Thanks to @ZacLeBurn for providing me with the link to “The Future Military: Your Budget Strategy”. This is a calculator made by the New York Times which considers budget cuts that the US could perform, and needs to perform over the next decade. Its a great mental excersize, and I would highly recommend it. The goal is to achieve $450 Billion in budget cuts for the US military. I managed $743 Billion in budget cuts while still (in my view) preserving US force capabilities. An overview of the cuts follows:
The rationale for these cuts follows:
First, I did not make any cuts in Benefits or Salaries. The first and foremost asset of any military force is its’ manpower, and offering proper benefits and salaries allows a force to recruit the best. The technological factor will certainly change across time, but manpower must be kept in its best shape. Its important that benefits that have been given to the military not be removed except in cases where it is absolutely necessary. I guess part of it is also that I am a firm believer in free, universal health-care.
Second, cuts in Personnel. Wars will be fought with much more manpower-efficient militaries in the future. The US is not an exception. Be it Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or Automated artillery loaders, war, as industry, will go into a much more efficient cycle where much greater automation takes place. This may still be a decade away, but preparing for the the upswing in automation in advance is necessary. The US army and marines would take a 35% cut in Personnel, while the Pentagon would take a 20% cut in staff.
Third, Weapons and Procurement. In anticipation of an increase in Chinese Aeronautical Technology Sophistication, as represented by their J-12 fighter Jet program, I have left the US’s F-35 budget untouched. The US needs to have a first-rate sophisticated fighter in anticipation of Russian and Chinese Technological developments. I reduced the number of aircraft carriers in the US fleet from 11 to 10, both because of an expected increase in the range of future aircraft (partially negating the need for aircraft carriers), as well as the fact that every other country with an aircraft carrier has 1 or 2 at the most. The Chinese have said that they want to expand to 6 aircraft carriers in the future, but with an expected eventual slowdown in Chinese growth, this may be difficult to achieve. The US navy will also suffer reduced ship buying, with the cancellation of 5 amphibious ships, the retirement of 6 Ticonderoga-class cruisers, a reduction in submarine purchasing (when has the US ever used those?) and the purchases of 12 instead of 55 littoral combat ships.
Fourth, Nuclear and Missile Forces. I would eliminate the use of nuclear weapons on bombers, and restrict it to cruise missiles/ballistic missiles instead. TheUS is probably never going to use a nuclear weapon at war again, and continuing to use it on bombers is when cruise missiles and ballistic missiles do the job is neither practical nor efficient. Bombers also need escorting/SEAD operations in hostile airspaces.
Fifth, Operations and Maintenance. I would reduce military personnel staged in Europe and Asia from 150,000 to 100,000. This would leave smaller scale and perhaps more token units that would be expected to contribute to regional security until (if necessary) reinforcements arrive from the mainland US or other theaters . The increase in US deployment capabilities (such as the introduction of highly mobile Stryker brigades) allows for a reduction in threatre- and forward-deployment. Military personnel who perform commercial activities would also be replaced by civilian personnel. Spending on base support services would decrease to a consistent standard per serviceman. A Pentagon audit, never previously attempted would help reduce costs. As the war in Iraq is ‘over’ and the war in Afghanistan begins to draw to a ‘conclusion’, recruiting expenses should be cut, in tandem with the reduction of military and civilian manpower.
Balancing between trying to be the strongest military in the world, and trying to reduce spending and indebtedness will definetly be tricky.