Friday, December 23, 2011

12/21/11 RD Bulletin: DoD Spending, Authorization Bills Passed

State of Play

Congress has passed an omnibus spending measure to complete appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012 as well as the annual defense authorization bill.  Both measures await the President’s signature.  The spending measure would provide $518 billion for DoD’s base budget, maintain funding for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, cut one F-35 from planned procurement levels, and institute a 1.6 percent pay raise for the military.  Inside Defense reports that Congressional appropriators have set aside $100 million to fix anticipated design problems in the F-35.  Six House lawmakers have written the Chief of Naval Operations protesting any consideration of “the premature decommissioning” of Navy ships, especially CG-47 Aegis cruisers.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, announced that the Pentagon will soon commence a study on reforming military health care and retirement, and that the President may even commission the study himself.  The last U.S. combat troops left Iraq this weekend putting an end to the 9-year conflict and leaving behind just 150 soldiers to guard the U.S. embassy.  With tensions remaining high between Pakistan and the United States, the Associated Press reports that the U.S. is increasingly relying on three routes through Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucuses to deliver supplies to Afghanistan.  And the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, again repeated his support for maintaining a U.S. military advisory role in the country until as late as 2016, when the Afghan air force should be ready.  Japan has announced its decision to purchase forty-two F-35As, which may soften the impact to Lockheed Martin of any reduction in planned procurement of the F-35 by the United States and United Kingdom.   South Korea is expected to follow Japan and purchase its own fleet of F-35s.


Huffington Post:
A Prudent Response to Chinese Military Modernization
Dr. Larry Korb and Bill French discuss the Chinese military buildup and argue that the United States can rebalance its budget priories while addressing the perceived military threat from China.  (12/19/11)

Is Leon Panetta the Right Man to Be Secretary of Defense?
Winslow Wheeler compares spending reductions under sequestration with past U.S. military builddowns as well as allies and adversaries’ levels of defense spending.  (12/13/11)

Taxpayers for Common Sense:
Plenty of Money Moving Around Defense Authorization Bill
TCS details some of the spending items added to the defense authorization bill that the Pentagon did not request, and may not need.  (12/14/11)

Other News and Commentary

Iraq: At Least $6 Billion Gone Missing Due to Overlooked Oversight
The Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found that $6-8 billion was “wasted” on inefficient contracting and waste.  (12/21/11)

Center for American Progress:
U.S. Military Strategy Shifts Focus: New Approach is More Sustainable Than Occupations and Counterinsurgencies
Peter Juul believes that the Obama Administration’s shift from large-scale counterinsurgencies to “targeted operations conducted by airpower, special operations, and the intelligence community” is more cost-effective and sustainable.  (12/20/11)

AOL Defense:
What’s Likely in New Pentagon Strategy: 2 Theatres, Fewer Bases, A2D2
Mackenzie Eagleton predicts what will be included in the Pentagon’s forthcoming strategy review and concludes by recommending a comprehensive review that would “boil down America's key activities into a concrete list of five or six enduring advantages and then think about how the U.S. can maintain these core competencies into the future.”  (12/20/11)

The Hill:
Year-Ahead Tipsheet: Budget Cuts Will Dominate Defense Debates in 2012
John Bennett offers a preview of next year’s defense budget battles, with Gordon Adams predicting that defense authorizers won’t be able to come up with sixty votes in the Senate to nullify sequestration cuts to defense without commensurate savings elsewhere.  (12/19/11)

How To Waste $100 Billion: Weapons That Didn’t Work Out
Loren Thompson offers a succinct history of recently cancelled weapons systems and bemoans a political system that ignores “sunk costs.”  (12/19/11)

AOL Defense:
U.S. Needs New National Security Plan to Survive ‘Catastrophic’ Defense Cuts
In an AOL op-ed, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) argues that the United States needs to reformulate its national security plan to allow for sensible defense reductions without bringing on “catastrophe.”  (12/19/11)

Defense News:
End Two-Year Planning for U.S. Ground Forces
Michael O’Hanlon makes the case for military planners to drop the requirement that the Pentagon be prepared to engage in two full-scale ground wars as long as the United States can “respond in other ways to other simultaneous and overlapping challenges abroad.”  (12/187/11)

New York Times:
Secretary Expects Cuts in Marines and Navy
While declining to cite exact numbers, the Secretary of the Navy says he expects the Navy and Marine Corps to shrink following the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (12/17/11)

New York Times:
War Really Is Going Out of Style
Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker make the case for why large-scale ground wars are a thing of the past citing a lack of large scale conflicts since the end of the Korean War as well as the absence of sovereign territorial gains since WWII – one of the major incentives for states to go to war.  (12/17/11)

Defense News:
U.S. Navy Expects to Base Ships in Singapore
Budget constraints will prevent the Navy from establishing new main operating bases overseas prompting it to place greater reliance on host countries, like Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.   (12/17/11)

Navy Times:
Congress Looks to Wrap Up Budget Bills
Kate Brannen offers a quick summary of the defense portion of the omnibus appropriations bill, including its move to cut procurement of one F-35 and retain funding for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.   (12/16/11)

AOL Defense:
Facing Big Cuts, Army Reshapes Reserves to Keep Key Troops
The Army wants to further incentivize joining the reserves by increasing flexibility in the program and creating an “inactive reserve” status with no deployment requirements.   (12/16/11)

Government Executive:
Defense Bill Seeks New Submarine Cost Assessment
The recently passed defense authorization bill directs the Pentagon to study how many SSBN(X) submarines should be built and how many missiles each vessel should be able to carry.  (12/16/11)

Reports and Publications:

General Accounting Office:
DOD Financial Management: Ongoing Security Challenges with Reconciling Navy and Marine Corps Fund Balance with Treasury  (12/20/11)

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Arms Sales: Agreements with and Deliveries to Major Clients, 2003-2010  (12/16/11)