CSBA: Pentagon must plan for more cuts

CSBA: Pentagon must plan for more cuts

As the Pentagon prepares to unveil its fiscal year 2013 budget request next week, the sequestration beast is back in the news again.

Pentagon officials would be wise to make fallback plans that would prepare for hundreds of billions in additional funding cuts in the next decade should Congress fail to enact legislation in the next 11 months to nullify the massive cuts, dubbed “sequestration,” that are set to go into effect in January 2013, a pair of prominent analysts warned Wednesday.

“The failure to plan for the possibility of further reductions [in defense spending], I think, really is a major shortfall in the new defense strategy that they laid out,” said Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assesments (CSBA) discussing the Pentagon’s soon to be released 2013 budget request this morning in Washington. “Because if you look at history, you don’t see plateaus in defense spending, it doesn’t just decline a little bit and then flatten out for the rest of the decade …if this decline is anything like what we’ve seen in the past three defense cycles [post Korean, Vietnam and Cold Wars], there are further cuts to come and the current strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable enough to adjust to that. The Pentagon can and they should begin preparing for the possibility of more reductions, especially sequestration, and I think if they fail to do that they run the risk of being unprepared for what is a perfectly foreseeable contingency.”


Harrison was referring to the fact that the Pentagon’s new 21st Century Defense Strategy does not seem to plan for any further funding cuts beyond the $487 billion in savings it is supposed to achieve in the next decade.

He added that the best chance to avoid sequestration died when the 12 lawmakers of the so called, deficit reduction supercommittee, failed to come up with a specific plan to reduce government spending. Now, all of Congress will have less than a year to hammer out a plan to reduce government spending in order to offset sequestration.

“You’ve got to 60 votes in the Senate and you’re subject to any number of amendments in both houses so that just complicated the process … if there was an easy fix, it would have been found by the supercommittee,” said Harrison.

Pentagon officials have said they are not planning a backup budget or strategy in case sequestration goes into effect next January. This may prove to be a big mistake, said CSBA’s President, Andrew Krepinevich.

“I remember the day that they [Pentagon brass] realized they [Congress] had the votes on the Hill and [the generals] had nothing and they tried to put something together quickly and come back to them but it was too late, they didn’t need to negotiate with them anymore and that’s the way things turned out back in ’86,” said Krepinevich of the Pentagon’s attempts to prevent the previous round of sequestration by refusing to cooperate with lawmakers in finding defense spending areas that could be cut out of a fear that doing so would enable the sequestration; an approach that backfired and left DoD officials with little input as to what programs could be cut, according to the think tank’s president.

“If I were secretary Panetta, I’d probably have a small group, sworn to secrecy, working something, and oftentimes small groups are where you get the best results, but he’s already gone out on a limb,” said Krepinevich. “I don’t think there’s any way he can easily say, ‘Oh well, remember what I said about throw our strategy out the window [if sequestration kicks in], no I didn’t really mean that.’”

All of this comes at a time of unprecedented change and threats to global security, said Krepinevich.

The sequestration that kicked off the post Cold War decline in Pentagon spending amounted to a 5 percent reduction in DoD budgets, verses the 10 percent cut over the next decade as laid out in the current sequestration package, according to Harrison.

“The last [major defense] drawdown started with a sequester, and it started before the threat environment started improving significantly,” said Harrison referring to the post-Cold War defense drawdown that actually began with a deficit reduction effort by Congress in fiscal year 1986, before the collapse of the Soviet Union. “I think that’s what the department should actually be worried about right now; a prolonged decline in defense spending that is not necessarily driven by a reduction in the threat environment and it could begin or be enforced by sequestration over the long term.”

Furthermore, the savings achieved by the Pentagon’s current budget reduction plan will not make much of a dent in any effort to eliminate the record federal deficit in the next ten years, added Krepinevich.

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The General keep there heads in the sand and hope Buck McKenon save the day its not going to happen. In order to save money to save vital Air Force and Navy programs the Army will have to shut JLTV and ICC down and just make do with what it has. Despite who’s President next year the grid lock in congress will not change there so many way to stop bill and funding Dems don’t need a majority in the House to screw up any save for the DoD.

No more F* CUTS!!! Unless the politicians and taxpayers are ready for us to stand down NORAD, let the satellites fall from the sky, the jets rust on the ground, the ships to sink, and the US to not honor its obligations to its service members, civilians, and contractor workforce, we must adopt a new strategy. A stable, modestly growing DoD topline budget — no more big across the board pay raises regardless if they are deserved or not, no more fubar acquisitions. I pray a Republican President will reverse this stupidity and turn DoD around.

Sure .. another G. Bush will take care of all problems! .…

The ironic thing is that those that survive off the government teat are better of voting democrat. At least the decline would be slow and steady.

Bush put the country into fast forward and another republican induced crash and there wont even be a debate in congress there will simply be unanimous support for immediate wholesale slashing of the defense budget by 30% to 50% to try to stabilize the economy.

Which Republican would that be? The super-rich tone deaf idiot that will say anything to get elected? The crazy gas bag that wants to bomb anyone who looks at us cross-eyed? The religious nut who also wants to bomb anyone who looks at us cross-eyed, for God? How about the libertarian who wants to gut everything down to the two-by-fours? And, oh yeah, the sold-out Democrat that has the job ain’t any better.

You want to honor obligations? Great, me too. That plan was shot to hell when the government let a bunch of gamblers make bets with trillions in gov’t securitized (that is, taxpayer’s) money. Doesn’t really seem to be in the spirit of that whole “provide for the general welfare” thing, does it?

Here is the only way I see things getting back on track: Fire enough Dems and Reps in the next election to scare the rest into compliance. Do not replace them with the other party, but with civic-minded individuals who are concerned foremost with their duty to the people. And that will only be a start.

Another cuts and definitely the China will be the first for this century, and will dominate the world, USA is the las wall to the domination of China military and economic. Without the strong USA country will fall country after country, see the Europe falling by China without war.

A Republican president started the post-Cold War drawdown.

Wrong! It would be a step in no direction at best, and we can’t afford any more of that.

Concur. So if you want to fire the most important incumbent then voting Republican is a step in the right direction.

The Chinese are not going to take over anything they will dominate the south pacific and continue to grow into a global economic giant(china produced 500 million tons of steel to our 80 million tons last year) and the U.S. will dominate the western hemisphere as always. China understands wars are very B-A-D and will refrain from becoming engaged in them at all costs. Someday I hope we again recognize that wars are the greatest drain on wealth and power period even more so than the welfare state, in fact welfare and warfare nations are the same in most respects. It amazes me that people still have not digested the fact that Thermo nukes have eliminated warfare as a world changing force as all conflicts since have really been just regional dust ups, hate to break it to everyone but one of those gut busting conventional wars just isn’t going to happen. What we really need is a fully funded USMC minus fighters an Airforce with bombers/transports and a Navy with attack/cruise missile subs and Boomers and small surface fleet built around the Amphibs everything else is just window dressing and an enormous money sink.

Remember that Obama and his DemocRATS with this budget crunch will put more people out of work, lose Income taxes, social security and Medicare taxes while spending more for welfare, foodstamps and medicaid. Gee sounds just like Russia in the old days,

Obama and the DemocRATS, spreading everyone elses wealth around not theirs

Just stop requiring the DoD budget to pay for foreign economic and military aid and take it from the state department instead like it should be then the military budget cut will be completed without actualy cutting anything.

You can thank the Repubs and their Tea Party traitors for this…cuts were necessary, but it was and is the Tea Party Repubs that want far deeper cuts than have happened thus far.
–Former Repub po’d about what has happened to the party.

You hit it on the head. The tea party has to go.

