Panel Targets Nearly $1 Trillion in Defense Cuts

The Pentagon should cancel the F-35 and V-22 programs, and delay the KC-X tanker for five years, the Congressionally chartered Sustainable Defense Task Force recently recommended. Lawmakers led by Rep. Barney Franks (D-Mass.) chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, created the task force to explore how DOD could help reduce the federal deficit. Making these moves, along with a bevy of additional cuts, could save up to $960 billion from Fiscal 2011-20, states the 14-member panel. The panel itself is non-partisan, but is loaded with well-known critics of defense spending including Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives, Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress, and Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information. Among its recommendations, the panel calls for reducing the US nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads deployed on 160 Minuteman ICBMs and seven nuclear submarines (thereby eliminating the bomber leg of the nuclear triad), trimming the US military presence in Europe and Asia by one-third, eliminating three Air Force fighter wings, and cutting the Navy fleet from 286 ships to 230. (SDTF report; caution, large file.)