Tag Archives: Sen. Tom Coburn

No Longer the World’s Policeman, We’re Now the World’s Social Worker.

ObamaUSbordersignIt’s 9AM late July and already the day is shot to hell. The temperature is over 80 and the humidity would wilt a Puritan’s collar.

You’re supposed to be taking Migra, your Mexican Water Spaniel, on a 400–hundred-mile car trip. The dog’s 14–years–old if he’s a day, and who knows if he’ll live long enough to be reunited with the rest of your family. Plus, you can’t just motor out the driveway because that’s not a good idea where you live.

It’s one of those ‘transitional neighborhoods’ that you thought was transitioning into a community where people worry about their carbon footprint, but after the real estate crash it became an area where you worry about footsteps after midnight.

That’s why it’s never a good idea for the neighbors to know you’re leaving and taking the dog with you.

So you hide him under a blanket and as you back out of the driveway you’re waving vigorously to a wife that’s not home either. Ready to hit the open road, you remember about breakfast. But that’s why 7/11 was invented.

You drive up, crack a window and tell Migra to stay on the blanket and stop barking.

Inside the store you’re confronted with time–consuming decisions. At the counter you consider taking the slowly rotating trans–fat stick. Or will you settle for the dubious breakfast pastry that looks like it covered in scorched Play–Doh? Then it’s back to the coffee bar. What size, what flavor and will ‘Irish Cream’ dilution fluid clash with Sumatra Surprise coffee?

Meanwhile, back in the parking lot, some busybody in a Prius sees Migra licking the window. That’s what dogs do. Migra washes the inside and you wash the outside. Only she thinks it’s a cry for help from a dog dying of heat prostration.

So she runs into the street and flags down a passing patrol car.

But you’re still inside visiting the new bathroom; not knowing the extra minutes are digging you deeper in the hole. By the time you get back to the car the rear window has been smashed by Fire & Rescue, the busybody is wailing about abuse as the cop is issuing a summons and telling you the dog is going to be a guest of the county, until authorities determine whether or not you are fit to be an animal parent.

So much for white privilege.

By way of contrast if you were an enterprising parent in El Salvador and decided it’s high time to find out what your relatives are doing in El Norte, it’s only natural to deputize your 14–year–old and send him north on an 1,110 mile trek to Laredo, TX.

Pedro might go by foot, by coyote or by Mexican Death Train. He might be robbed, raped, sold into sex slavery, recruited into a gang or killed. But the important thing is he memorizes the magic words that will cause the government drone in Texas to consider him for asylum.

If he makes it to the border, after being helped northward by those nice government officials in Mexico, his free enterprise traveling days are over. Now he’s on Uncle Sugar’s tab. When Migra got to the pound the first thing the staff did was check his tags, check for disease and check his shots.

When Pedro hit the border he has no tags, no shot records and, of course, no parent. But that’s no problem! The US government is here to Pander & Serve! Instead of sending him back across the border to make his way home, Uncle Social Worker takes whatever vague family history and location for relatives that Pedro gives him and prepares to reunite the boy with the same people that had no problem dispatching him on a journey that would get a gringo arrested.

And that’s another contrast. When you go to get Migra at the pound you have to show photo ID and plenty of contrition for roasting your poor dog in the parking lot while you gamboled about in 7/11. When someone shows up for Pedro there’s no ID check, no criminal check, no fingerprint check and certainly no citizenship check. Uncle Social just aids and abets the original border offense.

The staff considers itself fortunate if Pedro doesn’t join the rest of his ‘relatives’ outside and participate in the ‘No Deportations’ rally.

This entire farce just emphasizes the only people who are ignored and actually living in the shadows here are the citizens of the United States.

Two particular items stand out in this latest crisis. The Mainstream Media is focusing on the children and the human tragedy, but no one asks what kind of parents use their children for pawns, other than the Kardashians? The second is the claim that the children are fleeing dangerous neighborhoods.

Well okay, but when you are frightened do you normally flee 1,200 miles? Most of us stop running when the get out of the bad guy’s range. And isn’t it convenient they only feel safe in the new Obama welfare state?

The other is the MSM continuing chronology problem. All teenagers aren’t children, unless you fit into a leftist talking point. Many of these ‘unaccompanied minors’ are tattooed gang members that know a scam and easy pickings when they see it.

