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Debating Hagel’s Call For A Smaller U.S. Military

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to downsize the military, shrink the US Army to the lowest levels since before World War II. We’ll look at what that would mean.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announces some personal changes, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, during a briefing at the Pentagon.  (AP)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announces some personal changes, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, during a briefing at the Pentagon. (AP)

It’s “time for reality,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday.  And for the U.S. military, he said, that means cutting back and changing.  America’s post 9/11 war-footing, not sustainable on America’s budget.  Hagel and the Pentagon are now proposing the smallest standing U.S. Army since before World War II.  Cutbacks in major equipment programs.  More emphasis on technology and training.  More Special Forces.  The change comes with risk, Hagel said.  But “this is time,” he said, “for reality.”  This hour On Point:  Implications of the new Pentagon budget, and the debate ahead.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dion Nissenbaum, national security reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@DionNissenbaum)

Russell Rumbaugh, director of the budgeting for foreign affairs and defense program at the Stimson Center.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute.

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press: Smaller Army: Hagel Proposes Cuts in 2015 Budget – “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed shrinking the Army, closing military bases and making other military-wide savings Monday as part of a broad reshaping of priorities after more than a decade of war. Hagel outlined his vision in a speech at the Pentagon, a week before President Barack Obama is to submit his 2015 budget plan to Congress.”

Wall Street Journal: Hagel’s Military Budget Focuses on Changing Threats –”Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is proposing a new budget plan designed to turn the military’s attention from the long ground war in Afghanistan toward emerging cyberthreats from China and increasing challenges from al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Africa. The Pentagon road map, sure to face fierce resistance from across the political spectrum, calls for reducing the military’s reliance on manpower-heavy troop buildups, investing instead in more agile special forces and cyberwarriors.”

The Atlantic: Eric Cantor’s Foreign-Policy Ideas Would Consign Us to Perpetual War — “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gave a speech last week at the Virginia Military Institute that left little doubt about his foreign-policy agenda: more wars of choice. The U.S. left Afghanistan and Iraq too early for his taste. ‘The plain truth is that we still have work to do in Afghanistan,’ he said. ‘It would be a terrible mistake for the U.S. to make the same mistake we made in Iraq. Our hasty and total withdrawal squandered the hard-fought gains won by the military at such great cost.’”

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  • jimino

    This will be a tough sell in the most perfect representation of a free market we have: the US Congress. 535 market players all trying to serve the defense contractors and others sucking at the MIC teat in their respective districts and States, with the most market power exercised by those with the most money and access to the best propaganda mechanisms. Benefit to our country as a whole, commonly known as patriotism, let alone actual fiscal responsibility, is of very little value in that market.

    • Ray in VT

      That has often been the challenge. Donald Rumsfeld did try to eliminate some weapons systems that were no longer wanted by the Pentagon (I think that there was some sort of artillery system that had been designed to fight off a Soviet invasion of Western Europe), but as soon as the contractors got the word out to people in the districts and those people started to call their members of Congress, opposition sprung up.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Just remember, the current definition of a Patriot is someone who would rather die for his country than think for it. In this sense you are a heretic, Ray.

        • Ray in VT

          That’s a funny definition. I like that. I think that it fits some people. I prefer to love my country as an adult loves his parents (recognizing the failures and shortcomings), rather than as how a child loves his parents.

          There is an unfortunate number among those who call themselves “patriots” who seem to think that plotting violence against our government and/or other citizens is the way to go. Thankfully, though, I think that those numbers are pretty small.

  • AC

    keeping up with yesterday’s convo: the jobs will go to drones

  • HonestDebate1

    What is our military strategy?

    • Bluejay2fly

      World market domination under the guise of bringing liberation and freedom to others.

