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Discussion Starter #1
As alluded to in another thread, and paralleled by fellow user Stand Watie, I've been doing some musing on pruning fat from the budget... I started with Defense since that's what I know best and figuring we could challenge the Lefturds to a dollar-for-dollar, head-for-head match, and even if they don't accept identifying things which should be cut anyway to make budget for REAL warfighters at the expense of chairborne REMFs and their Beltway Bandit cronies.

So, a few thoughts...
1. Defund the 89th Airlift Wing, cut the VC-25s and C-32s up for scrap or demil and sell them. Congress, the President/VP and the other Very Important P***ks either pay their own freight on commercial, or fly AMC Trash Hauler through Scott like any A1C rather than having their private airline where they and their cronies can guzzle thousands of bucks in booze per flight on our dime.
2. Do we really need NINE HUNDRED generals and admirals? The AF alone has been seeing noticeable growth in its flag-officer ranks over the past decade.
3. How many cases do we have where we've got an officer of much higher rank doing work more suitable to an officer of lower rank? Seems to me we could virtually do away with the four-star rank entirely, make it for service chiefs (5, including USCG), major theater commands (6) and the key niche functions of Strategic Command, SOCOM and Transportation Command (3) only. Cutting from 39 (13 Army, 4 USMC, 10 USN, 11 USAF, 1 USCG) to 14 (Commandant of USMC, CNO, AF and Army Chiefs of Staff, head of USCG, six major theaters, STRATCOM, SOCOM and USTC) is almost a TWO-THIRDS cut. I'm not talking summary cashiering, I'd let those on finish their postings and retire, but just move those offices down to three-star billets when current holder's tenure expires. Keeping a level playing field, I'd have the heads of those nine major commands only get 4-star rank and bennies for the duration of their assignment, at end of which they'd have a choice of retire at 4 or go back to 3 and continue in service--thus we wouldn't give them an unfair advantage in competing for those cushy REMF Joint Chiefs positions... From there, how many three-stars do we need? How many of those jobs can be devolved to two-stars, and so on and so forth? I mean, yes, we're going to hit a limit on how much responsibility can be devolved, but if we can collapse some of the Upper and Middle Management that'll be a BIG help. And for every pilot having to be an officer... we had a LOT of NCO's flying Mustangs and Thunderbolts in WWII--has flying really changed THAT much, or is this more status-symboling? Especially with the rise of the Nintendo Game Warrior operating drones...

How many DoD Civilian positions do we have that could be transferred to soldiers no longer fit for combat? Rather than cut them loose and dump them to VA, it seems to me that reducing DOD Civil Service to an adjunct to fill in any shortfalls and delegating those clerk, IT, etc positions to those who can no longer operate in the field but still want to serve could both help with budget AND give those disabled vets not only a new career but at the same time the dignity of knowing they still serve alongside their brother and sister warfighters, just in a new role... and at the same time, we reduce the power base of FedGov's various parasitic unions like AFSCME.

And then we get to the BIG cut by downsizing four-stars: not their salaries, but the maintenance/ops costs of their assigned individual jets. For 2014, a 4-star MINIMUM is $192864/year, while a 3-star minimums at $168,684, both at 20 years of service. The max, at 38 years, is $237,156 and $209,244 respectively. Let's call an average 4-star 30 years of service... which brings our typical salary to $215,100. A 3-star at same time-in-service is making $189,792, a difference of $25,308. Chump change on a governmental scale; only about my aunt's entire annual salary as a paraeducator with 30 years experience. Or, for each two four-stars we downsize to threes, we can afford the salaries of THREE new E-1 enlistees...

