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  • Groundwork Laid for Massive Defense Spending Cuts

    navy_yard090305

    During yesterday’s press conference on government contracting reform, President Obama took aim at the defense industry, declaring that “We are spending money on things that we don’t need, and we are paying more than we need to pay, and that’s completely unacceptable.”

    Fair enough. We more than agree that it is time to assess the capacity of the federal acquisition workforce to do its job and to clarify where and when “outsourcing” to government contractors is necessary.

    But then things went astray. President Obama pointed to a GAO report last year that found cost overruns in DODs major defense projects totaling $295 million, declaring that this sum was “wasteful spending” of which one of its sources is “investments in unproven technologies.”

    The solution he offered is quite simple: We need to “minimize risk” and “invest in technologies that are proven and cost-effective…If a system isn’t ready to be developed, we shouldn’t pour resources into it.”

    While on its surface this makes acquisition procedures sound simple and sequential, the challenge of developing and deploying cutting-edge technologies is far more complex. Many of today’s military programs are systems that are designed to be part of larger systems. In a “system of systems” acquisition, such as the GPS constellation, the Army’s Future Combat Systems modernization effort, or ballistic missile defense, individual platforms have to be built and fielded so that these integrated components can be tested together as part of the larger network. Placing undo requirements on these programs will only further generate a risk-averse culture that will inevitably slow the acquisition process and raise costs.

    Buried within the speech, President Obama also mentioned how he believed that “We are spending money on things that we don’t need,” later tying in how he plans to “make new investments in 21st-century capabilities to meet new strategic challenges.” This follows his statements last week that he wants to “reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use.” It would appear this is a further attempt to lay the groundwork for cutting necessary core-capabilities from America’s military, not just by associating them with the Cold War and a bygone era, but now by identifying them as wasteful and a potential area for cost-savings. A full-court press to sacrifice America’s future conventional capabilities is on.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Groundwork Laid for Massive Defense Spending Cuts

    1. Dave, Virginia Beach says:

      If we are to invest only in proven technologies, then how do we maintain our qualitative lead? This idea is coming from the same people who decried Secretary Rumsfeld's comment that "we go to war with the Army we have, and not the Army we want." By not investing in new technologies – some of which will be unproven – we are subjecting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to being continuously playing "catch-up." This is also a rhetorical down-payment on cancelling missile defense to please Russia. Historically, if we followed this course of action, we would not have developed Global Positioning System, Ballistic Missile Submarines, guided missiles, or another defense-led project – the internet.

      How does this defense related proposal square with billions of government "investment" into so-called green technology?

    2. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      How about the carbon scare? Is it proven? How about the renewable energy scam? There is no proof they work. How about trillions of bailouts? How do we know they work?

      It is all smoke screen. Bottom line: Obama thinks that America is evil with projection of military power. Remember, he did not want to wear lapel pins with American flag.

    3. April McNamara, Colo says:

      I don't think that President Obama wants to bring our defense-led projects to a screeching hault. He wants to "minimize risk." This means using diplomatic methods, rebuilding our alliances and working with those allies to use non-military actions to solve problems. Guess what? Not only is it safer, but it's cheaper. President Obama wants to be smart about military spending. Wow, and you are complaining about that?!

      So, which way do you want it? When it is a project that you do NOT support, then we are "Tax and Spend Democrats." But, when the President wants to evaluate an area where he sees wasteful spending…suddenly, he is putting our soldiers at risk and appeasing Russia. Amazing.

    4. Judy Yorgason, Aloha says:

      A thought — How can Obama tell us on the one hand that old and proven methods should be eliminated in the areas of power, gas, coal, oil, hydro etc. and then when it comes to our security, only proven methods should be used. This is double speak. He speaks with a split tongue. His brain is not reasonable. How did we allow him to get where he is. I have been totally troubled by his folly.

    5. ra,ohio says:

      Right on Judy.

      You can't believe anything this guy says, a guy who never ran a business, never a state, has never served his country; and never would.

      He is the front man for the socialist movement in this country.

      He is a mouthpiece for their agenda.

      He said he wanted transparency and we got it. A transparent individual from whom we never know what to expect.

      His agenda is concrete, destroy the American way of life as we have known it.

      None of his speeches really address specifics.

      Has any of his administration given specifics on how they are going to spend our money? Fix the banks?

      They want to keep everyone off-balance as long as they can to push their agenda through.

      This is why the stock market is in the tank, it doesn't know what is going to happen. Uncertainty is wall street's worst enemy.

    6. KT,Texas says:

      There is a story going around that Obama will cut combat pay, signing bonuses and tax cuts for military while overseas. Is this a bogus story or does it have legs? Anyone know?

    7. Rick Caird says:

      No, April. Obama did not mean that at all. He was clearly talking about the cost of military acquisitions. The risk he was talking about was the risk we would spend a lot of money on development and get very little out of it. But, that is the nature of advanced, never been done before, research and development.

      One would have to be oblivious to what Obama actually said to interpret it as a requirement for more and better diplomacy. Obama truly is a blank slate to some, but that slate is being written on in big block letters. That is why the gap between strongly approve and strongly disapprove is narrowing.

      Rick

    8. Pingback: Stray Voltage | QandO

    9. April McNamara, Colo says:

      Rick. I am completely aware of what President Obama was talking about. And, of course, his comments on cutting military spending always upset the "Hawks." Some people aren't happy unless they are hearing "Axis of Evil" speeches. The idea of evaluating the program has been spun, by the HF, to mean putting America at risk. I watched the press conference.

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