Congressional Issues 2012
FOREIGN AFFAIRS - DEFENSE
The Defense Budget
These were our recommended starting-points for the 109th Congress:
reduce the budget for national defense from the current sum of about $300 billion to $185 billion (in fiscal year 2002 dollars)—in increments over five years;
make it clear that the reduced budget must be accompanied by a more restrained national military posture that requires enough forces to fight one major theater war instead of the current posture based on the need to wage two nearly simultaneous wars;
restructure U.S. forces to reflect the American geostrategic advantage of virtual invulnerability to invasion by deeply cutting ground forces (Army and Marines) while retaining a larger percentage of the Navy and Air Force;
authorize a force structure of 5 active-duty Army divisions (down from 10 now), 1 active Marine division (reduced from 3 now), 14 Air Force fighter wings (down from 20 now), 200 Navy ships (down from 316), and 6 carrier battle groups with 6 Navy air wings (reduced from 12 and 11, respectively);
require that the armed services compensate for reduced active forces by relying more on the National Guard and the reserves in any major conflict;
terminate weapons systems that are unneeded or are relics of the Cold War and use the savings to give taxpayers a break and to beef up neglected mission areas;
terminate all peacekeeping and overseas presence missions so that the armed services can concentrate on training to fight wars and to deploy from the U.S. homeland in an expeditionary mode should that become necessary; and
require negotiations with Russia to mutually reduce strategic nuclear warheads below START II levels—to about 1,500 war-heads each.
Here are some of the reasons we need the same thing for Iraq . . .
Before the invasion Halliburton executives met with the the staff of their former CEO, Vice President Dick Cheney. Did Halliburton get special consideration from their former boss? It sure looks like it. According to GlobalPolicy.org, the Government Accountability Office found that "Pentagon officials had broken competitive contracting requirements and overruled objections from an army lawyer to grant the first Iraq oil-related work order to Halliburton." Many contracts were awarded to Halliburton and other firms without competitive bidding. Details
Halliburton and other companies were also awarded "cost-plus" contracts. This means that taxpayers cover ALL of their costs, no matter how high, plus a guaranteed profit. So if a brand-new truck gets a flat tire, they could torch the truck and have the taxpayers buy a new one for them. Such contracts provide no incentives to economize.
KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, provided U.S. troops with water containing fecal matter and other toxins. The troops used the water to wash clothes, shower, and brush their teeth.
None of the above has caused anyone to be disciplined, fired, or prosecuted.
The Defense Budget can never be financially responsible and accountable as long as defense policy is completely unconstitutional. The entire Defense Department considers itself above the law, transcending the Constitution. "After all", they think, "the Constitution can't protect our national security."
Recommendations from the CATO Institute, a Libertarian think-tank:
adopt a grand strategy of restraint, which means avoiding state-building missions and eliminating most U.S. defense alliances;
redeploy troops in Iraq, South Korea, Europe, and Japan to the United States, lessening the requirement for U.S. forces and allowing reductions in force structure;
cut the size of the army to 25–30 brigades and cancel the Future Combat Systems;
reduce the size of the Marine Corps to two division equivalents and cancel the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program and V-22 Osprey;
reduce the navy to 200 ships by cutting the number of carrier battle groups to eight, naval air wings to nine, and expeditionary strike groups to six; and cancel the littoral combat ship program and the DDG-1000 destroyer program;
eliminate six fighter air wing equivalents, thereby limiting the air force’s procurement of fighters;
eliminate roughly one-third of the Pentagon’s civilian workforce and identify jobs now done by military personnel that can be done by civilians, who cost less and remain in their jobs longer; and
cut the nuclear weapons arsenal to 1,000 warheads based on 8 ballistic nuclear missile submarines (rather than 14), and reduce the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles to 100–200.
stop using the misleading phrase “war on terrorism”;
understand that an aim of terrorism is to elicit overreactions that damage the victim state as badly or worse than direct attacks;
focus on disrupting al Qaeda senior leadership’s ability to plan future terrorist attacks and attract and train new recruits;
work with foreign governments to apprehend al Qaeda operatives in other countries, but be prepared to take unilateral action when foreign governments are unable or unwilling to take action themselves and when the diplomatic and strategic risks are low; and
recognize that effective strategies for confronting the threat of terrorism rarely involve large-scale military action and that the presence of U.S. ground troops on foreign soil might actually be counterproductive.
47. Domestic Security
focus the federal government’s efforts on the few areas where it can make a significant contribution to securing the country and eliminate federal security programs that are better performed by other levels of government and the private sector;
make it clearer to the public that government homeland security efforts cannot make the country absolutely safe against possible terrorist attacks;
ensure that homeland security efforts are not disproportionately focused on defending against the last attack, such as another 9/11 or the Madrid train bombings, at the expense of other vulnerabilities;
avoid overreaction or exaggeration of the threat posed by terrorism; and
ensure that civil liberties are not sacrificed for unneeded and ineffective homeland security measures.