BUT... when we multiply that by 25 former four-star offices reduced to three-star offices, we save the taxpayers $632,700. Still not "Real Money" by government standards... When you add it to the downsizing of twenty-five executive jets on round-the-clock alert, each of which cost $37 million to buy and an amount I'm not sure of to operate per year, though, things start adding up. If we can downsize 25 Gulfstreams, we trim not just that annual operating cost, but we can also sell them onto the civilian sector--G-IIIs, IVs and Vs hold their value extremely well even well-used so each of those planes could be an easy recovery of 20-30 mil. (Remember, Mark Cuban dropped 40mil for a used Gulfstream on eBay!) We're talking potentially three-quarters of a BILLION (yes, with a B!) dollars in recovery on aircraft sales alone, and now THAT's talking real money I'd say!
4. Surplus aircraft policies could use rework. How many aircraft in the Boneyard are types also on the civilian market that could be reconditioned and sold flyaway, or are militarily obsolete but could generate revenue by sale to collectors, enthusiasts or even at a deep-discount rate to museums? But Pentagon policy is generally "once it checks in, it only checks out as razor blades unless transferred to a .GOV customer," so... our tax dollars up in smoke YET AGAIN!

I once asked my family accountant if he'd ever taken a look at the federal budget, and his reply was to ask if *I* was going to pay for his psychiatric care afterward--that alone should be a red flag...

Anybody else want to jump in?
 

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I think we should just immediately terminate 1/2 of the federal bureaucrat class then go through the rest and see which ones we actually need.

Then, maybe, we can take a look at our military.
 

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WaltGraham,

Actually, as a retired "old soldier", I believe we need to CUT all the FAT out of both the civilian & military budgets.

When I was a Deputy IG I found literally MILLIONS of DOLLARS in outright FRAUD, WASTE & ABUSE, that POLITICIANS had "hidden inside the military budget", as just plain PORK.

Just one example: Our IG team in 2008 discovered that an Army agency was ordering over 500,000.oo per year of "spare parts" for a large mobile generator that the DoD hasn't owned in 2 decades. = As bad as continuing to order "unneeded spare parts" is, then the parts were warehoused for a while & then sent to PDO & "surplused off" as "of no further use to the government". Then the BRAND NEW parts were sold, by the ton, as SCRAP METAL, for about ONE PERCENT of their original cost.
This WASTE was reported to DoD & two years later the same "budget item" was still being ordered/paid for.
(CAN YOU GUESS WHY???)

yours, sw
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Clearly Surplus Asset Disposal is another area that needs work... obviously since they've been around a while you'll never get full retail out of them even sealed in factory wrapper, but maybe selling for 50-75 cents on the dollar would have recovered more of the investment.

My suspicion is, somebody had a sweetheart deal with the scrapper, who was probably selling those parts back into the market and giving a kickback... and somebody in Procurement or Congress had a deal with the manufacturer.

Procurement needs some reform too... like how when you're .GOV and need duct-tape, you can't just Purchase Order from your neighborhood Office Depot, you have to order it six rolls at a time from GSA because that's the smallest pack that has enough space for the MSDS warning-label. Which means since the typical office goes through maybe ONE roll a year, you get five more sitting around that get unusable and have to be thrown away... which is wasted supplies expense, plus disposal expense... not to mention the logistics of getting the crap from place to place. Seems to me it'd be far more efficient for GSA to just negotiate a "Corporate Rate" deal with the Big Box office-stores and let THEM handle the warehousing and logistics...
 

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Centralized purchasing is a proven thing. For those who have never been in purchasing, everyone always thinks they can do better than purchasing, and in some cases they can. The problem is, how do you know you're getting a good deal? Who's managing that spend? How do we know you're not just giving everything over to your brother in law or committing fraud?

