There is lot of stuff flying around Pentagon these days. There is memo that underlies article next below but I haven’t seen it yet, trying to get from Sister service. Irrespective of your opinion of publication, this might be very good week to buy current Army Times (12 Aug 2013) because it has some data and graphics I haven’t previously seen about what may be coming. Trends I’m sensing so far:
- Hardware is more important than humans.
- Sequestration decrements will be largely borne by MILPERS and CIVPERS
- Even if sequestration disappeared today, MILPERS and CIVPERS would be principal targets.
- DoD is seeking to ((FUNDAMENTALLY)) change, in negative ways, compensation scheme for MILPERS.
- DoD will seek to screw retirees under age 55 out of TRICARE coverage
- Cart is clearly before horse — DEPSECDEF has relayed SECDEF’s guidance to cut HQs by 20 percent without determining what functions will no longer be performed. Long experience is being ignored: downsizing, rightsizing, doing more with less don’t work. Less is less and, generally, all you can do with less is less.
- SECDEF appears to be disproportionately influenced by one particular retired Marine Reserve GO who also happens to be an executive of one of the big defense contractors.
DOD Memo Provides Specifics for Headquarters Spending Cuts
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter released a
memo yesterday that provides more specifics for a 20-percent reduction in
Defense Department management headquarters spending over five fiscal years.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the cuts during a July 16 meeting
with employees at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.
The cuts, Carter said in the memo, will take place regardless of budget
levels approved by Congress. Such cuts, he said, are designed to streamline
DOD management through efficiencies and by eliminating lower-priority
“This memorandum defines the nature of these important reductions more
specifically,” Carter said.
Headquarters cuts will apply to all higher headquarters staffs including
Office of the Secretary of Defense principal staff assistants and their
associated defense agency staffs, the Joint Staff, service secretary staffs,
service chief staffs, service four-star major commands and service component
commands, lower-level service staffs down to the level determined by service
secretaries and chiefs, and combatant command staffs.
Intelligence staffs will be affected, the memo said, primarily
concurrence of the director for national intelligence,
Service secretaries and chiefs will decide the allocation of cuts among
organizations within their headquarters staffs, the memo said.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs will make the same allocation for the Joint
Staff. Each principal staff assistant and defense agency should achieve a
20-percent reduction, the memo said.
“If necessary, I will consider reallocations during program review,” Carter
wrote in the memo.
The 20-percent spending cut applies to the total headquarters budgets, and
these include government civilian personnel who work at headquarters, and
associated costs such as contract services, facilities, information
technology, and other areas that support headquarters functions.
Budgets are those specified in the Future Years Defense Program supporting
the president’s budget for fiscal year 2014, extended to fiscal 2019
assuming growth for inflation, according to the memo.
The 20-percent spending reduction applies to budget dollars, but
organizations will strive for a goal of 20-percent reductions in authorized
government civilian staff at their headquarters.
While military personnel are not part of headquarters budgets, organizations
will strive for the goal of a 20-percent reduction in military personnel
billets on headquarters staffs, the memo said.
Finally, subordinate headquarters should not grow as a result of reductions
in higher headquarters. Carter noted in the memo that he’d review proposals
to ensure that these various goals are met.
“I recognize that the [fiscal] 2014 budget reflects past efficiency
decisions, some of which affected headquarters. This 20-percent reduction
represents an additional cut, which I know will be challenging,” Carter said
in the memo.
“However, in this period of additional downward pressure on defense
spending, we must continue to reduce our headquarters budgets and staffing,”
he added. “Components are encouraged to suggest changes in policies and
workload that would help them accommodate these dollar and staff
Senior managers should ensure that cuts are made aggressively and as soon as
possible, both to eliminate uncertainty for DOD employees and contractors
and to maximize savings, the deputy secretary added.
Generally, cuts should be roughly proportional by year — with about
one-fifth of the cuts in fiscal 2015, another fifth in fiscal 2016, and so
on up to fiscal 2019, the memo said, and components are free to implement
reductions more rapidly.
To the extent feasible, some cuts should begin in fiscal 2014 to increase
savings and reduce cuts required in later years, the memo said.
Carter directed that reduction plans be submitted along with Program
Objective Memorandum submissions, which are due Sept. 23.
Caveats: NONE(BEGIN TEXT)National Journal
August 3, 2013
Thinning The Ranks
With two wars ending during an austerity crisis, the Pentagon plans radical
troop cuts. But slashing too much too quickly could leave us unprepared for
the next conflict.