48. Strengthening the All-Volunteer
accelerate the pullout of American troops from Iraq;
improve recruiting programs and enlistment inducements, especially for hard-to-fill occupational specialties;
continue to change the mix between active and reserve forces to reflect current military commitments, and further reduce the frequency and length of overseas tours;
consider creating special reserve units designed for garrison duty;
fully withdraw U.S. forces from outdated cold war deployments in Asia and Europe; and
drop draft registration and eliminate the Selective Service System.
withdraw military forces from Iraq by July 1, 2009, leaving behind only a small number of Special Forces personnel to work with Iraqi authorities to disrupt any remaining al Qaeda cells in the country;
encourage Iraq’s neighbors to help contain any post-withdrawal internecine violence in Iraq;
view the withdrawal from Iraq as the first step toward ending the dangerous and intrusive U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region; and
learn the real lesson of the Iraq experience and avoid future utopian nation-building schemes in the Persian Gulf or any other region.
U.S. Policy toward Iran
press for direct diplomacy with the Iranian leadership;
keep diplomatic aims limited to the Iranian nuclear program;
evaluate and compose a “Plan B” in the event that diplomacy fails;
seek advice from U.S. military leaders about the implications of military action against Iran;
educate the public that there is little evidence the Iranian leadership would use nuclear weapons unprovoked; and
make clear that the war power rests in the hand of Congress, and that it is not the prerogative of the president to launch military action unauthorized.
U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and
make the war in Afghanistan a top priority, as Washington’s insufficient military focus has led directly to the Taliban’s resurgence in that country’s eastern and southern provinces;
plan for drawing the military mission in Afghanistan to a close, including the withdrawal of most U.S. military personnel within a two- to three-year period;
develop a comprehensive plan to uproot al Qaeda, Taliban, and other militant safe havens in the tribal belt of western Pakistan, an area used by insurgents to infiltrate neighboring Afghanistan and sabotage U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations;
recognize that large-scale military action in Pakistan’s tribal areas will further radicalize the region’s indigenous population and should be deemphasized in favor of low-level clear-and-hold operations, which employ small numbers of U.S. Special Operations Forces and Pakistan’s Special Services Group; and
maintain tighter oversight on the distribution of military aid and the sale of dual-use weapons systems to Pakistan, especially those that have limited utility for counterterrorism operations but instead feed Pakistan’s rivalry with India.
U.S. Policy in the Middle East
embrace a policy of “constructive disengagement” from the Middle East by de-emphasizing U.S. alliances in the Middle East, especially with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and by drawing down the American military presence in the region;
recognize that the current round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine are not expected to yield real results in the short term;
understand that the Persian Gulf states cannot effectively use the “oil weapon” against the American economy; and
avoid taking a leading role in resolving regional conflicts given that such efforts have produced an anti-American backlash.
Relations with China, India, and
maintain a policy of maximum economic and diplomatic engagement with China;
adopt a hedging strategy regarding China by encouraging other major powers, especially Japan and India, to play more active security roles;
continue attempting to foster closer relations with India;
acknowledge that while Washington and New Delhi have some common interests, India is unlikely to become a pliable client state;
further acknowledge that the U.S.-India nuclear deal has created additional difficulties in existing nonproliferation institutions;
cease efforts toward admitting Ukraine and Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization;
recognize that Russia, like most major powers past and present, will insist on a sphere of influence in its region; and
seek ways to sustain cooperation with Moscow on important issues and avoid actions that may trigger a second cold war.
East Asian Security Commitments
terminate, within three years, all defense treaties with South Korea and the Philippines, and withdraw all American military units from those countries by that deadline;
rescind, within three years, the informal commitment to defend Taiwan;
continue the policy of being willing to sell Taiwan conventional weapon systems;
withdraw all ground forces from Japan within two years;
reassess whether to continue stationing any air and naval units in Japan; and
immediately commence discussions with Japan about replacing the U.S.-Japan security treaty with a more informal cooperative security arrangement.
offer no security guarantees nor other implied defense commitments that they are unable to keep;
recognize that our allies’ limited capabilities, driven by demographic and budgetary constraints, but also a lack of political will, increase the risks and burdens on Americans;
reorient policy away from the use of military force toward the attraction of American values and act to recover our lost moral authority; and
commit to following the original transatlantic vision proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter, in particular the focus on reducing armaments as opposed to perpetuating American hegemony.
U.S. Policy in the Balkans
support the transfer of peacekeeping duties in Kosovo to the European Union;
mandate the withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces from the Balkans by the end of 2009;
eliminate foreign aid for nation-building in Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere in the region;
allow Serbs within Bosnia to seek greater autonomy or independence;
suspend recognition of an independent Kosovo and promote genuine negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia;
support liberalization of economic relations with and political liberalization within Serbia, but end meddling in Serbia’s elections;
leave developments in the Balkans to the people of the Balkans, backed by the EU;
shift responsibility for Balkan security issues to the EU and individual European nations; and
establish a future policy of nonintervention in Balkan affairs.
The links below only scratch the surface of the work that needs to be done to stop the Pentagon from wasting the money you worked so hard to earn.