It’s also interesting how the left never quotes the Bible when discussing homosexual marriage or abortion, but let an illegal appear on the horizon and it’s instant theology class. We Christians are told by people who I doubt even own a Bible that Christ told us to welcome the stranger and alien.

Which only proves that both the devil and the leftist can quote scripture. They just don’t quote it all. Exodus and Numbers on more than one occasion discuss how the alien should be treated and sure enough it is with equality and generosity. BUT and it’s a big but, Numbers 15:15 plainly states, “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord.”

So it’s clear the foreigner residing among us is to be held to the same rules or law as we are. When one’s first action in joining a community is to break the law, it would seem to me that the proper Biblical response would not be a warm welcome.

Obama now wants $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis he created, but only (!) $400 million of the total is to be spent on border–strengthening measures. The rest of the money will go to hire an army illegal alien facilitators, caretakers and expand the federal government.

The great Oklahoma senator and patriot Tom Coburn points out that it would be cheaper to fly the entire alien families home in a first class seat, than to let Obama sprinkle them around the country and create government jobs that cater to lawbreakers.

He’s right. It’s the sensible and Christian action to take.

Umbrella Organizations Always Leave Taxpayers Wet

government wasteSen. Tom Coburn (R–OK), a truly great American, has released his annual report on waste, duplication and redundancy in federal programs. Evidently inspecting catfish is both a vital and difficult task, because it currently takes three different federal agencies to do the job. And as soon as someone can reliably map the location of catfish sex organs, TSA is interested in participating, too.

An editorial in The Washington Examiner has more detail, but what’s important for my purpose is the total figure. If the savings recommendations in Coburn’s last three waste reports had been implemented, taxpayers could have saved almost $300 billion. That’s enough to pay for Obama vacations and Joe Biden’s shotgun shells for the rest of their term.

The problem with figures that large is it doesn’t bother the spenders because it’s not their money and it depresses the taxpayer because he can’t imagine how one would obtain such a sum or make a dent in paying for it.

But don’t despair. We have a waste and duplication situation in Prince William County, VA — where I live — that is easy to comprehend, since it’s one thousandth the size of the fed’s situation, and will give useful training in the art of not wasting taxpayer dollars, because the situation is replicated all across the US.

Currently the county pays almost $300,000 in annual dues to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government. There are 22 governing bodies that participate and the organization is supposed to have a unified voice on area matters that include police, fire, transportation, homeland security, growth planning and environmental concerns. There is probably a similar organization near where you live.

The WaPost describes the group thusly, “Politically, the council’s members range from very liberal Democrats to tea party Republicans. It’s able to get things done by sticking to non-controversial issues. Those include collecting traffic data and improving communications among emergency personnel after shortcomings were revealed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”

What this means is the only projects COG supports are those no one in their right mind would oppose anyway. So why are PWC taxpayers sending $300,000 a year to an organization that does what PWC elected officials are already paid to do anyway? Can’t our homegrown pols represent our interests?

These area umbrella organizations (there’s an apt metaphor: taxpayers get soaked while the organization employees are high and dry) only serve as resume builders for politicians who are eager to move up the electoral ladder and “showing leadership” on a regional basis looks impressive to gullible reporters. COG only serves to increase the size of government and the busybodies it enables.

Until quite recently, if a PWC politician wanted to adhere to a genuine conservative philosophy and withdraw from COG he would have been roasted as a know–nothing reactionary. But that was then, COG, thanks to the hubris of its leftist Democrat members, has now given conservative jurisdictions an excellent reason to withdraw and stop paying dues.

Last month the COG board of directors — with three leftist Dems in charge — voted in favor of calling for a federal ban on assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets, a firearm purchase waiting period and tracing of guns. In MD, DC and Alexandria supporters broke out in drum circles to celebrate. But PW, Loudoun and Frederick counties and Manassas leaders were outraged and collectively threatened to withhold more than $500,000 in dues.

These Virginians said the board had overstepping its bounds and the policy was “inappropriate and disrespectful” of the views of individual localities. Regional cooperation did not include passing federal law and revising the Constitution and was not why COG was created.

It makes you wonder doesn’t it? For that matter, what is COG’s position on Joe Biden’s warning shot or Michelle’s bangs?

