Lawmakers — 57 — Call for Cuts

Lawmakers — 57 — Call for Cuts

Complete UPDATE: Includes Analysis of Lawmakers Arguments

Four senators have joined 48 53 members of the House calling for cuts of as much as $1 trillion to the Pentagon budget.

The four senators — Ben Cardin, Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Ron Wyden — are all staunch liberals. The absence of any conservative or defense Democrats would appear to raise serious questions about just how much support such deep cuts would attract in the august body.

The letter by Rep. Barney Frank to his colleagues asking for their support calls for “targeting waste and mismanagement at DoD,” first and foremost, indicating the general tenor of their approach. Then the letter goes on to call for “a frank assessment of current U.S. military goals and strategies, which in many cases involve outdated assumptions that leave the United States spending money on commitments as well as weaponry that are no longer necessary for our national security, and are in fact unexamined relics of the Cold War.”

Frank clearly seeks a return to the isolationist approach on spending. “Many of these commitments involve extending protections to other nations that ought to be carrying the burden of defending themselves to a much greater extent than they currently are,” he argues.

But what is really interesting is the distance between the letter above, sent to Frank’s colleagues to convince them to sign on to a separate letter intended for the presidential National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This group is compiling recommendations to the White House on whether, and how much, and where funds should be cut from the federal budget.

They target the size of the Defense Department budget, operating from the age-old theory that you cut where the money is. “The Department of Defense currently takes up almost 56% of all discretionary federal spending, and it accounts for nearly 65% of the increase in annual discretionary spending levels since 2001. Much of this increase, of course, is attributable to direct war costs, but nearly 37% of discretionary spending growth falls under the ‘base’ or ‘peacetime’ military budget,” they say in the letter to the commission.

The good news is, they say, “substantial cuts can be made without” angering any veterans or retired military. And it can be done “without threatening our national security, without cutting essential funds for fighting terrorism…” And we can still fund counter-terror operations “without cutting essential funds.”

After all that good news, they go on to target American commitments overseas. They say “much” of those savings can be extracted If “we are willing to make an honest examination of the cost, benefit, and rationale” of those commitments which date to the Cold War. “Given the relative wealth of these [European and Asian] countries, we should examine the extent of this burden that we continue to shoulder on our own dime,” the letter to the commission says.

And then there are those “Cold War-era weapons systems and initiatives such as missile defense.” And then there’s the money that could be saved with improving Pentagon acquisition. They cite no less a source than former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who “has speculated that waste and mismanagement accounted for at least 5% of the Pentagon budget annually…:”

By contrast, the letter to fellow members ranks “waste” at the top of the list and then goes after those foreign commitments. Make those foreigners we help pay for our help or make them help themselves, the developing line seems to be. Rep. Ron Paul’s endorsement of this approach may indicate the Tea Party types may endorse this, as have some isolationist factions in the GOP over the years. Whether the post-World War II consensus that American interests are well served by power projection will be the test of this latest effort to curb waste, abuse and to make those foreign devils pay.

But the signers of the letter to the presidential commission rule out the one area where money could be saved straight off, saying that “we are opposed to cuts in services and increased fees for our veterans and military retirees.” Boil all of that down and you are left with overseas bases and weapons as the only places to cut.

Here’s the list of most of the House members who’ve signed (a few were added after we got our copy of the letter):

Baldwin, Blumenauer, Capuano, Clay, Cohen, Conyers, Cummings, DeFazio, Delahunt, Doyle, Donna Edwards, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Frank, Grayson, Grijalva, Hastings, Honda, Lee, Lewis, Maloney, Markey, McCollum, McGovern, George Miller, Gwen Moore, Nadler, Norton, Olver, Pallone, Paul, Polis, Price, Quigley, Rush, Linda Sanchez, Schrader, Serrano, Sires, Stark, Tierney, Thompson, Waters, Watt, Welch,  Woolsey and Wu.

[Eds. note: The $1 trillion figure is not quoted in the letter but it comes from a report called “Debt, Deficits and Defense: A Way Forward” which the letter’s authors have cited repeatedly as their benchmark for cuts.

Join the Conversation

I don’t neceassrily disagree with reducing the foriegn support. Yet where we have clear and proven allies (UK, Austrailia, etc.…) we need to remain. the allies of convience (Pakistan, KSA, Kuwait etc…) drop ‘em. Like lead balloon. They have hurt more then helped.

I do find it funny how the DoD offers cuts.…then Congress, derides the DoD’s cuts as uncalled for and without thought (JSCOM, JSF 2nd engine…). This is a power play. Congress is really the power of the purse and took offense at gates applying cuts without thier “permission”. So they upped the ante.

Either way the soldier is again in the middle.

I don’t necessarily disagree with Jerry’s thoughts on foreign aid reform or Congressional pressure to cut *structural* waste. That said, we’ve all seen how well isolationism has worked throughout history..

They need to start at the white house and capital first — reduce all pay 50% for congress, reduce all congressional staffs 60%, dlelete meals — health — dental — vision — life insurance 100% and make them pay for thier own like everyone else including regular non congressional government employees, remove all tenure and retirement benefits for congress 100%, take waway all govt vehicles and aircraft (except for pres limmo, AF1, Marine1). Fire all of the first ladys staff ( no one elected her to an office), Fire the cooks and cleaning staff for the personnal quarters at the white house and let them fend for themselves. I think I just save over a trillion and am just getting warmed up.

“a frank assessment of current U.S. military goals and strategies, which in many cases involve outdated assumptions that leave the United States spending money on commitments as well as weaponry that are no longer necessary for our national security, and are in fact unexamined relics of the Cold War.”

Can’t say I disgree with this assesment.Our paying and subsidizing of defesne for wealthy industrilzed countries (when we are running deficits) needs to be seriously looked at. Morever, we have NATO contries cutting back defesne budgets like we are going to pick up the slack.

Cuts are coming, but how constructive the conversation is going to be when you throw a bunch of idealogical Liberals, Conservatives, and parochial interesst into the mix is anyone’s guess.

I dont think anyone is talking about isolationism, just not financialy supporting other countries outright from our own budgets. Trade is still an option we just aint going to bribe you to trade with us is all we are suggesting.

