Think Tank Offers Options for Navigating Austerity

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments hosted defense experts this summer to identify where they would make cuts in the US military over the next 10 years if budget sequestration takes effect, but there was the flexibility to target the more than $500 billion in spending cuts. The teams of participants were united in prioritizing and protecting capabilities deemed most effective for projecting power into hostile denied areas, according to CSBA’s report on the findings, issued on Nov. 27. These included: special operations forces, cyber capability, the Air Force’s future bomber, submarines and unmanned undersea vehicles, and stealthy remotely piloted aircraft. At the same time, the participants recommended reducing civilian and military end strength, with the deepest cuts occurring in conventional ground forces. Most of the teams also thought there’d have to be cuts in readiness funding, and all would reduce the buy of F-35 strike fighters. Unless Congress acts to prevent it, budget sequestration goes into effect on Jan. 2. Unlike the CSBA exercise, the current law on sequestration does not permit DOD the same flexibility to determine where to apply the cuts. Todd Harrison and Mark Gunzinger, CSBA senior fellows, authored the report.