The PWC Board of Supervisors was angry enough to pass a resolution opposing COG’s gun control advocacy, with only one member voting against. Frank Principi (D–Ambitious) is one of two PWC members of the COG board and the former COG chairman. Principi didn’t bother to attend the meeting where the gun resolution was passed, but he did find time to vote against the county’s resolution condemning it.

Principi claims he supports the 2nd Amendment — as long as it’s confined to a dusty old parchment — but he didn’t want the board to “pile on.” Principi — a noted profile in political courage in his own mind — blamed politicians who are angling for statewide office for making the COG resolution an issue. What Principi didn’t say was that if he had voted in favor of the county resolution it would have been the kiss of death in a Democrat primary, where the vote would be characterized as ‘caving in to the NRA.’

Feeling the heat, COG backtracked last Wednesday and rescinded the resolution and returned the issue to a committee for further study.  Principi was motivated enough to actually attend that meeting where he voted in favor of both. This is fine, a positive step, but PWC should still head for the door. There are plenty of areas in the county where 300 grand would be better spent.

Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova (D–Left), still surprised by the uproar, commented, “I’m hopeful we can find some language, some middle ground, where COG can be a voice on this issue of gun violence, gun safety, safety in our schools and mental health. All of these are appropriate subjects for COG to discuss and come to some consensus on.”

I could not agree more. How about passing a resolution honoring a Fairfax County organization called the National Rifle Association? It’s been doing excellent work on all these issues for years.

Rebuttal of Sen. Coburn’s defense cuts proposals

Among the deepest, and most destructive, proposals of defense cuts made in recent years are those made by Sen. Tom Coburn in his “Back to Black” pamphlet, which he advertises in his newest book as necessary.

If implemented (God forbid), his proposals would cut over $1 trillion out of the defense budget over the next decade (i.e. over 100 bn every year), and defense would take by far the biggest share of the hits under his plan. All other federal agencies and programs, including the Big Three entitlement programs, would see only small budget cuts by comparison – nothing even comparable to the massacre that Coburn wants to inflict on the military.

While some of his proposals would target and eliminate truly wasteful programs, the majority of his proposals, including those with the biggest budgetary consequences, pertain to crucial, absolutely needed weapon programs and force structures, cuts to which would dramatically weaken, if not outright gut, the US military and its ability to protect America. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Specifically, he proposes to:

To take a few examples:
1) Cut spending on the nuclear arsenal and the arsenal of means of delivery by $7.9 bn per year, i.e. $79 bn over a decade, for purely budgetary reasons, by:
a) cutting the nuclear stockpile down to the inadequate levels allowed by the disastrous New START treaty (former SECDEF James Schlesinger deems them “barely adequate”);
b) cutting the ICBM fleet from 450 to 300 missiles (i.e. by a whopping 200 missiles);
c) cutting the SSBN fleet from from 14 to 11 subs;
d) delaying, again, for purely budgetary reasons, the Next Generation Bomber program until the mid-2020s when it hasn’t even been allowed to begin; and
e) maintaining a reserve stockpile of just 1,100 warheads;
f) cutting the strategic bomber fleet to just 40 aircraft compared to the current 96 nuclear-capable B-2s and B-52s and 66 non-nuclear-capable B-1s.
This is the worst of all his proposals by far. The disastrous New START treaty, which does not cover tactical nuclear weapons (in which Russia has overwhelming advantage), ordered the US to cut its nuclear arsenal to already-inadequate levels, so that Russia could quickly reach strategic nuclear parity with the US while retaining its lead in tactical weapons. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal down to levels authorized by this treaty is a mistake; cutting it further would be an ever bigger mistake; cutting it by a whopping 200 ICBMs, 3 SSBNs, and hundreds of warheads would be an egregious blunder which would make America much less safe and invite a Russian nuclear first strike, as the US would have far fewer ICBMs than Russia has (at least 369, and probably up to 469).
Coburn also proposes to forego any modernization of the deterrent until the mid-2020s, including the dual-role nuclear/conventional strike bomber fleet. A requirement for a Next Generation Bomber  is real and was officially acknowledged by the DOD 5 years ago, in 2006, in that year’s Quadrennial Defense Review. It was later confirmed by the 2010 QDR. It was subsequently acknowledged by DOD leadership, including Secretary Gates, and by the DOD’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance.
Also in 2010, the CSBA – which Coburn likes to cite as a source – released a report (authored by retired USAF Colonel Mark Gunzinger, who has participated in all defense reviews to date) stating that an NGB is an urgent requirement which must be met by 2018 at the latest and that consequently, the NGB program must not be delayed any longer.[1] Another CSBA analyst’s report reached the same conclusion in 2009.[2] Successive SECDEFs from Rumsfeld to Panetta have said the same, as have the current CSAF and SECAF, their predecessors, their colleague Adm. Greenert, former LTG David Deptulanumerous former Air Force Secretaries, Chiefs of Staff, Generals, and other officials, and numerous outside experts from the CSBA[1][2][3], Air Power Australia, and the Heritage Foundation. (Please read their studies; they explain very well why the NGB is absolutely needed.) This requirement has also been validated bySecretary Gates, who started the NGB program and said that China’s A2/AD weapons will put a premium on America’s ability to strike from the horizon and require a family of long range strike systems. As Gates rightly said in January 2011:

