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Being a fairly early of adopter of the Sig Sauer P238 meant that holsters were in short supply and custom molded kydex ones were harder to find than the top button of your jeans after Thanksgiving dinner. Oddly enough the only place that I was able to find a kydex holster for the P238 was Instagram. I had searched everywhere but all of the big names didn’t seem to be as enamored with the little Sig as I had expected but thankfully a small operation in Virginia came through for me.
I was the first person to purchase a P238 holster from ThinkFast Holsters if I remember correctly. The Blue Gun actually had to be ordered before my holster could be made. I apparently have a fascination with guns other than the normal Glock/Springfield and that does have its pitfalls.
I exchanged well over a dozen emails with Chad, the owner of ThinkFast, before finally making the purchase. We had some initial confusion regarding slide width because there were two options of the Blue Gun offered but it turned out that the difference was so minimal it didn’t matter. The customer service before even making a purchase was very impressive especially since I was dealing with someone who didn’t do this full time.
Since my gun is so small the minimalist was the only way to go and that was perfect for me since I wanted an IWB holster that was suitable for appendix carry. The minimalist holster offered by ThinkFast “features adjustable retention and 2 soft loops which are adjustable from 1.5″ to 2″ belt widths. Made from 1 piece of .08 kydex folded over “taco” style.” At the time I ordered the adjustable retention was not offered but frankly the retention is excellent as is and again since my gun is so small I was informed that it would only have one belt loop. All of this was acceptable because I was really pining for a holster as small as my gun. Until I received this holster I was using a fairly large leather IWB which was comfortable but way too bulky for the type of carry style I prefer.
Using the holster
The holster is incredibly light – like a feather. It makes carrying a small gun a dream because not only does it disappear under the smallest of shirts but the lack of weight makes it seem like you’re not carrying a gun at all.
The single belt loop has performed admirably once I got it adjusted to my belt size. I had left it at the 1 ¾ mark when I was using a 1 ½ inch belt and I had issues with the butt of the gun sliding downwards and wanting to sink into my pants. Once everything was as it was intended I had no issues.
The retention is perfect. It’s strong enough to keep the gun fully seated even while doing vigorous activity but it isn’t so ridiculous that when drawing you pull your pants up to Urkel height. It’s that perfect balance that has caused so many to switch away from leather. Re-holstering is much easier as I don’t have to worry about the holster closing once the gun is drawn – you just simply put the gun right back where it was and you get a nice click as the trigger guard snaps into the retention.
The neutral cant makes this holster perfect for just about any carry position but it really excels at appendix carry. The single belt loop means you don’t have a weird bulge off to the side of your buckle and the very slim profile keeps things from poking into skin that is by nature a bit more sensitive. The only time I’ve been uncomfortable is when the hammer finds my stomach and I get a little pinch.
Speaking of the hammer pinch. I don’t mind that there isn’t a full sweat guard on this model because it means I can manipulate or check the position of the safety while it is holstered. This also means that I can get a better grip on the gun before drawing because I rest my thumb on the safety switch whether it is up or down. While I do get the occasional hammer pinch the trade-off is worth it in my opinion. After all the holster is holding a life saving instrument and I’d rather have a proper grip if the time ever comes for me to draw in a life threatening situation.
I’ve had this holster for going on a year and it is still my go to holster for the P238. Since my order, Chad has updated his lineup and launched a website for his products. The minimalist has changed a bit and the addition of an Appendix Inside The Waistband holster have made mine something of a relic but at the end of the day it is something that I’ll trust my life to until I just can’t wear it anymore and then I’ll buy another from ThinkFast Custom Kydex.
The Minimalist cost me around $60 shipped and arrived in short order. If you’d like to order one for the P238 then that is possible by emailing Chad via his website as the P238 isn’t a constant item.
When I bought my first handgun I bought something that was specifically intended for concealed carry because to me a handgun is meant to be carried. I wasn’t expecting it to completely restructure how I looked at self-defense, life and the my right to bear arms.
