This is a great example of the kind of gaming that keeps defense budgets high. Kudos to Winslow Wheeler for smoking it out.
On Dec 3, 2010, at 7:56 AM, Winslow Wheeler wrote:
In a midnight switch, the Deficit Commission changed the dividing line between discretionary spending elements. Was 050 (DOD,DOE, Misc.) versus the rest; now it's 050 plus VA, plus State, plus Homeland security versus the rest. The split remains 50-50 (I'm pretty sure); the total discretionary savings went up a bit, but now DOD is a lesser part of the “security” share of cuts, plus it gets to raid its new (trembling) partners in its deficit reduction cage. This was the idea not of the Republican defense apologists on the Commission but of the Democrat budget process “reformers” who were aping a long term goal to declare State a national security entity.
I bet the idea originated among the Pentagon milcrats, who fed to pliable democratic apparatchiks working for Gates, who in turn fed it to so-called democratic budget “reformers” on hill, on the commission, and/or in pro-dem thinktanks. Be interesting to see if/how Pentagon's wholly owned subsidiaries at the Post and NYT play this.
It is almost as if Frank Carlucci was back in the Pentagon and it is 1981 … remember how Carlucci snookered David Stockman (Reagan's OMB director) in early 1981 into approving even higher defense budgets than Reagan campaigned for (I wrote about Carlucci's “nature” trick on pages 14-17 of Defense Power Games – also attached).
Phi Beta Iota: Given integrity of intent and process on the Hill, neither of which exists today, this would actually be a good change, with the proviso that Commerce be added and Newt Gingrich be made Vice President for Global Engagement, as we propose in our Virtual Cabinet at The Huffington Post. The misrepresentation of the defense budget has long been fraudulent (completely apart from the missing $2.3 trillion that DoD still cannot account for and never will), with externalized personnel and health costs not “visible” to most. Getting a grip on the US budget process is not rocket science. It requires just two elements: integrity in those at the top, and the enlistment of the public through the promised but not yet delivered transparency of process.