      • HonestDebate1

        If that’s Obama’s plan then these cuts won’t help.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Do not be too glib about the democrats if you remove Bush’s Wars from the table that places us back to Vietnam, our second unwinnable proxy war.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’v lost me, here’s my point: it seems to me there isn’t much of a strategy, there is a number. Rather than assessing the world, it’s hotspots, and it’s dangers then developing a strategy Hagel seems to have worked backwards from the number.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Your begging the question. You are starting from the perspective that we are needed to be world policeman in the first place. That in and of itself can be debated. We have a UN for a reason. Imagine if China decided tomorrow there was too much violence and instability in South America and they built huge bases down there, deployed hundreds of thousands of troops, and placed a few aircraft carries there. Would you feel threatened even if there motives were pure?

          • HonestDebate1

            We need to accept our role as a superpower or relinquish it to the peril of the earth. The latter is what we are seeing.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Yes the UN is, I do not know, something insanely evil from the book of revelations. Anyway, I am done. God Bless.

          • HonestDebate1

            The UN is not evil. But they are not to be trusted with maintaining America’s sovereignty.

          • Bluejay2fly

            What qualifies us for being the savior of the world. If every nation followed our consumeristic example the planet would run out of resources 10 times over. If they followed our political example they would have millions of its citizens in prison, millions cut off from health care, ubiquitous sexism and racism, a defunct educational system, and a predatory capitalistic system where money governs policy. How about our war examples. We take most of the credit for WW2 and Korea despite it being a multinational effort. We have supported some of the most evil world dictators and intervene constantly in sovereign nation’s affairs while vehemently not allowing any nation to exercise its opinion about the USA. We are far from perfect and should not be so arrogant as to assume the world cannot live without world policeman USA.

          • Ray in VT

            Are we now in for some pontificating about how Obama is withdrawing us from the world, casting aside our allies, and probably something about an apology tour?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, the latest PEW poll made that clear. Tuesday is stall cleaning day so I have enough crap to shovel already.

          • Ray in VT

            Is that why you’re shoveling it all onto us via your Internet connection?

          • keltcrusader

            LOL ouch!

    • Steve__T

      I would have just left a link but I know that you would never find this piece within the article, it’s to lengthy and informative.

      In 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least£100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text.

      http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/

  • Bluejay2fly

    Let us finish off the last few things that are made in the USA. Just like our old enemy the USSR ,that we so love to pattern ourselves after, the military industrial congressional complex is a HUGE jobs program. I am not saying it is money well spent but there is no alternative employment option. If we took all that money spent on the DOD and directed towards infrastructure then that would be prudent.

    • Coastghost

      Really: things are so confusing, Edward Snowden just couldn’t tell the difference.

    • jimino

      Maybe military personnel could be reminded that they (gasp!) work for the government, and be deployed to accomplish something of actual value to our country.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Asking someone in public service to be useful? You may have something there.

  • Coastghost

    Does Sgt. Hagel’s strategic vision entail empanelment of a new “base closing commission” to adjudicate how the massive job losses will be distributed among the states?

    • Bluejay2fly

      Most bases moved from the North to the South. Considering how much better they are doing than the North they can suck it up. If they complain let them tour former base towns up North.

      • Coastghost

        Hmmm . . . so where did Fort Wadsworth wind up, exactly? Where would we find Glenview Naval Air Station today?

        • Bluejay2fly

          I would love to know the cash value of Coco Beach, Pearl Harbor, or Norfolk. I went to boot camp in Orlando, Florida imagine what that is worth. But as expensive as our bases are at least US bases spend money in our economy. The real losers are foreign bases where that money makes it’s way into impoverished nations such as Kuwait, Germany, South Korea, or Japan.

          • Coastghost

            You’re exactly right! We face absolutely no strategic threats these days along the Asian rim of the Pacific. (You have access to some document Sgt. Hagel’s using to perform his calculations?)

          • Bluejay2fly

            If CHINA is such a big worry why did we make them a huge economic empire! We borrow money from them, have goods manufactured there, WHY? So we can spend trillions now trying to save the world from there influence. And should not Asia police Asia. Maybe if Japan and Korea built a huge military instead of an auto industry Detroit would not look like Hiroshima circa 1945. But hey I am only retired military and minored in military history I am sure you are better qualified than I to discuss this matter.