De-centralized purchasing is a BIG mistake; it really is. Understand, I managed about 3.6 billion spend for the past decade, so I may know a little about this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also a good point, Kevin, hence my thinking about having things like duct-tape and Sharpies be through one or two "approved retail vendors"--if it's "approved for Purchase Order when procured through an Authorized Retailer with submission of receipt", and Derek Drone goes to his buddy Oren Office's shop that isn't on the list instead of one of the Big Five (say Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Fastenal and Grainger) that are, then by definition he's violated protocol and thus he has to cough up out-of-pocket with no reimbursement. Since Staples (e.g.) isn't individually owned stores but all the sales revenue goes into the same corporate coffers, it really doesn't matter which individual location Derek Drone goes to... Not talking about end-running GSA on things like cars or higher-end things like office technology, but for little consumables with a finite shelf-life once unwrapped were more where I was thinking of. OTOH, paper makes HUGE sense for centralized purchasing: no shelf life and no hazmat.
 

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Kevin Gibson; Diamondback,

I, too, have considerable experience at purchasing/leasing for government use, as I was the "0015 funds" custodian at one time for USACIDC.

One of my "finds" was leasing new but year old cars/trucks for "short term use" by our agents, from a "regional car rental agency". - We saved about 15% on that one deal over getting the cars/PUs through GSA. ====> When you are talking about HUNDREDS of cars for agent's use for short periods, 15% counts up in a hurry.
(IF a regional office couldn't find a cheaper deal & we sometimes could NOT, the purchases/rentals/leases were run through GSA.)

yours, sw
 

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I tend to agree that the military is a good starting point since it has the largest budget to work with. Clearly we have room for some downsizing as we wrap up two wars; but I would be very hesitant to downsize too far. Like any other war, when you are embroiled in a conflict, you miss opportunities to equipment upgrades since many are hesitant to make big changes during a war.

There's very little I can congratulate the Obama Administration on, but cost cutting of military weapons programs is one of them. Stopping the future purchase (in 2016) of Tomohawk missiles was a good idea and the timing is right. We have more than enough for a full 15 years of war like the last two and then some, and a replacement is expected in the next 8 years; good call. I think they're cutting the Hellfire off a little too close though...the JAGM isn't close enough to production...I like the idea of minimizing expenditures, but the Hellfire is THE workhorse missile in US inventories.

Canning the F22 was a VERY good idea. We're FULLY committed to the F-35 so further F22 purchases just doesn't make much sense.

They have managed to seriously cut the cost of production of the F-35, and that's a good thing.

Our nuclear arsenal has been reduced significantly and this makes a LOT of sense. We're getting rid of all the older stuff that is expensive to maintain, and replacing it with newer weapons system, and reducing the number. We still have more than enough nukes to trash the earth, so no worries there.

There have been oodles of smaller program cuts or cancellations; some were good some were not so good. Overall, I'd say they have done a pretty good job of trimming expenditures without diminishing our capabilities. Most cuts were to just maintain capabilities rather than grow them. And while that may not sound great, we ARE transitioning from a wartime military to a peacetime military. And while it would be nice to always have a wartime military, it doesn't make much fiscal sense. Especially if we learn some lessons about getting ourselves into military conflicts we don't need to be in.

You can't rely on Republicans to cut military spending anymore than you can rely on Democrats to cut spending on social programs; it's just not in their blood.

Personally, I'd get the US out of the foreign war business and severely trim back the military, but no one would go for that.

The next place to seek budget cuts is just plain good ole Congressional Pork. We still need a good deal of government expenditure because our economy is still about 25% on life support, so you can't cut all the pork, but I think you can cut 50-75% of it. Time to turn the pork spending into infrastructure spending to support a private economy. And I'd stop building bridges to nowhere and put that money into the expensive research that the private sector won't do.

