Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/26/11 RD Bulletin: AIA Ramps Up Jobs Hysteria

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: The Joint Select Committee met publicly this morning to receive testimony from CBO Director Elmendorf on discretionary spending, including both defense and non-defense.  Super Committee co-chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) remains hopeful that the committee can complete its work successfully, saying it still has “plenty of time to do what [it] needs to do.”  However, some skeptical lawmakers are suggesting the Super Committee put forth a deficit reduction package of around $800 billion and allow an additional $400 billion sequestration cuts to occur.  CQ Today reports that Super Committee member Max Baucus (D-MT) and a group of Democratic members has submitted a proposal to the committee that makes additional cuts in discretionary spending, including defense, along with $500 billion in changes to Medicare and Medicaid.  As the Super Committee was meeting this morning, HASC convened a hearing where George Mason economist Stephen Fuller testified that defense sequestration cuts would result in the loss of 1 million jobs.

With the November 18 deadline to pass another Continuing Resolution rapidly approaching, appropriators may try to attach a CR to the mini-omnibus spending bill currently under consideration by the Senate.  The Senate will likely consider additional mini-omnibus spending measures next month, compressing the typical 12 annual appropriations bills into 4 omnibus packages.  The next likely omnibus bill will be centered on the Energy and Water appropriations measure.

Executive: At a press conference, AIA argued that “cuts to the U.S. defense budget will cause widespread job losses, cripple the U.S. military, and destroy the industrial base.”  Inside Defense reports that the Army hopes to realize $5.5 billion in savings by FY16 by reforming military, civilian, and contractor personnel.  And Bloomberg Government has an exclusive report that Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been forced to repay DoD $89.2 million and have lost another $199 million in prior billings because of violations in federal accounting standards.  After another grounding due to oxygen supply problems, F-22s are back in the air.  Traveling in Asia this week, Sec. Panetta sought to reassure allies of the United States’ commitment to Asian security while calming service-members’ fears over benefit cuts.


Project on Defense Alternatives: Going for Broke: The Budgetary Consequences of Current U.S. Defense Strategy
Carl Conetta shows how the Pentagon’s adoption of more ambitious goals, strategy, and missions after the Cold War led to today’s unsustainable defense budgets.  (10/25/11)

Project on Defense Alternatives: Strategic Adjustments to Sustain the Force: A Survey of Current Proposals
Charles Knight surveys five proposals for adjusting U.S. global strategy to new fiscal realities in ways that enhance security while avoiding ‘hollowing’ of the forces.  (10/25/11)

The Hill: Waging War Over Pentagon Budget Cuts
John Bennett juxtaposes AIA’s job-cutting hysteria with PDA’s new reports that show Pentagon cuts in excess of $1 trillion will not harm national security.  (10/25/11)

Defense News: Alternative Views Emerge in U.S. Defense Budget Debate
Kate Brannen discusses the notion that the current defense builddown will pale in comparison to previous, more austere drawdowns.  (10/25/11)

Other News and Commentary

L.A. Times: Congress Works to Avert Defense Cuts
Is the Super Committee’s work being undermined by lawmakers’ suggestions that the Pentagon will be exempted from potential sequestration cuts?  (10/25/11)

Project on Government Oversight: Panelists at Taxpayers Protection Alliance Briefing Talk Defense Cuts
At a briefing this week, panelists presented the case for eliminating the JSF alternative engine, MEADS, and the Common Vertical Lift Support Program.  For a transcript of the briefing, click here(10/25/11)

Army Times: McCain Eyes Barring Retirees From Tricare Prime
SASC Ranking Member McCain is pushing the Super Committee to consider barring military retirees from Tricare Prime, an option that CBO has outlined.    (10/25/11)

Government Executive: Defense Officials Downplay Panel’s Role in Revamping Military Retirement
A top Pentagon official seeks to downplay a recent Defense Business Board report which recommended a 401(k)-style plan for the military with government contributions.   (10/25/11)

CNN Security Clearance: Defense Cuts Would Hurt Some States More Than Others
In new analysis by AIA, the trade organization lists the top ten states most likely impacted by potential weapons systems cuts.  (10/25/11)

Navy Times: PACOM Boss: Fleet Essential to Protect Commerce
The Navy’s Pacific Commander is coming Washington to make the case for a strong naval presence in Asia.  (10/25/11)

The Will and the Wallet: Administration Endorses FY12 Defense Freeze
Matthew Leatherman notes that the Administration has endorsed the Senate Appropriations Committee’s move to freeze defense spending at FY11 levels for FY12.  (10/24/11)

DefenseTech: More Problems With the F-35B?
Winslow Wheeler details several problems experienced by the F-35B during test take-offs and landings on the USS Wasp (10/24/11)

Politico: Aiming for a Leaner, Meaner Military
Charles Hoskinson discusses the challenges that DoD faces in enacting budget cuts while creating a leaner, more efficient military.  (10/23/11)

The Hill: Lawmakers Push Defense Fraud, Waste Report to Influence Supercommittee Cuts
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans on sending the Super Committee an internal Pentagon report that found defense firms have defrauded the government $1.1 trillion over the past decade.  (10/23/11)

Consensus Scarce on Future of Overseas Bases
Charles Hoskinson details the ongoing debate over the utility of American overseas bases.  (10/23/11)

Reports and Publications

Small Wars Journal: Don’t Break the Bank With COIN
In a new paper, Sean Liedman argues that “it is not fiscally feasible for the U.S. military to sustain the standing forces necessary to execute COIN campaigns.”  (10/25/11)

Events and Hearings

10/27/11 National Priorities Project and the Coalition on Human Needs Webinar: Deficits, Domestic Programs, and Pentagon Spending
At 3:00 pm on October 27, NPP and the Coalition on Human Needs will host a webinar on Pentagon budget basics and the need to cut defense spending.