          • Coastghost

            I’m sure Sgt. Hagel is better qualified than yours truly, Col. Bluejay, I’m but a mere part-time amateur historian in my copious spare time.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Calling him a Sgt. and not by his title is childish. However, on a more important note arguing with people about military strategy whose comprehension of war and victory are very limited is vexing, not that you are in that category. To my earlier point if you have no economy backing your military you are destined to lose. The USSR failed in that respect and we built China up from nothing. Where were all the hawks when this was going on? Nowhere, because they are full of crap.

          • Coastghost

            Ahhh, but I failed to specify: I’m also a part-time satirist, and ridicule is but one option the ready satirist has at his command.
            To your other point: I don’t recall that China benefitted directly from post-WWII reconstruction efforts, as I’m better informed we undertook in Germany and Japan.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Well you have won. I am signing off now as I cannot take anymore. God Bless. Sgt. Bluejay

          • Coastghost

            I’d be remiss not to thank you for your service, so thank you.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I am not thankful for all the unnecessary wars I had to fight and for coming home to a country in financial ruin.

          • Ray in VT

            Do you think that there is a good reason that we foot so much of the defense bill for nations that have done well economically, such as the ones that Bluejay2fly has listed? Personally I think that they can pick up some slack there if we want to draw down some of our forces in those areas.

          • Coastghost

            You and Col. Bluejay would need to take that up with former military serviceman and U.S. Senator John Kerry. I’m told he now leads our Department of State.

          • Ray in VT

            Certainly an “amateur historian” with copious amounts of free time such as yourself has thought about such issues and have formed an opinion, or do you merely prefer to be the member of that family of Equidae that would rather kick down the barn?

  • Human2013

    The truth is that the DOD is nothing more than an archaic force and a jobs program. We have thousands of subsurface, surface and airborne ballistic missles that can cost upwards of $70 million dollars each and are not likely to ever be used. We have a behemoth military that has taken a serious toll on America and Americans. I applaud Secretary Hagel for recognizing this problem and attempting to set us in the right direction.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Yes, there are many ramifications for military lifers who may lose their jobs. But, with drone technology, such a large military is not needed. End of story.

  • creaker

    We’ve left one war and are leaving another – it would be crazy if we weren’t cutting back.

    The biggest air force in the world is the US Air Force – the second biggest air force in the world is the US Navy – we have room to cut back. And we don’t have the money to pay for it to begin with.

  • Arkuy The Great

    That we are having this debate at all is a testimony of our 70 years as the go-to power for maintaining global security and stability. The upside is that America’s extreme global military dominance had engendered a prosperous global economy to the benefit of all nations. The downside is that other countries have become unable and unwilling to pitch in to defend their own interests. There has been no need to do so because American military power can be readily summoned, like some global superhero. Just issue the Bat Call and Here We Come To Save The Day! That time seems to be coming to an end, as well it probably should. European countries need to shoulder some burden for exerting power in their near abroad (think Syria, Libya, Ukraine and similar hot-spots). Similarly Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, etc. in facing potential threats from North Korea or China. We cannot be everywhere, nor should we.

    Disclosure; I have been a vocal detractor of the current administration pretty much from the beginning and I agree with this move to some extent.

  • AlanThinks

    The best defense for the United States is investing in our future. Just imagine what all those wasteful defense dollars could buy: better schools, universal pre-school, mass transit systems, solar panels on every rooftop, energy efficiency. Invest in things people need and use and the economy grows. Invest in tanks and jets and the economy stagnates because you can’t build anything with them.

    • Human2013

      It’s Guns or Butter/Bridges

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    U.S. Army Rule No. 1
    Too many generals preening with perks
    Not enough soldiers fixing the works.

    Some things never change.

    • Steve__T

      Don’t forget this one: Rule #1 The General is always right!
      Rule #2 IF you have any problems see Rule #1

  • Coastghost

    What if a massive mobilization somehow comes to be seen as absolutely necessary? Does anyone alive today think the domestic US population would ever again consent to a military draft?

    • Ray in VT

      I think so if the situation is dire enough.

      • Coastghost

        At least one of us is an optimist . . .

        • Ray in VT

          Well, I do think that we often do the right thing, just as long as we’ve tried everything else first.

