Sequestration and the Limitlessness of Congressional Stupidity

We usually don’t comment on domestic politics here on the blog, but yours truly has been out of the blogging business for so long the best way back was to write up a short rant on Congress. I know, not exactly a challenging task, but today’s topic is actually important:  sequestration.

When the Democrats and Republicans in Congress were negotiating the debt ceiling in 2011 most assumed there would be some kind of deal in place. And there was—though short-term and with an agreement to make another, bigger agreement later. That last part is key, because Congress in its . . .
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How Many U.S. Troops Are in South Korea?

This post is a guest contribution from H.A. For professional reasons, the writer is using a pseudonym.

The Pentagon is responsible for a few million people, so it’s understandable if they fail to account for some of those people some of the time. However, according to staff in the Statistical Information Analysis Division of the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), the Department of Defense has refrained from publishing even an estimate in its quarterly 309A reports of how many military personnel are in South Korea due to “sensitive and political reasons.” As stated on its website, DMDC is “the . . .
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Lowering the Attack Threshold in Cyberspace

Last week I criticized the new “International Strategy for Cyberspace” put out by the White House for not being specific enough about the military aspect of cybersecurity. There is a general lack of specificity in policy on this subject matter, and the international cyberstrategy perpetuated the trend of using big words to say very little. However, the Obama administration is seeking to address some of these shortcomings. The Pentagon is coming out with its own strategy document in June, and the Wall Street Journal got some inside information on it this week. The big news? The U.S. military is . . .
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The Pentagon’s budget promises savings without cuts

On Monday the White House released its proposed budget for next year, fiscal year 2012. The Pentagon is asking for a $553 billion base budget, a slight increase from the $549 billion estimated budget this year (budget overview can be found here). On top of that is a request for $118 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, which basically means the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That number is down from an estimated $159 billion this current year.

The one interesting note in the budget is the pooling of civilian and military funds for OCO. $126 billion is sought for . . .
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National Military Strategy: A grand scheme

For the first time in seven years the Pentagon has done a top-to-bottom review of its national military strategy. The 21-page document, called “The National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2011: Redefining America’s Military Leadership,” is the product of a realization that times have changed. While the strategy review stresses the importance of combating terrorism and preventing the spread of WMDs, new threats are on the horizon.

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It is hardly surprising that an official strategy document from the Pentagon warns of new threats. Part of the military’s role is, after all, to . . .
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The procurement problem

The U.S. military wants the best. It spends tens of billions of dollars each year developing new weapons systems, but the quest for the best is not an endeavor without obstacles. My fellow contributor Matt Fay pointed to the MEADS system the other day, a system that has little strategic benefit beyond placating allies in Europe and basically duplicates a better system, the Patriot PAC-3.

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There are multiple other programs with a history of problems, but none as big in terms of budget or ambition as the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. . . .
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