BUT WE HAVE MONEY FOR THIS – AT 9:17 A.M. ET: We are hearing the siren song of the American left, that the defense budget must be cut. And indeed, cuts are on the way. Even Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, an Obama loyalist, is warning that the cuts can go too far.
Already there are dangerous cuts planned in our ground forces. Once again we fall back on failed ideas of the past – the notion that high technology can replace ground forces. They cannot. Part of any sound strategy for peace is the maintenance of a superb ground force, in being, that an enemy realizes he must overcome if he chooses to confront us. No leader wants to see enemy troops patrolling his streets.
One of the ironies in Pentagon budget cutting is that it isn't affecting the civilian employee force, which has grown dramatically under Obama. Cut the troops, keep the civil servants. Is that any way to run an armed force? That, by the way, is what happened in Britain, where civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence, several years ago, actually outnumbered the personnel in several of the uniformed services. It got so bad in Britain that civilian MOD employees expressed open resentment at officers who came to work in uniform. From the Washington Times:
The Pentagon’s civilian workforce, which expanded dramatically during President Obama’s first three years, is not facing any significant reductions even as the Defense Department is slashing ground troops by more than 10 percent, retiring ships and combat planes, and putting off the purchases of some new weapons.
President Bush’s last budget, for fiscal 2009, pegged Defense Department civilians at 739,000, according to the department’s latest “Green Book” budget document on total spending.
This year, the number of civilians sits at 801,000, an increase of 62,000 personnel, or 8 percent; it is expected to decline by 1 percent next year.
Some defense analysts say this was not supposed to happen.
In the summer of 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced a series of cost-saving initiatives that included keeping civilian employees to that year’s number of 778,000. The services started issuing press releases on the number of civilian jobs they had erased.
Two years later, civilian employment has risen by 23,000 personnel.
I wonder how many have connections to the Democratic Party. Just asking.
At about the same time as the Gates downsizing push, the Defense Business Board, a Pentagon advisory panel to the defense secretary, issued a report calling for a 15 percent decrease in civilian employees.
“That has not happened,” said Arnold Punaro, who led the task force.
Mr. Punaro, a retired Marine Corps Reserve major general who headed the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Democratic staff, said the defense budget is suffering through rapid increases in personnel overhead costs at the expense of troops.
“While the fighting force is coming down, the overhead continues to grow,” he said. “It was an adverse ratio to start with, and it’s getting worse. You want to put your money in the tip of the spear, not in the rear with the gear.”
COMMENT: As in so many other areas, America is taking on the characteristics, under Obama, of a European nation, just as Europe faces collapse. We aren't learning from the mistakes of others. We're duplicating them.
May 7, 2012