If you’re reading this, 2018 probably hasn’t yet eroded into nuclear war.
That’s an excellent starting point.
Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that 2018 will bring more stability to our nation and our U.S. military.
Here’s our wish list for the New Year:
A funded military strategy. President Trump has promised to rebuild the military. There are hopes of more ships, more aircraft and better ground vehicles. The services in the short-term are looking to plus-up by 20,000 troops.
The problem is that Congress needs to fund this growth, and lawmakers have thus far blocked Trump’s intentions to cut domestic programs to pay for it.
The increased workload on troops today, and the numerous threats across the globe, demand that Congress get on board and approve additional spending.
A real budget. There’s a lot of pressure on House Speaker Paul Ryan to untangle the budget fiasco, specifically the lack of a real budget.
Congrats for averting a government shutdown before Christmas, but, c’mon, Congress. Defense leaders have literally been begging for years now for reliable funding.
It’s hard enough to operate today, let alone try to execute that planned buildup.
Fewer Trump tweets. While we support Trump’s plan to grow the force, his tweets have gotten only more reckless over time. Trump’s “nuclear button” message to Kim Jong Un had the potential to cause grave consequences for Americans.
With every tweet, he just serves to spin up his opponents and supporters. It’s all become a sad black hole of social media sniping — one that is only dividing this country. We’ve asked before, but we really hope this is the year that President Trump steps away from Twitter.
Less lame training. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has a stack of recommendations on his desk to start the New Year.
Each service was required by December to provide Mattis with a list of training and administrative requirements that could be purged.
Let’s hope his review reduces the “check the box” training that continues to take up too much time for the rank and file. More focus is needed on the mission.
Zero stories about Bowe Bergdahl and Chelsea Manning. OK, this one is on us. But can we make this the year that Bergdahl and Manning stop clogging your news feeds?
An OK for Army ‘Pinks and Greens.’ The Army late last year unveiled some snappy throwback dress uniforms called “pinks and greens.” The dark Army green uniform (with a mauve-y undertone on the pants) was worn back in the days of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. They are vastly superior to the Army’s Service Uniform of today. This optional-wear outfit deserves an official approval in 2018.
An M27 for every grunt. For the Marines in 2018, we hope they can finalize plans to replace nearly all M4 carbines in every infantry squad with new M27s from Heckler & Koch.
It’s a big step in the Corps’ ambitious plans to remake the rifle squad and empower Marine grunts more than ever.
No ship collisions. The Navy had a horrible 2017. Four major ship mishaps, two fatal, and the loss of 17 sailors.
The news was devastating, as were the findings of the investigations. With concerns that sailors are overworked and undertrained, the Navy continues to seek answers to prevent accidents and save lives. We hope 2018 will bring a safer year for our service members at sea.
More Air Force pilots. The Air Force continues to wrestle with a severe pilot shortage that can affect the service’s ability to wage war.
Late last year it was revealed the Air Force was short 2,000 pilots, 1,300 of which were openings for fighter jocks.
Here’s hoping fat bonuses (up to $455K) will be enough to keep them in the skies in 2018.
Happy New Year, dear readers! What would you put on your ’18 military wish list? Send your ideas to Military Times Executive Editor Tony Lombardo: