Pentagon bracing for 30% reduction in Army base operations

posted at 10:01 am on January 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

How bad will the cuts to defense spending affect the military readiness of the US? The Pentagon has begun to game out the impact of another round of steep cuts, and even fly-overs at public events will feel the slice of the axe.  More importantly, Army base operations will get reduced by 30%, and military leaders are warning of a “hollow force” with a mandate that cannot possibly be met:

Bracing for the possibility of steep congressionally mandated budget cuts, senior military officials have issued directives for fiscal retrenchment that include a 30 percent cut for Army base operations this year, personnel cuts and a halt to unnecessary fighter jet swoops during special events.

The military is ordering these trims reluctantly as the Pentagon prepares for the $52 billion shortfall it says it would face this fiscal year if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal by March 1 avoiding across-the-board cuts under the scenario known as sequestration. As the deadline looms, Pentagon officials have lashed out at Congress in unusually stern terms.

“The readiness of our Armed Forces is at a tipping point,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey wrote to Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, in a Jan. 14 letter also signed by the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. “Budget conditions unfolding right now are causing this readiness crisis.”

The letter said “we are on the brink of creating a hollow force,” because under the current budget conditions and legislation, the Pentagon could be ordered to keep a number of troops it can’t adequately sustain.

According to the Post, the Air Force has already begun implementing cuts but still faces a nearly $2 billion deficit for the rest of this fiscal year.  That’s one reason why we won’t be seeing fly-overs at sporting events, and the Air Force’s participation in air shows — a big recruiting environment — will stop as well.  The Navy and the Air Force have both imposed a hiring freeze, and the Pentagon says that the pending sequestration could mean furloughs for its entire 800,000 civilian employees.

The sequestration followed a previous round of cuts in Defense that took $500 billion out of projected spending over the next decade already.  Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly warned that the sequestration would be “unworkable” and a “disaster.” Now it appears that the sequestration has become a reality, and the “hollow force” a real possibility.

Into this steps … Chuck Hagel.  With Chuck Schumer’s blessing in hand, he’s likely to get confirmed as Panetta’s successor, and it’s become clear that Obama wants Hagel to serve as a hatchet man to reduce defense spending even further.  That will not only put Obama on a collision course with Congress, but also on a collision course with the operational philosophy at Defense, which has had the mission to prepare for two hot wars at once since WWII.  It’s possible to reduce defense spending significantly, but only if the US wants to retreat from its global position of security leadership and guarantor of safe trade.  While that may possibly be Obama’s aim, interventions like Libya would then be off the table entirely (perhaps not a bad idea, considering that outcome), and certainly the same could be said of organizing against terrorism in Asia and Africa, and providing for the defense of Europe.

This should be an interesting confirmation hearing.

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Oh, look. Another government worshipper.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 1:58 PM

What idol do you bow to in order to worship anarchy, Dumb-te?

MelonCollie on January 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Tell that to the North Koreans.

xblade on January 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Why?

I’m so thankful for government and for the military and DoD and their scientists and engineers who give me freedoms. If it weren’t for them, why we’d have to take our shoes off before boarding an airplane, we’d have to be subjected to unconstitutional searches and seizures before flying, we’d have firearms regulations, American citizens wouldn’t be on kill lists and murdered without trial, American citizens wouldn’t be detained indefinitely without trial, we wouldn’t be forced to purchase a product or be subjected to a tax, we would have to get permits to protest and in only protest-approved zones.

Thank goodness this doesn’t happen.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM

This is why ‘team obama’ spent so much time making sure that members of our armed forces were not allowed to vote and/or their votes were not counted.

Pork-Chop on January 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Didn’t Preezy just say at the Commander-In-Chief Ball that…

… oh, never mind.

Seven Percent Solution on January 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

That will not only put Obama on a collision course with Congress, but also on a collision course with the operational philosophy at Defense, which has had the mission to prepare for two hot wars at once since WWII.

Actually, we haven’t had a “two-war” force structure for some years now. During Clinton’s “Peace Dividend” cuts (remember those?) from the Cold War force structure back in the 1990s, there was a conscious shift in policy to down-shift into a “one-and-a-half-war” strategy, in which we could conduct offensive operations in one theater while maintaining a defensive posture in another.

I believe that it has been the policy of this administration all along to further down-scale the military to a “one-war” force structure. Barry O has admitted that he “Believes his own bullshit,” and part of that BS is to believe that he can jawbone our potential adversaries into passivity if not peacefulness. Hey, the Nobel Committee bought it, didn’t they? So the idea that “The Light-bringer” would find himself having to wage anything more than a “Leading from behind” effort or find himself caught up in something that a handful of missile-carrying drones can’t fix is unthinkable, right?

For those who think that we are replaying the 1930s, there is one critical difference: Franklin Roosevelt, for all his disastrous inadequacies when it came to economics (It took Hoover to turn a bad recession into a depression, but it took Roosevelt to make it “Great”), at least recognized the Germans and Japanese for what they were at the time, and by the time of Pearl Harbor we were well underway in gearing up for the war he knew was coming. This foresight was key to our eventual victory, because it takes a long time to build up our military (e.g., most of the US naval capital ships that joined the fleet in 1942 and 1943 were already under construction before our entry into the war, and of the 15 Essex-class aircraft carriers that saw action in WWII 13 were ordered in 1940).