My thoughts before applying for a CHL were much like that of everyone else’s. I didn’t pay attention or care about crime because it wasn’t directly affecting me, I believed that having a cellphone with me at all times kept me relatively safe and I thought of the Second Amendment more as a right to defend life and property while on your property. I come from a family that kept shotguns in the house, in a safe, that would be used for home defense if needed but handguns were few and far between. Concealed Carry was entirely new to me because until moving to Texas I didn’t know a single person with a license to carry a firearm so I never thought about the Second Amendment as protecting that nor did I think anyone other than off duty cops carried guns concealed.
It truly was an eye opening experience for me when I started looking into getting a CHL and a gun for that purpose. Even for someone who hasn’t had the best experience with law enforcement, I still thought that they’d be there for me when I called. I guess I thought they had teleportation machines instead of MRAPs. I wanted to believe that others would come to my aid immediately when I was in a life threatening situation but time and again I have seen the exact opposite. I’m not a gunslinger or a cowboy but for me I now view a gun as the equalizer in a world where criminals see everyone as potential victims. I sincerely hope that I never have to use my firearm but if that day ever comes I’ll be glad that I have one.
After my initial purchase of a Sig Sauer P238, I applied for my CHL. I took the 11 hour class and learned a TON of information, sent the application in and 33 days later I had my plastic. It was a pretty exciting day because I was told that I shouldn’t expect it to arrive for months but the state of Texas graciously decided to give me an early Christmas present.
Concealing a gun outside of the home for the first time is something that can’t really be described unless you’ve done it. Concealed carriers consider the “wally-walk”, walking around Wal-Mart for the first time with your firearm, a right of passage since it’s the first time you’ve been around a bunch of strangers armed. It’s the first test to see if your concealment methods work and it’s also quite a test for your mind. Your head seems to be on a swivel, your eyes scan for weapons and you’re generally skeptical of anyone who gets anywhere near where your gun is concealed because you think they’re going to grab it for some reason. You’ll think that every pair of eyes that glances at you has seen your weapon even if it’s masked by multiple layers of clothing. The paranoia goes away as you realize that most people are clueless sheep but your level of situational awareness grows much like that of a police officer who has worked the streets for over a year.
My first encounter at Wal-Mart was just like 99.9% of everyone else’s. I walked in with my gun concealed, I had to tell myself to move my right arm more and to stop grabbing at my cover shirt and then I walked out. No cops were called, no citizens were scared and I knew my concealment methods were just fine. I was now a citizen who had the tool necessary to defend my life and property from the scum who wished to take both from me.
My thoughts on concealed carry started to change after I realized my holster wasn’t right for the job. I was still using the OWB Sig Sauer holster that came with my P238. I realized that I wasn’t able to consistently draw with it because the front sight was getting snagged somewhere in the holster. My research of holsters led me to this community that was once unknown to me and that is the CHL community which included forums, people and videos. This is where I started to get a better understanding of the responsibility bestowed upon me by the State of Texas as well as just how inadequate my preparedness was.
Aside from needing a new holster and a real gun belt I also needed training. I didn’t need to go through the police academy or anything like that but I needed to do something, anything, to not only increase my chances of survival but to decrease the odds of making a life altering mistake. I had rather stupidly thought that my knowledge of handguns in combination with my CHL class qualified me for every situation I would find myself in but that alternate reality faded away when I started reading and seeing real life facts of concealed carry. The scariest thing to me was how close the engagements were because by the time I got my gun out of the holster I could be dead.
After my healthy dose of reality I began investing in both training and equipment. I got a new holster, belt, knife, another holster and more range time. I use ranges where I can draw from my holster and fire and I force malfunctions to get better acquainted with my gun and I practice the fundamentals over and over again. My confidence in my ability to shoot and shoot defensively steadily rose but I was still missing a key component.
Up until this point I wasn’t carrying my gun religiously. I took it off as soon as I walked in the door, I sometimes left it in the car because I wasn’t sure I could carry in certain places and I didn’t want to make friends uncomfortable if my gun got outed. This seemed reasonable to me until it finally dawned on me that this was going against the entire reasoning for carrying a gun. I can’t predict when and where crime will happen so why should I open myself up to attack when I don’t have to? I’m not paranoid nor am I a high risk individual but I see the news and I know that just because I am relatively safe does not mean that I am safe. Once I had adopted this train of thought – carrying a gun was not the same.
