March 11, 2013

"Sequester is an ugly experience, but it could grow up to be a budget discipline swan."

"It could provide the planning discipline the services and the building have been missing since 2001.”"

The building = The Pentagon.

From a NYT article titled "Cuts Give Obama Path to Create Leaner Military."
[T]here may be an opening to argue for deep reductions in programs long in President Obama’s sights, and long resisted by Congress....

[I]nside the Pentagon, even some senior officers are saying that the reductions, if done smartly, could easily exceed those mandated by sequestration, as the cuts are called, and leave room for the areas where the administration believes more money will be required.

These include building drones, developing offensive and defensive cyberweapons and focusing on Special Operations forces.
The programs Obama has long longed to reduce are listed as: nuclear weapons, the military medical insurance, and next-generation warplanes (like the F-35).

ADDED: The corresponding article in The Washington Post is "F-35’s ability to evade budget cuts illustrates challenge of paring defense spending":
With an ear-ringing roar, the matte-gray fighter jet streaked down Runway 12 and sliced into a cloudless afternoon sky over the Florida Panhandle. To those watching on the ground, the sleek, bat-winged fuselage soon shrank into a speck, and then nothing at all, as Marine Capt. Brendan Walsh arced northward in America’s newest warplane, the F-35 Lightning II.
It streaked and sliced and — they must be thinking — if only it would shrink into nothing at all.
When the F-35 finishes testing, “there will be no yes-or-no, up-or-down decision point,” said Pierre Sprey, who was a chief architect of the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon. “That’s totally deliberate. It was all in the name of ensuring it couldn’t be canceled.”
When... but we're not there yet.

50 comments:

tim in vermont said...

The proper liberal response to this is to reject it first, ask rhetorical questions later.

Erika said...

The military medical insurance? Good luck with that.

I personally think it's over-generous, but I learned a long time ago not to express that thought around military members if I wanted to continue having military friends.

Robert Cook said...

"The programs Obama has long longed to reduce are listed as: nuclear weapons, the military medical insurance, and next-generation warplanes (like the F-35)."

I can see cutting nukes, warplanes, bases, etc., but not military medical insurance.

Soldiers in wartime experience grievous physical and/or mental injuries that may require lifetime care. Soldiers in general are not paid as well as they would be in most private jobs. (This last point may become moot as private jobs continue to disappear...the military may end up one of the few places where employment is available.)

In any case, the least we owe to members of the military is access to medical care.

Leave it to Obama to always go for the dick move.

MadisonMan said...

You mean Managers might actually have to, you know, manage?

Why does the article focus solely on Defense, when it will also affect things like the Arts and Humanities? Does the Times only want to talk about cuts to those things when a Republican is wielding the axe?

PBGolfer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

It just seems to me, as a non-injured, non-disability-qualifying vet, that military medical care would be one of the very LAST things they would want to cut. Remove/reduce fraud, waste, and abuse of that system as much as possible, but that same goal could be applied to the entire military procurement system.

LarsPorsena said...

Leaner military? How about a leaner Department of Education, HHS, Energy ,EPA? No fat there?

Pogo said...

They should just build drones to take out injured and ill vets.

VoilĂ  Reduced military medical spending!

AllenS said...

If you are in the military, or you are a veteran, the Democrats, with few exceptions, really don't like you.

rhhardin said...

[I]nside the Pentagon, even some senior officers are saying that the reductions, if done smartly..

Adroitly too.

Erika said...

Also, what Scott and Lars said.

Phil 3:14 said...

Barack Obama, military policy wonk.

Who knew!?

TosaGuy said...

Make all military families members above the E-5 paygrade pay a deductible anc copays for their family members. I say E-5 because the lower ranks get paid crap.

Health of soldiers is a readiness indicator and therefore the responsiblity of the military. Absolutely free health care for dependents is welfare.

Signed,

a 24-year military vet

Pogo said...

But Erika, cutting those will cause random people to spontaneously combust, the stars to fall from the sky, and the rivers to run red with the blood of innocent puppies and at-risk youth.

TosaGuy said...

Veterans benefits are for those who no longer serve and fall under the Department of Veterans Affairs, not the Department of Defense.

Tibore said...

Cut the military. Because it's a bigger weight on the budget than any of the other programs... oh, wait!

garage mahal said...

Republicans have kept Obama from doing something stupid like cutting entitlements in a grand bargain, just because they hate him so bad they aren't willing to do any deal with him. For that, I say, thanks Republicans.

Pogo said...

If your sleek fuselage too soon shrinks into a speck, consider checking your testosterone level.

hawkeyedjb said...

"Republicans have kept Obama from doing something stupid like cutting entitlements in a grand bargain"

Oh, I doubt Mr. Obama would consider anything of the sort. Entitlements and Free Stuff are the reason the Democratic party exists.

