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13 June 2012


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William R. Cumming

So does the report conclude budget has to drive strategy?


I would say Cordesman's study is revealing much of what is brought out in Sunzi's Art of War (ca. 500BC). We have learned nothing and have been overcome by self deceiving flim flam and draining of our resources on worthless efforts while the bigger problems pile up before us.

ex-PFC Chuck

Couldn't agree more.

This brings to mind Col. John Boyd's guidelines for a nation's grand strategy:
· Ensure the nation's fitness, as an organic whole, to shape and cope with an ever-changing environment.
· Strengthen national resolve and increase the nation’s internal political solidarity.
· Weaken the resolve of the nation's adversaries and reduce their internal cohesion.
· Reinforce the commitments of our allies to our cause and make them empathetic to our success.
· Attract the uncommitted to our cause.
· End conflicts on terms that do not sow the seeds for future conflicts.

Since at least the inauguration of George W. Bush we have conducted our foreign affairs as if we were deliberately trying to violate each and every one of these guidelines.


(irony alert) We can certainly afford it if we do away with the rest of things the national and state govts do for the population.


With everything being a looming potential threat, starting with unruly protesters threatening the decorum of carefully staged political PR events to all out nuclear war, defence extends to practical all matters of life.

Take American national obesity rates. The superficial may think this is merely a public health concern, but they are mistaken. Obesity and the resulting lack of physical fitness have a negative impact on the availability of able bodied candidates for military service. This reduces the US ability to recruit soldiers. As a result, addressing obesity is a national security matter.

To not have the Pentagon address this on the spurious grounds that defence must be put pack into defence, or that there is no money in the budget is clearly defeatism at its worst, and means leaving the US open to an attack even more crippling than obesity itself!


Alba Etie

The third party contractors would be a good place to start trimming costs for the DOD . The KGR no bid bid contracts for services as one example . The profit for Erik Prince and his ilk is an egregious waste of DOD resources.
That and the illegal occupation of Iraqi by Shrub & Cheney the Draft Dodger . And as we approach election time we must remember that a Romney administration would have the same approach to the world .

r whitman

I have long said that in order to substantially reduce military spending we have to change the basic foreign policy of the US. If you refer to page 45 of Cordesman's paper you will see the future threats that the military has to prepare for. A number of items need to be pared from the list. Any suggestions??


Absolutely on point- and put "defense" back in Defense-- that is defense of the U.S.A.

N M salamon

The major problem from the national economic angle of the cited article is that the USA Federal budget indicates that the mandatory spending at present and in the foreseeable future does not leave any funds available for discretory spending [all aspects of the federal government].
Choices are:
1.,Cut mandatory spending excluding interest on Federal Debt [might lead to great social instability].
2., Raise Federal tax take by 50% to balnce budget [against the American Religion]
3., Let the Federal Reserve Bank print money to finance the deficcit [leads to hyperinflation sooner than later, guaranteed to devalue dollar, rising all import prices]
4., Give up on maintaining the hegemony [cut dfence spending incl Dept of Energy, Veteran, and other aspects thereto] to $100-150 billion per annum and raise taxes 30% to balance budget.

Upon making the appropriate choce, the strategy for National Defence can be approached from the strict limits imposed by budget, any dream are hereby cancelled.

Aside from the above I found the articled well constructed, even thopugh some sections were somewhat obscure.

Babak Makkinejad

That is all fine but what is the "Cause" of the United States?

The South had a "Cause", as you may know...


Yes, Sunzi's Art of War (ca. 500BC) warns of the very problems we have gotten ourselves into. Why don't our "leaders" at least talk to people who might provide better observations to prevent our falling down the well as we have done? If we keep moving in our present direction we won't have to worry about America and we already are on the edge of a precipice - and it is not Obama's fault. It is based on the fallout from the sub-prime loans (read Congress writ large in bed with the financial wizards) and the thoughtless attack on Iraq (read loss of trillions just for the operation and more for the dead and wounded, and add to this the total waste in Afghanistan. In other words, we went crazy from 9-11 as opposed to thinking things out. We lost it and it will not be easy to get back on the right track.


At least the defence implications of the abject failure of successive Administrations to confront the horrendously expensive,inefficient, wasteful and corrupt American system of healthcare have been spelled out.

dan of steele

It might be more appropriate to rename DoD to its old name, the War Department. frankly I don't see it going away any time soon.

btw I really don't like newspeak and Department of Defense is just as bad as Free Speech zones.


So, health care is the problem? So what are we supposed to be doing? Yes, health care is something we must deal with, but it should not be required to compete with totally wasting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think we have totally lost our direction in managing our nation's immediate requirements. Messing around in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other armpits just misdirects our more immediate requirements of getting our nation back in order and taking care of itself. Let's focus on our real priorities related to national survival.


Just imagine all those $$$s that we waste yearly on Private Military Contractors a.k.a. Mercs, instead were invested in partying for our Active/Reserve/Guard Personnel who wear the uniforms (who bear the brunt and the heavy loads), what a happier place DoD would be.

Alas, are the OSD and JCS too stodgy to accept such an idea? I mean, c'mon, there's even Oduls for those who don't like to imbibe in alcohol (perish the thought).