I now carry a gun everywhere with me. I carry or keep a gun within arms reach while I am in my home and if I absolutely must take my gun off my person I always keep a secondary weapon of some sort with me. I’ve adapted my everyday carry to include a flashlight, extra magazines and even a small medical kit. I have purchased holsters for just about every type of clothing I own and I have even picked up other handguns to fill certain carry roles. I avoid stores that post legal gunbuster signs so that I don’t have to disarm. All of this has helped me come to understand that I live in an environment that lets the criminal thrive and while America has some of the best equipped police in the world, they still take time to respond. I am solely responsible for my health and well-being and since the SCOTUS has affirmed that the police are not obligated to help us when we are in need, we have to be the ones to protect ourselves.
As I enter my second year of concealed carry I am continuing to advance my training and I have no doubt that my thoughts will continue to evolve a bit as I get more and more accustomed to carrying a gun. It is truly a huge responsibility and it is one that is not to be taken lightly. If you choose to carry a handgun be ready to make changes to both your lifestyle and your mindset because if you don’t you’ll probably end up leaving your gun at home and that might be the time you need it most.
I’ve been wrangling with a question that has crossed my mind a few times but has been weighing on me rather heavily recently – should I close the blog? It’s a question that has been hitting me harder as comments have slowed to a trickle and there has been a shift away from opinion blogs and it is honestly one of the tougher questions I’ve dealt with recently. This blog has taken on something that I never thought it would and as result it has found its way into a lot of my life. I am very proud of this blog as it shows how I’ve evolved as a writer and as a person over the nearly 3 years that this has been in action but as I have evolved into a better writer it has become harder to write oddly enough. This will be post number 469 and while I would have liked to make it to 500 before writing this I found I have run out of steam.
I’ve decided to take a hiatus from this blog.
I’ve found that posts were getting harder to write and that I was finding less to write about and that is for a variety of reasons. When I first started this blog the wars were still hot and heavy, we had a new president and since I was writing less detailed articles I could always find something to write about. I’ve also burned myself out since I’m always looking for the next blog post, always concerned about comments and making sure this site is reader friendly and so on. It has been a task that I’ve loved but it is quickly losing its luster which is upsetting.
Rather than shutting the blog down permanently I have chosen to take a break. I don’t know how long this break will be nor do I know what news will happen in the meantime and that is the point. I’m hoping that during this break I will regain my desire to write and to maintain this blog. I am also hoping that I find more to write about without having to search high and low for it. It’s not a decision I made lightly and it is one that still bothers me yet I feel it is one I have to make so that I don’t go down a road of crappy content or plagiarism.
While I’m taking a break from the keyboard this blog will remain here in its current form for you to read, comment or miss me (ha ha). I really do love that people read this blog and I hope that when I return those of you who have enjoyed my posts will come back to see what it is I have to offer your brains.
Thank you once again for your support,
Owner of My Bloggity Blog
Why am I not surprised?
A Chinese national living in the United States on a visa is under surveillance by the FBI after her boyfriend, a 59 year old defense contractor and Army Reserve Lt. Col, was arrested this week for disclosing classified information including secrets regarding nuclear weapons. The 27 year old is not under arrest at this time nor will the FBI confirm that she is a spy for the Chinese government but officials did say that they were aware of her location and were continuing to investigate her role in the matter.
“While she is not charged in the criminal complaint, the government is aware of her location and is continuing the investigation to determine the role of all involved,” said a Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Via the Washington Post
Benjamin Bishop is being accused of telling this woman secrets about U.S. nuclear weapons, missile defenses, war plans, early warning radar systems and other issues. He originally told her that he would not disclose classified information however she continued to ask questions relating to his work and he ultimately relented. His security clearance required him to report all contact with foreign nationals however officials were unaware of his relationship with this woman. As a defense contractor at Pacific Command, Bishop had access to a metric ton of information on American military strategy and defenses however some of the woman’s inquiries forced Bishop to request information he otherwise would not have had access to.
What concerns me is that this Chinese woman isn’t under arrest yet their was clearly proof that she was actively seeking classified information and information that the U.S. had on Chinese assets – enough evidence to get her boyfriend arrested. If she is spying for the Chinese then why hasn’t she been brought in for questioning and if they don’t have enough evidence on her then why hasn’t her visa been revoked?
Chinese assets have been quietly disappearing from the United States ever since the U.S. flipped a Chinese asset so it is interesting that in this particular case the FBI was very vocal about having not arrested her. It almost seems like they were giving her a huge smoke signal to leave the country.
Her boyfriend is due to appear in federal court on Friday to determine if he will have to continue to sit behind bars while the Justice Department continues to investigate the case. My Bloggity Blog will update this as more information about this Chinese spy and her sex seduced “boyfriend” continue to roll in.
Well I’ve kicked HTC to the curb after owning one of their smart phones for nearly 2 years. Before I got my HTC Thunderbolt I was desperate for it because it was not the iPhone and was being touted as the best Android at the time; it wasn’t. I still love my Thunderbolt but it’s a love that someone has only after mastering its failures and beating the device at its own game. I beat its terrible battery life, I beat Verizon’s lack of updates and I beat Android Froyo but it took a lot of effort and I frankly couldn’t be happier that Samsung is cutting me some slack.
As I stated in a previous article I was a bit concerned that by getting a new phone now I’d end up disappointed in a month when the Samsung Galaxy S4 came out but after looking over the stats of the phones I was considering and the specs of upcoming phones I bit the bullet on the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Verizon wished to bend me over for an extra $100 dollars on the phone but Amazon came to the rescue and I was able to get the titanium gray model for just over $200 which is exactly $100 more than I paid for the Thunderbolt and considering the specs it’s a pretty sweet deal.
Having played with the phone before getting it I knew it was going to be huge but I was still shocked at the size however the lightness of the device was pretty amazing. My Thunderbolt now feels like an actual brick even though it is a measly 4.7 inches. The Note II must be proportioned better as it is actually a heavier device (6.42oz) than the Thunderbolt (6.23oz). Kind of mind boggling really.
The really fun part is the S Pen which at first seems like a throwback to PDA’s but it is actually an incredibly powerful tool that makes the “phablet” fun. I don’t use it all the time but when I do it always speeds up what I’m doing whether I’m taking a note or scrolling through photos. I had an “ah ha” moment when I was looking for a pen to take a note with and then remembered what my phone was called and promptly pulled out the S Pen.
I had to look up all of the features of the S Pen because there wasn’t a tutorial or anything in the manual so here’s the video I watched.
Moving from a 480 x 800 pixel display to a 720 x 1280 HD display is pretty drastic and while many reviews have pointed out that it isn’t up to the iPhone’s “retina” display I don’t really give a crap. I also haven’t noticed a huge difference and I’ve gotten my grubby little hands on all iterations of the iPhone. I had difficulty seeing and reading certain things on the Thunderbolt but that is no longer a problem on the Note II even when in split window mode. The text is very clear and the brightness levels are set so well that reading in sunlight is possible unlike before.
Now one complaint that I have is that the screen seems to like fingerprints a lot more than normal. Actually the whole phone seems to attract prints more due to the shiny plastic construction that makes it look so cool. It’s not a major issue as I plan to get screen protectors and a case but it may turn some people off. I’ve heard that the white version has less of a problem with smudges although people probably can’t see them as well on the white.
Now for the best part of the entire phone – the battery. The Thunderbolt had a 1400mah battery and I needed 2 of them to feel comfortable lasting the whole day. The Note II is rocking a 3100mah battery that can pump out 35 hours of talk time. Like many who have purchased this phone well after its release I tried to kill it right after charging it and each time I’ve gotten tired and gone to bed. I’ve had the phone last for over 24 hours on a single charge and at the time I plugged it in I still had over 25% battery left. In comparison the Thunderbolt fresh out of the box maxed at 6.5 hours talk time and only lasted a day on a single charge after rooting it and changing the ROM and radio configuration.
