Looks as if SECDEF has identified the alternatives — humans or hardware– and has picked hardware.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon might have to cancel many modernization programs over a decade-long period should mandatory federal spending caps remain in place over the next decade, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.
Hagel for the first time discussed end strength, hardware and missions that could be targeted as defense officials look for ways to reduce planned spending by $500 billion over that time frame.
Options on the table include shrinking the number of Navy aircraft carrier strike groups from 11 to eight or nine, retiring older Air Force bombers and cutting hundreds of thousands of active-duty ground forces.
While decisions on these and many other options laid out by Hagel during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the Pentagon have not been finalized, the Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR)identified fundamental changes that DoD officials believe are necessary as the Pentagon prepares for a future with fewer funds.
Hagel launched the review in March. The Defense Department announced an overhauled military strategy in January 2012, but since that time, sequestration cuts have been put in place as Congress and the Obama administration have not been able to agree on a comprehensive plan to cut the US deficit.
The Pentagon has already been hit with a $37 billion budget cut in 2013, and faces a $52 billion cut to its 2014 budget proposal. The cuts have led to the curtailment of military training and the furloughing of hundreds of thousands of civilian employees.
The SCMR has looked at ways to modify DoD’s military strategy, which places an increased emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region, if sequestration remains in place over the decade.
Continued defense spending cuts would at best “bend” the strategy, Hagel said. Parts of the strategy would “break” under sequestration.
Phi Beta Iota: This is so very sad. It is not possible to combined intelligence with integrity and “Joint Strike Fighter” in the same sentence. The Pentagon does NOT have a strategy, it has a service-based wish list that is divorced from reality and completely lacking in professional evidence-based decision-making. The Secretary of Defense — if he were his own man and capable of finding a senior leader able to provide intelligence with integrity — should know that the answer is never Either/Or it is always “Some of Each.” DoD and service civilians are bloated — they should be cut by one third; the flag officers and senior executive officers should be cut by two thirds and then built back up to half from among the new open minds in the O-5 and )-6 ranks. The Navy was told in the 1992 force structure review that it needed to go down to 10 carriers and invest in more brown water capability, and the Navy’s response was to try to fire the Marine Corps civilian briefing them. What is especially sad is that anyone capable of combining brains with balls and planting both feet firmly on a foundation of ethical evidence-based decision-making would know that cuts right now are EXACTLY what the Pentagon needs, as a preamble to building a 450-ship Navy, a long-haul Air Force, an air-mobile Army, and an Alternative C4ISR capability that is actually useful to M4IS2 operations across the southern hemisphere. The pivot to Asia is criminal insanity and anyone spouting that crap should be exiled to the HAARP Station in Alaska. From where we sit, CINCEUR, CINCSOC, and CINCAFRICA need to come together, demand the Open Source Agency and the embedded multinational decision-support centre, and start feeding Secretary Hagel what he is clearly not getting from anyone else: Alternative C2 and Alternative ISR supportive of real strategy, realistic policy, effective acquisition, and whole of government multinational operations. Or they can just go through the motions and sit on their thumbs for the next two years.