Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/28/11 RD Bulletin: CBO Director Says Defense Cuts Not Guaranteed

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: One day after Super Committee Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion deficit reduction plan that would raise significant amounts of revenue while reforming Medicaid and Medicare, Republicans countered with their own plan that would rely heavily on spending cuts and some new revenue from user fees.  Meanwhile, House Speaker Boehner joined a growing chorus of lawmakers who say defense spending has been cut enough already and that automatic sequestration cuts would be unacceptable.  And HASC Ranking Member Smith, speaking at AEI this week, said defense would get “crucified” if the Super Committee fails.  Smith repeated his calls for Congress to increase federal revenue as a means of avoiding further defense cuts.  At a HASC subcommittee hearing on Thursday, service Vice-Chiefs issued dire warnings that additional defense reductions would hurt troop readiness. 

CBO Director Elmendorf testified Wednesday morning reductions in defense spending are not guaranteed and will be determined by future Congresses.  He also testified that discretionary spending caps contained in the Budget Control Act should keep increases in discretionary spending below the rate of inflation for the next ten years. 

Executive: Sec. Panetta, in South Korea on Thursday, said the Pentagon’s forthcoming 5-year budget would implement $250-260 billion in cuts, in line with the President’s commitment to save $460 billion from defense over the next decade.  Amid investigations into his management style, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. Clifford Stanley has announced his resignation.  Despite a request from Libya to maintain the no-fly zone, the U.N. Security Council voted this week to cancel NATO’s authorization to fly sorties.  And Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $24 million contract to investigate oxygen supply problems in the F-22. 


The Hill: Debunking Three Myths About the Debt Deal
Ben Freeman responds to the three most dubious pro-defense spending arguments.  (10/28/11)

New York Times: Military Is Said to Make Progress in Modernizing
Amid Pentagon concerns about the impact of future defense cuts, a new Stimson Center report finds that, over the past ten years, the Army “almost unintentionally acquired a fully modernized force.”  (10/28/11)

: Deficit Panel Sees War Savings Drop
As a result of a decreased level of war funding in the most recent Continuing Resolution, CBO’s projected ten-year savings for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have declined by $440 billion.  (10/26/11)

Talking Points Memo: Arms Industry Job Claims: Don’t Be Scared, Be Skeptical
Bill Hartung critiques the recent AIA report on job losses arguing that the aerospace lobby has “‘cooked the books’ in an effort to scare us into spending more on the military than is needed to defend our country.”  (10/26/11)

Other News and Commentary

AOL Defense: Boehner Signals Stand Against Super Committee Defense Cuts
Speaker Boehner has indicated his opposition to further defense cuts beyond the $460 billion already endorsed by the White House.  (10/27/11)

CNN Security Clearance: Chiarelli: History Shows Defense Cuts Costs Lives
The Vice Chief of Staff for the Army testifies at a HASC subcommittee hearing that past defense cuts have cost the United States lives and that he opposes large cuts to Army end strength.   (10/27/11)

Army Times: Lawmakers: Can Military Spending Create Jobs?
HASC Ranking Member McKeon is quoted as saying: “As a fiscal conservative, I tend to oppose increasing government spending for the purpose of job creation.  But I think we must understand that the defense industry is unique in that it relies entirely on federal government dollars.”   (10/27/11)
DoD Gets Tough With Lockheed Over F-35 Costs
Lockheed is pushing back against the Pentagon’s demand for a new “concurrency clause” in the F-35 contract that would require the manufacturer to share the cost of fixing problems discovered in aircraft already in use or production.  (10/27/11)

Early Warning Blog: DoD’s New Religion: Affordability
Dr. Daniel Goure is skeptical of the Pentagon’s new commitment to “affordability.”  (10/26/11)

Washington Post: U.S. Keeps Major Lead Over Russia in Nuclear Weapons
Recent figures released by the State Dept. show the United States has reduced its number of strategically deployed nukes, but still retains an advantage over Russia.  (10/26/11)

Reports and Publications

Stimson Center: What We Bought: Defense Procurement from FY01 to FY10
Russell Rumbaugh looks at DoD weapons acquisition and modernization over the past decade in a recently released Stimson Center report.  (10/28/11)

Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General:
FY 2012 Audit Plan
A DoD IG report examines programs at risk for waste and abuse.  (October, 2011) 

U.S. Army: 2012 Army Weapon Systems Handbook
A catalogue of Army weapon systems and programs, including current status of procurement and development.   (2011)

Government Accountability Office: DOD Financial Management: Challenges in Implementation of Business Systems Could Impact Audit Readiness Efforts  (10/28/11)

Center for a New American Security: Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National Security
A new CNAS report looks at the Pentagon’s ability to predict future threats and conflicts.  (October, 2011)