What will we cut in the DOD when the debt level crushes us? #military

With the debt ceiling up in the air—and thus presenting a lot of unknowns–maybe we can save real money by getting rid of unnecessary elements in the DOD.

For instance, just think of the savings if we didn’t have to fund that additional land army and redundant naval air force known as the USMC to such alarming levels.

Regardless, I figure that this problem is going to solve itself  when the crushing debt becomes self-aware sometime this year.

Disbanding the DHS for better American security

I first met the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) boss Janet Napolitano late last year in the D.C. metro. O.K. so I didn’t meet her but I heard a voice over the P.A. system and it was a recording of her stating to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

The DHS needs to be disbanded. Going along with the theory that it is the United States of America and not the United Federal Government of America we need to reconsider how our domestic security is managed. We don’t have much of a choice really because we are out of money and some departments will have to be cut wholesale in order to make ends meet with the part of the budget that is non-borrowed money.

For example, the U.S. Coast Guard would be a better fit as part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The ATF and DEA would be better as departments under the FBI. I am a big fan of the FBI so I have a bias here. There are a few other reorgs that could be done after disbanding the DHS but you get the picture. We can no longer afford so many flavors of security services.

While Republicans and Democrats argue over a few tens of billions in budget cuts, they can see some real savings by defunding a lot of the dead wood in our domestic security apparatus.

And as a general thought, we do need to think more about security here at home. Think of all the manpower slots wasted on troops we have in Europe that would see better use along our South border. Rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq? Get in volved in Libya? Funny, as our security needs would be better met helping to deal with a whole list of problems with Mexico.

All of this sounds nice but I don’t think much of it has a chance of happening. If you think the miltiary-industrial-congressional-complex is strong, its cousin, the domestic security complex isn’t weak either.

It will be interesting to see how Congress hands all of these 31 flavor departments big buget cuts yet most likely won’t see the logic in killing off and/or merging whole organisations.

That is unfortunate.

U.S. Defense spending, while important, isn’t the major problem #military

There seems to be a lot of talk about our leadership and their supposed ability to master the Defense budget. If only that was our major problem in wasting taxpayer dollars.

Here is one of many forms of abuse going on with our money that is not defense related.

But if you want to get a true sense of what the “shadow budget” is all about, all you have to do is look closely at the taxpayer money handed over to a single company that goes by a seemingly innocuous name: Waterfall TALF Opportunity. At first glance, Waterfall’s haul doesn’t seem all that huge — just nine loans totaling some $220 million, made through a Fed bailout program. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, considering that Goldman Sachs alone received roughly $800 billion in loans from the Fed. But upon closer inspection, Waterfall TALF Opportunity boasts a couple of interesting names among its chief investors: Christy Mack and Susan Karches.

Christy is the wife of John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley. Susan is the widow of Peter Karches, a close friend of the Macks who served as president of Morgan Stanley’s investment-banking division. Neither woman appears to have any serious history in business, apart from a few philanthropic experiences. Yet the Federal Reserve handed them both low-interest loans of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars through a complicated bailout program that virtually guaranteed them millions in risk-free income.

It’s hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that’s exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan’s penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages. The loans were set up so that Christy and Susan would keep 100 percent of any gains on the deals, while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90 percent of the losses. Given out as part of a bailout program ostensibly designed to help ordinary people by kick-starting consumer lending, the deals were a classic heads-I-win, tails-you-lose investment.

And….

But Bernanke bluntly refused to provide the information — and the Fed has similarly stonewalled other oversight agencies, including the General Accounting Office and TARP’s special inspector general.

Way, way bigger than the problems with the Defense budget….

And then there are the bailout deals that make no sense at all. Republicans go mad over spending on health care and school for Mexican illegals. So why aren’t they flipping out over the $9.6 billion in loans the Fed made to the Central Bank of Mexico? How do we explain the $2.2 billion in loans that went to the Korea Development Bank, the biggest state bank of South Korea, whose sole purpose is to promote development in South Korea? And at a time when America is borrowing from the Middle East at interest rates of three percent, why did the Fed extend $35 billion in loans to the Arab Banking Corporation of Bahrain at interest rates as low as one quarter of one point?

Even more disturbing, the major stakeholder in the Bahrain bank is none other than the Central Bank of Libya, which owns 59 percent of the operation. In fact, the Bahrain bank just received a special exemption from the U.S. Treasury to prevent its assets from being frozen in accord with economic sanctions. That’s right: Muammar Qaddafi received more than 70 loans from the Federal Reserve, along with the Real Housewives of Wall Street.

Money for a new bomber? Not until daddy can program manage #military

I wouldn’t expect money for a new bomber to be well spent. You see, daddy can’t program manage. 80-100 large bombers most likely means 2 that are unflyable before it is cancelled in an effort to top the U.S. Navy’s A-12 program

Donely, Schwartz and their staff were a big hit on the Hill. They piled out of a little clown car tripping all the way up the steps with their over-sized shoes. The tourists loved it.

Observing the death spiral that is USAF budget thinking #military

Old aircraft are expensive to maintain. And now new aircraft are expensive to maintain. Fools are expensive to maintain.

Rising aircraft maintenance costs also are a huge concern, she said. “New aircraft generally are more expensive to maintain. They’re more sophisticated, they are more software intensive.” The current cost trends are “unsustainable,” she said. To avert a future shortfall in maintenance accounts, the Air Force initiated an “end-to-end assessment of the entire supply chain all the way to the depots.”

Yeah. Seen that one already Darth. AFMC is awash in efficiency studies.How many studies in institutional groupthink have been done?

Can America stop its decline?

There is some good reading about the cost of the new war we are in here at Forbes. In involves some history.

The history discussed is how we went from a nation that stood up a military only when we needed it—long ago we had the time to do this and things were less high-tech—up to today, where we cannot manage military procurement, the economy is in the tank and the War Department in the West Wing along with the spendthrifts on the Hill keep draining our limited resources.

For years, it is all our fault. We elected the people on the Hill and the Presidents. Proper voting might save us; or not.

The Forbes article mentions how post-WWII we had the industrial might to build the military machine to what it is today. What it doesn’t mention much is that some years before the end of the Cold War, we decided (our votes put them there; that kind of “we”) that having a strong home industry is no longer important. We declared war on the American worker. No, I’m not a Teamsters guy, a Democrat or a Republican. I believe in “America first”. I do not believe in free trade. I believe in fair trade.

We decided that gambling on the market—the dot com boom and bust and flipping houses, with a boom and bust—would make our nation healthy. It did not. Today, we no longer have the industry, the science and math people in numbers or much else to maintain the military we have or to create and sustain domestic business. We don’t even seem too interested in protecting our borders or seeing to it the workforce we have has a legal right to be here. “A thousand points of light” and “a new world order” is our undoing. A nation that is too heavy in the service industry is like a football team composed of bench staff. Besides weapons that cost too much and aren’t always that useful, not much of what we have is worth exporting.

Wasteful Federal spending of all flavors and dumb wars for no gain are dead weight we have to eliminate.

If our elected officials can’t take this on board and change our direction, we will never recover.