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Old 02-24-2014, 09:31 AM  
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Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/us...evel.html?_r=0

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

The proposal, described by several Pentagon officials on the condition of anonymity in advance of its release on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

The officials acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.

“You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Outlines of some of the budget initiatives, which are subject to congressional approval, have surfaced, an indication that even in advance of its release the budget is certain to come under political attack.

For example, some members of Congress, given advance notice of plans to retire air wings, have vowed legislative action to block the move, and the National Guard Association, an advocacy group for those part-time military personnel, is circulating talking points urging Congress to reject anticipated cuts. State governors are certain to weigh in, as well. And defense-industry officials and members of Congress in those port communities can be expected to oppose any initiatives to slow Navy shipbuilding.

Even so, officials said that despite budget reductions, the military would have the money to remain the most capable in the world and that Mr. Hagel’s proposals have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Money saved by reducing the number of personnel, they said, would assure that those remaining in uniform would be well trained and supplied with the best weaponry.

The new American way of war will be underscored in Mr. Hagel’s budget, which protects money for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. And in an indication of the priority given to overseas military presence that does not require a land force, the proposal will — at least for one year — maintain the current number of aircraft carriers at 11.

Over all, Mr. Hagel’s proposal, the officials said, is designed to allow the American military to fulfill President Obama’s national security directives: to defend American territory and the nation’s interests overseas and to deter aggression — and to win decisively if again ordered to war.

“We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” the official said. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.”

Mr. Hagel’s plan would most significantly reshape America’s land forces — active-duty soldiers as well as those in the National Guard and Reserve.

The Army, which took on the brunt of the fighting and the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, already was scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the Army would drop over the coming years to between 440,000 and 450,000.

That would be the smallest United States Army since 1940. For years, and especially during the Cold War, the Pentagon argued that it needed a military large enough to fight two wars simultaneously — say, in Europe and Asia. In more recent budget and strategy documents, the military has been ordered to be prepared to decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there.

The Guard and Reserves, which proved capable in their wartime deployments although costly to train to meet the standards of their full-time counterparts, would face smaller reductions. But the Guard would see its arsenal reshaped.

The Guard’s Apache attack helicopters would be transferred to the active-duty Army, which would transfer its Black Hawk helicopters to the Guard. The rationale is that Guard units have less peacetime need for the bristling array of weapons on the Apache and would put the Black Hawk — a workhorse transport helicopter — to use in domestic disaster relief.

The cuts proposed by Mr. Hagel fit the Bipartisan Budget Act reached by Mr. Obama and Congress in December to impose a military spending cap of about $496 billion for fiscal year 2015. If steeper spending reductions kick in again in 2016 under the sequestration law, however, then even more significant cuts would be required in later years.

The budget to be presented Monday will be the first sweeping initiative that bears Mr. Hagel’s full imprint. Although Mr. Hagel has been in office one year, most of his efforts in that time have focused on initiatives and problems that he inherited. In many ways his budget provides an opportunity for him to begin anew.

The proposals are certain to face resistance from interest groups like veterans’ organizations, which oppose efforts to rein in personnel costs; arms manufacturers that want to reverse weapons cuts; and some members of Congress who will seek to block base closings in their districts.

Mr. Hagel will take some first steps to deal with the controversial issue of pay and compensation, as the proposed budget would impose a one-year salary freeze for general and flag officers; basic pay for military personnel would rise by 1 percent. After the 2015 fiscal year, raises in pay will be similarly restrained, Pentagon officials say.

The fiscal 2015 budget will also call for slowing the growth of tax-free housing allowances for military personnel and would reduce the $1.4 billion direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, which would most likely make goods purchased at those commissaries more expensive for soldiers.

The budget also proposes an increase in health insurance deductibles and some co-pays for some military retirees and for some family members of active servicemen. But Mr. Hagel’s proposals do not include any changes to retirement benefits for those currently serving.

Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft would be eliminated. The aircraft was designed to destroy Soviet tanks in case of an invasion of Western Europe, and the capabilities are deemed less relevant today. The budget plan does sustain money for the controversial F-35 warplane, which has been extremely expensive and has run into costly delays.

In addition, the budget proposal calls for retiring the famed U-2 spy plane in favor of the remotely piloted Global Hawk.

The Navy would be allowed to purchase two destroyers and two attack submarines every year. But 11 cruisers will be ordered into reduced operating status during modernization.

Although consideration was given to retiring an aircraft carrier, the Navy will keep its fleet of 11 — for now. The George Washington would be brought in for overhaul and nuclear refueling — a lengthy process that could be terminated in future years under tighter budgets.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:28 AM   #16
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The defense budget shouldn't be treated like a piggy bank from which to extract a supplement for domestic overspending.
Single women believe that it should, and so long as they're voting 3-1 Democrat and providing them their margin to victory, there's really nothing that can be done.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:28 AM   #17
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:35 AM   #18
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Reading the NY TImes comments section on a few articles. It was near unanimous we need to intervene if that pesky President dares to believe that just because he won an election, he gets to actually stay in office. I think that comments section is an excellent proxy for LIberals.