You do realize that most Congressional staffers make around $40K right. This is to work basically 7 days a week. Senior staffers can get up to around $80, but you never get rich working on the Hill. How do you expect to keep decent people in the jobs without paying them. Its one of the reasons I never left the private sector to head over to the Hill, I couldn’t afford the pay cut.

I agree that we should seriously look into our subsidzing of other wealthy countries defense but i do not think cuts are garunteed. Remember, congressmen are all for saving money until that money comes from their district. Also this “large” group of lawmakers shouldnt bring fear to the DOD budget planners. You have 4 of the most liberal senators (one of them is a self-described democratic socialist) and a group of 47 most likely liberal congressman and 1 nutjob libertarian congressman who would probably get rid of the Air force since it wasnt around in the time of the founders. Remember, there are 535 congress-critters so we are talkin about less than 10% of congressmen.…10% is no where near a majority nor does it sound like any of those members are in influential defense districts. There was an article about 2 weeks ago in which Ike skelton– the HASC chair said with almost certainty that no cuts were coming to the DOD in the near future– that would tell you something

Plus remember in this economy of high unemployement, defense spending=jobs in many districts. Also the deficit will start reducing after next year on its own as the economy improves and the fiscal stimulus starts to taper off. when your tax base deacreses by 500 billion, and you spend 500 billion on stimulus ofcourse you are goin to get a trillion dollar deficit.

Good MOrning Folks,

Sorry BOOMER this is not isolationism, it just cleaning house of a lot of legacy platforms that no longer have have a real use in the military.

I’m on the side of the $ trillion folks and would even go farther and put BMD on the table and save another half $ trillion. Nearly all of these programs have been ten years or more in development and have nothing to do with fighting the current wars.

Example the Air Power Summary for Oct. 3 in Afghanistan/Iraq. B-1B Missions 2/shot of presence, no combat. MQ-9B Reaper USAF 1 sortie fired a missile over enemy positions as a show of force. F-16C 2 sorties, “armed watch”, A-10 1 sortie “armed watch”, F-18C with an MQ-9 B1 sortie, fired a show of force over the” enemies heads.”

This clearly shows that we have more then enough air power for out current wars and have no need for the F-35 in any form.

On the EFV-“their ain’t no beaches in Afghanistan” was a comment recently by a military officer. I was also reminded that the terrorists are not dummies and remember Fallugah and the Army’s concept of the AH strike doctrine? It died on it’s first mission, the EFV if it ever caomes about would suffer the same results on it’s first opposed beach.

Another observation. The EU’s and UK are lovin the US spending big on Defense, of course British and French companies will benefit with business (BAE and Thalas) but also it permits European countries to cut their own defense and put more money into popular social programs.

It is noted that in the US Social Security is going into it’s second year of a freeze and can expect a third year. Meanwhile the pigs in the Pentagon ore crying for mo’ money for useless never to be used platforms and systems.

The elderly of the United States are supporting the EU’s and UK’s healthcare, lavish unemployment and pensions for their elderly.

The US DoD seems OK with supporting social programs in other countries by taking up the role of the worlds cop and spending over $700 billion, but the elderly in the United States can go to He**.

Our national priorities are all screwed up in the United States. The investors in the arms business in the United States, won’t give up a dime of their return on investment to help the elderly and the provide healthcare for all.

A 50% cut in DoD procurement would be only start.

Thats my buzz allocation for today. The other recent post are not worth the efforts, we have covered that ground several times before.

Byron Skinner

This goes beyond the deficit. One of the questions asked should be, should the U.S. pay for or subsidize the defense of other countries (especially industrilized countries)-period. Should we currently have missions where we currently have them?

I didnt say cut staffers pay 60% I said cut thier staffs 60%, some of these guys have staffs (aids/secretaries/speech writers/personal valets/ and so on that they should not have).

At some point, we need to step back and ask some real ugly questions. When do we actually start paying for these wars and not just putting it on the tab. The reality is this, we need to build a “New Force”, soon, like yesterday. It may be configured completely differently, with all of its logistics and different goals. This “New Force” will be a Military force, not a mercenary force. Then we need to find the people to fill the slots. Yes, there would be ways to transition into the “New Force”. The main thing you will see in its core values is Discipline.

Uh — I never said it was isolationism, I agree there are programs that need to be cut in the DoD never said there wasnt, only stated that while some programs need to be cut that the budget does not — just redirected to our DoD and not other countries. As far as social cecurity goes that is a program that needs to be completely overhauled from scratch — It should only be paid to US borne citizens, It should be standardized for all at retirement age (say everyone at 62 gets $2,500.00 a month) you must be retirement age or truthfuly not legaly disabled, in other words you are not employable in any category and at this point you can only recieve and amount equivalent to what you have paid in (average is about 571.00 a month). Criminals who are designated unemployable because no one wants to hire them should not be SS elligble as neither should recovering alchoholics and druggies or overweight people as they do now. Also how about no student loans to non US born non American citizens also,

CONTINUED: or how about if you recieve a medical school loan you have to work at a VA or community hospital till its paid off in full while being deducted from your paycheck (if you default you loose your license). Thing is there are a number of things that could be done to reduce govt spending that are more realistic than cutting the military. We need to improve our internal infrastructure and industry to provide jobs and do away with free loading scocial programs period and let other countries stand on thier own rather than on our backs.

Health care for all on the government dime, the taxpayers dime, no way. We will end up with an economy perpetually stuck in low growth, with eventual rationing. i have actually talked to someone from ireland, who has stated, socialized medicine is not that good. he stated people come to the United States from ireland for treatment. Besides if you go down the road, of socialism you are getting away from the very principles this country was founded upon. Socialism and the phrase “Don’t Tread On Me”, do not coincide.

BOOMER is doing a good enough job talking about your other points but I wanted to bring up your “we don’t need any new aircraft issue.”

You just cited examples of F-16s, A-10s, F/A-18s and other aircraft providing air support, and yes they can continue to do this, but they do age and suffer from wear and tear. Sooner or later (about the time the F-35 enters full-scale production) many of these aircraft will need to be replaced. While an overhaul and upgrade may be possible, for the same money you can get a superior fighter with lower life-cycle costs.