          • Coastghost

            Ray: you ARE an optimist!

          • Ray in VT

            I try to be, but people make it hard sometimes.

            I just don’t see us ending up like 5th century Rome.

          • Coastghost

            At this point, I’m a tad more concerned that we’ll soon be reduced to the circumstance of 1st cent. BCE Rome. (Apologies: I was reading Sallust just last evening.)
            I think we’re only in post-Carthaginian mode presently, but my generosity may be showing.

          • Ray in VT

            In what regard? The overthrow of the government by a dictator? A civil war? A gladiator rebellion?

          • Coastghost

            Yes, yes, and yes, but don’t fail to consult also Catiline’s Conspiracy, paragraphs 10-13 in my trusted OUP translation (W.W. Batsone, tr., 2010).

          • Ray in VT

            Wouldn’t that rather fall into the first category, although my reference was more made regarding Caesar.

          • Coastghost

            In the passage cited, Sallust catalogued numerous failings additional to those covered in your list of three.

          • Ray in VT

            I misread your statement. I thought that you were referring to the attempt itself.

            It seems to me that many of the pronouncements about some issues of America’s supposed decline, such as tolerance of gays as lesbians as was suggested on the page for today’s other topic, are greatly overblown. That having been said, we do have some issues, I think, when it comes to the love of power and money and what some will do to attain those things, especially at the expense of our fellow citizens.

          • Coastghost

            Piety is unfashionable these days, except when it comes to the votaries of Mammon. (ATM shrines receive visits each and every day.) We’ve seen fit to kill off our other gods, but Mammon is ready to rule in whatever age he’s summoned to (of course, Mammon is ready to rule even when not supplicated explicitly).

          • Ray in VT

            If one’s version of piety requires one to be bigoted against others, then that isn’t quite kosher. There’s plenty of pious people who do so without resorting to demeaning their fellow man.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    How much would we save if we took away the standard issue general’s girlfriend? General Petreaus could answer this question. If Congress were to ask him at official hearing.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    One battalion to support the general’s HQ. One to carry his ego.

    Cut the generals and you cut the load on the working part of the army.

  • Coastghost

    What does Sgt. Hagel say the size of our Navy should be? How many carrier groups do we need to axe, according to his strategic vision?

  • Yar

    The next war is likely in our own town squares when the boomers realize their retirement has been stolen and they are left hungry and homeless as the country spirals out of control. The leaders of that war have already been trained. Read Starship Troopers, the only fiction piece required for officers of all forces. Maybe it isn’t fiction at all, only predictive history. It was written in 1959, looks more realistic by the day.

    • Ray in VT

      I do very much like that book.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    How much would the taxpayer save not handing out combat decorations to soldiers who don’t deserve them? For instance when the president hands out “fruit salad” because he can’t think of anything substantial to do during his “work” day, Except, of course, to play golf.

    Call it the Pat Tillman/Stanley McChrystal amendment to the appropriations bill.

  • AlanThinks

    Tom, you need Andrew Bacevich on this session.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Right on.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The only thing any Congressman is all arm pits and butt holes about: someone trying to gut his local appropriations {bribes to constituents}.

  • wauch

    Where is the debate? There is no debate the military needs a serious dose of austerity. If the rest of this country is going to be subject to austerity and sequestration namely crucial agencies like USGS, EPA, etc well then we must force the military to get off its perpetual high hog. Stop with the war on terror, spying domestically, and building out of an unsustainable hegemonic power. Time to look within and scale back on the guns and scale up the allocation of resources to far higher job multipliying industries.

  • Yar

    The US military is as strong if not stronger than Rome was at the height of its power!

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Rome 410 ad?

      • Ray in VT

        Not exactly the height of its power.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Decommission and scrap any US Navy vessel named for any living human being. That practice was tacky from the beginning. And you save the deployment and maintenance costs, as well.

    Signed.. Plankowner, USS California CGN-36

  • Philip DiIorio

    I wonder if those who think we are going to be as effective after cuts pre-suppose the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Drastically cut the number of 3 & 4 stars to begin with. Flag Corps is far too top heavy for what little heavy lifting it does. The Marine Corps is a corps. That’s ONE 3 star general. And nothing higher!

