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Defense Secretary Faces Uphill Climb To Cut Many Weapons Programs

Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates will almost certainly face an uphill climb with members of congress as he proposes to cut some wasteful defense projects or other projects that have gone into extreme cost overruns. Members of congress will argue that cutting some overpriced defense projects will hurt jobs in their districts. However, compared to other spending projects such as highway construction, unemployment benefit expansion or Food Stamp program increases, extremely expensive defense projects provide very few jobs or provide many economic stimulus to very few persons. Gates would like to see defense spending more closely allocated to likely war events such as in Afghanistan, rather than more more far fetched was scenarios with states such as Russia or even China.robert gates.jpg

While some defense projects may provide a few jobs in up to 44 states, the cost of these projects for the number of jobs that they actually provide is very low. A good example is that during World War Ii, many of the fighter planes only cost around $6,000 each minus the engine. Today, the overpriced F-22 Raptor fighter plane project that Gates would like to cut back on cost a huge $137.5 million each. And such planes have little use in situations such as Afghanistan where a painstaking war to defeat Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters from hiding places in mountains and other areas takes place by NATO fighters.

It will be interesting whether Gates is actually able to reorganize defense spending as he would like or whether congress will once again seek to undermine legislation with adding so many pork-barrel spending proposals to legislation and actually keep many projects alive that Gates would like to trim back or even eliminate.

During the Bush Administration, at least 33 members of this Administration had ties to the defense industry, were major stockholders or former executives. Even the offices of Secretary of Army, Navy and Air Force were all handed over to former CEOs or others with defense contractor ties, not military career persons. Whether the Obama Administration can really sever the strong ties of the defense contractors to infiltrate government and then spend the government money on projects they want will remain a major battle as members of congress and their defense contractor lobbyist pals will seek to keep the good old boy system alive. Even part of the problem at Chrysler is less defense contracts, since some of their more silly projects such as a tank that flexed up and down by four feet was cut. This tank actually proved to be more vulnerable at the flex points than a normal tank, and cost much much more.

Changing Washington is a very difficult task.


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Comments (19)

John:

I am sorry, what I find difficult is the Defense Department has to cut spending, while Obama gives millions to ACORN.

After Obama's debacle in even giving thought to forcing vets and wounded vets to pay for their medical coverage, I find this even more infuriating. Bottom line is, Obama can find funds to give to a group like ACORN, still under federal investigation, but our troops have to face cutbacks.

My wife is one of those contractors they are looking to cut out, and the program she works on, Future Combat Systems, is one of those target programs on the chopping block. She showed me the email Gates sent out.

Specifically, Future Combat Systems (FCS), if you read about it, is a new platform that is meant to save soldiers lives by giving up to the minute data and intelligence. FCS is also focused on using more unmanned vehicles to keep soldiers out of harms way.

Now I ask you, is it worth ACORN getting millions of taxpayer dollers, or should programs, like FCS, and Defense spending have priority to those taxpayer dollars? We know Obama's preference already...ACORN.

Lee Ward:

The war machine behind the Republicans will yank their puppets chains to get them yammering over this loss of revenue.

Swords to plowshares - the money that isn't spent on weaponry will be spent on improving the lives of all Americans -- instead of improving the lives of the rich.

The same conservative hypocrites who were throwing the GM autoworkers under the bus yesterday will now whine about the loss of jobs for defense-industry workers.

Total hypocrisy - it's just a smokescreen thrown by the conservative mediapuppets as they dance for their masters.

Lee Ward:

And the Republicans who were "so concerned about Iraq and democracy" and who stood by Gates regarding Iraq will now thrown him under the bus, claiming he doesn't have America's interest at heart.

Rodney:

Does the Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates get to set how much he spends or does he have a budget ? Does he get to set the final total or does that come from the Whitehouse an Congress.

Lee, the defense industry provide defense for all Americans. The unions only look out for the unions.

Lee Ward:

"Does the Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates get to set how much he spends or does he have a budget ? "

Did Gates have input into the decision? Did he object? This is an administration move, not Congressional. Nice try pretending that Gates isn't on board with this move.

The defense industry isn't going away - but given that the Republicans keep reminding us that Bush won in Iraq - it's time to pare down the defense budget and adjust to the recession that Rush Limbaugh wants us to address.

Herman:

"I am sorry" -- John

You should be.

Republicans -- read the words of one of your own, who was far more military than most of you chickenhawks ever will be:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists and the hopes of its children" -- President Dwight David Eisenhower

Time for the ObamaMessiah to save us all from this shit continuing.

Allen:

Lee, when was the war in Iraq won? If that is true, explain why our troops are still getting killed? And remember, according to Cheney, we was going to be greeted with flowers, right.

Wished they could stick to facts, instead of lies. And notice how ACORN is to be blamed for everything. But they won't answer when asked about voter cagin, Diebolt voting machines.

And yes, wasted programs should be cut. Some of them the military doesn't even want, but the politicians want them. One of them is the new Presidential Helo. And that was started under President Bush, and it wasn't given to an American company, some company in Italy was going to build it.

ke_future:

if the only reason a DoD program is on the books is because of jobs, it should be cut. the defense department is not a job center, nor should it be. but at the same time, we have to not only have the defense we need today but also the one we might reasonably need in the future.

i know you guys don't like rumsfeld, but he did make a good point when he said, "you don't fight a war with the army you want, you fight it with the army you have" it seems prudent to think about what kind of army we would want in the future. base on that, i think that some of what gates wants is good, but i don't agree with all of it.

the F22 reduction? seems reasonable. the pres helo? again a reasonable reduction. the elimination of missile defense systems? not so reasonable given Iran and North Korea. the future battle systems project? from what i understand, that has actually had a very positive impact for the soldiers in the field. why cut it? changes to the ship building? again, reasonable.

personally, i'd also like to see an increase in cyber security training and operations. that, i think, will be one of the big battlefields of the future. not people shooting at each other, but cyber-soldiers destroying the infrastruction and and information systems of the enemy. just look at the announcement this week about the cyberspys.

so i'm not prepared to jump all up and down yet about the defense dept budget changes. but i'm keeping my eye on them. primarily because the democrats do have a history of cutting the defense budget, sometimes too much.

lee, i don't think rodney was suggesting that gates wasn't on board. i think he was asking a legitimate question of how like gates is to get what he is proposing. at last that is how i read it.

Allen:

Ref #1. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' plan to increase military spending from $513 billion to $534 billion has driven a variety of strange conservatives completely around the bend. The standard talking point seems to be that a $21 billion increase, with a renewed commitment to U.S. troops, is a "cut" that will endanger the country. And since when is a $21 billion increase in military spending a "cut"?

Well John, that does shoot your queer leaders talking points down, doesn't it? Any more lies that you are going to post?

John:

"Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

I did my time Herman, my wife has too, have you?

Allen, the great liberal thought process applied to budgetary "cuts" is not one I ascribed. Simple matter of fact is that increases in budget is of course going to happen, including pay raises (which should be more imho). My question was who should be receiving funding, ACORN or our military? Military programs or ACORN, a left-leaning support coalition? Our military fights and serves to protect all Americans, ACORN benefits the Democrat party.

Allen:

John, why are you people so stuck on ACORN? Will you answer my question on the GOP voter caging that is going on?

The ACORN getting money is another damn lie the GOP is spouting. Voter caging supports the GOP. What do you say about that? Your talking points about ACORN comes from your queer leader Rush Limpdick, right? The GOP BS is very well known to the average taxpayer, who votes.

But don't let me stop you from spreading more lies, as the more you do, the more people are turning against the GOP. And what's so funny is that you people don't realize it.

And believe it or not, I voted for McCain! The reason I did, I wanted him to win. Because in 4 years under McCain, the GOP would have disappeared.And seeing you believe in the trickle down BS, why hasn't this helped the Economy? Huh, no answer for that, right?

Rodney:

"Did Gates have input into the decision? Did he object? This is an administration move, not Congressional. Nice try pretending that Gates isn't on board with this move."

Did not say he did not have input, but if the Administration and Congress who have to agree on his budget. He does not get to say what his budget will be.

I also suspect that he was given guidelines from the President and is following them as he should.

My daughter has input on what we give her, but has no say in the final amount. If she makes a convincing argument then she may get an increase if not she then will have to spend less on something else to get what she wants or perceives she needs.

John:

Allen, you can honestly sit there and spout off about one party and their tactics, and dismiss the other? As often as you spout off on both parties, you may find this as a surprise, but I too agree they are both crooked. And facts on both sides prove it.

If you honestly believe that political payback for ACORNs involvement isn't happening, then that's on you.

While we're at it, capitalism helped make this nation, please, show us the model you would have which would require no "rich" people involved.

John:

Oh, btw, I voted Libertarian in 2008, because I couldn't support either party...

Chad:

Here we are, looking at the "peace dividend" mentality again. As someone who is in the military, let me shed a little light on a few things. 1.) military readiness is determined by the budget, and by training. During the mid to late 90's I couldn't even order parts to maintain the vehicles I was supposed to work on. 2.) the current threat spectrum ranges from pirates off Somalia, border incursions by Mexican police and armed soldiers on the low end to full scale wars with China, Russia, or India on (unlikely but possible) high end. We need to be ready to face these threats. I agree that systems that run over budget and schedule need to be curtailed, and I agree that not all of the projects fit our current operations. I will say that we need to be able to fight the next war that comes, not just this one. Should DDX(Zumwaldt) have been killed years ago, certainly. Do we need to have ships on the drawing board for future conflict, also a yes. It's a fine balance, but there should be room in the budget to maintain and materially advance the military without the ridiculously cost over-runs that are happening.

