Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/5/11 RD Bulletin: Super Committee Stalls

ed. Ethan R. Rosenkranz

State of Play

Legislative: Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have written Defense Secretary Panetta requesting additional details on what the Pentagon would cut if the Super Committee fails and sequestration cuts are implemented.   The two senators also are working on legislation that would wall of DoD from any potential sequestration cuts.  CQ Today reports that Super Committee talks have stalled and that Democrats and Republicans appear more polarized than ever.  However, House Speaker John Boehner has indicated he may be willing to accept revenue increases as part of a Super Committee deal.

Executive: Speaking at a HASC hearing this week, the service chiefs pleaded with lawmakers to approve recommendations from the Super Committee in order to avoid sequestration cuts.  The chiefs repeated their arguments that deep cuts to the Pentagon would force large troop cuts, impair modernization efforts, and put in jeopardy large weapons programs like the F-35.  The services are planning on cutting at least 22,700 civilian employees from their workforces and will likely replace a portion of them with contractors.  A top general has confirmed that the vast majority of U.S. troops will be redeployed from Iraq by mid-December, while approximately 4,000 of those troops will be headed to Kuwait.  And lawmakers have been told that Afghanistan will require at least $4-6 billion in security aid following the United States’ expected withdrawal in 2014.


National Interest: The Pentagon and Jobs
Christopher Prebble offers his thoughts on defense Keynesians and the recent jobs hysteria.  (11/3/11) 

Foreign Affairs
: How Cutting Pentagon Spending Will Fix U.S. Defense Strategy
Benjamin Friedman opines that defense spending reductions will “dial back Washington’s overzealous foreign policy.”  (11/2/11)

Danger Room: Take a Deep Breath, Pentagon.  Your Budget is Safe
In an article by Spencer Ackerman, Gordon Adams points out that, due to election-year politics and concerns about national security, automatic sequestration cuts to defense are highly unlikely.  (11/2/11)

Huffington Post: Arms Industry: Trumped Up Jobs Claims, Pumped Up Profits
Bill Hartung contrasts weapons contractors’ profits with their bemoaning over potential defense cuts.  (11/2/11)

Other News and Commentary

Aviation Week:
Lawmakers Could Agree on Easy $2B in Cuts
Once a defense appropriations bill passes both chambers, Senate and House conferees may already be in agreement on $2 billion in defense cuts.  (11/3/11)

Politico: Trigger-Unhappy Lawmakers Eye Exit
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) plan on introducing legislation that would wall off defense funding from automatic sequestration cuts.  (11/3/11)

Early Warning Blog:
Time to Consider the Virtues of a Hollow Force
Dr. Daniel Goure argues the U.S. should look to Europe and design a smaller force while maintaining the industrial base and modernization programs.  (11/3/11)

Democrats, the Supercommittee and Defense Cuts
Democrats have failed to frame the Super Committee debate in favor of revenue increases, while Republicans continue to ramp up defense jobs hysteria.  (11/2/11)

DoD Buzz: DoD Explains ‘1.5M Jobs At Risk’ Warning
The Pentagon explains that it used “Interindustry Forecasting” at the University of Maryland to predict that sequestration cuts to defense would cause unemployment to rise by one percent.  (11/2/11)

CNN Security Clearance: Top Military Officers Detail Effects of Defense Cuts
At a HASC hearing, the service chiefs detailed their concerns about sequestration cuts, explaining that investments in the F-35, long-range bomber, and KC-46 refueling tanker would be in jeopardy.  (11/2/11)

National Defense: Army’s Top Civilian Says Portions of the Budget Ripe for Cuts
Army Secretary McHugh has signed nine efficiency directives since taking office, but admits that there are many areas of the Army’s budget that can be cut, including large savings from contractor personnel and weapons acquisition.  (11/2/11)

Navy Times: Service Leaders Defend MV-22, STOVL F-35B
The service leaders oppose terminating the F-35B and MV-22 because the U.S. is the only country currently developing STOVL and tilt-rotor capabilities.  (11/2/11)

Washington Post:
Budget Cuts Will Mean Troop Cuts, Chiefs Say
The service chiefs acknowledge that $460 billion in cuts will require them to shrink troop end strength, but repeated their concerns that sequestration cuts would be immediate and unmanageable.  (11/2/11)

Why Pentagon Weapon ‘Efficiencies’ Are Often an Illusion
Loren Thompson questions the ability of defense efficiency initiatives to contain weapon system costs.  (11/1/11)

Reports and Publications:

Center for Strategic and International Studies:
Defense Budget Cuts and Non-Traditional Threats to US Security: An Update (11/3/11)

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments: Five Facts About Defense and Sequestration
A nice, succinct fact sheet explaining why the Budget Control Act and sequestration cuts will not cause a “doomsday scenario.”  (November, 2011)

Government Accountability Office: Defense Contract Management: Amid Ongoing Efforts to Rebuild Capacity, Several Factors Present Challenges in Meeting Its Missions  (November, 2011)