  • Jim Sawhill

    The GAO has never even been able to audit the pentagon! No one knows how much money it takes. Cut it back to whatever can be accounted for. And let’s get the National Guard back to US soil.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    With Californians breathing the coal ash of China; left coasters eating Fukushima fish, and Alaskans smelling the oil fields of Siberia — there’s no such thing as tactical nuclear weapons.

  • Yar

    Yet we have not funded their healthcare or their retirements.

  • Coastghost

    Does Mr. Rumbaugh see much prospect for the US simply hiring mercenary armies when needed? What reliable retailer keeps those on their shelves these days?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I’m not over the age of 65 and I go to the VA for bennies.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Aide: Mr. President, what are you going to do about the mindless flag corps over at the Pentagon? Unprepared for current struggles; unimaginative in appreciating future ones.

    Obama: We’re going with BDO.

    Aide: Ah, BDO. That could work.

    Beats hitting the links with the generals all of the time.

  • Elizabeth_in_RI

    We need to start using diplomacy rather than military strength. Right now we are spending MORE THAN all of Europe and Asia on our military. So while China and Singapore and others are building new airports, new roads, new factories, etc., etc., the supply lines and resource areas which we are paying to protect for them, all while our own research and infrastructure dollars are disappearing. These rising nations are doing so on our backs while we are crying that the sky is falling because we are cutting our military back to levels that still dwarf their combined levels.
    We should be helping to build the problem areas rather than droning them into submission!

  • AlanThinks

    The caller who decried that all of military equipment is out dated is nuts. Our country’s infrastructure is outdated while the military gets endless dollars thrown at the latest technology.

  • d clark

    Goure is a bought dog of the war mongers!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I’m nominating Larry Summers to be the Provisioner General over at the Pentagon. Think of Larry as a walking, talking, smarter-than-you-are IED.
    –Barack H. Obama, Commander in Chief of US Armed Forces

  • Human2013

    Ok, can someone please tell the defense brainwashed caller from Alabama that if we go to war with China there will be no planet earth, so there is no use planning for it!

  • Art Toegemann

    Just an historical note here:
    Fearing the US would not be prepared for war if there are cut backs belies the state of the nation before WWI. The US had to train and gear up for that war. This may be the source of Eisenhower’s military industrial complex theme. There was little to no MIC before WWI, Ike a veteran of that one too.
    We can safely cut back at the DoD et al. and use that wealth at the long list of constructive expenses.

    • Arkuy The Great

      “We can safely cut back at the DoD et al. and use that wealth at the long list of constructive expenses.”

      Perhaps we could do so. Unfortunately, the recent history of our governing classes has been that any “found” money will be spent on wasteful pork-barrel spending for the benefit of key constituencies in the home districts. Constructive initiatives that could provide a broad benefit to our country will be thus subverted. The list of such incidents in living memory is long.

  • Coastghost

    You’re the only one flippantly speaking of invading China, Mr. Rumbaugh. Are you so sure that China’s naval ambitions are doomed to failure regardless of our defense posture?

  • Elizabeth_in_RI

    Your guest just said that we won’t have the forces needed to occupy countries like we did with Iraq and Afghanistan – and I consider that a good thing. Sadly, what has more than a decade of occupation really done for either of those places. The idea of occupying China, Russia or any other country in this day is simply ridiculous – that’s not how the next war will be fought. We couldn’t even figure out how to effectively intervene in Syria without blowing up the whole world – how would military intervention work with any of these other countries with large standing armies??

  • Solomon

    Drawing down the military based on tanks, planes, ships, is only one aspect. The facts are the military has massive waste period. From an economic point of view there needs to be a thorough audit and evaluation on cutting cost. Making generalized arguments about fighting a future war is posturing and not evaluating what we did wrong in the current decade of war. “After action review”

    Also, investing in your force to be better force, better trained and educated, will also have a significant impact. While limiting the number of vehicles or soldiers we’re standing up, the trade-off can be investing in a better quality solider. (soldiers who are evolving with our standing in the modern world and having real-time experience each year.) I suggest the current “combat veterans”, however, quality officers and nco’s are leaving the military in remarkably high numbers because their not being cultivated and invested in.

