2018 U.S. Defense Budget of $700+ Billion Cries Out for a Smaller American Military
First Guided Weapon Test: An F-35 Lightning II (picture from Lockheed Co. web).
"As many Americans are falling into poverty and the global economy spirals downward, the U.S. is spending more on the military than ever before ("www.huffingtonpost.com/melvin-goodman/nine-ways, March 4, 2013).
U.S. Congressman Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee criticized Congress for its "out-of-control approach to budgeting." Smith said "it's inconsistent for Republicans to push for billions of dollars more in defense spending while also advocating tax overhaul legislation that will deepen federal deficits over the next decade." (Associated Press, Nov. 14, 2017, House Passes $700 Billion defense bill," by Richard Lardner).
Reducing defense spending with a smaller military would enhance our position globally, reduce our increasing debt and enable us to dedicate more money on America's domestic needs. It would also contribute to our domestic prosperity and safety at home.
The militarization of our country is putting too high a demand on our resources, driving up costs and putting too large a demand on the military's mission and purpose. We are heading for an economic or social collapse, not to mention overextending our military reach to risk defeat when most needed.
The United States has over 1,000 military bases around the world. We have a standing volunteer army of 1.4 million service men and women distributed around the globe; and one million reserve personnel (www.globalfirepower.com/country-military).
According to Melvin Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and Adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in www.huffingtonpost.com/melvin-goodman/nine-ways, March 4, 2013, "the U.S. defense budget is higher than at any time since the end of WWII, including peak years of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the unneeded peacetime buildup of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980's." According to Goodman, the Defense Budget is over 21% of the national budget!
Professor Goodman recommended we can reduce significantly our military expenditures because of the changing nature of modern wars, the lack of large counter-insurgency wars and the lessoning need of our presence in many areas of the world (i.e. Europe: Germany, England, Spain, Ukraine, Romania, Poland; in Asia: Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, The Philippines and Guam). Why do we invest so much military monies in Israel and Egypt and bases in the Middle East and Persian Gulf? Why do we have 21 bases in Europe, 23 bases in Japan and 15 bases in South Korea?
Professor Goodman recommends that America can easily reduce the size of our Air Force, the Navy, the Marines and the Army. He states that Lockheed Martin's F-22 went from $35 to $135 million per plane over its long production time. Instead of producing 2,440 F-35's we could save $20 billion a year by reducing production overall to 1,000 F-35"s without denting our ability to protect America. The United States has lost only one fighter jet in the last 40 years.
Goodman says the navy has too many areas and missions to cover. He suggests we reduce our carriers from 11 down to 6 at $14 billion each. Reduce the Marines from 180,000 to 140,000 soldiers since we have had no amphibious landings since WWII. Cancel the Marine's V-22 Osprey at $100 million per copter. Stay with the safer and more reliable H-92 and Ch-52 helicopters. Reduce the army by 360,000 soldiers by reducing the number of military stations (bases) around the world, and rely on the Apache and Black Hawk helicopters instead of the $15 billion Comanche helicopters that are unsafe and problematical.
And most importantly, reduce America's unnecessary huge nuclear armaments which has already cost the country from $5-6 trillion. We have a bloated nuclear arsenal, which can accomplish the same effect globally with less then half of what we stockpile now! Goodman contends we can reduce our nuclear submarines from 14 to 7 with the savings being huge; reduce our number of ballistic missiles as well as reducing the number of airplanes carrying nuclear warheads.
Last, but not least, $65 billion of the defense budget is allocated for our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other nearby countries. American soldiers who have gone on multiple deployments and been involved in military action have necessitated huge active duty and veteran health care costs. The importance of not invading countries unnecessarily or conducting unnecessary wars is now burdening our budget. These costs not only limit, but decrease our spending on America's important domestic needs.