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  • 'Gang of Six' Plan Could Gut Defense

    This week, Representative Buck McKeon (R–CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released a memorandum to Republicans on the committee. He appropriately criticized the “Gang of Six” budget outline from the Senate for its possible negative consequences for national security.

    Since the Gang of Six proposal is nothing more than an outline to this point, McKeon is right to flag the possible ramifications. The few specific numbers its proponents have described do not meet the requirements for appropriate analysis, let alone the more stringent requirements for budget scoring. Unfortunately, even members of the Gang of Six have acknowledged as much. It seems that little more than a press release is required to get credit for debt reduction in Washington these days.

    Responding to what little detail has been provided, McKeon estimates that the Gang of Six proposal will cut almost $900 billion in national security spending over a decade and implies that the national security accounts will absorb nearly half of all federal budget discretionary cuts. Asking security agencies, namely the U.S. military, to absorb half of the spending cuts in this proposal is irresponsible.

    What we do know as fact—and where McKeon is not speculating—is that the U.S. military has already contributed to debt reduction over the past two years when no other federal agency has done so.

    Indeed, the defense budget has already been slashed by $439 billion over 10 years since President Obama submitted his fiscal year (FY) 2011 request last February. Accordingly, he is on solid ground when he starkly warns his fellow Members of Congress that this proposal “would not allow us to perform our Constitutional responsibility to provide for the safety and security of our country or keep faith with men and women in uniform.”

    In short, the Senate’s Gang of Six proposal is a totally inappropriate way for Congress to exercise its solemn responsibility to provide for the nation’s security. The plan’s supporters are offering only vague descriptions accompanied by uncertain numbers and asking Congress to enact the proposal and the President to sign it into law on a fast-track basis. TARP redux, anyone?

    Yet the bottom line remains that this plan could have devastating consequences for national security for years—maybe even decades—to come.

    All of these negative consequences for national security that may result from the Gang of Six budget proposal would happen because of decades of uncontrolled spending on domestic programs. Military spending, even through two wars over the last decade (and not counting the recent intrusion into Libya), has been reasonably constrained. No true apples-to-apples comparison is being made in the proposal between national security spending on one side and domestic spending on the other. That is because this analysis would expose the disproportionate contribution that the men and women in uniform are making to debt reduction while entitlement reforms are largely kicked down the road.

    The only right path for Congress to pursue in resolving the current budget crisis—and it is a crisis—is to adopt a long-term plan for federal spending restraint while providing adequate resources for defense. This follows the recommendations found in Heritage’s “Saving the American Dream” proposal. This detailed package would allocate an average of $720 billion per year on defense between now and FY 2016, as opposed a Gang of Six plan that could easily reduce the number by more than $50 billion per year and put the nation on the path to further destructive and dangerous defense cuts after 2016.


    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to 'Gang of Six' Plan Could Gut Defense

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      The DoD has paid out to defense contractors a total of about $3.5 trillion since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The military suffers from aging and failing equipment, low salaries, and poor benefits. Meanwhile total defense spending since 9/11 has been $7 trillion with about $1.8 trillion of that allocated for field operations in war zones. To put this into perspective, an aircraft carrier, which represents the most expensive military hardware item we purchase, costs about $5 billion on average. The latest aircraft carrier, the George H. W. Bush cost $6.2 billion and has a profile area of about 275,000 square feet. $1 trillion can buy about 200 of these aircraft carriers. These carriers could cover 55 million square feet or about 2 square miles – a square with a side measuring 1.41 miles. Therefore, since the attacks on 9/11 the DoD has paid their contractors enough money to buy 700 of these aircraft carriers that would cover 7 square miles of ocean surface or about 20% of the area of an average New England town. Why is our military hardware in such bad shape? If not into the military, where did the money go?

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      I feel if the GOP does not get busy taking control of the cuts in the DoD, rather than sticking their heads in the sand, we will have serious problems in being able to defend this nation. We do need to cut over $100 billion from the annual DoD budget. Lets make the cuts smart. We need these cuts to avoid the military mission. Right now we have these cuts in the hands of RINO's and democrats. This is scary! GOP where are you?

    3. Pingback: El Plan de la Banda de los Seis minaría la defensa | Heritage Libertad

    4. Pingback: ForAmerica’s Bozell: Republicans who support Gang of Six proposal ‘will walk the plank’ | The Daily Caller

    5. Bobbie says:

      for one thing I don't like the republican party being divided into "gangs." it sounds like something from the mouth of a democrat?

      Stick to the Constitution and get rid of everything outside of it. Don't let anything slip in that's going to jeopardize, compromise or decrease: protection, safety and DEFENSE of this country! We are America defined by the founders of!!!

    6. rangerrebew says:

      The commiecrats have had it in for the military ever since the Civil War. In the south the Civil War is better known as the "war of northern aggression" and to this day the south blames the military. Every commiecrat president wants to destroy the military to punish them for beating Robert E. Lee and slavery which commiecrats of the time supported and still must. They opposed reconstruction and Civil Rights and now want to enslave a whole country, not just a section of people of the country. They support the slavery of "undocumented workers" to help work the farms just as plantation owners did with blacks. This thinking of gutting the military is competely opposite the 9/11 commission recommendations and which notable commiecrats such as Tequilla Ted, Lurch, dingy Harry, Dick Turbin, and Barack Ali Bama criticized Bush for not completing. The commission noted radical islam is at war with us and the most insane thing to do would be to disarm in light of it. Politicians seem to forget it isn't they who are keeping America free. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite; both parties are doing everything in their power to destroy America.

    7. Pingback: Debt ceiling deal threatens national security | The Daily Caller

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