Holy ****ing shit you're a moron.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:47 AM   #19
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From what I'm reading on the internet, most Libs want US intervention in the Ukraine. But we also know that most Libs want the military reduced. Do I need to explain why those 2 don't go together?
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
When called on to fight, our servicemen and women will pay the price for being the most powerful by a significantly smaller margin than they should be. In the meantime, our diplomatic efforts will suffer from the two pronged detriment of having a less capable military and unreliable leadership.
Then we should triple our military spending, because some random, unquantifiable number of lives might be spared at some indeterminate time in the future!!

Yeah, no, that's not how it works. Military spending doesn't occur in a vaccuum, and there's far more considerations involved than just that one.

No post-war President reduced military spending more than former five star general Dwight Eisenhower.

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What's clearly overdue is a serious look at addressing the real source of our fiscal problems which emanate from the domestic side of our budget. The defense budget shouldn't be treated like a piggy bank from which to extract a supplement for domestic overspending.
We've spent too much on the military and entitlements alike over the past X years, and both need to be reigned in. Unfortunately, it looks like only one is about to be addressed.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:06 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Then we should triple our military spending, because some random, unquantifiable number of lives might be spared at some indeterminate time in the future!!

Yeah, no, that's not how it works. Military spending doesn't occur in a vaccuum, and there's far more considerations involved than just that one.

No post-war President reduced military spending more than former five star general Dwight Eisenhower.
By the same token, saying that we can still have the world's most powerful military without being so ridiculously extravagant doesn't justify the reduction.

Military spending should be driven by the threats we face and the strategy we develop to deal with them. It should be obvious to everyone that this new direction isn't driven by a reduced threat or a coherent change of strategy.

I don't think what Eisenhower did in a different time to face a different global situation has much relevance to this argument.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:13 AM   #22
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patteeu is worried we may not another long, expensive, mostly futile war like Iraq or Afghanistan in his lifetime.

With R warmongers like McCain being replaced by head-in-the-sand teabaggers, your worries may be justified on this.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:24 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
By the same token, saying that we can still have the world's most powerful military without being so ridiculously extravagant doesn't justify the reduction.

Military spending should be driven by the threats we face and the strategy we develop to deal with them. It should be obvious to everyone that this new direction isn't driven by a reduced threat or a coherent change of strategy.

I don't think what Eisenhower did in a different time to face a different global situation has much relevance to this argument.
While I am not in favor of any drastic cuts to force levels (I would use them elsewhere such as the Mexican border) the reality is that the threats we face today are almost non-state actors.

Also just like employment on the domestic side, technology plays a huge role in this. They can inflict mass casualties with one drone compared to what they could do 10-15 years ago.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
patteeu is worried we may not another long, expensive, mostly futile war like Iraq or Afghanistan in his lifetime.

With R warmongers like McCain being replaced by head-in-the-sand teabaggers, your worries may be justified on this.
If we reduce our military capabilities far enough, your belief that we have no ability to influence events outside our country through diplomacy may eventually turn out to be right. Good luck with that.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:49 AM   #25
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:14 PM   #26
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Military spending should be driven by the threats we face and the strategy we develop to deal with them. It should be obvious to everyone that this new direction isn't driven by a reduced threat or a coherent change of strategy.

Really? So if we spend more today than we did during the end of the Cold War era, in inflation adjusted dollars, that makes SENSE to you? Our risks aren't lower now, in terms of needing a really big set piece army/navy/air force?





And do you really believe OUR risks are equal to or higher than the next top 13 nations in the world, COMBINED? If so, on what basis, especially when one considers the defensive advantage our geographic location provides?

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #27
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"No post-war President reduced military spending more than former five star general Dwight Eisenhower".
And did so with unmatched bona-fides and a very specific national security strategy. Neither of which exist in this administration. He was also dealing with a large deficit but had a Republican controlled House and Senate. His opposition to his strategy was principally General Officers in the Army.
He further refined the US commitment to nuclear weapons, with the complementary policies of “new look” and “massive retaliation.” This reliance on nuclear weapons and thermonuclear weapons, required streamlining, organizing and developing a unified command structure. By the end of Eisenhower’s tenure, the United States had a strategic nuclear triad (bombers, intercontinental missiles, and submarine launched ballistic missiles), and a stable of tactical nuclear weapons, which relied on a strong strategy of deterrence and massive nuclear striking power presided over by a centralized command and control structure.
His national security strategy was a subset of his overall agenda particularly for the deficit and he has recently only been partially quoted concerning his tax policy by those with current agendas trying to tie Eisenhower to thiers concerning taxes and deficits. His full quote on tax policy is:
“And now, our last subject: taxes. In spite of some things that I have seen in the papers over the past 8 or 9 months, I personally have never promised a reduction in taxes. Never.

