Defense spending can and should be cut — in the right way
For example, the Pentagon is building several versions of the F-35 fighter plane. Models specific for the Navy and the Marines have been “plagued by cost overruns and schedule delays, and are now estimated to cost just under $200 million each,” according to a report by Taxpayers for Common Sense. Replacing the two extra models of the basic F-35 with the F/A-18 fighter — ending up with the same total number of planes, but a combination of F-35s and F/A-18s — could save about $61 billion over the next decade.
Then there is health care. Coburn wants TRICARE, the military health care system, to require greater out-of-pocket payments from retired soldiers who were not in any way disabled by their service and are not yet eligible for Medicare. Their out-of-pocket expenses have been basically unchanged since 1995, while health care costs have risen dramatically. Making that change and a few others in TRICARE, Coburn estimates, could save more than $180 billion in the next decade.
Then there is outside services contracting, a practice that has nearly tripled in cost since 2000.