Free Markets, Free People

Balancing the budget on the back of the military

The very same people who spent us into fiscal insolvency have now decided that the way to recover budget savings in the coming years is to radically reduce the military and its effectiveness by reducing military spending dramatically. Certainly there are savings to be had within the military-industrial complex. But not like this.

Rep. Barney Frank’s Sustainable Defense Task Force claims to have found almost a trillion dollars that can be “saved” over 9 years by taking a meat axe to the services. Highlights, or lowlights if you prefer, of the 56 page document include:

-Reduction of the Navy from 12 planned aircraft carriers to 8 and 7 air wings.

-Reduction of the ballistic missile submarine force from the planned 14 to 6.

-Reduction of the nuclear attack submarines being built by half leaving 40 by 2020.

-4 active guided missile submarines cut.

-Freeze destroyer construction and cancel the DDG-1000 destroyer program.

-Reduce total fleet size from 287 combat ships to 230.

-Retire 6 Air Force fighter wings.

-Build 301 fewer F-35 fighters.

-Configure all nuclear strike bombers so they can only drop conventional munitions.

-Cancel additional C-17s and new refueling tanker project.

-Eliminate or curtail research on directed energy beam research and other advanced missile and space warfare defense projects.

-Slash the Army from 562,400 active duty personnel to 360,000 and eliminate approximately 5 brigade combat teams.

-Cut the Marine Corps by 30%, from 202,000 to 145,000.

-Cancel V-22 Osprey program and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

-“Reset the calculation of military compensation and reform the provision of military health care” – which essentially means a reduction in pay and benefits of about $120 billion for the troops and their families.

Additionally the report unilaterally suggests the reduction of our Minuteman III nuclear deterrent missile fleet from 500 to 160 – something not required by the new START treaty.

As anyone can tell, this goes far beyond an attempt to “save” money. If all of these recommendations were accepted and passed into law, the US military would be virtually gutted, filleted and left to dry in the sun. It would essentially become a home defense force incapable of projecting the power necessary to protect the vital national interests or respond to treaty obligations of the United States. And it would leave the field wide open for super-power wannabes to make their moves.

In reality, the Frank report is the written form of an unrealistic but consistent liberal dream they’ve held close to their hearts for decades. While constantly mouthing the platitudes of supporting our military and the troops, they hold no real love for the institution or its role in our society. The real desire of the left and some Democrats is to reduce the military to a much smaller state, abandon our leadership role in the world and instead focus their efforts and our money on making the US a liberal utopia.

At this time there couldn’t be more misguided policy available even if we were to try and purposely think of one. Should the provisions of this study be put into practice, the US would go from being a protector of the free world to prey.


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62 Responses to Balancing the budget on the back of the military

  • Obama, on the other hand, has at least noticed that when you’re the CiC, a powerful military still feels good.
    I only wish that he would share some of the wisdom he has learned from the Presidency with his liberal syncophants. Yes, cynically we’d like to say he has learned nothing but that is clearly not true. He has learned that Guantanamo Bay was there for a reason, for instance. He has learned that the mission in Afghanistan needs doing. He hasn’t been in a big hurry to undo the Department of Homeland Security’s policies. A pity his ego doesn’t allow him to be bi-partisan and say “You know, guys, we took some unrealistic positions for political expediency, and it’s time we admit that we were wrong.”

  • Well, given the scary budget numbers, didn’t we all know this was “baked in the cake” already?

    I must admit that I am more in favour of huge defense cuts now.  I was in favour of removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussien from power.   I am not in favour of nation building.

    This is a serious question: In the 21st century, why does the US still need to maintain a huge number of foreign bases, troops and equipment?  Why not focus on a tighter border, intelligence and special ops to take care of Muslim fundamentalists or other groups who wish to do harm?

    Yes, I guess I am asking why the US can’t be more “isolationist” this century.  Don’t misunderstand where I am coming from. I do not ask this question in some misguided attempt to get other countries to like you more.

    On the contrary, I ask the question because I wonder if your foreign policy is worth the price in treasure and lives. 

    • Yes, I guess I am asking why the US can’t be more “isolationist” this century.  Don’t misunderstand where I am coming from. I do not ask this question in some misguided attempt to get other countries to like you more.

      >>> Quite simply, history has shown that we’re going to be involved in this sh*t  regardless of how isolationist we are, so we may as well have strategic bases and units abroad so we have them for when trouble starts…..and it will.

      • We can’t relinquish that role essentially because there’s a contingent of people that would still be interested to inflicting harm on the US for past acts, real or imagined.  And we’d could rely on who to step in and save us?

      • “Quite simply, history has shown that we’re going to be involved in this sh*t  regardless of how isolationist we are, so we may as well have strategic bases and units abroad so we have them for when trouble starts…..and it will.”
        I didn’t know that Dick Cheney posted on this site.
        So, you already know that we will be involved in foreign wars and so let’s just jump with both feet in and not question the policies that got us into them? History has shown only that the more we intervene the more problems we create. Our foreign policy is the opposite of what the founders, who we proclaim to admire and follow, intended or advised. Other people and countries will hate us, the question is, will they attack us if we are not in their business. Even if they do attack us, we can still spend a fraction of what we do and have cutting edge military to be used to defend our soil. Once people start throwing around “protecting our interests” to justify war, then our “interests” will be stretched to include any and all actions taken for any and all desires by anyone in positions of influence. We have been putting our fingers in other people’s pies for decades and when the “blowback” occurs from some previous intervention we use it to justify further intervention which then perpetuates into endless war and spending.

        • Where did we put our finger in Germany’s pie? Oh, and if Japan hadn’t fingered China, et al, would they have faced sanctions? Come on.

          • “Where did we put our finger in Germany’s pie?”
            It is called WWI and our involvement in it swung the balance to the allies who perpetuated such harsh reparations and restrictions(mostly due to age old grudges than fairness) on Germany that its economy collapsed and chaos ensued allowing a despot like Hitler to come to power. And what was the major cause of WWI? Two countries (Austria and Serbia) that hated each other got into a disagreement and pulled into war all of the other countries with no skin in the game except a set of entangling alliances. It never ends. Isolationsism = compete withdrawal from international relations (economic, political, military) . Non-interventionism = open economic and political relationships, but a reserved and prudent military policy with regard to international situations – only “Direct” threats to US soil or citizens should be met with a military response and then if it is used, the intent should be the elimination of the threat, not nation building and treaties galore.
            Speaking of Japan and China, do you know who the US trained to fight a Guerilla war against the Japanese during WWII with the promise of supporting their independence from French colonialism? HoChiMin. Sound familiar? Every time we get involved there is a price. Therefore we should only intervene when the price is worth the damage. Usually the government just lies and says “Guns and butter”, but there is always a price, it just comes due later and larger and not in the form we expect.

    • Here’s the problem. Let’s say we make these cuts. Then, China invades Taiwan.
      Is your plan to let Taiwan simply fall?
      Or to attempt to use second-rate forces to hold on while we draft civilains, ramp up fighter production, etc.
      How about the Persian gulf? Are we okay if Iran took over in Iraq somehow?
      Keep in mind prior to WW II, Romania had a larger standing army than the USA did. We have done the whole “isolate ourselves and cut defense spendng before.”
      Now, we do have two big oceans that protect us, but it took us years to build up enough forces in WW II to do much actual fighting. In that time the enemy can entrench its position, or more likely end up winning a fait accompli, where we can do nothing, as its much harder now to come up with a Liberty Ship design for an advanced fighter or something like that.
      Some will say, well, we don’t have the Nazis or Japanese nowadays as “existential” threats. Well, one – I doubt the Axis powers were truly existential threats. Two, if you are weaker than Romania, you probably encourage existential threats to emerge. Plus, if you let a minor threat grow for a while, you may one day actually have an existential threat that costs more to deal with then than if you had nipped it in the bud. Say, allowing Saddam to control Kuwait for example…

      • We’re pretty much at the point that we can’t ramp up fighter production, at a whim anyway.  We’re buying components for much of our craft from guess who?  Possibly with some effort, we’d be in a self-sufficient position relatively shortly, 1-2 years.  But in a decade or less, we’ll be at the point where would couldn’t be able put together anything in time to help produce for a prolonged war.

        • Are you serious we are buying components from China? I hope we keep a big stock of product.