What I have said is, reduction of taxes is a very necessary objective of government–that if our form of economy is to endure, we must not forget private incentives and initiative and the production that comes from it. Therefore, the objective of tax reduction is an absolutely essential one, and must be attained in its proper order.

But I believe, and I think this can be demonstrated as fact by economists, both on the basis of history and on their theoretical and abstract reasoning, that until the deficit is eliminated from our budget, there is no hope of keeping our money stable. It is bound to continue to be cheapened, and if it is cheapened, then the necessary expenses of government each year cost more because the money is worth less. Therefore, there is no end to the inflation; there is finally no end to taxation; and the eventual result would, of course, be catastrophe.

So, whether we are ready to face the job this minute or any other time, the fact is there must be balanced budgets before we are again on a safe and sound system in our economy. That means, to my mind, that we cannot afford to reduce taxes, reduce income, until we have in sight a program of expenditures that shows that the factors of income and of outgo will be balanced. Now that is just to my mind sheer necessity.

I have as much reason as anyone else to deplore high taxes. I certainly am going to work with every bit of energy I have towards their reduction. And I applaud the efforts of the people in Congress that are going in that way. But I merely want to point out that unless we go at it in the proper sequence, I do not believe that taxes will be lowered. We might for the moment lower the “chit” you get for this year, but in the ensuing years, it would be a very different thing."
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #28
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Really? So if we spend more today than we did during the end of the Cold War era, in inflation adjusted dollars, that makes SENSE to you? Our risks aren't lower now, in terms of needing a really big set piece army/navy/air force?
Again, I don't think you can determine the right level of military spending by comparing dollar amounts (with other countries' expenditures or with our expenditures at a different time). Military spending levels should be needs based.

No, I don't think our risks are lower now than they were at the end of the Cold War. Nor do I think that "really big set piece army/navy/air force" has anything to do with my position. I'd be the first to support transformation to meet changing challenges. What I'm not willing to support is the idea that defense spending should be cut for no other reason than because we want to spend less money or for misguided reasons based on how much other nations spend or how much we spent during the Spanish American war. And I'm certainly against reduced spending used to fund domestic extravagance that continues to be unaddressed.

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And do you really believe OUR risks are equal to or higher than the next top 13 nations in the world, COMBINED? If so, on what basis, especially when one considers the defensive advantage our geographic location provides?
In the age of Obama, this may no longer be true, but BO (before Obama) most of the countries in your chart were able to rely on the US to deter aggression and keep trade routes open. Who are we going to rely on to do the same for us if we cut deep enough to give up that capability ourselves? Yes, our risks are higher because we don't have anyone to rely on but ourselves.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:20 PM   #29
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:26 PM   #30
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Again, I don't think you can determine the right level of military spending by comparing dollar amounts (with other countries' expenditures or with our expenditures at a different time). Military spending levels should be needs based.
I agree that military spend should be needs based. I do, however, find it difficult to believe that our current need could be quite so high when compared to the needs of the Cold War era etc.

Let's just say that comparisons to other timeframes can provide a rough framework of reasonability for military expenditures.

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No, I don't think our risks are lower now than they were at the end of the Cold War. Nor do I think that "really big set piece army/navy/air force" has anything to do with my position. I'd be the first to support transformation to meet changing challenges. What I'm not willing to support is the idea that defense spending should be cut for no other reason than because we want to spend less money or for misguided reasons based on how much other nations spend or how much we spent during the Spanish American war. And I'm certainly against reduced spending used to fund domestic extravagance that continues to be unaddressed.
I think, generally speaking, you're against reduced military spending for any reason. My own view is that, when viewed through the prism of the current risks (which do not, in my view, include much chance of a Soviet invasion of Europe or other large-scale war), there is no need for our military budget to exceed that of the Cold War.

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In the age of Obama, this may no longer be true, but BO (before Obama) most of the countries in your chart were able to rely on the US to deter aggression and keep trade routes open. Who are we going to rely on to do the same for us if we cut deep enough to give up that capability ourselves? Yes, our risks are higher because we don't have anyone to rely on but ourselves.

Frankly, we've been spoiling other countries for years by letting them simply rely on us and our budget to fund their defense costs. Effectively subsidizing the safety and security of much of the rest of the world. While there are certain good reasons for doing so, and certain benefits that we derive, militarily and politically, from doing so, it's not at all clear given the current deficit situation that the military and political benefits of this approach make any sense whatsoever.

I'm not of the view that it's our job to police the world, nor our financial responsibility to fund such worldwide policing.
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Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.Amnorix has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.
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