Jeff Teal said...

Our nuclear deterrent is already a pale shadow of the 80s.O by the way guess what is the least expensive part of the military budget.And no Congress has not funded the latest upgrades or even refurbishment of existing systems.

Jeff Teal said...

And most generals-who do not work in the nuke field-could care less.Their promotions don't count on it.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have no doubt that both the NYT and Obama want to cut our nuclear arsonal. After all, it is unfair that we are a superpower, and so we should give up that advantage unilaterally. And, if the Russians and the Chinese shortly end up with more nuclear weapons and delivery systems than we do, then that is probably a good thing, because life would be more fair then.

I suspect though that there aren't a lot more people than Obama, his SecDef, and the NYT, that really support that approach to defense spending. North Korea and Iran are going nuclear, and neither is the most trust worthy. Or, should I point out that both their leadership is batshit crazy. But, soon batshit carzy with nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

The Drill SGT said...

T]here may be an opening to argue for deep reductions in programs long in President Obama’s sights, and long resisted by Congress....

Teh Won would be in a better position to argue for cuts, if you know, he'd produced the legally required "Budget" reflecting those proposed cuts. It's 6 weeks overdue and we are going to wait another month till they get around to delivering it.

As for where to cut? Multi-year funding of systems would save a lot of procurement funds. The tail of te Army/Marines could be cut, if you used more "contingency contracting", but if you actually go to war, the costs are higher, and you'd have to let Halliburton, Dyncorp, and Serco bid :)

Cutting Attack subs and keeping more boomers in port saves bucks.



Bruce Hayden said...

Sorry, and I forgot to add Robert Cook to my list.

Smilin' Jack said...

Some people wonder why we need to spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined. They'll get their comeuppance when Mars attacks.

Jay said...

Hey cutting WH tours is important because it saves a few million. But, Queen Moochelle's 50th birthday bash must proceed!!

Jay said...

The White House may have ended tours for Americans, but they’re rolling out the red carpet for the “Rolling in the Deep” singer, the British newspaper reports. The Mail says the 24-year-old will perform at Michelle’s 50th birthday party at the White House on Jan. 17 of next year.

Adele will be joining Beyonce, who performed at the Super Bowl halftime show as part of her preparation for celebrating halftime in Michelle’s life.

--isn't that nice?

rhhardin said...

I have no doubt that both the NYT and Obama want to cut our nuclear arsonal.

Radio Japan just last night was reporting on a memorial service for victims of the March 1945 Tokyo firestorm raid.

They've been commemorating events killing large numbers of Japanese in WWII for some time now, as if it were a spell of bad weather.

All the Japanese on the island weren't worth the life of one American soldier, was the feeling at the time, so long as we were at war. They don't seem to understand that.

Bruce Hayden said...

The tail of te Army/Marines could be cut, if you used more "contingency contracting", but if you actually go to war, the costs are higher, and you'd have to let Halliburton, Dyncorp, and Serco bid :)

So, the nation gets and spends the Clinton "Peace Dividend", almost balancing the budget Clinton's last year or so, with a Republican Congress. Our military is massively downsized, with some half the active army divisions disbanded, etc. And, then with 9/11/01, we are attacked on our homeland, and we go to war. As a result of the cuts, we don't have the manpower to do what is needed in these war zones. Sure, we almost have enough fighters on the tip of the spear, but not the support troops needed, and definitely not enough to do the sort of things that we need to build the peace.

So, we hire these companies, who can spool up, hire, and then fire when done. And, they get the job done, but not cheaply, and, then we find that there has been massive waste and corruption in government contracting in the war zones.

Should we be surprised? Not really. That is what happens with government contracting, and the bigger and faster it is, the more of it you will inevitably find. Fortunes are being made from our federal government, and might as well jump aboard the gravy train, esp. since it may take them a decade to figure it out.

But, we are at risk of institutionalizing this sort of war fighting. Why would that be bad? Eisenhower warned about the defense-industrial complex over a half a century ago. And, we see the misspent money with DoD even today. But just like Citibank, etc., Lockheed-Martin is too big to fail, and too big to not get big contracts. AND, similarly, they own their fair share of members of Congress (though no longer have much pull in the White House and with the VP - who has always been owned by the mega-banks instead). It is just another aspect of the problems that we see with government employee unions - that the interest groups own members of Congress (or the local legislatures) because the interests of these interest groups are much more concentrated and stronger, than those of the voters, whose interests tend to be much more diffuse.

The problem though is that after a decade of fighting wars with contractors carrying so much of the burden is that we now have new stakeholders in Washington, D.C., along with the military, government workers, etc., and that is those defense contractors who specialize in this sort of support, and they have had a decade now to entrench, buy lobbyists, members of Congress, etc.

The Drill SGT said...