I was originally disappointed with the camera but I wasn’t looking at the pictures I was just looking at the display. It takes great photos and it does a better job as a shooter than my old phone. It’s not a breakthrough in mobile phone cameras but it does a good job and it has good effects. The thing that I really miss is that there isn’t a built in stand for photo taking or media viewing like on the Thunderbolt. On solo hikes I could set up my Tbolt on its kickstand and get some great shots of me on the trail but I’ll need a special case for that now.
On the smaller side I really enjoy the notification light. It’s bold and clear and can be seen from far away which is a step up from every mobile device I own. I enjoy that I can change the colors for different notifications as well.
Overall I’m incredibly happy that I chose Samsung and I’m also happy that I didn’t wait for the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One. Both phones seem to only be enhancing screens and minor software stuff while other phones still haven’t caught up to the Note II in terms of internal hardware which is a satisfying feeling considering the phones age. I haven’t had the phone for a whole month so the awe that I have now may wear off in time but I have my doubts. I haven’t had a phone impress me this much since I dropped the original Razr for an iPhone 3G.
While attending an event at SXSW I was able to see quite a few developments in the area of technology. What I expected to see were things like the xi3 modular computer that is roughly the size of a Coke can but what I wasn’t expecting to see was something that I had just read about in Gun World magazine. TrackingPoint had a very busy booth at this event and it was easy to see why – they had guns and what looked like a video game to play. That “video game” was actually a simulation of what their scope and rifle platform is capable of. Anyone in the military has probably spent time using a similar simulation to practice on their rifles without the cost of shooting live ammo and so with the help of a few televisions and some software many people got to experience the future of sniping.
According to the representative that I spent time with they’re marketing this to hunters but the extreme cost of the system (up to $22,500) means they aren’t going to be sold in Walmart anytime soon. My first question to the representative after peering through the scope on the attached rifle stock was “I don’t have to be military to buy this?” He stated that I could buy it right now and have it by October or sooner and at the same time made it sound like they were on the fast track to becoming a Department of Defense contractor – and they need to be.
It’s hard not to be attracted to a booth in Texas that has firearms and this was no exception. Men, boys and some women were passing through constantly to get a look at what TrackPoint had to offer and I was no exception. Having just read about their platform in Gun World I was eager to take a look. What I saw literally blew me away.
The scope does everything for you but enter wind and as a sign of how much it can do for you it can live stream your exact view to an iOS (Android coming soon) device so your spotter can see what you do thanks to a built in WiFi hotspot. Built into the custom rifle that they contract out to Surgeon Rifles is a red button that interacts with the scope to mark a target, once marked you squeeze the trigger all the way to the rear, bring the crosshairs back onto target if it has moved and once lined up the gun fires for you! Yes the gun actually fires for you eliminating the possibility of jerking the trigger or flinching for perceived recoil. The system is so advanced that you can accurately take game in a 45mph crosswind at the maximum distance the rifle allows and they have the proof to verify that they’ve done just that in Africa with a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle that they offer.
They offer three rifles using two different calibers with some different aesthetics.
- XS1 .338 Lapua Magnum
- XS2 .300 Win Mag
- XS3 .300 Win Mag
It’s marketed as the world’s first precision guided firearm and the scope is talked about the way an F-22 pilot talks about his heads up display and that is really the only way to describe it. When I marked my targets and the scope and gun did all the work (on simulated robots of course) I was awestruck in a way that I haven’t been since I fired the M2 .50 caliber machine gun. I knew I was sitting behind the rifle system of the future and all I wanted was $22,000 to buy one on the spot. It may be marketed to big game hunters and I like that they have a civilian first approach but this will revolutionize military and police sniping not just because it is incredibly accurate but because you can stream intelligence right back to HQ. Never before has a sniper been given a more useful tool than the ability to immediately relay back exactly what he sees without leaving the gun.TrackingPoint
As many of you know Chris Kyle was murdered on February 2nd along with another man as they were trying to help a veteran through various symptoms of PTSD. It’s incredibly difficult to be critical of a man who has done so much for America but it is especially tough after his death; thankfully Chris Kyle wrote an amazing book.