      • Here is a novel thought, if you fight everyone else’s battles for them, what incentive do they have to spend on a military that can protect them? What incentive so they have to prevent a war that they know you will fight for them. Do you really think that Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons if they “knew” that we were not going to intervene? Why does Europe spend so little on military and cry for intervention when someone does something “bad” in another country? Answer: because they know that we will send our troops to handle it and they will risk very little money or very few lives. Our “allies” intentionally reduce military spending and take a more firm or more light hand in negotiations (depending on their goal) because they know that we will support them. It essentially works the same way safety nets do – If they are not their people and countries begin to consider the risk/reward more carefully before acting. What about Taiwan?, you make me laugh. Would you really propose to go to war with china if they decided to invade Taiwan? Really? With the cost of fighting a third world country such as Iraq or Afghanistan being what it is? Really?
        And your history is a bit hazy. Serious study will reveal that Japan attacked us – inciting us to war, because we cut them off from oil and gas as well as having competing spheres of influence disputes in Asia, not because they hated us “round eyes” . Besides we were supplying the allies with weapons, money and intelligence – we were not neutral.

    • There is a part of me that wishes that the USA would adopt a more isolationist posture and announce plans to withdraw its troops and materiel from around the world.  Because I’d love to see the reaction as governments around the world suddenly go into full blown panic, and all of those people who enjoy tossing jabs our way realize that now it’s their own money and blood on the line.  How much of an effect does our global military policy have on the economies of those nations?  Or as the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
      The main problem I have with cutting down on military spending to this degree is that there are probably a lot of other places where we should be cutting and won’t.  And if past experience teaches us anything, whenever government manages to trim a dollar in one area, it rejoices over its windfall and proceeds to spend five dollars elsewhere.  This isn’t about cutting costs and reducing the debt.  It’s about finding a way to justify even more spending by announcing cuts in one area.  My guess is that this won’t be implemented as-is, and many of the cuts (assuming they are made at all) will be reversed, but the spending that is done in anticipation of the cuts will proceed with all due haste.

      • Here is the problem, when the government has all these shiny new “toys” they feel the need to use them to justify the cost. Hence, there is actually a driving force pushing for military action that is purely political. And the more they use them, the more the justification there is to build more. It is a self perpetuating cycle. And this is not to say that we should spend the savings on welfare either. Give back to the taxpayers and the economy will grow naturally, faster and stronger than with government control or government leeching the wealth of its citizens. Friedman, Hayek, VonMises all warned about the Welfare-Warfare state and that is what we have become with the bill coming due.
        And I share your sentiment about the countries that criticize us and then run for cover when any military threat arises.

  • That would fit in great with Obama’s directions to the new NASA chief:  Help the Islamic countries feel better about themselves.

  • One quibble Bruce.  The left doesn’t want the US to abandon its leadership role in the world.  They fully believe all the tripe fed to them by their marxist educators and mentors.  They fully believe that if the US is nicer to the rest of the world, less of a policeman, then the rest of the world would love, revere, and follow the US even more.  Remember, these are people indoctrinated in the false idea of a benevolent vanguard.

  • I can just imagine how this would help the economy to have even more unemployed people created.

    • Well they can collect paychecks expending military resources or collect paychecks sitting at home.
      Military jobs aren’t part of the economy.  They are like any other government job.  A diversion of resources.  The exception is that they are a justifiable one.  And the one the Democrats wish to get rid of.   And they push technology along as well, like NASA use to.
      But the economy would do better if we could lived in the Democrat’s magical  unicorn world of no war, get rid of the military. and cut taxes accordingly.  The problem is that there are no unicorns.

  • What the report does not contain is what they plan to spend the money saved on because we all know they don’t actually plan to reduce spending just change where they spend it.

  • Let’s take a look at the authors of the Study – the list is located on the last page.  Membership includes representatives from Project on Defense Alternatives, Peace Action, and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation – Groups that have made a name for themsleves over the years as leaders in the Anti-War lobby.  And I’m talking about the Anti-War lobby as far back as 1965.  They make George Soros look like a committed NeoCon!  And then you have groups such as the Cato institute, New America Foundation, Center for Defense Information, and Taxpayers for Common Sense – these enlightened groups, regardless of their innocent sounding names have been anti-DOD since the 1960s.  Total membership credibility in military affairs and foreign policy that would really give any sane non-partisan reason enough to BARF HIS F*CKING GUTS UP!

    If you were to look at the status of our Armed Forces today, they are a shadow of their 1980 status.  In 1980, the Air Force was pushing toward 40 Active Duty Fighter Wings – they got to 38.  We have less than half of that today – 18 which includes the Air National Guard.  We had 16 active Aircraft Carriers with 20 Naval Air Wings.  The Navy will not have enough air wings to keep all 12 carriers manned in 2012 as it is.  Cutting DOD to the levels this report proposes would completely eliminate the Military’s offensive capability.

