Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

The New US Defense Strategy and the Priorities and Changes in the FY2013 Budget

Anthony H. Cordesman with Bradley Bosserman. Center for Strategic & International Studies, 30 January 2012.


The US must fundamentally rethink its approach to “optional wars.” It is far from clear that it can win the Iraq War, rather than empower Iran, without a strong military and aid presence. It will decisively lose the Afghan and Pakistan conflict if it does not quickly develop plans for a military and diplomatic presence, and help to aid Afghanistan in transitioning away from dependence on foreign military and economic spending during 2012-2020. US troop cuts are not a transition plan, and focusing on withdrawal is a recipe for defeat.

That said, the US cannot, and should not, repeat the mistake it made in intervening in Iraq and Afghanistan. It must deal with nontraditional threats with a far better and more affordable mix of global, regional, and national strategies that can deal with issues like the turmoil in the Middle East, and South and Central Asia, and terrorism and instability on a global basis. It must rely on aiding friendly states, deterrence, containment, and far more limited and less costly forms of intervention.

Panetta Releases DoD “Austerity” Budget: Pentagon Retains Most of post-1998 Increase

from the Project on Defense Alternatives, 26 January 2012

The future-years Pentagon base budget plan released by Secretary Panetta on 26 January 2012 foresees rolling spending back to the level of 2008, corrected for inflation.  Spending on the non-war part of the budget during the next five years (2013-2017) will be about 4% lower than during the past five (2008-2012) in real terms.  The real (that is, “inflation corrected”) change from 2012 will be a reduction of 3.2%

The chart below corrects for inflation by rendering all sums in 2012 dollars.  It shows that base-budget spending had jumped 55% after inflation between 1998 and 2010.  The new budget plan sets 2013 spending at $525 billion, which is 46% above the 1998 level.

The new budget plan – represented by the green trend line — stands in stark contrast to the reductions mandated by the Budget Control Act under the provisions for sequestration (represented by the red trend line).  Sequestration would roll Pentagon base-budget spending back to the level of 2004, which would still be 31% above the 1998 level (corrected for inflation).  The new budget plan and sequestration do have one thing in common: both would keep Pentagon spending above the inflation-adjusted average for the Cold War years (represented by the horizontal dash line).


Regaining Our Balance: the Pentagon’s New Military Strategy Takes a Small Step

Christopher Preble and Charles Knight. Huffington Post, 20 January 2012.


Balance depends on what you are standing on. With respect to our physical security, the United States is blessed with continental peace and a dearth of powerful enemies. Our military is the best-trained, best-led, and best-equipped in the world. It is our unstable finances and our sluggish economy that make us vulnerable to stumbling.

Unfortunately, the new strategy does not fully appreciate our strengths, nor does it fully address our weaknesses. In the end, it does not achieve Eisenhower’s vaunted balance.


Pentagon Resource Wars: Why They Can’t Be Avoided

Nathaniel H. Sledge Jr. National Defense, 20 January 2012.


When crises fade and wars end, the services, ever focused on the resource war, fight to ensure the inevitable budget reductions are minimized to preserve readiness and modernization accounts, or whatever is the highest priority at the time. The drums of outrage and indignation beat loudly as each service warns of catastrophe if their budgets are reduced too much or at all. The services eventually shed people, infrastructure, systems, and capabilities they do not deem critical to their futures. What is left is, to a large extent, what is already in their plans, and what is in their plans is whatever is critical to their identities and helps them win the resource war.

Obama to press Congress to revisit $1.2T in cuts

Andrew Taylor. AP, 20 January 2012.


The White House plan, likely to reprise new taxes and fee proposals that are nonstarters with Capitol Hill Republicans, would turn off the entire nine-year, $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cuts, referred to as a “sequester.”

“We have a sequester coming less than a year from now unless Congress acts,” said a senior administration official. “We’re going to ask Congress to do now what we think Congress should have done in December, which is enact more than $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, turn off the sequester and maintain the (spending caps).”

Sequester Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be, 18 January 2012.


Part of the “Doomsday Mechanism” hysteria spread by Defense Secretary Panetta and his comrade in the budget wars, Cong. Buck McKeon, has been the automaticity of the across-the-boards cuts that sequester would impose on the defense budget next January–in the likely event that the lame duck Congress and its successor next year will both be as dysfunctional as the can of red and blue worms we have now. (The other part of the hysteria is the “horror” of returning to 2007 levels of base budget defense spending.)

It seems that the president has existing statutory authority to modify the sequester mechanism–but not the amount of cuts required.

Key Risks in the New Defense Guidance: What Kind of War and Where?

Nathan Freier. Center for Strategic and International Studies, 17 January 2012.


Like any change in strategy, however, the new approach has risk embedded in it. One of the more prominent risks involves the wholly predictable and complete triumph of classical realism in DoD’s future outlook. It appears that high-tech war between states is back in vogue as the single most important core planning scenario; this at a time when war within important states may be increasingly likely and, depending on location, equally impactful. How defense leaders account for and manage this risk will determine whether or not the guidance survives first contact with global uncertainty.

Keeping a Competitive U.S. Military Aircraft Industry Aloft

John Birkler, Paul Bracken, Gordon T. Lee, Mark A. Lorell, Soumen Saha and Shane Tierney. RAND, 16 January, 2012.


For at least two decades, policymakers have expressed concerns that further consolidation could erode the competitive environment for military aircraft and degrade the industry’s abilities to develop, manufacture, and support innovative designs. The authors find that only by involving two prime contractors equally in performing RDT&E (research, development, test, and evaluation) on a new large program, such as a bomber, could DoD sustain two firms through 2020 with RDT&E funding and through 2025 with procurement funding.