WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senior national security experts and former government officials convened by the Stimson Center today issued a report outlining a new defense strategy that would advance America's national security but still make it possible to cut about $50 billion from the Defense Department's annual budget.
Committee members include two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Air Force chief of staff, a former chief of naval operations, and two retired four-star Army generals.
President Obama and both houses of Congress are proposing budgets for fiscal year 2014 that exceed spending levels required by law. As a result, Defense Advisory Committee members say, once Congress adjourns sequester will again kick in this January, resulting in almost $50 billion in indiscriminate defense spending cuts.
The report issued today presents a better way of meeting the spending caps by implementing the Strategic Agility defense strategy that emphasizes the strengths of America's armed forces.
"Adopting this new strategy and making the corresponding budget adjustments we recommend makes a lot more sense than cutting blindly and causing tremendous harm," said Committee Chairman and Stimson Co-founder Barry Blechman. "The political gridlock preventing rational, strategy-driven defense decisions is a self-inflicted wound that is dangerously weakening the ability of the U.S. armed forces to defend our nation."
To watch a video of Blechman talking about the report, click here.
The budget savings recommended by the Defense Advisory Committee fall into three broad categories:
$22.4 billion in management reforms. These would cut excess military and civilian personnel in headquarters and defense agencies, reduce centralized training, reform military retirement and health benefits, and eliminate funding for unnecessary commissaries and exchanges.
$21.4 billion in changes to force structure. These would maintain robust space, air, naval and special operations forces, and expand investment in cybercapabilities, but reduce active forces best suited for protracted wars and cut back nuclear forces. The restructuring would take advantage of the cost-effective strategic depth provided by the National Guard and Reserve.
$5.7 billion in reduced modernization costs. These would maintainthe long-range strike bomber and increase the number of AEGIS destroyers for theater missile defenses. The adjustments would freeze missile defenses in the United States and purchases of new ground vehicles. The cuts would also slow purchases of F-35 fighter jets and ballistic missile submarines, cut back tactical nuclear weapons, and shift development resources toward advanced technologies.
The new report updates a study the Defense Advisory Committee issued in November 2012 that first proposed the Strategic Agility framework and laid out priorities implied by the strategy.
"Strategic Agility was developed by looking at the interests of the United States and the threats to those interests, and then considering the U.S. military's comparative strengths and weaknesses," Blechman said. "It's based on an analysis of how best to protect U.S. national security, which we found could be accomplished at a lower cost."
Here is a full list of all 27 Defense Advisory Committee recommendations, with their projected savings in the 2015 fiscal year:
Summary of Recommendations
Savings in FY15
Reduce Defense Agencies
Streamline Central Training
Extricate Uniformed Personnel from Non-Military Tasks
Reduce Civilian Employees
Reform Military Retirement
Reform Health Benefits
Stop Funding Commissaries and Post Exchanges in the US
Subtotal, Management Reforms
Reduce Army Force Structure
Reduce Marine Corps End-Strength
Shift Lower-End Air Force Fighters to Reserve Component
Do Not Retire Navy Cruisers
Maintain Current Number of Aircraft Carriers
Increase Resources for Cyberwarfare
Maintain Ready Special Operations forces
Maintain Strategic Depth the Guard and Reserve Provide
Reduce Existing Nuclear Forces
Subtotal, Force Structure
Cancel GCV and JLTV
Slow F-35 Purchases
Continue the Long-Range Strike Bomber
Delay and Reduce Purchases of SSBN-X
Freeze GMD; Reprogram for Further Technology Development
Buy an Additional AEGIS Destroyer a Year
Shift Resources From Post-Prototype to Earlier Research
Cut Minor Procurement
Savings needed in FY15 to Meet Sequester
Additional Savings Identified
Totals may not add due to rounding.
Members of the Defense Advisory Committee
Professor Gordon Adams – American University. Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (1993-1997).
Professor Graham Allison – Harvard University. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans (1993-1994).
Mr. Michael Bayer – Chairman of the Defense Business Board (2007-2011).
General B.B. Bell, USA (Ret.) – Commander of U.S. Army, Europe (2002-2005) and U.S. Forces, Korea (2006-2008).
Professor Richard K. Betts – Columbia University.
Dr. Barry Blechman (Chairman) – Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center.
Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr. –Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (2001-2005).
Ambassador Richard Burt – U.S. Ambassador to Germany (1985-1989)and Chief Negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (1989-1991).
General James Cartwright, USMC (Ret.) – Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007- 2011).
Lt. General Daniel Christman, USA (Ret.) – U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee (1993-1994) and West Point Superintendent (1996-2001).
Dr. Leslie Gelb – President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (1977-1979).
Dr. Jessica Tuchman Mathews – President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Mr. Philip Odeen – CEO and Chairman, TRW Inc. (2002)
Admiral Bill Owens, USN (Ret.) – Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1994-1996).
Admiral Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.) – Chief of Naval Operations (2007-2011).
General Norton Schwartz, USAF (Ret.) – Air Force Chief of Staff (2008-2012).
Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter – President and CEO, New America Foundation.State Department Director of Policy Planning (2009-2011).
The Stimson Center is a nonproﬁt and nonpartisan think tank that conducts research and offers pragmatic policy ideas on some of the most important peace and security challenges around the world. Stimson was recently honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.