DOD photo / MC1 Chad J. McNeeley

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Pentagon Chief Financial Officer Robert Hale discussing impending sequestration budget cuts on Wednesday.

“I'm always troubled if we're trying to determine the adequacy of defense budgets based on real dollar levels in a particular year. I mean, I think you need to look at the threats that we face, and they remain quite substantial. I guess complex set of security challenges is the word. And therefore I don't think returning to some arbitrary past number for defense makes sense.”
— Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale, explaining Wednesday why the Pentagon isn't able to live with the sequester-imposed budget cuts that would return it to its 2007 level of defense spending.
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The Pentagon Comptroller is lecturing us on threats? They remain quite substantial?  What are the military threats to the U.S. that require continued military spending equivalent to the rest of the world?

SecDef Panetta on threats--
This happens at a time when we face some significant threats in the world,” he said. “We’re still fighting a war, we are still confronting terrorism. We have threats from Iran and from North Korea. We have the Middle East in turmoil, we have rising powers in the Pacific, and we have the threats of cyber war.”

Terrorism (a crime, not a military threat), non-existant concocted threats to the US from Iran and NKorea, and cyber according to Panetta.

Those are the "substantial threats."

And what is the US strategy to counter these unsubstantial threats?

The new US  strategy includes an emphasis on supporting foreign partners rather than committing large numbers of US troops, because that didn't work out too well and it was too expensive. Too expensive, Mr. Comptroller.

The new strategy also includes a well-publicized "pivot" to Asia-Pacific, which obviates any need for ground forces which are very expensive, manpower being at a premium.

Therefore, the U.S. doesn't need a standing army, nor aircraft carriers (twelve billion each), nor fighter airplanes (1/3 billion each). The U.S could scrap its self-propelled howitzers, and not produce any more tanks, and realize big savings in expensive accounts as it pivots to supporting foreign partners.

Crunch the numbers based on the new strategy, Comptroller Hale, and not on past mistakes.

Look forward, not backward.


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