What is Barry O doing right now, as the forces of tyranny gather like a dark cloud on the horizon? That’s right… unilaterally disarming us. There’s a distinction with a difference, no?

The nightmare scenario that confronts us during Barry O’s coming four years is that his “one-war” philisophy is going to backfire mightily: it is a given that during this period Iran will either acquire the “Islamic Bomb” and use it on Israel, or that Israel will correctly read this administration’s handwriting on the wall (e.g., Kerry at State and Hagel at Defense) as a clear signal that they are on their own and act accordingly by attacking the Iranians first in a desperate bid at self-preservation.

Either way, once they’re in it with the “Little Satan,” the Iranians will make no distinction when it comes to the “Great Satan” and they will attack our forces in the region as well as let slip their terrorist proxies against our civilians worldwide.

So, there’s our “one war.”

But wait — there’s more

If you are the Chinese, seeing a financially and morally exhausted America now bogged down in a regional war in the Middle East and having nothing left to spare, isn’t now the time to settle scores with Taiwan? Or how about to lay claim to the Spratly Islands via a militaristic form of “adverse possession?” First they’ll give the North Koreans the green light to attack the south, of course, and then they’ll make their own moves.

Who’s going to stop them? The Japanese? The Philippines? The Vietnamese?

And if you’re the Russians… well, those Georgians have been cruising for a bruising for a long time now, haven’t they? And those uppity Ukranians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians… Putin’s made little secret of his desire to restore Russia to its former “greatness” a la the Soviet Union — and again, who’s going to stop him? NATO without the already over-committed USA? Sure…

The only possible form of deterrence or retaliation we would have would be to threaten nuclear escalation; and the Chinese have long ago been prepared to call our bluff in that regard (“Are you prepared to exchange Los Angeles for Taipei?” – yes, they have made that explicit proposition even before Barry O set out to gut our military even further). Putin & Co. would also no doubt be unimpressed by any kind of posturing from “Mr. Flexibility and his Reset Button.”

It’l all coming, folks. We are indeed going to live in “interesting times.”

Spurius Ligustinus on January 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Shump on January 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

William Eaton on January 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Lou Budvis on January 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Defense needs to be cut. The outlandish spending has to stop and we can make significant cuts without impairing the military’s effectiveness.

lexhamfox on January 23, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Except for one little issue:

Most conservatives I know WOULD agree with you if we didn’t know the liberal mindset: we offer Defense cuts, and in return Libs hint at the possibility of suggesting to someone way down the food chain the idea of maybe slightly lowering the rate of future increases in entitlement spending for a generation that hasn’t been born yet. The same generation we are trying to preserve with a strong defense.

Did you not watch Joe Biden at the VP debate? There is no conversation with people who pound the table and yell at you while screaming that the people who haven’t yet started receiving benefits cannot afford to have them reduced.

According to Libs, WE are a greater threat to the America they are creating than any foreign power or terrorist organizations. So if we let them, they will reduce our Defense to nothing.

rwenger43 on January 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM

rwenger43 on January 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

So yeah, screw patriotism and pride. Or are you that shallow that you need big military hardware projecting might and force in order to feel those things?

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 1:44 PM

a)Screw you, too.

b)Without that “big military hardware”, you’d be on your knees in front of your master, begging for just one more chance to show how faithfully you could serve his needs.

c)You’re an idiot.

Solaratov on January 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Freedom of speech exists for everyone; it is not a right granted by man and government.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Perhaps so…but the exercise of that freedom rather depends on the government.
Why don’t you toddle off to North Korea and start educating the people about their “inalienable rights”, which their government cannot take away from them.

Then, let us know how it went. Remember…Pics or it didn’t happen.

Yep. You’re an idiot.

Solaratov on January 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM

They are rights that man neither grants nor takes away.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Are you really that clueless as to think the governments of China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, what used to be the Soviet Union, and many other countries – did NOT take away their peoples’ “inalienable rights”. Oh sorry – my misunderstanding to believe those people have always had and been allowed to exercise their “inalienable rights because no man can take them away.
Those rights do not exist unless you have someone willing and capable of protecting and defending your existence in a land where you are allowed to exercise those rights.
You’re a delusional moron.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 3:33 PM

rwenger43 on January 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I fully agree with your point about what the Dems will do.

My points are just from the perspective as a DoD contractor since 1987. I’ve seen enough fraud, waste and abuse to know that DoD spending could be trimmed, if done in the right places, without affecting military capabilities – like the congressionally mandated pork spending for things DoD doesn’t want or need as a start.
Whether Congress and Obumble have the willingness or ability to do that in a smart manner is another question. And I do believe we need to start with entitlements anyway – since that spending is entirely unconstitutional and is the major cause of our debt problems.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Everyone tends to forget that these closures devastate nearby communities. I was at George AFB, near Victorville, CA when it closed and returned 10 years later and thought I was in a Third World country. Lousy roads, empty houses and a general air of shabbiness. The community around Norton AFB in San Berdoo didn’t do much better.

Most of the remaining bases/posts that face closure now are in the West and South and can ill afford the disruptions that will ensue. Since the current Administration has a dim view of the South anyway, this will be all to the good for those Northeastern Yankees.

E9RET on January 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Are you really that clueless as to think the governments of China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, what used to be the Soviet Union, and many other countries – did NOT take away their peoples’ “inalienable rights”. Oh sorry – my misunderstanding to believe those people have always had and been allowed to exercise their “inalienable rights because no man can take them away.
Those rights do not exist unless you have someone willing and capable of protecting and defending your existence in a land where you are allowed to exercise those rights.
You’re a delusional moron.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 3:33 PM

You seem unable to differentiate between infringing upon one’s rights versus taking away that right. While government may have murdered someone, taking his life, that did not take away his right to life.

Seriously. Educate yourself.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

You seem unable to differentiate between infringing upon one’s rights versus taking away that right. While government may have murdered someone, taking his life, that did not take away his right to life.

Seriously. Educate yourself.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Seriously – pull your head out of your @ss.
Do you even read the ridiculous crap you write before you post it?

Tell that crap to the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and many others executed for saying the wrong thing – or those still alive who will be executed if they say the wrong thing.
Hey too bad you had to die, but you should be happy to know you had that inalienable right to free speech right up to the point we executed your free @ss for saying something we didn’t like….

Moron.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Tell that crap to the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and many others executed for saying the wrong thing – or those still alive who will be executed if they say the wrong thing.
Hey too bad you had to die, but you should be happy to know you had that inalienable right to free speech right up to the point we executed your free @ss for saying something we didn’t like….

Moron.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM

The only one parading his ignorance is you. And no amount of personal attacks or name calling is going to mask your ignorance or be a substitute for lack of knowledge.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The only one parading his ignorance is you. And no amount of personal attacks or name calling is going to mask your ignorance or be a substitute for lack of knowledge.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Really? Are you really that stupid?
What rights do dead people have?
What rights do people imprisoned for life have?
Come on, let’s hear it – oh they have all of those inalienable rights – they’re just not capable of exercising all the rights they have.
Come on – let’s see some more of your immense illogic in action.
You’re making Slow Joe Biden look like a frickin genius.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM

It’s always interesting to see so-called conservatives exposing their true nature and showing the complete contempt they have for the philosophies upon which independence was declared and upon which the republic was founded. And then they’ll call someone else’s views anti-American.

Too rich.

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 4:46 PM

1) What rights do dead bodies have? Yes or No?

2) If someone puts a bullet in your head because of what you say, do you still have the right to free speech, or did that person take away your rights? Yes or No? See question 1).

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 5:56 PM

1) What rights do Do dead bodies have rights? Yes or No?

2) If someone puts a bullet in your head because of what you say, do you still have the right to free speech, or did that person take away your rights? Yes or No? See question 1).

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 5:56 PM

FIFM

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 6:04 PM

That’s one reason why we won’t be seeing fly-overs at sporting events, and the Air Force’s participation in air shows — a big recruiting environment — will stop as well.

I take exception to this. I’ve always heard that the fly-overs were done as part of necessary training time. That was the response given when people questioned whether they were just a waste of money. It sounds like they’re saying otherwise now?

segasagez on January 23, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Training is always the first thing cut in the military when you have to suddenly trim your budget or else.

So it’s not a contradiction, just a lack of understanding on your part.

I have a friend who was in the Navy during the Carter years. The “training” they could do was so limited as to be essentially useless. And the pay was awful.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 24, 2013 at 12:17 AM

But fundamentally, while the people in and working for the military (civil service and contractors) are a government / taxpayer cost/expense – at least the country is getting something in return for that expense – unlike entitlements where we get NOTHING in return.

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM

What positive is the country getting back?

Dante on January 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM

What language do you speak?

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 24, 2013 at 12:20 AM

How about we start by cutting the things government isn’t supposed to be spending on first for a change?

xblade on January 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Wait. That sounds … conservative.

This whole thing is a false dilemma, like cities warning about laying off policemen and firemen every time they’re pressured to cut their budget. The truth is that budget cuts should be made to non-essential services.

Our debt problem has nothing to do with our big military budget. The government actually has a responsibility to provide for the national defense.

Our debt problem is entirely caused by government spending money on things that are NOT proper functions of government. The government should not be giving money to people that it took from other people, unless it’s paying them for a job well done. Both the soldier and the welfare recipient get a government check, but only one has earned it.

Cut the entitlements. Anything else is sacrificing what we actually need to have what we can’t afford.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 24, 2013 at 12:35 AM

It took Hoover to turn a bad recession into a depression, but it took Roosevelt to make it “Great”

That was the 1930s in a nutshell.

It’s funny that Hoover and FDR only had one thing in common: the belief that the government could fix the economy.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 24, 2013 at 12:39 AM

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