Should Defense be immune from cuts?

posted at 11:36 am on January 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Mark Tapscott asks the same question at the Washington Examiner I have begun asking fiscal conservatives who rightly see runaway federal spending as a threat to our economic health.  We need to find ways to erase over $1.3 trillion from annual spending just to get to the point where we don’t add to the national debt, let alone start to shrink it.  After the obvious targets at NPR and the National Endowments for the Arts contribute their drops in the bucket, where will those cuts come?   In order to make the kind of short-term cuts necessary to stop deficit spending, the Pentagon has to be at least fair game for belt tightening:

But their public commitment at this point extends exclusively to the very limited category of “non-defense discretionary spending,” which makes up only 15 percent of the federal budget. Discretionary defense spending now exceeds $550 billion annually. We were fully funding the military in 2008, and there is no good reason we cannot spend at the same level in 2011. This is one area where Republicans and President Obama possibly can work constructively together. They should listen to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who in a May speech declared that “as a matter of principle and political reality, the Department of Defense cannot go to America’s elected representatives and ask for increases each year unless we have done everything possible to make every dollar count.”

Gates decried expensive weapons development programs that pursue “the limits of what technology will bear without regard to cost or what a real-world enemy can do.” He added that the unquestioning assumption that more is better has led to “$20 million howitzers, $2 billion bombers, and $3 [billion] to $6 billion destroyers,” which burden taxpayers and decrease the quantities the Pentagon can afford. He even took on the sacred cow of veterans health spending, stating that “many working-age military retirees, who are earning full-time salaries on top of their full military pensions, are opting for TRICARE (the military health insurance program) even though they could get health coverage through their employer, with the taxpayer picking up most of the tab.” And why would they stay on TRICARE? The premiums have not risen in a decade.

Constitutionally, defense is one area of spending that is unequivocally the responsibility of the federal government.  We are also involved in one war and drawing down from another.  The Korean Peninsula is, as always, on the brink of another shooting war.  Conservatives will respond, with plenty of justification, that we should focus our budget-cutting efforts on those areas where the federal government’s writ shouldn’t run before scaling back our military.

However, without looking at Defense and Homeland Security for some cost reductions, we end up with a relatively small opportunity to reduce deficit spending in the short term.  The biggest problems lie in entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and those will require massive overhauls to reduce annual expenditures and long-term liabilities.  We can focus exclusively on those efforts first, hoping for the big payoff in savings, but it will likely take several more budget cycles for the costs of the reforms to get made up by the savings — during which we will have to keep borrowing in order to fund the rest of the government.

We should be looking strategically at the role of the US in the world, especially in Europe.  We spend a fortune providing security to what has become a very stable and interconnected region.  Our investment in Europe should be reconsidered in light of our economic problems.  We won’t be able to withdraw from Korea for obvious reasons, nor should we scale back our naval power as we need to continue to protect shipping routes for secure and reliable global trade.  If we really want to stop deficit spending now, we have to look for the opportunities to cut in the short term as well as the painful and necessary long-term reforms in entitlements, and that means the Pentagon is going to have to share the load.


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Comment pages: 1 2

CTSherman on January 6, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Agreed. Let’s see how ready some Republicans are to embrace this.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I served in the Navy while Clinton was President. We were told that our new motto was “do more with less” and we did. Defense spending can be cut.

Cuts should be prioritized though, everytime there is a budget crisis the politicians talk about cops, teachers and firefighters getting laid off, never their lavish offices and personal drivers, union contract re-negotiations or crony jobs for relatives and campaign workers. It works every time because the average citizen has no idea how much money even local governments spend. Try and go to your town hall and get a copy of the budget. Good luck getting anything without waving a friggin gun in someones face.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Is it cost-effective to use a nuke sub for surveillance/SF insertion vs. another means to do both?

[WordsMatter on January 6, 2011 at 12:16 PM]

I’m no military expert or and you may have a leg up on me, but I disagree with your superficial presentation of the need for submarine subcat of our naval arm of defense. Your use of tertiary tasks for arguing deep cuts seems simplistic, at best.

Are not the nuke subs an integral part of our nuke deterrent? Don’t subs provide crucial degree of projection and flexibility of our military capabilities?

Dusty on January 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Defense has never been immune to cuts. Its the first place Congress goes when the scaling back starts. Talking about it as if it won’t or has never happened is ridiculous IMO.

The biggest problem is that any money cut is immediately spent on other programs. Remember the “Peace Dividend”? How did that work out? We cut the DoD almost to the bone in the early ’90s and what happened? We had to spend like drunken democrats to re-equip and modernize when the time came for us to defend our country.

As for drawing down our force worldwide: We have already drawn down our ‘smallest’ bases and many other facilities. Every base I was ever stationed at overseas when I was on active duty is closed:

Zweibrucken AB, Germany – closed
Howard AB, Panama – closed
Clark AB, Philippines – closed

Hell, even my first duty station in the States, Bergstrom AFB in Austin, Texas – closed. The 400th Missile Squadron at FE Warren AFB (another unit of mine), our nations only squadron of ‘Peacekeeper’ (MX) missiles, was deactivated only a few years ago.

Cutting bases where necessary is a valid option, sure. Due to budgetary constraints, the services have had to go to such concepts as joint basing and composite and joint service commands, not just in the AOR but here in the CONUS as well. But again, to speak as if it hasn’t been done and isn’t done on a continual basis belies a fundamental misunderstanding of things.

I do agree there is tremendous waste and bloat in defense spending. Most of that is the fault of Congress though, not the DoD.

Again, the DoD has NEVER been immune from spending cuts. Another commenter called it Fools Gold which is absolutely right.

catmman on January 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Defense spending can be cut.
Mord on January 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

When you can’t even get a humvee fixed because of spending cuts …. than the nation has a problem.

I remember not even having a gas account for my vehicles.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Try and go to your town hall and get a copy of the budget. Good luck getting anything without waving a friggin gun in someones face.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

A guy in Florida tried that at a school board couple of weeks ago, didn’t work out so good for him.

Brian1972 on January 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Cut waste, not defense! Get the F-35s and F-22 back on the line and get some damn plans built, we will need them in the warn on Mexico. Also some drones and automated defense systems for the border that shoot first and then warn.

rgranger on January 6, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Here’s what happens when you apply across-the-board spending cuts in DOD: Personnel cuts come first. People are expensive. so are the associated training and medical costs. So already overtaxed folks (think recurring deployments and “smart manning”) are now even further stretched.
The next thing cut is maintenance and spare parts. This is always a “great” idea. Nothing better than delaying scheduled overhauls on ships, aircraft and tanks! Nothing more fun than being in the middle of a deployment with a third of your assets unavailable due to parts shortages!
Finally, the last thing to be cut is the development and acquisition of weapon systems. This is where the big money is spent, but it is also where Congressional interference is at its zenith. DOD is forced to buy trucks it doesn’t need, airplanes it doesn’t want and armor that is useless.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are 10 years ahead of CIA estimates on development of a 5th generation fighter, deploying large numbers of submarines and developing a carrier based navy.
By all means, cut DOD’s budget. Do it by reducing or eliminating arcane acquisition rules, Congressional interference and extended developmental cost of weapons systems.

MCPO Airdale on January 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Whilst I belive that defence spending should not be cut especialy during a time of war, there is however a lot of wastefull spending that goes on at the Department of Defence. Especialy in relation procurment and developmet programs for major defence assets.

Just look at what a fiasco the program to replace the Airforce’s aging KC-135 tanker aircraft became, after political interferance forced the Airforce and and the Department of Defence to start the selction and bidding proces all over again after they had already awarded the contract, wasting millions in the process and ultimatly delaying the procurement and deployment of a critical strategic asset. Or the delay and budget problems caused by the demand by certain parties for the development of a second engine for the F-35. Or the delays and cost blowouts on programs like the Marine Corps Expiditionary Fighting Vehicle and the Army’s FCS program, both of which may ultimatly never go into production.

Whilst all these programs are critical to maintaining the US military’s strategic and technological edge over the worlds other fighting forces, we need to find ways to make the development and procurment of these new systems more efficent and cost effective so that billions of dollars arent being wasted and the men and women at the pointy end of the stick get the new gear and equipmnet that they need to get the job done as soon as possible.

Hellrider on January 6, 2011 at 12:35 PM

“Whether we like it or not…” – The Precedent

Don’t want to impact the prowess of military. So the research and weapons programs need to continue.

It is time Europe learns how to defend itself. Or pay for it. Even South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi etc. Same with Iraq and Afghanistan.

antisocial on January 6, 2011 at 12:35 PM

How about cutting back the “entitlements” of the chronic parasites that earn nothing and recieve federal cash to repeat the cycle of poverty? The parasite will kill the host but no one ever mentions this money. And I’m not talking about Social Security or Medcaid for people who actually worked and paid into the systems. Cut off all new workers and let them keep their money after those of us who paid get our return. Or just cut me a check for everything I paid in over the years and I’ll drop out of SS too.

Big John on January 6, 2011 at 12:36 PM

No one is immune to cuts.

Overseas bases not part of current operational logistics need to go.

S. Korea can stand on its own, has its own military infrasturucture and can more than take care of itself. Ditto Germany and Japan on that.

Shift and extend downtime for ships in CV Battlegroups, and shift crews from those that are down for repairs and upgrades to other vessels or remove active slots so that there is only skeleton crew basing for those in refurbishment.

We are near the point of pull-out in Iraq: it won’t be pretty but that Nation has seen, for years, that our ability to stay there is limited.

Afghanistan needs a re-focusing to troops geared for the terrain and our ‘allies’ put on the spot to get the rest of the place so it can protect itself… mind you I don’t expect many of those ‘allies’ to be there once their countries start to have their economies self-liquidate.

We can keep and expand our drone resources to a marginal extent: they generally work.

Perhaps it is time to start looking at paying for volunteer US outfits to take care of terrorists at sea: that is a pay for performance via taking in those that do those activities and support them. Such forces would still be accountable to military justice, but have a freer hand in figuring out just who is supplying what to whom.

We still need help for Colombia and the Philippines, but that is advisory at this point, not active combat.

We need combat forces ready for our southern border as that is not looking too pleasant… cheaper to keep them here than in Iraq, that’s for sure.

After that the only thing left is to see if the citizenry wants to start taking up citizen’s militias for their States again, a fully allowable activity for that venue under the US Constitution so long as they are not standing forces… its getting so the responsibilities of DHS are not being covered well enough to warrant trust in them for the interior. Something is going to give and the citizenry does have to remember they are citizens, responsible for the safety of their Nation, not subjects that let others do the job for them.

ajacksonian on January 6, 2011 at 12:37 PM

55% of the budget currently goes to “mandatory” programs, like Social Security, medicare, medicaid, and other entitlement programs. That’s about 1.6 trillion

Defense comes in at 664 billion, which is 18.6% of the budget. How much of that is salaries, fuel, maintenance, etc, I don’t know.

But I think we see where the budget problems are heaviest. (BTW, EPA got a 35% increase in their budget last year)

Nethicus on January 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

S. Korea can stand on its own, has its own military infrasturucture and can more than take care of itself. Ditto Germany and Japan on that.

We still need help for Colombia and the Philippines, but that is advisory at this point, not active combat.

ajacksonian on January 6, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Agree with you on Germany and Japan … but S Korea? Hmmm, I don’t think they could do it if we pulled out right now. Plus why help out Columbia and the Philippines but not SK (they’re in a hotter position right now)?

Anyway, all countries should eventually be fully capable of defending themselves.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Nethicus on January 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

You’ll never get a Socialist President and Senate to approve of such cuts without also targeting DoD.

Besides, there probably should be some sort of uniform cuts to SS, DoD, Med. &c.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

No. And I’m a former E5 turned O2. A 3.2 or 3.4% increase in pays isn’t justified when inflation and private sector wages aren’t rising also.

BadgerHawk on January 6, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Fine, across the board then. Enlisted and officer.

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Should Defense be immune from cuts? NO.

Should I be able to invest my Social Security money in the stock market, bond market, or mutual fund market if I so choose? YES.

Will the latter make a bigger difference than the former? HELL YES.

Should we piggyback defense cuts on Social Security privatization legislation? OF COURSE.

Criminy, this stuff isn’t that hard. Who’s running this place?

playblu on January 6, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Besides, there probably should be some sort of uniform cuts to SS, DoD, Med. &c.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Agree. Boehner has asked for a 5% cut in congressional budgets. I’m not encouraged when that would appear to place the limits at all other cuts at 5%.

Take spending back to the 2006 budget. Live with it, and deal with it. I bet the majority of Americans are making about the same amount of money, or less than they did in 2006. The Federal government can do the same.

CTSherman on January 6, 2011 at 12:50 PM

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I might have poorly said what I meant. It CAN be cut if absolutely needed, but it SHOULDN’T be the first up on the chopping block. That was the essence of my second paragraph. I joined the Army in 2004 after leaving the navy in 2000, they were still grappling with the Clinton military cuts. All of the trucks had sheet steel bolted to the doors when we invaded Iraq. When I got there in 2005 I was driving a 30 year old truck….luckily I got into a new up-armored humvee after a few months or I’d probably be dead right now. The push to get armored humvees saved many lives over there.

I can’t remember how many humvees my platoon went through. It was so bad that we had our own boneyard of blown-up trucks to strip parts from and cobble something together that would let us run another mission. I can tell you that scrubbing little flecks of blood and meat off of the inside of your new windshield is not fun. But that was what got scavenged and it was all we had.

Mord on January 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Cut. everything.

Apologetic California on January 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Should Defense be immune from cuts?

I have worked in the defense industry in one capacity or another since 1979. If I were in charge, DoD would be the first agency I’d take the snippers to, for a couple of reasons; some practical, some politically strategic.

1. There is enormous waste in DoD. Waste is inclusive of fraud and duplication of effort. I also include expenditures that are totally unnecessary as waste, such as upgrading systems that don’t need to be upgraded (supported and maintained, yes, but not upgraded just because we can) without a change in the threat that system counters.

2. As a conservative, making appropriate cuts to the DoD sounds like lunacy. But, I learned early on in my career that when you are about to stir up a firestorm (budget cuts), you need to have your ducks in a row. Having made cuts to the sacred DoD budget will remove all steam from the liberal arguments when making cuts to the sacred social program budgets.

IOW, “I cut mine, now you cut yours”.

When they object, slash away. The re-election ads will simply write themselves.

BobMbx on January 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Fine, across the board then. Enlisted and officer.

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM

I’m not opposed to it, but 3% annual increases over a decade to an O3 inflates the overall number waaaaaaay faster than it does for an E3.

But fine. If that’s what it takes to get the entire federal work force to do the same, so be it.

BadgerHawk on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Here’s what happens when you apply across-the-board spending cuts in DOD: Personnel cuts come first. People are expensive. so are the associated training and medical costs. So already overtaxed folks (think recurring deployments and “smart manning”) are now even further stretched.

MCPO Airdale

Actually, you can stop there. The only meaningful cuts to DoD always starts and ends at personnel. Everything else is chump change.

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I bet the majority of Americans are making about the same amount of money, or less than they did in 2006. The Federal government can do the same.

CTSherman on January 6, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Interesting point.

MeatHeadinCA on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

We should be looking strategically at the role of the US in the world

Yeah, for one thing we shouldn’t have so many foreign bases. The fact we’ve been in South Korea for decades has prevented them from taking responsibility for their own defense, and obligated us to help them now that the Kims are sabre-rattling. I don’t know how much money we’d save by shuttering every far-flung outpost, but my sense is it would be significant.

I also get the impression we could shut down a lot of weapons programs we don’t need anymore. Don’t these things live on primarily as pork for certain legislators?

Enrique on January 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

You said it, Chief.

catmman on January 6, 2011 at 12:57 PM

short answer:

YES!, along with deep cuts(>25%) to the following departments:

EPA
Education
inJustice
Energy
Interior
Homeland inSecurity
Health and inHuman Services
Labor

Followed by cutting the NEA by 100%, then cut the WH budget by 1/3 until they get rid of all the czars, then only give them back 5%.

That ought to start getting the budget under control.

belad on January 6, 2011 at 12:57 PM

If all the other federal agencies have reduced spending on the same level that the DoD has in the past 15 years, our nation would be the poster child for fiscal responsibility. Scroll to the bottom of the this page of the DoD Comptroller’s Website for visuals.

scrub_oak on January 6, 2011 at 12:59 PM

belad on January 6, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Hell you could cut the EPA, Education and Energy completely.

catmman on January 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

BobMbx on January 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Excellent

CTSherman on January 6, 2011 at 1:02 PM

I also get the impression we could shut down a lot of weapons programs we don’t need anymore.
Enrique on January 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Such as?

Maybe you may not know, because it seems quite a few around the Nation are ignorant of this fact, but usually when something is shut down, another newer/better version is put into it’s place cutting the costs in half, in part of ageing equipment and no way of fidning replacement parts.

It may not always be in the exact same spot, but in the same general area. Also, when something is shut down… it still costs money (and a whole lot os it) to keep that area secure depending on what was there to begin with.

See where I am going with this?

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 1:02 PM

belad on January 6, 2011 at 12:57 PM

You forgot the IRS.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 1:03 PM

BadgerHawk on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

You know we’ve had several years of targeted pay raises for lower enlisted ranks and NCOs, yes?

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Cut waste and fraud, wherever you find it.

glockomatic on January 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM

You know we’ve had several years of targeted pay raises for lower enlisted ranks and NCOs, yes?

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM

don’t forget cola went up, and a few other things.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Waste at the DOD? Say it isn’t so!

watson007 on January 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM

The DOD apparently is studying whether America should be an expeditionary military or continue to be forward deployed. This is not academic as it has huge implications for which weapons systems we buy. For instance those that claim to want to cut carriers and subs would want a forward deployed strategy much like today. Those that believe the US should withdraw our forward forces to the continental USA and become an expeditionary military would want subs, carriers, a larger Marine force and the ships and planes to deploy them over the Pacific.
The fact that Gates killed the F-22 based upon faulty intelligence(obvious now) leads me to believe strategy will be second to cost pressures in deciding what to cut. In other words strategists take second place to accountants.

richardb on January 6, 2011 at 1:24 PM

You know we’ve had several years of targeted pay raises for lower enlisted ranks and NCOs, yes?

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM

don’t forget cola went up, and a few other things.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Yeah Uppie, I really appreciate the income the Good Lord allowed me to have as an officer in The Army. I’m not ashamed of it. I never felt like with what I did for The Army I had to back up to the pay cage to collect it.

Honestly, I didn’t mind missing the first COLA increase because of the cuts for this my first year of retirement pay. I do sort of bristle at the notion that the added responsibilities aren’t worthy of the higher pay that we’ve received. As a Blackhawk IP, I’ve never qualified for any MOS targeted bonus. The guys that they thought were going to bolt at the beginning of the war got them. I understand all that.

But here’s my last word on it.

IF SOMEONE AT DFAS DOESN’T FIGURE OUT WHY I DIDN’T GET PAID MY STOP LOSS INCENTIVE PAY THE SHIITE IS GOING TO HIT THE FAN.

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM

There are ways to cut non-critical, non-operational fat from the DoD budget. There is a lot of waste with the purchase of items that a small business would forego as not being necessary, or purchasing with “a Cadillac” versus “a Chevrolet” mentality.

If the many DoD agencies were running a for profit operation and/or it was their own money on the line, you can bet many of the items would not be on the shopping list. But, when it is the taxpayer’s money, only the most expensive, top of the line items are purchased. An many of those items are wants rather than needs.

It would astound the taxpayers if they saw the number of goods and services purchased that turn out to be “mistakes” or purchased based on poor judgement.

As for services, an example would be telecommunications. At times, some one or two man offices may be utilizing a T1 circuit at a fairly high monthly price rather than a more affordable DSL or cable connection. There are agencies that span across the country with hundreds of offices who probably are paying upwards of $50.00 per month for each unused analong phone line. These may be lines that were put in for 300 people but after downsizing to 150, the extra lines were never cancelled. Of course, the above example is small potatoes in the overall scheme of things, but muliply it over thousands of locations with other examples of waste or poor oversight and you start talking some real money.

The bottom line is, if the DOD agencies (and the non-DoD agencies) were cut by 10% or even 15%, the mission would continue. There might be some inconvenience, but it wouldn’t be catastrophic.

iamsaved on January 6, 2011 at 1:36 PM

hawkdriver – Good luck with that. I would rather conduct amphib landing on ChiCom beaches than try to get DFAS to be efficient or responsive!

MCPO Airdale on January 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM

hawkdriver – Good luck with that. I would rather conduct amphib landing on ChiCom beaches than try to get DFAS to be efficient or responsive!

MCPO Airdale on January 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I can’t remember his name, but a General Officer was interviewed in Army Times about his 4-5 month long problem getting a pay mistake taken care of. While it was no great hardship to him, he, to his credit, did the article to highlight the fact that if he as a general was not getting any resolution from finance, what chance did some young enlisted kid have.

As for my SLIP, I will prevail.

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:44 PM

If there’s so little discretionary spending to cut, then where the heck are Obama’s trillions in additional spending going? It can’t all be entitlements.

jnelchef on January 6, 2011 at 1:48 PM

IF SOMEONE AT DFAS DOESN’T FIGURE OUT WHY I DIDN’T GET PAID MY STOP LOSS INCENTIVE PAY THE SHIITE IS GOING TO HIT THE FAN.

hawkdriver on January 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Call the Colorado branch as they are the “All Knowing”. You start going over heads in the civilian DoD with your CO backing you…. they can’t say or do shiite! JAG also hates DFAS, ask one of those guys and see what they say…

Ugh good luck.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 1:52 PM

It is my political dream that our military receive the same level of pensions and benefits as our public sector union employees receive. Military is civil service defined.

Angry Dumbo on January 6, 2011 at 1:59 PM

1. Retire USS ENTERPRISE NOW. Don’t send her on float only to decomm her when she returns. Need to cut bait on her ghastly overhaul and upkeep costs. Keep the assigned airwing active for rotational purposes and to extend the lifecycles of available aircraft.

2. Kill the Littoral Combat Ship. They don’t call the LCS “Little Crappy Ship” for nothing. When CNO has to demand that the fleet commanders produce a “demand signal” for a ship that literally can’t do anything other than go fast and look neat, that says something-the whole program is bass-ackwards. Read this month’s USNI “PROCEEDINGS” for more info. Go to a Hi/Low mix of rebuilt FFG-7 class and DDG-51 class vessels that are much more capable and proven.

3. Kill the Joint Strike Fighter. Any aircraft that is so large and expensive that spare engines can’t be carried around due to their size and configuration needs to go. Besides, why do we need the JSF, the F22 and the F/A-18E/F/G series all at the same time?

4. Kill the USMC EFV. The Navy is planning on building the next L-Class ships without a well deck anyway, so just how the hell would you deploy with them?

5. Decommission every B-1 in the USAF inventory. Given the B2 and the B52′s newfound dual-use roles (strategic AND tactical), a third costly airframe is unneccesary.

6. Cut personnel associated with each of the above programs unless they are needed for the legacies they are meant to replace.

7. Reduce the number of general and flag officers in the service. We have more GOFOs now than we did during WWII. GOFOs are expensive (especially when their hand holders and staffs are added into the equasion) and there’s no reason why we need one to be in charge of every little pissant program in DoD.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 2:16 PM

No, but it should be last on the list.

