No Cuts Now, HASC Tells DoD

No Cuts Now, HASC Tells DoD

The top members of the House Armed Services Committee signaled today that they will not accept cuts to the overall defense budget, arguing that a nation at war cannot afford them. And a senior member of the committee from Virginia threatened to issue subpoenas if Congress does not get data and documents from the Pentagon very soon about the underlying reasons for the closure of Joint Forces Command.

“I think I speak for the overwhelming majority on this committee, regardless of party, when I tell you that I do not support cutting the defense budget at this time,” HASC chairman Rep. Ike Skleton said at a Wednesday morning hearing on Pentagon efficiencies. The national security challenges this nation faces around the world dictate that we maintain the recent growth in our ground forces, the Army and the Marine Corps; that we modernize our Air Force; and that we grow our Navy.  To do this, we must continue to grow the base defense budget for some time to come.”

Skelton was echoed by the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Buck McKeon.  “My first concern is where we find $20 billion a year in cuts—in the midst of two wars—without also cutting back on required weapons and services needed to meet the threats of today and tomorrow. [Deputy Defense] Secretary Lynn, you’ve already announced that at least a third of the savings will come from within the force structure and modernization accounts—the same accounts the Secretary is attempting to grow. We have seen that setting arbitrary targets for cost savings, as appears to have happened with insourcing, can frequently not yield the expected results,” McKeon said.

While the Obama administration has publicly committed to keeping the defense budget rising at least one percent in real terms each year for the foreseeable future, House lawmakers were clearly concerned that the search for efficiencies would lead to cuts, especially to force structure.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn said he understood the pain specific cuts can bring, saying “everyone” supports the department’s quest to save money and be more efficient but they oppose specific actions. “If we don’t make those tough decisions, then we won’t get to that 100 billion dollars,” Lynn said.

While the committee sent a general message about the likely fate of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ crusade for $100 billion in efficiencies, it also probed deeply about whether it makes sense to disestablish Joint Forces Command. “As long as I am chairman I am going to do all I can to ensure that [joint] culture persists. I don’t want to see that slip away,” Skelton said, adding that he believed the four services would revert to “stovepipes” should JFCom vanish.

But Lynn argued that the command had grown three times in size since its creation without a substantial increase in mission, adding that he was “not sure that Joint Forces Command is the right way to” ensure America’s service fight and train jointly.

Rep. Forbes, clearly channeling the fear and confusion of his constituents and angry with the paucity of information coming out of the Pentagon so far, warned his colleagues that the Pentagon could do something similar “anywhere across the country.” If they “keep stonewalling” he said. The administration had placed a “gag order” on JFCom personnel, forbidding them from discussing plans to dissolve the command or to offer reasons to keep it.

One member raised a rare voice in support of the administration’s plans. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Coloradan who served in both the Army and the Marines, said  jointness is now so “ingrained” in the military that the administration is right to reconsider the command’s fate.

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Good Morning Folks,

Since until President Obama took office war funding was through a separate supplemental funding bill and not part of the DoD budget all the “junk” in DoD is war related.

Now that the wars are a line item in the DoD budget all the old pork that is trotting in the DoD budget now become sacred war related expenses.

I wonder where the F-35, EFV, JAGM come into play in Afghanistan?

It looks like the DoD has created at least three theatre level commands since 2000 Northern, Space and Cyber just to provide some General Officer slots for the United States Air Force. These commands are needless and are just more military pork.

I have yet to hear any serving or retired military officer defend saving the JFComm. One officer even mentioned that any command that has “joint” in it’s title could be shutdown and nobody would know the difference.

With over 1300 flag positions in the DoD, in 2000 there were about 1000, and they are still making more something has to be done.

Lets see if this post stays up. If not all the readers know where to fine me on google.


Byron Skinner

Glad to see the members of the HASC took a stand, that is better than most of the politicians in Washington I suppose.

