Friday, January 6, 2012

1/4/12 RD Bulletin: Pentagon Strategy Review to be Released This Week

State of Play

Executive: Tomorrow, Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey will unveil a long-awaited Pentagon strategy review that will guide decisions on trimming $260 billion from the President’s budget request over the next five years.  The review is expected to recommend shifting away from engaging in two full-scale ground wars, delaying procurement of the CVN-79 aircraft carrier, a reduction in troop end strength, and an increase in the military’s focus on the Asia Pacific region while reducing its presence in Latin America and Africa.  Danger Room reports that the review may institute a 5 percent reduction in the Air Force fleet, scrapping 200 planes; delay development of the next-generation bomber; and reduce the number of F-35s purchased.  Final details on the five-year budget recommendations will be included in the President’s budget request, expected in February. 

Despite concerns over detainee provisions contained in the legislation, President Obama signed into law the annual defense authorization bill on December 31, 2011.  Before the holidays, Gen. Dempsey said that changes to the military’s retirement system are unlikely to occur in the near future, and that currently-serving soldiers will likely be grandfathered in under the current system.  The White House is expected to request an increase in the debt limit soon, after which Congress will have the opportunity to pass a joint resolution disapproving of the increase, although that resolution can be vetoed by the President. 

According to Inside Defense, the Pentagon failed to meet its goals for procurement competition in 2011.  And the Pentagon is in the final stages of approving a new financial management certification program to help facilitate audit readiness.   Pursuant to the recently enacted defense authorization bill, Air Force General Craig McKinley has joined the Joint Chiefs of Staff as its seventh member. 

Legislative: The House is set to return from recess on January 17, while the Senate will remain out of session until January 23. 


Bloomberg: Panetta to Offer Revamped Defense Strategy
On January 5, Secretary Panetta will unveil the Pentagon’s strategy review, which will chart a path toward achieving $260 billion in savings over the next five years, roughly one half of President Obama’s $450 billion in cuts from his ten-year budget request.  (1/3/12)

Huffington Post: Military Budget Cuts: No Big Deal or Excellent Opportunity?
Patricia DeGennaro from the World Policy Institute argues that unless the United States develops a truly new national security policy, it will remain subject to “random military decisions and pure speculation on threats and force structure.  (1/3/12)

Boston Globe: Pentagon Should Do More Cutting, Less Complaining About Budget
Citing PDA’s figure that the Pentagon has spent $32 billion on cancelled weapons systems, the Boston Globe editorial board urges DoD to be smarter about procurement decisions.   (1/2/12)

New York Times: Panetta to Offer Strategy for Cutting Military Budget
In the Pentagon’s forthcoming strategy review, it will likely shift away from simultaneously engaging in two full-scale ground wars in favor of fighting one war while being able to “spoil” an enemy’s plans in a different region.  (1/2/12)   Click here to create your own set of budget savings from an interactive list compiled by the New York Times.   

Other News and Commentary

Washington Post:
Challenging the Navy’s Numbers
Walter Pincus points out that, over the past decade, the services on average predicted that only 50 percent of their procurement cost estimates would be met, and argues that in order to increase fiscal accountability, the Navy should strive for an 80 percent confidence level in its cost estimates.  (12/29/11)

AOL Defense: Without Economic Changes, American Can’t Contain China
Loren Thompson believes that the best way to combat China’s rising role in the global arena is for the United States to get “its economic house in order.”  (12/29/11)

AOL Defense: Wake Up: America Can’t Afford Its Military
Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor opines that America’s current military posture is fiscally unsustainable, and warns politicians that “2012 is no time for uniformed decisions regarding use of force.”  (12/28/11)

Washington Post:
Pentagon Trimming Ranks of Generals, Admirals
The Pentagon plans on cutting its upper ranks by 10 percent over the next five years, bringing them down to pre-9/11 levels.  (12/28/11)

The Cable: State Department and Pentagon Creating Joint Office for Funding Emergency Response
The defense authorization bill endorsed the creation of a joint State-DoD office, which will manage security projects in war zones, although direct funding for the new program was not authorized.  (12/27/11)

National Interest:
Assessing the 2011 Defense Cuts
Michael O’Hanlon believes the Defense Department can realistically absorb cuts of 8-10 percent, but that savings of 15-20 percent would leave the U.S. military unable to respond to new threats or vulnerabilities.  (12/27/11)

The Hill: Defense Cuts Could Hinge on ’12 Election
Budget analysts predict that a decision by Congress on whether to allow sequestration cuts to proceed, as mandated by law, won’t be made until after the 2012 election.  (12/24/11)

Project on Government Oversight:
Destructive Destroyer Decisions
Benjamin Freeman discusses the Navy’s decision to forgo procurement of the DDG-1000 in favor of the DDG-51, and says that a GAO report, due out in January, will likely be critical of the Navy’s plan.  (12/22/11)   Click here for a CRS report on the issue. 

U.S. News and World Report: $1 Trillion in Defense Cuts?  Big Deal.
In an article covering the so called “doomsday scenario” of $1 trillion in potential defense cuts, Chris Preble and Gordon Adams attempt to calm the hysteria.  (12/21/11)

Reports and Publications:

International Security: Unrest Assured: Why Unipolarity is Not Peaceful
Nuno Monteiro explores why the collapse of the Soviet Union and the United States’ resulting unrivaled military power has not lead to a more peaceful global security environment.  (December 2011)