Tim Burton on January 6, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Do we need 60% of the Air Force ?

moc23 on January 6, 2011 at 2:21 PM

When we knocked down a local referendum to raise taxes for our school, the administration started cutting teachers. Did they need to? No, they could have chopped any number of worthless projects (computers, sports equipment, diversity training, etc.) and kept the teachers, but they wanted to make a point. Oh no, the sky is falling, we have to cut police/kids’ lunch/defense/whatever. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

ElectricPhase on January 6, 2011 at 2:22 PM

5. Decommission every B-1 in the USAF inventory. Given the B2 and the B52′s newfound dual-use roles (strategic AND tactical), a third costly airframe is unneccesary.

Agree with everything except this.

The only other thing is that I would make sure the Enterprise becomes a museum ship, we cut the last one up and that sits really bad with me. There are at least 3 museums that would take care of her and would draw thousands to see and honor her.

Tim Burton on January 6, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Nope. There’s just as much waste and corruption in the military budget as there is anywhere else in our government. Start cutting it out asap.

Benaiah on January 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM

hawkdriver – Good luck with that. I would rather conduct amphib landing on ChiCom beaches than try to get DFAS to be efficient or responsive!

MCPO Airdale

I’ve found that self-dental surgery without anesthetic to be more pleasant.

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM

The Navy just held a competition to select a new class of vessel called the Littoral Combat Ship. Did they choose one? No! After being pressured by a Senator, they decided to buy both designs! That means not only will the acquisition costs spiral but the ongoing support programs will cost more for decades to come since we’ll need to maintain two separate spare parts inventories, two separate training programs, etc.

Similarly, the competition for a new Tanker for the Air Force has been won three times by Airbus over Boeing only to see the results voided because of congressional unhappiness with the result of the competitive bid and the contract re-bid. If you want to take a mercantilist approach, fine…just drop all pretense of competition and buy one type of aircraft from Boeing. But right now it looks like the plan it to to a joint-buy from both manufacturers. Again…two spare parts inventories, two separate training programs. A nightmare!

There is money to be saved just by rationalizing the Defense Budget.

potkas7 on January 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM

http://www.drudgereport.com/

it begins.

ted c on January 6, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The only other thing is that I would make sure the Enterprise becomes a museum ship

Tim Burton

I dunno, I think the Navy will eventually be the main projection of force we’ll possess in the future. Actually, the Navy is the only force project that’s actually authorized by the Constitution. I could easy be persuaded that more carriers would be better in the long run.

And no, I’m not retired from the Navy. And I personally believe there are few squids that can successfully pass a candy machine without getting a Baby Ruth. ;-)

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM

force project

“force projection”

com’on HA, let us edit our comments.

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 2:44 PM

5. Decommission every B-1 in the USAF inventory. Given the B2 and the B52′s newfound dual-use roles (strategic AND tactical), a third costly airframe is unneccesary.
Agree with everything except this.

The only other thing is that I would make sure the Enterprise becomes a museum ship, we cut the last one up and that sits really bad with me. There are at least 3 museums that would take care of her and would draw thousands to see and honor her.

Which museums would have the money to take ENTERPRISE? Most Navy History Foundations can barely support themselves (with the exception of Pensacola). Look at Philly and USS OLYMPIA. Rotting in the water.

As for the B-1, the other option would be to get rid of B-52′s and reconfigure the BONE for dual-use. But that would most likely violate that idiotic new START treaty.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Well we need to cut spending. I know lets cut the spending on the one government agency that is actually expected to live within its budget.
//

Slowburn on January 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Cutting the Navy in half and other drastic cuts as some posters have suggested here, only forces us into nuclear weapons use sooner in the event of a major blowup with an enemy like Red China. Let’s think this through.

slickwillie2001 on January 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Cutting the Navy in half and other drastic cuts as some posters have suggested here, only forces us into nuclear weapons use sooner in the event of a major blowup with an enemy like Red China. Let’s think this through.

slickwillie2001

Who says we’re cutting the navy in half? Just not buying crap that doesn’t work and sticking with stuff that does. Besides, in the long term, nuc is cheaper and there’s no way a war with China wouldn’t go nuc anyway if we really wanted to stop them-they OWN that part of the world and one carrier strike group stationed in Japan couldn’t stop them from doing anything they wanted to Taiwan.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM

When I recently bid on a contract with the Navy to teach 10 people an EMT course, I was the sole bidder. They made me justify every penny to prove that I wasn’t ripping them off. Now they are getting 10 people trained for what it cost to train 2 in the past (at their own location and schedule.) So, they are three months late in paying and the contracting office has been a royal pain to deal with. Next time I will add extra charges for the added time and trouble, but it will still be much less than they paid before. Was my first bid a cut, and will my next bid be a price increase?

spudmom on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Last I heard, Congress was in the habit of sticking a lot of pork in the defense budget, much of it not even vaguely related to defense. The Democrats, of course, want to leave the pork and cut actual defense spending. I want to cut the pork, and then we’ll talk about the rest.

BTW, the whole point of our having forces based in South Korea is to act as a tripwire, a guarantee to the North Koreans that any invasion of the South would mean we’d be involved. The Korean War never ended, you know, there just been a very long cease-fire. If the NoKs thought they could succeed, they’d invade in a heartbeat.

LarryD on January 6, 2011 at 3:13 PM

spudmom on January 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

They do not like to pay unless it is at the end of the Miliary Fiscal Year. FYI.

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

The Democrats, of course, want to leave the pork and cut actual defense spending.

LarryD

Yeah I’m sure there are no Republicans wanting to keep their earmar…er “lettermarks” in the defense budget.