Too bad we don’t learn that wars are B-A-D and stay away from them also — the wars we’ve been fighting for the last 20 years have cost a huge fortune. What we really need to do is avoid the regional dust ups as involvement in them has achieved nothing.

Democracy just isn’t going to work for tribal people as they don’t possess a culture that can support a democracy and they don’t understand the concepts that are required for a democracy to work.

Excellent point!

Who will make the call to rearm and build-up when the time comes?

Who will respond to such a call?

Both of you troglodytes get a –1 for those comments. State and CIA are really our first line of defense. Diploments served unarmed and helpless against the cruel, the ruthless and the vindictive. Development workers make far less money — that most of you. They do it because they believe in helping people who are different from them, people who need help the most. What is wrong with that ?

I have never seen this country in such a mean and selfish mood, not even after Vietnam. I do hope we will wake up and return to be the great nation we are soon.

Chill, man. You’re channeling Tom Donnelly there. Now, maybe that’s a compliment, since Donnelly makes more sense to me than anyone else on K Street these days. But, really, we should just stop paying attention to CBSA and to Harrison. Their whole shtick is 50% agenda and 50% running out in from of the mob of politicians so they can say they are the great leader think tank. Do we really need to be clobbered over the head to understand that the current DOD policy and strategy de jure is grounded on the baseline budget deal without sequestration ? But — was I just dreaming when the OMB director hinted that DoD should get out in front of sequestration and work its own priorities under the sequestration ceiling ? Who is telling the truth ? Can we even tell anymore ? Just relax — and let these guys continue to destroy themselves.

excuse me? state dept workers are among the highest paid in government and they are never helpless due to USMC security. CIA are spooks and the military carries out most of thier missions. All that was said is what should had already occured — it is not the DoD’s responsibility to provide financial aid to other countries, it is the state depts and they are not part of DoD so this aid should be coming from thier budgets and not DoD’s, but that would cut into financing all the estates rented as embasies and all the limmos — private jets and mega parties they enjoy out of thier budget.

If State is our first line of defense than I am afraid we a screwed. The old British Foreign Office affected policy in the regions where they were assigned. The US State dept is a plum spot for those with degrees from the right schools to earn a nice paycheck and globe trot. Diplomacy is a contact sport and rewards aggression not ‘understanding’ and the win-win negotiating attitude I see everywhere is crap, zero sum is the rule always was and always will be.

The biggest Mistake what the DOD can make is to plan for more Cuts. Them they plan for more all remaining Barney Franks, Ron and Rand Paul’s and other enemies of the US National Security from both ideological Sides (Tea Party and Democrats) will have the evidence what more insane and idiotic cuts are possible. And the DOD will not get a 1000 Billion cut they will get a 1500 Billion cut as consequence and this simple why Progressives believes what 1500 Billion looking better them 1000 Billion. Please make no plans for more cuts why it existing simple too many irresponsible idiots in the Congress and to less reasonable Congress Members how can understand what means to cut 1000 Billion. Panetta is not stupid he knows how the idiots in the Congress think and this why he was ones on of them.

Your lack of understanding when it comes to how foreign aid is allocated is stunning.

A big chunk of foriegn aid comes from DoD budget every year — It is in plain sight on OMB website. A lot of it is due to backdoor deals such as the petrodollar deal with nixon and saudia arabia “you accept nothing but US dollars for export sales, buy US treasury bonds/stocks and we will provide protection” similar deals done with other countries as well (will probably bite us in the 6 in the future when they all decide to cash in and we cant back them making the dollar useless).

Wow are you off base: “Diploments served unarmed and helpless against the cruel, the ruthless and the vindictive. Development workers make far less money — that most of you.” So there are no protections provided for diplomats? Right. Development workers make a lot more money than a lot of people in this country.

But the real core issue is whether or not the government should be the charity organization for all of us and the answer is NO!

There’s already been too many cuts. Washington won’t be satisfied until they’ve gone the way of Great Britain and create a cycle of gutting the military every couple of years to pay for unaffordable pet projects of theirs.

