View Full Version : Recapitalizing the U.S. Air Force: Pay Now, Or Pay Later

03-22-2013, 08:44 PM

Recapitalizing the U.S. Air Force: Pay Now, Or Pay Later
by Dr. Richard Andres

As the U.S. military prepares to enter a period of reduced budgets, the services have endeavored to explain their strategic value to the nation. The Navy has positioned itself as the defender of the global commons and, more broadly, as a “global force for good”; the Army, as a globally dispersed boots-on-the-ground “force for tomorrow”, able to reduce instability abroad. Agree or disagree with these arguments, they are well articulated and offer visions for how the Army’s and Navy’s budgets support American interests.

As the budget axe hovers, however, the Air Force has remained peculiarly silent about the value it brings to U.S. national security. The reason for this is not hard to fathom. Five years ago, the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force were fired for too vocally defending their service, and subsequently a number of Air Force generals have been dismissed for the same reason. Today, Air Force intellectuals remain gun-shy about publicly discussing the service’s role in national defense in any but the most tactical ways. That's unfortunate, because the Air Force brings a set of unique capabilities to America’s national defense that deserve careful consideration as the nation ponders what to reduce or remove.[1]

03-22-2013, 08:45 PM

03-22-2013, 10:36 PM
I noticed this relevant article not long ago:


Key quote:

[retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold] Punaro said the cost of the Defense Department's "massive and inefficient overhead," at $218 billion a year, was greater than the economy of the entire state of Israel.

"If you just look at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the combatant commands and the defense agencies ... there's over 250,000 people, $116 billion a year," he said.

"There's not a trigger-puller in that lot. There's nobody with a sharp bayonet in that group," said Punaro, adding that of the top 12 defense contractors, half were agencies of the Pentagon.

Unfortunately, when budget cuts come around the reaction in Government agencies (not just the military but across the board) is typically not to try to cut the fat, keep the meat, and maintain effectiveness with less resources. The reaction is typically to cut what's visible and vital, in an effort to generate a backlash of protest that will get "their" money back. If you show that you can do the job with less, you'll never get more, and nobody wants to do that.

That needs to stop, across the full spectrum of government.