Lastly, I'd make a big change to the tax code. I would begin a 5 year program of tax incentives for businesses to purchase CAPITAL ASSETS. Basically, you buy a capital asset and you pay no taxes on that asset for 5 years. The thing about capital assets; they require a butt in a seat to manage or use. Meaning, such expansions create jobs and allow the private sector to expand and do more of what makes them money.
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
Canning the F22 was a VERY good idea. We're FULLY committed to the F-35 so further F22 purchases just doesn't make much sense.
I respectfully disagree! The F-22 is a very capable platform and we need a full complement of them, not a hald or third.
The F-35 was a good idea but it's already overpriced and is a highly troubled program, and the platform is not as capable as the F-22.Currently we are depending upon air superiority fighters that were being developed when I was in high school, and right now I am just nearing retirement age. The Russians have newer designs and even the Chinese are devloping their own F-22 rip-offs.
When we have the next major world war (God forbid [but he won't]) we may find ourselves with 1970s air tech facing 21st century enemies -- with too few of our own 21st century fighters to make a difference.
I wonder how Baron Von Richtofen's triplane would fare against a WW2 P-51?
Probably not well.
There is a lot in the military that can be streamlined; the procurement process has to be totally revamped. Do we need all the chiefs for the number of Indians there are? IE, too much "brass??"
The downfall of the Soviet Union gave us a "peace dividend." 9/11 showed us that there would be new wars, new challenges and new threats.
I can see cutting back excess and waste....but I am always leery about cutting back on the military after a war is supposedly winding down.

"Si vis paccum, parabellum."
 

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I respectfully disagree! The F-22 is a very capable platform and we need a full complement of them, not a hald or third.
The F-35 was a good idea but it's already overpriced and is a highly troubled program, and the platform is not as capable as the F-22.Currently we are depending upon air superiority fighters that were being developed when I was in high school, and right now I am just nearing retirement age. The Russians have newer designs and even the Chinese are devloping their own F-22 rip-offs.
When we have the next major world war (God forbid [but he won't]) we may find ourselves with 1970s air tech facing 21st century enemies -- with too few of our own 21st century fighters to make a difference.
I wonder how Baron Von Richtofen's triplane would fare against a WW2 P-51?
Probably not well.
There is a lot in the military that can be streamlined; the procurement process has to be totally revamped. Do we need all the chiefs for the number of Indians there are? IE, too much "brass??"
The downfall of the Soviet Union gave us a "peace dividend." 9/11 showed us that there would be new wars, new challenges and new threats.
I can see cutting back excess and waste....but I am always leery about cutting back on the military after a war is supposedly winding down.

"Si vis paccum, parabellum."
I disagree with your assessment that the F22 is more capable, it's a 4th gen fighter and the F35 is a 5th gen. I read tests where they pitted the two against each other and the F22's were killed before they ever knew anyone was there. I was surprised because I just assumed the F22 would rule the air superiority skies, but maybe not. The F35 is far more adaptable to ground pounding and even close air support; the F22 is not.

If I were doing things, there wouldn't be an F35. I would have learned the lessons of the F4 and recognized that we have 3 distinct services with 3 distinct missions that require 3 distinct aircraft. But the Pentagon disagrees, and I'm not so arrogant that I won't consider they could be right and I could be wrong. And besides, it wasn't Obama's idea to cut the F22, he proposed the budget, and the Pentagon decided cutting procurement of more F22's was the solution. I think they made a good call.

We have 186 F-22's. Exactly which nation in this world is going to strip the skies of 186 F-22's?

True, Russian SAM's (S-400 & S-500)can see most stealth aircraft these days. But that's the only serious threat that exists for the F22 (or any other stealth aircraft).

Most don't realize that the Russians are WELL ahead of us in SAM technology. They recognized they were never going to beat us in aircraft design, so they funneled the money to SAM technology....pretty smart if you ask me.
 

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Back in the nineties Florida Power and Light appointed a new CEO named Broadacre. Among his first acts was to set a policy that everyone in management had to have seven direct reports. Then he laid off everyone in management. They were given something like ninety days notice. He named his seven direct reports and gave each of them two weeks to name their seven direct reports and so on. One of the FPL employees told me that anyone who does real work has nothing to worry about. Someone will want them on the team. We someone who will do the same thing in the executive branch.

Does anyone know why we need thirty thousand federal judges?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The other factor re F-22: The Raptor is specialized for air-dominance, and has pulled its punches in exercises so far--it's a direct answer to the Sukhoi Flanker family, which were designed for the sole purpose of killing our F-15s. Similarly, the Raptor's design intent is to eat Flankers for breakfast.