I remember visiting the US Embassy in Bonn once back in the 80s. That building and the Israeli embassies really stood out — both were like armed fortresses. Yes, children, there was a terrorist threat before Al Qaeda. These people lived in a crap housing area indistinguishable from military housing. The club was so bad that I went down the street and ate at the closest gasthaus nearby — a sort of shady place where you watched your mouth and tried to be invisible. Some vacation.

Last I checked, Afghanistan was down near Vietnam at the bottom of the heap when it comes to per capita income. It is really a lot of bull to leave these people in poverty and complain because, after all, they’re just not cut out for democracy. We lose a few thousand men, and our wimpy politicians, our wimpy press, and our wimpy public is ready to throw in the towel. You think times are tough ? Well, I have an ex-wife who can’t keep a job, whose husband is dying from cancer, and three kids with school loans to pay off. I had to go bail her out when the bank foreclosed and she needed a place to live. So don’t give me a bunch of libertarian jive about self-reliance and the evils of big government. Unless you’re doing your all for your family, friends and neighbors, unless you’ve poured your life out for your fellow man, unless you are really committed to our common greatness as a nation — you can talk to the hand.

Everyone gets spastic over sequestration. Neither side wants it to happen. Both sides are using it as a political football in an election year, why the heck do you think both sides agreed to have it kick in after the elections? They both wanted to use it, both didn’t agree to compromise because both knew that it gives them their favorite tool in elections, scaring people, fear, plain and simple.

Any $ cut by sequestration can be uncut with a supplemental spending package, that’s how we fought Iraq and Stan.

The real issue is reining in growth in govt spending. It has to happen, there is no choice at all. we can’t keep adding to the deficit with any form of spending, including defense. You keep adding to the debt pretty soon non discretionary spending and the interest payment on a growing deficit eats every single $, there isn’t a buck 50 left for defense or anything else.

What is stunning is the enormous amount of money we give away to people who are really our enemies.

Your holier than thou attitude is repulsive. What do you of the struggles of anyone else here? NOTHING so stop trying to judge everyone else — you are not worthy.

And of course like so many “do gooders” you’re oh so willing to decide how others peoples money is spent with the assumption that they couldn’t possibly decide what charities they want to spend their money on. And this is the underlying evil of “do gooders” like yourself — you justify stealing money from people so you can assign it where you want it to be spent. It’s still theft.

Everything you state is opposed to the ideals the founding fathers used to form this nation — indiviual freedoms can be dropped when they get in the way of your own crusade.

You dont have to buy off your friends

Yea because we all know things you dont plan for cannot happen LOL

Them the Pentagon plans for this cuts, he will get surly the cuts or a lot more of them why the progressive idiots and Tea Party fanatics will believe what they are possible but they are not possible without to kill the USA as Leading World Power. And make no mistake Money is not equal with real Power. For example the Great Britain, France and spends nearly so much as Russia but the Russian have more them 15 times more Firepower in the most categories them both.

To cut the DOD dipper can mean to become like Great Brittan or France jet a Country’s how spends much but how are not enable to beat a Libyan Dictator a country without enough Ammunition to fight longer them 2 Weeks in a Low Intensity War ! The only Problem what additional Cuts will not solve is the deficit problem this Problem you can only solve them you cut the 2500 Billion holly cows Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and reform Tricare and you will also need to rise the Taxes. The “good” news is what the Taxes rise (Bush tax cuts expires) in the same period as the trigger cuts will take in effect and this means a real deficit reduction of 4000 Billion and it is possible what this will be enough to spare the Pentagon from the trigger cuts but it is necessary not to plan for this cuts them you will speculate on this scenario.

Lessee here, you would be the blue suit computer programmer who wants to kill development aid and engagement in foreign lands, the better — so I gather — to fund stand-off global precision strike and strategic defense: the Maginot Line of the future. As far as you would be concerned, all your needs are taken care of, at least until they decide they don’t need you no more, and/or you hit retirement. But you’d be sitting pretty, with 100% of your needs taken care of until that happens while they throw 20% of your grunt peers out on the street. Must be nice to be a superior being like that.

