Implications of Dod Force Reduction Plan Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Defense Cuts

Implications of DoD Force Reduction Plan

Defense budget spending: The inevitable need for reductions

Cuts in the defense budget are inevitable for the Department of Defense and it must accept this fact. Given the burgeoning deficit, reductions in tax revenue, and increased need for social services (such as unemployment assistance and entitlement programs), the Department of Defense must find ways to do 'more with less.' Granted, this will be challenging, given the current demands of modern warfare, but the Department must meet this challenge rather than attempt to lobby against such legislative initiatives. The "2011 Budget Control reduce[s] Defense Department future expenditures by approximately $487 billion over the next decade... Achieving these savings is hard, but manageable. It is hard because we have to accept many changes and reductions in areas that previously were sacrosanct" (Defense budget priorities and choices, 2012, Department of Defense: 2). Ultimately, rather than a net loss, the DoD must regard these enforced cuts as an incentive to reduce waste and inefficiencies.

When contemplating necessary budget cuts, it is important to remember how the current budgetary crisis resulted. In the wake of the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing war against terrorism that ensued after September 11, 2001, defense expenditures radically increased. However, these increases in defense spending "which led to upwards of $150 billion a year over and above the base military budget" were accompanied by tax cuts (Frank 2012). To contextualize the extent of the increase: "between 2001 and 2009, overall spending on defense rose from $412?billion to $699?billion, a 70% increase, which is larger than in any comparable period since the Korean War" (Zakaria 2011).

As the conflicts the U.S. has maintained on two fronts have begun to die down, there is an upsurge of support amongst the American public to slash the defense budget. According to "Harris polls since 2008 the percentage favoring defense cuts has risen from 35% to 42%. Of five areas of expenditure -- Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid, and defense -- the military was only area where a majority (60%) suggested spending should be cut to reduce the deficit" (Kenny 2012). The American public clearly believes that other pressing demands require addressing and given the scarcity of funds, it is essential that the DoD prepare for inevitable decreases in its budget since members of Congress are likely to be highly receptive to their constituents' demands. The public's views are unlikely to change in upcoming months, given the shakiness of the economic recovery and the aging of the population.

The first major change must be in the way the DoD does business. Although the DoD is a government organization, a majority of its transactions to build weapons revolve around private organizations through contractors. It is essential that the DoD embark upon "more skillful contracting practices to increase competition, reduce costs, and increase buying power" (Defense budget priorities and choices, 2012, Department of Defense: 3). Streamlining staff and making more effective use of information technology must be a priority. The bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that during both conflicts "at least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted" (Shays & Thibault 2011). This is a disservice to taxpayers on a moral level as well as highlights the need to fundamentally reform the process.

The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process is also designed to further reduce unnecessary costs by reducing expenditures on unneeded bases (Defense budget priorities and choices, 2012, Department of Defense:5). However, despite the BRAC, "the base budget steadily rose from $287 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $513 billion in fiscal year 2009, and this increase continued in President Obama's first term, reaching $530 billion in fiscal year 2012" (Frank…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Defense budget priorities and choices. (2012). Department of Defense. Retrieved:

http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Budget_Priorities.pdf

Frank, Barney. (2012) Why Obama can -- and must -- cut defense spending. The Atlantic.

Retrieved: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/why-obama-can-and-must-cut-defense-spending/266138/

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