Pentagon Seeks Biggest Military Cuts Since Before 9/11

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by SHASH2K2, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that the nation’s “extreme fiscal duress” now required him to call for cuts in the size of the Army and Marine Corps, reversing the significant growth in military spending that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
    The White House has told the Pentagon to squeeze that growth over the next five years, Mr. Gates said, reducing by $78 billion the amount available for the Pentagon, not counting the costs of its combat operations.

    The decision to go after the Pentagon budget, even while troops remain locked in combat overseas, is the clearest indication yet that President Obama will be cutting spending broadly across the government as he seeks to reduce the deficit — and stave off attacks from Republicans in Congress who want to shrink the government even more.

    Republicans have for the most part resisted including military spending as they search for quick reductions in federal spending.

    To make ends meet, Mr. Gates also announced that he would seek to recoup billions of dollars by increasing fees paid by retired veterans under 65 for Defense Department health insurance, even though Congress has rejected such proposals in the past. And he outlined extensive cuts in new weapons.

    Cutting up to 47,000 troops from the Army and Marine Corps forces — roughly 6 percent — would be made easier by the withdrawal under way from Iraq, and the reductions would not begin until 2015, just as Afghan forces are to take over the security mission there. But Mr. Gates said the cuts in Pentagon spending were hardly a peace dividend, and were forced by a global economic recession and domestic pressures to find ways to throttle back federal spending.

    “This department simply cannot risk continuing down the same path where our investment priorities, bureaucratic habits and lax attitudes toward costs are increasingly divorced from the real threats of today, the growing perils of tomorrow and the nation’s grim financial outlook,” Mr. Gates said at an afternoon news conference.

    The president’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which is due by mid-February, would freeze discretionary spending, but that would not apply to military, veterans and Homeland Security programs. Last fall, a majority of the members of Mr. Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, including three Republican senators, said military spending also should be reduced as part of a long-term debt-reduction plan.

    The Pentagon’s proposed operating budget for 2012 is expected to be about $553 billion, which would still reflect real growth, even though it is $13 billion less than expected. The Pentagon budget will then begin a decline in its rate of growth for two years, and stay flat — growing only to match inflation — for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. (The Pentagon operating budget is separate from a fund that finances the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.)

    “This plan represents, in my view, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the complex and unpredictable array of security challenges the United States faces around the globe: global terrorist networks, rising military powers, nuclear-armed rogue states and much, much more,” Mr. Gates said.

    To be sure, the actual size and shape of future military budgets will continue to be reset by annual spending proposals from the president, and those in turn will be based on shifting economic factors — decline or growth — and threats around the world, as well as by Congressional action.

    But for now, the Army is expected in 2015 to begin cutting its active-duty troop levels by 27,000, and the Marine Corps by up to 20,000. Together, those force reductions would save $6 billion in 2015 and 2016.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that all four service chiefs supported the proposals, and that the military would still be able to manage global risks. “We can’t hold ourselves exempt from the belt-tightening,” he said. “Neither can we allow ourselves to contribute to the very debt that puts our long-term security at risk.”

    The Army’s ranks number 569,600, and the Marine Corps has just over 202,000 members; both would remain larger than when Mr. Gates became defense secretary four years ago.

    Mr. Gates already had instructed the armed services and the Pentagon bureaucracy to find ways to operate more efficiently, with the savings plowed back into the budget to make up for anticipated shortfalls; otherwise the cuts in troops and weapons would have been even steeper.

    The armed services have identified about $100 billion in savings over five years.

    Separately, the Defense Department bureaucracy had identified about $54 billion more, from things like reducing contractor hiring, freezing personnel rolls, reducing the number of generals and admirals and closing or consolidating headquarters.

    Many of those changes can be carried out unilaterally by the Pentagon or the armed services.

    But some — especially increases in fees for the military’s health-care system, called Tricare — require Congressional approval, and have been rejected before.

    Proposals to increase Tricare fees will pit Mr. Gates against those in Congress — and veterans’ groups — who say retired military personnel already have paid up front with service in uniform. Ten years ago, health care cost the Pentagon $19 billion; today, it tops $50 billion; five years from now it is projected to cost $65 billion.

    But Tricare fees have not increased since 1995.

    Mr. Gates was expected to press for increasing the cost of health insurance premiums and spot fees only for working-age retirees and their families, not for those on active duty or those 65 and older, to save $7 billion over five years.

    Mr. Gates also announced cuts in several weapons systems, led by the cancellation of the Marines’ $14.4 billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a combined landing craft and tank for amphibious assaults.

    Mr. Gates said the Pentagon would add $4.6 billion to the cost of developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, made by Lockheed Martin, and would cover much of that expense by delaying purchases of 124 of the planes.

    He said that one of the three versions of the aircraft might need to be redesigned, and that he was placing that model, made for the Marines, “on the equivalent of a two-year probation.”

    Federal officials said Mr. Gates had been seeking to increase the basic Pentagon budget, excluding war costs, to $566 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, but had to push the White House to approve $553 billion.

    Gordon Adams, a Clinton administration budget official who served on Mr. Obama’s transition team, said he understood that White House budget officials initially wanted to shave the Pentagon’s original, larger request by at least $20 billion for 2012.

    Mr. Adams said Mr. Gates met with Mr. Obama three times before Christmas to get at least $7 billion restored. Mr. Gates was also able to persuade the White House to reduce its demands for cuts over the next five years to $78 billion from $150 billion. Even so, Mr. Adams said, “I think the floor under defense spending has now gone soft.”
     
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  3. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    First- the defense budget of the US is a bloated 800 billion dollars a year. second- This far exceeds defense budgets of multiple countries put together / highest in world. Third- The cuts are simply gutting some ridiculous , ineffective programs or projects while the 800 billion dollars budget stays the same level. There will however be a time in the future that they will reduce that budget of 800 billion dollars_ which has risen 2.5 x times from where it used to be. There is no need for it to be that high... and it poses no security risk
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    USA has a high budget for many reasons one maybe Europe's economic situation where many nations are insolvent and cannot contribute as much as did before for NATO. The cost of maintaining 700+ bases worldwide has also risen, the unfortunate part is some weapon program will probably be cut to offset these costs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  5. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    My friend, to clarify this article and statement from Gates- the 800 billion budget is not being cut . It is failed, expensive R&D projects that are being cut to accommodate newer projects, while keeping the 800 billion budget. for example: they have spent 3 billion on a tank that is a flop and they are going drop that funding and take the 3 billion and give it t some newer project. It's just dropping expensive INEFFECTIVE projects. They are not cutting back on bases ( they should) or reducing orders of F35 or anything like that... we call it "cutting out the pork from projects" in the US.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    These cuts are more political than anything else, to make the people think that the government is tightening it's belt when in reality the same old spending will continue.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    F-35 is getting hit by these cuts

    http://www.theolympian.com/2011/01/07/1497783/gates-defense-spending-plan-cuts.html
    Gates' defense spending plan cuts 124 F-35 purchases
     
  8. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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  9. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    I think USA is just trying to streamline the defence spendings and trying to spend it wisely. With china round the corner they cannot relax. Anyways AMerican spend money on many unnecessary projects and there is no harm in putting the money to better use .
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    If there was ever a budget problem US government would have stopped the 2 wars long ago.
     
  11. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    several austerity measures are coming soon, now that the republicans won back the house. its a deficit focused congress, and can hurt my country if they go overboard.
     
  12. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Be it republic or democrat security is something Americans will not compromise. Even during height of recession they didn't cut back military spending. I think their military budget is already more than enough . All they need to do is to cut unnecessary projects and work mainly on cutting edge projects .
     
  13. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    USA is in the situation similar with UK after WW I.....no money is left now.sooo retreat ....
     
  14. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    It seems you have a habit to blow an issue out of proportion ! Even with those cuts, their defense budget is approximately 9-10 times that of yours, and will remain so for a considerable period of time.
     
  15. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    this is best time for usa to sell best arms to india

    we need best wepaons for our force modernisation and they can make money + china will be undercontrol

    usa has to use time benfit for both nation
     
  16. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    well,Yankee's 700 Billion $ defence expenditure has not much more purchase power than China's 700 Billion RMB defence expenditure , if you consider that one new F16 cost almost 70M USD and one new J10 costs only a bit more than 100M RMB.

    Besides, the salary&pension of Yankee arm force also costs much more than PLA.

    so, it just simplifys the case too much to compare the defence expenditure between USA and China with exchange rate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    USA has a much bigger military infrastructure to maintain than China. Chinese are confined to their region,and even there they are contained. USA has worldwide reach; that China can only dream of.
     
  18. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    that's right, keep thinking with that attitude and applying that brand of common sense, we yankees appreciate such intellect. In fact make sure you join the PRC MOD and influence them to think like just you... :p
     
  19. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    guy, military infrastructures all over the world is not a asset,but a obligation.

    here is a simple caculation:
    the more military infrastructures are ,the more to maintain them costs!
    the more the maintainance costs, the less fund are distributed to the upgrade of arm force !

    Always, the title of "global policeman" means not only glory,but expensive obligations that cost trillions of USD and soilder's life.

    China has much less oversea military bases and obligations than Yankees. it just means that China can concentrate more fund on upgrade,instead of uselss oversea adventure and stripteaser bars aroud oversea miltiary bases.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  20. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    without this infrastructure USA would not be able to maintain it's economic interests,
     
  21. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    but case is that USA's terrible economy can not afford to maintain so many infrastructures and upgrade its arm force at the same time as the past...so USA has to give up one....USA has to either decrease military infrastructure or slow the upgrade of its arm force.....there is no other options.
     

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