Grover Cleveland and Chris Preble point out the nifty DoD budget cost cutting tool at the NYT. It’s not terribly hard to get to $450 billion, especially if you cut back on ground forces. I managed to get to $459 without cutting much from naval forces (1 carrier down), from benefits, or even from missile defense.  I do kill the new stealth bomber and the bomber leg of the nuclear triad. That’s a pretty modest set of cuts; it’s also not terribly difficult to get to $1 trillion, but you have to start cutting back on benefits, and drop the USMC and USA by roughly 35%. I’m not convinced that some of the options would actually save money; replacing military personnel who perform commercial activities and cutting back on the civilian Pentagon work force, for example, would leave many DoD functions at the mercy of private contractors. One thing to remember; cutting back on the defense budget, especially personnel costs, is anti-stimulus in the short term. Dropping the Army and Marine Corps by 100000 puts that many people back into the civilian workforce, with all the attendant disruptions that would cause.

Benefits $35 8%
Personnel $220 48%
Weapons $51 11%
Nuclear, Missile $39 9%
Operations, Maint. $114 25%


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