Benaiah on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Sure it can be cut some, but be careful. Bubba cut the military (and intelligence) to the bone and we got embassies bombed, the USS Cole, and finally 9/11

Bevan on January 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

There is a large amount of fruad wast and abuse in the military. We could easily cut a billion or more from the annual defense budget.

spec_ops_mateo on January 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

4. Kill the USMC EFV. The Navy is planning on building the next L-Class ships without a well deck anyway, so just how the hell would you deploy with them?

Absolutely stupid move. True, the current plan for the LHA (R) is for no well deck. But, that could be changing with proposals to mod the design. Additionally, that platform is not the only one in the inventory capable of carrying the EFV. All our new LPDs do as well. Plus, an number of the older ships will be around for some time.

The EFV is necessary to implement Over-the-Horizon amphibious operations. OTH is key to ship defense in an era of land based cruise missiles. The V22 in the air and EFV on the sea, along with LCACs give us a force projection capability where we can come from OTH and do Ship-to-Objective-Maneuver (STOM) without ever having to establish a beachhead. This tatic was demonstrated in RIMPAC 10 this past summer.

The EFV isn’t a perfect system but the capability it provides necessary.

SoonerMarine on January 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM

On the whole foreign base issue, exiting North Korea and (especially) Japan sounds… counterproductive. Japan self-abrogated the right to declare war in its postwar constitution, and every attempt to amend the constitution to eliminate this has been defeated.

Ergo, if we exit Japan, North Korea could do whatever they want to Japan short of declaring war, and Japan has no standing to unilaterally address the issue. The JDF may be good, but the political aspects involved are rather scary.

Exiting South Korea could probably be the fastest method of Korean unification (under the North) ever devised.

And yes, the FWA in the defense department is scary. However, most of that is due to the bureaucrats and not the soldiers. If you’re going to cut the defense budget, cut where the fat is.

Scott H on January 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM

1. Retire USS ENTERPRISE NOW. Don’t send her on float only to decomm her when she returns. Need to cut bait on her ghastly overhaul and upkeep costs. Keep the assigned airwing active for rotational purposes and to extend the lifecycles of available aircraft.

2. Kill the Littoral Combat Ship. They don’t call the LCS “Little Crappy Ship” for nothing. When CNO has to demand that the fleet commanders produce a “demand signal” for a ship that literally can’t do anything other than go fast and look neat, that says something-the whole program is bass-ackwards. Read this month’s USNI “PROCEEDINGS” for more info. Go to a Hi/Low mix of rebuilt FFG-7 class and DDG-51 class vessels that are much more capable and proven.

3. Kill the Joint Strike Fighter. Any aircraft that is so large and expensive that spare engines can’t be carried around due to their size and configuration needs to go. Besides, why do we need the JSF, the F22 and the F/A-18E/F/G series all at the same time?

4. Kill the USMC EFV. The Navy is planning on building the next L-Class ships without a well deck anyway, so just how the hell would you deploy with them?

5. Decommission every B-1 in the USAF inventory. Given the B2 and the B52′s newfound dual-use roles (strategic AND tactical), a third costly airframe is unneccesary.

6. Cut personnel associated with each of the above programs unless they are needed for the legacies they are meant to replace.

7. Reduce the number of general and flag officers in the service. We have more GOFOs now than we did during WWII. GOFOs are expensive (especially when their hand holders and staffs are added into the equasion) and there’s no reason why we need one to be in charge of every little pissant program in DoD

Forgot a few:

8. Kill the LPD-17 class. There hasn’t been a single ship delivered on time and without major deficiencies. SAN ANTONIO came back off deployment so broken she’s basically in rebuild. GAO investigation says that the ship class would be nothing but a missile sponge and is incapable of conducting any operations in anything other than a permissive environment. Basically, a BCS (Big Crappy Ship).

9. HUMVEE program. Kill it. Deathtraps in anything other than a “permissive environment”. Everything is M-ATV or MRAP these days.

10. B-61 nuclear bomb program. The weps are old and time/labor/money/politics intensive. Program the dollars into the reliable replacement warhead program and buy fewer, newer, more reliable weapons.

11. LOS ANGELES class, SEAWOLF class, VIRGINIA class SSN’s. PICK ONE. Get rid of the other two.

12. GLOBAL HAWK. REAPER. BAMS. PICK ONE. Get rid of the other two.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Every 20-30 years we agree to make defense cuts first – and they’re the only cuts that get done. And then we have to spend more building it back up because they cut the wrong things.

How about we cut defense 2nd or 3rd this time, hmm?

Merovign on January 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Ergo, if we exit Japan, North Korea could do whatever they want to Japan short of declaring war, and Japan has no standing to unilaterally address the issue. The JDF may be good, but the political aspects involved are rather scary.

That would be Japan’s problem. Besides, it would give them something to focus on besides video games and robotic sex partners.

BobMbx on January 6, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Defense should be immune from politics. Fix that and you’ll save money.

DFCtomm on January 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM

If that’s what it takes to get the entire federal work force to do the same, so be it.

BadgerHawk on January 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

It shouldn’t take that–the military, aside from being Constitutional when most of the other federal areas aren’t, is vital to our safety as a nation. It is a life that includes hardship and stresses no federal employee will ever know. Although I understand your point, I would prefer we hammer on the absurdity of the existence of much of the federal work force in the first place.

DrMagnolias on January 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM

It can be reduced. But it’s worth remembering that national defense is, at least, a Constitutionally mandated and legitimate function. It’s also worth remembering that we could disband the military entirely and we’d still be running entitlement-driven deficits. Those who believe the military is either the source of the problem or the place to find the solution are delusional. America is drowning in the excesses of the welfare state, not the military.

