Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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POGO’s “spend less, spend smarter” policies would gut defense and jeopardize nat sec

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on July 28, 2012


One of the most vociferous leftist groups demanding deep defense cuts is the self-styled Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a group of leftist anti-defense hacks who spend the majority of their time writing garbage propaganda about defense spending and garbage proposals to cut it deeply. (They probably have nothing better to do and don’t have a life.) It was founded by Dina Rasor, a pacifist who, by her own admission, “find[s] weapons repulsive”, and who, during the 1980s, protested against the Reagan buildup and called for the cancellation of the M1 tank and cruise missiles. The group is allied with other leftist anti-military groups, such as Code Pink and “Just Foreign Policy”. Among their “analysts” are lifelong defense-cutter Winslow Wheeler (of the George-Soros-funded CDI) and self-avowed feminist and nuclear disarmament advocate Mia Steinle. POGO itself is co-funded by George Soros, to the tune of 300,000 in 2011 alone.

Founded in 1981, POGO was initially established in opposition to the production of the M1 Abrams tank, which it deemed “wasteful” and “unneeded”, even though it was absolutely needed and has, since its introduction, proven itself superbly in conventional and irregular conflicts alike.

But probably the stupidest thing that POGO has ever written (of the tons of garbage they’ve produced over the years) is this list of proposals of deep defense cuts  (written together with the so-called “Taxpayers for Common Sense”) which, if implemented, would eliminate many vital military capabilities and modernization programs and thus gut America’s defense. It proves that they don’t wan’t a strong defense and don’t want to keep America safe – they want to weaken the US military as badly as they can. And that would be the effect of their proposals.

http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/reports/national-security/ns-wds-20120508-national-security-defense-savings.html

What’s wrong with their proposals?

To start with, EVERYTHING.

Let’s go through the most prominent and most damaging ones and I will explain why they’re wrong and damaging.

But before I do, let me remind you that while they claim in the introduction to the list that they found “much waste”, the truth is that the vast majority of what they call “waste” are actually needed military capabilities and crucial modernization programs which the US military cannot do without. Moreover, their proposals reveal their appalling, abysmal ignorance of defense issues, as they equate completely disparate weapon systems and claim they are interchangeable.

So let’s review their proposals, program by program.

Cancelling the Next Generation Bomber

POGO (and specifically, the nuclear disarmament activist Mia Steinle) falsely claims that the bomber is not needed. That’s a lie.  There is a clear and URGENT need for it. The USAF’s B-1 and B-52 bombers – which make up the vast majority of its small bomber fleet – are nonstealthy, have large RCSes, and are therefore easy to detect by modern radar and easy to shoot down for any enemy. (Modern IADSes have proliferated from Russia and China to Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and many other countries, and can effortlessly shoot down these nonstealthy bombers.) These bombers’ upgrades, which POGO mentions, are no substitute for stealthiness and cannot overcome this huge vulnerability, which stems from their nonstealthy design. They furthermore lack any defensive armament. Moreover, the cost of maintaining them (especially B-1s) is significant and rising due to their old age. A few years ago, the USAF considered retiring half of the B-1 fleet due to these costs.

That the B-52 and B-1 have decades of service lives remaining is irrelevant, as they are unsurvivable in any contested airspace, easy to shoot down even for legacy Soviet SAM systems like the SA-5,  and therefore utterly useless. Furthermore, projections of them serving until the 2040s are based on peacetime usage rates, not the wartime rates seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Even then, keeping these bombers in service, especially until 2045, will require costly upgrades.

These old nonstealthy bombers are also easy to shoot down and therefore unsurvivable in any environment except the most permissive ones, where the enemy is an insurgency or a weak country unable to contest control of the air. Yet, this kind of war environments is scarce and becoming even less frequent. Countries such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela have advanced Integrated Air Defense Systems (imported and indigenous ones) and, in China’s, Russia’s, and Venezuela’s case, advanced fighterplanes.

