Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/2/11 RD Bulletin: DoD Funding Freeze May Be Thawing

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: CQ Today reports that Congressional appropriators are considering providing $518 billion in funding for the Department of Defense in FY12, which is $5 billion more than the Senate Appropriations Committee approved-bill and $12.5 billion less than the House passed-legislation.  While disagreements remain over detainee provisions, SASC Chairman Carl Levin indicated that the defense authorization bill will likely head to the Senate Floor before the defense appropriations measure is considered, which is expected to occur sometime in December.  The Senate has completed work on a mini-omnibus appropriations measure comprised of three regular spending bills, however House GOP opposition could derail the package as it’s considered in conference.   The Senate will likely take up another mini-omnibus appropriations bill later this week.

The Super Committee met publicly yesterday to receive testimony from the Co-Chairs of the Fiscal Commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, as well as former Senator Pete Domenici and former OMB director Alice Rivlin.  Despite 15 closed-door meetings and several public hearings, the Super Committee remains far apart on the issue of taxes and is still trying to find agreement on a broad framework that can pass both chambers.  At a classified, closed-door House briefing last night, Sec. Panetta, Gen. Dempsey, and other top administration officials lobbied lawmakers to approve recommendations put forth by the Super Committee in order to avoid sequestration cuts to defense.  Panetta also said that he expects half of the $450 billion in defense cuts to come from weapons systems, while the remaining savings will likely come from efficiencies, health care reforms, and cuts to troop end strength.

Executive: The service chiefs are testifying at a HASC hearing this morning, where the discussion is expected to focus on the upcoming Pentagon strategy review and how it will influence forthcoming budget cuts.  Testifying at a HASC subcommittee hearing last week, the service vice-chiefs indicated that the strategy review should be completed by December of this year.  The New York Times reports that the Administration is considering sending to Kuwait some of the 39,000 troops scheduled to leave Iraq by year’s end.


Democracy Arsenal: Our False Debate on Cutting Defense Spending
Michael Cohen responds to a Washington Post editorial by Robert Samuelson and rebuts his claim that military spending is more important than domestic spending.  (10/31/11)

Capital Gains and Games: Defense, Jobs, and the Making of Hypocrites
Gordon Adams slams the AIA jobs arguments and exposes its underlying hypocrisy.  (10/30/11)

National Interest:
Strategy vs. Jointness
Benjamin Friedman argues that removing the “golden ratio” will encourage strategic competition amongst the services leading to greater efficiency.  (10/28/11)

Other News and Commentary

Huffington Post:
Super Committee Could Pass a Resolution Giving Itself More Time
The Super Committee has the option of reporting out a resolution that would provide additional time for it to complete its work.  (11/1/11)

Secrecy News: Prospects Fade for a Separate Intelligence Budget
Although DNI James Clapper supports a separate budget for the National Intelligence Program, he admitted in a speech last month that it “ain’t gonna happen.”  (11/1/11)

The Hill: Pentagon May Shift Focus to Asia-Pacific
Sources say the upcoming strategy review may recommend cancellation of the littoral combat ship.  (10/31/11)

Battleland: Triad & True
Mark Thompson responds to a recent piece defending the nuclear triad in the Weekly Standard.  (10/31/11)

Danger Room: Army’s Vision for the Future: Mostly Doom, Some Idiocy
The Army is hosting a symposium called “A Vision of Alternative Futures” where government officials, academics, and contractors will make the case for maintaining the Army’s budget at $140 billion.  (10/31/11)

New York Times: Bombs, Bridges and Jobs
Paul Krugman acknowledges defense spending creates jobs, but exposes the overall hypocrisy of the military jobs argument.  (10/30/11)

Small Wars Journal: Salami Slices, Cheese Spread and Kool-Aid: A Recipe for Anorexic Organizations
Two Air War College academics argue against across-the-board cuts to defense and in favor of allowing strategic vision to guide defense reduction.  (10/29/11)

Congressional Quarterly: In Downsizing Defense, Politics Trumps Strategy
Gordon Adams disputes the notion that past defense builddowns have endangered U.S. national security.  (10/29/11)

New York Times: The Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget
New York Times editorial calls for significant savings from the nuclear weapons budget, including forgoing modernization of the B61 bomber in Europe and reducing to 1,220 the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons.  (10/29/11)

Defense News:
Slight Drop in U.S. Funding for Intel Programs
Recently released funding figures for the intelligence community show that, although the overall National Intelligence Program’s budget increased from FY10 to FY11, the Military Intelligence Program received three billion dollars less.   (10/28/11)

Reports and Publications:

Congressional Budget Office: Recent Development Efforts for Military Airships (November, 2011)

Center for International Policy and Common Cause: Tools of Influence: The Arms Lobby and the Super Committee
Bill Hartung finds that Super Committee members have received over $1.1 million in campaign donations from defense lobbyists over the past two election cycles.  (October, 2011)

Department of Defense: Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan  (April, 2010)