The key military concept of the United States is the projection of force, implying the possibility of a rapid military response to any threat anywhere in the world, as well as the transition to network-centric wars. Without an appropriate military infrastructure, this is practically impossible. The Director General of the Research Institute “Management. Information Technologies »Timur Spiridonov. He is a doctoral candidate of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who prepared a dissertation on the topic “The role and place of military infrastructure in the US military construction”.
- About the military power of the United States always talk a lot, sound huge numbers of their budget, surpassing the total costs of other leading countries of the world. How do you characterize the American military infrastructure?
- It is most developed compared to all countries of the world. As of the beginning of 2010, the Pentagon owned about 500 thousands of objects, of which more than 300 thousands of buildings. They were located in five thousand places, occupied a huge land area in the United States and abroad. These are both stationary and various mobile objects: locations of troops, command posts, various bases, air defense and missile defense systems, communications centers, military establishments and military schools, training grounds, warehouses, airfields, roads and railways, pipelines, and maritime and river ports, and also some objects of the engineering equipment of district.
The US Department of Defense is one of the largest landowners, has 28,5 million acres, which exceeds the size of the territory of North Korea. More than 97 percent of the area is in the USA.
- How expensive is it to keep it all?
“According to Pentagon’s estimates, it takes at least 114 billion dollars to recover the expenses of foreign bases only.” This exceeds the GNP of many countries of the world. And for the maintenance of all US bases you need about 500 billion dollars.
- Judging by the size, these costs make up the bulk of US military spending. Why? After all, there are such priority areas of military construction as the development of promising weapons systems, maintaining the size and combat readiness of the existing groups of troops (forces)?
- The US military infrastructure is more than a simple system to support the combat activities of the armed forces in various parts of the world. This is the main tool of American geopolitics. The United States has always sought to seize strategic facilities and gain advantages over all who are considered to be competitors at the global and regional levels.
For many decades, the construction of military bases and facilities abroad, the forward-based system of the Armed Forces are one of the main pillars of the US national security strategy.
Military bases abroad allow control over the world's natural resources, especially oil from the Middle East. A number of foreign policy doctrines - Eisenhower, Carter, Bush - were mainly directed to this region.
Ensuring the interests of American TNCs in the context of globalization, preserving their huge foreign investments and profits, access to markets for goods and sources of raw materials remains one of the main tasks of foreign bases.
- Does the informational support of military actions have a reflection in the development of military infrastructure?
- Of course. Special attention is paid to this, since it is the military information infrastructure that allows, according to experts, to bring the military machine to a qualitatively new level, to make a revolution in military affairs. Its essence was expressed by Admiral Jay Johnson, when he headed the Navy: "The fundamental shift from what we call the platform-centric war, to what we call the network-centric war."
The concept is based on the idea that information communication is more important than individual systems. weapons. Its supporters believe that it is a key factor in the transformation of the armed forces into a more maneuverable and powerful, better-equipped system as a result of changes in the ways in which combat operations are conducted, communications and control, combat training and material and technical supplies are carried out. It is emphasized that the Armed Forces are a single network, and not just a combination of military equipment, military personnel and headquarters. The point is to use information and communication technologies to move from operations based on the use of separate platforms - carriers of weapons (aircraft, ships, tanks), to network-centric operations. In a conventional war, they enter into confrontation, and in the future, a decentralized network of forces will use a single combat information base to hit enemy targets with joint efforts more efficiently, accurately and quickly, from large distances and directions.
The military information infrastructure forms the basis, the core, the main content of the network-centric war system, without which implementation is impossible in principle. In fact, we are witnessing a transition to a qualitatively new era in military affairs. For the first time, information infrastructure is becoming the main instrument of war, determining not only strategy, but also tactics of warfare.
- What are the priorities in the development of American infrastructure?
- First of all, this is the information segment, which plays a special role in modern conditions. Information has become a strategic resource, gives power. With this in mind, the US Department of Defense attaches paramount importance to strengthening the information system, reconnaissance and communications, the readiness of management personnel from the political to the strategic level to organize joint actions of all combat arms in military conflicts of any scale. This allows you to create conditions for use in a single set of means to repel a strike, which are part of different types and types of troops, and means of attack for the destruction of troops and enemy forces. In addition, if the informational confrontation is properly organized at the state level, it is possible to achieve political goals without the use of force or, as a last resort, with the use of special-purpose units and high-precision weapons.
The Pentagon directs significant financial resources to the development of transport infrastructure. Back in 1987, USTRANSCOM was created as part of three commands - air transfer, sea and land transportation. Given the geographical location of the country and the remoteness of the main theaters of operations, the United States attaches particular importance to aviation and sea transport, through which personnel are deployed and the logistics of numerous bases abroad both in peacetime and during military operations.