These heavily-defended theaters will be those in which the USAF will be forced to operate in the future in almost any contingency. Yet, the only current USAF bombers capable of surviving in such an environment are a handful (20) of B-2s. 20 aircraft are insufficient to deal with anyony but a trivial opponent, due to, among other things, the sheer number of sorties that would have to be generated in a conflict with China or Iran. And even they won’t remain stealthy forever: their stealth technology is 1980s’ vintage. By the 2020s or the 2030s at the latest, they will lose their ability to penetrate enemy airspace as well.

As Jamestown’s Dr Carlo Kopp writes:

“China’s air defense system is maturing into the largest, most capable and technically advanced in Asia, and will be capable of inflicting very heavy attrition on any aircraft other than upper tier U.S. stealth systems. Until the U.S. deploys its planned “New Generation Bomber” post-2020, the United States will have only 180 F-22 Raptors and 20 B-2A Spirit bombers capable of penetrating the PLA’s defensive shield. This may not be enough to act as a credible non-nuclear strategic deterrent.”

Delaying/cancelling the NGB would emasculate the USAF, making it (except its small B-2 fleet) unable to operate in anything than very benign, permissive environments where opponents lack meaningful SAM systems, and thus make China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela sanctuaries for America’s enemies, allowing them to husband their assets from harm. It would send a signal to America’s enemies that Washington won’t be able to bomb them.

Delaying, or even worse, cancelling the development of the Next Generation Bomber would cause the Air Force to completely lose its already small (due to the small size of the B-2 fleet) long-range penetrating capability by the time B-2s lose that capability. This, in turn, would cause the USAF to be unable to strike any targets protected by modern IADS and/or fighters, thus creating huge sanctuaries for America’s enemies – a scenario that America cannot accept.

It is therefore imperative to begin the NGB’s development NOW – not a year from today, not in 2023, not in 2024, but NOW – and to complete it BEFORE the B-2 loses its penetrating capability. Especially since it’s the centerpiece of the AirSea Battle strategy of defeating China if need be.

POGO complains about the cost ($6.3 bn over five years), but its own figures show that this would be just a few hundred million dollars in the first 2-3 FYs, and only a few billion in FY2016-FY2018. The Air Force, with an annual budget of ca. $150 bn, can certainly afford such tiny expenditures, even if it has to cut spending elsewhere. Even the entire $6.3 bn sum is smallespecially given that it would be paid over five years, not one FYwhich, on average, amounts to just $1.26 bn, which is a rounding error in the DOD’s   budget. The DOD can certainly afford it. But killing the NGB would mean foregoing an urgently NEEDED capability in exchange for puny savings (just $6.3 bn over 5 years). It would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

POGO falsely claims that “deferring costly weapons systems is low-risk”, but their proposals – especially this one – would be very high-risk, as they would entail losses of crucial capabilities and equipment, and the NGB, at $550 mn per copy, would be cheap for a bomber.

If procured, the NGB will frequently be called into action, as have been the three existing bomber types, which have seen extensive action in the First Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It won’t spend much time in hangar. The demand for USAF bombers vastly outstrips the supply.

To sum up, the Next Gen Bomber is, contrary to POGO’s lies, absolutely needed, and needed now, and even if POGO’s numbers are correct, it will cost only peanuts to develop – a tiny price to pay compared to how much almost every other DOD weapon program costs, and compared to the overwhelming bias in the DOD’s budget in favor of short-range weapons (e.g. the F-35) and against long-range strike weapons, which the nonpartisan CSBA says amounts to a 20:1 ratio.

I am hardly the only person saying that the NGB is necessary. Successive SECDEFs from Rumsfeld to Panetta have said the same, as have the current CSAF and SECAF, their predecessors, their colleague Adm. Greenert, former LTG David Deptula, numerous former Air Force Secretaries, Chiefs of Staff, Generals, and other officials, and numerous outside experts from the CSBA[1][2][3], Air Power Australia, and the Heritage Foundation. (Please read their studies; they explain very well why the NGB is absolutely needed.) This requirement has also been validated by two successive QDRs – those of 2006 and that of 2010[4] – and by Secretary Gates, who started it and said that China’s A2/AD weapons will put a premium on America’s ability to strike from the horizon and demand a family of long range strike systems. As Gates rightly said in January 2011:

“It is important that we begin this project now to ensure that a new bomber can be ready before the current aging fleet goes out of service.  The follow on bomber represents a key component of a joint portfolio of conventional deep-strike capabilities – an area that should be a high priority for future defense investment given the anti-access challenges our military faces.”

