The U.S. Military

In February, 2011, the US Navy started construction on a new $15 billion aircraft carrier, slated to weigh anchor in 2020. It followed the just-as-costly Gerald R. Ford, then 20% built and due to set sail in 2015. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, China was putting its final touches on a new class of missile expressly designed to sink the Ford and its sister ship and their 15,000 person crews. China’s missiles, likely to cost about $10 million each, could keep the Navy’s carriers so far away from Taiwan that the short range aircraft they bear would be useless to any conflict over the tiny islands fate. Aircraft carriers, born in the years before WW II, are increasingly obsolete platforms of war. They feature expensive manned aircraft in an age when budgets are being squeezed and less expensive drones are taking over. While the US and its allies flew hundreds of attack missions against targets in coastal Libya, cruise missles delivered much of the punch, and US carriers were notable only for their absence. Yet the Navy, backed by the Pentagon and Congress, contines to churn them out as if it were still 1942.

It’s tradition, the industrial base and other old arguments that keep the shipyards building them. They should scale back the carrier design to build something much cheaper and simpler, like mother ships launching waves of cheap drones – that would actually be more intimidating. The growing antiship capabilities of adversaries begs the question, does the US really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?
In Washington. people are starting to ask unthinkable questions about long sacred military budgets. Can the US really afford more than 500 bases at home and around the world? Do the Air Force, Navy and Marines really need $400 billion in new jet fighters when their fleets of F-16s and F-18s give them vast air superiority for years to come? Does the Navy need 50 attack submarines when Americas main enemy hikes in caves? Does the Army still need 80,000 troops in Europe 67 years after the defeat of Adolf Hitler?

It may seem strange to talk about defense cuts while the US is waging one war in Afghanistan, and has just finished a war in Iraq and a half war in Libya. But that ignores the fact that the biggest threat to national security is the debt. Which points to the tragic irony fo Washington’s $700 billion annual appetite for military stores. They are borrowing money from China to pay for weapons that that would presumably be used against it. If the Chinese want to slay America, they don’t need to attack them with their missiles, they just have to call in their loans.

Numbers tell much of the story: the US is now spending 50% more (even when the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were in full swing) than they did on 9/11 and more than during the Cold War when the USSR had thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at US cities. In fact, the US spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined. They have waged a war for over a decade in Afghanistan, at a cost of over a half trillion dollars, against a foe with no army, no navy, and no air force. Polticians and eager defense contractors continute to sound a theme of constant vigilance against terrorists that have only successfully only struck once. They are an increasingly muscle bound nation – sending $1 billion destroyers, with crews of 300 each, to handle five Somali pirates in a fibreglass skiff.

While the US military spending has jumped from $1,500 per capita in 1998 to $2,700 in 2008, its NATO allies have been spending $500 per person over the same span. As long as the US is overspending on its defense, it lets allies skimp on theirs and instead spend on infrastructure, education and health care. So even as US taxpayers fret about their health care costs, their tax dollars are paying for a military that is subsidizing the health care of their European allies.
The secretary of defense proposed cutting $78 billion over five years, and Obama called for $400 billion in cuts by 2023. Even some Republicans think that the Pentagon needs to do its part in the war on debt. After going over the financial cliff, they will have no strength, and eventually, no peace. The numbers don’t work by focusing on waste, fraud, abuse and inefficiencies. Bigger changes are required, and they are long overdue. To reduce spending by $1 trillion over the next decade, weapon purchases must be trimmed, and personal costs reduced. Both require a new political will to stop treating military spending as pork, a regional and local entitlement that can go on forever. The US needs to take a hard-nosed look at the dozens of military costs that are no longer vital or affordable.

When requested to tighten their belts, the Air Force pledged to cut its fuel bill by $500 million over the next 5 years, while the Army could save the same amount with better e-mail systems. So much for civilian control over the military. The Secretary of Defense suggested closing down an outreach program to save $12,000, and combat gabfests to save $5,000!! He thought it important to not repeat the mistakes of the past by making drastic and ill-conceived cuts to the overall defense budget. Even a $1 trillion cut would leave the Pentagon fatter than it was before 9/11 and is not as drastic as it sounds. The number of air craft carriers could be cut from 11 to 8 and perhaps could be almost totally scuttled in favor of drone carriers. The annual purchase of two $3 billion attack submarines to maintain a 48 sub fleet could be stopped. The $383 billion F-35 program isn’t required when US airplanes remain the world’s best and could be retooled with new engines and electronics to keep them that way. Reagan era missile defenses and the nuclear arsenal are Cold War relics with little relevance today. $500 billion could be saved b scaling back procurement over the next decade.

