps will be limited to 150,000 troops.
The Navy will be cut three carriers, after already having reduced the number of capital ships to some 260, down from the 600 reached at the peak of the Reagan administration.
New Navy flag officers and executives have been told to begin more cuts under sequestration, in which some 3,000 temporary civilian personnel will be laid off, and base operations will be reduced.
In addition, there is to be a cancellation of maintenance work on some 30 Navy ships and 250 aircraft.
The cutbacks come as the Navy continues to operate under 2012 budget levels because of a congressional continuing resolution. Like the other services, the Navy hasn't received its 2013 funding, where it had hoped for a $4.6 billion increase.
More than half of Obama's $1 trillion sequestration cuts were imposed on the military.
Accompanying the aging of the equipment under Obama, a de facto purge of the military also is in progress, with almost 200 senior officers having been relieved of duty since Obama became president.
Retired generals who have spoken to WND have warned over the potential emasculation of the military because of Obama's actions and policies.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, as well as other top retired officers, say Obama’s agenda is decimating the morale of the U.S. ranks to the point that members no longer feel prepared to fight or have the desire to win.
"There is no doubt he [Obama] is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him" over such issues as "homosexuals, women in foxholes, the Obama sequester," Brady told WND.
"They are purging everyone, and if you want to keep your job, just keep your mouth shut," one military source told WND.
Officers who have questioned the administration's actions, including social experimentation and sequestration, have quietly been removed, according to retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin.
Boykin, a founding member of Delta Force and later deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, has expressed concern to WND over the number of high-ranking officers being relieved of duty, "and not necessarily relieved for cause."
Referring to recent reports that Obama has purged some 197 officers in the past five years, Boykin said the reports suggest these officers were suspected of disloyalty or disagreed with the Obama administration on policy or force-structure issues.
"Morale is at an unprecedented low," Boykin added.