“It is important that we begin this project now to ensure that a new bomber can be ready before the current aging fleet goes out of service.  The follow on bomber represents a key component of a joint portfolio of conventional deep-strike capabilities – an area that should be a high priority for future defense investment given the anti-access challenges our military faces.”

Delaying/cancelling the NGB would emasculate the USAF, making it (except its small B-2 fleet) unable to operate in anything than very benign, permissive environments where opponents lack meaningful SAM systems, and thus make China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela sanctuaries for America’s enemies, allowing them to husband their assets from harm. It would send a signal to America’s enemies that Washington won’t be able to bomb them.

Delaying, or even worse, cancelling the development of the Next Generation Bomber would cause the Air Force to completely lose its already small (due to the small size of the B-2 fleet) long-range penetrating capability by the time B-2s lose that capability. This, in turn, would cause the USAF to be unable to strike any targets protected by modern IADS and/or fighters, thus creating huge sanctuaries for America’s enemies – a scenario that America cannot accept.

It is therefore imperative to begin the NGB’s development NOW – not a year from today, not in 2023, not in 2024, but NOW – and to complete it BEFORE the B-2 loses its penetrating capability. Especially since it’s the centerpiece of the AirSea Battle strategy of defeating China if need be.

If procured, the NGB will frequently be called into action, as have been the three existing bomber types, which have seen extensive action in the First Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It won’t spend much time in hangar. The demand for USAF bombers vastly outstrips the supply.

AirPowerAustralia’s peer-reviewed analysis shows that:

“Advanced Russian technology exports present a major strategic risk for the US, whether operated by China, or smaller players like Iran or Venezuela. These systems will deny access to most US ISR and combat aircraft, with only the B-2A, the “2018 bomber” and the F-22A designed to penetrate such defences. With its compromised X-band optimised stealth, the F-35 JSF will simply not be survivable in this environment.

The fallback position of standoff bombardment with cruise missiles is not viable. Only a fraction will reach their targets through such defences, and the economics of trading $500k cruise missiles for $100k interceptors, or hundreds of dollars of laser propellant, favour the defender. Time of flight is problematic given the high mobility of air defence targets, and targeting the cruise missiles no less problematic given denial of ISR coverage. (…) Current planning for 180 F-22As and the legacy fleet of 20 B-2As is simply not credible given the diversity of roles and missions, and sheer sortie count required to deal with anything above a trivial opponent.”

Likewise, CSBA expert Thomas Erhard warned in 2009 that without a Next Gen Bomber:

“The proliferation of sophisticated Russian air defense systems means the only US systems that can reliably penetrate and maintain a high survivability rate in the presence of integrated air defenses populated by SA-20B and SA-21 surface-to-air systems and modern Russian or Russian derivative (e.g., Su-35BM) fighters will be the F-22 and the B-2.” [2]