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley (appointed by Gates) has recently reaffirmed the need for the NGB, while also demonstrating how little this program, and bomber programs in general, cost compared to the USAF’s total modernization budget:

“The new Long-Range Strike bomber is one of our top priorities and encompasses approximately two percent of Air Force investment. An additional three percent over the next five years goes to sustain and modernize the B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers to ensure these aging aircraft remain viable.”

Similarly, AirPowerAustralia’s peer-reviewed analysis shows that:

Advanced Russian technology exports present a major strategic risk for the US, whether operated by China, or smaller players like Iran or Venezuela. These systems will deny access to most US ISR and combat aircraft, with only the B-2A, the “2018 bomber” and the F-22A designed to penetrate such defences. With its compromised X-band optimised stealth, the F-35 JSF will simply not be survivable in this environment.

The fallback position of standoff bombardment with cruise missiles is not viable. Only a fraction will reach their targets through such defences, and the economics of trading $500k cruise missiles for $100k interceptors, or hundreds of dollars of laser propellant, favour the defender. Time of flight is problematic given the high mobility of air defence targets, and targeting the cruise missiles no less problematic given denial of ISR coverage. (…) Current planning for 180 F-22As and the legacy fleet of 20 B-2As is simply not credible given the diversity of roles and missions, and sheer sortie count required to deal with anything above a trivial opponent.”

Likewise, CSBA expert Thomas Erhard warned in 2009 that without a Next Gen Bomber:

“The proliferation of sophisticated Russian air defense systems means the only US systems that can reliably penetrate and maintain a high survivability rate in the presence of integrated air defenses populated by SA-20B and SA-21 surface-to-air systems and modern Russian or Russian derivative (e.g., Su-35BM) fighters will be the F-22 and the B-2.” [2]

Had POGO had its way, not even one F-22 or B-2 would’ve ever been fielded, thus denying the USAF the capability to survive, let alone prevail, in any contested airspace. Because these programs were closed prematurely at insufficient orders, the USAF has only 184 and 20 of these aircraft, respectively – not enough to defeat China, Russia, or even Iran or Venezuela.

The fact is that the Next Generation Bomber is needed – and fast.

Cancelling the USMC and Navy variants of the F-35, buying Super Hornets instead

POGO falsely claims that the Super Bug has “many capabilities that rival those of the F-35″. That is completely false; the Super Bug has no such capabilities. Not turning capability, not thrust, not TTW ratio, not speed, not range and combat radius, not stealthiness (and thus survivability), and not weapons possible for integration (the F-35 can, for example, be fitted with Meteor A2A missiles; the Super Bug cannot). And the Super Bug’s combat radius (350 nmi) is DECISIVELY inferior to that of the F-35B (450-500 nmi) and F-35C (650 nmi, making the F-35C the longest-ranged of the 3 F-35 models). Range and endurance are absolutely vital for strike aircraft, as is stealthiness, because it determines survivability, which is key to winning ANY war. If a plane is not survivable, it’s worthless – and that’s exactly true of the Super Bug. And as stated above, stealthiness is necessary for any aircraft due to the proliferation and sophistication of enemy air defense systems.

The “proven” Super Bug, like B-1s and B-52s, has “proven itself” only in permissive environments (Afghanistan and Iraq) where the only opponent is an insurgency unable to contest control of the air. It is useless for any war theaters in which the enemy is a country with advanced IADS and/or fighters. It’s not even fit for any real A2A combat (and has not partaken in any), because it’s not a real fighter, but rather an attack jet, and is decisively inferior against current and projected enemy fighters by all criteria.

And it doesn’t have the STOVL capability required to take off from and land on amphib ships and primitive airfields, which is an absolute non-negotiable USMC requirement, as confirmed by USMC Commandant Gen. Amos. Without the F-35B, the Marines won’t have their own air cover when disembarking from ships and the Nation will lose 50% of its carrier-based strike aircraft fleet when the Harrier retires. Furthermore, cancelling the F-35 would relegate Marine and Naval Aviation solely to COIN environments, emasculating these services and barring them from any contested airspace – the kind of environment American servicemen will face in the future.