“While the committee sent a general message about the likely fate of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ crusade for $100 billion in efficiencies.…”

I think part of the problem is, the DoD no longer knows how to invest in the short term to create efficiencies and greater saving in the long term.
How dependent (how much $$$ per year) does the DoD depend on the civilian power grid in the US, even worldwide, to maintain our bases?
How much available real estate can countless military installations convert into wind, solar, even tidal power, to further reduce energy dependencies?
How much military roof space (housing, warehouses, hangars, etc) could be covered in solar to drastically minimize electrical consumption from off-post sources?
Long term, how much could such steps save us in energy costs?
The DoD should be at the forefront of those technologies (solar, wind, tidal, fuel cells, etc), and patent the damn stuff (royalties!), not taking a back seat and letting the civilian sector lead the way.

…then again, god forbid we should have to sacrifice any pristine golf courses in the name of saving several thousand MW a year in outside-sourced power consumption.

In fact, one of my colleagues was in on the initial design of THAAD, and worked at Army Missile Command in Huntsville developing the radars, targetting, etc etc. He says it is a wonderful system that will probably be useful when we find someone to use it against. Patriot worked ok against the Iraqi Scud missiles but so did flying over Iraq and bombing the launchers. It will be easier to hit the launchers with UAVs next time.
Missile defense is great — we just do not really need it (as much as we need new family housing, refreshed M-1 tanks, etc).

Shail — I hate to be the first to tell you, but we have an Energy Department and universities and lots of organizations like that.

The DoD’s job is to shoot people.

If we divert them all to energy or recycling or saving the whales or something — can we send the park rangers from Yosemite over to Afghanistan?

Keep your coments to youself unless you know what the heck your talking about. Of course there is some waste. There always is when it comes to government spending. Let’s talk about cutting cost where the real money is military pay, military heath care, Military education cost. I’d bet your also not for the Draft.We can go back to the old days of poor pay, limited incentitives to serve. I’m for it. Just make sure your son and daughter is also in line when we start the draft. You want a professional force then there is a price-deal with it.

One area I would look at is why are we spending 24 mil to buy new AK’s and ammo for Iraq from Romania and Bulgaria, Just a few years ago we were bragging about how much they love the 12 mil worth of new m4’s we bought for them ( guess they changed thier minds ). Not to mention setting them up with HUMVEE’s, MRAPS, helos and prop planes we are also paying for. Kind of like how come we have to pay 74% of the UN budget and the rest of the world only has to chip in 26%, I mean it should be obvious by now we cant buy friends or votes with them. I just feel the DoD budget should go to the military only, let the rest of the world pick up thier own slack and belly up to the table.

I hate to go off topic, but something you wrote bothered me. Let me use someone else’s words:

the actual destruction of any Iraqi mobile launchers by fixed-wing Coalition aircraft remains impossible to confirm. Coalition aircrews reported destroying around eighty mobile launchers; another score or so were claimed by special operations forces. Most of these reports undoubtedly stemmed from attacks that did destroy objects found in the Scud launch areas. But most, if not all, of the objects involved now appear to have been decoys, vehicles such as tanker trucks that had infrared and radar signatures impossible to distinguish from those of mobile launchers and their associated support vehicles, and other objects unfortunate enough to provide “Scud-like” signatures…
From: Gulf War Air Power Survey Summary Report, by Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, 1993

Back to topic, the HASC approach strikes me as a large case of Don’t cut in my backyard.

Yep, spend like a Democrat when it comes to defense.

Last time I checked. Colt was still selling them M16A4s.

Charles.Not trying to enter in a debate,the logistics of fuel is part of shoot people​.In my humble opinion( and I think Navy opinion too) we should go to a all nuclear energy provided military.

The son and daughter in the draft line ought to reduce the general public’s willingness to go to war in the first place. Hence saving even more money from the defense budget. Good idea.

They are the ones lending America more dept money, so that Americans can go there instead.