In short, the NGB is absolutely necessary, and the nuclear triad is the last part of the military that should be cut. And for all of these draconian cuts, Coburn would “save” only $7.9 bn per year, whereas my proposals of cutting the DOD’s administration spending alone would save taxpayers well over $10 bn per year. In fact, his proposals would likely not save anything close to what he promises: the entire ICBM leg of the nuclear triad costs only $1.1 bn per year, and the entire bomber leg only $2.5 bn per year, to maintain.
2) Ending the purchases of V-22 Ospreys at no more than 288 aircraft, thus allowing some Marine H-46s to retire unreplaced, and not having the V-22 Osprey as an option for the USAF’s CSARX competition. Buying MH-60s instead. The savings: a meagre $0.6 bn a year, or $6 bn over a decade.
This proposal is just as dumb as the first one. Barring the USAF’s bombers (B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s), there isn’t a single weapon type in America’s inventory that is as combat-proven and as battle-tested as the V-22, which has been widely used in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It is more survivable, and can fly much farther and faster, than any other rotorcraft in history, and can fly to places where other rotorcraft cannot. When an F-15E was downed in Libya earlier this year, it was a V-22 that rescued its crew. The V-22 is a must-have aircraft type. Orders for it should be increased, not cut. And contrary to Coburn’s claim, it costs only a little more than an MH-60: $67 mn for a V-22 vs at least $44 mn for an MH-60.
Not only are they inferior to it (in terms of speed, range, and survivability), the H-60 is too small, too slow, and too light to do the V-22′s tasks (which include CSAR). These 2 designs represent 2 completely different weight and duty classes of VTOL aircraft and are meant for different duties. Only a totally ignorant person would equate them and suggest they are interchangeable.
The V-22 is an excellent VTOL plane capable of flying twice faster and twice farther than any helicopter. It has served extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It has amassed over 150,000 flight hours. It is also much more survivable than helicopters – if you crash, you’ll likely survive. Its problems have been solved long ago.

The V-22 is an excellent, unmatched aircraft, as validated unanimously by all USMC leaders past and present, including the current Commandant, who is a Naval Aviator by trade. He, the expert, should be listened to – not anti-defense POGO hacks. It has proven itself in three wars in three different countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. (When an F-15E crashed in Libya, it was a pair of V-22s that rescued the pilots.) It underwent its baptism of fire in Iraq in 2007, during the fiercest fighting there. POGO’s claim that it is “neither cost- nor operationally-effective” is a blatant lie.

And as defense expert Dr. Robbin Laird writes:

“The beauty of the speed of the Osprey is that you can get the Special Operations forces where they need to be and to augment what the conventional forces were doing and thereby take pressure off of the conventional forces. And with the SAME assets, you could make multiple trips or make multiple hits, which allowed us to shape what the Taliban was trying to do.

“The Taliban has a very rudimentary but effective early warning system for counter-air. They spaced guys around their area of interest, their headquarters, etc. Then they would call in on cell or satellite phones to chat or track. It was very easy for them to track. They had names for our aircraft, like the CH-53s, which they called ‘Fat Cows.’

“But they did not talk much about the Osprey because they were so quick and lethal. And because of its speed and range, you did not have to come on the axis that would expect. You could go around, or behind them and then zip in.”

As Dr. Laird rightly writes, the V-22 isn’t just a great performer, it has revolutionized warfare and the way Marines think about it. (Please read his entire article.)

3) Canceling the Marine (STOVL) and Navy (CATOBAR) variants of the F-35, buying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets instead. The saving: a paltry $700 mn per year, i.e. $7 bn per decade.
This proposal, frequently stated by those who wish to cut the defense budget deeply, is fundamentally flawed, because it’s based on two wrong assumptions: a) a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing variant is not needed; b) the Super Bug is interchangeable with the F-35.
There is clearly a requirement for a STOVL variant, as confirmed by USMC Commandant Gen. James Amos, who is himself a Naval Aviator. He knows the F-35B better than anyone. Coburn’s assumption that a STOVL variant won’t be needed is based on wishful thinking. As for the second assumption: no, the Super Bug is not an alternative to, nor even substitute for, the F-35. It’s basically a redo of the F/A-18 Hornet, a plane that first flew in the 1970s. It can operate only in benign, uncontested airspace.

Super Bug has no such capabilities. Not turning capability, not thrust, not TTW ratio, not speed, not range and combat radius, not stealthiness (and thus survivability), and not weapons possible for integration (the F-35 can, for example, be fitted with Meteor A2A missiles; the Super Bug cannot). And the Super Bug’s combat radius (350 nmi) is DECISIVELY inferior to that of the F-35B (450-500 nmi) and F-35C (650 nmi, making the F-35C the longest-ranged of the 3 F-35 models). Range and endurance are absolutely vital for strike aircraft, as is stealthiness, because it determines survivability, which is key to winning ANY war. If a plane is not survivable, it’s worthless – and that’s exactly true of the Super Bug. And as stated above, stealthiness is necessary for any aircraft due to the proliferation and sophistication of enemy air defense systems.

