Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/19/11 RD Bulletin: Congress Looks to Avoid Sequestration

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: The “Gang of Six” group of Senators will brief the Super Committee on its own set of recommendations during a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning.  Politico reports that House GOP leadership is getting ready to begin whipping its members on the upcoming recommendations of the Super Committee.  Supposedly, GOP leadership is so alarmed by the prospects of sequestration cuts that its pushing hard for a Super Committee deal that would reach the mandated target of $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.  In fact, the threat of sequestration cuts to defense could push Republican leadership to accept a Super Committee deal that includes savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing today on the final recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Contracting. 

Executive: The Pentagon pushed back against reports this weekend suggesting the United States would not keep military trainers in Iraq past the end of 2011, saying that discussions are ongoing.  DoD would like to retain some military presence in Iraq past the end of the year in order to keep an eye on Iran.  The head of U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. Robert Kehler has reiterated his support for the nuclear triad amid talk of canceling one of the triad’s legs.  Gen. Dempsey has tapped Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle to lead the Strategic Choices Working Group, which will update the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and provide guidance on future budget cuts.  At the same time, Panetta has instructed Dept. Def. Sec. Ashton Carter to take the lead in finding additional efficiency savings at the Pentagon. 


New York Times: Deficit Panel May Need Push, Lawmakers Say
With five weeks to go and little progress made, the Super Committee may look to leadership for guidance.  (10/18/11) 

Defense News: Plan For War Costs
Matthew Leatherman opines on the dangers of off-budget war funding.  (10/17/11)

Nieman Watchdog: Why Is the Press Ignoring Panetta’s Frenzied Rhetoric and Data-Free Myths?
Winslow Wheeler lambasts the recent news coverage of Panetta.    (10/17/11)

AOL Defense: Five Reasons Why the Congressional Super Committee Won’t Matter to Defense
Loren Thompson makes the case for why the Super Committee won’t address defense spending.  (10/15/11)

Other News and Commentary

Defense News: Hard Choices for Ground Forces
The authors of the recent CNAS report argue in favor of reducing Army and Marine Corps end strength to pre-9/11 levels.  (10/17/11)

Battleland: Nuclear (Triad) Warfare
Mark Thompson examines the debate over eliminating one leg of the nuclear triad and concludes that the Navy “sees the writing on the wall.” (10/18/11)

Washington Post: Clapper: ‘Double-Digit’ Cuts Coming for Intel Budget
DNI James Clapper has submitted a long-term budget plan for the intelligence community that would enact double-digit cuts over ten years (rumored to be between $25-40 billion), reducing funding for IT and contractors.  (10/17/11)

Danger Room: Wallets Aweigh: Romney’s Navy Surge Could Cost $40 Billion
Spencer Ackerman takes a closer look at Romney’s proposal to increase shipbuilding.  (10/17/11)

Navy Times: Subs May Serve Attack, Guided-Missile Functions
The Navy is considering merging its attack and guided-missile submarines in a move to save money.  (10/15/11)

Early Warning Blog: Matching the Supply of Military Forces with Demands for Action
Dr. Daniel Goure applies a supply and demand model to U.S. military policy.  (10/14/11)

AOL Defense: Navy Delays Carrier, Cuts Cruisers, Amphibs in Draft Budget
In its draft budget for FY13, the Navy is considering cutting 12 cruisers and amphibious ships and delaying procurement of new aircraft carriers.  (10/14/11)

Arms Control Association: New START For Less Money
A look at the potential savings garnered by reforming the nuclear triad.  (10/13/11)

Foreign Policy: A Heretic Responds
Kori Schake argues that large increases in defense spending do not translate into increased capabilities.  (10/13/11)

Reports and Publications

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments: Changing the Business of Defense
A new CSBA report examines three options for the Pentagon to meet savings requirements imposed by the Budget Control Act.  (10/18/11)