Germany Reduces Number Of Aircraft (by columba Jul 7 2010 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)
Aviation Week & Space Technology's Guy Norris, one of the best reporters in the trade, penned this article which appeared today on discussions concerning reductions to the U.S. Defense Budget.
One of the salient points is contained in this quote:
At the well-respected Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Senior Fellow Todd Harrison says that if officials really want to save money in defense, “stop doing things.”
Some may want to interpret this as a "duh" moment, but in reality this is the crux of the problem. Strategy drives costs. For example, we keep deploying carrier battle groups as though the cold war never ended. Ashton Carter, the Obama appointed Under Sec Def for Acquisition had a meeting a week ago and came up with this "brilliant" guidance:
For instance, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, talked about paying for what goods and services “should cost.” But that is not a legal term and it cannot be found in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations. Carter acknowledges several more weeks of “conferring” with officials and industry executives before reporting out more information.
Those of us who served back in the '80s remember the reaction to the USD$600 hammer (or was it a toilet seat?) and all the "brilliant" (that word again) programs to determine what something "should cost". I was intimately involved in the business then and can't recollect where we had a whole lot of success. Good luck on this, Ashton.
Point of this being: what should go? Unless we continue to allow these lawyers who we elect to Congress to keep pretending that there's no financial trainwreck on the horizon, tough choices will be made. I believe that this upcoming election will turn on who will have the guts to "wield the axe".
To get these mental giants off to a good start, I propose the following:
-USN: say "sayonara" to 2 carriers w/air wings & escorts. Deploy carriers as necessary, not like clockwork. "Fleets in Being" are still a valid concept. Who knows, this might have a salutary effect when the nations that previously benefited from our presence realize they have to pick up some slack. Amphibious forces are still needed, but the same applies: mothball the older vessels and quit deploying for the sake of deploying. How many Marines in Iraq or Afghanistan got there by boat? This will allow a cut of USN personnel. (and note that personnel is the largest cost incurred by DOD and the one Congress simply lacks the guts to cut. In fact, they keep adding benefits almost yearly).
-Air Force. Rehab the KC-135Rs & cancel the tanker contract. Cut back a few tactical wings. Cease C-17 production. Cut back on F-35 buys. Cut personnel. Kill the C-27. No more F-16 or F-15 buys.
-Army. Armored forces & artillery. Mothball or transfer more to the reserves. Transfer the slots to special forces & infantry.
-USMC. You're good.
Of course, one can cherry pick these proposals apart, but remember they are just that, a strawman to be sliced and diced. No one can argue that things should remain the same.
Cuts are coming...DOD can't be immune when we ask for a reduction in other budget categories (especially medicare and social security).
Where would you cut?
What will happen to NATO? The Germans, French, and Brits have announced their intentions to scale back their armed forces. Do they expect us to continue as the bulwark of NATO's force structure in a crisis?
[Edited 2010-07-09 15:32:05]