A new report from a panel commissioned by Barney Frank could help sort out the deficit peacocks from the deficit hawks. When it comes to really dealing with the deficit, are they willing to take on defense? The Hill reports:
A panel commissioned by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is recommending nearly $1 trillion in cuts to the Pentagon’s budget during the next 10 years.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out actions the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020....
Frank on Friday warned that if he can’t convince Congress to act in the "general direction" of the task force recommendation, "then every other issue will suffer." Not cutting the Pentagon's budget could lead to higher taxes and spending cuts detrimental to the environment, housing and highway construction.
The acceptance of the recommendations would depend on a "philosophical change" and a "redefinition of the strategy," Frank said at press conference on Capitol Hill.
He said the creation of the deficit reduction commission offers the best opportunity for the reduction recommendations. Frank wants to convince his colleagues to write to the deficit reduction commission and warn that they would not approve any of the plans suggested by the commission unless reduction of military spending is included.
The report is available here, and includes these possible reductions, among others.
- Over $113 billion in savings by reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 1,050 total warheads deployed on 450 land-based missiles and seven Ohio-class submarines;
- Over $200 billion in savings by reducing U.S. routine military presence in Europe and Asia to 100,000 while reducing total uniformed military personnel to 1.3 million;
- Over $138 billion in savings by replacing costly and unworkable weapons systems with more practical, affordable alternatives. Suggested cuts would include the F-35 combat aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey, and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
- Over $60 billion in savings by reforming military health care; and
- Over $100 billion in savings by cutting unnecessary command, support and infrastructure funding.
Frank created the panel in cooperation with Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and the panel consisted of experts in defense and budget from across the political spectrum. If the Congress and administration are really serious about finding long-term deficit reduction strategies, defence cannot be exempted, and the Frank panel gives an excellent starting point to this discussion.