Is not planning for more defense cuts the right plan?
June 4th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Is not planning for more defense cuts the right plan?

By Mike Mount

It is said that the "P" in Pentagon stands for planning. Military personnel and civilians alike plan for everything inside that building - wars, peace, exercises, humanitarian operations, even how to get the almost 25,000 employees out of the building for a fire drill.

So why is it, from the secretary of defense on down, there is nobody planning for a massive half-a-trillion dollars in potential cuts coming in about six months?

Well, according to the secretary other senior DoD leaders, publicly they are not planning because they have not been given direction to do so.

First of all, let's start with what this is all about.

The potential cuts are the result of a congressional deal struck while negotiating over the current budget deal. Those negotiations resulted in the inability of Congress and the president to agree on a deficit-reduction plan. If there is no agreement, come the beginning of January 2013, the Pentagon will be forced to cut over $500 billion from its accounts over the next 10 years.

It's called sequestration, and the cuts would be on top of the already-budgeted, and planned-for, $500 billion in spending cuts for DoD, also over the next 10 years.

For months now, even as recently as last week, top Pentagon leaders and Pentagon spokesmen have said the Department of Defense is not planning for sequestration. They have said it to Congress, they have said it in press releases and they have told reporters, over and over again.

The reason for not planning, the Department of Defense says, is that to plan for such cuts the Pentagon has to be directed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget - the same department that also files the President's annual budget with Congress.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff have said the effect of the cuts would be devastating to the military and could "hollow out the force," as well as having to dump the new Pentagon strategy to focus on Asia.

But not planning for it would create a bigger mess, says former DoD comptroller Tina Jonas, who served under the Bush administration.

"From a political standpoint, I understand they are playing a game of chicken, but fundamentally they have to meet their basic responsibilities to plan," Jonas told's Security Clearance.

Senior defense officials said that one reason they have been told not to plan is to ensure Congress has no incentives to move ahead with cuts.

But if you do have a list of items to cut, "you are showing that cuts are possible," and Congress would be more likely to go forward with them, according to Pentagon officials who were not authorized to discuss the details of sequestration on the record.

The idea of sequestration is to have a result so distasteful to Congress that it would force the members on both sides to come to a compromise on an overall budget deal.

But some think sequestration is inevitable and say the DoD is already planning for the massive cuts, despite what is being said publicly.

"This is all noise," says Winslow Wheeler, a long-time Pentagon watchdog, referencing the statements being made by Panetta and his lieutenants.

"They understand that nothing is going to happen in Congress, absent divine intervention. Of course there is a lot of activity going on to prepare for this and you are not going to hear about any of it until after the elections," he said.

Wheeler says this word game is happening because Democrats do not want the defense cuts to be an election issue this November.

"Politically, it's too hot," Wheeler said. "The Republicans want to trash the Democrats for allowing cuts to defense and the Democrats want to run away from that," he said.

Wheeler said he has spoken to people inside the Pentagon who are indeed planning, and there have even been news reports of secret, unofficial meetings among senior Pentagon staff to discuss where cuts will have to happen.

Pentagon officials who spoke to Security Clearance said they were unaware of any internal, ad hoc planning and insisted what Panetta said was true, there will be no planning until the OMB says so.

In response to the question of why the Office of Management and Budget told the Department of Defense not to plan, Kenneth Baer, OMB communications director, told Security Clearance, "We have made it clear that we believe that sequester is, by design, bad policy."

"Should it get to the point where it appears that Congress will not do its job and the sequester may take effect, OMB will work with agencies regarding planning," Baer said.

Secretary Panetta is no stranger to political wrangling in Washington.

He is a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from California and sat on the House Budget Committee. Last month he told reporters, "Each side can stake out its political position, I understand that. But the fact is that nothing will happen without compromise from both sides."

But whether planning is occurring or not, former DoD controller Jonas says if sequestration happens it is impossible to tell what effect it will have on the military in the long run.

"That is probably the most devastating thing, because it's essentially a meat ax to every account and the implications are completely unknown," she said.

"It would be totally unmanageable and would take a decade and a half to deal with the implications of that," Jonas said.

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Filed under: Congress • Defense Spending • Military • Panetta • Sequestration
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    November 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply

    If Defense cuts are not being planned why is it that we are being told to reduce our numbers of personnel? Also as well the unemployment rate for civlian and military is going to go through the roof come Oct 2012 because the Army which is the only branch I can speak for is not signing new contracts for the civilian workers. Which might I add was one of Obama's plans to lower unemployment!! Hire civilians pay them 3 times more than a soldier and do the same job with reduced results and crappy service 70% of the time. I myself am in a rut with the Defense cuts. I have been in the Army eight yrs and I am being told that my job is overstrength and I cannot re-enlist mostly because I am due to be promoted next yr. SO I am considered a careerist which is being forced out of the military for being good at what I do. However on the other hand we still let todays little boys and girls who have no clue about life enlist and make the military a joke with their bad conduct ie. lack of manners, stupid careless behaviours!! So when the military has kicked all my generation of war fighters out and your left with combat troops with very little if any combat experience our next conflicts will be massive rates of casualties and most of them will be american!

    June 7, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  10. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP solution: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Ian

      You are so crazy, shut-up at your writer, you don't know, the world .... God watch you , be watch your seft, careful....

      June 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply
      • Bernie


        June 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Biotechdev

      We have TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars in unfunded liabilities with Medicare, SS and Medicaid. And now we have Obamacare – the CBO already estinates that will cost 1.8 billion over the next ten years, NOT 900 billion as Obama predicted. The defense cuts are 50-100 bilion a year maybe. Less than a week or so of Obama's deficit spending. So okay, do it – BUT WHAT IS THE REST OF YOUR PLAN???

      June 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  11. Dave

    We tripled the defense budget in the last dozen years. Panetta is crying crocodile tears about $50 billion a year in cuts. When we go from $280 billion to over $800 billion and we're getting out of two wars, we need to find $200-300 billion in cuts and then look for $50 billion.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Left unsaid is that wrapping up combat in Afghanistan, along with the end of the war in Iraq saves the taxpayer a lot of money that was previously not included in the defense budget but in supplemental appropriations.

      June 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      Your numbers are very misleading. If we go back to 1990, the last time we were at war, defense spending was about 5.9% of GDP. Since that time, defense spending has fluctuated down to a low of 3.6% under the Clinton Era, where he reaped a big peace dividend, up to last years 5.8%, where we were involved in two separate conflicts. Meanwhile, if we look at what the federal Government spent on welfare we see that it has also nearly tripled over that same 12 year period ($786B in 2010 verse $271B in 1998). Using your logic, I shouldn't mention that as a percentage of GDP, the jump was less significant from 3% to 5.4%. Also, remember that between 1940 and 1970 defense spending averaged 13.3% of GDP.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • STEVE G


        June 7, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Biotechdev

      The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency. The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office. The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush’s last day in office, which coincided with President Obama’s first day. The National Debt also now exceeds 100% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, the total value of goods and services

      June 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
      • Bernie

        You cannot seriously think that all the money 'Obama has spent' since he became president is 100% due to his policies. All you are doing is looking at years and the numbers associated with them. That is a very simple way of thinking. You failed to mention the unemployment rate that had risen about 3%-4% in the last 8 MONTHS of Bush's second term. You fail to mention the wars that Bush started that carried over into the Obama Administration. You fail to mention the Bank Bailout of $700 billion that Bush passed 3 months before leaving office. Who had to keep paying those bills? Now ask yourself, "why?"

        June 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Jeb

    So Panetta's plan is to try to blackmail congress into either raising taxes to pay for an already bloated defense budget or to blackmail congress to cut more deserving programs that help the needy, create infrastructure, or invest in job creation? These are congresses only options other than allowing the cuts to occur. Why is President Obama going along with this?

    June 4, 2012 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • mhwood

      Seems to me that Panetta's plan is to make it clear that Congress must do its job. Sequestration isn't supposed to happen; it was intended to be too horrible to allow, so that real negotiation takes place instead. DoD seems to be doing its part to make that so. I hope that NO government departments are planning for sequestration, and that they are all letting the Congress know they aren't - that failure to compromise will be allowed to erase the last few approval percentage points that Congress has left.

      June 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  13. Dr. ING Hans Kammler

    I propose that the US should do away with its legislative and judicial branches, and just have the executive and the military run the country. From my experience, this kind of arrangement makes the execution of projects and plans much more efficient. This is especially so if you have access to an expendable slave labor class.

    Ah, those were the days.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • Josh

      The current Congress, has done less work, for the most pay, than any other Congress session in the records.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  14. Cheese Wonton

    The premise of the article is uninformed. There are budget drills going on continuously preparing for potential budget cuts. This is an ongoing process as the budget climate changes. The author mistakes the fact that while the DoD has no publicy stated budget position, in other words, a list of force reductions and program eliminations that would be required if defense spending was cut in half, and is being instructed to await before making their plans public, for a lack of planning behind the scenes. Every level of the DoD is running budget drills in preparation for sequestration.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply
  15. Richard Larson

    I think a great part of the problem lies in the political consensus that these cuts will not be allowed to occur in an atmosphere that is totally without serious political ramifications for those who guess wrong in this purely political fight. There is no economic requirement for the entirely political requirement to immediately slash expenditures because there is no legal mandate to force immediate payment when to do so would cripple the National Defense and lead the world into a third great depression. The Obama Administration must soon identify which of the most onerous public welfare (Corporate welfare) projects are that will face immediate interruption of Congress doesn't immediately relieve the pressure on the debt limit and extend certain deadlines into the future in a way that will enable responsible debt service. What I would like to see is a selective stoppage of governmental services in Congressional Districts where the opposition has power, just to indicate exactly what will be at stake when the blunt axe of a slavering Congress slashes at whatever they feel they can do without and get their way with the economy. Get the jump on them, show the people what is at stake, and them kick their sorry asses out onto the street where they belong because they have absolutely no intention of governing responsibly.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  16. Person of Interest

    The Republicans want to trash the Democrats for allowing cuts to defense and the Democrats want to run away from that," ....

    How is this solely the Democrats fault? Wasn't there a bi-partisan Super Committee that became a Super Failure? This is BOTH the GOP and Democrats fault and both Occuppy and the Tea Party's fault. They all created this no compromise environment. The last time public approval was this low of the government was prior to the Civil War. While I'm not saying that is going to happen again, if you don't work together and compromise, you tend to work against eachother and tear yourself apart.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • Josh

      This is where we should have taken a lesson from the Catholics and their Papal Conclaves.

      The "Super Committee" should have been locked into a room, and not allowed to leave for any reason, until they have reached a compromise.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  17. kmski

    Congress (and whatever executive is in the oval office) is no match for an organization that prides itself on strategy. The Pentagon knows how to play this game well. It's the "Admirals yacht syndrome". The Pentagon will scuttle an aircraft carrier before cutting the Admiral's yacht, and they will make sure that every flag-waving redneck knows about it. The Democrats are right to be afraid of this ...

    June 4, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Someone never served in the Navy. They are cheap. Really cheap, to the point of sweating turning off office lights when no one is in a room. Land facilities are spartan, upkeep the minimum necessary and sometimes less. The real money goes into ships, aircraft, weapons systems, training and payrolls.
      The payroll on an aircraft carrier is half a billion bucks a year, and that is just for the ship's company, not including the airwing. Take it out to sea and the cost of that aircraft carrier triples as you add in food, fuels, ammo and all the supplies required to send that ship to sea (I mentions fuels because the carrier can act as an oiler to refuel it's escorts). And we are still not counting the cost of the airwing.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
  18. steve`

    the military did ths to themselves. I would do away with the all volunteer force immeidately. bring back the draft to fill the needs as you would with hiring and layoffs. it's about time the young blood suckers who hide behind their parents money and their evil ways, do something worthwhile for once in their life. with a draft you can do away with all of the beenies now given to those serving. ie: free education to their children etc. that cost a bundle! and that debt will be coming due in a few years. while i commend those who volunteer, it is a choice. let's not forget it. when I got drafted in 67 and sent with a rifle to the Nam there wasn't a choice for those of us "unwanted". this generation really sickens me. we are raising a bunch of nerds who have no respect for anything but how much money they are going to make.
    bring back the draft and size the military accordingly!

    June 4, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • ChrisVC

      Troll much, Steve?

      June 4, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • Person of Interest

      Hi Steve, are you paying much attention to service troop requirements? They are currently going down. In fact, much higher standards have been put in place (close to pre 9-11 standards) for new recruits. The argument is about funding for things not just troops levels or salaries. This is for everything from new countermeasures based on Asian AO strategies, Equipment, R&D, etc.