    The war we fought in WWII and Vietnam is not the war we will be fighting in the future. Its easy to say, oh my!; Here comes a new war, which may draw us back into the WWII or Vietnam template. But we don’t fight that way, a war of attrition or controlling battle space. We have a volunteer force, we have soldiers with several one year deployments, which are not even as long.

    Further, we now target influence of a populace, information, and resources being used by a potential enemy. When using direct action it is used in a specific and targeted forum, which is different then how we approached taking the hill or holding terrain in previous wars.

    Lastly, the most important factor in a modern military is experience. Consistent training, deploying, with many different types of combat/peace exercises and experiences. That being said a lighter, better trained military with quality technology; consistently being utilized in peaceful, support, problem solving or “direct” combat operations will have a more profound effect on readiness and effectiveness.

    Thank you,

    Solider since ’97

  • WRB2

    We had a great chance to win Syria as a US alley forever and
    blew it. Not with guns, not with diplomacy, and it could have helped the US economy BIG TIME.

    The dozens of wars the pop up here and there for people
    wanting a better life, people wanting democracy and all the pain that comes with it can not be won by giving bullets to one side or the other. Cannot be won by sitting the UN and saying this is wrong or that is wrong. But they can be won.

    As the refuge camps started to spring up outside of the country
    in trouble we should be poring money into the host countries for food, housing, and security. We should be sending Engineers to build livable facilities (e.g. water, power, sewage). We should be sending Doctors and Nurses to help treat everyone in the camps. We should be sending teachers to help the next generation learn and become better
    at lifting themselves out of poverty that follows war.

    We should watch what is going on from overhead to watch for mass killings, the using of WMD (e.g. Chemical, Biological), crimes against humanity and the people. If they do then we step in with diplomacy backed up with a swift massive strike, if need be alone, though preferably under the UN.

    Capitalism and Democracy have proven the winners, most people everywhere want it. Those that do not are not going to change. The way to win asymmetrical wars is by helping the people themselves rise up and demand better.

    Start another arm of the State Department that funds Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Teachers that stand ready to go and help countries get back on their feet. If there is no place for them to go they work here in the US to help struggling towns, cities, etc.

    Stay strong but be ready to lift people up then fight only when we have to. This budget is wrong in that they cut pay and benefits, those were promises. Other than that, if we take my suggested approach it is fine.

  • Apostle Sam Martin

    I believe that it’s important 2 do analysis of the US Military Industrial Complex’s budget. I agree with Sec. Hagel the budget needs trimming bt nt @ the expense of the nation’s security. Much lik in a hm whn u 1st install ur security system. U dump all sorts of ungodly amounts of funds in trying 2 bolster the safety & security of ur interests. Whn the need 2 restructure is recognized bc of expenditures, then it’s necessary to seek other means & ways 2 do so 2 justify or simplify ur systems. Whether tht means looking 4 a less costly system 2 secure ur interests or 2 curb the spending 2 more affective levels tht prove more prudent & just, it is necessary 2 revamped the system & budget so tht u can save more 2 secure. It is necessary 2 do wht is prudent & trimming is alwys necessary while diversifying the focus of the force if the security needs as the needs change. We must be well aware the in the event tht greater funding is needed tht we should & will throw all we have in 2 maintain the security necessary 4 the peace& freedom we enjoy& hold dear.

  • lance

    Recall the Armies—-Caesar

    If someone told my father and uncle after WWII [navy-pacific/europe-army]
    that when their son/nephew was 64 years old that a large portion of the U.S.military [10's of thousands] would be still be in Germany/Japan and scores of other countries—-they would say—what went wrong??

  • Emily311

    If an Islamic business owner refuses to serve women not dressed properly, would that be OK? What about a Catholic business that won’t serve an unmarried mother?

