This is our final selection from the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on cutting federal spending, by slicing Pentagon programs among other things. It calls for dropping one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers, and one of the 10 air wings that supply them with aircraft. Total savings, in outlays, over the next five years is only $620 million, well less than 1 percent.
That leads to the bottom line: major Pentagon savings can’t happen if we retain our current mission list. Moving forward, the issue is not what weapons, or bases, or people to cut. It’s what missions to cut. And we can opt to do it smartly, in a way that makes sense, or we can pretend to fund our current mission set, and slowly hollow out the force. Secretary Panetta, call your office.