Something I just cannot understand is how the USA is going to continue funding the military considering it is bankrupt. Where is the money going to come from, how are the programmes going to be funded. At the same time weapons manufacture is just about the only type of manufacture left in the USA.

They are still selling them but no longer have the monopoly, the last two contracts were from FN/USA with SOCOM going H&K and LWRC.

Correction to my last post — (confused it with another), The answer is no — the M4’s were Ok on the range but they realized not only is it not a man stopper up close, it is also harder to maintain and keep operational, not to mention they read the same things we do about the troops wanting a better weapon. They want M14’s but since we cant even get enough for ourselves they went back to AK’s, since we destroyed most of thiers they stuck us with the bill for replacements.

Will definitely not argue with you on the benefits of 2-seat vs 1-seat. I have quite a strong opinion on the benefits of two brains vs 1 (don’t ask me about F-4 Wild Weasels vs F-16s with pods, I might soapbox for a while). And I can take your amended point on suppressing Scud activity, although proving a negative is always difficult. I just didn’t get that from your original point, and I was pretty familiar with our inability to find real launchers.

Back again to topic, the HASC comments incline me further to “throw all the Congress out, and let’s start over.” But that’s another soapbox…

Completely wrong about missile defense, as are your past comments on the subject. Your post is nothing but conjecture — not a single fact. Here’s a fact for you — GMD is prepared to shoot any N. Korean missile capable of reaching American soil any time their tinpot dictator launches one. The fact that they can’t launch one far enough YET is irrelevant. Which is more expensive; GMD or rebuilding Seattle?

Sorry Charlie: there are a lot of those universities involved in researching technologies to improve our warfighters’ abilities as well.
Do we now tell them to butt out and let the DoD worry about its warfighters, and those colleges and unis can go looking for large grants somewhere else?

And as far as their job being to shoot people, I was more of the understanding that the DoD/US military is more a deterrent force, almost peace keeepers even, rather than a collection of butchers who travel the world killing and conquering solely for the sake of “it’s their job”.

And no, it doesn’t take the entire efforts and budget of the DoD to become more energy efficient.
It just takes our leadership, be it civilians or military brass, to actually listen to the ideas of those who recognize problems that can be remedied.
If you have better ideas of how to make our military more efficient (including lessening energy dependencies) and budget friendly without detracting from our overall capabilities, let’s hear it.

You act like congress actualy cares about our sons and daughters — they will just keep thiers in school and unelligible for the draft and send ours straight ahead just as they have always done.

Alan — following your “logic” we should build lots of defenses against other threats that might emerge one day. A fortress to retreat to should aliens ever land? Coastal defenses against Chinese battleships shelling our homeland? North Korea can hardly get a rocket past Japan, and they do not have an operational nuke that can go on a rocket. GMD is prepared to shoot AT anything, but the ability to actually hit it will always remain unproven.

A person with any military knowledge at all would choose to spend money on things that we have needed for several years — refurbed M-1 Abrams tanks with sufficient electrical power, etc. Instead of on a defense against a threat that might appear one day. Unless of course the North Koreans give up like the East Germans, and the Soviets, and the rest of the Warsaw Pact did.

I am sure glad we did not bomb Poland, since they now fly F-16s and are allies.

Have you ever read about missile defense (the newspaper does not count)?

You cannot wait until the enemy proves their “ability to actually hit”.

Defenses must be developed well in advance because research and development is a very long process.

The West is at war. We must not be naive, terrorism maybe lethal for freedom in US and Europe.
In the meantime Iran, Siria, China and North Korea are taking advantage of terrorism against us. They are racing and catching up the western defense tecnology and at least some of them are directly supporting terrorism and willing to clash with the West.

Therefor, defense budgets must be (at least) manteined in US and heavily increased in Europe.

Are US and Europe bankrupted? I think we are, but cuts must come from other expenses, not from defense budgets: it is a matter of survival.

