The Obama administration has assured the American public that any cuts to defense spending would be part of a reasonably balanced package of reductions, would help reduce record budget deficits, and will be "reversible" if future contingencies require it.
Now that the Pentagon has released the president's fiscal year 2013 defense budget, the question is how well did it achieve those three goals? Despite the best efforts of the defense leadership to make sensible strategic trade-offs with significantly less resources, the final result does not match the rhetoric and the promises.
When President Barack Obama slid into the cockpit of a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Seattle last month, thousands of aerospace workers felt immense pride at the national spotlight on the industry’s contributions to the nation’s bottom line.
And those contributions are substantial. According to the Aerospace Industries Association’s year-end statistics, the aerospace industry exported more than $85 billion last year. That powerful economic performance produced a positive trade balance of $55.8 billion – the largest of any American business sector. It’s the export of aircraft like the Dreamliner, as well as other cutting-edge U.S. aerospace…
Friendly card games are often governed by rules agreed to by the players around the table. If a player suggests a modification – such as a wild card – it can become part of the “house rules.” On the other hand, the world of tournament poker is governed by stringent, standardized rules that also enumerate the penalties for various infractions. The higher the stakes, the less flexible the rules become.
Government contracting is also a high-stakes business, but the business of government contracting is far and away different from high-stakes gambling. In the government marketplace, companies…
Need helicopter back-up during a firefight in Afghanistan? There’s an app for that.
No, seriously. In September, U.S. Marine Corps pilots started testing iPads to coordinate close-air missions, cutting the time required to pinpoint troop and enemy locations from minutes to seconds. According to the Los Angeles Times, iPads, iPhones and other consumer devices could soon become as common on the battlefield as “helmets, canteens and rifles.”
The supercommittee report outlining how it plans to meet its deficit reduction target is due in just a few short weeks. As I wrote last month, defense has already been cut to the bone and industry’s message is a simple, “No more.”
Just to review, here’s the scenario we face: the Defense Department is already planning on making $460 billion in cuts over the next ten years. If the supercommittee can’t find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration mandate, defense will be headed for another $600 billion in reductions over…