Washington Post Editorial Board Says No to More Defense Cuts

Nov 7, 2011
Defense Drumbeat
New York Times Piece Explores What Potential Cuts Look Like

"Going From Three Cops To Two Cops In A Pretty Rough Neighborhood": The Face of Cuts Already Enacted

The New York Times’ Thom Shanker and Elisabeth Bumiller interviewed Defense Seceretary Leon Panetta and quoted Panetta on where he would make specific cuts already required by law. Panetta said those cuts could include “reductions in spending categories once thought sacrosanct, especially in medical and retirement benefits,” and “might require another round of base closings.” Panetta is already “under orders to cut the Pentagon budget by more than $450 billion over the next decade,” in addition to possible super committee cuts of over $500 Billion.

Panetta maintained that “eliminating waste and increasing productivity” would not be enough to get to the reduction targets he needs.  

“In what he described as the most sensitive of the potential cuts facing an all-volunteer force, Mr. Panetta said the Pentagon was considering raising fees for the military’s health insurance program, Tricare,” Shanker and Bumiller reported. 

Other potential areas for cuts are “the number of American troops based in Europe, with the United States compensating for any withdrawal by helping NATO allies improve their militaries,” and cutting F-35 Joint Strike Fighter purchases.

 “‘We’re going from three cops to two cops in a pretty rough neighborhood,’ Mr. Panetta said in his office…”

And Under Sequestration, Warnings Get More Dire:

The Washington Post Editorial Board recently spotlighted the testimony of the military services chiefs and called for the super committee to refrain from cutting more from defense because of the dire warnings issued by the chiefs. “It would be an unconscionable act of political irresponsibility to allow their predictions to come true,” the Post Editorial Board said.  

The Post said of super committee members: “…let’s hope its members have used some of their idle time to catch up with the testimony of the nation’s military chiefs at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday,” :

  • “Cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic to the military…My assessment is that the nation would incur an unacceptable level of strategic and operational risk.”- General Ray Odierno, Chief Of Staff, United States Army
  • “A severe and irreversible impact on the Navy’s future,”- Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations.
  • “A Marine Corps below the end strength that’s necessary to support even one major contingency,” -Marine Commandant James Amos.
  • “Even the most thoroughly deliberated strategy may not be able to overcome dire consequences,” -Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz.

“True, the Pentagon brass are known for pushing hard for their funding. But they rarely speak in such apocalyptic tones — and there is good reason to take their warnings seriously,” the Post said.   


New York Times 
Weighing Pentagon Cuts, Panetta Faces Deep Pressures

Washington Post Editorial 
U.S. defense on the defensive
By Editorial, Published: November 6

112th Congress