An appreciable share of infrastructure costs is associated with the construction and maintenance of bases abroad. According to 31’s March Foreign Policy Focus magazine, 2011, the Pentagon spent 2010 a billion dollars only on 41,6 for this purpose. And in recent years, Americans have taken up the Arctic, planning to expand infrastructure there.
- What is the situation with financial control over these significant and very diverse expenses?
- This is given paramount attention, and the United States managed to create a coherent system. The key principle of its construction and operation is a combination of internal and departmental control, as well as oversight by the executive authorities. An important role is played by the defense contract management department of the Ministry of Defense and internal audit teams in each of the branches of the armed forces. A prominent position is occupied by the controller of the Ministry of Defense and its subordinate apparatus.
Among the subsidiary bodies of the congress, directly involved in the process of overseeing the proper spending of military allocations, the main control and financial management takes a serious independent place. It continuously monitors the spending of funds allocated by Congress.
In general, the system allows mainly to prevent corruption in the sense that we have in Russia. However, no one in the USA canceled lobbying.
- In recent decades, the United States has repeatedly unleashed and waged military conflicts abroad, as a rule, at a considerable distance from its territory. Required large transfers of troops and cargo. How was it provided?
- Yes, the volumes were huge. For example, in Operation Storm in the Desert, only during the preparatory period did it take to deliver about five million tons of various cargoes. According to the estimates of foreign experts, the mass of the complete US division, taking into account manpower and military equipment, is 69 thousand tons. And for the conduct of hostilities of medium intensity during a month, the division requires at least 36 thousand tons of fuel, 14 thousand tons of equipment and 26 thousand tons of other military goods. Almost all transfers were carried out by air and sea.
Although the possibilities aviation In recent years, it has expanded significantly, its main role belongs only to the delivery of personnel and emergency transport of goods. The bulk, especially large ones, is provided by sea.
The Pentagon uses about 700 of its own aircraft, as well as commercial and rented aircraft. In addition to them, a special program for attracting the forces and assets of 24 civilian airlines in the interests of the Ministry of Defense has been developed and is being implemented for strategic troop and cargo transfers. They are part of the so-called civilian air reserve fleethave about a thousand transport and passenger aircraft, which can be involved in the tasks of delivering personnel and military equipment to remote theater. Civil airlines make a significant contribution to strategic air travel. With full use of flight capabilities, they can provide about a third of the transport of military cargo and up to 90 percent of the personnel.
According to the military command, due to the design features of the aircraft fleet, commercial airlines, however, are unable to effectively solve all the tasks of delivering non-standard cargo and evacuating the wounded. Only the integrated use of military and civil aircraft provides the required level of strategic mobility of US forces.
The main role in the system is played by sea transport. Ships-warehouses and roll-overs of naval naval command, as well as chartered civilian ships, support the deployment of the main groups of the armed forces and their logistical support. In general, the capabilities of the existing system make it possible to deliver up to two million tons of cargo to the forward zones within 60 days from the receipt of the order.
In the US, various measures are being taken, designed to significantly increase the carrying capacity of the navy. The main focus is on a more complete use of civilian transport resources, improvement of the mechanism of mobilization and centralized use. As part of these activities, a program is being implemented to increase the mobilization readiness of the merchant fleet, which provides for a significant increase in the number of vessels and a reduction in the timing of their transfer to the military. The merchant fleet of the country is widely used in peacetime. By some estimates, it accounts for over 95 percent of maritime transportation of American military goods. Along with its own operating fleet, the United States plans to use merchant ships from other countries for urgent military transport.
- Does ground transportation play any role?
- It plays, but its strategic importance remains mainly in the continental areas, primarily in the USA itself. The organization is engaged in the command of land transportation by rail and road transport - KNP. There are 1350 railway cars, 10 thousands of containers and various other means at the disposal of KNP in the country. In the continental US, rail transport is particularly actively used for transporting cargo over long distances. For example, the development of end-to-end container traffic between the ports of the Atlantic and Pacific coast is of great military importance.
Automobile transport is actively used for the carriage of goods over a relatively close distance. Naturally, it is also necessary in military units and bases in the country and theaters of military operations.
In recent years, the Pentagon seeks to significantly strengthen the KNP, which serves as a link between shippers and carriers.
- How do locals treat US facilities?
- In a foreign territory, bases are created on the basis of relevant interstate agreements. Often these are forced steps caused by dependence on the United States. Military bases abroad are isolated fortresses. The US military does not obey the laws of the country of residence, use extraterritoriality. Their status gives rise to quite sharp protests. Opponents of the bases declare that the use of their territory in military operations jeopardizes the security of the country, oppose the use of huge land areas, environmental poisoning, and incorrect behavior of servicemen. Due to the indignation of the population, the United States forcedly closed their facilities in the Philippines, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and some other countries.