Put simply, the Super Bug is not an alternative to, or even a substitute for, the F-35. It’s a facelifted model of an attack jet that first flew in the 1970s. The F-35 is a 21st century strike fighter. Both are strike aircraft with jet engines… and that’s where the similarities end.

Cut the aircraft carrier fleet from 11 to 10, and the number of carrier air wings from 10 to 9

POGO, once again exposing its ignorance, claims that the cut is justified because “America has as many carriers as the rest of the world combined.” But the USN’s flattops are not meant to fight other carriers (although they could); they serve as mobile airfields providing airpower wherever and whenever needed – ESPECIALLY when in-theater ground bases can’t be used for whatever reason.

With 11 carriers, 7 are operational and 4 are in drydock or in homeport at any one time. 7 is barely enough to provide enough carrier strike groups where they’re needed. CENTCOM’s commander has requested a third carrier group (to deter Iran), which leaves just four for use elsewhere, e.g. in the WestPac.

But if the carrier fleet is cut to 10 (and they’ve suggested cutting it to just 9, by retiring the George Washington and foregoing CVN-80′s construction), no more than 6 carriers will be available for duty at any given time. Assuming that CENTCOM will get the 3 carriers it says it needs, that leaves 3 flattops for duty elsewhere, e.g. in the WestPac. Now, suppose that China starts a war over the oil/gas fields in the South China Sea at the same time that CENTCOM needs to deter (and possibly strike) Iran? That ain’t a farfetched scenario – China is close to provoking a war right now, and the time for eliminating Iran’s nuclear program is running out. [2] Yet, if POGO gets its way, the Navy would have only 3 carriers to deploy to the WestPac to deter/defeat China… unless you deny CENTCOM the 3 carriers it needs.

Carriers have participated prominently in every war the US has partaken in since WW2: Korea, Vietnam, Operation Eldorado Canyon, the two Gulf Wars, the Afghan War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the bombing of Libya. There’s a huge demand for them. Without carrier air wings and intercontinental bombers, the US wouldn’t have been able to strike Afghanistan after 9/11.

In short, it would be a deep cut in America’s military strength and capability to defend itself. It epitomizes POGO’s destructive proposals.

Cancelling any further V-22 orders, buying CH-53s and SH-60s instead

The V-22 is an excellent VTOL plane capable of flying twice faster and twice farther than any helicopter. It has served extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It has amassed over 150,000 flight hours. It is also much more survivable than helicopters – if you crash, you’ll likely survive. Its problems have been solved long ago.

Yet, POGO (following Barney Frank’s SDTF) demands that it be killed and says CH-53s and SH-60s can be bought instead. But these helicopters are NOT interchangeable nor comparable with the V-22.

Not only are they inferior to it (in terms of speed, range, and survivability), the H-60 is too small, too slow, and too light to do the V-22′s tasks (which include CSAR), while the CH-53K is too big and too heavy (indeed, when it enters service, it will be the US military’s heaviest helicopter ever). The CH-53 is also twice as expensive as the V-22 ($128 mn per copy, vs only $69 mn for a V-22), costs twice as much to operate as the Osprey ($20,000 vs $10,000 per flight hour), and it won’t be available until 2018. These 3 designs represent 3 completely different weight and duty classes of VTOL aircraft and are meant for different duties. Only a totally ignorant person would equate them and suggest they are interchangeable.

The Marines are, by the way, buying the CH-53K… but to replace their older CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy helos, not the V-22 or the CH-46 (the V-22′s predecessor). The CH-53K is designed for a totally different mission than the V-22.

The V-22 is an excellent, unmatched aircraft, as validated unanimously by all USMC leaders past and present, including the current Commandant, who is a Naval Aviator by trade. He, the expert, should be listened to – not anti-defense POGO hacks. It has proven itself in three wars in three different countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. (When an F-15E crashed in Libya, it was a pair of V-22s that rescued the pilots.) It underwent its baptism of fire in Iraq in 2007, during the fiercest fighting there. POGO’s claim that it is “neither cost- nor operationally-effective” is a blatant lie.

Most importantly, its primary users, Marine pilots, like it. Just listen to them. And watch this film about how the V-22 proved its mettle, proved itself to be far more capable and useful than any helicopter (its speed and service ceiling really matter in combat zones), and what the Marines say about it. Also listen to USMC Commandant Gen. James Amos, a Naval Aviator by trade, who has strongly praised the V-22 and urged its continued production. (Whom will you believe – a real Marine general or armchair generals?) Also listen to his predecessor, Gen. James Conway.

And as defense expert Dr. Robbin Laird writes:

“The beauty of the speed of the Osprey is that you can get the Special Operations forces where they need to be and to augment what the conventional forces were doing and thereby take pressure off of the conventional forces. And with the SAME assets, you could make multiple trips or make multiple hits, which allowed us to shape what the Taliban was trying to do.

“The Taliban has a very rudimentary but effective early warning system for counter-air. They spaced guys around their area of interest, their headquarters, etc. Then they would call in on cell or satellite phones to chat or track. It was very easy for them to track. They had names for our aircraft, like the CH-53s, which they called ‘Fat Cows.’

“But they did not talk much about the Osprey because they were so quick and lethal. And because of its speed and range, you did not have to come on the axis that would expect. You could go around, or behind them and then zip in.”

As Dr. Laird rightly writes, the V-22 isn’t just a great performer, it has revolutionized warfare and the way Marines think about it. (Please read his entire article.)

As experts have stated, the V-22 is the most capable VTOL aircraft ever, and nothing provides even comparable capability. “It has the best characteristics of a helicopter and a conventional propeller-driven aircraft”, says Peter Caddick Adams of the Royal College of Military Science. “And because it can do both, it exceeds the capabilities of either. It’s so versatile, there is nothing in the world which can match its capability.” From a cold start, it can get to a flight configuration in just 11 seconds.

Freezing funding for the Ground-based midcourse defense system; not installing any new interceptors in the US or Europe

The GMD is an absolutely crucial part of America’s missile defense, protecting the US against IRBMs and ICBMs from North Korea. There are 30 interceptors deployed in Alaska and California. POGO wants their funding frozen and any plans to deploy any new interceptors – in America or in Europe cancelled. This would mean no interceptors on the East Coast to protect against future Iranian ICBMs (which the US intel community says will emerge in 2015); no interceptors in Europe, Alaska, the East Coast (despite numerous scientific reports calling for an East Coast interceptor base) or anywhere else. This would leave America and Europe totally unprotected against these Iranian missiles unless SM-3 missiles are made capable of intercepting IRBMs and ICBMs, which, by itself, would require investments.

Cut off funding for MEADS

MEADS is a necessary replacement for the outdated, 1980s PATRIOT BMD system, which lacks 360 degree radar capability among others. Yet, the DOD, until recently, planned not to procure MEADS, only to develop it and let Germany and Italy buy it. Yet, POGO wants to cut off even that funding, leaving America’s partners on ice, and the US Army without a modern BMD system. Perhaps they believe the military should use obsolete, archaic weapons indefinitely.

Cut off funding for B61 warhead modernization unless Europeans pay for half of its cost

Some B61 warheads are deployed in Europe as a tactical nuclear umbrella against Russia’s vast tactical nuclear arsenal. But B61s are also useful for tactical deterrence in any other region, including the WestPac and the Middle East. Yet, POGO wants funding for B61 modernization (B61s are aging) to be cut in half unless the debt-stricken Europeans pay half of the modernization cost.

Cut the SSBN fleet from 14 to 8 boats

The DOD plans to replace its 14 Ohio class SSBNs with 12 new boats. POGO wants the order to be cut to just 8 (which will significantly increase the unit cost and possibly lead to program cancellation – which is what POGO presumably wants) and the Navy’s SLBM and warhead arsenal to be kept down to the inadequate New START limit of 1,024. But the New START treaty should’ve never been ratified; its weapon ceilings are too low; and a fleet of just 8 SSBNs would be wholly inadequate. With such fleet, only 6 boats at most would be on patrol at any given time (the 2 others would be in homeport or in overhaul), carrying no more than 960 warheads, and 6 boats would be very easy for enemy ASW platforms to find. The USN needs a large SSBN fleet around which it can disperse its SLBMs and warheads for survivability.

Like the carrier fleet cut proposal, this one also epitomizes POGO hacks’ ignorance and the disastrous consequences they proposals would have.

Close the M1A2 production/upgrade line

America’s 1980s M1A2 Abrams tanks, worn out after two wars, need to be repaired and upgraded. So what does POGO propose? To close the only line (and lose the skilled workforce) that can do the job. And they have to gall to call it waste, when closure of its line and its reopening in FY2017/2018 to produce other vehicles would cost MORE than keeping the line open. But again, for POGO, even genuine military requirements constitute “waste”. And let’s remember that POGO was originally established in 1981 in opposition to the M1 tank. Since 1981, it has routinely called for the killing of crucial, needed weapon systems. It called for the M1′s cancellation and wanted the Army to use the obsolete M48 and M60 tanks that were smashed and decimated effortlessly by Soviet tanks in the Yom Kippur War. Maybe there’s a pattern here: the worse for America, the better for POGO (and whoever finances that group besides George Soros, who donated 300,000 to it in 2011 alone).

Cancel the construction of the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Replacement Center in Los Alamos, NM, and the new Uranium Production Facility in Oak Ridge, TN

POGO calls for the cancellation of both, officially on the grounds that they’re too costly and “unneeded” in POGO’s opinion. In their defense, they invoke the opinion of the pro-nuclear-disarmament Obama Admin, which has delayed the CMRR project by five years, and House Appropriations, who have zeroed out the funding for it.

The CMRR would be a new facility used to produce a large number of plutonium pits – crucial components for nuclear warheads – and to develop and produce new nuclear weapons. The UPF would produce highly-enriched uranium, which is absolutely necessary for uranium-based warheads.

While existing facilities might, for a few more years, be able to produce limited quantities of these materials (although that’s doubtful, given their dilapidated state), they aren’t capable of producing them in sufficiently large quantities. Yet, the US needs a LARGE nuclear arsenal to deter all of its potential adversaries (Russia, China, etc.) and to protect its allies. According to former STRATCOM commander Gen. Kevin Chilton, and the current commander, Gen. Bob Kehler, the nuclear stockpile authorized by New START is exactly the size needed by America to deter its enemies (IMO, it’s not sufficient), and these facilities are absolutely necessary.

So what you think of the CMRR and the UPF depends on how big you think the nuclear arsenal should be. If, like me, Gen. Chilton, and House and Senate Republicans, you believe it needs to be large – that numbers matter – the CMRR and the UPF are absolutely necessary to produce sufficient quantities of materials to replace America’s current, obsolete warheads. If, like Barack Obama, Mia Steinle, and other disarmament advocates you believe the US should dramatically cut its nuclear arsenal and eventually disarm itself, there’s no need for such facilities if you’re going to disarm yourself.

But that only proves that POGO supports nuclear disarmament, including, apparently, the unilateral version. This is what cancelling the CMRR and the UPF would amount to.

UPDATE on 9/16/2012: As this article in the Washington Post – no bastion of conservative thought – proves, the condition of the current CMR and UPF facilities is so dilapidated, and merely renovating them would be so uneconomical and insufficient, that building replacement facilities – which POGO opposes – is an absolute necessity, no matter how big you think the US nuclear arsenal should be. There is NO alternative to replacement facilities.

UPDATE ON 9/23/2016: It turns out that the only people (besides POGO and TCS anti-defense hacks) protesting against the construction of these new CMR and UPF facilities are pacifist, anti-nuclear groups which seek America’s nuclear disarmament, and for them, the new facilities’ construction cost is merely a pretext to protest against them. POGO and TCS may have a similar motive (POGO’s Mia Steinle supports nuclear disarmament), and thus it’s likely just using the facilities construction cost as a pretext to lobby for these projects’ cancellation. The cost growth, BTW, was caused by repeated political delays to the program (most recently, by the Obama Admin), by inflation, and by the necessity to incorporate safety measures against earthquakes and other natural disasters (in NM). Moreover, the cost of one of these facilities will only be $5 bn and the other’s will be $7.5 bn, both spread over many years even though they constitute a tiny fraction of (indeed, a rounding error in) the annual defense budget, not to mention the total annual federal budget. If $7.5 bn is spread over 5 years, that amounts to just $1.5 bn; if $5 bn is spread over 5 years, it amounts to just $1 bn.

