Congress must reject the PDA’s destructive defense cuts proposals

By | November 16, 2012

In a recent article, the Hill magazine reports that Barney Frank and other House Democrats will reject any deal to avert sequestration which does not impose “massive cuts” on the military, including its force structure, equipment and development programs, global posture, and personnel.

Barney Frank proposes that the Congress and the White House implement the destructive defense cuts proposed by the leftist, Massachusetts-based “Project on Defense Alternatives”, contained in its report released on Wednesday, November 14th.

That report is utter garbage. The proposed cuts, if implemented (God forbid), would be downright destructive, treasonous, and suicidal.

The PDA proposes to:

1) deeply and unilaterally cut America’s nuclear arsenal (down to just 900 warheads deployed on 340 missiles, specifically, 200 warheads on ICBMs and the rest on submarine-launched missiles deployed on a paltry 7 subs, 50% fewer than the USN currently has (14). Of these 7 SSBNs, only 3 would be at sea at any given time. There would be no nuclear-capable bombers; all bombers would be purely conventional and the bomber fleet would be cut.

This would guarantee a disarming Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike on the US, which would wipe out such a small arsenal in a matter of minutes. 340 missiles deployed on a paltry 3 submarines and at a few ICBM bases would be pathetically easy to destroy. Then, Russia and China could nuke the United States without any retaliation or punishment from the US. NONE! America would be at the mercy of Moscow and Beijing!

I’m not exaggerating. Don’t delude yourself that Moscow or Beijing wouldn’t dare to do this if they could. Why wouldn’t they do so if they could? They’re both hostile to the US (especially veteran KGB thug Vladimir Putin). And if the US unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal to just 900 warheads deployed on a paltry 340 missiles and zero bombers, they would do so without hesitation. 3 submarines would be very easy to find and sink, and Russian attack subs have already been seen snooping around Kings Bay and practicing sinking American SSBNs. In fact, they’ve been practicing this since the early Cold War years. (

The PDA falsely claims that America’s nuclear arsenal is too large, but it isn’t. Its present size is barely adequate. Russia has 1,492 deployed and ca. 1400 nondeployed (2,800 in total) strategic and untold thousands of tactical nuclear warheads. China has ca. 1,800 and up to 3,000 nuclear warheads (not the mere 240 warheads that pro-American-disarmament groups claim) and enough fissile material for 3,600 warheads in total. Yet, the PDA wants America to disarm itself UNILATERALLY in the face of these huge nuclear threats. At a time when Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan are all growing and modernizing their own nuclear arsenals.

Were these cuts made, Russia would have 650 more deployed strategic warheads and 234 more ICBMs than the US (434 vs 200 ICBMs), 1,900 more strategic warheads in total, and several times more tactical nukes than the US. China would enjoy an edge of over 3:1 (3,000 vs 900) in total nuclear warheads under the PDA’s plan.

Moreover, Russia’s and China’s ICBMs have significantly more throw-weight and warhead carriage capacity than America’s sole ICBM type, the Minuteman-III. Russia’s 58 SS-18 heavy ICBMs can carry 10 warheads and up to 30 penetration aids; the SS-19, up to 6 warheads; the SS-29 (RS-24), up to 4; China’s DF-5 heavy ICBM can carry one 5 MT or several lighter warheads; the DF-31, up to four, and the DF-41, ten warheads.

The PDA also falsely claims that America’s nuclear arsenal contributes to nuclear proliferation, but the OPPOSITE is true: it helps COMBAT nuclear proliferation. It reassures the over 30 allies of the US who depend on it that they don’t need to develop their own nuclear weapons, discourages smaller nuclear powers like Pakistan and North Korea from racing with the US, and discourages most rogue states from developing their own nukes. If Iran obtains a nuclear bomb, America’s nuclear umbrella will be an indispensable deterrence instrument reassuring America’s ME allies that they don’t need their own nukes.

Conversely, cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further, let alone as deeply as the PDA wants to, would give America’s allies no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons. (I am hardly alone in this conclusion – CSBA’s Andrew Krepinevich, Eric Edelman, and Evan Braden Montgomery agree.) They cannot afford to bet their national security, and indeed their national survival, on America breaking free of its Obama/Democrat fantasies of “a world without nuclear weapons” and unilateral disarmament. They don’t want to go to the bottom together with the US. America’s potential enemies who don’t yet have nuclear weapons would likewise be encouraged to develop them, because under the PDA’s plan, any idiot would need only 900 nuclear warheads and a few submarines and missiles to match the US in nuclear weapons. Proliferators like China, North Korea and Pakistan would happy to oblige.

So any further cuts in America’s arsenal – let alone the deep ones that the PDA and other pro-disarmament organizations demand – would greatly EXACERBATE the problem of nuclear proliferation instead of solving it.

The PDA treats this as only a first step towards even deeper cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal and as towards the fantasy goal of “a world without nuclear weapons”, which will never exist because China, North Korea, Pakistan, and others are NOT going to give up their nukes and are, in fact, expanding their arsenals, while Iran is racing towards nuclear capability.