      And coming from Gen X who's busted our balls in Afghanistan and Iraq for 10 years your lack of information on the subject "sickens" me. After 9-11, I left college with only one semester left of school. Did I get my M4 by choice: Yep; Should you have been treated better: Absolutely. But don't dare act like the suffering of me and mine isn't as bad as you and yours. This is about honor and duty, which is why they shouldn't reenact the draft because I wouldn't wanna have a "rich nerd" or someone like you down range with me. I'd take just my old squad than a 10 to 1 trade for you (17 yrs to 27 yrs).

      Quit spouting off about things you don't know. Troop levels are fine. Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 gave much of the benefits you are talking about so you were eligible for many of these benefits. The MGIB took effect in 1984 and many of those benefits could be grandfathered in for former military personnel. So you probably could get them if you were nerdy enough to look into them. You should, you earned them, as did my "sickening" generation.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
      • NN

        At $1M per man year of deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, you were considerably better off than any Vietnam era troops. And this junk about increased standards is a joke. That mainly pertains to pre-screening felons and drug offenders. If you think you're some kind of elite because you were a volunteer, guess again. The draft brings in more of a cross-section of America, the all-volunteer force is more people from the fringe.

        June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Person of Interest

      Oh one more thing: Golf Foxtrot Yankee.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
      • scarf


        June 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Cheese Wonton

      You do not want to be an officer trying to lead a bunch of draftees who don't want to be there. Sometimes I think that maybe I was the luckiest Naval officer alive because with very rare exception, I had great people working for me and more often than not they saved my chesnuts when their experience allowed them to see things I, as a nugget, could not yet see. The experienced mid level enlisted troops are what make our military great. None of our adversaries have a similar rank of motivated, experienced mid level people who can make things happen without an officer standing over them all the time telling them what to do. Today, you tell the troops what needs to be done and stand the heck out of the way while they do it. I'll wager every officer in the Chinese and Russian navies can only dream about such people. That is our great strength and I would never want to see that ruined.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • BooseyBoo

      Anytime anyone mentions the "D" word, ahem...draft, is usually someone from the Vietnam era. No one liked the draft then and definately no one likes it now. An all volunteer force is way better than draftees not wanting to be there. A lot of these benefits you are complaining about came about because the Veitnam vets were so horribly treated in returning to civilian life. I, for one, as a USN retiree in 2010 am quite aware of the sacrifices the country demanded of you with VERY little in return for that sacrifice. With that being said, benefits are what keep the service men and women in service and then love of country but the country must respect their service regardless if the service is voluntary or not.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
  19. tim braggs


    June 4, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  20. Peikovianyi

    Our military will look like Ron Paul in a drag queen parade.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  21. Just a Normal Person

    The military is like an 800 pound man worried about starving to death. It is time for a diet.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • steve`

      very well said

      June 4, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  22. Lean

    There needs to be cuts to our government. Our government is not efficient, its fat with waste. My workplace and many others have incorporated LEAN SIX SIGMA practices. This has saved us money big time by eliminating wasted movements, wasted processes, and has made us much more efficient with less people needed. Join the club Pentagon, join the rest of America. Trim your fat and get healthy, get LEAN SIX SIGMA.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
    • Stephen

      The Department of Defense does use Lean Six Sigma. They have already made the 10% cut in payroll and overhead in preparation.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        Yeah, but Lean Six Sigma really only works in a production environment. It has been a great thing for the military depots, and you can get an airplane or missile overhauled at an Army, Navy or Air Force depot for a fraction of what a major defense contractor charges for the exact same work and turn around times at military depots are less than they are from their civilian defense contractor counterparts.
        But how do you apply the principals of Lean Six Sigma to something like a business and financial management staff, engineering staff or a staff of warfare analysts? What is their "product" and how do you measure a defect rate? There are limits to the application of Lean Six in the DoD, or any business for that matter.

        June 4, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  23. trex

    ......We CANNOT RULE THE WORLD........get over it...................Instead of threatening to blow everybody up, lets get talking with people. I know we cant be friends with everyone...(read Paki, Iran, NK,Afgan).....and THAT is where we need to keep our eyes and ears on, with the potential to blow them to kingdom come.
    WHEN we reduce our dependance on massive armed forces, we DO BECOME MORE LIKELY to use NUKES for our protections. So, if our enemies know this, they must be made aware that we would indeed use them, because THEY have caused us not to play nice.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
  24. NN

    Reining in massive amounts of wasteful spending should not be called cuts, it should be called responsibly reforming the department and its budget. The DoD budget is so out of control because they're not doing a very good job of managing it, talk all they want, but the truth is they don't want to be held accountable for doing what they're supposed to do.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • slippery

      What about congress insisting on spending where DOD really wants to cut?

      June 4, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
      • NN

        Virginia is a case in point there. The first thing their Senators and Congressmen do is weasel their way into every committee having anything to do with Defense spending, sometimes rising to the level of chairman. Today Virginia has the highest per capita expenditure of Defense funds with some $56B total by some measures.

        June 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  25. Norm

    So we don't plan to cut "defense" spending even after we brought everyone home from Iraq??

    June 4, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  26. dreamer96

    Well there is only one solution..
    We need to invade the Cayman Islands and take over the Banks....Just Like the DEA any illegal funds hidden in the Cayman Island banking systm can be taken and used to pay for our military...

    June 4, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Norm

      You better wait until after the election.
      If you did that, you would be draining Romney's campaign fund.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      I know you are not serious. However one thing to be noted by Americans that seems to have been ignored or never spoken of by those complaining about senior citizens that work part time to supplement meager retirement, students that work part time to help pay for an education, the disabled, the unemployed, the underemployed, you know those horrible 47% people that had no Federal Income Tax liability, is that according to the IRS, 66% of all businesses in America paid no taxes last year. I must not be as logical a thinker as conservatives. It seems to me, a business is in a much better position to actually pay taxes than people that have nothing. But by all means, lets "cut" taxes for business.Isn't that the mantra of the conservatives and Republicans?

      June 4, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
      • Brian

        Hey Jasper it's people that pay taxes not companies. When you raise taxes or eliminate a tax break who do you think pays for that? Do you think it's the shareholders or the management. Come one quit dreaming and wake up. It's you and me that pay for that in higher prices, lost jobs, and fewer product choices. You can't believe that raising taxes on a company is going to hurt the millionaire fat-cats do you. They aren’t going to take a pay cut they are just going to pass that fee onto us. You’re so naive that you must be a liberal.

        June 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Excuse me but I have a small S-Corp and it very much incurs a tax liability that is paid to the state and Federal governments by the company.

        June 4, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  27. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    Let's recap... The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost over 2 trillion dollars. Two trillion that was never planned for nor was it in the "budget". Obviously the only government agencies that will be subject to any cuts will be programs that effect individuals, not the military. In America, the strength of the military seems to be much more important than the health and welfare of our citizens. There will be even more cuts to education, and infrastructure like DOT. Veterans Administration funding will be cut back, Medicare/Medicaid will be cut, Social Security will be rewritten and not recognizable. The FDA and EPA, agencies that protect the citizens and our environment will be cut drastically as well. This is what Americans voted for in the Mid-term elections when they elected all the Tea-Turds.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply
    • dreamer96

      And we have at least another 2 trillion in unpaid Federal Taxes going back to 1980...Funds hidden in oversea bank accounts...Time to take over those accounts and collect those unpaid Federal Taxes, and the fines for those unpaid taxes...

      June 4, 2012 at 8:43 am | Reply
  28. bmullan

    One thing I've never understood... the Military spends $Millions if not $Billions recruiting, training and deploying Special Ops forces.
    But... for some idiotic reason during the Bush years started hiring Contractor's with ex-Special Forces soldiers at hundreds of times the salary costs of just using the Military's own Soldiers. SELF-FULFILLING PROFICY... once those Contractor Business's got their Govt Contracts ... THEY could Recruit away the Military's OWN Special Ops Soldiers with offers of Salaries of upto $200,000 per YEAR... Possibly More????

    I am fairly certain they were NOT paid that kind of salary in the US Military.

    My point is... BAN use of Contractor Special Ops and stop the revolvling door where the Govt funds/trains the soldiers then as soon as they can those Soldiers leave only to come back costing the Government hundreds of times more in costs (salaries PLUS Contractor Business fees/charges, higher insurance [remember they had free Medical in the Military] etc).

