TCS Joins Coalition IDing $80B in Possible Pentagon Budget Cuts

LetterTCS Joins Coalition IDing $80B in Possible Pentagon Budget Cuts

National Security,  | Data & Documents
Mar 24, 2021  | 11 min read | Print Article

TCS joined several groups identifying $80B in possible Pentagon budget cuts. Read the letter below (scroll down to read the PDF) or download it here.

Dear Chair Smith, Ranking Member Rogers, Chair McCollum, Ranking Member Calvert, Chair Reed, Ranking Member Inhofe, Chair Tester, and Ranking Member Shelby:

The American people sent you to Washington to ensure that hard earned tax dollars are well spent and aligned with our national priorities. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks noted in her confirmation hearing, “A budget is about priorities, and we continue to overinvest in defense.”[1] Well researched analysis from experts across the ideological spectrum show that the Pentagon can dramatically reduce its spending, meet today’s national security challenges, and continue supporting our troops and their families. Furthermore, 50 House members recently sent a letter asking the Biden Administration “to seek a significantly reduced Pentagon topline.”[2]

As a coalition of organizations representing diverse political views, we share a common goal of reducing wasteful spending at the Pentagon. We ask that you consider the proposed savings listed below for the Pentagon’s budget request for fiscal year 2022.

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Cancel Purchasing Additional F-35s $11.4 billion[3]

This weapons program is the most expensive in the Pentagon’s history while also having over 850 design flaws that haven’t been resolved.[4] In an interview with Breaking Defense, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith agreed that the F-35 program has been problematic, stating, “I know it doesn’t work particularly well…I want to stop throwing money down that particular rat hole.”[5]

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Cancel the B1 Bomber $1.7 billion[6]

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the B1 Bomber’s original purpose was to serve as a “Cold War nuclear deterrent.”[7] Due to arms control agreements with Russia, they are prohibited for being used for nuclear purposes. Furthermore, CBO estimates that other aircraft could fulfill the B1’s missions, including “the B-52H and the B-2A.”[8]

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Eliminate Space Force $0.5 billion – $2.5 billion[9]

An analysis from Cato noted, “Space Force lacks a strong institutional basis, an identifiable organizational culture, and an established foundation of strategic theory. In the short term, it runs the risk of disrupting existing procedures and relationships that enable the U.S. military to function. In the long term, it runs the risk of distorting the procurement and force structure of U.S. space capabilities.”[10]

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Reduce Size of Nuclear Triad $0.3 billion

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that reducing the triad to a total of eight submarines, 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and 1,000 warheads would save $300 million in FY 2022 and $4.3 billion from FYs 2022-2025.[11]

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Reduce Service Contracting by 15% $28.5 billion[12]

Service contracting has contributed to an ever-expanding “shadow government” that costs hundreds of millions of dollars annually. A study by the Project on Government Oversight found the average annual contractor billable rate was much more than the average annual full compensation for federal employees performing comparable services. Judicious cuts to service contracts would increase efficiency and the effectiveness of the Department of Defense.

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Defer the B-21 $2.9 billion

According to CBO, the current fleet of long-range bombers should be in service until at least the late 2030s. If the B-21 program was deferred, it would generate a cost savings of $18.2 billion from FYs 2022-25.[13]

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Eliminate OCO Placeholder in Budget $20 billion[14]

The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account is a budget dodge that has outlived its usefulness since the Pentagon is not currently involved in any significant overseas contingencies. And the expiration of the Budget Control Act has ended any justification for the continuation of OCO. In the future, Congress has the option of funding emergency contingencies with supplemental appropriations or emergency designations, which will make it less likely that off-budget accounts — intended for actual emergencies — are used for non-emergency requests.

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Cancel GBSD $0.4 billion – $2.4 billion[15]

The current fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) will be operational until 2030 due to a $7 billion life extension program now underway. Given uncertainty over future force requirements and deterrence needs, development of the ICBM follow on, or ground based strategic deterrent (GBSD), is premature.