The “proven” Super Bug, like B-1s and B-52s, has “proven itself” only in permissive environments (Afghanistan and Iraq) where the only opponent is an insurgency unable to contest control of the air. It is useless for any war theaters in which the enemy is a country with advanced IADS and/or fighters. It’s not even fit for any real A2A combat (and has not partaken in any), because it’s not a real fighter, but rather an attack jet, and is decisively inferior against current and projected enemy fighters by all criteria.

And it doesn’t have the STOVL capability required to take off from and land on amphib ships and primitive airfields, which is an absolute non-negotiable USMC requirement, as confirmed by USMC Commandant Gen. Amos. Without the F-35B, the Marines won’t have their own air cover when disembarking from ships and the Nation will lose 50% of its carrier-based strike aircraft fleet when the Harrier retires. Furthermore, cancelling the F-35 would relegate Marine and Naval Aviation solely to COIN environments, emasculating these services and barring them from any contested airspace – the kind of environment American servicemen will face in the future.

Put simply, the Super Bug is not an alternative to, or even a substitute for, the F-35. It’s a facelifted model of an attack jet that first flew in the 1970s. The F-35 is a 21st century strike fighter. Both are strike aircraft with jet engines… and that’s where the similarities end.

4) Retiring the USS George Washington early, cutting the carrier fleet permanently to 10 and cutting the number of carrier air wings from 10 to 9. This would save a paltry $600 mn per year, i.e. $6 bn over a decade, at a large cost to America’s defense.
This would also be reckless. Contrary to Coburn’s claim, during the Cold War, the USN needed – and always had – at least 15 carriers. Throughout the Cold War, the Navy had no fewer than 15 carriers. The flattop fleet was not cut until after the Cold War. In 2007, the Congress reluctantly agreed to cut the carrier fleet from 12 to 11, while simoultaneously writing a well-grounded requirement for at least 11 carriers into law. Last year, the Congress again reluctantly agreed to waive that requirement – but only for two years, from 2013 to 2015, until the USS Gerald R. Ford is commissioned. As studies by the Heritage Foundation have repeatedly shown, the Navy needs no fewer than 11 carriers at any one time. Cutting the carrier fleet and the number of CAWs would be reckless.

With 11 carriers, 7 are operational and 4 are in drydock or in homeport at any one time. 7 is barely enough to provide enough carrier strike groups where they’re needed. CENTCOM’s commander has requested a third carrier group (to deter Iran), which leaves just four for use elsewhere, e.g. in the WestPac.

But if the carrier fleet is cut to 10 (and they’ve suggested cutting it to just 9, by retiring the George Washington and foregoing CVN-80′s construction), no more than 6 carriers will be available for duty at any given time. Assuming that CENTCOM will get the 3 carriers it says it needs, that leaves 3 flattops for duty elsewhere, e.g. in the WestPac. Now, suppose that China starts a war over the oil/gas fields in the South China Sea at the same time that CENTCOM needs to deter (and possibly strike) Iran? That ain’t a farfetched scenario – China is close to provoking a war right now, and the time for eliminating Iran’s nuclear program is running out. [2] Yet, if Coburn gets his way, the Navy would have only 3 carriers to deploy to the WestPac to deter/defeat China… unless you deny CENTCOM the 3 carriers it needs.

Carriers have participated prominently in every war the US has partaken in since WW2: Korea, Vietnam, Operation Eldorado Canyon, the two Gulf Wars, the Afghan War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the bombing of Libya. There’s a huge demand for them. Without carrier air wings and intercontinental bombers, the US wouldn’t have been able to strike Afghanistan after 9/11.

In short, it would be a deep cut in America’s military strength and capability to defend itself. It epitomizes Coburn’s destructive proposals.