Kids today, you say boo to them and they run away and hide under the table, quivering with fear.

Those of us old enough to remember the cold war just laugh at this. Back then there really was a chance that war would be lethal for freedom in US and Europe. It was 26 divisions ready to roll over the German border tens of thousands of nuclear weapons ready to wipe life off the planet — not 18 guys with box cutters.

Not only is most of the money wasted but all this money is being spent on a generation or losers who are casualty shy, cant be bothered working out what the strategy is and have to have reduced length tours so they don’t go funny in the head.


The expenses on military R&D could definitely be more efficiently targeted and missile defense should remain a priority. However, national defense requires a national focus. For instance, how many absolutely and unmitigated wasteful scientific programs could reap billions in savings if abolished. An example would be deep space exploration projects and other non-military theoretical science programs that could more readily be supported through private research grants. Face it, without the assurance of national security and the security of our national interests, all of the other ‘nice to haves’ are moot. Priorities in times of fiscal constraint used to be a rote disciplined response; now we must be reminded of how spending must be cut when dollars are tight and that national security must never be sacrificed in lean times.

“Patriot worked ok against the Iraqi Scud missiles but so did flying over Iraq and bombing the launchers.” I disagree with this statement. Although I dont know the stats but ive read reports saying
the F-15E’s where having a hard time finding the Scud launchers in the first place.

Despite the fact that I think the USA should have a strong Defense, I am very concerned that It will come at the expense of debt to be financed by our countries and cause another financial meltdown. I do not think the confidence exists any more.
It seems that the savings being discussed, are nothing in comparision to the expenditure required.

You should remember several things.
First, actually East Germany and other european countries were rolled over buy such divisions. If you were living on those countries, sure you would not say what you said.

Second, if the other european countries were not under soviets was by the western military nuclear power.

So money was not wasted.

That’s unfortunate. See what Gates did to the F-22? How about him pushing through the LCS? Have you watched the Air Force and Navy fleets age and decline under his watch? His decisions will lead to the US military going to war some day lacking the supremacy we have grown accustomed to. Do you want to dominate an enemy or just barely beat him? The LCS and JSF won’t dominate anything and those are the future he wants. The HASC has thankfully added ships to the Navy budget and challenged the JSF program to produce something other than powerpoint slides.

Actually, I read that we used A-10s a lot more, just that F-15E slips off my fingers more easily. And yes, we had a hard time finding the Scud launchers but just the fact that we were looking reduced their effectiveness. This discussion does apply to missile defense — if I was the head of the Missile Defense Agency, I would put up lots of plywood “missile defense” bases and deny that they existed. A pretend missile defense would be cheaper and about as effective as an actual one. No one is going to launch anything at us for (probably) 20 years and in that time, think of how many M-1 tanks we could refurbish.

About time someone grew some balls.…

What’s wrong with this picture? Gates wants to streamlne so he can run his business better but congress tells him no stay fat and support our interests.….isn’t this the reverse of what normally goes on. Let Gates do what he does best!

The comment about Stealth technology not doing us “any significant good yet” was a particularly inane remark.

Note McKeon’s comment about the force structure and modernization accounts — there is just a lot of wasteful thrashing going on write now. We’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul for a good long time now. If you look at defense spending to GDP — it didn’t actually go about 4% until 2008, partly due to the surge in Iraq and end strength increased, partly due to the economy turning downward. Now it is above 5% (or maybe not — I don’t actually have the numbers). Defense spending to GDP from 1972–75 was 6.7% to 5.6%, in 1991 it was 5.4% (it helps to have someone else pay for your war). From 2001 to 2007 it went up from 3% to 3.9%. That is hardly breaking the bank. When you look at the totality of the federal deficit, this nickel-and-diming is really pretty dumb. Not saying that seeking efficiencies and reform are bad things. Just that current priorities are penny wise and pound foolish.


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