    June 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • dreamer96

      Check out the Carlye Group..both the Bin Laden and Bush Family have investments and Bain Capital too...War Profits..

      June 4, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • TP

      They don't contract Special Forces units. Ex-SF guys go work as contract security guards in combat zones. Huge difference.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
  29. Jt_flyer

    What was Eisenhower's warning again? Beware the Military-Industrial Complex

    June 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • frank

      how right you are!

      June 4, 2012 at 8:43 am | Reply
    • VeryOldSoldier

      President Eisenhower's warning is absolutely true. Remember he was a retired FIVE STAR General. He was very well aware of the significance of his warning. If one goes back in history, this country and/or its surrogates have been in a "war" or major conflict every 20 years or less. About the time the "Military Industrial Complex" needs to re-tool for new weapons systems. Most weapons, except for individual weapons, cost enough tofund a hugh chunk of education, transportation infrastructure or a heavy dent into Social Security which Congress "borrowed" from the system.

      With an all voluntary military, members of the Senate & House do not have any "skin in game." People who have been engaged in actual, real warfare, really don't want to do it again, as they have seen and shared in the horrors and carnage. When Congress places their own children in harms was way, they perhaps they will have second thoughts of committing troops all over the world.

      Part of the cost of war, is the moral obligation to provide the highest & best care for those troops who have been greviously wounded and who need constant care or monitoring for the balance of life. The idea of defunding or significantly reducing the budget of the VA at this time is abhorent.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
    • TP

      He also, in the very same speach, noted the necessity of the military and planning.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        Back during the Nixon administration we stopped building combat ships in Naval Shipyards as we traditionally did and moved all the work to private yards. Then, lacking new construction to keep the yards busy as they were before, we closed a bunch of Naval Shipyards in the following years.
        Likewise we have turned over much of the overhaul are repair work formerly performed by government depots to private contractors, never mind that in my experience, the government depot can do the work for 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the private contractor. We permit defense contractors to claim "proprietary rights" to the design drawings and software code of our aircraft and weapons systems, and the defense contractors refuse to sell us this information at any price. As a result, the DoD cannot contract out repair or overhaul work to the lowest cost vendor or to a government depot (which cost even less) simply bacause the DoD doesn't have the data rights. This is ridiculous but it would probably require an act of Congress (good luck on that) and a series of contentious court cases which might not go in the governments favor, to force defense contractors to provide data rights as an automatic part of buying a new weapon. It is as if you bought a new car and the car manufacturer refused to pring a manual for it or give out any information that would allow anyone but their factory techs to work on your car. It is illegal to do that with cars in the US, but perfectly legal with weapons and aircraft. Ridiciulous!

        June 4, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  30. roy

    The Pentagon budget is bloated and should be cut too many wealthy people hiding behind this war machine. One example, cut the every weekend special military flights for Panetta to his home in California.

    June 4, 2012 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Let's be accurate. Panetta does NOT fly to California every weekend.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      The Secretary of Defense has to have access to secure communications and be available to make potentially life and death decisions in the defense of the country all day every day. Were the SecDef to fly on commercial aircraft, there would be many hours on each flight where he would be incommunicado, potentially at a time when the US or it's forces abroad were under attack. This is why high level defense officials have to fly on official aircraft equipped with some very special communications gear.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
  31. Andrew

    Don't cut LIFE spending. Cut DEATH spending. Duh!

    June 4, 2012 at 7:56 am | Reply
  32. Ann

    Somewhere between wrong and misleading. The Pentagon "always" has plans for budget increases and budget decreases. It is a recurring exercise, every year, with both modest and substantial increases/cuts. The exercise is engaged every year by every service and every defense agency. So don't tell me they haven't planned for it. What they are really "saying" is that they don't "want" to face substantial budget cuts. It is just a game.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:54 am | Reply
  33. SilverHair

    The military-industrial complex needs to be reigned in. Way too much unneeded hardware force upon our defense entities by congress willing to cut school lunch to buy flaky supplies from favored political supporters.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
    • honest john

      The highest cost for the military is not hardware, it is manning.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:12 am | Reply
  34. Everett Wallace

    SOOO where you going to get the money. You owe me restitution in the amount of $15.7 trillion dollars now you got to pay me first congress and senate.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
  35. larrydavidsandwhich

    Mass layoff will ensue as the military is one of the few gubmint organizations that is not unionized.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      Typical sock puppet comment.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:17 am | Reply
      • Norm

        WTF is a sock puppet comment?
        You Foxtards are really stinking this place up since your lord and master took down comments over there.
        The hive mind is suffering.

