Obama’s deficit commission has one major target and it’s extremely controversial: defence.
Half of the $200 billion cuts proposed by the commission co-chairs will come out of the military.
In fact, the cuts come to much more than $100 billion, if you include measures to alter weapons procurement and development plans.
For a Democratic president or just about any mainstream politician, cutting defence spending has always been a politically impossible proposal.
Here’s a rundown of the cuts:
- Secretary-Gates-endorsed efficiency measures ($28 billion savings by 2015)
- Reduce procurement by 15 per cent ($20 billion)
- Cancel the Marine Corps version of the F-35 ($17.6 billion)
- Buy F-16 and F/A-18Es instead of F-35s ($9.5 billion)
- Freeze non-combat military pay for three years ($9.2 billion)
- Reduce military personnel stationed at overseas bases in Europe and Asia by one-third ($8.5 billion)
- Reduce spending on R&D by 10 per cent ($7.0 billion)
- Military health care reform ($6.0 billion)
- Double Secretary Gates’ cuts to defence spending ($5.4 billion)
- Replace military personnel performing commercial activities with civilians ($5.4 billion)
- Freeze federal salaries and bonuses for civilians at the DoD for three years ($5.3 billion)
- Reduce spending on base support and facilities maintenance ($3.4 billion)
- Cancel the Navy’s Future Maritime Prepositioning Force ($2.7 billion)
- Cancel the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Ground Combat Vehicle, and the Joint Tactical Radio ($2.3 billion)
- End procurement of the V-22 Osprey — an amphibious vehicle for the Marine Corps ($1.1 billion)
- Cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle — another amphibious vehicle for the Marine Corps ($650 million)
- And a few more…
Backing the entire plan could be political suicide for Obama.
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