  • tbphkm33

    About time the realization is made that an imperial military is no longer sustainable, even for the post-colonial Empire the USA has become.

    Got to feel sorry for the Nopublican/TeaBagger cabal – like a junky, with one hand begging for more money from communist China of all places, while on the other hand desperately clinging on to an oversized military that can sooth their paranoia.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Meanwhile in Detroit….

  • Alchemical Reaction

    This is NOT ONLY a series of CUTS… They are doing exactly the same thing corporations do… Make the cuts to get assets more liquid… In order to reallocate capital for a completely new direction / mission. Now that tech has advanced as far as it has, they need to pour capital into drone tech, cyber tech, and other experimental tech… That requires VAST amounts of capital. In order for the military to have the latest tech moving forward, they MUST Make surgical cuts.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Even talking about invading China is a pretty stupid thing to do… We ought to be doing our best to befriend them and develop mutual respect… NO ONE WOULD WIN THAT FIGHT.

  • Pat T

    I am retired military and always believed in a strong National Defense Plan. I was dismayed years ago when Homeland Security was created. Until then, I thought I was Homeland Security. Creating the new department took the military back to being what became the Department of Offense or as known during WWII, The War Department. I would recommend disbanding Homeland Security and placing military personnel into those positions. Doing this would allow us to maintain our military personnel numbers and also give those who are deployed a place to serve in the U.S. so that we can do away with the crazy repetitive overseas rotations.

    • tbphkm33

      I agree, much more confidence in the Pentagon running defense than Homeland Security. Although, I like to see the DOT move away from private contractors and more firm guidelines developed for the deployment of forces. If the military is going to be used, let the top brass deploy as they know best. No more of the White House (either party) second guessing the military.

      • methos1999

        DOT – you mean DOD right? DOT is Dept of Transportation, DOD is Dept of Defense…

      • Pat T

        There is so much wrong with the use of private contractors. The feeling being if you pay them the big bucks, they take on the risks of lost limbs and potentially even capture with the government not being responsible. We have gotten away from asking ourselves if what we are doing feels right. If we can do away with Homeland Security, we operate in the black,

    • ExcellentNews

      I think the Constitution prohibits military forces from being deployed at home during peacetime.

      • Pat T

        Who told you that? Federal troops have been deployed any number of times to do tasks from enforcing integration to breaking strikes.

  • Bluejay2fly

    The fact that an ocean is a good defense, ask GB during WW2, really makes their argument fall apart. They want a military large enough not to prevent invasion but to invade an occupy a nation that has terrorists who launch a small and militarily unimportant attack on US soil. That is, of course, unless they come from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan in which case we will just pick someone out of convenience. Either way we need a military large enough to exact revenge!!!

    • Pat T

      Sounds very Hatfield and McCoys to me. Who won that squabble? What ever happened to diplomacy? If you ever have a neighbor you don’t like, I recommend a couple friendly words every now and then. You won’t bring him around by killing his child. In fact, you make bitter enemies of countless relatives that won’t rest until they find vengeance. Ask yourself who are we trying to seek vengeance against. for what action, and how much collateral damage is acceptable?

  • nj_v2

    Arguments that it’s impossible to reduce military spending without endangering “national security” are patently ludicrous.

    The U.S. spends more on warring than the next 10 countries combined.

    Take a look at how stunningly large the enterprise is:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/pentagon-budget-deal-charts-cuts#big

    Can’t Touch This

    The wars are winding down. It’s the age of austerity. But nobody messes with the Pentagon budget.

    [[ Our military is mind-bogglingly big.

    The Pentagon employs 3 million people, 800,000 more than Walmart.

    The Pentagon's 2012 budget was 47 percent bigger than Walmart's.

    Serving 9.6 million people, the Pentagon and Veterans Administration together constitute the nation's largest healthcare provider.

    70 percent of the value of the federal government's $1.8 trillion in property, land, and equipment belongs to the Pentagon.

    Los Angeles could fit into the land managed by the Pentagon 93 times. The Army uses more than twice as much building space as all the offices in New York City.