    Remember, even a commited liberal like FDR bagan to see the writing on the wall and kicked in the draft in 1940.  True, part of his initiative was to kick start employment but whareve the motivation over 1 million men were called to arms and had completed training before December 1941 – remember Pearl Harbor?  Along with this the initial production of the B-17 was ordered, four new Battleships, four new Aircraft Carriers, and 20 new submarines were ordered.

    Imagine our position had this not happened.  People have to remember we were on the offensive in the Pacific in August of 1942 with the invasion of Gaudalcanal.  By the end of 1941, all of the new submarines were in combat in the Pacific and the new Carriers and Battleships were in combat in early 1943.

    So with North Korea rattling its sabers.  Iran flexing with muscles in the middle east – I’m not even gonna mention their Iran or NoKo’s Nuke development.  Russia trying to impose its will over the Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic States.  China continuing to make threats at Taiwan.  Turkey turning to the Jihadists.  Ceasar Chavez assisting Hezbollah in establishing organized groups in South America and Venezuella arming itself.  And even our own border threatened with armed gangs.  And with all of this in the wind, you want to gut the military?

  • Military spending must be cut.  The US is spending half the world’s military budget, and isn’t even under a significant threat.  Our military does not protect our freedoms any more, but instead supports a neo-imperialist effort to expand power.   All we need (and this is a true libertarian position) is a military that can protect us from outside  invasion.  Anything else is big government expansionary power.  Anything else is our military personnel not being protectors of liberty, but instead being imperialist pawns.

    • Did he even read any of the other comments? What goes on in the rest of the world has no effect on America?

      Today’s winner for political science term Erb obviously doesn’t know the meaning of: Imperialism. For his poor students – To get some clue of what it actually means, see Georgia. Or Tibet. Now compare and contrast to Iraq or Panama.

    • Ka-Ching!  Now, go collect your 30 pieces of silver.

    • Over the last 200 odd years, the world has been under the protection of Anglo Saxon navies, and if that ends it will become a much more dangerous place. And a much poorer, more expensive place.

      • White Man’s Burden?
        Don’t forget when the Anglo Saxon U-Boats were doing their best to make this world a more dangerous place, either.
        Just because the navies of Western democracies aren’t as bad as the other guys doesn’t mean they never do wrong, nor does it justify how they are financed nor all of the laws they enforce.

        • When I stated “Anglo Saxon”, I wasn’t referring to the Germans or other white Europeans. I was referring to America and England (and to countries like Austrailia and Canada, to the extent they can put forth effort).

          The world’s oceans have been under the control of either England or the US for the last 200 + years. And while neither England nor the US have perfect track records, it is way better than anyone else.

          As far as justifying finance and specific laws, I’m not attempting that in this post. I’ll simply point out that “nice to have” things like Taiwan’s independence and Latin American independence have depended upon the strength of the Anglo Saxon navies. If we let others become the big boys on the block, we might better meet libertarian purity, but at a rather high cost.

          • Oh, and in my above post, one mistake: for about six months in 1942, a non Anglo Saxon nation gained control of most of the Pacific. Other than that, 200+ years of Anglo Saxon control of the oceans.

    • Only two choices? The fallacy of the excluded middle strikes again!

      “Our military does not protect our freedoms any more, but instead supports a neo-imperialist effort to expand power”

      So now Obama is a neo-imperialist?

    • Erb, you’re an idiot and have no clue what you’re talking about.  The amount the world spends on military budgets isn’t  going to change much.  What we’ve got is that we subsidize our allies’ defense budgets and we’ve created a beast that our prospective enemies cannot gear up to match quickly.
      Reduce our spending, specifically in the ways mentioned here (less Aircraft Carriers, are you f’ing kidding?  we need more…)  and the world becomes and exponentially more dangerous place.
      However, if you really want to reduce military spending how ’bout you get your buddies in Congress to stop telling the military to buy planes, ships, tanks, etc that THEY DON’T WANT!  The military budget is bloated by political bribery from Congress.

    • All funding for education must be cut … it only supports the intellectual neo-imperialism of academic a-holes.