So much for hardware. On the human side of the ledger, pay and benefits have long needed revamping. Some 60 members of an aircraft carrier recently pocketed $3.4 million in bonuses – $57,000 each, tax free – to re-enlist. Military pay should be better aimed at troops the military wants to retain. The 20 years-and-out retirement system needs to be replaced with a model designed to keep hard-learned institutional knowledge around for twice as long. Health care premiums, frozen at $460 a family since 1995, must be raised to keep pace with the rest of the nation’s. (Pentagon medical costs have soared from $19 billion in 2001 to more than $50 billion today). The Pentagon is top heavy and 102 of the 952 generals and admiral could be cut. Trimming the ranks and replacing the archaic pay schemes with smarter personnel policies could save $400 billion in the coming decade. Just as ripe for reduction are dozens of specialized military agencies and outposts, most dating from the Cold War. The US now has 17 intelligence agencies – from the CIA to the hidden National Geospatial Intelligence Agency – generating so much intelligence that much of it can’t even be reviewed. Each service has its own branch. plus a Defense Intelligence Agency to handle anything that might fall through the cracks. These would all save $100 billion over the next decade.

Such cuts would still leave the US military as the world’s most potent. It would remain the lone force with global reach, given its logistical, communications and intelligence dominance. It would still be the only power able to send warships, warplanes, and missiles virtually anywhere in the world at any time. Citizens would be far more willing to cut defense than Medicare or Social Security. The attitude that a defense budget in decline portends an America in decline is bankrupting the nation, and the public knows it.

It is really up to Congress where to spend all the money, not the Pentagon alone, and that is a big part of the problem. An aircraft carrier and the dozens of planes it carries are worth $15 billion, and that’s before adding the destroyers and submarines needed to accompany it. The politicians involved in the purchase of these ships hail from Navy friendly coastal states with a strong interest in keeping as many of them sailing as possible. Right now, Virginia and Florida are fighting over the plan to move one of the five carriers in Norfold, Virginia to Mayport, Florida. The Pentagon is proposing the move so that a natural disaster or attack does not deliver a knockout blow to the Atlantic fleet. Virginia argues that the $500 billion cost of building the new facilities in Florida will detract from maintenance of existing shipyards. Neither side mentions the real prize: the 6,000 jobs and $400 million in annual local spending a carrier generates. Nor does either side note that the US Navy has not had a real shooting war with another ship since WWII. What’s missing is whether an 11th carrier at all. About a third of the defense budget is spent not for national security but because it’s in someone’s district or state. It’s a disease that infects the entire defense budget.

Following WWII, the Department of War became the Department of Defense, so instead of shrinking to a garrison force, it developed a never ending mission and an ever expanding portfolio. The US has been at war two out of every three years since 1989. Countries that continuously fight wars invariably build powerful national security bureaucracies that make it difficult to hold leaders accountable for their behavior. The Pentagon has expanded its role in homeland poliferation of nuclear weapons and waging cyberwar. It believes the US needs a broad portfolio of military capabilities with maximum versatility across the widest possible spetrum of conflict.

A realist school of foreign policy thinkers think it’s time to rationalize US missions and curb its presence overseas. Shrink its presence in Europe, Asia, and the Persian Gulf and consign their fates to regional powers. This would mean withdrawing tens of thousands of US troops in Europe and Asia and an end to the Marines 66 year presence in Okinawa. South Korea can handle North Korea without US troops, with offshore aid like intelligence and nuclear weapons coming form the US. The US will never invade Iran, but if it comes to war, air strikes and special operations missions would form the US military role, not an invasion of US troops.

The draining old fashioned boots-on-the-ground method of fighting war used in Afghanistan and Iraq changed to air and naval power in Libya, and special forces and drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Only by trimming missions can forces be cut, as that is where the real money is – in payroll and procurement. The Pentagon budget reflects present commitments, but these are not essential to US national security. It is a matter of balancing national security with prosperity.

