Budgetary Savings from Military Restraint

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    Budgetary Savings from Military Restraint

    The United States needs a defense budget worthy of its name, one that protects Americans rather than wasting vast sums embroiling us in controversies remote from our interests. This paper outlines such a defense strategy and the substantial cuts in military spending that it allows. That strategy discourages the occupation of failing states and indefinite commitments to defend healthy ones. With fewer missions, the military can shrink its force structure — reducing personnel, the weapons and vehicles procured for them, and operational costs. The resulting force would be more elite, less strained, and far less expensive. By avoiding needless military conflict and protecting our prosperity, these changes would make Americans more secure.

    Our proposed cuts total more than $1.2 trillion over ten years. Because our strategy will make conventional and counterinsurgency warfare less likely, we recommend cutting the end-strength of the Army and Marine Corps by roughly one third. Fewer missions, along with advances in strike technology, would also allow a reduction of six fighter wing equivalents from the Air Force. Similar technological advances have greatly increased the destructive capability of naval platforms, and restraint requires fewer of them. We therefore propose the elimination of four carrier battle groups, four expeditionary strike groups, and a commensurate number of ships from the Navy. For reasons of economy that would hold even under the current strategic posture, we recommend deep cuts in nuclear weapons and missile defense spending. Additional savings can be obtained by reducing administrative overhead and intelligence spending, cutting military construction costs, canceling several weapons systems, and reforming the provision of military pay and benefits. We view these cuts as a kind of initial harvest of the strategy of restraint. Our recommendations are not meant to preclude consideration of deeper cuts.

    Concern about deficits has prompted greater scrutiny of all federal spending. But the cuts here would be prudent even in an era of surpluses. The United States does not need to spend $700 billion a year — nearly half of global military spending — to preserve its security. By capitalizing on our geopolitical fortune, we can safely spend far less.

    - rest at www.cato.org/pubs/pas/PA667.pdf
     
  2. Don

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    Initial skimming, stopping about halfway through -- I promise I'll read the whole thing and give it some more thought.

    First impression: poppycock.

    The authors do not justify their position whatsoever. In order to provide a sound, thorough justification for the reductions they propose, they need to identify the actual "enemies" of our nation; their end goals in regards to their own nations and the effects of those end goals upon ours; their ways and means to effect those end goals, and the impact(s) upon our nation those ways and means could have; and then structure their justifications based on those results.

    Instead, they start off with hyperbole in the first paragraph (statements such as "protect oil" and "make the US look good via humanitarian missions"), and use that as their justification. The lack of analysis of other countries and their potential impacts to this nation shows a severe lack of actual intelligent thought put into this proposal.

    See, the very first error the authors make, is that they apparently didn't realize that our national strategy isn't made in a vacuum, and isn't based on "what 'general officer good idea' can we implement today?"...but instead is actually based upon people whose sole jobs are to spend their waking moments watching China, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. and identifying what they're planning on doing next.

    Ken, China just made a bold statement about the US staying out of their waters; should we respond by shuffling our feet, shamefacedly saying, "aw, shucks," and reducing the number of sensors (information-gathering platforms) that tell us why they're making such bold statements?

    Like I said, I'll re-read the first half, finish reading the rest, and let you know if my opinion changes.
     
  3. KenH

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    There is no doubt that we have to make large cuts in defense/war spending(and domestic spending, also - or else drastically increase taxes). The question is how to do so and still maintain a credible deterrent with the nature of conflict today where so much of it is not like it has been in the past - country vs. country or alliance vs. alliance. Now, perhaps, the most dangerous threats are from non-state based actors, such as al Qaeda.
     
  4. Don

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    Non-state based actors are addressed in the National Security Strategy -- which makes this article just that much more inept.
     
  5. poncho

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    Exactly! Our national strategy is most definately not made in a vacuum. First it's made up in boardrooms then passed on to congress and the president for approval and implementation.

    You can have an empire or you can have a republic but you can't have both, for long.

    I think I'd almost prefer the Republic Ken. It wouldn't cost nearly as much in blood or treasure.
     
    #5 poncho, Oct 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2010
  6. Don

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    So no military members are involved with the construction of it?
     
  7. Aaron

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    The military is the one thing that government is supposed to spend on. Just think of the bugetary savings not having to house, feed and clothe unwed mothers and their litters.
     
  8. KenH

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    Peanuts compared to what we spend on the Defense/War Department.
     
  9. Bob Alkire

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    Is this what they did before WW II? That deal caught us with our pants down. We were not prepared.
     
  10. billwald

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    The other side of the coin is that Congress appropriates money for new toys that the military neither wants nor needs and refuses to fund maintenance. The Air Force is flying tankers that are 20 years older than the kids who are flying them and complains about the cost of spare parts.
     
