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05/22/2011

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mikey

It seems to me that significant reductions in the military ("defense") budget are practically easy, albeit politically impossible. 2 really obvious places to look for BIG savings:

1.) Strategic doctrine. In today's strategic environment, the US could eliminate manned strategic bombers and land based ICBMs. Reduce the stockpile to around 300 of the most modern 'dial-a-yield' warheads, reduce the fleet to 3-4 boomers (2 at sea, 1-2 in refit). How many hundreds of billions would that move save? The acknowledged threat is a single warhead from a rogue nation or non-state actor, and the delivery system that contemplates is a shipping container. The reduction in capability envisioned here doesn't put the US at any higher risk, it just more accurately and honestly aligned capabilities with the real-world threat environment.

2.) International footprint. The US could easily shut down 50-75% of its foreign bases, pre-positioning equipment and pulling back to a limited number of mega-bases. Again, very large savings, zero loss in capability.

There you have it. HUGE start in cost reduction - unfortunately it would be a political football, used to tar whoever suggested it as an un-American appeaser of the first order.

Oh. And it would obviously be worthwhile to end the pointless conventional military presence in Afghanistan, but that's another conversation altogether...

mikey

J.

What's more feasible is a general cut in overseas operations, modernization programs, and personnel costs (specifically health care). It's a perhaps little known fact how little the service members pay for health care, costs have been largely frozen since 1995. And while we all want the service members to have the best health care possible, the huge costs of sustaining that rate is pushing other programs off the table.

If the DOD can agree to rein in its major acquisition programs and get them to avoid spiraling costs and extended schedules every year, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible, and bring up health care costs to be equal to say, at least those civilians in the federal government (or dare I suggest the public in general?), these steps would significantly reduce the defense budget.

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