This should be interesting political fight. IMHO the Pentagon budget must be cut.
When the Bush II administration took office Defense Secretary Rumsfeld wanted to cut military personnel and spend more on equipment aka the "Rumsfeld doctrine". Then 911 occurred and "boots on the ground" were needed more than Jets, Tanks and AFV's. To me this kind of sounds like that.
The Defense Department on Monday proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, slashing a class of attack jets and rolling back personnel costs in an effort to adjust a department buoyed by a decade of war to an era of leaner budgets.
The five-year budget blueprint outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reflects a willingness by the Pentagon to make deep cuts to personnel strength to invest in technology and equipment as it eases off a war footing.
“The development and proliferation of more advanced military technologies by other nations mean that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted,” Hagel told reporters during an afternoon news conference.
Congress recently passed a bill that authorized the Defense Department to spend nearly $1 trillion over the next two years — a sum that was $75 billion less than the Obama administration requested but that gave the Pentagon a reprieve from the spending cuts it would have been forced to find under the deficit-reduction mechanism known as sequestration.
The Pentagon’s budget-trimming plan represents the department’s opening bid in what is widely expected to be a politically fraught process that lawmakers and influential constituencies will seek to shape. The formal budget will be presented next Tuesday.
Under the proposal, during the next five years the Pentagon would get $115 billion above the savings it would have had to find under sequestration but $113 billion less than the spending levels contemplated in last year’s budget proposal.
Gordon Adams, a defense budget expert at American University who served in the Clinton administration, said the new proposal was more realistic than the one the Pentagon articulated a year ago. But he warned that Defense officials would be wise to plan for sequestration-level budgets for some time to come.
“The international threat environment doesn’t drive you to higher levels, and the Republican Party is split on the issue and disinclined to go higher,” he said.
The most startling part of the plan is the proposal to cut the active-duty Army to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers, from a wartime peak of 570,000 — which would reduce the force to its smallest size since before World War II.
Officials warned that if sequestration-level cuts remain in place as of 2016, the Army would be forced to trim down to 420,000 — a level they called unacceptable.
Army Secretary John M. McHugh said in a statement that proposed cuts “provided equal doses of reality and opportunity,” but he acknowledged that the downsizing would “be a difficult road.”
The most contentious part of the plan is likely to be proposed cuts to pay and benefits, including rolling back tax-free housing allowances and the level of subsidies offered by stores in military bases.
“No realistic effort to find further significant savings can avoid dealing with military compensation,” Hagel said.
Veterans groups and lawmakers pushed back on some of those proposals on Monday, calling them particularly unfair after a decade of intense combat deployments.
“Washington is trying to balance the budget on the backs of those who have sacrificed the most,” said Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “We know the Defense Department must make difficult budget decisions, but these cuts would hit service members, making it harder for them and their families to make ends meet.”
The Pentagon proposed eliminating its fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack planes, which it said would save $3.5 billion over the next five years. It also plans to retire the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft and use Global Hawk drones instead. Hagel said, however, that the department would slow the growth of its drone fleet. He said the drones have been effective against terrorist targets but “cannot operate in the face of enemy aircraft and modern air defenses.”
Hagel warned on Monday that the Pentagon would work more assertively to shut down bases it views as obsolete — an effort that has long been stymied by members of Congress who have protected facilities and jobs in their jurisdictions.
“If Congress continues to block these requests even as they slash the overall budget, we will have to consider every tool at our disposal to reduce infrastructure,” Hagel said.
For fiscal 2015, the Pentagon will be requesting $26 billion over the amount appropriated in the recent spending bill, part of a broader security initiative the Obama administration will announce next week in greater detail.
A key omission in Hagel’s speech Monday was the future of the overseas contingency operations fund, which in recent years has served as the base budget for the Iraq and Afghan wars.
A Defense official said the department’s budget request next week will include a “placeholder” request for roughly $80 billion, the same level of funding the war budget got in fiscal 2014. The official said a revised figure would be submitted when the administration has clarity on whether it will keep a troop contingent in Afghanistan past 2014.
Isn't that standard during "peacetime"? Less troops, less manufacturing of weapons, equipment, etc. In theory our defense costs should go down if we are no longer at war.
We can also stop giving millions (maybe billions) of dollars of equipment away.
Theoretically maybe but politics make strange bedfellows.
keeping those bases open mean federal dollars being spent in congressional districts.
Manufacturing those arms mean jobs in congressional districts and huge contracts to campaign donors.
The cost of bringing MRAP's etc.. back from Afghanistan and then storing them in the California/Nevada desert (and never to be used again?) is prohibitive.
Last edited by Buster; 02-24-2014 at 10:39 PM.
Sad to see the A10 go, that thing has been as useful and reliable as any weapons platform we've ever built.
But they say Drones can do it now, /shrug
Smallest Army Since WWII is the talking point.
Lets hope (as always) we have no cause to need it to be bigger, eh?
Here is one opinion.Cutting the Army will make it stronger
By Michael Desch
updated 8:35 AM EST, Tue February 25, 2014
Editor's note: Michael Desch is a professor and chair of the political science department at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in international security and American foreign and defense policies.
(CNN) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has fired a shot across the bow of business-as-usual at the Pentagon by announcing significant cuts in the U.S. Army.