Blacklake on January 6, 2011 at 4:46 PM

7. Reduce the number of general and flag officers in the service. We have more GOFOs now than we did during WWII. GOFOs are expensive (especially when their hand holders and staffs are added into the equasion) and there’s no reason why we need one to be in charge of every little pissant program in DoD.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Yes, I was an A/C mech in the AF and every time the wing commander(***) would fly, there was gaggle of birds and (*) on the flight line starting about 1 hour before he was supposed to show up. Their only job was to make sure the area was swept up, no paper flying around and every piece of equipment sitting where each one of that gaggle thought it was supposed to be positioned. Once I had a (*) dressing me down telling me that the (***) won’t like this, and the (***) won’t like that, for about 20 minutes. I finally got tired of moving $hit around and told the (*), “Sir, if the (***) doesn’t like where this $hit is, he can tell me he isn’t flying,sir!”. That just happened to be when the (***) showed up and taps me on the shoulder and says,”Chief, is this bird ready to fly?”. Of course I almost dump a load, gave him a High-ball and said yes. He says, “OK, strap me in.”

While I’m strapping him in he says, “You know, all those guys are just a bunch of busy-bodies and brown-nosers hoping to make the next grade.”. He starts laughing, but I just keep working and say, “Yes, sir.”.

The (***) is gone for about 1hr 45min and gets out, doesn’t say a word, walks over to the line chief and tells him, he’ll be back again to fly next month, so I get to deal with the same $hit again.

belad on January 6, 2011 at 4:50 PM

The real question is: Will anything besides Defense NOT be immune from cuts?

Odd that this strawman about how you are no real fiscal conservative unless you cut defense always comes up when defense is the ONLY thing that ever gets cut.

A Balrog of Morgoth on January 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Yep. DOD will be cut – again. Meanwhile, entitlements will grow if for only the coming demographic bubble. Hate to say it, but there will have to be increased “death panels” if we are going to remain solvent. The vast majority of Medicare funds can’t keep going to the last year or so of hopelessness.

Social security benefits will have to be frozen, even though inflation is coming.

Since seniors vote, so meaningful cuts to Social Security and Medicare are off the table. Perhaps we can slow the rate of growth of Medicaid [Obamacare]. Maybe the courts will help there. This leaves non-discretionary spending, which isn’t much.

These facts are what drive me to ask the debt ceiling Kamikazes what they will cut. I don’t get answers other than a nebulous “across the board cut”, which will never happen.

toliver on January 6, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Seniors vote, so meaningful cuts to Social Security and Medicare are off the table.

Fixed the grammar.

toliver on January 6, 2011 at 4:55 PM

It shouldn’t take that–the military, aside from being Constitutional

DrMagnolias

Strictly interpreted a standing army isn’t Constitutional

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money
to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13 To provide and maintain a Navy;
14 To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land
and naval Forces;
15 To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of
the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

That’s why the USA and the USAF probably wouldn’t past a strict constitutionalist’s test.

Close all the bases in Germany except Ramstein, pull out all USA in Europe except caretakers, pull out of ROK completely, beef up USAF in Japan and Okinawa, build more carriers, and beef up the USMC.

E9RET on January 6, 2011 at 5:04 PM

rotorhead – great job of specific examples that can be shelved. Too often such details are missing.

Dark-Star on January 6, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Shut down the foreign bases! GOD!

SouthernGent on January 6, 2011 at 5:32 PM

I’m all for the cuts, but the fact is, the cuts aren’t going to come from these big-ticket weapons programs, because frankly, they have too much political pull. These cuts are going to come from ultimately, the soldier – Training budgets, housing and welfare, maintenance and stuff like office supplies will be shorted in order to keep these big-ticket items going.

I remember in the early 90s as a private, having to buy paper to make copies of training materials because the unit wasn’t able to provide them. Living in tight quarters and doing my own building maintenance because the money wasn’t there to improve living conditions. Eating ketchup smeared hotdog buns in the mess hall (billed as french-bread pizza on the menu) because the fiscal year was nearly over and the mess-hall was underfunded.

During that time period, we were developing the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Stealth Bomber (and fighter) and the Paladin howitzer systems…

When I asked why I was supposed to provide equipment and supplies to do my job that the military required of me, but wouldn’t fund, I was told that ‘that’s just the way it is’… (my family didn’t appreciate my having to spend that portion of my $1200 per month paycheck to pay for it, either)

I am all for budget cuts, even in the military budget – but take it from where we it should be taken – stop using contractors to perform military functions (My commander once joked that the Army only exists to train contractors) – the Army pays for troops to learn a job such as communication or intelligence, then hires contractors to perform those functions – usually military members who’ve done a tour, then immediately get out to make 5 times as much for the same position as a contractor!

Cut contracting and big-program budgets, in the end, all the advanced equipment and weaponry we have is still vulnerable to $50 worth of home made explosives.

Spend the money on training, perform some quality personnel management (eliminate people who are on the ROAD (retired on active duty) program and allow for room for people to get promoted) and stop complaining about medical benefits – The military demands far more on someone’s body than any other normal profession, they owe veterans proper care when they get older and the body’s bill comes due!

RustMouse on January 6, 2011 at 5:38 PM

No, defense should not be immune from cuts, but neither should Gates be the first to run to the head of the line and begin volunteering significant cuts. What does Obama have on this guy?

rplat on January 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Sure defense can be cut, it just has to be cut smartly, openly and with an eye to the mission, not politics.

Here’s some areas to start –

1. End foreign base lease payments – Here are some free billions. If a nation wants our base there, they can contribute by foregoing the rents, if they want to keep the rents, they’ll have to find another tenant.

2. End military flights and support for Congressmen, Senators and government bureaucrats except in actual cases of security.

3. Review all domestic military lands and put them to productive use, and dump those that are unnecessary on the open market subject to sale and ownership to U.S. Citizens only. Log, mine, drill and lease for agriculture all lands suitable for such purposes.

#1 yields billions and more if some nations don’t play ball
#2 yields millions, but there are other benefits
#3 yields somewhere between #1 and #2 with potential to eclipse #1

Start there before you start looking at programs.

Bonus: End royalty payments to overseas arms manufacturers. If they don’t like it, get a domestic equivalent (preferably).

Jason Coleman on January 6, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Reasonable people (i.e., conservatives) can have different opinions about whether the only part of the federal government that actually works well should be comprise closer to 4% of GDP, or closer to 6% of GDP.