Task Force Smith to fight the first ground battle. Most of those infantrymen
were woefully unprepared: They had no combat experience, had just weeks of
basic training, and were armed with outdated weapons. It should not have
been surprising, then, that 165 soldiers — nearly one-third of the force —
were killed, wounded, or captured. After World War II, the Army had
dramatically slashed troop levels, training, and weapons purchases.The too-rapid drawdown contributed to the disastrous start of the Korean War
— and the lesson remains on the minds of Pentagon leaders today as the
military begins to shrink after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We
cannot repeat the mistakes of the past,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has
warned. Pentagon officials already have begun implementing $487 billion in
reductions over a decade, and they face an additional half-trillion-dollar
sequestration cut. Yet force reduction is a tricky business, and, if it’s
not done right, the U.S. risks again sending ill-equipped, poorly trained,
and undersized forces into the first battles of the next war — wherever and
whenever that may be.
The Army will take the worst hit. In what senior leaders call the largest
organizational change since the end of the Second World War, the Army is
cutting 80,000 active-duty troops over five years, with an end goal of
490,000 soldiers — just above 2001 levels. It’s eliminating 12 brigade
combat teams. With draconian cuts, as many as 110,000 more soldiers could
go. The Marine Corps, which had 200,000 troops at its wartime peak, aims to
reduce its active-duty corps to about 182,000; as many as 32,000 more
Marines could be lost. The Air Force and Navy also need to trim thousands.
“Sequestration would force a precipitous downturn, where you have to take
them out faster than you’d like to, and that would be hugely disruptive and
result in a hollow force — where you maintain too many divisions, brigades,
battalions, but not enough people to man them, so they are understrength and
under-trained,” says retired Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, vice president of the
Association of the United States Army. “You never want to hit that point..
But there’s a lot of pressure in Washington to drive the numbers down faster
than you’d like.”
The military wants to downsize gradually, through attrition and reduced
recruiting, to ensure that its leaner force can still fight effectively.
Some cutbacks have already started. After a decade of loosened restrictions
to encourage people to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, “they’re getting tight
again on things like physical-training test failures, overweight soldiers,
people who’ve had unfavorable personnel reports in the past,” says retired
Army officer John Nagl, a Center for a New American Security senior fellow.
Promotions are harder to secure than during the wars. And the Army announced
it will tap colonels and lieutenant colonels for early retirement —
reportedly up to 30 percent of a pool of 1,200 officers this August — while
others wait years longer to earn the ranks of captain and major than their
peers who were promoted in recent years.
While these actions may encourage the relatively low performers to leave,
the downturn simultaneously makes it harder for the military to retain the
talent it wants to keep. Usually, after serving 20 years, troops receive a
pension and benefits. In past drawdowns, the military sometimes allowed
people with 15 years’ service to retire early and get benefits or a onetime
lump-sum payment option, says Nora Bensahel, deputy director of studies at
CNAS. But such incentives can backfire. After the Cold War, more captains
than expected chose to leave early, forcing the Army to promote
less-experienced people to more-senior ranks — a problem that took years to
correct. Top performers may seize these options to leave, because they have
the best prospects outside the military — especially if they’re discouraged
by seeing their bosses denied promotions or having to retire early. “We’ve
lost a lot of talent [in] every one of these drawdowns,” Nagl says.
Another challenge is keeping troops engaged. “[More than] 80 percent of the
current force came in after 9/11,” Swan says of today’s Army, weaned on
multiple combat tours. Life in a garrison military is simply not as
exciting, and sequestration is already compounding this problem. The Army is
canceling expensive combat-training exercises. “If you don’t have those
kinds of training opportunities, it’s really hard to convince the captain
who’s coming up to the end of his service obligation out of West Point or
ROTC, [who] commanded men and women in Afghanistan — and now all you have
the money to do is turn wrenches in a motor pool . [that] that’s a career
choice worth making,” Nagl says. The Navy will have fewer ships to command,
fueling stiffer competition. The Air Force’s flying-hour cutbacks could
prompt pilots to review their options. Across the services, troops will have
a harder time getting the overseas tours they need to advance their careers.
Military schools, such as the Army’s Command and General Staff College at
Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will become more selective, potentially dampening
promotion prospects for those not tapped, Swan says, comparing the wartime
Army to a youth soccer team where everyone is rewarded. “Not every kid’s
going to get a trophy.”
In today’s fiscal environment, however, analysts are skeptical that the
military can afford enticements for troops to leave. Retiree benefits are so
expensive that forgoing the yearly payroll would be a “frankly
insignificant” savings in the near term, Swan says. Worst case, the military
is left with the undesirable option of telling troops — even combat
veterans — to take a hike. Those who stay may have grim prospects in the
next conflict due to lack of training, says Daniel Goure, vice president of
the Lexington Institute think tank. “If a unit goes into combat, and 20
percent of the people are new and have never operated alongside each other,”
he says, “it’s like a game of football where [the players] don’t even know
the same plays. This becomes hugely dangerous.”