27 January 2012

Defense Budget Cuts Philosophy Announced

Defense Tech provides some key source documents outlining planned defense budget cuts.

In a nutshell, the Obama Administration gets it backward, cutting almost 100,000 ground troops when the last decade has clearly illustrated that we have far too few to mount even modest scale, low intensity ground operations, while preserving or enhancing resources for "high end" conflicts by preserving a large blue sea navy, funding the Air Force as much as possible including adding a new long range bomber, encouraging a renewed focus on combat with tanks, and restoring resources for training for large scale amphibious operations.

This is the opposite of what our nation needs from multiple perspectives, and it misapprehends our realistic military options in dealing with the only two high end military powers left (Russia and China), misapprehends the kinds of engagements we are likely to have with midrange powers which also happen to be a higher risk because they are less predictable (North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), and abandons critical military resources for dealing with low capability conflicts with poor third world countries, pirates and insurgents that been the dominant military issue for the U.S. and most of its allies for the last forty or fifty years.

This approach squanders irreplacable combat veteran experience, while failing to recognize that advances in technology have decreased the utility of existing classes of surface ships and made military aircraft capable of doing far more with far fewer planes. The plan is also backwards in terms of the extent to which it provides the kinds of boosts to our economy that our military spending has the capacity to provide, and fails to recognize that in areas like the naval we need major adjustments to the mix of forces rather than mere attention to total force sizes. It leaves us with a very expensive military that is ill equipped to handle basic military missions in an efficient way with a force tailored to have ways to handle these basic military missions which are most likely to come up. This plan does more to advance the interests of our country's big defense contractors than it does to advance our actual military needs.

President Obama praised the military in his state of the union address for its good work. He should be holding the parts of the military that did that good work harmless, while cutting the parts that were less relevant to the military accomplishments that he was praising, instead of the other way around.

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