Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10/5/11 RD Bulletin: Services Gird for Cuts

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: Leaders from both chambers are negotiating spending levels for each of the twelve individual appropriations measures, an important step to allow the House and Senate to complete work  on FY12 spending bills.  However, all 12 appropriations bills are expected to be rolled into a single omnibus measure or several smaller "mini-buses."  Senate appropriators have reported out a Defense spending bill that would maintain FY11 funding levels ($513 billion) for the department, while the House has passed a Defense appropriations measure that would provide $530.5 billion for FY12. Meanwhile, the annual defense authorization bill is being held up in the Senate over several detainee provisions. 

News reports indicate the Joint Select Committee is examining a 3-to-1 spending cuts to revenue proposal that would immediately cut some tax expenditures, commit Congress to enacting comprehensive tax reform, and implement changes to mandatory spending programs.  It appears that the Committee has not yet discussed the prospect of including defense savings in its final recommendations to Congress.  However, that hasn't stopped Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), a Marine Corps veteran, from providing his own set of defense cut recommendations to the Joint Select Committee. 

Executive: Def. Sec. Panetta is in Europe this week, warning NATO leaders that the U.S. can no longer be expected to cover shortfalls in the alliance.  Inside Defense reports that Panetta has signed classified guidance directing the Pentagon to invest in capabilities that support high-end war among major powers, which may lead to increased investments in naval and air power over conventional military and counter-insurgency capabilities.  Gen. Demsey, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently visited the economics department at West Point to consult with military experts over how best to address forthcoming budget cuts.

Pentagon leaders are getting ready for a political battle with lawmakers as DoD seeks to cut more than $450 billion from its budget over ten years.  (10/5/11)

Rep. Barney Frank calls for more than $200 billion per year in Pentagon cuts.  (10/4/11) 

Republicans argue that the Budget Control Act does not mandate $350 billion in defense savings.  (10/4/11) 

Mark Thompson and a panel of analysts discuss the Super Committee and the prospects for defense savings.  (10/4/11) 

Other News and Commentary
The Army's European commander appears unconcerned about the prospect of U.S. troop reductions on that continent.  (10/5/11)

Outgoing Dept. Def. Sec. Lynn says the United States must remember lessons from past draw-downs as the Pentagon's budget is reduced.  (10/5/11)

New Hampshire Union Leader: Romney Says No to Military Cuts
GOP Presidential contender Mitt Romney believes defense spending should comprise at least 20 percent of federal spending.  (10/5/11)

With budget cuts looming, NATO members can no longer expect the U.S. to make up for shortcomings in the alliance.  (10/5/11)

Compared to personnel and operations funding, weapons programs are expected to bear a disproportionate share of upcoming of defense cuts.  (10/4/11)

Christopher Preble argues that fiscal constraints require the United States to reevaluate its role in the world or encourage its military allies to bear a larger share of the burden.  (10/4/11)

Despite budget uncertainty and the prospect of additional spending cuts, the Army is moving forward with three ground combat systems: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Humvee recapitalization program.  (10/4/11) 

CNAS' new report, "Harsh Choices: Responsible Defense in the Age of Austerity," lays out different scenarios for DoD spending reductions, ranging from $350 billion up to $850 billion in cuts over the next decade.  (10/4/11)   

Outgoing Dept. Def. Sec. William Lynn says that funding for cyber warfare, counterterrorism, and long-range strike capabilities will likely be protected from impending spending reductions, but that Army force structure and weapons modernization funding could get cut.  (10/4/11) 

Top Pentagon official says new TRICARE reforms will help "responsibly manage costs and ensure benefits for future servicemembers."  (10/4/11)

In a private meeting with HASC Republicans, Rumsfeld warned the committee to avoid implementing Pentagon cuts before a strategy review has been completed.  (10/3/11) 

Some F-35s are expected to come in below their negotiated ceiling price.   (10/3/11)

Reports and Publications

Center for a New American Security: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity

In a new report, CNAS argues that defense cuts in excess of $550 billion over ten years would cause significant risk to America's "global engagement strategy" absent reforms to military health care and retirement benefits or a recalibration of defense strategy.  (10/4/11) 

Upcoming Events

10/7/11 Center for a New American Security (CNAS): Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity
On October 7, CNAS staff present the forthcoming report "Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in the Age of Austerity."