I think the book takes on an entirely different tone now that Chris Kyle is deceased and to me it completely changed how I was interpreting the book. His death makes his words about life and death hit a little harder than they would have if I had read it prior to his death. There were times I literally had to stop reading because passages written by his wife or about their children and how to raise them just hurt to read knowing that he’d no longer, that they would no longer, be able to do such things. The way the book was written was very much an accounting of his life as if he was telling it to your face and with that you got an inside look at the ups and downs of his marriage, being a parent and military career which made it that much harder to read shortly after his death. I guess it is hard to hear someone detail the almost collapse of their marriage due to not putting his family first most of the time and then departing the SEALs to change that only to be killed on American soil when he was doing just that.
You expect to hear of combat but not of marital problems.
In all of the media interviews a lot of the book was washed over for the kills that Chris Kyle made while behind various sniper rifles. I for one thought that the book would almost focus entirely on his combat career and nothing more but I was way off base. Not only do we get a deep look at what made this Texan the kind of man who was willing to go back into combat time and again but we get to see the stresses of military life both on the battlefield and at home. Hearing of how his wife was on the verge of leaving him due to his lack inability to put family over country is shocking but it is something that is very real in the military and hearing how it affected this incredible warriors personal life makes the book that much more gripping. You don’t just get the “glory” – you get it all.
Marital problems aside you do hear a lot about combat as Chris spent a lot of time in it. What sets this book apart is that the combat isn’t a copy and paste of an after action report nor is it embellished to the point of an Iron Man movie. It’s not what you’d expect but it’s like you’re discussing it with Chris over coffee at least to the extent that he would have discussed it with someone who doesn’t wear a trident. That may disappoint those who were looking for gory details of head shots but this isn’t a Hollywood movie and hearing it from him is how his story should be told – it’s why he wrote the book in the first place. He doesn’t hold back on how easy it was to kill someone and you do get a very interesting look into the mind of someone who didn’t take lives with artillery rounds but more often than not just one rifle round. One of the things that I found very interesting that after every single kill he would have to make a detailed report of the where, how and why he took the shot. This is what makes up his official tally but it was also to cover the governments ass and while he understood that rules of engagement were a good thing he also thought we should be fighting a war and not a PR campaign.
The anti bureaucracy stance is popular with many military members past and present and it is especially clear with Chris Kyle who often had to be put under the microscope for “suspect” kills that later proved to be 100% legal and moral. He doesn’t just bitch about the bureaucracy he goes into great detail so someone like you and I understand how many hoops one must jump through to shoot someone in today’s wars. I think in a way he feels he could have been more useful if he didn’t have to constantly worry about being locked in an Iraqi prison forever or facing prison in the United States after the fact. War is hell but it’s even worse when you have to worry about the men appointed over you prosecuting you the second they smell impropriety.
An interesting question made ever more interesting after his death
Chris Kyle and his wife Taya have both a son and a daughter who are not even teenagers yet but that hasn’t stopped this question from being asked. What if our children want to join the military? Without giving their answers away it is something that I’m sure will eventually cross their children’s mind especially with their son who was following quite closely in his fathers footsteps. A lot of military members with family pose this question to their spouse but with Chris and his wife Taya it’s incredibly interesting especially after you see how it affected both of them individually and as a unit. Not only that but the entire time you’re aware that Kyle was a badass among badasses and it is hard not to look up to that and want to emulate him in some manner. In my personal opinion Chris’ son could do his daddy proud by carrying on his fathers legacy of Craft International rather than trying for the SEALs but if he’s anything like his father he will have an incredible sense of duty that can only be satisfied by service to the nation.