Unwarranted influence from the military-industrial complex and special interests in the Pentagon or Congress should not determine the size and shape of the US military. But rather an alert and knowledgeable citizenry needs to set the goals so that security and liberty prosper together. For too long, an uninterested and distracted citizenry has been content to leave the messy business of national defense to those with selfish, bottom feeding motives. The US taxpayers need to demand that its government spend what is needed to defend the country – not a penny more.


excerpted from “The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built” by Mark Thompson. Time Feb 25, 2013
The Pentagon plans on buying 2,357 F-35s for $400 billion, making it the costliest weapons program in human history. It is designed as the US military’s lethal hunter of the 21st century skies, but has become the hunted. It is the poster child of the Pentagons profligacy in a time of tightening budgets. Its pilots’ helmets are plagued with problems, it hasn’t yet dropped or fired weapons, and the software it requires to go to war remains on the drawing board. Its most amazing capability is landing like a helicopter using its precision cast titanuim thrust-vectoring nozzle, but that can only be used by test pilots, not operational plane drivers.
The price tag has already doubled since 2001, to $396 billion. Production delays have forced the Air Force and Navy to spend at least $5 billion to extend the life of the existing planes. The Marine Corps love costly jump jets which take off and land vertically, and has spent $180 million on 74 used British AV-8 jets for spare parts for its Reagan-era Harriers flying until their version of the F-35 comes online.
Spending on the F-35 threatens other defense programs. When the new budget deal was not reached on March 1, 2013, the Pentagon faced $500 billion in spending cuts, or a 10% cut in projected budgets over the next decade. Two years ago, defense-hawk Republicans were not expected to let the US go over the fiscal cliff, but they are now more concerned about the deficit than defense. With the US spending maybe 45% of the world’s budget on defense, a drop to 42 or 43% would not endanger the countries security. The deficit is a bigger threat than war. Bankruping the country is a bigger danger. Republican leaders are even coming to accept that military cuts are inevitable. As $5 billion in F-35 contracts have been recently issued, the sad irony is that cutting the F-35 now will not save much money in the near term. But sequester mandated cuts will delay the purchase of more planes and their required testing with the inevitable result of making each plane cost more in the future. But that will not be anything new for the F-35 Lightning II.
The single engine, single seat F-35 can be thought of as flying Swiss Army knife – able to engage in dogfights, drop bombs and spy. Tweaking the hardware makes it stealthy enough for the Air Force, Its vertical landing capability lets it operate from the Marines’ amphibious ships, and the Navy’s design is beefy enough to endure punishing carrier operations. Rather than a conservative approach, the Pentagon opted to build three versions of the same plane averaging $160 million each (problem #1), it wanted the plane to perform multiple missions (problem #2), and then rolled them off the assembly line while the blueprints were still in flux – over 10 years before critical development testing was finished (problem #3). It has already spent $375 million to fix planes already built with the ultimate bill to repair imperfect planes may reach $8 billion. Putting the F-35 into production years before the first test flight was acquisition malpractice.
The Pentagon felt that the need for the F-35 was urgent in order to keep the technological edge of the American tactical air fleet at least 5 years ahead of the Russians and Chinese who are building fifth-generation fighters of their own. Others feel that no nation is close to challenging US air dominance. The resulting plane was a compromise, not optimum for any one service but good enough for all three. The Air Force and Navy did not like the stubby design that puts its tailhook close to its landing gear (7′ versus 18′ for the F-18 it is replacing) making it difficult to grab the arresting cable on an aircraft carrier. Its short range will require aircraft carriers to be close to enemy shores. It can avoid in-flight fueling by adding external fuel tanks which erases its stealth ability, its prime war-fighting asset. Building three different versions with each service able to back out of the program, forced cost into the backseat behind performance.
The Air Force could have adopted the Navy variant gaining more range and durability but refused. The Marine demand for vertical landing capability is not likey needed in modern warfare. Focusing on winning two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon let costs balloon and schedules slip. Each plane is likely to be delayed several years and no date for “initial operational capability” is set for any of the planes.
The 48 lawmakers on the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus received 2x as much as nonmembers in campaign contributions from the F-35’s top contractors in 2012. Many of the 133,000 jobs spread across 45 states are in their districts. The F-35 builder, Lockheed Martin says jobs will double when the plane enters full production. Relations between Lockheed and the Pentagon have been terrible. Deliveries of new F-35s doubled in 2012 to 30.
Pilots love the plane. There are few gauges , buttons or knobs. but instead a touchscreen display that responds with very small movements of each hand. But military strategy has been moving away from manned fighters for years, being replaced by drones, standoff weapons, and GPS guided bombs. Fifth generation fighters are built from the ground up to elude enemy radar – stealth, which was all the rage before the drone explosion. Ability to detect stealth planes with improved sensors and computing is eroding their value. The change of theaters to the bigger Pacific makes the short combat radius (469 miles – Marines, 584 – Air Force, and 615 – Navy) an issue. Computers are key to flying the plane but cause incredible complexity. There are 24 million lines of computer code with 9.5 million on board the plane, more than 6x the F-18.
But the program has been declared a failure on cost and schedule, and even its capabilities are not known compared to present planes. All three planes will be slower and less maneuverable than projected. Weight reduction has increased risk of fire. Nobody has shown any sensitivity to costs. Hundreds need to be sold to a dozen nations to reduce the cost of each US plane. Canada is considering alternatives due to the projected lifetime cost of $46 billion, double the initial projection. Australia is buying F-18s, not F-35s.
While questions swirl around about how to build the F-35 right, there is a more important question: is it the right plane for the US military in the 21st century? As already discussed, with drones, stealth and the ability to fly a human through flak and missles may be passe. The Air Force feared additional fourth generation fighter acquisition as a direct threat to fifth-generation programs. Refusing to buy new fourth-gerneration F-15s and F-18s is threatening the size of the fighter fleet to dangerously low levels. A stealthy jet requires sacrifices in range, flying time and weapon carrying capability – the hat trick of aerial warfare. The F-22, the Air Forces’ only other 5th generation plane, has had problems with all three. It has been sitting on the tarmac around the world for seven years, yet to fly a single combat mission.
As the $5 billion for Pentagon contracts for 31 planes has already been issued, those planes have not been affected by sequestration, so the F-35 may end up being pretty stealthy after all.