(1) DoD will not play the game about making a contingency plan for another round of budget cuts. They plan for war contingencies, but not budget cuts. They’re afraid any plans become public and then self-fulfiling prophesies. I know, I was part of that Pentagon budget scene for 28 years. The Pentagon is in total denial about the public supporting all their foreign adventures. New defense strategy. Give me a break. They are trying to protect the exact same pre-911, Soviet-era force structure with more meaningless words (“Pacific pivot”), where no forces will be shifted to Pacific. This is just political rhetoric, no real changes.

(2) Because the Pentagon won’t be honest, far worse things than sequestration wil happen. Here’s one scenario. Instead of all this 10-year and sequestration BS, US govt is forced into bankruptcy. Here’s what happens. (1) No more deficit financing the $3.7 trillion budget. Revenue is $2.2 trillion. Live on it. So, one third of all federal spending, including defense, goes away. (2) Do we default on $15 trillion outstanding debt or not. If not, need to pay about $250 billion a year in interest. If we pay down debt, another $500 billion. That leaves about $1.5 trillion for rest of US govt, which means we cut everything in federal budget by 60%. EVERYTHING! (3) How does that apply to defense? Means we have to fall back to what Founding Father approved. A militia (national guard) “Winter Soldier” model. No foreign adventures. No more military as work for 20, collect for 60 entitlement program. Basically, downsize by one-third and tell our allies to pay up or shut up; defend themselves — Japan, South Korea, Germany, Middle East — all our rich “allies.” Back to basics. Time is running out.

So, if you are a retiree from the military or civil service, I expect you to give back ALL your retirement check and get a real job ? Would that please you ? I find the hypocrisy on this here DoD Buzz page pretty searing. All these old geezers collecting double and triple dips from Uncle Sam’s account dumping on all t he later Boomers, Gen X and Millenials, who have lots of debt and fewer and fewer benefits coming their way. Dont cha just love it ?

Nope, you’re wrong yet again. You are good at that though. I’m not a blue suit programmer anymore. I separated from the military because they (USAF officers) are now treating NCOs like baby sitters and that won’t ever work. It was hard to walk away from 12/13 years of duty but at some point you have to do what is right and not what makes the best financial impact. At some point if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem and at that point all you can do it get away from the situation.

Actually I completely disagree with Panetta idea to reduce our ground troops as everything that has occurred in the last 20 years indicates we need to keep our ground troop strength up to at least it’s current state. But we need to use those troops only when the US national security is at stake, and not use them everytime there are people shooting at each other. For those of us who bother to keep tabs on the violence around the world, it’s obvious that there is no way for the USA to become involved in every war that springs up — we just don’t have the resources. more importantly the mission of the US military is to protect the USA, not every country (or people) in the world.

That the reality of the world.

Cut everything? It will never happen because too many people will refuse to give up their slice of the pie. Do you really think all the people collecting government retirements are going to let those go? I don’t have one so it wouldn’t affect me but people who receive those benefits aren’t going to let them go starting with Congress. They have the most ridiculous retirement system in our country. And if you’re going to cut everything then that means cuts to social security, medicare, medicaid, unemployment, and all the other social welfare programs too? Yeah, we’ll have riots just like what Greece is going through.

Hmmm.… do I gather that you might not be a big fan of depolying US troops to reign in the depredations of the Lord’s Liberation Army then, or whatever other “Whack-a-mole” vicious despot that comes along next?

Me neither, Kimosabe!

WE CAN DO WITHOUT BUTTER, BUT DESPITE ALL OUR LOVE OF PEACE, NOT WITHOUT ARMS. ONE CANNOT SHOOT WITH BUTTER” JOSEPH GOEBBELS 1936

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