5) Cancelling the Precision Tracking Space Satellite (PTSS) program of the Missile Defense Agency.
This program is necessary to create a constellation of 6 dedicated satellites tracking ballistic missiles, a capability that none of America’s current satellites offer, and only the Army’s AN/APY-2 radars can, which Coburn does not propose to procure.
6) Cutting the total number of troops deployed in Europe and Asia to just 45,000.
While Europe can certainly defend itself on its own, having only one plausible enemy (Russia), this cannot be said of America’s Asian allies. The US can afford to withdraw troops from Europe but not Asia, where any American drawdown would be viewed as a sign of weakness and disengagement, which Sec. Panetta and President Obama have both recently tried to prevent, trying to assure America’s Asian allies that this will not happen. Furthermore, withdrawing units from Asia would deprive them of in-theater bases needed to respond to contingencies (including aggression) such as possible Chinese aggression against its neighbors. Bases and units stationed in Europe are also needed to project power into other theaters. When a Marine unit was dispatched to reinforce the Marines at the US consulate in Benghazi, it came from NS Rota, Spain (which is just a few hours of flight away from Benghazi), NOT from the CONUS.

As Heritage Foundation’s Luke Coffey rightly writes:

“forward basing U.S. troops in Europe is just as important today as it was during the Cold War, albeit for different reasons. U.S. military bases in Europe provide American leaders with increased flexibility, resilience, and options in a dangerous world. The garrisons of American service personnel in Europe are no longer the fortresses of the Cold War, but the forward operating bases of the 21st century.

The U.S. military presence in Europe deters American adversaries, strengthens allies, and protects U.S. interests—the U.S. reduces the number of these troops at its peril. U.S. can project power and react to the unexpected because of its forward-based military capabilities in Europe. Reducing these capabilities will only weaken America on the world stage.”

So Coburn’s proposals would, if implemented, “only weaken America on the world stage.”

7) Using the $100 bn savings that Secretary Gates for deficit reduction, not for military modernization as Sec. Gates wanted and the Services – which worked hard to find these savings – were promised by Gates, President Obama, and the Congress.
These savings were to be used for a number of military modernization programs, including purchases of additional ships, modernization of the Army’s combat vehicles, and the forementioned Next Generation Bomber program. Taking that money away from them and using it to pay the bills for a deficit caused exclusively by runaway civilian spending would not just be dumb, it would be an act of heinous betrayal.
(8) Delay the Ground Combat Vehicle for purely budgetary reasons. The saving: a paltry $700 mn per year, i.e. $7 bn per decade.
For purely budgetary reasons. Do I need to say more?
9) End the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program without replacement, not with a replacement as Sec. Gates proposed.
The decision of Sec. Gates (whom Coburn quotes selectively) to cancel the over-budget, delayed Marine amphibious truck vehicle known as the EFV was the right one. However, as a replacement, Gates proposed starting a new, less complex, less costly amphib program that is scheduled to produce the first amphibious trucks in 2014, so that Gen. Amos can ride in them before he retires in late 2014. As both Gates and Amos have stated, there is a clear requirement for such a vehicle. The USMC’s obsolete, Vietnam War era AAVs must be replaced. Coburn proposes not to replace them.
1o) Cutting DOD weapon RnD spending by 10% in FY2012, then by another 10% in FY2013, and then freezing it for a further 8 fiscal years.
Again, this is motivated purely by budgetary concerns, not military ones. Coburn claims that from FY1981 to FY1988, the DOD received, in constant dollars, $407 bn, and he claims that is only $51 bn per year. He’s wrong, and apparently can’t do simple math. $407 bn divided by seven is $58.142857 bn, i.e. ca. $58.143 bn. He proposes to cut RnD spending to a paltry $58.0 bn and keep it there, even though that is LESS than what was invested during the Reagan era.
On top of that, Coburn proposes to eliminate or cut many expenditures that are outright wasteful or excessive, but rather than reinvest at least a part of them in military modernization, he proposes to use them to pay for a deficit caused exclusively by runaway civilian spending.
In short, Sen. Coburn’s defense cuts proposals, totalling over $1 trillion per decade and $100 bn per year on average, would gut the US military and thus jeopardize national security. For that reason alone, they are absolutely unacceptable.
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References:

[1] Mark Gunzinger, Sustaining America’s Advantage in Long Range Strike, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington DC, 2010. Available online here.

[2] Thomas Erhard, An Air Force Strategy For the Long Haul, CSBA, Washington DC, 2009, pg. 83.

[3] Robert Haffa and Michael Isherwood, Long Range Conventional Strike: A Joint Family of Systems, Joint Force Quarterly issue #60, 1st quarter of 2011, National Defense University, Washington DC, 2011, available online here.

[4] According to retired LTG David Deptula, the need for a next-gen bomber was validated as early as the 2001 QDR, pointing to anti-access/access-denial threats and to contested airspace in particular. See here.