UPDATE ON F-35, JUNE, 2014
The F-35 is now $135 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule. The relationship between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin has never been worse. The big mistake made was that they hadn’t flown the plane before buying it. But the F-35 will never be scrapped. How could this be?
The US is worried about improving Chinese and Russian fighters and feel that they must continue to improve to maintain air superiority. The stealth features and information technology integrated into this plane gives the Americans a tremendous advantage. They can “see” the enemy at 5-10 times the range than they can be detected. A key is a sophisticated computer system, software, and a helmet worth $500,000. Information is projected onto the pilots visor changing with where the pilot is looking – ie virtual reality.
The Pentagon is presently buying 35 planes per year, but they want to ramp up the purchases to 100/year by 2018. Eventually they want to buy 2,443 F-35s at a total cost of $400 billion.

THE US ARMY by Mark Thompson, Time Magazine, Nov 4, 2013

The army, after generations of preparing to fight complicated land wars, is more likely to face enemies that are terrorists, insurgents, and other small -bore bad guys than large standing armies. That’s going to require bulking up its special operations forces (Delta Force), shrinking the standing arm it has maintained since World War II and reexamining its faith in all kinds of sacred cows. It needs to reinvent itself fast, but the army shows no signs of making any of these changes.

As America winds down two costly wars (Afghanistan is now entering its 13th year), and the sequester forces a 10% cut, the Army bureaucracy is resistant to all change. In an era of targeted drone strikes and ever-more-daring Special Forces missions, the Army is an anachronism. It has 534,000 active duty troops today and is trying to hang onto 490,000 by 2015. Deeper cuts look likely and its core mission is anyone’s guess. The army brass has little justification for a half million man force, why they exist, or why they are relevant.
Very top heavy, since the Cold War, the number of soldiers per officer in the US Army has dropped 45%. In 2012, the Army budget alone exceeded that for any other nation’s entire military. Even as the total number of troops drops, the Army’s budget tops the Cold War average.

After a decade of war, they are coping with a messy aftermath: a force exhausted by repeat deployments, waves of traumatic brain injuries, and new epidemics of post traumatic stress and suicide. As things stand, the future army will look a lot like the pre 9/11 Army, built around 10 divisions, with weapons largely updated versions of those of the 1980’s, a strict WW II-era command structure, and a small Special Operations Command (costs $1.5 billion of the $185 billion budget in 2013. They still train against an enemy that looks like the defunct Warsaw Pact than al-Qaeda. Only now the cold war money has run out. The number of active-duty Army troops peaked at about 780,000 during the final years of the Cold War, dropped to 480,000 by 9/11, and with Iraq and Afghanistan grew to 566,000 in 2010. Some think it could be half that.