Yes yes I am a cold hearted ******* for wanting my tax dollars to go to a new F-22 rather than some health-care boondoggle, I’ve heard it before. Yet I am expected to take care of my family without the governments aid and I doubt I will ever see any of my money that has gone into the system to pay for social security and etc.

House Members have a fixed budget to fill out their staff, so it varies from office to office. The largest total House office I’ve seen is about 30 paid staffers (split between DC and the district). Generally on the House side the Legislative Aides cover about 6–8 subject areas and Legislative Correspondents cover the same number of areas. There is generally one scheduler who is also the main “secretary” if you will. Its not like they are swimming with staff. On the Senate side, where I interned there is usually a staff around 100–120 total, again split between DC and various local offices. This could be a lot for a state like South Dakota. But in Florida its a ton of work for a very small group of people. As far as personal valets go, there aren’t any. Usually the Chief of Staff does a lot of the driving, or some of the senior policy aides who are the real experts in the office. In the district its usually an intern who gets face time with the Member as reward for sitting at a desk taking calls from irate constituents all day. I’ve worked with former staffers from both sides of the aisle and Capitol Hill as well as the Committees, all appreciated their time on the Hill. But really appreciate the much reduced workload in the private sector. Especially the committee guys, they work like slaves especially on the minority side.

The bottom line is they always revert to wanting to cut a military they feel has grown to large to fund but never the government itself. In truth we would be better off and more efficient if the actual state government senators also filled the federal senate seats and the governors filled the house seats, this would be more representive of the people than the current std and ensure state soverignty is not impeeded upon by the federal government while greatly reducing the governments size and power to impose programs that the states do not want. At the same times we need to do away with the littoral votes and go 100% peoples vote. Voting ballots should be attached to our W2’s and submitted with our income taxes to ensure only US citizens and tax payers are allowed to vote. May not be perfect but better than what we are doing right now.

Well, here are 57 lawmakers I hope we can all say goodbye to in November. I do wonder if this is a last desperate push before the Democrats lose their position of power?

One can only hope.

The idea that the threat level justifies the overall military budget is laughable. We are currently spending $2.5 billion every year per Al Quaeda member just to chase them around Afghanistan. When you add up the war on terror spending each Al Qaeda member is pulling down a cool $8 billion per year. No wonder they are considered superstars.

Actually as Boomer points out the threat level doesn’t matter, defense spending has become just a a big social service to a small portion of America. What matters is American defense industry wants not the security level or what the taxpayer can afford.

I guess Barney and the gang are ready to hand the world to China. If you have not paid attention to China, I recommend you get started. That argument isn’t about tomorrow, or next year, but more to the tune of a decade. If you think they are to play nice, ask the Vietnamese fishermen they take into custody for fishing in the South China Sea, or ask the Japanese for taking a trawler captain into custody for ramming two of their Coast Guard ships. Then take a good, long hard look at what China has been doing to shore up resources. If it doesn’t give you cause to pause, I would encourage you to consider that big powerful nations play by rules other than power politics at their peril.

If you look at the defense budget as a percentage of federal spending and compare it year by year since WWII, you will find that we spend less on defense than in the past. The real drivers on the budget are entitlements. Until we get a handle on that nothing else matters.

Nancy Pelosi should be assigned a much smaller aircraft for her “commute” to California “every weekend”! She definitely doesn’t need a “757”, if a Lear-jet will do the job, and save a ton of money! She has been spoiled, and treated like the little baby she is! She didn’t want to stop for a 20-minute fuel stop on her way home, and back to D.C. That’s too bad! I’m sure that we could save a few million, here by using the Lear Jet. Hopefully, after the November elections, she’ll have to go back to taking the multi-stop red-eye home again (if she’s re-elected).

Let’s look at what “isolationism” refers to. It comes from the understanding of WWII that says if someone had stood up to Hitler, instead of trying to “appease” him, that the War never would have started, or at least not been as devastating. America, I guess, was somehow on the hook for this, because we were at home being “isolationist.”

Go back to 1917– America’s intervention in WWI had a great deal to do with ending that War before the European combatants were “fought out.” Germany’s capitulation before it was invaded led to the “stabbed in the back legend.” Incoherent US foreign policy afterward, rejection of the Versailles Treaty, loans to Germany to help pay excessively punitive reparations, and fiscal stupidity that resulted in the Great Depression, all contributed to the conditions that fomented the second War.

If anything, from that you can make a good case that we should have stayed out of the First World War altogether. But somehow, that complicated mess is boiled down to “interventionism is better than isolationism.” That certainly serves many entrenched Washington interests today.

“Isolationism” now is nothing more than a codeword used to stifle thought and debate. It’s past time to overturn these old dogmas.

Even if we were to adopt isolationist policies why should we let our military become the laughing stock of the world? I say we maintain that edge as it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

In the first place, I don’t think it’s even possible to be an isolationist country any longer.

As for the military, what I’ve got in mind is admittedly a little vague, but I’ve got a good imagination. Nobody’d be laughing.

- Might as well say I’m just in favor of a lot less interventionism. My question in the other thread probably sounds like a challenge, but it’s only half that. I’m really trying to come up with some good examples of what we’ve gotten for our trouble with all these brush fires. I know our history pretty well, and I’m not finding much.

Why on earth would we cut BMD? It is a one-of-a-kind global capability that has serious inertia to start and stop. It is a functional, if embryonic capability thus far. There are global ballistic missile threats that are not in Iraq and Afghanistan. Justify your position.

Folks, some of the comments here are off the wall. U.S. defense spending is a completely reasonable percentage of GDP or GNP, no matter how you look at it. I’m completely in support of Europe getting itself together and actually building a military capability, and I’m completely in support of a restrained foreign policy. But why on earth would we cut projects that are necessary for force sustainability (F-35) or capabilities expansion? (BMD) Conventional ballistic missiles that will probably kick us out of the South China Seas eventually could eventually deny us freedom of the seas.

That GDP/ GNP argument is just another way of saying the defense industry is entitled to their cut. — No thanks. Throwing more money at them hasn’t resulted in better behavior. Base the force on the goals you want to achieve with it, not some arbitrary percentage.

And how are you going to restrain foreign policy, without changing the nature of the force you want to sustain? Different priorities = a different force.

The US no longer has the political will or financial resources for open ended commitments. We must examine our global strategic posture and consider where our frontiers are. Defense spending is going to decline. The “stimulus” bill ensured that by increasing the budgets of non-defense agencies by 10% — 20%. The spending is now baked into the budget and will never be cut.

We must abandon Afghanistan. Spending priorities should go to the Navy, Marines and Air Force with a focus on strategic war fighting and power projection. We must examine our allies and commit to defend those whom we feel are truly capable of defending themselves and with whom we share common interest and values. That means we must assume Pakistan is in the enemy camp. The fact that they are nuclear armed tells us all we need to know about the kind of conflict we should be preparing for. Contingency plans for the destruction of Pakistani nucs by any means required must be our #1 priority.

We are going to be forced to abandon counter-insurgency. We cannot continue to squander lives and will on black holes that offer no path to decisive action.

Yeah, we have a lot of 20–30 yr old planes. We don’t need new ones, like China, Russia, etc.
They won’t use them against us, just ask them.

The “force should equal threats” argument fails when applied to defense, just as it does in the private sector. Projects have inertia. This isn’t World War II, and you can’t cook up a solution to a major technology gap in a year.

Extending the same logic leads to the standing army argument. I don’t think anybody wants to work up a projection-capable military force on a per-threat basis. Why should development and procurement be any different?

Maybe I was unclear, but “force should equal threats” is not my argument. “Strategies to Tasks” is probably the correct jargon for what I’m aiming at. That still allows, and in fact demands creativity and adaptation to stay ahead of the threat.

As for the stretched-out development time lines, I think we can get much faster. Dan Ward’s FIST ( Fast — Inexpensive — Simple — Tiny ) approach makes a lot of sense. Kelly Johnson would recognize it.

Goodbye 57, two words for ya ” Your Fired ”

Here we go again with the old cut defense. They did that under Carter and looked what happened. I do not trust those liberal DemocRATS. They will take the money they cut from defense and instead of using it to cut the National debt they have caused, the DemocRATS will end up spending it on dead beat social programs that will end up costing those of us who are still working more in taxes.

I agree that we must take a hard look at cutting the “pork” and unecessary spending in the defense budget, but not at the cost of national security, current military operations or retiree pay and benefits. One of the first issues that needs to be addressed is the fraud, waste and abuse or money spent on travel and lodging for many unecessary “boondoggle” trips to conferences etc. With today’s technologies, many of these conferences and meetings can be attended via VTC. The Veteran College Tution of $45K plus, needs to be seriously relooked at also. Paying veterans with only a few years of service, for a full ride to college plus and a $1500 housing allowance a month is a little over the top. Perhaps tuition assistance or tuition based upon years of honorable service would be more applicable. There are many states that offer free college tuition to veterans residing with home of record in that state. We face erosion of many of our retiree benefits for men and women who have given at least 20 years or more of honorable service to this country and now face rising costs for those benefits or complete loss of those benefits. .

We give free medical care through MEDICAID to the unemployed and illegal persons in this country, yet Congress looks to cut the Defense budget and veterans benefits. We all need to “tighten our belts” and look at how we can conserve without causing unecessary cuts to current military readiness and benefits for active duty and retirees. These issues are only the “tip of the iceberg” for spending issues that should and need to be addressed and corrected. Nov 2nd will afford the opportunity for active duty, veterans and retirees to ensure our voices are heard in DC to make the right decision for those who serve and have served honorably.

I would have to agree with the previous comments. In a City where one is considered empoverished with $50,000 a year, I think you would get even less productivity from staff by slashing their salaries. Also, I am sure that your anger is based off the knowledge of the overall budget of Congress. Which, I have no doubts you are aware that Congress, to include the complex, Capitol Police, and services totals $3.9 million dollars. Which is far less than the ill fated expeditionary fighting vehicle. This blood lust over Congress should really be based off of facts, rather than anger one might get from a forwarded email message.

Tipical political bolderdash — It is kinda hard to cut veterans benefits when we have so many men & women returning from the “War” and need help! Oh, they (politicians) changed the program, with a simple stroke of a pen, does not help, when you are wounded, & disabled — your disability never goes away! I think that all politicians should not receive full medical, dental, optical, benefits, after serving a few years in elected office — that would greatly decrease budgeting cost, more so than taking it away from our veterans!

The isolationist impulse has a long history in America, stretching back to George Washington’s famous speech warning against “entangling alliances.” We have tended to lurch between an expansionist impulse (Texas, Philippines, Cuba, Lousiana Purchase, Hawaii, World War II, the Cold War, and, most lately, Iraq) and the isolationist impulse (before World War I, Father Coughlin, Lindbergh and others before World War II, and many other who opposed most of the expanionist efforts above). But isolationism tends to lose out in the face of political, strategic and economic benefits and tends to be linked to tough economic times in the U.S.

I see all the communists in our military are upset about possible cuts.

cutting defense budgets are never a good thing for the military, what normaly happens is only a couple useless programs actually get cut and many needed programs go right along with them. the last thing the us needs right now is the current bunch of clowns in dc messing with the military. they have all fumbled and bumbled the economy and the us budget, and if thats any sign of how defense cuts will go, the military will be back @ 1979 strength when we couldnt even launch a rescue mission for americans in iran. i got a better idea for america to save some moneys. drop all these stupid social programs many of which do not help american citiuzens but foregners and illegals sure benefit. its like wellfare for the world. must be nice to live a comfortable life on someone elses dime.

amen!!!!!!! ive seen some vary similar traits to carter and obama (first thought when i heard defense cuts) but i think obama has taken the biggest pile award, amazing how our liberals preach one thing and do another. just look at how our liberals live . prime example: michelle obamas 23 assistants. no first lady has ever had more than 3 and that was a big deal. most only had 1.

and she was the one hounding the gm execs about there luxury’s. typical lib. hypocrite

One thing I think is worth noting. Linda Sanchez is just plain nuts. She has B-1 Bob Dornan’s old district, where you can’t drive to the supermarket without passing by the Boeing Company. What was she thinking ? This person sits on the HASC, and has major defense industry and high tech interests in her district. Facepalm…

It is a long way down for the US Defense Budget to get to the NATO standard of 2% defense spending over GDP. Most of our allies are looking upward, not downward at that threshhold. I doubt very much that if the US took that as their goal — a 50% cut in defense spending — that there would be a NATO spending goal to worry about anymore. Hence, the burden sharing argument is simply bogus a priori. So is the “wasteful spending” argument…there is no fat left to cut, just bone and muscle. Thanks for your contribution to weakening our national defense.

The kids tell me that the parties are really outrageous, though…

Fact is that we can never beat the Europeans in a negative arms race. They’ll beat us to the bottom every time.

All Obama and the DemocRATS want to do is spread everyone else’s wealth around but not theirs. Have you seen any rich DeomocRATS say spread my wealth.

It is a bad time to inject structural employment into an economy that looks so much like the Carter era…all we need is uncontrolled inflation on top of massive unemployment…

I being a retired military person will do my duty and NOTvote for any DemocRAT. All they want to do is spend money, on social programs that discourgae people from working and lowers the amout of people left to pay the bills, like a drunken GI then blame us for it.

Fact is, you cannot overturn geography. Any US military force must be projected over thousands of miles, consisting mostly of oceans. There is a price you pay for forward deployment, and a premium you pay for force projection. You wanna tell me which is cheaper ? Which makes this nation more secure ? The “isolationist” comment was a mite inflammatory, but the central question is — what is our strategy ? How do we expect to generate the force needed to execute that strategy ? I’m sick of all these Washington “experts” using sour grapes arguments to explain why this country needs to contract its strategic depth and why that’s such a good and necessary and noble thing. Garbage. Call a spade a spade, people. The abyss is the limit.

Just give me one straight answer, Skinner — what is YOUR Defense spending to GDP percentage target ? Two percent ? 2.5 % ? How, in fact, do you propose to get to those numbers ? If you cannot answer those questions, then every thing you wrote is just hot air.

In a continental defense strategy, BMD is indispensible. A must. There I go again, trying to be rational.…

The only question I have in response to this is whether you are morally prepared to go back to the Reagan Doctrine and use insurgency tactics and precision strike to destabilize and deter all the bad guys who will emerge along the Eurasian land mass ? If you can go to bed at night with the understanding that your nation is now the material cause of instability around the world, instead of the stabilizing force — that ‘world’s policeman” — then your position is at least internally logical.

FYI: The communists are in the White House and the Democrat Party not in the military.

Double facepalm. Case of mistaken identity. I managed to confuse Linda Sanchez (CA-39 district, Southern LA County) with her sister Loretta, who represents the 47th California District (Anaheim, Orange County). So maybe it ain’t “so” bad, since the 39th lies on the other side of Long Beach. Still, one does wonder how many Boeing employees commute south on 405 every morning to get to work in Orange County.…seems to me that the traffic gets kinda heavy that way…

Expansionism is the wrong word. We are not trying to move into these places for keeps. We are engaged in Interventionism.

This probably traces back to Wilsonian idealism and its roots in the idea of American Exceptionalism. World War One left a bad taste in American mouths, and we rejected Wilsonianism until World War Two became inevitable. The necessity of fighting WWII is beyond doubt. The Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War were also necessities. The experience of those twelve years coupled with the massive power in the hands of the United States, and an active enemy in Communism, pushed us into a pattern of interference in other nations. The term “isolationist” is an epithet today, because of those experiences.

However, what we have treated as the right and duty of the United States to intervene wherever and whenever we see fit has not produced the intended results. War is a force of chaos. It cannot be bent to do our bidding. The truth of that can be seen from Vietnam right through to our present conflicts.

Isolationism is probably impossible for our country, and I do not advocate it. I think we’d do well to treat Interventionism the same.

>Health care for all on the government dime, the taxpayers dime, no way.

Why not if cradle to grave health care is good enough for veterans then it’s good enough for the rest of America.

Our military is the world largest child care provider, no surprise at that it is very much in line with military socialist thinking.

A “totally impartial and objective panel of defense experts” is pretty freakin’ hypothetical… But the answer is yes.

(Now, if you come back at me with the QDR or that Independent Review, I’m going to laugh at you. Probably hurt my ribs.)

Just like those porgressives always the miltary the first to get cut, for once what about the EPA Homeland security HUD programs, never not there pets. for once why don’t thay get a nut sack like the men and woman who died for there FREEDOM.

There is no real use anymore for troops in Japan, Korea, Germany, UK, Kuwait etc. The reasoning that the countries involved should be taking a larger part in their own defense is quit sound. Most European countries for example have been leaning heavily on US troop presence. It is time to end that. If bases are needed for troop deployments you can do the same other countries do, lease them on a temporary basis with a sound underlying SOFA. No need for permanent stationing. As for hospital services like those presently available in Germany, serving troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, those can be easily provided by the Germans themselves on the same principles. It is time to start thinking out of the box and in favor of the US wallet.

I do believe that it is based on time in service. Members that have only completed a year or two do not receive full benefits however, those members may have had two tours in Iraq. Many join to receive these benefits and is a lure for this modern volunteer Army. Do I think that its fair that someone that has 6 years of service receive the same benefits as a retiree? No. and they don’t receive the same because a 20 yr vetran receives a retirement check, ID Card and have access for the rest of thier lives to medical benefits, or post priveledges. But those soldiers who do volunteer during war time do deserve a chance to improve thier standard of living by getting an education. Although they can receive up to the Max many university’s tuitions are well below the max. And if $1500 provides them with lodging and food, I applaud them for thier efforts and committment. However I do track yout sentiments about the other issues.

defense spending means jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs in the USA. seems to me any reduction in defene spending will be a very hard sell.
every nation in NATO, as well as most other countries could and should pay most of the cost of the US military operations conducted within the borders of each respective nation. however, seems to me that there may be numerous hidden benefits from our military being welcomed into any nations borders.

How come nobody never talks about wholesale retirements and layoffs ?
That ought t to get the federal silly service unions flapping their gums…
Bring back another BRAC round in 2012.
What about laying off all of those silly service servants who are federal employees attached to the
pentagon and whole contracting out any nonessential military or civilian occupational title and cutting
back the contracting budget. at the same time.?
Make it easier for silly servants to retire with the buyout program and lowered retirement age requirements.
There are so many useless people in the pentagon that are completely useless including people in the military that never served in Iraq and Afganistisan.
face it this going to happen and a trillion dollars is just a drop in the bucket in the pentagon budget and both of the obscene wars in Iraq and Afganistisan should have ended a long time ago.

Great place to save massive amounts of money would be by pulling our 2 combat Brigades out of Korea. Korea has the money and manpower to defend themselves. They burn our flags and complain to the point of rioting every time one of our troops misbehaves. Really time to let that place fend for itself. Maybe keep Osan, and some tent city patches in case they do need our help, but lets quit spending our money to protect a people who don’t really want to be protected. And how about the UK? slashing their Defense budget to prop up the welfare state. Why? Because they think the stupid Yanks will spend themselves in to bankruptcy to defend the UK. Time we show the world that’s not the case. Bring our troops home, make sure we stay strong, but hire and pay American for all those jobs foreigners do today.

If the stopped spending money on the illegals in this country and deported them all back to their home country we could save millions of dollars alone. ALso if we stopped trying to aid every country that asked it would be a great relief on the budget. Being retired military myself I feel that we give away to much in foriegn aid and recieve nothing back as a nation. Military retirees have earned their benefits and should not have them cut, we have already sacrificed alot for our country.

Communst are not in the Military, but in both houses of congress and the white house. Your military allows you the freedoms you have and the right to those freedoms.

Part 1 / 2

To Mr. Byron Skinner

You wrote: “Thats my buzz allocation for today.”

My extensive trolling experience tells me that your 24-hours-long “blockade” after each daily post depends solely on your commentaries’ I.P. number. Meaning: “D.o.D. Buzz”‘s computer or “Military​.com” or SkyNet recognize that YOU sent them, and were instructed to shut the door after each daily comment you send.

Change your I.P. number, and you become incognito or “non-referenced” like most of the others, and then you’re free again to post a thousand messages a day, at least temporarily, before an irate Darth Clark on battlestation radioes his cyber-troopers for back-up. This is how it’s done:

1) Change your name or nick-name (for example to “Skinny Byron”),

2) use a COMPLETELY NEW , totally expendable E-Mail account (something like “”),


Part 2 / 2

3) use a computer or laptop you’ve never used before to post here (for example from your boss, from your kid, in some Cyber-Café or hotel lounge with public Internet corner, etc., or even a second-hand mobile phone with Internet)


4) use a different telephone line / Internet connection or mobile broadband modem (that’s maybe the most labourious part) …

If you STILL get automatically blocked after one commentary, look behind the curtains or buy a bug-detector or sue your Internet provider (to coerce them judicially to help you uncover the truth), because then you’re positively in DEEP uh mud!

It’s the price for having an independent mind.

geee Boomer I totally agree a paycut across the board , from the pres on down! Hell what the hell! lets de-value everything that we have to pay for by lets say 4/5ths and start the hell all over again!! Screw gasoline for cars and go to electrics, develope rapid mass transportation, rail, etc. etc. in a few months the whole world will eventually get use to the idea ( you know how fads last) we’ll get use to the idea and we can all go back to work and live happily ever after for another 200 or so yrs. and then start over again! Does that make any sense?

In simple words: End N.A.T.O. now. The action is somewhere else!

Cutting military spending isn’t a crazy idea. The economy is down, and our defense budget is far larger than any other nation’s. But there’s cuts, and then there’s extremist positions like this.

Byron Skinner: “This clearly shows that we have more then enough air power for out current wars and have no need for the F-35 in any form.”

In about the last decade, significant air campaigns were waged in Kosovo, Iraq, and yes, Afghanistan itself. What we’re seeing now is the insurgency AFTER major operations to drive the Taliban from power. And why should the military be redesigned for these “current wars,” when combat operations have supposedly ended in Iraq, and the Afghan surge is supposed to start drawing down in 2011? I not naive enough to think that either fight is truly over, but obviously our leaders don’t plan on staying there forever.

The F-35 is intended to be America’s fighter into the 2050s and possibly beyond. Are we supposed to assume that we’ll do nothing but COIN for the next three or four decades? Why should we be killing our 5th gen fighter project after already halting the other one, when other nations are working on theirs? Of course we probably aren’t going to fight Russia or China, but they do export their planes. And other 5th gen fighters aren’t the only threat either, there are the advanced SAMs which can deny airspace to our legacy jets.

“IF” America would take care of home “FIRST” there would be no need for cuts in military spending “AND” SS.Concentrating on GREEDY American RICH men who’s bought and paid for politicians “GAVE” them legal right to export American Jobs,Technology.Business and jobs enmasse into an “ENEMY” nation COMMUNIST RED CHINA that KILLED our troops in Korea and Nam after America kept the Japanese of their ungrateful ass prior and during WW-2. would bring America back to it’s prior claim as worlds best and most productive nation on the planet.The Chinese said last year—“The last 100 years were yours.The next 100 years is ours.How so? At the expense of a DAMNED nation that betrays it’s people for an ENEMY of all damn things.America EARNED it’s way to world promininence in the 20th century.China and no other nation “GAVE” us their manufacturing base.A nations manufacturing base is it’s back bone.But to a damn enemy for the sake of super cheap labor and American GREED.

Are we really worrying about China, who’s annual defense budget is 60 billion dollars compared to that of the US who’s is 600 billion. Defense spending is out of control and needs to have a serous makeover. If you think we need to worry about China from a military standpoint, I’m going to have to disagree with you, financially more so.

You mention the defense spending as a percentage is less than at any other time since the end of WWII. This is true however did we forget about the cold war and Reagan’s failed economics. The US saw a chance to be the sole hegemon in the world after WWII, bullying nations to influence their own imperialistic ideals and to spread globalization allowing free market to be abused and monopolized. At least in the past military might was being used to accomplish something even though it wasn’t democratic in nature.

You’ll notice the absence of the Louisiana Delegation on this list and for GOOD REASON. Continued failures of the US Economy to recognize the VERY KEY NEEDS of contractors headed into SPAWAR are still functionally disabled beacuse of a.) indifference of the other representatives versus a cohesive spirit b.) the incredibly paranoid behavior (and corrupt) attitudes of the N.A. Banker that continue to fail to understand legal compliance of these operatives to secure even the barest minimum of working capital c.) post Katrina issues .… contact direct for a RED HERRING PDF copy of a B2B report (available in PDF format) to understand the legal liabilities of other congressional advocates to stream line efficiency… there are expected to be criminal prosecutions as continued civil petitions are being ignored as relevant for the same reason that caused 911-NY-DC terrorism and collectively the political will under the DOD is not only broken but this office has also filed criminally against the USDODIG for FAILURE to produce documentation. Be forewarned, this problem is NOT going to go away through a.) ignorance b.) filibustering c.) other foibles of corporate culture as outlined in this report. /s/

Notice how the politicians focus on “discretionary spending levels” when the non-discretionary entitlements are eating our lunch. Can someone please have the guts to address the real spending problem?

Typical Democratic squealing when they want to convert one part of the budget to a socialist agenda (remember the Clinton “drawdown”) . The congressmen overlook the fiscal condition of their socialist brothers in arms over there in Europe. The problem the Pentagon has to overcome now is the “cold war era” weapons they want to dump have to be replaced with new weapons. The money to develop replacements for the “cold war era” weapons is coming from the DOD. Looking at the source of the letter, nothing has changed for them, other then the fact they really angered the American people with their Health Care Reform Bill. The administration is only taking the budget deficit seriously at this point in time due to the mid-term elections. The damage is done and it will take another strong committed government reducing administration to undo it.

Having worked in Defense Logistics for a number of years I can say there is some waste or pork there. After all If we didn’t pay the mega bucks for some of this technology it would come down. Look at the American Auto Manuf. Look at Detroit. House are cheap ther now! However, truth of the matter is that Defense Contractors live well at the expense of the American Taxpayer. Therefore yes we can make some cuts but first lets start with Congress and the White House. Think about this, anytime they want a pay raise, they vote it? Do they vote you an increase in your pay by tax cuts? NO! Instead come Jan we will all be paying more taxes thanks the Obama and Liberal Dem Crowd! The answer, CLEAN HOUSE IN NOV. WITH YOUR VOTE. Tell them all that you are MAD as Hell and you’re not going to take it anymore!!!

I agree with Boomer 100%.You’ve got my vote.Go Boomer.Ret,USA/SFC.

Let’s look at all spending programs within the gov’t not just DoD. Milk receives a subsidy along with all types of ag products. Big Oil and Gas pay pennies on all the billions of dollars of energy products they extract from public land. Big Oil and Gas get tax benefits for pushing their research and improvements in obtaining products. Just a couple of years ago, the biggest bill was passed to fund road improvements to the tune of $ 500 Billion. So now there is a stimulous bill to spend even more bills on the same thing. But where are the roads, bridges, etc and the jobs that come with them? Israel is buying F-35 for several billions except they are using the aid money that we are giving them. But they protest every step we take to get them to resolve the Palestinian problem. The list goes on and on.

At one time or another, someone says to zero balance the spreadsheet. That means start from a blank sheet of paper and justify every item added to the list of what Congress is actually going to spend money on. And I mean a hard justification — something that could go in front of the American people and be reasonable to spend even one dollar on. If it’s not reasonable, then it’s removed from the list. There are thousands if not millions of things in the budget that we would never spend a cent on if we knew what was going on.

Get a grip people this is a staged act of diversion! Intended to take the pressure off House and Senate members, their staff and support staff… The greatest financial gain is realized by first downsizing government. The economic downturn continues for all “Pork Barrel Projects” disappear, leaving even greater cost efficiencies to be realized. Yes, they are also very tired of Gates being correct and wish to give him a nasty send off! Give credit where credit is due!!! Gates is logrithmically better than Rumsfeld for sure.

Couldn’t agree more.

As long as fuel prices remain high there will be no recovery. The economy is still reeling from the almost over night jump in fuel a few years ago.

Actually this is not a war and it pisses me off that people still refer to it as a war. This is a “nation building” effort and nothing more. A war? Who have we declared war against? Wars are typically fought against other country’s.

I agree. I think that they need to start by giving back the 10% increase they gave themselves last year while there were no COLA increases for 2010 or 2011. Next, anyone who serves in congress or the senate should not have a six figure salary retirement for the rest of their lives at tax payers expense. Nor should they have the best health care and federal retirement account for the rest of their lives. They should have to go back into the real world and back into private practice with a real job like the rest of us and at retirement age go on medicare and social security. I bet they would find a way to get the money that has been used over the decades since Carter started using social security to fund unnecessary programs and others to balance the budget while leaving IOU’s. This would cut our deficeit substantally. Don’t expect the military to take the burden for cuts everytime they screw things up in congress.

The United States should not consider decreasing their military strength until the death of Cuba Castro. Leave Korea after providing for their defend for the last sixty years is crazy. Think of the threat . I recommending leaving our troops in Japan, Germany, England,Spain, Italy, in those hardship assignments.
What if Mexico decides to attack our nation? No sir, we need to increase not decrease the DOD budget.
JMA Tampa

There are a number of current programs that could be cut or slashed that would save money for the military — but the military budget does not have to be touched to reduce govt overhead. first stop all the illegals from comming in and giving them bennefits (including the 1st auntie that is back again), kill everyone on death row and get it over with (some have been there for over 10 yrs) and save the 4,500.00 a day maintenance fee per prisoner, convert all life sentences to death also for the same reason, Now the rest of the prisoners can replace the illegals in picking fields rather than sitting AC watching tv or working out. Stop paying to educate and therapy for prisoners, if you make it so bad they dont want to be there is better than babying them like a resort some dont want to leave. Selling drugs, illegal weapons, and human trafficking have all been tied to terrorism, that is another death sentence, Pretty much wiped out the deficate just by thinning out the scum so far.

there is no logical reason for us to be there any longer, we can get anywhere in the world just as fast from here as anywhere else which has been proven on more than one occasion. Also look at it this way keeping it simple, 100,000 troops come back to the US from overseas, each spending say $30,000.00 a year to live and entertainment = a major boost to a states economy that is currently going to foreigners. I dont know about you but I would rather they spend that money here and not over there. Ok now $25 bil a year to lease the land that we built those base on (some US embasies are just as high), If those base were here on US owned land there would be no yearly lease fee (heck we are paying 12 mil a month for a dirt strip in PAk for our planes right now). No I want the overseas base closed rather than US ones and I want all that money coming back to us where it rightfuly belongs.

