Defence

It costs HOW MUCH?

VAbudget

The mind boggles. War is expensive to conduct. Once wars finish, the cost of looking after veterans is massive. In 2000, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in America spent $43.6bn to look after returned servicemen and women. In 2020 it is expected to exceed $212bn (c. 5x), the equivalent of what the Chinese currently spends on its military.  Digging deeper into the data reveals that the cost of the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) on veteran treatment keeps growing in a straight line.

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Total obligations for OIF/OEF/OND patients has grown 19-fold in the last 14 years to over $7bn. Total veterans from those campaigns now totals 965,000 and is expected to hit 1.1mn by 2020. Cost per veteran patient over the 2006-2020 period will virtually treble.

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Expenditure on prosthetic devices (e.g. limbs, hearing aids) has near as makes no difference quadrupled in that period.

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Spending on pharmaceutical products is up 1.9x since 2006.

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Drugs such as Oxycontin which contain opioids have found their way to creating problems in the US armed forces. 15% of Army troops admitted to taking illicit drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana) and opioids back in 2008.

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Spending on programs to prevent substance abuse is up 1.8x since 2006.

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The VA notes key clinical metric trends from Quarter Four of 2012 to Quarter Four of 2017 show:

• 67% reduction in Veterans receiving opioid and benzodiazepine together;
• 44% reduction in Veterans on long-term opioid therapy (> to 90 days);
• 38% reduction in Veterans receiving opioids;• 56% reduction in Veterans receiving > 100 Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose;
• 51% increase in Veterans on long-term opioid therapy with a Urine Drug Screen
(UDS) completed within last year to help guide treatment decisions.

Spending on mental health programs is up almost 4x since 2006. The VA plans to promote the development of skills in VA providers to diagnose and assess PTSD
by developing a computer-based training using simulated virtual patient
technology that will allow clinicians to practice and receive customizable feedback
on giving CAPS-5 to a lifelike virtual patient.

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The 2019 VA Budget requests $8.6 billion for Veterans’ mental health services, an increase of 5.8% above the 2018 current estimate. It also includes $190 million for suicide
prevention outreach. VA recognizes that Veterans are at an increased risk for suicide and
implemented a national suicide prevention strategy to address this crisis. Veteran suicide in the US is at a 22/day clip.

The price of freedom. All said and told the US over the last 20 years will have spent the equivalent of $2.476 trillion with a “T” on veterans. That is the equivalent of one entire year of UK GDP.

Smart technologies are an absolute must for the VA. The cost of veteran health is the equivalent of 29% of what the US spends on defence, up from 14.8% two decades ago. Asking for yearly increases is a band aid solution.

Comparing gender fluidity in the military vs this 77yo telegram

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While the gender neutral PC brigade strives to prevent hurt feelings by way of compelling correct pronoun usage in the military, perhaps they might reflect on how Lt. Norman Martin Peterson was feeling at the time he telegrammed his wife in 1941. Only true veterans can possibly understand how precious life is when living day in and day out under live fire against people sworn to kill them. They never knew when their number might be up. Yet our top brass want to cloak our soldiers in imaginary verbal flak jackets.

75 years ago, this is what Lt Peterson of the 1st Australian Field Ambulance had to say about the people who took for granted the very freedoms he and his mates sacrificed so much to provide. The military is no place for snowflakes.

“Well on reading about some of the women you were telling me about I feel a loathing for such hypocritical parasites. Is this what men are laying down their lives to protect? I sometimes wish that they could see how a bloke looks like when he is unburied for a couple of months, a skeleton with boots and clothes on, eaten by ants. A grinning skull and shirt black and stiff with congealed blood. Or a few Japs scattered around a shell hole with leg bones protruding from their boots…

…I wonder and think that these bones were a few months ago living people, with their loves and hates, wives and mothers, and sweethearts, posted as missing, they are frequently seen in the jungle, unburied until found. Then I think of the mongrels safe in Australia and having a great time the bastards – pardon my eloquence but I really get worked up over the mongrels that are not worth the little finger of the boys on the job defending their pseudo honour and their miserable little lives.”

When a man can see sadness and pity even for his sworn enemy, it makes one reflect on the horrors of war and why we should spend much more time honoring our military’s  bravery rather than protect cowardice by hiding behind compelled speech indoctrination.

#ThinkAboutIt

The Japanese have every right to be paranoid about Russian & Chinese military activity

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Japan has every right to be nervous about its borders. Many people point to the biggest threat to Japan being Nth Korea but it is Russia and Japan. Reading through the latest Japanese Self Defense White Paper and this is what they reported:

“Regarding aircraft, since the resumption of patrol activities by its strategic aviation units in 2007, Russia has been increasing flights by long-range bombers and carrying out flights of Tu-95 long-range bombers and Tu-160 long-range bombers which are refueled in mid- flight and supported by A-50 early warning aircraft and Su-27 fighters. Moreover, due to an upturn in its fuel situation, among other factors, pilot training time is on an upward trend, and in September 2011 and March and December 2013 Tu-95 long-range bombers, etc. took a route that circled the area encompassing Japan. There also seems to be an increase in activities such as flights approaching Japan and exercises and training, as exemplifed by the abnormal flights of Russian aircraft detected on seven consecutive days and the flights by six individual Tu-95 long-range bombers on one single day between March and April 2014″

The same goes for China. Japanese fighters have been scrambled to intercept Chinese aircraft approaching Japan’s territory which has quadrupled in 4 years. The idea of doing this is to test how quickly Japan can scramble fighters to intercept.

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On November 16 and 17, 2013, a Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft flew over the East China Sea on two consecutive days. On November 23, the Chinese government announced that it established the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” including the Senkaku Islands which China described as if they were a part of China’s “territory,” that it obligated aircraft flying in the said zone to abide by the rules set forth by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, and that the Chinese Armed Forces would take “defensive emergency measures” in the case where such aircraft does not follow the instructed procedures. Japan is deeply concerned about such measures, which are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea, escalating the situation, and that could cause unintended consequences in the
East China Sea. Furthermore, the measures unduly infringe the freedom of over flight over the high seas, which is the general principle of international law. Japan is demanding China to revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of over flight over the high seas. The United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, and the European Union (EU) have expressed concern about China’s establishment of such zone.