Nothing highlights the Army’s denial problem nore than ts old fashioned fixation on old-fashioned armored vehicles. They want to spend $30 billion on the new 9-man Ground Combat Vehicle, 22% longer, 7% wider and 67% heavier than what it is replacing, the 6-man Bradly Fighting Vehicle. But at 65 tons, it is too heavy to cross most bridges in most cities. It is also at least 3 times more expensive (possibly 4-5x more). A lighter, agile force more reliant on special operations and unmanned systems are a smarter, cheaper way of waging war against shadowy killers.

Today, the Army’s 23,000 special-ops soldiers account for 40% of all commando forces but only 5% of the Army total. Their number has nearly doubled since 9/11. Special forces are detached from the military’s traditional, and cumbersome, command structure. Working closely with the CIA, they have hunted down and killed thousands of terrorists on the fringes of the wars and in secret strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.
They should be investing more in unmanned systems. A third of the Army’s air vehicles are drones, while only a tiny fraction of its ground vehicle are remotely controlled.

However the most urgent fix concerns the fact that the Army has too many officers. In WW II, there were 2,000 generals and admirals for 12 million troops (1/6,000 ratio); now there are 900 in charge of 1.4 million (1/1,500). In today’s Army, there are 97,000 officers commanding 427,000 troops, basically one leader for every 4 troops. The 20 years necessary to earn a pension keeps many mediocre officers in uniform too long. To get rid of the people least likely to change anything seems like a good solution. They are also the least prepared to shape the military for what lies ahead. Pay and fringe benefits have increased 52% since 9/11, twice the rate of increase of the private sector. The increasing cost of soldiers, now $60 billion annually, eats up an increasing share of military spending. It is turning into a benefits company that occasionally kills a terrorist.