F-35 is designed for a different role, the switch-hitter--I'd say the comparison is more F-15 vs. F-16, where the intent is for the two different types to complement one another not directly compete. Hell, I've heard Japan was giving us the "Shut Up and Take Our Money" to keep the line open and build them some F-22s but FMS/MAP/other export approval was denied...

Guess what I'm saying is, we don't need a force of jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, because there are situations where you DO need the specialists. Ask a former Tomcatter or Intruder jock about the capabilities lost when USN standardized the Hornet as its sole carrier "punch"... and oh by the way, where's the extended-ASW-patrol capability with the S-3 Viking dumped over the side?

Besides, if you only use one weapon then when the enemy figures out how to avoid its strengths and exploit its weaknesses, you end up sunk when you don't have something unexpected to throw at 'em.

Sorry, bit the hook on a tangent... Of course, getting BLM out of Land Grab mode and selling off their vast holdings in the West would help too, as would actually allowing more development of mineral resources on BLM-managed property.
 

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I disagree with your assessment that the F22 is more capable, it's a 4th gen fighter and the F35 is a 5th gen. I read tests where they pitted the two against each other and the F22's were killed before they ever knew anyone was there. I was surprised because I just assumed the F22 would rule the air superiority skies, but maybe not. The F35 is far more adaptable to ground pounding and even close air support; the F22 is not.

If I were doing things, there wouldn't be an F35. I would have learned the lessons of the F4 and recognized that we have 3 distinct services with 3 distinct missions that require 3 distinct aircraft. But the Pentagon disagrees, and I'm not so arrogant that I won't consider they could be right and I could be wrong. And besides, it wasn't Obama's idea to cut the F22, he proposed the budget, and the Pentagon decided cutting procurement of more F22's was the solution. I think they made a good call.

We have 186 F-22's. Exactly which nation in this world is going to strip the skies of 186 F-22's?

True, Russian SAM's (S-400 & S-500)can see most stealth aircraft these days. But that's the only serious threat that exists for the F22 (or any other stealth aircraft).

Most don't realize that the Russians are WELL ahead of us in SAM technology. They recognized they were never going to beat us in aircraft design, so they funneled the money to SAM technology....pretty smart if you ask me.
You & I must be reading different Aviation magazines. The F-35 has been plagued by developement problems especially with regards its engine.
A video I saw pitted a F-22 against a F-16 and the Falcon never had a chance -- didn't see it coming. The F22 is far more advanced than what we currently fly.
If the Russkies are so far advanced in SAM design, it will be them who shoot down 186 F-22s. We've been under-estimating Russian SAM performance since Francis Gary Power's day. I think we're ahead in ECM tech. -- but I could be wrong at this point.
 

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You & I must be reading different Aviation magazines. The F-35 has been plagued by developement problems especially with regards its engine.
A video I saw pitted a F-22 against a F-16 and the Falcon never had a chance -- didn't see it coming. The F22 is far more advanced than what we currently fly.
If the Russkies are so far advanced in SAM design, it will be them who shoot down 186 F-22s. We've been under-estimating Russian SAM performance since Francis Gary Power's day. I think we're ahead in ECM tech. -- but I could be wrong at this point.
Russian SAM's are a HUGE threat to any aircraft, but I don't see them stripping us of all of our F22's. The fundamental issue still remains, no matter how good their SAM's are, they are a fixed asset and aircraft are mobile.

When all is said and done, the REAL air to air weapon in the sky is AWACS. I'd like to see an F16 with AWACS suppor pitted against an F22; I think that could be a very different story.
 

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AWACS support would be a great benefit to both platforms ... but the real down in the dirt test would involve a one on one test with both planes. The "wild card" would be pilot's expertise & experience and something would need to be done to control for this.
 
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