Allen:

John, I have never said we don't need rich people, because we do. But what you or I may consider rich, other people may not consider it that way. A Billionaire may not consider a Millionaire rich, but someone making 25,000 per year will call someone making 100,000 per year rich.

And really, 100,000 per may be chump change to other people. So if by counting dollars, you can have a whole bunch and still, IMO, not be rich.

And aside of that, being rich does not make one happy with their life, does it? But it sure can help one. And yes, I slam both parties, because like you, they are all crooks. Also, do you know of the other programs ACORN runs? Contrary to the GOP BS, they help a lot of people in different ways.

And they have been investigated many times, and have never had one conviction on voter fraud that the GOP spouts about. They register voters, and by law, have to turn those registers into the state. It is upto the state to determine if they are legal or not. But they don't stop legal voters from being kicked off the voter rolls like the GOP and their voter caging tricks.

Chad:

Allen, I keep hearing about voter caging and Diebold machines, yet never see any proof of that either. And by proof, it has to be verifiable. I have seen proof (paper with signatures) of voter registration fraud here in my home state by people tied to the Democratic party, and to Acorn. People have gone to jail for it in both of the last two major elections. That's verifiable and provable. The funny thing is, this post is not about voter fraud, or either political party. It's about the defense budget, and I know that we can all agree that the guys doing the job should have the very best equipment to do the job with. Some of the DOD projects are just nonsense and need to be scrapped, I'll be the first to admit it. I think our whole procurement system needs to be revamped, and congress should have no say in what gets spent on what project. It should just have to say yes or no to the amount. Lobbyists and greedy congressmen have done more harm to the U.S. military than all the Islamic extremists in the world combined. Both parties are taking money from these companies, and I think it needs to stop. As a representative of the people, if you make more than your salary you should have to give it back to the people that elected you. For instance, Pennsylvania could pretty much eliminate poverty if Murtha gave back everything he got over his salary to the people that elected him. They need to also enact a law that blocks anybody in procurement from taking a job with any company that provides to the military after they retire.

Allen:

Chad, several states have decertified Diebolt voting machines, CA was the last one to do so. ACORN gathers voter register cards, and turns them into the state. ACORN is not responsible, by law, to check and see if the cards are legal. That is up to the state. By accusing ACORN of being guilty of voter fraud is a lie, which the GOP noise machine is good at doing. (so are the Demo's)

I love your thought on the extra money the elected critters receive. Great idea, and both parties might wake up and start working for our country instead of themselves and special interest groups.

Chad:

Allen, you're missing part of the story on Acorn, and it's important. No, Acorn is not legally responsible to check voter registration cards, however, Acorn is not allowed to pay people to register, nor is it legal to register people to an illegitemate address. It is also illegal to register people to vote in more than one county or state. All of these things occurred, and were documented by the press, watchdog groups, and in some places by the people that were doing it on the internet. I also did not say voter fraud, I said voter registration fraud. A fine distinction, but a necessary one. In my home state we had a lady arrested for registering the dead (Which is illegal), making up fictional addresses (which is illegal) and she was being paid by money that came from ACORN. Where this falls into legal trouble is the fact that she has to certify that to the best of her knowledge, the information is true. Obviously, when you are writing dead people's names on the form in your own handwriting, you are lying. When you knowingly register the same people under 3-4 different names in order to get paid for registering x# of voters, you are lying, and it becomes illegal. Voter registration fraud leads to voter fraud when you have more registered voters than you have eligible voters, and someone can go in and vote again in another precinct, county or state under another name. I read a woman's blog last fall where she voted in Florida, then went "home to New York", to vote again. She put it out there on the internet. She had registered in two states. This is why voter registration is of such concern to me. There's a county here that had 115% voter turnout compared to the census. Now how the hell did that happen? They were all registered. An Acorn sponsored voter registration drive occured in that county 60 days before the election. People were told that if they registered, they had "prizes" for them. Guess how many people walked away with several prizes? Guess how many people voted more than once? Guess how many of them used a different last name or address on their registration? Enough to be over the actual number of registered voters by 15%. Guess what, it made a few of the local papers, but the MSM never reported it. The state investigation was killed by an activist judge, and all the votes were counted. The state attorney general was told not to pursue it because it would cost the state too much in court costs to go to federal court over it. Dead issue. I don't like the idea of machines, and if they don't work, get rid of them. Do I think it was all a nefarious plot, no. Honestly, I believe you should have to show an ID to vote, to be checked against your registration. That way if you're not registered, you don't vote. I also think that in order to register you should have to go to the courthouse, show your ID and register.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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