Previous articles on this website have focused on the Navy, and in particular, that Service’s decline and its implications for Virginia and Florida. I have also explained why Mitt Romney is right that the Navy needs more ships, and why Barack Obama was wrong to dismiss the Navy’s needs and to compare its warships to horses and bayonets, as if the former were relics of a bygone era. Today I will explain why President Obama’s decisions are harmful for the Army as well – and bad for the state of Ohio.
The Buckeye State’s importance needs no explanation. It has 18 EC votes and thus holds the key to the White House. With 38 states firmly entrenching behind party lines, with few swing states in play, Ohio alone can elect the next President of the United States. If Ohio voters make an informed decision, I’m sure they will make the right decision. And this article is designed to help them make an informed one.
Barack Obama came into office explicitly promising deep defense cuts to his liberal supporters. And he has delivered. Now he plans to make even further defense cuts, which, even in the absence of sequestration, would include closing the Lima Tank Plant – the only facility in the entire United States today capable of producing tanks. This will mean that:
- Its workers will be laid off and will have to find new jobs;
- No more Abrams tanks will be produced or modified; and
- The Tank Plant will be closed at a fiscal cost of over $300 mn, only to reopen it in 2017 (to produce Ground Combat Vehicles) at an even greater cost of $1.3 bn, a total of $1.6 bn – more than what it would cost to keep the Tank Plant open through 2017, when GCVs are supposed to go into production.
His administration claims that this decision will produce savings, but as Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute points out, savings will materialize only in the short term, in FY2013 and FY2014. In the long term, if you count the cost of reopening the Tank Plant in 2017 and of retraining workers (who will have to find other jobs in the meantime, for a full four years), the Obama administration’s decision will actually cost taxpayers more than what it would cost to keep the tank plant open – and it will cost the Plant’s employees their jobs. They’ll have to find work elsewhere for 4 years.
If they’re laid off and do find new jobs, they’re unlikely to return to the tank/GCV-building business, so the loss of the skilled workforce could be permanent.
Barack Obama’s policies are harming the military in other ways – if indirectly. For example, he’s been leading a crusade against coal as a source of energy to appease his radical environmentalist supporters (who are a large source of campaign cash for him; he killed the Keystone Pipeline for the same reason, by the way). He wants to penalize coal and the electric plants that utilize it financially, through government policies (e.g. taxes), so that coal-fired electric plants will “bankrupt” (his word, not mine). He has OPENLY stated he wants to bankrupt the owners of these electric plants.
And if they go bankrupt, so will the coal mines that provide them with coal, and their miners.
Yet coal is the cheapest and most abundant source of energy in the US by far (the US has enough coal for 250 years). For that reason, it’s important not only for energy security (and thus for America’s overall national security) and for Ohio and the nation’s families struggling with utility bills, but also, potentially, for the military. Coal can be converted into liquid fuels – including both ground vehicle and jet fuel – at a low cost through the Fischer-Tropsch method (invented in the 1920s by two German scientists wishing to utilize Germany’s huge coal reserves).
Coal can thus be turned, at minimum cost, for the military’s fuel-thirsty vehicles as well as for military aircraft – at a much lower cost than the hyper-expensive “green” jet fuels that Obama and his incompetent Navy Secretary Ray Mabus have been touting (which cost $24/gallon).
Coal can, of course, also be turned into regular gasoline, and thus power the cars of ordinary Americans. If the Fischer-Tropsch process were to be utilized on a mass scale, liquified coal fuel could replace oil and bring gasoline prices down significantly. Ohioans don’t have to settle for $4/gallon gas.
And America would finally become energy independent, no longer reliant on oil supplies from unstable Middle Eastern countries and on supplies travelling through a Strait of Hormuz that the Iranians could close anytime. (Did I hear someone say, “We need a stronger Navy!”)
Ohio thus has crucial national security assets – the only tank plant in the country and huge reserves of coal that could be used to power military and civilian vehicles alike – and 18 Electoral College votes. I hope the good people of Ohio make the right decision this November 6th.
Folks, please send this blogpost to everyone you know, including every Ohioan you know.