Hooo Wahh!
Dead Right On boss.
But, I agree that most of NATO, and Japan have dodged holding up their end of their own defense (except UK) for too long. Time for them to ante up.

Start by cutting all the assistants the first lady has, about twenty something. Mrs Bush had ONE!

Cut back the bennies all the washington politicos get. start with no retirement for life unless they serve 20 years or better yet, Make them enroll in Social Security instead like everyone else.

take away their medical care and enroll them into Obama care and medicare if old enough..

UH dont know what bases you been on, but sinlge troops spend most of thier money off base chasing skirt or buying trinkets to send home. Commisaries and exchanges have gotten more expensive that buying out in town at 95% of the bases (especialy army bases) due to giving in to complaints from civies that the military undercutting thier prices is killing thier business. Grenada — Panama — and Desert storm only took days and not months, would had occured in half the time if the Army hadnt insisted on being included (Navy & Marines had to hold on station waiting for them to mobilize). With more expeditionary forces including Army ones deployed at sea would be cheaper and much faster because the gear is already loaded and on station ready to strike. So I stick with bring our troops back home where they belong. The money we save from not leasing property will pay for the ships and aircraft alone.

Regans failed economics? His plan brought us back from the brink of destruction that Carter created, Clintons succes in his first term was due to Regans plans maturing during that period but Clinton destroyed it during his second term. I wish we had another Regan to vote for right now because that is what it will take to set us straight again.

I’m shivering just thinking what uploading a brigade’s worth of equipment and carting around on ships long term will do to that equipment. Fine if you can store equipment forward on base — Diego Garcia was the great dream of the RDF — but that is also equipment you have to purchase twice if you are going to station the people stateside. Common on people, be realistic here. It is just not worth it to pull everyone one back to the “world” so they can go downtown and “live it up” in places like Kileen and Junction City. Bacevich and others advocate this, but it is really just a way to get back to that ole brown shoe army — pitifully ignored, out of site and out of mind.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion this– “…that ole brown shoe army — pitifully ignored, out of site and out of mind.” –has you worried more than anything.

Pretty nice having the world kiss our ass, ain’t it? Not just a job, it’s a self esteem program.

Don’t worry about it. The world is a stupid enough place, it will afford us plenty of opportunities to be heroes.

Why would you cut the salary or benefits of the Soldier’s-Airman’s-Sailor’s-Marines aren’t those the ones who fight for the freedom and had given so much to this nation? The ones that voluntary join a service, do a whole lot more than any other American born and are less appreciated. Why we have to catered to so many politicians with their exorbitant expenditures requirements, maybe start cutting some of their salaries and benefits and give them a lousy raised. Just a thought.

So — the few and the proud get to be — fewer. I believe this is the original version of an oft-quoted poem:

“Our God and soldiers we alike adore ev’n at the brink of danger; not before: After deliverance, both alike requited, Our God’s forgotten, and our soldiers slighted.”

It’s a hell of a way to earn a living. I’d prefer we ask our people to do it only as necessary.

Some have a different idea of necessity.

So, the profundity is that “we” (who, exactly is that) ask “our people” (likewise, one wonders about the use of the posessive pronoun here) to do “it” — (whatever “it” is, sorta, kinda, exactly). If “:we” don’t know what “it” is, then how can “necessity” be proven one way or the other. All I ever see is an continuing conflict between the “less is better” and “less is not better” argument. At what point is “less” not “better”. If you cannot define that point, it is hot air you are expelling…

Bill– The context of our discussion is war and how our nation approaches it. Our people are the military volunteers who defend us. We are the people, some of whom are in the military. This nation is a democratic republic, therefore we who vote call the shots (supposedly, ideally).

These are some of the factors I consider delineating the necessity of war: It is ruinously expensive, in money and in lives. It places strains on national security and individual liberties. It is chaotic and uncontrollable; it generates surprises. Therefore, I believe we should engage in warfare only when the nation is endangered. We should not be trouble-seeking. We should understand that not everyone in the World is like us, and they do not necessarily view our behavior as benevolent.

There’s something of a false choice in your characterization of this debate. Too few/ too much/ sufficient is a moving target. But the more burden we take on for global security, the more we *have to* take on. This had made us inflexible. The need to be anywhere, anytime, for anything has made for an expensive force that is less capable for about everything. It’s time to ease off and conserve our power. That doesn’t imply to me that we need to draw down to nothing.

The Pork Barrel they spend would be enought to take care of the military and even give us retires a raise this year. But remember this President and the DemocRATS want to make the American people depended on the Government for everything.

i fully agree with your plan. it seems to me that the politicians Should be doing this, instead of an non-political like yourself, but you and I know this will never happen
People like Frank and his band of warriors have no idea what is and what is not to keep us free, so thats why we (our country) are fighting on so many fronts, we don’t know which ones to really fight, and win.
It is my opinion that guy’s like Frank, Leahy, etc., can’t or don,t remember Pearl Harbor, or like the war in Vietnam these guy,s would never let us win.
If they want to cut, then they should be prepared to bomb these countries causing all the disruption in our freedom, and the killing of our Brave men and women now serving.

So mike j a thought experiment — If a totally impartial and objective panel of defense experts determines using your methodology that the defense budget should double you would be in support?


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