HASC chair decries $866B defense cuts of ‘Gang of 6′
President Obama and many senators think it’s the grand bargain that could save the Republic, but from the perspective of the military-industrial complex, it looks like the apocalypse: The spending-reduction proposal of the Senate’s “Gang of Six” would include some $866 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years, according to a memo circulated Wednesday by the office of House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Buck McKeon. That’s more than double Obama’s proposed $400 billion planned lack of growth.
Some House members got a full brief on the Senate proposal, much of which is still under wraps, but it didn’t require many more details for McKeon to say ‘absolutely not.’
Here’s what McKeon wrote to his HASC Republican colleagues:
In addition to other analysis being done on the potential tax implications regarding the Senate’s Gang of Six budget proposal, “A Bipartisan Plan to Reduce Our Nation’s Deficits,” I wanted to provide a quick analysis for HASC members on the impact on defense.
Gang of Six Proposal Impact on Defense:
Based on what we’ve read the proposal would result in $866 Billion in security cuts over 10 years. It is our belief that this proposal raises serious implications for defense and would not allow us to perform our constitutional responsibility to provide for the safety and security of our country. Nearly half of the discretionary savings in this proposal comes from defense.
McKeon’s memo wound up with this quote:
Secretary Gates May 24, 2011:
“I am determined that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, where the budget targets were met mostly by taking a percentage off the top of everything, the simplest and most politically expedient approach both inside the Pentagon and outside of it. That kind of “salami-slicing” approach preserves overhead and maintains force structure on paper, but results in a hollowing-out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment – and manpower. That’s what happened in the 1970s – a disastrous period for our military – and to a lesser extent during the late 1990s.”
It’s possible the “Gang” has staked the most extreme position it could think of, with a view toward conceding a smaller reduction in defense spending that it knows is more realistic. But there isn’t much time to spare negotiating; the fiscal sword of Damocles hanging over all our heads is supposed to fall Aug. 2.