    • Your writings are an endless source of muddled thought, the product of trying to pass yourself of as something you’re not.  You’ve adopted a few cosmetically libertarian poses, but during protracted debates, your support for liberty tends to melt away when pressed.
      You’re not completely wrong here, but where you happen to be right, you’ve backed into it accidentally, mostly for the wrong reasons.  The US government’s use of military power isn’t morally equivalent to the imperialism of the socialists or colonists who so richly deserve that moniker.  The US military has, for the most part, been generous, even to defeated enemies, and not engaged in the cruelty endemic to socialists or colonialists.  My Lai, Abu Ghraib, et al. are shocking, but fortunately very rare, particularly in comparison to the armies of other countries (or rebel groups).
      I have my suspicions (based upon your history) why you’re attacking the US as imperialist, but if you thought too much about why the nation-building activities are wrong (in a “soft imperialist” way), you’d realize that by punching that target, you’re shoulder-deep in tar, because at that point you need to explain how a group of people in Washington have not committed similar rights violations to nation build on this continent, using the force of law enforcement instead of uniformed soldiers.  The fact that politicians and bureaucrats live here and are slightly more popular than their political rivals only changes a few variables in the formula.  You’re still left with rights violations that any real libertarian wouldn’t ignore.
      I wouldn’t mind spending my own money to pay for American warriors to protect against invasions.  Nor would I be at all resentful towards any company whose products’ prices factored in the cost they paid to protect their foreign interests, because they couldn’t force me to buy their products.  That is a libertarian argument for not spending billions of tax dollars on the US military, but if you approached it like that, you’d find yourself covered in the sticky pitch up to your hip joint, as anything paid for by tax dollars would then be subject to the same rules.

  • I have to go with current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when he said that currently we have a navy that is equal to 13 of the largest navies in the world combined AND 11 of them are our allies. Our military is way too bloated. Fact.
    The military-industrial complex has you brainwashed that we are going to have Russians and Chinese pouring over our borders. Sorry. We have 5000 nuclear weapons. No one is invading America. No one.
    If we are so worried about Russia invading other countries how come we did nothing when they invaded Georgia? We did nothing. They are the ones with NATO knocking on their front door. Not us. Them.
    Finally as far as some of the responses. It makes me sick to hear the rational from conservatives of how WE have to protect all the little citizens of the world. We throw our arms up and scream bloody murder to keep Americans off unemployment in the middle of a horrible economy and jobs market. Then you want to run around and hemorrhage money and lives for citizens of countries that can’t stand us and don’t want to help themselves. Nancy Pelosi would be proud. Foreign policy welfare is all that is.

    • Really – is that what it is – a belief that Chinese and Russians will pour over our border?

      Heh … tell me how 8 carrier battle groups keep the shipping lanes open (i.e. are patrolling the choke points and hot spots of the world that concern our vital national interests) and are also enough to respond to, say, reinforcing a deployment in the execution of a treaty obligation? The short answer is they can’t do both with 8.

      That’s just one example among many. Like I said, there are certainly cuts that can be made – but with a plan and a scalpel (and that plan must include our foreign policy for the next 10 years so it is supportive of our intent in that arena).

      This is just butchery with a meat axe.

    • First – Consider the study purports to being able to save 1 Trillion dollars over the next 10 years or so.  That’s really going to save us a lot considering the Obama budgets project Trillion dollar plus annual deficits for the same period!!!

      Then take a moment to consider the following, without even referencing the current wars:

      If not for the United States and its Military, what would prevent North Korea from continuing the Korean War and threatening the rest of Asia with their Nukes?

      If not for the United States and its Military, what is there to prevent the Peoples Republic of China from invading Taiwan?

      If not for the United States and its Military, what is to prevent Russia from invading and permanently occupying Georgia, Ukraine, and the Baltic states?

      If not for the United States and its Military, what is to prevent some unnamed Islamic power from shutting down the Straits of Hormuz and cutting off access to middle east oil from the rest of the world?

      If not for the United States and its Military, what is to prevent the complete annhililation of the state of Israel and a Second Holocaust?

      Answer those questions and convince me that their downfall will not affect the US in any way.  Do you think that is worth about $100 Billion a year?  That is the savings being proposed by these cuts.

      Lastly, I don’t like the idea that the US is the world’s policeman.  But who else will step up?  The United Nations?  LOL!!!  Any other nation?  What is proposed here is a complete castration of our country’s offensive capability.  And with the loss of that offensive capabilty goes our say in the rest of the world!!!  And when that happens, give me a month or two notice so I can build my personal underground shelter and stock it properly – ’cause all hell is going to break out and I sure want to be prepared.

