Butts in seats would be a good place to start in most cases…..
NEW YORK – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the federal government is deeply in debt. This spells the end of what was a golden decade for the defense industry.
In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the annual defense budget has more than doubled to $700 billion and annual defense industry profits have nearly quadrupled, approaching $25 billion last year.
Now defense spending is poised to retreat, and so are industry profits.
Phi Beta Iota: Long comment and links below the line.
The article is a good one, but ends weakly with a very unsound comment from Michael O’Hanlon, whose analytics we have enjoyed in the past, but who lacks real world experience. His comment”The era of manned airplanes should be seen as over,” is flat-out wrong for two reasons: 1) pilots are cheaper than bandwidth; and 2) in situ situational awareness by a human is at least one order of magnitude faster and more accurate than any butt in a remote seat.
There is no lack of knowledge on where to cut, how deep, and what still needs funding. There is simply a complete lack of intelligence in support of policy, acquisition, and operations, and a complete lack of integrity on both sides of the aisle–intelligence producers and intelligence consumers.
Of grave concern to us, completely apart from the inability of the current defense leaders, both civilian and uniformed, to get a grip on the whole, is the emerging reality that Wall Street and Big Oil appear to have agreed to throw defense under the bus in order to stave off the day when they themselves are subject to the big axe. While the “health” and prison industries are themselves very strong, they pale in comparison to the inviolability of defense in the past. This is a historic moment, but also a tragic one–in the absence of enlightened leadership with integrity, DoD is going to burn what it has left trying to confront China in the Pacific, while continuing to be a drain on the Treasury and no good at all in supporting Whole of Government and Multinational Multiagency campaigns focused on Stabilization & Reconstruction.
We continue to recommend that DoD be cut back to $300 billion a year in increments over four years, that intelligence be cut back to $20 billion a year in increments over four years, and that half the savings be reinvested respectively in the Open Source Agency, the digitization of all education in all languages, and a total make-over of national research to focus on achieving free energy, clean water, and sane transportation; and from Defense, a $200 billion a year plus up for diplomacy, assistance, and commerce, with a special emphasis on developing the Autonomous Internet and free cell phones for the five billion poor, along with call centers to educate them one call at a time.