Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gates: Military spending should be subjected to harsher scrutiny

In the article, Gates mentioned increasing co-pays and premiums for military health care. Maybe we should keep them where they are and substantially increase these costs to the rest of the Federal employees. After all, defense is a Constitutional requirement of the Federal Government. Maybe there would be some money left over to increase the quality of care, which is sorely needed, in our military hospitals.

Gates indicated that many problems for reigning in the defense costs lie outside the military. Many programs are forced on the Pentagon by politicians wanting to save or create jobs for their constituency (pork) regardless of the need.

We need to support a strong defense and protect our military personnel, we don't need to support programs that the Pentagon does not want. Congress does not know better that business, and it certainly does not know better than our military leaders.

Gates on Saturday said that it is “highly unlikely” the defense budget will grow in the coming years and challenged lawmakers to stop funding programs that the Pentagon does not want, such as more Boeing C-17 cargo airplanes and the General Electric-Rolls Royce secondary engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Gates also said he is directing both the military and defense civilians to slash overhead, and take a “hard, unsparing look” at how they operate.

“What it takes is the political will and willingness…to make hard choices — choices that will displease powerful people both inside the Pentagon and out,” Gates said on Saturday in a pointed speech at Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kan., on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

Gates acknowledged that saving money in the defense budget “will mean overcoming steep institutional and political challenges, many lying outside the five walls of the Pentagon.”

Gates also challenged the bureaucracy that supports the military mission and took aim at scores of flag officers—generals and admirals—as well as the numbers of senior civilian executives.

“Another category ripe for scrutiny should be overhead,” he said. “According to an estimate by the Defense Business Board, overhead, broadly defined, makes up roughly 40 percent of the Department’s budget.”

Gates said the Pentagon’s approach to coming up with the requirements for specific programs and contract must change. Requirements for weapons systems should be based on a “wider real world context,” he said.

“For example, should we really be up in arms over a temporary projected shortfall of about 100 Navy and Marine strike fighters relative to the number of carrier wings, when America’s military possesses more than 3,200 tactical combat aircraft of all kinds?” Gates asked in a reference to the congressional push to buy more Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.

“Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?”

Gates said that those are the kind of questions that the government should be asking and consequently finding an answer in order “to have a balanced military portfolio geared to real world requirements and a defense budget that is fiscally and politically sustainable over time.”
Read Gates article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment