Friday, April 15, 2011

A Modest Proposal

Larry Correia is letting off a bit of steam about taxes and the disaster that our country calls a federal budget.  I agree with just about everything he says.  Go read the whole thing, and then come back.

I have a few ideas of where spending can be cut over the next few years.  I'll start by goring my own bull, then move on from there.  Some of these may seem short-sighted, and I'm sure that like everything else in life, there are negative unintended consequences to everything I propose.  But guys, we're beyond eating the seed corn here.  We've eaten the seeds, forced the kids to have babies, and now we're prepping our kids and their kids for the smoker.  Somethings gotta give, and we can deal with the consequences later.

Military Spending

I'll start here because this will probably cause the biggest uproar amongst my readers.  It's probably the part of government spending that's nearest and dearest to my heart.  I know these were the hardest things for me to accept.

General Military Spending:

  • Get us the hell out of Iraq and Libya.  Iraq has had years to get its collective act together, and Libya isn't our fight at all.  Afghanistan has two years to come to some kind of agreement with itself and then we go home. We leave both Iraq and Afghanistan with a promise to not be very delicate with who we send to paradise if we ever have to come back.  In that event, we will make a desert and call it peace.
  • Draw down all of our forces in Europe except for a skeleton crew at Ramstein and Rhein Main Air Force Bases, along with two small Navy bases each in the North Atlantic and the Meditteranean to be named later.  All, and I say again, all Army personnel come home.  
  • Each and every other military mission and installation that's been sprinkled across the globe over the past 60 years and still remains gets re-evaluated with one question:  Is this activity showing any real, direct results towards providing security to the United States?  If the Sultan of the United Emirates of Goats and Sheep can't get whatever forces he needs to stay in power without our help, then he shouldn't be in power and we shouldn't be stationing troops in his rich little craphole to prop him up and try to train his mob of goat herders to shoot straight. Some guide-ons will be rolled up doing this, and that's not a nice thing to think about, but we can't afford to play super cop anymore, and we won't need as many units.
  • All personnel slots for officers over the rank of O-6 and enlisted over the rank of E-7 who aren't in command slots (Commander or Senior Enlisted Advisor Roles) have to be re-justified.  Emphasis will be on elimination of unnecessary staff slots or re-keying them to take personnel of lower rank. 
  • Elimination of a lot of overseas staffs will save money, but we also need to look at the units that we have here at home and eliminate them if they can't be justified.
  • Reduction In Force - Yeah, this sucks.  People we want to keep will jump ship as soon as they can for better opportunities.  People who should really be shown the door will fight tooth and nail to stay.  But we have to reduce the size of our military to what we can afford, and by closing overseas bases and telling the third world to take care of itself, we'll be able to secure our borders and critical sea lanes with a smaller force.  It's possible we can buy off some people approaching retirement and cut back on recruiting to soften the blow, but this one is gonna hurt.
  • All remaining military bases must cut 25% from their operating costs while still being able to accomplish their core mission.  If this means the golf courses, rod and gun clubs, and whatever else on-post activities that don't support the core mission and don't pay for themselves get closed, so be it. 
  • Each and every military research and development effort is to be reviewed and eliminated if it doesn't look like it's going to show a fielded combat or combat support system in two years.  That means new tanks, new airplanes, and new ships will have to wait for a while.
Air Force:
  • F-35 - We're too far in the hole for another new, shiny fighter jet
  • New Tanker Fleet - I'm not going to cut this one back because in the event that we have to send troops or planes overseas, we'll have to fuel the planes.  Bought from Boeing or another American company. If we're going to spend any money, it's going into American pockets.  But they get their initial cost estimate and not one penny more.  Cost overruns get eaten by the nice people in their corporate offices.  If they don't like it, then we can just not spend any money at all until our fiscal situation improves. 
  • New UAV's - Gone.  We can continue UAV research after the bills are paid. 
 Army
  • Future Combat Systems, or whatever they're calling it these days.  We'll have to make due with the tanks, trucks, radios, and computers we have now.  It's not like this one delivered much of use anyway.  Some money can be spent to repair/replace existing hardware, but no new development.
  • Yeah, there are a lot of problems with the M-4, but we can't afford new rifles right now.  This one goes on the "When we can afford it, do this first" list.
  • New UAV's - Gone.  We can continue UAV research after the bills are paid. 
Navy and Marine Corps
  • Littoral Combat Ship - Gone.  Good idea, definitely will be done when the money isn't as tight, but we can't afford it.
  • Floating Tank - Like the Army, the Marines are going to have to make due with what they've got.  Some money can be spent to repair/replace existing hardware, but no new development.  Otherwise, the Marines are left alone.  They're usually the firstest with the mostest for our military, so I'm letting them keep doing what they're doing.
  • Annapolis football team - Bye bye - Just kidding!
You'll notice I didn't cut out any mobility or force projection projects.  If we're bringing most of our troops home, we'll need ships and planes to get them back overseas if someone gets frisky and it impacts our vital interests.  That may mean creating more places like Diego Garcia, where we stash military hardware for use in case of war, and just fly in the soldiers.

I also didn't put any cuts to veteran or military pay and benefits.  Veterans, especially disabled veterans, are owed a debt of honor and blood, and I'm not going to try to balance the budget on their backs.  Same for the troops still on active duty. They deserve more than we can afford to pay them, but at least we won't take away from them.

These are my ideas for the military.  Since this is getting into TLDR territory already, I'll put the rest of this into separate posts

4 comments:

Old NFO said...

Good post- And a couple of points... Rhein Main is already closed, LCS is probably not going to continue, agree on the F-35, FFP contracts, golf courses, etc.

I don't agree on the R&D efforts. Today, with the acquisition changes, you cannot get a new system fielded in less than 10 years. Plain fact. Also, we can't really cut active duty back any further without major impacts on readiness and ability to meet minimum manning levels.

Shepherd K said...

I agree in principal as I am somewhat of an isolationist myself; however, I think the first step has to be reevaluating the overall mission of the military. As you noted, we can't afford to keep playing supercop to the world; but, without a new mission statement and parameters for involvement, that's what we are going to continue to be expected to be. The Cold War is over. It's time to decide what role we need to be taking in the world around us. Supporting third world dictators has to go. Fighting to free people who don't like us has to go. I'm all for bringing them all home and having a bunch of rifles on the borders pointed out.

DaddyBear said...

oops, guess I need to look at what bases are open before I start naming the ones I don't want closed.

Shepherd, not being the world's cop and defending the territory and true interests of the U.S. is pretty much my mission statement for the military. I would specifically say that anything we do for other countries is cash and carry. If the high muckety muck of Douchebagistan wants a training squad for his personal guard, it gets paid for in gold.

Divemedic said...

I agree. The third largest line item (Behind Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid) is the military. We either make cuts now voluntarily, or in a few years the cuts are made for us when we run out of credit. Since the military is such a large expense, cuts will have to be made.

In fact, if there is not an across the board spending cut of about 45% within the next few years, we are done as a nation.

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