By Roxana Tiron - 06/11/10 12:15 PM ET
A panel commissioned by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is recommending nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon’s budget during the next 10 years.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out actions the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.
Measures presented by the task force include making significant reductions to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates; delaying the procurement of a new midair refueling tanker the Air Force has identified as one of its top acquisition priorities; and reducing the Navy’s fleet to 230 ships instead of the 313 eyed by the service.
Shipbuilding has strong support in the congressional defense committees, which write the Pentagon bills. Efforts to reduce the number of ships would run into resistance from the Pentagon and the shipbuilding lobby.
Frank on Friday warned that if he can’t convince Congress to act in the “general direction” of the task force recommendation, “then every other issue will suffer.” Not cutting the Pentagon's budget could lead to higher taxes and spending cuts detrimental to the environment, housing and highway construction.
The acceptance of the recommendations would depend on a “philosophical change" and a “redefinition of the strategy,” Frank said at press conference on Capitol Hill.
He said the creation of the deficit reduction commission offers the best opportunity for the reduction recommendations. Frank wants to convince his colleagues to write to the deficit reduction commission and warn that they would not approve any of the plans suggested by the commission unless reduction of military spending is included.
The task force has looked at various options to trim the Pentagon’s budget in order to reduce the deficit. Those include a reduction in Army and Marine Corps end-strength by cutting back on personnel stationed in Europe and Asia; and rolling back Army and Marine Corps personnel as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end.
The panel also looked into reforming military compensation, which could save about $55 billion; saving $60 billion by reforming the military healthcare system; and reducing recruiting expenditures once the wars wind down to preserve about $5 billion.
All of these recommendations would be expected to engender congressional opposition.
"All of these recommendations would be expected to engender congressional opposition."
Read the whole thing here
My personal favorite part of this, for sheer chutzpah, is this line:
"Not cutting the Pentagon's budget could lead to higher taxes and spending cuts detrimental to the environment, housing and highway construction."
So, we can't return the TARP money to the general fund, repeal the stimulus and return the unspent funds to the treasury or cut spending on Frank's favorite federal slush funds, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but we must cut defense spending in the middle of two wars, while numerous adversaries are in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons and the capacity to deploy them in order to ensure that we can spend money on the environment (i.e., environmental bureaucrats), housing (Fannie and Freddie, did I mention that they were DNC slush funds?) and highways (I'll concede that Massachussetts Democrats are all about highway safety, if for no other reason than Teddy Kennedy's record). The federal government can't spend money on Constitutionally mandated defense, but it can find money for things that would make the founders take up arms all over again. :mad: