What the DOD and the Congress should cut instead of ship and aircraft fleets

We’re being told that the DOD can’t afford to maintain 22 Tico class cruisers, that it must cut its cruiser fleet by 7, its LSD fleet by 2, and its aircraft fleet by hundreds of planes, as well as dramatically cutting its ship orders and staying at 283 ships for many years.

That is not true.

While complying with the obligation (imposed by the BCA) to cut $487 bn out of the core defense budget does require the DOD to make tough choices, including some force structure reductions, it did not and does not have to cut its warship, combat aircraft, or airlifter fleets (or its shipbuilding programs) for goodness’ sake! And it could actually afford to order a lot more ships and planes (fighters, bombers, airlifters, you name it), if it proposed, and the Congress authorized, the following reforms:

  • TRICARE cost-cutting, including premium increases and pharmacy-co-payment-hikes.
  • Reforms of the military retirement system.
  • Changing DOD health programs from defined-benefit to defined-contribution programs, as James Carafano proposes.
  • Reducing the number of generals and admirals from 900 to 700 and downgrading many commands.
  • Cutting and consolidating the DOD’s bloated intelligence apparatus.
  • Closing unneeded bases in the US and abroad.
  • Ending unneeded weapon programs such as the Stryker, the Reaper, the Global Hawk, the PATRIOT, and the VXX.
  • Being much more energy-efficient and consuming fewer oil-derived and more coal- and NG-derived fuels.
  • Ending the War on Drugs.
  • Dramatically cutting and consolidating DOD bureaucracies and the number of DOD government workers and contractors.
  • Selling excess equipment to the highest bidder.
  • Forcing DOD contractors to bid for every contract except those for aircraft carriers and presidential planes.
  • Making fixed-price contracts the only allowed type of contracts.
  • Procuring most weapons on a multi-year basis.
  • Authorizing the DOD to produce F-35s in bulk, rather than in a piecemeal manner.
  • Reducing the number of HQ personnel and the size of civil affairs units, PSYOPS units, Honor Guards, and military bands.
  • Ceasing “nonproliferation” spending and spending on complying with the disastrous New START treaty, which the US should withdraw from.
  • Selling obsolete ships to scrappers and obsolete aircraft to foreign countries.
  • Privatizing all DOD commissaries, exchange services/stores, schools, and housing programs.
  • Reducing the number of reports that the DOD is required by the Congress to produce every year.

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