Trimming the active component of the Army from 580,000 to 450,000 would hardly take us back to the interwar Army of 280,000 that gave birth to great wartime leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, George C. Marshall, George A. Patton or Douglass MacArthur, but it still represents a significant reduction in manpower.
It undoubtedly will start World War III on the Hill and among other elements of what Ike referred to as our "military-industrial complex," but Hagel should hold the line as the time is ripe for an audacious move on this front. He should stand by these cuts for three reasons:
First, if we are serious about trimming federal spending, the Department of Defense and the military can't be exempt from the budget fight. According to The National Priorities Project, only 30% of the federal budget is made up of discretionary spending, and of that fraction, defense makes up nearly 60% of what we might possibly trim.
While modern weapons systems have astronomical price tags, the dirty secret is that one of the biggest lines in the Pentagon's budget is personnel costs -- primarily salaries and health care -- that constitute 26% of the Defense Department's 2014 request of $527 billion. Given that the Army is the most manpower intensive of our services, it is inevitable that it will have to bear the brunt of these cuts.
Second, after two long and inconclusive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is unlikely that the American public would rally round the flag for another major exercise in nation-building and counter-insurgency.
The sort of military missions the public is likely to support -- special operations-led counter-terrorism strikes, remote-controlled drone campaigns to mop up al Qaeda and indirect military assistance to beleaguered allies -- do not require the hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground that swelled the ranks of the Army over the past decade. Indeed, for the foreseeable future, the services most likely to constitute the tip of the spear for U.S. military missions will be the Navy and the Air Force, whose personnel requirements for missions to keep the peace between China and its neighbors or wage drone and cyber wars are unlikely to be very large.
Finally, the dark cloud of large-scale defense reductions may have a silver lining: Bold budget cuts constitute opportunities to subject old and obsolete ways of doing business to the sort of "creative destruction" that economist Joseph Schumpeter thought was the genius of capitalism.
Although the analogy is by no means perfect, military historians have chronicled instances in which periods of deep budget and manpower cuts have produced great periods of strategic innovation. The German military after World War I and the U.S. military after Vietnam are two examples of organizational adversity leading to strategic quantum leaps.
Cuts of this depth will undoubtedly force the United States to further trim its military presence overseas. Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki already showed us the door with his refusal to sign a status of forces agreement covering the small number of residual forces we had hoped to leave in his country. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is turning out to be equally inhospitable.
But there is significant U.S. Army presence in Europe and Korea. If we had to choose, we could more safely draw down further on the continent than we could on the Korean Peninsula. Aside from a possible land war in Korea, most of our strategic pivot to Asia is in response to possible Chinese naval challenges which do not require much ground power.
Such deep cuts will be painful -- both politically for the administration and directly for our men and women in uniform -- and so should not be implemented cavalierly. On the other hand, to paraphrase Napoleon, if we want to make significant cuts, we should "do it energetically and with severity. This is the only way to make it shorter, and consequently less inhuman." Our military and our country will be better off in the long run.
Civilian World Translation:
Up to 130,000 active duty US Army are getting laid off. I wonder how many US Navy, US Marine Corps, and US Air Force are getting whacked. I read an article last week re: the enlisted ranks of the US Air Force getting big-time whacked FY14/FY15.
This is so typical of the defense department, cutting what they really need soldiers but keep building overpriced planes.
Just like any little kid with cars or trains, jets were my thing when I was little. Spent hours with my dad building plastic models of A10s, F14s, and one huge WWII-era B17 bomber. Still love them today. Amazing machines.
Here's a PBS report with an accompanying video that describes what makes the A10 "the most survivable" plane ever built.
Last edited by Bonhomme Richard; 02-26-2014 at 12:00 AM.
I looked at that model B-17; it was the big magilla in my favorite hobby shop in Nassau county...not for a smudgy nipper like me.
BTW About the same time the ninnies here in SF published the Proposition to name the sewage plant after Geo W B, the Navy cancelled Blue Angels. I might be stretching the truth for your entertainment (which is my entertainment)...JSJ might know; he's got the dope.
Last edited by WestCoastOffensive; 02-26-2014 at 01:13 AM.
It's time, we need to stop being the worlds policemen and sending our young men and women to die for people that hate us.
Closing state side bases will be painful to many communities, yet this is another long over due action which can save billions. The military of the future will require much less boots and more technology.
Hate to see the Hog put out to the desert, low and slow and ugly as hell, but to the grunts on the ground one beautiful SOB. Yet the air frame is getting old, and we can design drones to do the same job for much less cost and not have to risk a human life to fly them.
Speaking of which, the time will come when most aircraft will be flown from the ground. The era of the pilotless AC is fast approaching. Many may not like it, but unmanned AC can preform maneuvers that are impossible with manned AC, due to the gee force factors. What you will see coming online in the next 20 years in airframes and the way they will fly will amaze you.
In closing my biggest concern with the whole military downsizing will be China. I fear that sooner or later we may have a show down if they continue on there current path. Facing a Chinese military with over a million men and women in uniform who also have a strong technology base is down right frighting.
Along with closing unneeded bases though, I will say that closing bases will add a ton of people to the unemployment roles at least temporarily, is closing post offices. They are a drain on our economy and there are a bunch of them that are useless.
Unfortunately, the sequester canceled the annual air show in Central NJ indefinitely.
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