        June 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

        @Norm.. Comments like your's are sock puppet comments. I have never been a "Foxtard" whatever that is. I also have never posted on Fox as I have known for many years they were nothing more than an entertainment entity and certainly not a reputable news organization .A sock puppet is a brainless twit. How intelligent is a sock puppet? If you didn't grasp it, you apparently are one of them. By the way, I am a life long Democrat and more recently Progressive.

        June 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  36. 4merRepubCT

    Both sides agreed to the last budget deal with sequestration as the outcome of inaction. It's a contract like any other -stick to it.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • Person of Interest

      Unfortunately, neither side planned to stick to it. When you have the authority to vote your contract out you don't like what do you do? Vote it and screw the other guy over. GOP is already talking of making it totally social programs, which means why compromise? When you make the law you never have to break it. You just make it say something tottaly different later.

      June 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  37. M.F. Luder

    Already planning a war in Asia in 20 years? 25 years ago, it was a war in the Middle East. Then Iraq happened. Seeing a pattern?

    June 4, 2012 at 7:27 am | Reply
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Eureka! The Pentagon plans for war! What a remarkable and astute revelation!

      Please allow us to enlighten you. Contingency plans for conflict are absolutely vital to national security. Implementing those plans is NOT mandatory. However, they are necessary.

      Do you have an emergency plan in your home in case of a hurricane, flood, or tornado? If not, you should. Hopefully, you will never need to implement the plan, but the preparation may save your life in an emergency.

      Now, do you understand?

      Please refrain from demonizing the Pentagon. Just like every other agency, it needs improvement, but their work is vital to our way of life.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:42 am | Reply
      • Norm

        Patronizing Foxtard....go away...

        June 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
      • Convoluted

        We need to STOP the military complex...stop sending home disabled soldiers, which by the way are our sons,daughters ,fathers, mothers....see the pattern. You have a just point about keeping your house in order, but not to the point that you starve out every other necessity. Stop the militarization of the planet. The Black OPs have just changed their name to something different...switch and our expense.
        Why can't instead of beating the drums of war..move to feeding all the people on the planet..trillions can do so much more for the good. With a full belly you are less hostile. Men should know that...

        June 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • TP

        Wow, someone actually understands grand strategy and the reality of the world. Don't worry about people like Norm, unfortunately the world is full of them.

        June 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Cheese Wonton

      If you are a a student of Naval history you will find the US Navy was planning and preparing for a naval war with Japan as far back as the early 1920's. Be very glad they did, because it took the intervening two decades to figure out how to fight aircraft carriers, how to perform underway replenishment, to come up with a mass producible submarine with sufficient range and endurance to fight in the Pacific and to work out the many kinks in 650 psi high pressure superheated steam propulsion, giving our ships greater sustained speed and lower fuel consumption than the low pressure saturated steam plants typical of the European navies while giving our ships greater reliability than those of the Germans who tried and failed to make high pressure steam work for them (their cruisers were notoriously unreliable). All of these were critical advantages the US had over Japan when we entered that war, so be glad the US Navy took the time and effort to prepare.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
  38. therain

    planning or not...don't you think we spend way too much on the War Department?????

    June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am | Reply
    • honest john

      The US does not have a War Department.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
      • Norm

        Semantics doesn't make you any more just sound childish.
        You and Kevin....

        June 4, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Jomama072

      Entirely too much, and this coming from a veteran. I believe in a strong military but we can't flex our muscle on foreign shores if we're weak at home.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply
      • The Truth

        If that is his strategy he will lose and the military will pay the price. The military can not spend any money Congress does not approve for them so if they do not cut their spending and run out of money they run out of money, period. No fuel, no food, no bullets, no pay. It has happened before. This is a protection built into the Constitution for Congress to maintain control of the military and the President's use of it. In the end the only real loser is the military, its really hard to do your job when you know whatever you have on hand is all you are going to get and your doing it with no pay.

        June 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Kevin

      War Department? What is this WWII?

      June 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply

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