But no rational argument can ever be made about how much money to spend on (perversely-termed) “entitlements.” Which, including mandates, is over FIVE TIMES as high as defense spending — and rapidly spiraling even further out of the realm of insanity and into the realm of full-blown psychosis.

Everyone who has bought into the notion that giving away other people’s money constitutes “economic fairness” will ALWAYS want to spend MORE of it. It is the ultimate addiction – because the user never hits rock bottom until the society he lives in does.

Once the government takes the ridiculously simple step of eliminating all federal “social” “welfare” spending, then we can get on with the business of government – including fine-tuning our already amazingly effective military.

In the meantime, arguing about this is like listening to someone with a $2,000.00 a week cocain habit say he’s going to “economize” by re-financing his mortgage. Maybe his house payments are a little too high — I have no damned idea. All I know for sure is that dithering about it is absolutely nothing but an attempt to draw attention away from THE. REAL. PROBLEM.

logis on January 6, 2011 at 5:58 PM

3. Review all domestic military lands and put them to productive use, and dump those that are unnecessary on the open market subject to sale and ownership to U.S. Citizens only. Log, mine, drill and lease for agriculture all lands suitable for such purposes.

Jason Coleman on January 6, 2011 at 5:58 PM

You might want to think about this. Most older Military bases have OLD artillary that has yet to go BOOM. You don’t want people dieing while farming.

FYI, did you get a worm… from that worm?

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 6:15 PM

upinak on January 6, 2011 at 6:15 PM

There’s still plenty of land and lots held by the Military that are A) unused B) unnecessary to the mission and C) are clean as a whistle with regard to ordnance. Use them, lease them or sell them.

Jason Coleman on January 6, 2011 at 6:19 PM

More cuts or “efficiencies” as the Puzzle Palace calls them. Need to get rid of many, many redundancies:

–Why do we have three separate medical corps? Combine the USAF, USA and USN/USMC medical system into one. Same could be done with the dental corps, chaplain corps, personnel management corps, supply corps and other “staff corps” positions whose job is combat support, not actual combat. The standardization of practices and procedures alone would save billions.

–”Golden Watch”: Eliminate all but one of the service academies and build one “super academy”. The savings in infrastructure costs alone would be in the billions. Allow the mids/cadets to specialize for their chosen branch of service in their senior year. (***Disclaimer*** THIS WILL NEVER EVER HAPPEN. Too many ring knockers kissing the ass of politicians to allow it to happen, but it’s worth mentioning). Same deal with the various war colleges.

–Eliminate the “service” affiliation when pinning on a star in the joint world. End service parochialism by making a baby GOFO work in another service for a tour or two within that service (NOT on a Joint staff).

–Bring back the design bureaus within each service. Let the services design their weapons systems based on their requirements instead of paying a contractor to provide a late, overbudget “one size doesn’t fit all” weapons solution that don’t meet any requirement (ala LCS). Only pay the contractor to build the damn things and penalize like hell if not delivered on time to spec.

rotorhead on January 6, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Everything has to be on the table.

But we should be talking about making government responsible to the people. If the military can do that with less, then cut it. If they can’t, then don’t.

I suspect they can do with a lot less. I also suspect their cuts should be significantly smaller than cuts in other areas.

Gov’t's too big folks. That means everywhere!

Pablo Snooze on January 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM

The over-spending is ingrained at all levels of gov’t. Until all DoD employees: officer, enlisted and civilian, take their oaths seriously and keep their charge of fiscal responsibility, it’s never going to change. For instance, why does a command headquarters require leather seating and mahogany bookshelves and desks while the troops out in the field or on the front lines have to make do with less than optimal barely working equipment? Every year it’s the same rallying cry; “we’ve got to spend our budget this year or we won’t get the same funding next year!”. Of course, cut the DoD and we all know who will suffer; the troops out in the field or the the troops that actually perform the mission, i.e, where the rubber meets the road. As taxpayers, we need to demand accountability with our military and not fall for the same old tired line “it’s for the troops!”. Sounds too eerily similar to “it’s for the children”.

long_cat on January 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

No one is immune to cuts.
ajacksonian on January 6, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Except USDHHS whose budget increased from $800B in fiscal 2009 to $875B in fiscal 2010.

When the pols begin to face this monster and cut it down to something at least smaller than Defense, then I will believe they are serious, else just more show and tell featuring face time and hot air…

Friendly21 on January 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Friendly21 on January 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Yeah and pat of the reason why it went up was because people demanded more feet on the ground and better security along the border.

lexhamfox on January 7, 2011 at 1:42 AM

No. As a retired veteran (25 years USAF) I will tell you the regular military does not need to be cut. It needs to be reorganized so the civilian sector (the politicians) understand that the Guard and Reserves are not the front line.

You need the largest number of resources and equipment to enable U.S. to fight abroad not on our shores. Then put the state Guards on alert to avoid infiltration from the boarders on the North and South, increasing the Reserves with specialists to augment the regular forces reduced by force reductions.

MSGTAS on January 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Should Defense be immune from cuts? NO

NRA Lifer on January 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

No. Let the generals tell the politicos what they really think about political meddling and wasting lives and money with their ill-conceived micromanagement of the Defense Department. If the generals can come up with $80 billion in savings . . . . then let them do it and give them all medals!

kens on January 7, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Ed, the answer to your question is “yes, but with a catch.” The waste in the Pentagon bureaucracy must be cut, and those monies have to be reallocated to the combat arms — increasing the troop levels we have in the Army and Marines, building new planes for an aging Air Force and keep the Navy at 200 ships.

Phil Byler on January 7, 2011 at 10:11 PM

Yes. Audit the Pentagon thoroughly though then cut and redirect the waste to other Pentagon programs.

scotash on January 8, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Cut everything 10% across the board immediately. The do surgical cutting 2, 3, and 4 letter departments one by one. Entire departments cut out like ED, DOE, EPA, EEOC, etc.

Dandapani on January 9, 2011 at 8:48 PM

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