How will US armor must reach ports? By rail?
Currently about half the army rail lines from bases to the commercial mainlines are unusable because of delayed repairs. A five-year program to remedy this is behind schedule. There is also a shortage of army rail transportation troops, made worse by a 2015 reduction in railroad troops because the army believed they could rely on commercial railroad personnel in the U.S. and foreign nations to do the job.That proved to be too optimistic. When the availability of commercial railroad specialists was recently checked it was found that the needed personnel for wartime operations were not available in the numbers needed.
The last time there was a major movement of units to ports was in 2003, for the invasion of Iraq. During that period the army found that 67 percent of army vehicles and heavy equipment had to move by rail. The army could not repeat the 2003 performance now and a near-peer war would involve the initial movement of at least twice as many units as in 2003.
The U.S. Army’s rail transportation system is a wreck, according to a recent U.S. government report
“Army inspectors characterized about half of the Army’s rail track as closed due to defects, and four of 60 installations had not met or were not scheduled to meet the 5-year ultrasonic inspection timeline standard set by the Army inspection program,” according to the report by the Government Accountability Office.
After Slashing 33% of Workers in 6 Years, Railroads Complain about Labor Shortages, amid Uproar over Slow Shipments
James Foote, the chief executive of CSX, one of the largest railroads in the US,
“In January when I got on this [earnings] call, I said we were hiring because we anticipated growth. I fully expected that by now we would have about 500 new T&E [train and engine] employees on the property,” he said. “No way did I or anybody else in the last six months realize how difficult it was going to be to try and get people to come to work these days.”
“It’s an enormous challenge for us to go out and find people that want to be conductors on the railroad, just like it’s hard to find people that want to be baristas or anything else, it’s very, very difficult,” he said.
Even as railroads are operating longer and longer freight trains that sometimes stretch for miles, the companies have drastically reduced staffing levels, prompting unions to warn that moves meant to increase profits could endanger safety and even result in disasters.
More than 22% of the jobs at railroads Union Pacific, CSX and Norfolk Southern have been eliminated since 2017, when CSX implemented a cost-cutting system called Precision Scheduled Railroading that most other U.S. railroads later copied. BNSF, the largest U.S. railroad and the only one that hasn’t expressly adopted that model, has still made staff cuts to improve efficiency and remain competitive.
The railroads acknowledge they have cut staff, lengthened trains and made other adjustments to reduce spending, but they are adamant none of the changes increase dangers.
BNSF railroad tries to block 17,000 workers from striking
BNSF railroad wants a federal judge to prevent two of its unions from going on strike next month over a new attendance policy that would penalize employees for missing work
The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad went to court after the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation union both threatened to strike over the new policy that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1.
Railroad management:“Sheesh nobody wants to work anymore!”
Railroads are following hospitals. Hospitals drastically cut nursing staff in the 1990’s. Or Ford in the 1970’s refused to utilize gasket to fix possible gas tank explosions. Lawsuits vs fixing every Pinto. Cheaper to let passengers burn. Profit over healthcare. Profit over rail safety. That’s what happens when the MBA bean counters run things.
If I was Putin & really wished to invade Ukraine; I’d wait for the rail strike to be sure. Then it just European members of NATO to deal with.
Truman had the army take over the rails in 1950. Likely the army had some experience railroad men due to many men & equipment was moved by rail during WW 2. Does the US military have any institutional knowledge of rail operations. Is applicable to current rail operation?
It could be that massive of tanks will have to move by road to ports. There will be damage to roads to repair & mechanical breakdown of some tanks. Sure tanks could be put on flatbeds trailer to hauled by trucks. But we have a shortage of commercial truck drivers. I suppose an opportunity to declare martial law to require trucking corporations to turn over drivers, semi trucks & flatbed trailers for military use. Ha if you think people are p*ssed off by a few Canada-US border crossing blockages; wait this situation hits the fan. LOL Just think how road convoys will screw up traffic.
And it appears the US government is not coordinating together.
DEFENDER EUROPE 22
Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 22 will demonstrate the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy a large, combat-credible force of soldiers and equipment from the United States to Europe in support of both the U.S. National Defense Strategy and objectives defined by NATO, strengthen partnerships, to build readiness within the Alliance and deter potential adversaries. The U.S. and its European Allies and Partners will demonstrate their ability to receive and move a U.S. division-sized force, quickly build combat power, and execute command and control of the force. DEFENDER-Europe 22 will culminate with a multinational division river crossing in northeast Poland. Once deployed in Europe, forces of the exercise will then be allocated to a number of other Joint Exercise Programme events.
The above is a good excuse to get men & equipment over into Europe.
But congress does not appear to be on board: https://www.defensenews.com/training-sim/2021/10/11/us-army-…
The U.S. Army is pushing back on claims made in congressional language that the Defender Europe exercise is canceled and will be replaced by smaller drills in 2022. However, the exercise will not be the division-level event it was originally intended to be.
“The committee notes that the Department of Defense cancelled the largescale theater level Defender Europe exercise for fiscal year 2022 at a time of increased escalatory Russian military activity and replaced it with smaller-scale activities,” the House Armed Services Committee chairman’s markup of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill stated.