Now Is the Time to Cut the Defense Budget

Source: Slate.com - View Original Article
Published: May 05, 2020
Category:
Bias Rating:

59% Liberal


Bias Score Calculation:


Policies:

Military Spending

Sentiments

97% "The current economic crisis is far deeper, and will likely last longer, than the one sparked by the 2008 bank failures.""
80% "Even nine years ago, Gates recognized this lacuna.""
74% "And the breakdown of the geopolitical order, which had begun shortly before Obama took office, is now raising urgent questions about America's global power ..."
73% "After a new president is elected, and maybe a new Senate as well, it should be a high priority to resume asking the questions ..."
72% "And if we dismissed the extremely unlikely premise that two comparably powerful nations (say, a resurgent Russia and China) would launch a war against ..."
71% "Nobody is asking these questions now.""
70% "We can no longer afford to let parochial politics trump national security.""
67% "When the Air Force chief of staff and secretary of the Air Force rebelled, Gates fired both of them.""
64% "When Gates left government in 2011, he gave a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative think tank, warning that, because of fiscal ..."

We have listed the top 10 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.



*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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Contributing sentiments towards policy:

97% : The current economic crisis is far deeper, and will likely last longer, than the one sparked by the 2008 bank failures.
80% : Even nine years ago, Gates recognized this lacuna.
74% : And the breakdown of the geopolitical order, which had begun shortly before Obama took office, is now raising urgent questions about America's global power and commitments.
73% : After a new president is elected, and maybe a new Senate as well, it should be a high priority to resume asking the questions that haven't been asked for a decade: How much do we need, to do what sorts of things in the world, at what cost?
72% : And if we dismissed the extremely unlikely premise that two comparably powerful nations (say, a resurgent Russia and China) would launch a war against us simultaneously, the 183 F-22s we already had -- in addition to the many other planes and missiles in the arsenal -- would be plenty.
71% : Nobody is asking these questions now.
70% : Do we need to replace all of them?
70% : We can no longer afford to let parochial politics trump national security.
67% : When the Air Force chief of staff and secretary of the Air Force rebelled, Gates fired both of them.
64% : When Gates left government in 2011, he gave a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative think tank, warning that, because of fiscal and financial pressures, defense spending would have to be cut over the next 10 years.
57% : Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is worried that the COVID-19 crisis might waylay his plans to increase the military budget.
57% : Rather than take the easy way out and "salami slice" a certain percentage off the top, a technique sure to leave a "hollowed-out" military force (plenty of troops and weapons but too little for operations, maintenance, or training), Gates suggested that Congress, the president, and the American people should make conscious choices of what military missions to forgo and what levels of risk to accept.
57% : Could we get rid of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles entirely?
56% : Can some merely be modified?
54% : He noted that the Pentagon and its overseers in Congress used to parse the military's budget requests routinely, but the practice -- and the demand for it -- dried up during "the post-9/11 decade," when the military services grew "accustomed" to a "no-questions-asked" attitude toward giving them whatever they wanted.
54% : So the arsenal stayed as it was.
53% : The question is how to cut it -- by whim or deliberatively.
50% : Gates was wrong in his premise -- the military budget has gone up and up ever since, thanks in part to an economic revival that began not long after the speech -- but his argument resonates now more than ever.
50% : President Donald Trump and his advisers aren't interested in considering them.
49% : Yet, Esper added, he is "concerned" that the government's $3 trillion infusion into the economy, to keep the country and its people alive during the lockdown, "may throw us off that course."
49% : Congress is too weighed down with the coronavirus crisis at hand -- and still too wedded to Cold War concepts of defense.
47% : He doesn't understand the half of it.
45% : For a couple years, when Barack Obama entered the White House, his defense secretary, Robert Gates, revived McNamara's methods, cutting or killing more than 30 weapons systems, including some of the military services' most cherished projects -- the Army's Future Combat Systems vehicle, the Navy's DDG-1000 destroyer, and, especially, the Air Force's F-22 stealth fighter plane.
44% : How many weapons, of what kind, do we need to deter nuclear war or to limit the damage, if nuclear war can't be deterred?
42% : No kidding.
41% : Yet their case for this expansion, laid out in their internal briefing books, assumed that the United States would someday have to fight two wars simultaneously against two nations that possessed as much air power as we had.
41% : (Some analysts regard them as the most destabilizing weapons.)
39% : As anyone in the real world could tell him, in the face of such massive deficits, the defense budget will not merely be raised by a smaller percentage but will have to be reduced, probably by quite a lot.
38% : It also assumed that a large percentage of F-22s would be in routine maintenance depots when the wars started -- i.e., that the two foes would coordinate a surprise attack against us.
35% : In the early 1960s, Robert McNamara, President John F. Kennedy's defense secretary, subjected the military's budget requests to "systems analysis," slicing away programs that were redundant or didn't meet the test of cost-effectiveness.
35% : The nuclear arsenal is one place where a renewed inquiry might begin.
34% : Obama and Gates were able to do this for two reasons.
34% : During the Obama administration, after a deep analysis of the nuclear war plan and its requirements, senior officials, including the four-star head of Strategic Command, agreed that the nuclear arsenal could be cut by one-third without any damage to U.S. security -- but the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military's top officers, told Obama they would endorse such cuts only if Russia reduced its arsenal by the same amount.
33% : Choices must be made, and there is no appetite -- and little analytic talent -- for making them.
31% : At the time, the Air Force had 183 of the planes; its senior officers wanted to build a total of 387.
30% : At a 2019 hearing on the nuclear stockpile, one of the few hearings in recent times on the subject, Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from a Virginia district weighed down with defense industries, bellowed that it was "dangerous" not merely to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal but even "to allow someone to come before this committee and suggest" such a notion.
27% : The problem is that almost no one analyzes defense budgets these days.
26% : Second, Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, so budget cuts were tolerated.
26% : Obama threatened to veto the entire defense budget if it contained money for a single additional F-22.
24% : He halted the F-22 not just because it was expensive but because the Air Force's justification for building more of the planes was deeply flawed.
24% : So Gates halted the project.
22% : Then came the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, followed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and suddenly no one dared cut defense spending, for fear of being tagged "soft on terror" or "harmful to the troops," even concerning parts of the budget that had nothing to do with terrorists or the troops' welfare.
22% : We are spending $29 billion this year on nuclear weapons -- 19 percent more than the year before -- and are in the early stages of a plan to spend $1.2 trillion, over the next quarter-century, replacing the entire "nuclear triad" of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers.
21% : If the attacks did not come as a surprise, and if therefore we could mobilize more F-22s before the war begins, we wouldn't need to buy quite so many planes to begin with.
20% : But the way Esper formulated the problem shows he isn't remotely prepared to deal with it.
18% : This didn't used to be the case.
17% : Since this year's budget amounts to $740 billion, he's talking about increasing it by $22 billion to $37 billion -- for a total, next year, of up to $777 billion, or actually a bit more than that, since he called for that much "real growth," meaning growth beyond the level of inflation.
17% : Even so, Gates' cuts were hardly arbitrary.
12% : First, Gates was a holdover from George W. Bush's presidency and could thus attract bipartisan respect.
11% : Esper said on Monday that "we need 3 to 5 percent annual real growth" in the defense budget.
11% : Starting in the 1970s, even through Ronald Reagan's profligacy toward the Pentagon, staff members on the congressional armed services committees used the same techniques in overseeing the Defense Department, at least to some extent.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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