June 12, 2010

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Holy cow, they even recommended cutting the V-22 Osprey. What do you suppose the chances are of anyone actually following through on these recommendations? My guess is, they'll cut military salaries and skip everything else:

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.

Measures presented by the task force include making significant reductions to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates; delaying the procurement of a new midair refueling tanker the Air Force has identified as one of its top acquisition priorities; and reducing the Navy’s fleet to 230 ships instead of the 313 eyed by the service.

Shipbuilding has strong support in the congressional defense committees, which write the Pentagon bills. Efforts to reduce the number of ships would run into resistance from the Pentagon and the shipbuilding lobby.

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.

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