Military expenditures data from SIPRI are derived from the NATO definition, which includes all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities. Such expenditures include military and civil personnel, including retirement pensions of military personnel and social services for personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; military research and development; and military aid (in the military expenditures of the donor country). Excluded are civil defense and current expenditures for previous military activities, such as for veterans’ benefits, demobilization, conversion, and destruction of weapons. This definition cannot be applied for all countries, however, since that would require much more detailed information than is available about what is included in military budgets and off-budget military expenditure items. For example, military budgets might or might not cover civil defense, reserves and auxiliary forces, police and paramilitary forces, dual-purpose forces such as military and civilian police, military grants in kind, pensions for military personnel, and social security contributions paid by one part of government to another.
1. Saudi Arabia 8.4
2. Israel 6.8
3. United Arab Emirates 5.4
4. Iraq 5.1
5. Azerbajan 4.9
6. Jordan 4.7
7. USA 4.7
8. Algeria 4.6
9. Afghanistan 4.4
10 Lebanon 4.2
11. Kyrgyz Republic 4.2
12. Armenia 4.0
13. Russia 3.9
14. Syria 3.9
Country name 2008 2009 2010 2011
Afghanistan 1.9 1.8 3.3 4.4
Albania 2.0 2.1 1.6 1.5
Algeria 3.0 3.8 3.5 4.6
Angola 3.8 4.4 4.2 3.6
Argentina 0.8 1.0 0.9 0.7
Armenia 3.4 4.2 4.2 4.0
Australia 1.9 1.9 2.0 1.9
Austria 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Azerbaijan 3.3 3.3 2.8 4.9
Bahrain 3.0 4.0 3.4
Bangladesh 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4
Belarus 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.1
Belgium 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1
Belize 1.4 1.3 1.1 1.1
Bolivia 2.0 2.0 1.7 1.4
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.4
Botswana 2.5 2.9 2.4 2.1
Brazil 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.4
Brunei Darussalam 2.5 3.3 3.2
Bulgaria 2.0 2.0 1.9 1.5
Burkina Faso 1.5 1.3 1.4 1.4
Burundi 2.7
Cambodia 1.0 1.9 1.6 1.5
Cameroon 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.4
Canada 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.4
Cape Verde 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Central African Republic 1.6 1.8 2.6
Chad 7.3 6.2 2.6 2.5
Chile 3.3 3.1 3.0 3.2
China 2.0 2.2 2.0 2.0
Colombia 3.7 3.8 3.6 3.3
Congo, Dem. Rep. 1.4 1.1 1.4 1.5
Congo, Rep. 1.2 1.1
Cote d’Ivoire 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.5
Croatia 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.7
Cuba 3.3 3.3
Cyprus 1.8 2.0 2.1 2.2
Czech Republic 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.2
Denmark 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5
Djibouti 3.7
Dominican Republic 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.6
Ecuador 3.0 3.7 3.6 3.4
Egypt, Arab Rep. 2.3 2.1 2.0 1.9
El Salvador 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Estonia 2.1 2.3 1.7 1.7
Ethiopia 1.5 1.2 1.1 1.1
Fiji 1.5 1.8 1.6
Finland 1.3 1.5 1.4 1.5
France 2.3 2.6 2.3 2.2
Gabon 0.9
Georgia 8.5 5.6 3.9 3.0
Germany 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.3
Ghana 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3
Greece 3.1 3.3 2.4 2.7
Guatemala 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Guyana 1.4 1.4 1.3
Honduras 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1
Hong Kong SAR, China
Hungary 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.0
Iceland 0.0 0.1
India 2.6 2.9 2.7 2.6
Indonesia 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7
Iran, Islamic Rep. 1.9
Iraq 3.3 4.6 4.4 5.1
Ireland 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Israel 7.1 7.0 6.5 6.8
Italy 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.6
Jamaica 0.9 0.9 0.8
Japan 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Jordan 6.1 5.9 5.2 4.7
Kazakhstan 1.2 1.1 1.0 1.0
Kenya 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.5
Korea, Dem. Rep.
Korea, Rep. 2.8 2.9 2.7 2.8
Kuwait 3.0 4.1 3.8 3.2
Kyrgyz Republic 3.4 3.5 4.2
Lao PDR 0.3 0.2 0.2
Latvia 1.7 1.4 1.1 1.0
Lebanon 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.2
Lesotho 1.7 2.8 3.2 2.4
Liberia 0.5 0.8 0.9
Libya 1.2
Lithuania 1.4 1.4 1.1 1.0
Macedonia, FYR 1.8 1.7 1.4 1.3
Madagascar 1.1 0.8 0.7 0.7
Malaysia 2.0 2.1 1.6 1.6
Mali 2.0 1.9 1.9 1.8
Malta 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
Mauritania 3.4 3.8
Mauritius 0.2 0.1 0.1
Mexico 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Moldova 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.3
Mongolia 1.2 0.8 0.9 1.0
Montenegro 1.9 1.9 1.8 1.9
Morocco 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.3
Mozambique 0.8 0.9
Namibia 3.0 3.4 3.6 3.5
Nepal 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.4
Netherlands 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.4
New Caledonia
New Zealand 1.1 1.1 1.1
Nicaragua 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
Niger 1.0 0.9
Nigeria 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway 1.4 1.7 1.5 1.6
Oman 7.6 9.6 8.5 6.0
Pakistan 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.0
Papua New Guinea 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Paraguay 0.7 0.9 0.8 1.1
Peru 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.2
Philippines 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.1
Poland 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.9
Portugal 1.9 2.1 2.1 2.0
Puerto Rico
Qatar 2.2
Romania 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2
Russian Federation 3.5 4.4 3.9 3.9
Rwanda 1.4 2.2 1.3 1.2
Saudi Arabia 8.0 11.0 10.0 8.4
Senegal 1.6 1.6 1.6
Serbia 2.3 2.4 2.2 2.1
Seychelles 1.2 1.0 0.9 0.9
Sierra Leone 1.2 1.4 1.3 1.2
Singapore 4.2 4.4 3.7 3.6
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
Slovak Republic 1.5 1.5 1.3 1.1
Slovenia 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.4
Solomon Islands
South Africa 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.3
South Sudan
Spain 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.0
Sri Lanka 3.7 3.6 3.0 2.6
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Martin (French part)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Swaziland 2.2 3.4 3.4 3.1
Sweden 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3
Switzerland 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.9
Syrian Arab Republic 3.6 4.0 3.9
Tanzania 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.1
Thailand 1.6 1.9 1.5 1.6
Timor-Leste 3.6 4.6 3.5 2.6
Togo 1.8 1.8 1.6
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3
Turkey 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.3
Turks and Caicos Islands
Uganda 2.5 2.1 1.8 1.6
Ukraine 2.7 2.9 2.7 2.5
United Arab Emirates 4.3 5.8 5.4
United Kingdom 2.5 2.7 2.6 2.6
United States 4.4 4.8 4.8 4.7
Uruguay 2.0 2.1 2.0 1.9
Venezuela, RB 1.4 1.2 0.9 0.8
Vietnam 2.3 2.5 2.5 2.2
Virgin Islands (U.S.)
West Bank and Gaza
Yemen, Rep. 4.4
Zambia 2.0 1.7 1.7 1.6
Zimbabwe 1.3 1.5

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I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am "home", are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking. I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.
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