Proposal Proposed FY 2022 Savings/Cancel Ford Class Carrier $12.5 billion per carrier[16]

According to a report from the Quincy Institute, “Successive Navy secretaries have questioned the advisability of building additional Ford class aircraft carriers…The U.S.S. Gerald Ford cost over $13 billion. The Navy itself now believes its aircraft carriers may be particularly vulnerable to A2/AD (anti-access, area denial) defenses, and has proposed that amphibious ships provide a more defensible profile.”[17]

Total Proposed FY 2022 Savings: $78.2 billion – 82.2 billion

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee
Center for International Policy
Center on Conscious & War
Coalition on Human Needs
CODEPINK
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Massachusetts Peace Action
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Priorities Project at the Institute of Policy Studies
National Taxpayers Union
Our Revolution Massachusetts
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Education Center
Project on Government Oversight
Public Citizen
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
R Street
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Taxpayers for Common Sense
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions

———

[1] Bender, Bryan, “Hicks Raises Prospect of Defense Cuts,” Politico’s Morning Defense, February 3, 2021, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-defense/2021/02/03/hicks-raises-prospect-of-defense-cuts-793143, accessed March 17, 2021.

[2] U.S. House of Representatives, “Letter to President Biden on Defense Cuts,” March 16, 2021, (Washington: United States Congress, March 17, 2021).

[3] Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Program Acquisition Cost by Weapons System United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request IWashington: U.S. Department of Defense, March 16, 2021), pg. 6.

[4] Grazier, Dan, “F-35 Design Flaws Mounting, New Documents Show,” https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2020/03/f-35-design-flaws-mounting-new-document-shows/, retrieved 03/16/21.

[6] Lautz, Andrew, “The Bipartisan Map for Congress and Biden to Trim the Defense Budget by $338 Billion,” National Taxpayers Union Issue Brief, 02/11/21, pg. 4.

[7] Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028, December 2018, (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, March 16, 2021), pg. 158.

[8] Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2021 to 2030, December 2020 (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, March 16, 2021), pg. 58.

[9] This estimate is subject to some considerable uncertainty given Space Force planning is already underway. A Cato report outlines a range of potential annual costs for establishing the Space Force bureaucracy, from $500 million per year to $13 billion over five years. Our savings estimate reflects that range of potential costs. For more, see here: Farley, Robert, Space Force: Ahead of Its Time, or Dreadfully Premature?, December 1, 2020 (Washington: Cato Institute, March 16, 2021), pg. 1.

[10] Farley, Robert, Space Force: Ahead of Its Time, or Dreadfully Premature?, December 1, 2020 (Washington: Cato Institute, March 16, 2021), pg. 1.

[11] Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2021 to 2030, December 2020 (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, March 17, 2021), pg. 55.

[12] Government Accountability Office, Service Acquisitions: DoD’s Report to Congress Identifies Steps Taken to Improve Management, but Does Not Address Some Key Planning Issues, GAO-21-267R, February 22, 2021 (Washington: Government Accountability Office, March 18, 2021), pg. 1.

[13]  Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2021 to 2030, December 2020 (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, March 17, 2021), pg. 57.

[14] Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, “National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 21,” April 2020,  (Washington: U.S. Department of Defense), pg. 14.

[15] The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for this budget option is from December 2018, so the range of potential savings reflects a degree of uncertainty for specific FY 2022 savings. For more see: Congressional Budget Office, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028, December 2018 (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, December 13, 2018), pg. 167.

[16] Perry, Mark, “Adapting DoD Budget to China Strategy Would Yield $113B in Savings,” December 3, 2020, (Washington: Quincy Institute), pg. 6.

[17] Perry, Mark, “Adapting DoD Budget to China Strategy Would Yield $113B in Savings,” December 3, 2020, (Washington: Quincy Institute), pg. 4.

 

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