      • Just a little devil’s advocacy here, but South Korea can protect itself against North Korea, and Taiwan can protect itself against China (non-nuke at least.) In fact, sometimes our alliance with these nations leads them to seriously free-ride. Taiwan defense spending is a joke and so is their attitude towards a possible war…if God helps those who help themselves, the USA should do the same. A US defense commitment should be based on the ally putting up 5% of GDP towards defense not 2.5%.
        Also, about the Navy – keep in mind that we have two oceans to patrol. Plus, just as we are always fighting the last war, it would be a shame to get serious about counter insurgency at the expense of the Navy and then find the next war involves the Navy seriously, say in Taiwan or the Persian Gulf. They probably could take some cuts though, I agree.

        • The point is not whether SoKo or Taiwan can defend their selves but can they, alone, deter the fight?  NO!  And that is the point I meant to make.

          But I agree Taiwan should be putting up more for it’s own defense (SoKo does its fair share).

          • Good point on deterrence…but if I see someone free riding like Taiwan does, it blows my gasket.

    • Your 5000 nukes, with a President like Obama, will stay 5000 nukes for how long?
      And I have news for you.  You may decry ABM technology, but NO ONE ELSE DOES.  Russia always has fully exploited its one ABM site allowed in our old treaty.  The only reason its rejected is because for the moment, we wield a bigger conventional army.
      And once the rest of the world is comfortable with their level of ABM technology and our Enemies have grown their size and spheres of influence through wars and threats of wars, then what?

  • Mr. McQuain,
     CV groups are not needed to keep sea lanes open; a modified LHA design would suffice. We’d be better off converting 4 more Ohio boats to SSGN’s as CV’s are too few in number and too expensive to build. The nice fellow at has excellent analysis of this sort of issue.
     For sea lane patrols we should be building large numbers of cheap warships without all the gold-plating.
     A few of the ideas above are actually good – namely USAF cuts and reducing the 15-billion dollar carrier numbers. Were it me I’d cancel the F-35 and build 300-330 more F-22’s, plus another 180-200 FB-22’s, as the core of the USAF. Cutting the Army would make sense if was kept to cutting admin and HQ positions and increasing the number of shooters. Staff sizes are far too large with all the fancy technology we have in use today.
    But yeah, I agree with the sentiment that instead of just cutting spending this is an attempt to take from the Pentagon and fund yet more social programs. Screw that.
    And I can also agree with the sentiment that the military is better for protecting us, period. That means no need for 60K Army troops in Europe. That means not having hundreds of ships constantly patroling the world. As people noted in the 80’s and 90’s, we spend a lot of money on our military which allows other countries to spend their money on developing new industries and education of their people.   

    • Survivability in today’s lethal missile laden world doesn’t support small battle groups or inexpensive (read lower technology) ships. They require battle groups that can stay and survive in a chosen area. That’s a carrier battle group in anyone’s parlance.

      Again, there are certainly economies to be had in military procurement – however this isn’t representative of a sane approach.

    • I would remove the US nuclear shield from countries that do not assist strenuously in sanctions against Iran and have pledged troops to attack Iran in case it uses its nuclear weapons. Basically, I want Germany to realize its not a free ride anymore. Now, that could get them to build their own nukes…so be it. I agree about removing troops from Germany. I suggest we could also remove troops from South Korea.

    • “CV groups are not needed to keep sea lanes open; a modified LHA design would suffice.”

      Wow. Finally. There used to be a lot of talk about the uselessness of big carriers before 1982, even in places like ‘Proceedings’.  I have been wondering when it would start to reappear. 

      The British had the same attitude prior to the Falklands war. I daresay they might differ today. 

      • Mr. Timactual,
         Let’s see, the LHA design we use is 40K tons. Modify it a bit to hold maybe 16-20 FA/18’s. How many of these could we get for 1 15 billion dollar CVN?

         I’d like to see the results of a 60K ton ship, say like the (probably won’t get built) British CVF’s, modified to use one of the newer reactors, which don’t require a RCOH during the ships service life.

         8 Ohio SSGN’s instead of 4. With the proper support you could keep 6 in service at once. That’s a lot of missiles for various tasks. There are even ideas to convert some of the SSGN silos to take an ATACMS missile. Nice. 

        Mr. McQuain – I’ll take numbers anyday. The gold-plated CVN’s carry barely 48 aircraft now. China has the right idea – a swarm of small missile boats, backup up by a large number of subs. And, they are not wasting money patroling the world.  

        We’re still geared to fight a massive war with the Sovs in the Northern Atlantic and Northwestern Pacific. Most likely it’ll take another Pearl Harbor to shake up the military-industrial complex (the benefactor of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and subsidies, not to mention the tax write-offs) before anyone gets serious about changing the structure of the military.

        Mr. Harun – you are on the money. If we’re spending 5% GDP but other countries are not then we don’t need to give them a defense assistance treaty until their spending is proportional to ours.  

        • “a swarm of small missile boats, backup up by a large number of subs. And, they are not wasting money patroling the world. ”
          Quantity has a quality all of its own. – sorry I don’t know if that’s true – just love the quote.
          China does patrol now off Somalia. They will be doing this more and more…also didn’t they buy a couple of Ukrainian CVs?

        • “Modify it a bit to hold maybe 16-20 FA/18’s”

          It would take more than ‘a bit’ of modification. The LHA is not fast enough. The deck would have to be heavily reinforced to handle a thirty ton aircraft slamming in for a landing. Catapaults and arresting gear would lhave to be installed. Etc.
          It would be cheaper and faster to design and build a new ship.

          “The gold-plated CVN’s carry barely 48 aircraft now.”

          I don’t know your sources, but mine say CVNs carry about 85 aircraft.

          • Mr. timactual,
             They can carry 85, but usually only deploy with 48 fighter/strike types. And that’s using a Marine squadron for some air wings. If you look, the USN plans to have only 40 fighters on the 15 billion dollar Ford class ships, all F-35’s. I think we need to look at another way to get more ships, and overall more aircraft, deployed. More ships = more targets = more complication for the adversaries targeting solutions. And that is assuming any future adversary attempts a war at sea. China could cripple the US economically and use cyberattacks to degrade our forces. Then use the “Assasins Mace” against the 2, or at best maybe 3, $10 billion+ carriers (or $15 billion Ford class) that could be gathered and we’re hosed. 

            More SSGN’s and UCAV’s would be a better deal, IMHO. One idea I’ve seen floated is to build more T-AKE’s that have modular weapons installations, like the Danish Stanflex and Absalom vessels. Install TLAM’s, ATACMS, and build as many T-AKE(Monitor) as we can.  It makes for a cheap arsenal ship.    

            Mr. Harun,
             The PLAN is building up institutional knowledge of long distance maritime operations by deploying three ships to Africa. It’s a long way from there to having a large fleet patroling the world, and the Chinese are too smart to waste resources in doing that.
            The PLAN bought the old Varyag, true. Even with a massive investment the ship, crew, aircrew, and aircraft will not be operationally skilled at the USN level for some time. And that is assuming the Chinese will follow a similiar direction. It would not surprise me to see them use the ex-Varyag as an experimental platform to carry navalised Su-33’s and J-11’s, plus use it to test UCAV’s.

  • Well, this shoe was bound to drop. The economy. The health care system. Foreign policy. The military. Call it the fourth shoe.

    Ruin, rape, pillage.

    And a round of sodomy for the troops, on Barack.

  • These people are out to destroy our country.  Period.  I’m not sure why they hate the United States so much, but it’s clear to me that they do.

    Unfortunately, they’ve won.  Yeah, we’ll still keep up the good fight, but there are enough f*cking liberals in enough positions of power and authority that they we’ve lost.

    It’s been a good couple of centuries.  I wonder what language and flag my niece’s children will have?

  • Our enemies don’t plan for the military we have, they plan for the military we DON’T HAVE.

  • If you truly wanted savings, you could start by reducing overhead by 25% at all levels from the Pentagon down to every installation. Our ratio of tooth to tail has expanded dramatically in the past 20 years. Overhead and administrative costs have grown while the actual numbers of systems and personnel has declined.
    As has been demonstrated since 2001, our ground force size is insufficient to fight two relatively small conflicts simultaneously. Despite the fact that our strategic requirement was to fight one large and one small war concurrently. In other words, the personnel cuts begun under GWH Bush and continued under Clinton were in fact more egregious than advertised. The generals who opposed those cuts were maligned by Congress and two administrations, in the end they proved correct.
    Not surprisingly, Barney Frank et al fail planning 101. The first step is to define your national strategy and then match that against available resources. His approach leads to the same hollow army we lived with in the 1970s.

    • Mr. Steve C,
       Agreed. Too many paper pushers or powerpoint makers and not enough shooters.

      And also agreed about the hollow army. It’s too easy for politicians to say we only need x epsecially those politicians who have no clue about how the military works.

  • A cost saving, environmental friendly alternative from the WaPo …

    In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas. Code-orange days mean offices are closed. Shorter summer business hours and month-long closings — common in pre-air-conditioned America — return.

