Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/15/11 RD Bulletin: HASC Says "No" to Cuts

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: House Armed Services Committee Republicans released a video this week implying that $460 billion has already been cut from the military budget and arguing that additional cuts would harm men and women in uniform.  During a press conference following Panetta's testimony, HASC Chairman McKeon urged the Joint Select Committee to address entitlement reform rather than cutting the Pentagon's budget, and said he would refuse to consider tax increases as a means of addressing the budget deficit.  McKeon is also circulating a sign-on letter to the Super Committee in opposition to defense savings.  House Democratic Committee Ranking Members submitted their recommendations for savings to the Joint Select Committee, one day before the deadline for all Congressional Committee Chairs to release their final recommendations.  In his submission, HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) argued against DoD spending reductions while urging the Committee to consider significantly increasing revenue. The Senate may soon take up a mini-omnibus appropriations measure that would combine three regular spending bills: agriculture, commerce-science-justice, and transportation-housing.  Congress has until November 18 to pass its FY12 appropriations bills, before another Continuing Resolution would be required to keep most elements of the government functioning.

Executive: In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Sec. Panetta claimed that defense cuts in excess of $450 billion over ten years would cause "catastrophic damage" to the military.  However, Panetta declined to list any specific planned cuts.  In response to a question about how the United States' military strategy might be affected, Panetta warned that the U.S. may have to reduce its military presence in Latin America and Africa (for video of the hearing, click here).  Some news outlets are reporting that the Defense Secretary may have already signed off on a new strategy review.  In a speech at AUSA earlier this week, Panetta implied that he would leave DoD rather than oversee a hollowing out of the force and acknowledged that the United States was not likely to engage in another "Desert Storm" in the near future.  With news reports suggesting that Iraqis have decided to allow 5,000 U.S. military trainers to remain in the country passed 2011, the Pentagon is pushing back saying that "no final decisions" have been made.  Inside Defense reports that the Pentagon has established a new "Strategic Choices Group" to guide recommendations on cutting $450 billion from the DoD budget over ten years.


Project on Defense Alternatives: Pentagon Cuts in Context, No Reasons for "Doomsday" Hysteria

In a new memo, Carl Conetta finds that the so-called "doomsday scenario" would only bring DoD base budget spending down to 2007 levels.  (10/11/11)

AOL Defense: Panetta's Frenzied Rhetoric Will Not Stop Decay of US Forces
Winslow Wheeler offers a comprehensive critique of Panetta's recent talking points and the notion that returning to 2007 defense spending levels would be "catastrophic."  (10/14/11)

Huffington Post: Open Letter to the Super Committee
Dr. Larry Korb and Alex Rothman from CAP submit recommendations to the Joint Select Committee for $677 in defense savings over ten years.  (10/13/11)

Wall Street Journal: Enlisting YouTube, GOP Hawks Lobby Super Committee on Defense Cuts
HASC Republicans have produced a video portraying the supposed impact of defense cuts to those serving in uniform, while PDA points out that automatic sequestration cuts would only bring DoD funding down to 2007 levels.    (10/13/11)

National Interest: Hollow Claims of a Hollow Force
Ben Friedman questions the integrity of a litany of pro-defense spending arguments, from the jobs talking point to the "hollow" force prediction.    (10/12/11)

The Will and the Wallet: CNAS $500B Figure
Matthew Leatherman responds to the CNAS report's argument that defense cuts in excess of $500 billion would place the United States' defense strategy at risk.    (10/11/11)

Other News and Commentary

Army Times: McCain Open to Military Health, Retirement Cuts
SASC Ranking Member McCain (R-AZ) comes out in support of President Obama's efforts to address rising military health care and retirement costs.  (10/14/11)

ThinkProgress: Panetta Outlines Specifics of Draconian Cuts: A Reduced U.S. Presence in Latin America and Africa
Ben Armbruster points out that the biggest strategic risk Panetta claims would come from a "doomsday scenario" is a reduced military presence in Africa and Latin America.    (10/13/11)

DoD Buzz: New Wave of Uncertainty on F-35
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey questions whether the Pentagon can afford all three variants of the F-35.    (10/13/11)

"How Can We Avoid a 'Hollow Military' This Time Around?"
In an ongoing series, Mark Thompson and a panel of analysts discuss how to enact defense savings without creating a "hollow" force.    (10/13/11)

Danger Room: Osprey Down: Marines Shift Story on Controversial Warplane's Safety Record
David Axe details the V-22's questionable safety record.  (10/13/11)

Global Security Newswire:
Deficit Committee Should Cut Nuclear Arms, Lawmaker Says
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and a group of House Dems. urges the Super Committee to cut $200 billion from the nuclear weapons budget over the next decade.  (10/12/11)

Danger Room: Panetta: I'll Fight For Army Cash (Never Mind Reality)
Spencer Ackerman critiques Panetta's speech at ASUA.  (10/12/11)

Reuters: US Army May Cancel Programs to Trim Budget-Official
The Army's budget will likely be cut by $12-14 billion in FY13, with the "brunt" of savings coming from modernization and training programs.  (10/11/11)

Reports and Publications

Foreign Policy Initiative: The Danger of Deep Defense Cuts: What America's Civilian and Military Leaders Are Saying
FPI has issued a list of reports and quotes in opposition to defense cuts.  (10/13/11)  

Center for Strategic and International Studies: U.S. Ground Force Capabilities Through 2020
A new CSIS report examines "how well current plans align with future challenges ground forces might be called upon to address."  (October, 2011)