    The Pentagon holds more than 80 percent of the federal government's inventories, including $6.8 billion of excess, obsolete, or unserviceable stuff.

    The Pentagon operates more than more than 170 golf courses worldwide. ]]

    (excerpt)

  • Gary Belcher

    We will still have 100′s of 1000′s of private mercenary contractors. We will still be spending billions to subsidize the defense of the world’s richest nations, such as Korea, Germany, and Japan. We will still be building the world’s most expensive fighter jet in history–the F-35, and which will never be used since they are too expensive to lose even one. We will still be safeguarding ocean trade routes–gratis to our trade rivals. We will still be overloaded with generals and highly-paid DoD bureaucrats. Even though I’m a lliberal Democrat, I’m tempted to support Rand Paul as he is the only who claims to want to reduce this monstrous and insane defense policy.

  • hourly_PA

    There is allocation of funds and then comes procurement for the operation. For a gallon of gas the US military in Afghanistan pays $400.00. https://www.commondreams.org/video/2014/02/22
    A few hundred miles to the west, in Iran, it’s 50 cents a gallon.
    About the same in Saudi Arabia, across the Gulf.
    The military supplier pocketing the difference is likely based in Washington DC, well connected to the signatures that OK
    the scam.

  • Coastghost

    Sometimes, the only way to stay ahead is to stay ahead.

  • Pat T

    You must understand that military spending isn’t about GIs or if we really need the weapons being developed. It is corporate welfare. The average ship built for the Navy may be built in only a few different shipyards, but the parts are built in 48 or 49 different states. Cut a shipbuilding program and it could devastate the economies of Maine and Mississippi along with small communities in a number of other states and other countries. Diesel engines, cranes, some weapons systems and heaven knows what else are purchased from foreign countries.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Gonna have to disagree with you there. Women can’t be relied on to consistently manage their emotions. Dramatic mood swings anyone?

  • Zack Smith

    The US has bases in over 150 countries, yet we were closing bases at home throughout the 90s. Hmmmm. I’d say we should bring those troops home, let them stay with their families here at home, and end the empire. I doubt we’d notice a 50% cut in defense spending in any material way. Rather, it would help the economy by freeing up resources currently being devoted to building weapons that will never be used.

  • Art Toegemann

    Having posted a comment in support of defense cuts, allow me to now support genuine defense from any offenses.
    Looks like we dodged that meteor at the moon. Let’s hear it for dumb luck.

  • http://muslimmediareview.blogspot.com AymanFadel

    Why does On Point not have a guest questioning why we need to have a military that can act anywhere in the world? If we stop maintaining an empire, we could reduce the military budget to a fraction of what it is today. I ask that On Point feature guests from the Friends Committee on National Legislation or Veterans for Peace or other peace advocates such as David Swanson.

  • kivenaberham

    American who invest in war vs American who want to invest in America.

    American who invest in war means American blood and treasure for protecting all the kings and princes in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel and japan and all their personal political interest, point of fact, not the interest of the American people.
    American who want to invest in America want ALL American who wants to spend money for education social security and jobs. its plain and simple. those who want
    American to fight their wars are war profiteers not Americans.

  • ExcellentNews

    Here is a relatively simple 3-point plan to protect America militarily and economically:

    1) Maintain our nuclear arsenal to deter enemy nations from threating US territory

    2) Invest in cutting edge technology and weaponry for point action against individual threats around the globe (more Team 6, drones and lasers, less tank brigades)

    3) Free trade only with nations that uphold our standards of freedoms, rights, and regulations (more middle class, less oligarchy)

    But… but.. but.. we need to invade Gadzikistan and play God in Islamistan to ensure our vital supply of oil… may quip someone from the peanut gallery. No – we need to invest in domestic energy and efficiency. This will create jobs and avoid unnecessary conflicts that benefit only the Swiss accounts of cronies and inside contractors.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 24, 2014
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

Apr 24, 2014
A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, during his funeral ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 21, 2014.  (AP)

A Sherpa boycott on Everest after a deadly avalanche. We’ll look at climbing, culture, life, death and money at the top of the world.

RECENT
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Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

 
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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