Bruce,

While I agree with most of what you said, one should separate out the Iraq reconstruction boondogle, from basic contingency contracting.

Think of a Combat commander ordering support from a Chinese food menu. I want 5000 hot meals per day, 50,000 gallons of fuel delivered to x, and 10,000 tons of supplies delivered to y.

The press was all over the "Halliburton no bid contracts". What those logistics support contracts are, were, competed, very aggressively priced, pre-negoiated contracts, done years in advance. Yes, any given Task Order was sole source, but 10 firms bid, 2 years earlier and established the rate for that service.

PS: I didn't say it was the best way to save money, but it does save money as long as you don't use the Army, and given that you are going to cut, it's an option.

edutcher said...

Bruce had my idea, sort of.

All Willie needed as an excuse was the idea of a "Peace Dividend" and he cut the military by 40% (we could have used those 8 divisions after 9/11).

If Barry wants to cut, too, he can say he's made the world safe by winning the GWOT.

If anybody will believe him.

Jeff Teal said...

Want tosave some money?How about we have an actual budget/appropiations process where the Sec of Whatever actually has to justify their budget every year.And authorizing committees can totally whack the really stupid outlays.And bring the budget out of the supersecret black area.

Tim said...

"If Barry wants to cut, too, he can say he's made the world safe by winning the GWOT.

If anybody will believe him."


Oh, lots of people will believe him.

Starting with his voters.

They'll believe anything he says.

Anything.

Immune to facts, immune to reason, immune to learning.

edutcher said...

Jeff Teal said...

Want tosave some money?How about we have an actual budget/appropiations process where the Sec of Whatever actually has to justify their budget every year.

Reagan tried that.

You should have heard the screaming.

TMink said...

Deep reductions would require deep cuts. The sequester offers shallow cuts, paper cuts, with no gutting in sight.

Trey

Firehand said...

Every time I hear 'lean-down the military' I know two things:
One is that the people who actually go to the sharp end are going to get screwed, and
Two: the same people demanding this tend to be the same ones who screamed at Bush for 'not using enough troops' in Iraq, and they were generally the same ones who had spent lots of time making sure there WEREN'T any more troops to use.

Alex said...

Robert Cook - Obama shows his anti-military colors with this move. Cutting medical benefits for wounded soldiers is the lowest of the low. Of course he tries to paint the GOP as the evil ones with the help of his sycophantic media.

Cedarford said...

edutcher said...
Bruce had my idea, sort of.

All Willie needed as an excuse was the idea of a "Peace Dividend" and he cut the military by 40% (we could have used those 8 divisions after 9/11).

=======================
Explain how we could have deployed those 8 Divisions of "Heroes" and been more effective at defeating 5,000 Islamoids and doing Neocon nation-building for 2 countries that hate the invaders.

Or would we have the same results except more "fallen Heroes, wounded warriors", and another trillion pissed away?


virgil xenophon said...

Firehand@11:10 sums it up nicely...to be more to the point, EXACTLY!

Jeff Teal said...

Firehand has it right.Plus let's not forget "soldiers and dogs -Keep off the grass".What was it Kipling said about Tommy this and Tommy that.But when the bullets begin to fly ir is "saviour of the country." Getting rid of military medical insurance is breaking the deal this country has had with its professional volunteer military since the end of WWII.Another plus for the libs.And a knife in the back to the soldiers,sailors,airmen,marines, and their families.Way to go Ameeica!

Rabel said...

"bat-winged"? The F-35?

Jeff Teal said...

Edutcher---just so you know I consider the screams of REMF bureaucrats to be one of the most pleasant sounds in the world.Right up there with purring kittens,big huffing dogs, and laughing women.

Oclarki said...

I think the F-35 is the ugliest plane ever built. 20 years of R&D and that's the best design you could come up with?

Alex said...

Since when does beauty figure into a fighter plane design? I thought the first consideration is aerodynamics.

n.n said...

rhhardin:

It wasn't just Japanese and American lives at stake. It was also the tens of thousands of Chinese who the Japanese were murdering on a monthly basis. The Japanese leaders determined the conclusion to the conflict.

Leland said...

think the F-35 is the ugliest plane ever built. 20 years of R&D and that's the best design you could come up with?

If you saw the alternative, you'd know the answer to your question is "Yes".

Astro said...

Leland is correct. Here is the loser in the competition, by Boeing. The F-35 is svelt by comparison.
Boeing X-32

Rusty said...

Who cares if the damn thing is ugly. Is it ahead of the best thing our enemies can put in the air?

Jeff Teal said...

And will we have enough of them in the right place?

Astro said...

I'm not defending the cost overruns - but the articles I've seen that complain about how the F-35 costs keep going up never mention that the maintenance costs of the planes being replaced, the F-16, A-10 and A/V-8B, have also gone up.