Moreover, the current CMR facility at Los Alamos can produce no more than 20 plutonium pits per year, whereas the Institute for Defense Analyses says at least 125, and possibly up to 200, pits need to be produced annually. The new CMRR facility will make that possible, making the new facility NECESSARY.

Withdraw 50% of American troops stationed in Europe (40,000) and demobilize them, thus cutting the force structure by a further 40,000 beyond what the DOD already plans

This would do double damage to national security. Firstly, it would significantly reduce Army, Air Force, and Navy (depending on which exact units would be withdrawn – POGO does not specify this, as they don’t know spit about defense issues) force structure beyond the cuts already announced by Sec. Panetta earlier this year. Secondly, it would deprive these units of close-in bases in Europe from where they can easily and quickly deploy wherever they may be needed – be it the Middle East, North Africa (as was the case in September 2011), or Eastern Europe to keep the region’s new democracies free of Moscow’s yoke. When American consulates in North Africa were attacked, reinforcements (Marines) came not from the CONUS but from Rota, Spain, only a couple of hours away from Benghazi by plane. As Heritage Foundation’s Luke Coffey rightly writes:

“forward basing U.S. troops in Europe is just as important today as it was during the Cold War, albeit for different reasons. U.S. military bases in Europe provide American leaders with increased flexibility, resilience, and options in a dangerous world. The garrisons of American service personnel in Europe are no longer the fortresses of the Cold War, but the forward operating bases of the 21st century.

The U.S. military presence in Europe deters American adversaries, strengthens allies, and protects U.S. interests—the U.S. reduces the number of these troops at its peril. U.S. can project power and react to the unexpected because of its forward-based military capabilities in Europe. Reducing these capabilities will only weaken America on the world stage.”

So POGO’s proposals would, if implemented, “only weaken America on the world stage.”

CONCLUSION

POGO’s proposed defense cuts would produce only puny savings ($688 bn per decade, i.e. $68.8 bn per year), but they would constitute a huge defense budget cut and, being targeted at crucial, necessary defense programs, would do huge, irreparable damage to national security. For those reasons alone, they should be rejected completely.

I could go on and on about their destructive proposals all day. But these examples should suffice to illustrate how destructive POGO’s proposals would be if they were implemented (God forbid), and simoultaneously, how ignorant POGO hacks are. Only totally ignorant people would equate completely disparate aircraft and suggest that the Navy’s carriers exist to fight other carriers Midway-style.

So not only are they clamoring for disastrous policies, they’re showing their utter ignorance while doing so.

[1] Mark Gunzinger, Sustaining America’s Advantage in Long Range Strike, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington DC, 2010. Available online here.

[2] Thomas Erhard, An Air Force Strategy For the Long Haul, CSBA, Washington DC, 2009, pg. 83.

[3] Robert Haffa and Michael Isherwood, Long Range Conventional Strike: A Joint Family of Systems, Joint Force Quarterly issue #60, 1st quarter of 2011, National Defense University, Washington DC, 2011, available online here.

[4] According to retired LTG David Deptula, the need for a next-gen bomber was validated as early as the 2001 QDR, pointing to anti-access/access-denial threats and to contested airspace in particular. See here.

One Response to “POGO’s “spend less, spend smarter” policies would gut defense and jeopardize nat sec”

  1. [...] b) Delaying the next generation bomber for at least a few decades, even though B-52s and B-1s, due to their nonstealthy designs, are already unsurvivable and useless as they are easy targets for Russian, Chinese, and even legacy Soviet SAM systems, and thus severely limiting conventional strike capabilities to just 20 B-2 stealthy bombers (more on that here, here, and here); [...]

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