Skip to comments.DEFENSE TRAIN WRECK OR RESHAPING OPPORTUNITY?
Posted on 01/09/2013 9:03:49 AM PST by SeekAndFind
We cant afford to wait years to decide whether the dire predictions associated with the latest round of defense cuts are more than political hyperbole. If those predictions prove true then the money we save by cutting national security in order to service the debt will pale in comparison to the high future costs to repair the damage. That is why we must use this time as an opportunity to reshape our armed forces to address future threats.
Not everyone agrees the defense cuts will eviscerate our national security. A 2012 report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) labels such warnings fear mongering. CBOs Winslow Wheeler said the allegations that the Pentagons recent budgets are a catastrophe is consciously constructed, misinforming hysteria. Wheeler states recent defense budgets are well above Cold War averages and should be sufficient.[viii]
Peter Singer with the Washington-based Brookings Institution is also skeptical about the officials dire predictions. He argues after sequestration America will still account for 38% of all global military spending. He agrees sequestration is a terrible mistake because it is un-strategic to hack away at the defense budget in a generalized manner but the U.S. military after the cuts will not fundamentally change.[ix]
That requires answering tough questions such as the president already addressed in his new strategy. How much defense do we really need? Obamas decision to scrap the two-war standard creates considerable savings because it says we need not resource forces to fight two simultaneous operations like one in the Persian Gulf (Iran) and one in northeast Asia (North Korea).
Many experts will disagree with Obamas strategy but it is a starting point for a serious reshaping effort that should create armed forces we can afford and one that addresses our emerging threats.
This reshaping must not be left totally to the services because they are too close to the problem and have equities to protect, as do their industrial base. We need a fresh look at our emerging threats and available resources. Nothing not current structures, weapons systems, forces, roles, or missions should be exempt from the knife.
A non-ideological and totally objective look at what kind of armed forces we really need for the 21st Century would be a very positive outcome of these fiscally challenging times. We might actually tap into American creativity to produce a plan that breaks lots of tea cups but gives America improved and more affordable armed forces.
Is there a Rosetta stone series for Causai, Swahili, Zulu, Bantu, and that Bushmen clicky sound languages?
Ive been part of the military industrial complex for 35 years. We could cut the costs by half without changing the amount of material supplied. How? Do away with the insane politically motivated contractual requirements. Small business, women or minority clauses are hugely costly. Second; make multi-year procurement funding. You may have a multi-year contract for 500 planes, but that contract is funded each year; or not. This one year at a time funding allows Congress to extort campaign funding. Also, the military almost never settles down on what they want. The military compromises by giving every competing command a voice. So, you end up with a design that is needlessly complex and does nothing well. Thats just a few of problems. Im sure there are more.
Look at NASA.
Good suggestions....how about that end of September flurry of spending due to the use it or lose it mentality? I have worked at a few places where the month of September spending by the gubmint has actually made the entire year's forecasted revenue number.
I would also add that more performance-based contracts would be a good thing. Companies should get paid when they deliver what they were contracted to deliver. Too many companies watch the money roll in and end up missing on budget and schedule and then they just hold out their hand for more cash.
But, as you said, an ever-changing set of requirements is a huge problem — no company can reasonably stay on top of a moving target, especially within a firm fixed price contract.