    Not only should air conditioning be banned, but all autos not within CAFE standards should be banned from federal property in D.C. .. no exemptions

  • I think we all can agree that like every other part of government, the military has fat in it that can be trimmed, waste that can be eliminated. Poor weapons programs, misspent appropriations, etc. That kind of thing could and should go, especially with the gargantuan debt.

    However, that’s not what Obama is targeting here, he’s just looking to gut the military Carter-style and wipe out much of its ability to do its job. Meanwhile other critical areas such as the Coast Guard languish with insufficient budgets, corroding infrastructure, and slowly rotting, obsolete boats.

  • Thanks to all for the replies to my comment.

    I am not sure I accept the notion that if it wasn’t for the strong US military, an existential threat will emerge to challenge the US.  It is an impossible argument to prove/disprove, I reckon.  

    One of the great things about the United States is your Consitution. It is truly a revolutionary document. 

    So, my closing thought is this: Didn’t the Founders warn future generations against “foreign entanglements”?  And if you accept this idea, then why do you allow Democrats and Republicans alike to expose the United States to so many “foreign entanglements”?   

    • er, sorry, above should read: “Constitution”

    • Yes they did. But think about the world as they saw it. They were the first generation leaders of a nation on the edge of the world. They had barely created a republic by joining 13 independent colonies. There was little or no national income, states viewed national taxes with suspicion. There was an entire continent to be explored and developed. A standing army was viewed as little better than a necessary evil. Plus the continent was between two great empires, England and Spain.
      Contrast their world with our world. I’m not saying we couldn’t do better than we have but it’s very different.

      • Everything you say is correct. The world is much diferent.

        However, isn’t this the same argument made by many to limit speech? How many times have QandO contributers and commenters quoted: “Congress shall make no law”….wrt to Congressional laws that try to address a modern situation the Founders could not imagine? Their response to justify has been, like yours, is that we live in a different world.

        In my view, the Constitution is a revolutionary, subversive work of genius.  I don’t think its correct thinking to cherry pick what you like and ignore what you don’t like. I say this in a generic sense, not to you personally.

        I think it likely the Founders were onto something wrt to avoiding foreign wars.  I see a huge vested interest among many in Washington to continue an interventionist foreign policy.  A policy that consumes a huge amount of scarce resources.

        My fear is the US is not capable of fixing its fiscal issues and my friendly neighbour to the south will become a great power in severe decline. 

        Kind of like Detroit or Cleveland, writ large. 

        My point here is that the Constitution is a w 

        • We simply must maintain a level of internation intervention. We must have capability to back it up.

          Some military cuts can be made, but they must be carefully selected. But the real debt problem we face is driven by other factors; moving forward it is entitelments, social security, medicare, and medicaid that will drive us to the poor house.

        • Oh, and again, the Constitution does not prevent “foreign entanglements”. It does (or should) prevent Obamacare, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc. But military and war are valid government activities.

    • It isn’t just about an existential threat. It is about higher trade costs, economic impacts, etc.
      After Latin America gained independence (due to Spain’s weakness after French invasion, the destruction of its fleet, etc.) Russia and France decided to invade and England prevented that by simply saying “No!”.

      Having a powerful navy not only aids in defending against outright foreign agression, but can be leveraged to make the world a better place by discouraging the bad guys.

      Now, consider what happened in the early 1800s when the US faced pirates in the Med. We sent a military force to deal with it. Not doing so would have resulted in dire economic consequences.

      As far as the Constitution, it does not say we can’t have entanglements. Washington recommended against them, good advice to a relatively weak country that would best stay out of war (note it wasn’t long after that we mixed it up with the Brits with some generally bad results).

  • Isn’t the first. and therefore the preeminent duty of the CiC protect and defend?
    Can’t we impeach this A-Hole YET?
    Do we have to have yet another smoking crater in the center of a large urban area?
    If it must be, may it be where ever Barry Hussein O-Bummer happens to exist at that moment, I’ll call it even.

  • I have to add this…listening to a military history podcast on the British empire, it said they had a doctrine of having twice as many ships as the two nearest competitors combined…now JP mentions that:
    “we have a navy that is equal to 13 of the largest navies in the world combined AND 11 of them are our allies. Our military is way too bloated. Fact.”
    Maybe we could cut back on some navy. I would try to have a plan that allowed for mothballing, reserves, etc. so that it could expand back relatively quickly.
    Or are we different from the British Empire of olden times due to missiles, etc.?