2) deeply cut the Navy to just 230 ships, 57 fewer than today, a reduction of more than 21%. The Navy is ALREADY way too small to meet national security requirements (see the graph below); Frank and the PDA want it to be cut further to just 230 ships, not enough to protect even America herself, let alone its allies, even under an isolationist/noninterventionist strategy. America has 3 long coasts to protect and is totally dependent on the oceans for trade (95% of its trade, exports and imports alike, is conducted by sea), which means protecting civilian ships and their shipping lanes, but the PDA wants the Navy to be cut massively, by 21%. In fact, they propose to cut the Navy deeper than any other service.

The PDA falsely claims that the Navy can withdraw many of its ships to bases in the US and yet reduce its fleet by 21%. This is utter garbage. Ships based in-theater can respond to any crisis or conflict IMMEDIATELY without having to travel to the theater from the US and without having to them return to America. By contrast, US-based ships waste many weeks steaming to and from the theater. One ship based in-theater is worth, according to some calculations, 4 CONUS-based ships. Withdrawing the fleet to the US would mean a need for even MORE ships than the US today, not fewer. Yet, the PDA wants the Navy to give up 57 ships.

The Navy is already too small. It can meet only 59% of Combatant Commanders’ needs for ships and only 61% of their needs for subs. This year, 22% of its ships failed maintenance inspections. The Navy itself says it needs at least 300 ships, and just a year ago, before the defense budget crunch, it said it needed a minimum of 313 vessels. This is only to meet minimum national defense requirements; to meet all of Combatant Commanders’ needs, the Navy says it would need about 500 ships.


Yet, the PDA wants the Navy to go down to just 230 ships, fewer than Russia (231) and much fewer than China (279) has. The PDA would cut the attack sub fleet from 53-55 to just 42 boats, the SSBN fleet to just 7 (with only 3 deployed at any time), the large surface combatant fleet to merely 72 instead of 88, the carrier fleet from 11 to 9, and the small surface combatant fleet to just 33, and shrinking further when demining ships retire due to age.

With just 9 carriers in total, no more than 5 would be available for duty at any given time. Thus, the US would either have to devote 2-3 to the Persian Gulf and assign only 2 to the Pacific (where China has over 1,000 fighters and hundreds of bombers and strike aircraft available), or assign more to the Pacific and drastically under-resource the CENTCOM, which needs 2-3 carrier groups. Earlier this year, CENTCOM leader Gen. Mattis requested a third carrier group and was denied.

The PDA falsely claims that even after these deep cuts the US Navy would be far more powerful than any other, but that’s not true. In terms of both numbers (especially surface combatant and submarine numbers and total ship numbers) and capabilities (firepower capabilities deeply cut across the board due to ship number cuts, and continued atrophy of demining, anti-submarine, BMD, and other capabilities), it would be DECISIVELY INFERIOR to both the Chinese and the Russian navy, and wouldn’t stand a chance in a battle against either. It would also be way too small to reassure American allies, deter potential enemies, prevent crises from emerging or blooming into conflicts, and secure global shipping lanes (a goal the PDA wants the USN to discard). In other words, it would be a weak Navy. 200 years ago America had a weak, small Navy – much smaller than Britain’s – and London was able to completely blockade American ports.

Moreover, the PDA report itself ( admits that it would reduce the annual shipbuilding rate to just 5-6 ships per year, including only one attack sub and one destroyer per year, compared to the already pathetic and inadequate rate of 9 ships per annum. (During the Reagan years, the USN was building 28 ships per year, and during WW2, 1000 ships per year, on average.) This would cause several American shipyards to go out of business, and once they would, they could never be restored.  A shipyard will not reopen 10 years down the road when the USN is finally ready to start building more ships. This would kill the shipping industry in the US, already totally dependent on Navy orders. So, another cherished branch of American industry would be destroyed, and its employees be laid off, becoming dependent on welfare (and thus on the federal government). Which is probably what Barney Frank wants.

3) The PDA wants missile defense programs to be dramatically cut. It wants only short-range missile defense programs to continue procurement and longer-range BMD programs to be mere R&D efforts which the PDA would allow to procede to procurement only if there is an agreement to eliminate the last nuclear weapons on Earth (i.e. never, because that will never happen). The PDA falsely claims that missile defenses have failed to offer any protection against ballistic missiles, but the fact is that the US today has a comprehensive, multilayered BMD network protecting it from North Korean Taepodong-2 ICBMs and its allies and troops abroad from short- and medium-range BMs alike (with PATRIOT, THAAD, and SM-3 interceptors). What was just a dream 15 years ago is now a reality. The PDA falsely claims that missile defense programs have retarded arms control efforts, but that is not true.

4) The PDA wants to cut ground troops excessively, from 82 to just 62 brigades and brigade equivalents.

5) The PDA wants the USAF bomber and fighter fleet to be cut by almost 400 aircraft.

6) The PDA proposes to cancel numerous crucial weapon programs which are necessary to equip the military for future wars. It recommends the program closures recommended in the reports of the George-Soros-sponsored “Sustainable Defense Task Force” (convened by Barney Frank in 2010) and by two ignorant CATO Institute hacks earlier this year (“Defense Sense”, CATO, June 2012). These cuts would include:

a) cancelling the F-35 program completely, thus depriving THREE services (USAF, USN, USMC) of this cutting-edge stealthy 5th generation fighter and forcing them to rely on obsolete F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft that are decisively inferior to it as well as to enemy aircraft and do not offer anything even remotely close to the F-35’s capabilities, whether in range, payload, sensors, countermeasures, or radar signature reduction. More on that subject here:

Under the PDA’s and Barney Frank’s plan, American pilots would be forced to fly obsolete, unsurvivable, inferior aircraft into highly-defended enemy airspace until kingdom come. The result would be the same as in Vietnam: hundreds of American pilots would die, and thousands of other American airmen would, upon being shot down, be captured and tortured. Don’t think that the Chinese, the Russians, or the Iranians would not torture American POWs.

b) Delaying the next generation bomber for at least a few decades, even though B-52s and B-1s, due to their nonstealthy designs, are already unsurvivable and useless as they are easy targets for Russian, Chinese, and even legacy Soviet SAM systems, and thus severely limiting conventional strike capabilities to just 20 B-2 stealthy bombers (more on that here, here, and here);

c) Deeply cutting Virginia class submarine procurement, even though the LA class is too noisy and too obsolete and has nothing even close to the VA class’s capabilities, and even though China and Russia have huge submarine fleets (68 and 64 boats, respectively), and are quickly growing them in both size and capability (China will have 75 submarines by 2020; their Kilo-, Song-, Yuan-, Qin-, and Shang-class submarines are very quiet, as are Russian Improved Akula, Yasen, Kilo, and Lada/St Petersburg class subs);

d) Killing the combat-proven, efficient V-22 Osprey, which has proven itself in real world combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, is far more survivable and twice faster and longer-ranged than any helicopter, and costs TWICE LESS to buy and operate than the big, fat, easy-to-shoot-down CH-53 helos that Barney Frank and the SDTF wanted to replace it with;

e) cutting the Ohio class SSBN replacement program to just 7 boats (for why this would be suicidal, see #1 at the top):

f) killing the Army’s and Marine’s Ground Combat Vehicle and JLTV programs and thus denying them next-generation, better-protected ground vehicles;

g) killing most missile defense systems;

h) denying the Marine Corps their next-generation amphibious combat vehicle;

i) cutting and delaying the procurement of the P-8 ASW/maritime patrol plane, urgently needed to hunt enemy submarines and replace the Navy’s obsolete, propeller-driven P-3 Orion planes;

j) cancelling Uranium Production Facility construction, urgently needed to replace obsolete facilities and produce uranium to sustain American nuclear warheads;

k) cut the funding for B61 tactical nuclear bomb modernization;

l) cutting other procurement programs across the board in line with their deep force structure cuts.

and many other program killings or cuts.

ALL of these weapon programs are absolutely needed, and, as enemies of the US military, Frank and his PDA pals in Massachusetts have, unsurprisingly, targeted exactly these programs.

7) In total, the PDA would cut the base defense budget to a paltry $462 bn by January (in 2012 dollars), even less than the DOD would have under sequestration ($469 bn), and far less than what President Obama’s budget would allow. Contrary to their false claim, such a defense budget would be significantly smaller than it was during Cold War peak periods (during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and especially the Reagan years when it peaked at $580 bn). Such a small amount of money would be woefully inadequate for anything, and indeed, the military that would remain after the implementation of PDA’s cuts proposals would be way too small for anything, even for protecting America itself and its citizens (this would especially be the problem with the tiny nuclear arsenal the PDA’s cuts would leave).

For all of these reasons, the PDA’s treasonous defense cuts recommendations must be completely rejected. It’s a plan deliberately designed to completely gut the US military. If one wanted to irreparably cripple America’s armed forces, one could not have come up with a better plan to do so than the PDA’s scheme.

Sequestration is a problem not just because of its across-the-board methodology, but also because of its DEPTH. $462 bn or $469 bn is woefully inadequate to protect America, even if all waste in the defense budget were eliminated.

The Hill reports that “[Barney] Frank said the White House has been receptive to some of the ideas outlined in the report”. This is deeply troubling, because the PDA’s report is a litany of blatant lies and contains nothing but destructive proposals which would gut the US military.

The PDA’s claims that nuclear and conventional weapons are no longer needed is patently false. Both of them are needed now more than ever. Both of them are necessary to deter Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, and defeat, if necessary, Chinese, North Korean, or Iranian aggression against the US or its allies, including Israel. Without these weapons, the US won’t be able to defend itself or its allies, including Israel.

The Cold War is over, but the demand for nuclear and conventional weapons is GREATER, not smaller, because the security environment is more dangerous and more complex, and threats are dispersed around the world. These capabilities are not outdated nor “considered outdated on the modern battlefield”. They are crucial and needed now more than ever.

Dear Readers, please call your Congressmen and Senators and tell them that you will never vote for them again if they support Barney Frank’s and the PDA’s plan for massive, crippling defense cuts.

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