  11. KenH

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    A defense policy that followed the U.S. constitution and only served the interest of protecting American soil would not cost the better part of one trillion dollars.
     
  12. Don

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    As promised:
    pg 2, column 2, para 2: "forcing military services to compete for their budgets."
    How? By bombing other countries more efficiently?

    pg 2, column 2, last paragraph: "the best weapons in that fight are intelligence...."
    However, pg 1, column 2: "additional savings can be obtained by reducing...intelligence spending" -- contradictory?

    pg 3, column 2, para 1: "they lack the capability to attack the United States."
    But they have the capability to attack our allies...unless the authors are saying we shouldn't give a whit about our allies.

    pg 10, column 2, section 11: replacing the V-22
    Problem: both airframes recommended for replacing the V-22 are approaching end of life. Replacement parts are becoming more costly to procure. A replacement vehicle would have to be researched and developed, which would basically result in no cost savings.

    pg 12, column 1, para 1: eliminate or consolidate geographic combatant commands.
    This indicates a complete lack of understanding of the geographic combatant command missions. I support the closing of Joint Forces Command; it's redundant. Pacific Command, however, is responsible for the entire Pacific region -- Japan, Korea, China, etc. To eliminate PACOM means eliminating the joint force commander, meaning each service retains its chain of command over its specific forces and missions, meaning the services don't work together -- which is a huge problem, and was why combatant commands are Joint entities instead of individual service entities.

    pg 12, column 1, section 18, para 2: the CIA is carrying out paramilitary activities that should be the exclusive province of Special Operations Forces....we therefore propose cutting 15 percent...."
    Mixing apples and oranges. The authors do not make clear whether they're proposing cutting 15% from military intelligence budget, or 15% from governmental (civilian) intelligence agencies, such as the CIA. The emphasis of the entire paper is on cutting from the military budget, so what the authors have proposed is a reduction in the very forces that they say should be doing the job the CIA is doing. Contradictory.

    Although a third, more careful reading would lead me to do much more research that would inevitably result in even more counter-arguments, my final word at this time is: Reduction of military and Pentagon civilian workforce personnel. The authors give no indication what impact such a reduction would have on our economy, especially at this time when jobless rates are at the 10% range and job growth is practically non-existent. Further, the study doesn't indicate the further impact of job loss for those industries that support the military, from the companies that develop new military weapons systems down to the local companies that provide military housing management.

    What will all those newly fired people do? (not to mention, it plays havoc with Obama's strategy of job-shifting to be able to pad his "new jobs numbers.")
     
  13. KenH

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    Thanks. I am interested now in reading your recommendations for defense/war department spending cuts of similar size. They are coming as there is no way politically to drastically reduce our budget deficit or balance the budget without them considering how large a hit domestic spending will take to do so.
     
  14. Don

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    There is no way to identify correct reductions without examining the impact on the economy; for instance, it was easy to say, "cut Joint Forces Command." However, Secretary of Defense Gates forgot two things: Impact on the local economy for the state of Virginia; and impact from the congressional leaders who represent the interests of that state. Already they've called him to task for making that decision; his response was that it was a military decision, to which they responded that a decision with such a profound impact upon the civilians to whom the military is supposed to be answering is most decidedly not a military decision.

    Further, the edict that has been put to us has been to turn privatized positions within the military into government civilian jobs. This will not benefit the military in any way; in fact, the potential cost increase to the American public is enormous (for example, Vance AFB has been touted as saving $480,000 over the next five years by converting private contractor jobs to government civilian positions; however, others who have done the additional calculations to figure medical and other benefits indicate that the plan will actually cost $27.5 million. The only--*only*--effect of the conversion will be the administration's ability to show new job numbers--although those numbers are skewed because they're converted positions, not actually new ones).

    So how does one implement such a drastic cut, without letting the chips fall where they may? Start with the end in mind. We need a stronger economy, not just be able to pay the bills. This is not a result of raising taxes, but of a combination of factors, only one of which is taxes; we must also increase gross national product, as well as reduce our reliance on foreign materials. We are grossly tilted towards dependence on others, for both labor and goods.
     
    #14 Don, Oct 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2010
  15. KenH

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    If we are going to change the direction of this country before we do literally go bankrupt then people are going to have to lay aside parochial interests for the good of the country.
     
  16. Don

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    At $1 trillion in debt - aren't we already bankrupt?
     
  17. KenH

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  18. Crabtownboy

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    Never fear, the admiral's barge will always be well stocked, the generals will always be served good food and the regular GIs will continue to complain.
     
  19. NiteShift

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    The largest item (or 2nd largest) in our defense budget is personnel costs for the all-volunteer military. Just bring back the draft and we can cut costs dramatically.

    Then when your children are inducted you will know it is for the good of the country. :thumbs:
     
  20. Don

    Don
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    Just like your pastor?
     

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