As I said above it is hard to critique a hero and someone that I look to as a role model but American Sniper is an incredible biography that needs no critique – only more praise. That may sound cliche but the book was raw, real and as riveting at times as the best thriller novels. It was something whom only a Navy SEAL with back to back combat deployments and the title “deadliest sniper in American history” could write and it is certainly worth adding to your collection.
I highly recommend American Sniper.Amazon: American Sniper
The last two Secretaries of Defense have warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is at risk of becoming ineffective and that more budget cuts will further put the alliance in jeopardy of failing. When NATO was formed in 1949 its success relied upon the United States’ military might to counter that of the USSR and without the Americans the alliance would fail yet now decades after the wall has fallen, the alliance has failed to adapt to the threats of today. The United States can no longer be the main provider of force and that has many nations realizing they’ll finally have to put skin in the game but others continue to drastically slash defense spending.
When former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was leaving office early in 2011 he took the opportunity to slam NATO saying that nations were “penny pinching” and relying on the United States to do all of the work for them. He pointed out that out of the 2 million strong military force excluding the United States that NATO has struggled greatly in maintaining a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops. His comments came on the heels of the intervention in Libya in which the United States took a backseat role arguably for the first time and the alliance started to crumble under the pressure and eventually had to ask the United States for more direct help. “The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the US, once more, to make up the difference, said Gates.”
Gates took it a bit further though and suggested that the United States Congress might not be willing to waste the time or the money on an alliance that does nothing but rely on the United States.
The outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta also didn’t mince words when it came to the struggling alliance. In October of 2011 while meeting with NATO counterparts in Brussels Mr. Panetta urged alliance members to avoid past mistakes of “hollowing out” military forces after a military campaign as they had done after both World Wars. “Many might assume that the United States defense budget is so large it can absorb and cover alliance shortcomings – but make no mistake about it, we are facing dramatic cuts with real implications for alliance capability,” he said in the speech to the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels. He’s just as concerned about the alliance today especially as American budget cuts are looming.
“There’s no question that in the current budget environment, with deep cuts in European Defense spending and the kind of political gridlock that we are seeing in the United States right now with regards to our own budget, (it) is putting at risk our ability to effectively act together,” he told a news conference in Brussels this week. Source: BBC
The strong words from the nation’s top defense officials apparently fell on deaf ears especially within the United Kingdom.
Against the wishes of the UK’s military chiefs the United Kingdom is pushing forward with yet another round of defense cuts. The Ministry of Defence has put forward plans for another round of cuts to the Army that will see 5,300 troops cut. It is part of the MoD’s plans to shrink the army from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2017. The cuts to the army don’t include thousands of other job losses within the MoD, the air force and the navy. Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said it was “a dreadful day” for many members of the Army and their families.
General Rose said: “The British army has already lost one war in Iraq, and although the outcome of the war in Afghanistan is unknown … it is unlikely to have won this war either by 2014.”
He said the reduction by one-fifth of the army to 82,000 personnel was underpinned by “a critical assumption” that the reserves can almost double in strength over the next few years. “If it cannot, then this is likely to prove fatal to the army’s 2020s strategic viability,” he said.
The U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said in an interview with the Guardian that the UK and the rest of Europe has to reinvest the savings from the ending of the war in Afghanistan into re-equipping their militaries yet the UK is continuing with budget slashing even as former high ranking UK military officials say their equipment is “ancient” and unserviceable.
This is vitally important to the United States as it looks to let the alliance lead rather than being the sole warrior and the United States would look to the UK as a large contributor to the alliance after all they still have the fourth largest defense budget in the world. The continued slashing of defense budgets by NATO members could lead to the collapse of the alliance. If the alliance were to collapse there would be no requirement for a general standardization of weapons, munitions and communication as there is today which could mean complete mission failure in future cooperation with allies.
As the United States looks to shrink its defense budget by the largest amount in decades it will be unable to support the alliance in all measures therefore it is necessary for nations who have for too long relied upon the United States to start providing for their defense as well as contributing more than they have to the alliance. The saying “complacency kills” comes to mind when looking at how NATO has operated over the last 30 years and if drastic cuts hit the United States as well as continue in Europe we will see just how true that saying is.