Party time:
Новогодний Голубой огонек на Шаболовке 2012


One thing I forgot to mention....let's dismantle the monster known as NATO before it engulfs U.S. in a thermonuclear imbroglio because of their NATO boneheadedness. Just tearing down such would save U.S. a ton of dough, not to mention all the relief from the yearly heart-burn that is the result of having to deal with their NATO boneheadedness.

Trouble is, that too many NATO goats are feeding at DoD's teets, and would throw a hissy fit if they were weaned, and our U.S. allowed to 'heal' from NATO's stupidity.


Comments on the American healthcare system may clearly be partially correct, but when we stupidly go into Iraq and Afghanistan this multiplies the problem. We DO need to take care of those who have been harmed from stupid, unnecessary interventions, but that is not the fault of the care system, it is the fault of the thoughtless intervention program.Let's get things straight!!!!


Lately, or at least in the current election cycle, the 'cause' appears to be worship of the golden calf and defense of the democracy of Greed.


I read a great deal of this and thought I was going to blow a fuse, but rather than rant I’ll just summarize a few highlights and thoughts.

According to CSIS “Our Greatest Threat is not Foreign, it is Managing Entitlements... "(page 13) Another doozy: An Aging Population Threatens National Security (page 140

So the biggest threats faced by DOD are the citizens of the United States of America?

This is due to a) they live too long and, three decades after the Reagan Revolution, a lifetime of civilian employment has left them with no pensions, no retirement savings and no private health care; and b) Those who defend the United States of America are a burden because 1) they expect health care for themselves and their family while serving (Tri-care, see page 91) and 2) they expect retirement pay after a life-time of service (see page 92)

Well here’s some numbers you won’t see in the CSIS report:

REPORT by Federal Reserve:
Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2007 to 2010: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances (Multiple Tables and Graphics):
By the Numbers (Star-Telegram TX)
·         39 percent: The drop in the median net worth of families from 2007 to 2010.
·         8 percent: The drop in median income, falling to $45,800 in 2010.
·         6 percent: The drop in the median value of retirement accounts based on the stock market, to $44,000.
·         42 percent: The drop in the value of Americans' stake in their homes, to $55,000 in 2010.
Americans' Net Worth Has Plummeted, Report Shows
Renee Montagne and Chris Arnold
NPR Story
June 12, 2012

Bottom line: In just 3 years over a THIRD of the median wealth of the 90% is gone. Where? To the Top 10% mostly, who are doing just great.

Lets stop talking about 'entitlements' and start talking about obligations. Why should anyone defend the USA when Mitt Romney, a hereditary multi-millionaire not only didn't serve, he got multiple draft deferments - and none of his children will serve on active duty either. Why should I pay the same rate of taxes - not the same percentage of tax burden on my wealth or standard of living, but the same 'rate' as the richest men in the US (this includes BHO)? Why is it 'unrealistic' to restore the tax rate to the level it was when we had a balanced budget? This is no 'crisis' - it is the ongoing deception of the average American who has paid the highest price so other could amass great wealth.

As they say in Occupy Detroit "Kwame got out on bail. The bankers got bailed out." While the word bail is in both sentences the meaning is quite different. (BTW Kwame got convicted and went to prison. None of the bank leadership has, they apparently did nothing worth a criminal or congressional investigation, unlike Roger Clemens or Lance Armstrong.)

The Twisted Genius


Yes, it was death by PowerPoint. I, too, got the feeling that the national security enterprise finds the US citizenry to be an annoying distraction. It's important to remember the Constitution calls for promoting the general welfare, as well as providing for the common defense.

The Twisted Genius


Years ago I took a course on Asian defense policies under Dr. Donald Weatherbee. He maintained you can discern a country's true defense policies and strategies by looking at the military force it builds and maintains. From this point of view, our defense strategy and real priorities are reflected in the force we currently have and desire to maintain. We want to rule the world. I fear the only real way to cure us of our deep desire to rule the world to have our military shrink out of economic necessity. So yes, the budget will drive strategy.

William R. Cumming

What is the Grand Strategy of the MORMON religion and what are its tactics? And how does this compare with the Grand Strategy of the USA and its tactics? And how does this match the GRAND STRATEGY of Israel [survival?] and Israeli tactics?

I ask being largely ignorant of GRAND STRATEGY and tactics but suggest the next decade may well involve the clash or mutuality of the above. Perhaps am wrong. China seems to be entering a phase of openly acknowledging the CP rides the tiger of internal hopes and development. Russia will be lucky to have its demographics not result in destruction of its Grand Strategy. And of course we do know the GRAND STRATEGY of the EU and EUROZONE--specifically get all others to pay for its cafe society especially the USA. And for the Nation-STATES of MENA and AFRICA prove that Colonial power line drawing makes sense in the rest of the Century. And S.America--hoping no one notices them while they continue to foster aberrational national themes.

Hoping some can shed light!

William R. Cumming

Thanks TTG! And would any argue that nation-states in the EU have "force projection" as a tactic [subset?]within the set of their Grand Strategy?

Has the US formally renounced the Two Regional War capability?

Babak Makkinejad

For centuries people have lived in apartments in Europe in the largeer European cities; many of them without balconies.

The outdoor cafes (and municipal parks) are one of the few places that people have to get outdoors instead of being confined within the walls of their small apartments.

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