Representative Coffman (R-CO) recently offered a three part plan to reduce the DoD budget.
Part One - Shift our Strategy: According to Coffman the current counterinsurgency strategy is playing into Al-Qaeda’s plan to bankrupt our nation. He says, “Our focus must shift to counter- terrorism, where threats are removed as they emerge, using special operations forces working in concert with indigenous elements to defeat the asymmetric capabilities posed by both insurgencies and terrorism.”
Part Two - Close Military Bases: Coffman points out that we still have “79,000 troops stationed in Europe with 45,000 of them in Germany alone.” Our European presence will likely cost $8.6 billion this fiscal year. Our European presence alone will likely cost $8.6 billion this fiscal year. Coffman suggests ending current construction projects and begin systematically bringing our troops home from these out posts.
Part Three - Expand the National Guard and Reserves: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates continually pointed to personnel costs as the root of the DoD budget woes. According to Coffman, “the best way to reduce personnel cost is to expand the size of the National Guard and Reserves in exchange for commensurate, conditions-based reductions in our active- duty components in order to achieve a significant cost savings.”
Coffman says, that the average cost of an active-duty U.S. Army soldier is $130,000 per year, not including retirement pay and retiree health care benefits. That same soldier costs $43,000 in the National Guard and $37,000 in the Reserves.”
The U.S. active-duty force is about 1.4 million with 740,000 in the National Guard and Reserve components. Coffman syas that “we need to critically examine our entire force structure to see what active-duty units might be more suited for the National Guard and Army Reserve given the evolving nature of the threats to our national security and the pressures to reduce spending.”
I’ll let you ponder the unintended consequences of these options…