Skip to comments.Alleging Republican 'blind eye' on defense spending, GOP senator proposes cuts
Posted on 11/16/2012 5:25:29 PM PST by WilliamIII
A Senate Republican fiscal hawk offered a 74-page menu of Defense Department spending cuts Thursday that could save taxpayers nearly $68 billion over 10 years. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said he and his staff had identified several categories of non-defense spending at the Pentagon, outlays which he said had little to do with national security.
At a Capitol Hill press conference, Coburn accused his fellow Senate Republicans of having a blind eye on spending. He summed up their approach as Its OK to cut spending anywhere except the Defense Department.
But, he said to be legitimate and have any integrity on the issue everything has to be on the table.
In the fiscal year which ended Sept. 30, defense outlays amounted to $651 billion, 18 percent of total federal spending, which was a decline of about 3 percent from the prior fiscal year.
One target of Coburns proposed cuts is personnel. He said there were too many admirals and other high-ranking officers for the size of the military. We almost now have an admiral for every ship in the Navy, he told reporters.
(Excerpt) Read more at nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com ...
Do you think restoring the King of Kuwait to his throne and protecting the King of Saudi Arabia's throne is 'properly spent defense spending'?
The problem stems from how many wars we find ourselves in when we send our military to create or prop up nations around the world. The responsibilities of an Empire differ considerably from the responsibilities of a Republic.
While not a fan of waste or big government, one fallacy in the article is:
“The military are compensated at rates substantially greater than their civilian counterparts .
There is no such thing as a civilian counterpart to a military member. There may overlap or similiarity in a particular skill set, but no civilian has volunteered to stand and die if needed.
I do note that SEN Coburn was born on March 14, 1948, making him 18 in 1966. How did he miss participating in the Southeast Asia war games? Perhaps if he had competed on the blue team he would understand the above distinction a little better.
One thing he has referenced as an example of waste that has caught flak on other forums on this site is the military spending money on grocery stores. I can tell you the on base commisaries are great and especially useful as they allow troops stationed overseas to buy food without venturing into the local market and for troops located at remote bases (i.e. Fort Irwin) where the nearest local stores are an hour away.
Though I support our military and our service personnel, please separate them in your mind from what the Pentagon does. First of all, look where the money goes (excluding special funding for Iraq and Afghanistan):
Operations and maintenance $283.3 b
Military Personnel $154.2 b
Procurement $140.1 b
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation $79.1 b
Military Construction $23.9 b
Family Housing $3.1 b
To start with, the first two are the real “meat” of the military. Equipment and personnel we have. So these two are not really on the chopping block.
The need for cutbacks begins with the third entry, Procurement, which is *always* troublesome. If it is too easy and direct, quality suffers and there is room for graft and corruption. But if too many layers are added to insure quality and honesty, the price goes up as well, and the process bogs down. And there is still graft and corruption.
Where procurement happens, as in what congressional district, is just as important as what is being procured. There are always surpluses and shortages, though the preference is always to surplus. And surplus is very expensive to store.
In any event, R&D, and T&E, the fourth largest part of the budget, is at times downright amazing, and at other times, downright appalling. The two big agencies for this are DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). These are the people who create the future military of our country.
The trouble is that much of what they do is highly classified, so finding waste is a haphazard study.
That would be my mistake.
Why do you ask?
It’s issues like runaway defense spending that separate the truly limited government activists from the pretenders.
Think about this freepers. “I want smaller, Constitutionally limited government but the military can never get too big.” Seems a tad inconsistent, doesn’t it?
We need more bases in England and Europe!
The democrats have been adding all sorts of non-defense spending into the defense department budgets, so they could pretend they were supporting the military.
There are billions of dollars for studying how global warming will effect our national security, billions for developing green technology for the military, billions for biofuels, billions for research and development of alternative energy sources.
As Coburn says, he can identify $68 billion of cuts that wouldn’t touch actual military items.
And yes, it is clear we have too many upper level manager types, that’s why two generals had time to have affairs and send thousands of e-mails about it.
The mistake was “$681 billion”, not “10%”. He was proposing $68 billion over 10 years, not $68 billion a YEAR for 10 years.
That is how the democrats play. And you can bet that Obama wasn't going to cut a dime of this under sequestration.
Thanks for the comments.
At most bases, civilian pay is pretty much in line with military pay for similar areas of skills/responsibilities. The military base pay is lower, but benefits and housing/sustenance allowances raise it right up there. If you cut military personnel, there are some areas that require replacement bodies to free the military for actual military missions. I am a civilian at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS and we train new recruits for their career fields and also provide training for specialized areas to support specific military missions. We have a core of civilian instructors that is supplemented with military. Due to the high deployment of military, we are often severely undermanned and we earn our pay. The question is whether to adequately fund so mission-essential areas remain covered. If there are drastic cuts in the military, then the result will be a cut in the civilian support staff and that is fine by me, but too deep a cut and military mission readiness will also suffer. We have had budgetary constraints applied, especially over the last few years. Squadrons used to have their own budgets and it could be wasteful due to Congressional rules - if we found ways to save a few bucks in any given year, then next year's budget would be cut - saving money could be akin to cutting your own throat so we were pretty much forced to spend every penny each year to ensure adequate funding for the next year. Now, squadrons submit bare bones budgets up to Group level and the Group maintains the purse strings which is actually potentially effective because squadrons generally had to "pad" their budget requests to handle any number of unforeseen intangibles that tend to rise up in any given year. Squadrons used to get notices at the end of each year that if they didn't spend all their money, the Group would take it to give to squadrons that wanted to buy stuff they didn't have funds for. Now, the Group does a similar thing by giving end of year calls that they have x-amount of dollars left and the units who submitted purchasing requests first would get first shot at it. The mentality continues that we have to spend all the money allocated because of the Congressional rules that say any savings over a year must be adhered to over the following years, so it's still a bit of a wasteful mess. A lot of the waste that Congress wants to cut is a direct result of Congressional rules, but that shouldn't be news...
One way to save a lot of money for defense is to stop all TAD for one year. That would save a lot of money and have little damage to the over all military and federal government.
I seem to remember that when military gets replaced by civilians, civilians are paid a lot more.
Wrong! First of all civilians don’t get 30 days off a year. They get 12. Secondly, they pay health costs, retirement costs, and other stuff that military do not. A military person we pay for the rest of their lives. A government worker pays into their own retirement and health cost so in the end definitely cheaper.
Because doing so is exactly why we've been waist deep in the Middle East morass for over 20 years now.
Most military don’t stay in 20 years, so we don’t pay for their health costs forever.
I have nothing against civilian workers at all, I’m sure in some circumstances it’s justified, but from my own experience I’ve seen clear examples of civilians getting paid at least twice as much as someone offbase would make doing the same kind of work. Mainly in food service and in landscaping type work.
I know the military doesn’t have the manpower to do many “menial” type jobs anymore but from what I’ve seen, whomever is in charge of contracting civilian jobs has to be on some serious medications.
I do know that it would be very easy to overpay people when it’s someone elses money you’re dealing with, which is what happens in far to many situations.
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