Posts Tagged ‘AllServices’

Strategic Adjustment to Sustain the Force: A survey of current proposals

Charles Knight. Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Memo #51, 25 October 2011.


…modest changes to U.S. military strategy and global posture implemented over the next ten years can reliably offer deficit-reducing savings from the Pentagon budget ranging from $73 billion a year to $118 billion a year.

To achieve the savings only requires the application of different means to attaining strategic goals. That is precisely what any good strategy does when conditions change.

Panetta to U.S. Army: Branches Must Cooperate on Cuts

Andrew Tilghman. Defense News, 12 October 2011.


Panetta said the Army should expect reserve-component troops to be a vital part of the future force.

“As we draw down from these wars, we need to keep the Guard and the Reserve operational and gaining experience. This is the best investment we’ve made over the past 10 years,” he said. “We need to continue to be able to maintain that as a valuable asset because the reserve force has a special role to play as a force that gives the nation strategic depth in the event of crisis, access to unique civilian skill sets that can be useful in modern conflicts and as the Army’s bridge to a broader civilian population.”

A Unified Security Budget for the United States FY2012

Task Force on A Unified Security Budget Institute for Policy Studies, July 2011.


Robert Gates’ disappointing legacy

Melvin Goodman. Baltimore Sun, 29 June 2011.


In his recent lectures, Mr. Gates warned against any freeze in defense spending, leaving Mr. Panetta to deal with weapons systems and military missions that the United States can no longer afford. As the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Panetta presumably understands that the United States, with less than 25 percent of the world’s economic output and more than 50 percent of the world’s military expenditures, will have to curtail certain weapons and missions. The defense budget has grown more than 50 percent in the past 10 years and now exceeds the pace of spending of the Cold War era, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam as well as the peacetime buildup of President Ronald Reagan.

A reexamination of current troop deployments must include the tens of thousands of troops in Europe and Asia more than six decades after the end of World War II; hundreds of bases and facilities the world over; and the excessive willingness to project power in areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, where vital national interests are not at stake.

The world’s best policeman

Jeff Jacoby. Boston Globe, 22 June 2011.


…with great power come great responsibilities, and sometimes one of those responsibilities is to destroy monsters: to take down tyrants who victimize the innocent and flout the rules of civilization. If neighborhoods and cities need policing, it stands to reason the world does too. And just as local criminals thrive when cops look the other way, so do criminals on the world stage.

Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job.

Editor’s Comment:

When three-quarters of Americans reject a role of global policeman for the U.S. perhaps they understand something fundamental about policing that Jeff Jacoby doesn’t. A police force without oversight by a judiciary and a guiding body of law is surely a formula for tyranny.

Jacoby would never endorse tyranny, but the avocation to be global policemen by White House occupants who are elected by and responsible to only 10% of the world’s people is a decision to be a vigilante on the global stage. Consider that Americans would be up in arms if China or Russia took it upon themselves to be global vigilantes.

For the leaders of the U.S. to so gladly to take up this role only serves to delay the day when we have capable international judicial and policing institutions. If our leaders attempt to think even a few years into the future it should be clear to them that the practice of vigilantism does not serve American interests.

[A version of this comment was published as a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe, 28 June 2011.]

Overseas Base Closure List

Carlton Meyer., June 2011.


Here is a list of outdated U.S. military bases overseas that can be promptly closed to save billions of dollars each year…

Close Outdated U.S. Military Bases in Japan – Futenma & Atsugi

Pull Aircraft and Airmen Out of Osan – now in a kill zone

Cut Army Fat in Korea – 8th Army and Daegu

Vacate Two Army Bases in Germany – as once planned

Close Torii Station – a U.S. Army base on Okinawa?

Vacate RAF Lakenheath – the Russians aren’t coming

Close Gitmo, the Entire Base – it has no purpose

Close Chinhae Tomorrow – it commands nothing

[There is more argumentation about each of these at the source.]

Pentagon review must aim for more than modest cuts in defense spending

Project on Defense Alternatives, Briefing Memo #49, 25 April 2011.

There is good reason to welcome a strategic review, as promised by President Obama on 13 April. For nearly 14 years, US defense policy has been guided by the “QDR consensus” – a set of axioms and imperatives that won adherence among defense planners in the course of four Quadrennial Defense Reviews, beginning in 1997. In retrospect, this consensus has produced a syndrome of profligate and desultory military activism. It has fed the dysfunctions of our military procurement system and helped drive the Pentagon’s base budget to unsustainable heights. Certainly, it is time for a fresh start. But will the promised review deliver?

Will the review be more open and critical than the QDRs it aims to rectify? How deep will it dig? Will it even aim to “rectify?” Or will it serve a more narrow purpose: a revised bargain among the Commander-in-Chief, his defense secretary, and the chiefs of the armed services to exchange modest new constraints on budget growth for a strong rationale, a bulwark, against any further cuts.

What the President seeks is only $400 billion in savings over 12 years – about 6.5% of planned base budget expenditures. Last year, the President’s Fiscal Commission and other independent task forces identified more than twice as much in potential defense savings over a period of just ten years. And it is unclear whether the President intends to extract the $400 billion from the Pentagon’s budget alone or from the larger “security basket,” which includes International Affairs, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

Also, it is not encouraging that the President applauded Defense Security Gates for having “already saved” $400 billion in previous years, when most of those “savings” never left the Pentagon’s coffers, nor dented the government’s deficits. What the nation needs now are “savings” in the colloquial sense of an actual decrease in defense spending.

A serious strategic review should enable considerably more than a 6.5% retraction in planned future expenditures. It should do more than limit future growth. And maybe it will. But we should recognize at the start that what the President has proposed is not itself substantial enough to actually necessitate a strategic review. Yes, we need one – but not because the President hopes to modestly dampen Pentagon growth.

To be meaningful, such a review must look well beyond $400 billion in savings, and even beyond what the Fiscal Commission and other task forces have proposed. Of course, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen disagree. They have already publicly derided any substantial new constraints on their spending as putting the nation and its armed services at risk. The strategic review should be more than a conciliatory concession to their concerns, which are tendentious.

We can gain needed perspective by comparing recent budget submissions and proposals in historical context. This table prepared by PDA converts recent plans and proposals into average annual Pentagon base budgets, expressed in 2010 dollars. It shows that the President’s requests and proposals, including his recent one, would produce average annual budgets that occupy a narrow band of spending. They are all close cousins.

Even the more ambitious proposal by the Sustainable Defense Task Force does not go far afield.

All of the President’s requests and proposals produce average annual budgets that, in real terms, exceed previous spending, exceed Reagan-era levels of spending, and substantially exceed average spending during the entire Cold War period. (And, notably, the budget average for the Cold War years includes war spending, while the more recent averages do not.)

We should gladly accept the opportunity for a review of defense planning and work to make it worthwhile. But we need not and should not accept the idea that modest revisions in budget planning give good reason to hit the “strategy panic” button.

News Analysis: Obama’s Proposed $400 billion Security Spending Cut

On Wednesday April 13th 2001, President Obama announced an initiative to roll back planned security spending by $400 billion over the next 12 years. The nature of these “savings” is not yet clear. Nor is it clear how much will be subtracted from the Pentagon’s spending plans.

Nonetheless, Secretary Gates and the Chiefs are not pleased and have begun to make noise about risks to security. Apparently, they were not briefed on the proposal until Tuesday.

Part of the initiative is to begin a “fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world.” What and how much is subtracted from the Pentagon will depend on this review. Notably, the United States just completed a Quadrennial Defense Review last year. What the President proposes is some sort of “second look.” The President, Secretary Gates, and the service chiefs will be the prime movers of this process. How deep their “second look” will go is unclear. And it seems battle lines are already being drawn.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell said the review would likely affect the 2013 budget. It will not be ready by June, when congressional debate of the 2012 budget commences.

How open will the review process be? We don’t yet know. But the experience of recent defense reviews is not encouraging. Still we should welcome this first step and strive to open up the process. The need for a rethinking our defense strategy and posture was emphasized in the 2010 report of the Sustainable Defense Task Force:

[I]n order to ensure significant savings, we must change how we produce military power and the ways in which we put it to use. Significant savings may depend on our willingness to:

    Rethink our national security commitments and goals to ensure they focus clearly on what concerns us the most;
    Reset our national security strategy so that it reflects a cost-effective balance among the security instruments at our disposal and uses those instruments in cost-effective ways; and
    Reform our system of producing defense assets so it.

News links on President Obama’s proposed rollback in planned security spending, his call for a strategic review, and the Pentagon’s reaction:

DOD: Finding More Savings In Defense Budget Means Nixing Missions. Christopher J. Castelli. Inside Defense, 13 April 2011.

Obama Calls for Sweeping Review of U.S. Military Strategy. Sandra Erwin. National Defense, 13 April 2011.

Pentagon warns on big defense cuts. Missy Ryan and Jim Wolf. Reuters, 13 April 2011.

Defence chief warns against planned cuts. Daniel Dombey and James Politi. Financial Times, 14 April 2011.

Events frequently overtake long-term Pentagon planning. Megan Scully. Government Executive, 14 April 2011.